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The Soap Box

Leave your shell behind

Genevieve Lewis listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

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Leaving your shell does not mean it’s the end

Rebrand and Refocus

Charles Jarrold
chief executive,

Since November, we have been working on our vision as an organisation and ensuring that our brand image represents our role in a vibrant and developing industry. Launched at our recent Members’ Day, we wanted to ensure our image reflects our mission to be a thriving, best-in-class trade association invigorating a modern and progressive print industry.

We believe that a key role for our organisation is to inspire those around us to see opportunities for growth – whether that’s our members, the industry as a whole or the wider community – we feel we’re uniquely placed to tell a positive story of success, to attract fresh new talent and thinking, and in the process help demolish the pervasive (but absurd) story that print is dead, in order to shape an agile and relevant industry that’s fit for the future.

We believe that a key role for our organisation is to inspire those around us to see opportunities for growth

Working on our vision got me thinking about what gives the BPIF its unique qualities, and the people and staff I’m privileged to have as colleagues play a large part in this. I’m proud to say that so many BPIF staff and members are energetic, forward thinking people who feel so strongly about the possibilities around them for growing our sector. Whether it’s our expert advisers who are helping members to strive for excellence in their own companies day to day, or our top class training team who work tirelessly to ensure we’re providing the best teaching our industry can offer, their combined experience, enthusiasm and passion plays such a large part in helping our industry get fit for the future.

From taking advantage of events such as Apprentice19 to showcase print to future generations, or organising events like the British Book Design and Production Awards to celebrate the craftsmanship that a career in print and related industries can involve, I know that our staff are so keen to ‘do the do’ and pull together in their passion to see print thrive.

And then there are our members, who are absolutely vital in working with us to advance the industry. Their support and involvement – from using our services, attending events, representing and guiding our activities through involvement in our various boards and committees – is second to none. I want to thank them for their passion, commitment and support. We all know that running successful businesses represents a huge commitment, and I am proud of the role that the BPIF plays to help with this, proudly championing a thriving industry which aims to attract new talent and fuel growth. So, let’s keep pulling together and blazing the trail to success.

Survival techniques

Tony Kenton,

I read this article on being able to ‘shed the old and protect the new’ by Aidan McCullen, a Professor at Trinity College. It reminded me a lot about the changes our industry has gone (and is still going) through along with the perception of what we do.

He wrote: ‘Have you ever seen a crab shell on the beach and assumed it to be the remnants of a dead crab? What we assume to be the loss of life is in fact the continuation of life.

Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a backbone or spine. An arthropod is an invertebrate with an exoskeleton, which just means an external skeleton. Arthropods include spiders, insects and crustaceans like crabs and lobsters. The exoskeleton of these animals is inelastic, so the animal can outgrow the exoskeleton then eventually the shell.

In a process known as Ecdysis, the shell is shed, and a new larger shell is formed. At specific times of the year, or at specific points in its life cycle the animal routinely casts off a part of its body in order to evolve.

A crab moult is an exact copy of the crab at the moment in time that the crab regenerates. In order to grow, the crab discards the old shell and reveals a new soft shell. It takes about a week for the new shell to harden. As you can imagine this is a very vulnerable time for the crab, the crab must hide away to avoid predators. After the shell hardens, the crab then spends the next year growing to fill the shell.’

The analogy about the transformation struck me as significant, as we too are having to let go of previous versions of ourselves as individuals and as organisations in order to survive and grow.

Want proof? Horseshoe crabs have been around for more than 300 million years, making them even older than dinosaurs.

Being able to shed parts of ourselves that no longer serve us and develop new versions of ourselves in order for us to keep pace with the natural rate of change may not be nature for us, but we certainly should do our best to help those around us to ensure its nature. If you want guidance on creating a ‘new you’ in your business simply contact the BAPC.

If you want guidance on creating a ‘new you’ in your business simply contact the BAPC

Collaboration is key

Lucy Swanston,
Nutshell Creative (IPIA Member)

One of the most eye-opening pieces of research I read last year was a study conducted by Ebiquity that provided an independent and forthright re-evaluation of the effectiveness of so-called traditional and digital media. It showed the degree to which advertisers’ perceptions are at odds with reality – often unfairly favouring digital media over print – and urging industry to re-evaluate its media decisions.

Over recent years, an abundance of research has been conducted that reinforces the power of print, particularly when integrated with other media. Combine this with technological advances that facilitate a wealth of creativity and we have all the arguments we need to persuade advertisers to re-evaluate this versatile and engaging medium.

I have always made it a practice in agency life to involve the printer in the creative process from day one. After all, they work every day with new innovations in finishing processes, paper stock and technology; their knowledge is invaluable.

Inspire those to see opportunity

Collaboration right from the start ensures a shared understanding of what the customer is trying to achieve. This human interaction, rather than an emailed brief, enables us collectively to propose stand-out initiatives that deliver on objectives.

For their part, I would like to see more printers step out from behind their presses and be seen as integral to the creative strategy. They are a fantastic creative resource; however, because they are working on print jobs day-in, day-out, their value is often overlooked.

You do not have to look far to see how powerful print is in the marketing mix, particularly when combined with other channels. Royal Mail studies reveal that 57% of people say receiving mail makes them feel more valued, while 46% of people pay more attention to messages and adverts in printed material than those sent by email. Scientific experiments show that people value something they can see and touch 24 percent more highly than something they only see.

We in the industry know that, amidst all the digital hype, print has quietly undergone a digital revolution of its own. Together, we have an important role in bringing this to their attention.

Amidst all the digital hype, print has quietly undergone a digital revolution of its own

We can unlock new creative options, by dispelling myths such speciality finishing and embellishments being a luxury. We can highlight what can be achieved using oversized sheets, fifth colours, personalisation, more unusual formats and different binding options. Simply by showcasing how printed items can be made to feel special without a hefty price tag – as this publication does so beautifully – we can open their eyes to the possibilities.

It is high time print resumed its rightful place in the hearts and minds of marketers. Through close collaboration, agencies and printers can both educate and inspire customers to open their minds to the possibilities.

Public Notice:

  • Leaving your shell does not mean it’s the end
  • You can unlock creativity
  • Inspire those to see opportunity

To find our more about the issues discussed in this articles please contact the relevant organisation via their website: www.bapc.co.uk, www.britishprint.com, www.ipia.org.uk

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