Digital Printing Revolutionizes Brand Packaging

Posted Friday, November 06, 2015

2 million one-of-a-kind labels printed on HP Indigo
2 million one-of-a-kind labels printed on HP Indigo

The battle at the shelf is fiercer than ever before. With about 30,000 SKUs introduced ever year it is even more challenging to compete on a crowded shelf where everything looks the same. Compounding this challenge is the shrinking center store as the perimeter footprint increases. Digitally printed product labels, sleeves, and folding cartons opens up the creative possibilities for brand marketers to win at the shelf like never before.

We’ve all been subject to a tremendous amount of information regarding the importance of creating a personal, relevant connection with shoppers in order to impact purchase and gain their loyalty. Short run, digital printing is a way for consumer brands to target populations and accommodate their needs with multiple packaging versions of the same product: like “single serve” and “family size”, or imprinting different languages, messages and photos depending on location and other variables.

Heinz packaging

Examples of Hyper Customization

The possibilities for customization can go even further. What could be more personal than finding your name imprinted on the actual product? Like Coca- Cola’s highly successful, international Share a Coke campaign launched in 2013. Coke printed 800 million personalized contour bottle labels, swapping out their logo with the most popular names per country, using HP Indigo narrow-web digital presses. (yes, digital, as in, not analog.)

More recently, Coca-Cola went a step further with the Diet Coke Stay Extraordinary campaign which presented us with over 2 million one-of-a-kind bottles. “The purpose of the campaign was to convey to Diet-Coke lovers that they are extraordinary by creating unique one-of-a-kind extraordinary bottles.” Production involved Variable Data Printing (VDP) on an HP Indigo digital press using a special algorithm that allowed Coke to create millions of unique, auto-generated designs on press. (see photo at top of article)

Last month KDM sponsored, for the third consecutive year, a webinar hosted by Package Design Magazine that focused on how Digital Printing is a realistic solution for brands to offer relevant, unique package design. Peter Borowski, former head of design with Kraft Heinz Co., was one of two speakers during the webcast. He stated that “…Digital Printing is the biggest revolution in the packaging industry for decades.”

Peter pointed out that all consumers must interact with packaging at some point- it reaches 100% of buyers. He said the package design is the last interruptive media in the whole omni-channel marketing strategy and Brands must leverage this. “It should be the first consideration.”

How Digital Printing Changes the Game

Digital printing allows brands to target and connect with the consumer anytime, anywhere. It allows brands the flexibility to get what they need, when they need it, and how they need it.

  • Increase cash flow- print what you need when you need it, no minimums or set ups, minimize inventory
  • Flexibility- address shrinking product lifecycle, more frequent changes means more relevance, 100% revision control at the time of print
  • Speed to market- shorter runs more frequently, Just in Time manufacturing
  • Be sustainable- reduce inventory, no harsh chemicals or air pollutants, reduce production waste- plates and make ready’s
  • Testing- rapid prototyping, be creative, test markets before a national launch

Mr. Borowski urged brands to stop thinking about “print run management” and start thinking about “product lifecycle management”.  This is a huge shift in the printing industry. Digital printing has grown 412% from 2004- 2014, while all other print methods have either leveled off or declined. (see graph)

Digital printing graph

Digital Printing Technology Advancements

The second speaker, Bob Leary, Associate Director of InfoTrends, spoke about the advancement in digital printing technology’s ability to address not just narrow-web printing of labels and sleeves for packaging, but also larger presses that print direct to folding cartons, flexible packaging, corrugate and even print direct to shape of the package.

Quality is no longer a factor. Buyers are okay with the color and quality output. Bob indicated that digital printing is not more expensive if you use it strategically. The print production speeds are much faster and the production costs are going down.

Digital printing also allows brand marketers to efficiently roll out local marketing POP print materials and merchandise displays that work together with the packaging to support the campaign.

For more insights VIEW the WEBCAST on demand: Package Design Digital Printing

KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group is uniquely positioned to help brand marketers execute customization at the point-of-purchase with the print production of new POP materials, displays and new packaging concepts more frequently, and with greater speed and cost efficiencies. www.kdmpop.com

We are pleased to announce the addition of the new HP Indigo WS6800 digital press

This narrow-web press delivers proven quality embraced by the world’s leading brands for variable, high-quality labels, packaging and more. Learn more in our PRESS RELEASE

Tags: Coca-Cola , digital printing , KDM POP Print Solutions , packaging

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