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Packaging: a medium in the digital age

Released: 03/05/2012 08:26:24
Read 2763 times

The 9. Pro Carton Congress presented a fill of new knowledge: packaging is gaining even more importance in the digital age. Customers want to see the packaging – even if they buy via the Internet – and feel it!

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And nearly everyone with a smartphone wants to scan information on the product. The offer behind the scanned varies, depending on the business sector and the product. But a good campaign can increase sales significantly.

These are just some of the results presented at the Pro Carton Congress 2012 in Düsseldorf. Nearly 150 visitors from 13 countries – the cartonboard and carton industry, designers, brand owners, journalists – listened attentively to the presentations, had an avalanche of questions, either in the traditional form – verbally – or digitally via smartphone and QR code.

Pro Carton President Roland Rex pointed out that the Pro Carton Congress looks back on a long and successful tradition: We always look at the future of packaging and consumer behaviour. And this year’s topic is a perfect match. The question that needs answering: does packaging only support the classic 4 P’s – product, promotion, placement, price – or does it have a value of its own, its own role in the marketing mix?”

It was the congress of the participants. Questions from the audience and the panel discussions were more than lively. Alone the question service for the presentations was used over 100 times via QR code. Together with all the other questions raised in person, this more than demonstrated the involvement of the audience in the presentations. The time between presentations and the Award Party was well spent networking.

The feedback proved very positive indeed. Anne Pasteur of L’Oreal and her own conclusion: “I was especially interested in the presentations on the situation and the decision behaviour of consumers. It was really worth attending the congress.”

Using real-life examples, Harald Winkelhofer (IQ mobile, Vienna) held a presentation on the Do‘s und Don’ts of QR codes: “The mobile website on which the consumer lands must look good on every mobile phone, be in local language, upload fast, and offer thumb control”. Salima S. Douven (Henkel, Düsseldorf) gave an impressive presentation on the first major European brand campaign based on QR codes – for the adhesive ”Pattex“: “The project is eminently suited to the brand positioning of Pattex – both relate to support and empowerment.”

Marco Atzberger (EHI Retail Institute, Cologne) presented the latest study of his institute on mobile commerce: “The big difference: the brand owners controls the QR code and guides the customer, with the bar code the app decides where to go in the net. And the retail trade most certainly wants a platform with reliable product information.”

The first panel discussion already showed how new the topic “Packaging in a digital world“ remains and how much there is still to learn. Georg Stolz: “Change is Convenience: innovation takes place in the heads of people. The more convenience innovation offers, the more it is accepted.”
Matthias (Alpe
n Adria Universität Klagenfurt/Vienna/Graz) opened the second day of the congress by looking at the development of packaging to becoming a medium in a mediatised world: “Nobody would be satisfied buying an Apple product in plain grey packaging. The future lies in personalisation, which does not mean inividualisation: consumers look for information on packaging covering a host of aspects which they feel are important to them.“

Pro Carton Study: “The effect of packaging: the role of cartons in the evaluation of media“
Georg Stolz and Tim Foley (Point Logic Solutions, Mainz, London) presented the just completed study on packaging and consumer behaviour, which diagnosed a fundamental change in perspectives. “”Packaging is still underrated with regard to its significance for marketing and sales. Especially young people use packaging as a measure of quality, it is even of greater relevance than testing the product! Imperative: two thirds of all online buyers already want to see the packaging, it acts as online sales poster and should therefore be assigned an active role in any effective communication strategy.”

The study includes 23 diffrerent media channels, both traditional ones such as TV, radio and print as well as new media. The results have shown that packaging has a pronounced effect in two complementary situations: in-store and in-home. A Pro Carton brochure on this topic is presently being prepared and should be available by the end of June with a host of interesting details.

Fred Jordan (Alpvision, Vevey) presented safe and extremely cost-effective options on how to avoid product piracy with the help of packaging. “While the pharmaceutical industry requires invisible solutions as any visible change require market approval, the Beauty & Cosmetics industry look for something visible, ideally something glitzy.”

The second panel discussion made it abundantly clear that innovation not only relates to technical innovation. Andreas Blaschke (Mayr-Melnhof Packaging, President ECMA) underlined the importance of innovation at all levels:: “We battle for innovation day and night – together with our customers, not only with regard to packaging, but in fact with regard to the entire process, the technology and the procedures.” But there are still significant opportunities in the technical sector alone. Oystein Aksnes (Stora Enso, Stockholm, President CEPI Cartonboard): “I’m certainly looking forward to my first beer from a carton!“

Marc Benhaim (Head of the European GS1 MobileCom / B2C Group) provided insights on overlapping objectivity, both in the sense of the retail trade and the brand owners: “We are collecting the needs of market paticipants and defining standards which all our members can utilise.”

Finally, Satkar Gidda (SiebertHead, Warsaw ) presented packaging concepts of the future which can already be realised today: An example: “Tetra Pak is presently working on a chip which tells you when the milk was taken from the fridge and from where the milk comes.”

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