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Need To Know

Print Power and Two Sides

As myths around the sustainability of printed communications persist, Harriet Gordon talks to the lobbying groups arguing back, and asks how you can help promote the power of print

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Shout it from the treetops

It could be argued that, in years gone by, the print industry has been a bit backward in coming forward, a bit reticent when it comes to singing its own praises and promoting the power of print. 15 or 20 years ago, when digital media began to really take off, the large lobbying organisations we are familiar with today did not exist. There simply was not the need. Until, that is, the internet began to take hold and the print industry found itself under threat, but lacking the structures in place to harness the voice and the power of the print community.

Print Power magazine is distributed to eleven European countries, to over 50,000 media marketing professionals. Pictured: the Power of Print conference


Fast forward 20 years and the industry landscape is undeniably different. Not only has print media proved its resilience by withstanding the onslaught from digital media, but groups have banded together to promote the industry and protect it from further threats. Among these are European and British trade associations, pockets of the trade media, and not-for-profit lobbying organisations such as Two Sides and Print Power.

Stand proud

Among these, it is arguably the lobbying groups that shout the loudest and reach the furthest, all in the interest of the print community, as Print Power and Two Sides’ UK manager Jonathan Tame explains: “Every print-service-provider on a local level is concentrated on increasing their own individual business, as is perfectly natural. But there also needs to be a concerted effort to increase the take-up of print, as opposed to digital, more generally. Organisations such as Print Power and Two Sides are an essential part of that effort, and can supply the industry with the tools that allow them to do it as well.”

Jonathan Tame explains how the Print Power campaign encourages printers to use fact-based evidence about how print is successful to spread the message further

 
The Print Power campaign aims to engage media marketing professionals on the role and effectiveness of print media in a multi-channel market. It provides its members with key resources to help them evangelise on behalf of print, including over 300 case studies proving print’s effectiveness. It also publishes the Print Power magazine twice a year, distributed through eleven European countries to over 50,000 media marketing professionals.

Speaking about Print Power, Tame continues: “Our role is to provide people in the print industry with knowledge, tools and facts so that, when they are talking to end-users, they can verbalise the value that print delivers. This means giving real, tangible benefits about why print media is still an excellent choice.”

Our role is to provide people in the print industry with knowledge, tools, and facts so that, when they are talking to end-users, they can verbalise the value that print delivers


He continues: “For printers, when they market and communicate their story, typically they are talking to the print buyers. At that point, the decision to use print over digital media has already been made. The job of Print Power is to move upstream and talk to the people who are making the decisions about whether to buy print or other forms of media advertising.

Two Sides’ Jonathan Tame and Amy Hutchinson from the BPIF join forces for the Print Power conference


“We also really want printers to think about this themselves. They shouldn’t be trying to sell to the print buyer alone, but need to be communicating this story wider, using fact-based evidence about how print works. To help them do that we’ve got hundreds of case studies on the Print Power website, which all have a definitive return-on-investment, quantifying the tangible benefit print has had on these campaigns. We’ve gathered these case studies, from various industry bodies and we make them available for the print community to use when they go out to talk to end-users. It’s about moving the discussion away from the print buyer, to encourage printers to talk to the agencies and the brands in their social media communications, to the people who are deciding whether to use print in the first place.”

It is easy being green

While Print Power is directly aimed at providing print-service-providers with the tools to evangelise for print, Two Sides is directed at the consumer. It promotes the sustainability of print and paper, conducting a successful anti-greenwash campaign that tackles misleading statements being made by large corporations on the benefits of printing less and moving to e-communications, and the No Wonder You Love Paper consumer campaign, which has secured support from leading national newspapers and magazines in the UK and across Europe.

Affecting the print and paper industry, ‘greenwash’ is commonly found in statements from companies wishing to save costs and move customers away from paper bills and statements. Examples include: “Save paper, save trees, go digital” and “move to environmentally friendly on line billing”.

Greenwash is commonly found in statements from companies wishing to save costs and move customers away from paper bills and statements, but 88 percent of consumers feel they should have the right to choose



Although marketed as an ‘eco-friendly’ practice, this move to digital is primarily a cost saving initiative for companies. However, according to Two Sides, many have gone on to charge those customers wishing to retain paper bills and statements.  
 
The campaign has conducted a recent survey, Reading in a Digital World. What do Consumers Prefer?, which is due for publication October 2017. Here they asked over 10,000 consumers globally about this drive to digital, the results were fairly conclusive. Exactly 88.5 percent of global consumers felt they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically) from financial organisations and service providers. Furthermore, 77 percent of global consumers felt they should not be charged more for choosing a paper bill or statement.

Regardless of consumer preference, Greenwashing is still very much a feature of many leading marketing campaigns. Two Sides research into more than 600 of the world’s leading corporations, including banks, utilities, telecoms and insurance giants, has shown that a total of 460 of those companies have been using misleading and unsubstantiated environmental statements, despite specific advertising legislation to protect consumers in many countries.

The tide is beginning to turn however. Two Sides has reported a 61 percent success rate in removing misleading environmental claims made by some of the world’s biggest corporations: to date, 278 of those companies have removed such statements as a result of ongoing engagement by Two Sides.

One such example is the aviation giant Ryanair. Thanks to the efforts of Two Sides, the company changed the message: “Be environmentally-friendly! Return this catalogue to your cabin crew when you’re finished, please don’t make us cut down any more trees!”. Now it reads: “Be mindful! Return this catalogue to your cabin crew when you are finished, and help us keep our costs—and our air fares—low.”

O Factoid: 88.5 percent of global consumers felt they should have the right to choose how they receive communications (printed or electronically) from financial organisations and service providers. O


The hard work and success of the group has not gone unrecognised. Martyn Eustace, managing director of Two Sides, was presented with the UK Paper Industry Gold Medal at Stationers’ Hall in May 2017. Presented annually to a person considered to have done most to further the interests of the paper and print industries, this award acknowledged Eustace’s work on the Two Sides initiative, confronting paper’s critics with hard facts on the sustainability of paper and print.

Eustace comments: “Challenged by new media and consumers’ perceptions that print and paper is wasteful and impactful on the environment, together we must promote the effectiveness and sustainability of printed media to safeguard our industry.

“We’re really pleased that Two Sides is having such a significant effect on some of the world’s largest and most influential organisations. But there is no room for complacency, and there is still a great deal of work to do with the remaining companies that continue to mislead their customers.”

An uphill battle

Indeed, the battle is not yet won. A survey of UK consumers carried out by Two Sides found that 65 percent believe European forests are shrinking; in fact, they’re growing in area by over 1,500 football pitches every day. Additionally, only 8 percent believe the European paper recycling rate is above 60 percent; it’s actually 72 percent, the highest in the world.

Jonathan Tame explains how the Print Power campaign encourages printers to use fact-based evidence about how print is successful to spread the message further



But the campaigns are making a difference. Surveys conducted in 2011 and 2016 show a 50 percent increase in UK consumer recognition of the environmental-friendliness of printed newspapers and a 13 percent increase for printed magazines.

If you like the sound of the work taking place by Two Sides and the Print Power campaign, you can support the initiatives by becoming a member. Member benefits include facts, research and information on the effectiveness and sustainability of print, that you can use in your own customer communications; personalisation of the Myths and Facts booklet, with the sound environmental arguments for print; regular e-newsletters with news and inspiration; and advice available to help you with customer questions or communications.

There is no doubt that work still needs to be done to educate and persuade the public of print’s sustainable credentials. And this effort needs to be worldwide: Two Sides teams from as far away as Brazil, Columbia and South Africa are all working to address the imbalanced communications regarding print and paper.

For printers in the UK, however, domestic rather than international concerns are the number one priority.

Determined to hammer home the message about the sustainability of print, and with a positive vision of the future, Martyn Eustace concludes: “Consumers should not be misled and encouraged to go ‘paperless’ through the use of misleading ‘green’ marketing. The environmental and social benefits of paper are being overlooked by these false and damaging messages.

“Based on our consumer surveys, the majority of consumers recognise that paper is a renewable and recyclable product that, if responsibly produced and used, can be a sustainable way to communicate—while also providing real benefits of tangibility, authenticity and authority that can be lacking in electronic communications. Forests are a precious and growing resource, and the forest and paper industries are some of their most important guardians.”



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