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The Soap Box

An Urgent Call and Brexit

Brendan Perring listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

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Sharron Mahony joined the IPIA in 2016 and has a background in marketing communications in hospitality, retail, and business-to-business

Revolutionising the print industry
Sharron Mahony,

As a marketer, and someone who has purchased print, I thought I had a reasonable understanding of what was possible, which as I learned when I joined Marian Stefani at the IPIA, is not true. My knowledge did not even scratch the surface.

Print managers? I had never heard of them. If I needed something printed I would find a printer. Now I know that they can save me a ton of time and add value to anything I was planning to do, because they are the guys with access to all the innovation. I only had access to Google, and if it was so new it was not ranking, I did not know about it. It does not take a genius to realise if you want to stay ahead of the game, make friends with one.

It does not take a genius to realise if you want to stay ahead of the game, make friends with one

Then there are the innovators. The manufacturers which are developing ink that monitors the quality of medicine, labels that detect harmful bacteria in food, temporary tattoos with small datamatrix codes sitting behind them, the guys who are embedding video in print and my favourite—got a parking problem? On the basis that it is an offense to drive a vehicle if your windows are not clear, let’s stick a legal, really difficult to remove printed warning on the driver’s window that tells the offender not to come back. This one reduced a parking problem from 500 cars to three in a week. A WEEK! Who knew print could kick arse (not ass—I am British) like that. I did not.

I am loving the IPIA. I am meeting some really interesting people who do not just say ‘would it not be great if’, but get out there and develop it. They are revolutionising the print industry and I have a front row seat. Now, we just need to fill all the other rows up with marketeers. So, as the Chinese say, may you live in interesting times.

Urgent input needed on print trailblazer
Charles Jarrold,
chief executive officer,

We need your help to ensure single standard apprenticeships do not reduce levels of expertise in the industry.

The history

In March 2015, a consortium of employers led by James Buffoni of Ryedale Group secured the trailblazer (a new employer-defined standard for apprenticeship programmes) for the industry. The standards are employer owned, relate to specific occupations, and feature a graded end point assessment. The trailblazer secured is to develop a Level 3 standard that covers pre-press, press, and post-press (finishing). The Government awarded the trailblazer as a core with options, with print as the core and the options as pre-press, press, and post press (finishing).

Through many focused meetings, the consortium has produced a standard which has been reviewed by the industry and, following feedback, adjusted and submitted to Government. This standard was approved by the trailblazer panel, but it was approved subject to certain conditions being met. These conditions are what we are today seeking your input on.

The specific condition applied by the Government panel is that the options are combined so that there is a single standard and an apprentice would need to master all three areas i.e. pre-press, press, and post-press before they would be able to pass their apprenticeship. Several drafts have been resubmitted in order to represent the views of the consortium, as well as to the trailblazer panel conditions.

The current position

The feedback has been that the position from the panel has not changed and they are still insisting that it is a single core standard. This essentially means that any new apprentice in our industry would need to master pre-press, printing, and post-press before they would be able to complete. We believe that this requirement is impractical because it is not realistic to expect an apprentice to reach the level of technical and practical knowledge, and expertise across all of these areas, to a level that employers require from their staff. Our concern is that this requirement may therefore reduce overall levels of ex-pertise compared with those achieved under the existing apprenticeship training approach. It would have significant impact for some companies on pay rates as there would be no difference between the three roles.

We see no value in us going back to the panel again, however, as you may have seen in recent newspaper reports, the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) is well underway with the key appointments to the board announced this week. Print sits under the Engineering and Manufacturing Route Panel which will be made up of industry representatives and not civil servants. On that basis, we believe that our current challenge on our trailblazer could be resolved if we could speak directly with the panel.

What you can do

To make this happen we need your support, if you believe that a single standard will be inappropriate to our industry or have a specific concern please get in contact with BPIF programme director, Ursula Daly, at ursula.daly@bpif.org.uk, or visit www.britishprint.com/printtrailblazer and submit your support on our website, so we can approach the IfA with employer backing. Closing date for input is March 31st 2017.

To make this happen we need your support, if you believe that a single standard will be inappropriate

Improving efficiency
Sidney Bobb,

Almost every newspaper and news bulletin now contains something about Brexit. When it is mentioned at a business gathering eyes wander and a look of boredom, or disinterest appears on people’s faces.

The great and the good talk about the economic ramifications of leaving the European Union. They speculate on topics such as border controls, whether heavy tariffs will come into force, and will those from Europe who live in this fair land will be sent home? Indeed, every scenario seems to be covered. However, the uncomplicated print business owner just wants to get on with the job.

In the discussions that the BAPC has had with its members throughout the country, there is one major fear: many of the goods and products used in our industry come from, or are controlled from Europe. The conclusion is that costs will increase and, in an extremely competitive market, that margins will be eroded.

The print industry does not have a great reputation when it comes to cost control, and so in the past many price increases have simply been absorbed, to the detriment of profit margins. Many a fine firm has had to close its doors, not because of a shortage of orders, but as a result of inadequate financial control and awareness.

If the fact that prices will rise is accepted, then, in order to alleviate, the businesses should take certain steps to ensure that the consequences are minimised.

They should closely examine their own costs, and one of the best tools to accomplish this is a management information system. There are a number of really effective tools in the marketplace.

It is important for businesses to look at areas where money can be saved, without having an impact on the service they offer. Wastage is often an area that needs attention. Greater efficiency will help and so investigate ways in which the business can improve. Consultants may well help reveal areas where productivity can be improved.

The bottom line is profit and so a business should try and find out what additional services they can offer to their customers. Streamlining administration certainly helps. However, it should be noted that the business is dealing with people so processes should always take the human factor into account.

The bottom line is profit and so a business should try and find out what additional services they can offer to their customers

Prices may well have to be increased, but business owners should remember the person perhaps most afraid of rising prices is the seller, not the buyer.

Add print, add power
Martyn Eustace,
managing director,
Print Power

In the age of digital communications, print retains a number of unique qualities. These qualities give the reader an engaging, sensory, and tactile experience that other mediums alone cannot match.

The physicality of print adds to the effectiveness of the medium, as well as the reading experience itself. The feel of a newspaper, weight of a magazine, or substance of a piece of direct mail gives the reader a sense of reliability and trust. By using different paper stocks and weights, marketers are able to evoke different feelings within the reader, from the heavy weight of an eye-catching door drop to the luxurious high-gloss paper of fashion magazines.

By using different paper stocks and weights, marketers are able to evoke different feelings within the reader

So, what is the best way to demonstrate the physical, emotional, and sensory impact of print media to Europe’s leading advertisers and marketing professionals? Through a direct mail campaign, of course.

Designed by creative agency WPN Chameleon, the two-part campaign has already been delivered to over 10,000 marketing professionals in the UK and Austria. A further 15,000 professionals in Germany, France, and Italy, will receive the DM packs throughout spring.

The design of the mailing incorporates the A0 DIN format, while the three key elements—importance of the channel, the effectiveness, and the creative potential of mailings—are expressed on different paper qualities to demonstrate the sensory benefits of direct mail.

Print Power’s latest direct mail campaign forms part of its ongoing efforts to promote the use of print media

The second part of the mailing is all about the proof. The pack includes four powerful, award-winning case studies showcasing successful direct mail campaigns with measurable results. Brands include Lloyds, BT, KIA, Panini, Nissan, and Disney.

The campaign, so far, has had a strong response, with hundreds of requests—made via a pre-paid postcard enclosed in the mailings—to receive more information about print media.

The direct mail campaign forms part of Print Power’s ongoing efforts to promote the use of print media. Print Power delivers the power of print directly into the hands of tens of thousands of advertising professionals and media agencies throughout Europe every year.

Discover the power of print for yourself; for news, case studies, inspiration, and more, visit www.printpower.eu.

Public Notice:

  • Contact the BPIF if you think a single standard will be inappropriate to our industry
  • There are many people revolutionising the print industry
  • The person most afraid of rising prices is the seller, not the buyer
  • Direct mail is the best way to demonstrate the impact of print media

To find out more about the issues discussed in this article please contact the relevant organisation via their
website: www.bapc.co.uk, www.britishprint.co.uk, www.ipia.org.uk, www.printpower.eu

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