Digital Label Printing: The Great Leveler
Digital label printing has been on the rise the last few years, which has not come as a surprise to many industry insiders. What has taken many people by surprise is the speed at which this change has taken hold of the market.
Digital hits the mainstream
We’re all familiar with the Share a Coke campaign, where each soda label has a different name printed on it. For us here at Afinia Label (Booth 3446) and many in the industry, it is ingrained as the breakthrough success story of digital printing. What’s incredible is that this campaign only went mainstream three years ago. In the digital age, things move fast.
Since then, we’ve seen the likes of Nutella, Marmite, and Heinz (among others) follow suit. These large companies are utilizing digital technology to maximize the connection of their brands with their customers.
But what about smaller and mid-size companies, start-ups, and one-man bands? What can they do to compete? Well, an awful lot actually. This is where the power of digital printing really lies.
Why digital matters to everyone
During a recent meeting with a large multinational company, I was having difficulty convincing their management why they should spend more on exploring digital label printing. I explained the pros, such as smaller label inventory, the ability to react to market trends, and personalization—none of which seemed to raise much enthusiasm.
After an hour or so of getting nowhere, I decided to try an alternative approach: a fictional case study.
I asked them to imagine that a small start-up company in their industry had invested in a desktop digital label printer. Instantly, they were able to create their own labels whenever and however they wanted. They could play with branding and marketing ideas and perfect packaging in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise considered or been able to afford.
Eventually, this resulted in a major national contract, usurping the position of the market leader (whose management I was now sitting in front of). They were now slightly more interested, but still not sold on the idea of digital. They had lost out to rivals many times before, but had always remained on top.Leveling the playing field
I explained that these “rivals” happened to be two undergraduates who had purchased digital printing equipment and used it to make their products resonate in the particular region where they were being sold. This wasn’t another large corporation or an established brand that had been in the market for years.
Was their product better? Probably not, but that’s not why they won the contract. It was through the power and flexibility of digital printing. If two undergraduates could use these tools to upset the might of a large multinational company, how many others could do the same? This finally got their attention.
What really convinced them to switch to digital was when I revealed my case study was not fictional; They had indeed lost out to two undergraduates who began with their own digital desktop label printers.