Predicting & Creating Success in 2011

By Sabine Lenz, Founder, PaperSpecs

January 4, 2011

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” - Peter Drucker

I stood in awe, holding my breath - 65 pounds, two feet long, 480 pages thick - this was not your ordinary coffee table book. At a cost of $6,500 to $10,000 a copy, SUMO is a collector's item.

No, this is not an antique, but a wonderfully clever way of bringing an entirely new slant to the concept of the coffee table book. A new slant that makes the book stand out - differentiating it from thousands of others.

And differentiation is the name of the game in 2011.

Print Preferences
Print is still an integral part of the marketing mix. “Print is not dead, just wounded,” explains Scott Crockett, vice president at Keiger Printing Company. “Even our friends at Google continue to remind us that direct mail is the best way to enter someone's home and direct them to your website.”

Print still has a strong place in the world of “new” media. More than 85 percent of consumers prefer to consume media offline according to a recent survey by KPMG. The survey also showed that the Web still has a way to go to achieve the same level of print's respectability.

“Because of the excess of the 90's, financial people were put in control; and with that, one of the first things that was cut was advertising and marketing budgets,” agrees Sappi Fine Paper's North American ETC Print & Creative Manager Daniel Dejan. “Now we realize this happened at the cost of branding. If we want to show our customers that we are serious, we need a print component in our marketing mix.”

Branding and differentiation are the key players in the years to come.

Digital Dominance?
Digital printing is growing, and the gap between it and offset has been closing rapidly. Why? The combination of more technologically advanced digital printing equipment and the importance of short runs (i.e. relevant, personalized mail pieces) to marketing strategies are key reasons.

“When it comes to the enhancement of production presses, digital finishing will be huge in 2011. Coatings, cutting, scoring you name it. Then there is the creative possibilities of using white ink,” explains Crockett.

And as digital printing equipment becomes more sophisticated and outputs a product that is closer and closer to litho quality, there is a trend toward a wider range of papers for those digital production presses including more colors and more textures.

“This is great news for designers,” says Jane Monast, director of communications at Mohawk Fine Papers Inc. “Creatives don't have to print on color copy paper anymore. They can print on the same paper that they love and use for their offset print projects.”

All this makes digital printing more attractive for sectors like news, magazines and packaging, as they too enter the digital realm.

Memorable and Tangible
As the use of electronic communications like e-mail blasts and social media continue to rise, the use of print as the only tool for talking to your customers will decrease. This means paper professionals will increasingly have to find additional ways to bring value to customers - new strategies to help clients stand out in the crowd.

With shorter print runs, better design and a high emphasis on the brand component, it's important to remember that there are certain properties only print can deliver.

“Designers have always had a great love for art and craft,” explains Tom Wright, Sr., director of design at Neenah Paper. “In our over-communicated digital age and thus absence of these tactile experiences, designers want to differentiate themselves and their message.”

With the sensual, tactile qualities premium papers offer, we discover (or for some of us rediscover) not just the benefits of this medium, but all the specialty printing techniques that enhance the design and help us to differentiate our message - letterpress; foil stamping; engraving; and yes, today, variable data, etc.

“One thing we're seeing a lot more of is in the complexity of folding designs,” agrees Crockett. “It is imperative to get people to notice your package in order for them to be enticed into reading it. The use of pouches and other unique enclosures will continue to grow.”

”Down the line what matters is that a piece is memorable and tangible,” concludes Wright, “promoting a brand in a physical form to get people to your website, your store front.”

Sabine will conclude this article next week with the Top Five Ways to Use Paper in 2011. Here's a sneak peak …

“I'm still trying to convince our designers and everyone else to continue using heavy textures and unique sheets, requiring the vendors to accommodate them,” encourages Scott Crockett, vice president at Keiger Printing Company.

Seeing designers worldwide struggle to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine Lenz to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper selection tool and weekly e-newsletter. Growing up in Germany, she started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving on to Australia and the United States. Lenz worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG. Lenz is a noted speaker and author on paper issues and educational topics related to the paper industry.

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced by any means for any purpose without express written permission of the copyright holder.

Article reprinted with permission of

For more information contact:
Scott Crockett
Vice President / Sales / Marketing
Call Keiger at (336) 760-0099
Contact Scott Crockett
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