Bright Rays of Hope Amid Negative News –Michelson

BLAME IT on the around-the-clock cable news channels, the endless talking heads appearing on financial talk shows, and negative articles in daily newspapers and on popular Websites, which seem to post one doom-and-gloom story after another. Industry publications, including Printing Impressions, can also be taken to task for playing up news of plant closures and head count reductions—even though PI’s printing company profiles (check out this month’s cover story) and columns highlight successful companies and provide sound business advice. Some economists argue that our nation’s current recession, credit crisis and plunging stock market are being exacerbated by an irrational collapse in consumer and business confidence. Given that Americans today are bombarded with information overload, the constant, pessimistic headlines and media coverage make us believe that the sky is falling. Perception, then, truly does become reality.

Yes, times are tough—as any recently laid off worker, homeowner under water or 401(k) retirement plan participant will quickly attest. But, we must still keep sight that this recession, too, shall pass eventually. The printing industry—most likely evolved, but not defeated—will prevail, just as it has through past periods of major economic and technological upheaval. Still feeling the need for a little pick-me-up? Below are just a few nuggets of positive news gleaned from the editorial pages in this issue:

• In a must-read Q&A article, K/P Corp. CEO Susan Kelly (who will also be one of the keynote industry speakers at next month’s Offset and Beyond conference in Las Vegas) reveals why she remains bullish that the printing industry will transform and grow. Kelly points out that, as advertisers reduce budgets, they’ll shift dollars to comparatively “cheap media” like print, online and direct marketing. And, as consumers shun high-profile companies getting federal bailout money (AIG, anyone?), or those that publicly announce massive layoffs and closures, the trend for marketers will be to lower their public profiles and rely on direct marketing campaigns to connect with clients and prospects. As poignant examples, she contends: How can bailout recipient Citibank spend hundreds of millions for the new Mets stadium naming rights? Or how can Caterpillar, while laying off thousands of employees, sponsor a NASCAR racing team, when many of those now-jobless workers are NASCAR fans themselves?

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