• Sha Jumari

The Role of Print in a Digital World

Fuji Xerox’s Innovation Re:Mix Forum Future x Smart discussed the challenges and trends for print in an omni-channel marketing world.

Fuji Xerox Singapore held its second Innovation Re:Mix Forum Future x Smart 2019, at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The event brought together industry leaders and senior executives to share research insights and practices in enabling a future ‘smarter’ workplace.

The full-day conference featured a line-up of business and thought leaders participating in keynote presentations, panel discussions, and interactive workshops categorised into three themes: enterprise, small and medium business, and graphics communications marketing.

On the graphics communications end, omni-channel marketing where content is distributed across multiple platforms was the theme du jour. Against the backdrop of a diverse and fragmented media landscape, the forum discussed the role of printed products in today’s marketing landscape.

“Ten years ago, you get a lot of print communication, and it became a less trusted medium. Then digital came up, and everyone thought it was going to replace print. But today we see a lot of the digital communications that we get, are being ignored or deleted,” said Tim Howard, associate director, graphic communications marketing, Fuji Xerox Singapore.

“Print has come full circle to become a trusted piece again, because you just don't see it as often. A lot of people say print is dead, but it has been around for centuries and will continue to exist. It is truly evolving.”

[Read: Print, Myths and the Reality by Susie Wong from Fuji Xerox Singapore]

“What you can do with print is amazing and this is where perceptions need to change. Before you see a four-colour product with a little of personalisation. Today, there’s a whole spectrum of things you can do with hyperpersonalisation and combined with the tactile feel of a printed product – print has in turn become high quality, trusted, and a piece that someone is going to hold on to. That is the potential of print today,” Howard asserted.

Howard added on that print and digital solutions as complements of each other: “Print is not just a media or a substrate, it’s a medium that takes you on a journey. It can take you to a digital journey. Print has expanded in terms of how it can be used as a communication platform.”

One of the trends highlighted was that a lot of printers are turning into or looking to be one-stop services. Outside of simply printing, print companies want to be a go-to shop for a creative campaign.

“Before, the challenge was taking that first step to invest in a print platform. Today, the challenge for a lot of printers, be it offset, or digital or hybrid, is to be able to expand services beyond print, to become communications specialists. The print provider will still exist, but it’s the communication specialist that will be more successful,” said Howard.

“Omni-channel marketing is where the industry is headed. It’s a lot easier now, especially with the technology today, how information is happening so quickly, and the off-the-shelf solutions available now. It’s become a lot easier to make that transition today,” Howard advised. “For printers, understand what your capabilities and limitations are, and where you want to go.”

The forum also touched on creating effective marketing campaigns, tapping on new analytics tools, and learning from successful marketing campaigns.

Print Showcase

A showcase of printed works by Fuji Xerox presses further emphasise print’s expanded capabilities. With the theme “A Cut Above The Rest”, the exhibit featured a holographic backdrop and 3D paper gemstone jewellery printed using Fuji Xerox’s Iridesse Production Press, PrimeLink and B9 series.

Three sets of jewellery were created and intricately designed to feature the different presses. Iridesse was the clear highlight of the bunch, as its metallic finish mimicked the shiny effect of actual gemstones.

A holographic tower printed by the Iridesse stood prominently in the middle of the showcase floor, to further highlight the capabilities of the press. Delegates left the conference with a customised tea blend, packages in a diamond-shaped, printed yet again, by the Iridesse.

According to Fuji Xerox, the showcase demonstrated “how print can be reimagined in striking, new ways while it underscored the integration of Machine, Digital and Human Intelligence, encapsulating Fuji Xerox’s core value propositions in digital transformation as well.”

First published in Issue 9 of Print Innovation Asia.

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