Hopefully, we’re past “print is dead” but promotion needs to keep feeding print’s vitality
By Noel Jeffrey
Beginning a new year is always a good time to renew a worthwhile effort or take part in a new one. Supporting one or more of the campaigns that advocate print as a media that works to support customers’ goals is just that kind of effort. The number and variety of campaigns are growing.
Paper Industry Takes the Lead
Last summer VMA reported on The Paper and Packaging Board’s Paper Check-off campaign. (www.paperandpackaging.org) The Paper and Packaging Board establishes and guides promotions designed to slow the decline in paper use and expand demand for paper-based packaging products. Almost 60 U.S. manufacturers and importers of these products collectively fund the board’s efforts, including the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds campaign. http://www.howlifeunfolds.com/
How Life Unfolds is based on the premise that paper and packaging products are an integral part of our lives. They give us an outlet for our creativity. They help us solve problems and learn about the world around us. They connect us in personal, meaningful ways. And they help us make important contributions to a more sustainable future. There was a special effort during the last Christmas season.
Recognizing that there is nothing quite like the thrill of opening a gift, the Paper and Packaging – How Life Unfolds campaign, in partnership with Macy’s, offered shoppers the chance to send joy and excitement to children spending the holidays in local hospitals. The #sharepackage program encouraged holiday shoppers to give back by filling a prepaid, pre-addressed box for their local children’s hospital. Gift givers were guided by a list of items suggested by the hospitals and printed on the #sharepackage boxes. The campaign, distributed 25,000 #sharepackage boxes at nine Macy’s holiday events across the country, including at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in California.
Individual Paper Initiatives
Individual paper companies regularly produce their own campaigns to introduce new lines and promote print at the same time. For example, in December, Neenah Paper Neenah’s new Everybody’s Business promotion combined the power of direct mail, touch and sustainable messaging to create an interactive and educational promotion. The perfect bound book, and its creatively designed direct mail inserts, are all produced on a variety of Neenah EVIRONMENT Papers.
According to a Neenah exec, the USPS recently reported that 93% of online responses are driven by direct mail—it’s clear that this remains an extremely effective marketing medium. And we have research telling us that touch and texture lead to high levels of brand connection and recall. Then we see that 65% of paper consumed in the US last year was recovered for recycling. What this means is that you can create a beautiful, memorable message that drive results while staying true to the environment.
Neenah’s Everybody’s Business promotion houses four uniquely designed direct mail inserts. The 8 x 10.5 book and its inserts are all produced with a variety of printing processes on a combination of colors and textures from the Neenah ENVIRONMENT Papers’ collection, including six colors that were introduced into the line last year as well as the company’s proprietary RAW finish.
The Defensive Line
Two Sides, the global initiative to promote the sustainability of print and paper, has reported a 70% success rate in persuading global organizations to remove misleading green claims from their communications as part of its worldwide anti-greenwash campaign. 377 of the world’s leading corporations, including banks, utilities, telecoms and insurance companies have been researched and checked by Two Sides, exposing 240 of those companies to be using misleading greenwash statements in their marketing and communications activities. To date, 168 of those offending companies have removed their misleading greenwash statements as a direct result of ongoing lobbying by the Two Sides initiative.
However, Two Sides notes that major global corporations are still using inaccurate and misleading environmental claims to encourage consumers to “go paperless” and switch from paper-based to digital communication. This is despite legislation being introduced by the advertising standards authorities in many countries to protect the consumer from being misled.
In the U.S., for example, the message to save trees still floats around even though the latest statistics from the U.S. Forest Service show that net forest land area has increased by 3% in the past 60 years. And wood volume on timberland (number of trees) has increased 58% during the same time period.
Getting Involved is Straightforward
Printing Industries of Americas affiliate organizations like VMA have come together to spread the word about print. The advocates behind two campaigns, Choose Print (PIASC) and Print Grows Trees (PGAMA), have supplied individuals with advertisements, postcards, facts, articles, and more, delving deep into the importance of print. Additional, industry organizations have made positive contributions toward dispelling the myths of print and providing the facts to the public. Visit here, http://value.printing.org/page/12012, to see what each of these campaigns have to offer.
Choose Print is an educational campaign designed to promote the effectiveness of print and to reinforce the fact that print on paper is a recyclable and renewable and thus a sustainable environmental choice. First launched in January 2011 by the Printing Industries of Southern California, the Choose Print campaign has used a variety of online and offline tools to get the message out. At the hub is its website, which acts as a clearinghouse to bring together recent research and links to credible websites that tell the story about the marketing power and environmental record of print. It is rich in statistics and offers a wealth of downloads to help companies put together campaigns of their own.
Print Grows Trees is an educational campaign that uses facts to show that print on paper actually helps to grow trees and keep our forests from being sold for development. By connecting the dots between print and the private landowners who own almost 60 percent of U.S. woodlands, “Print Grows Trees” challenges the widely held belief that by using less paper, trees will be saved. PGAMA, Printing & Graphics Association MidAtlantic, is the association serving the graphic communications industry in Northern Virginia, Maryland, Greater Washington, D.C. and Southern Pennsylvania.
Time to Get Aboard
Everyone knows that everyone in a printing plant from the receptionist on is part of the sales team that contributes to the company’s image. So, too, printing companies need to participate in maintaining the image of print itself. With all the resources out there, it couldn’t be easier.
VMA promotes print as an important component in a multi-media world through its Storyboard website and magazine as well as its annual Visual Media Guide. Storyboard, featured in the Q4 2015 issue of Connected (www.vmastoryboard.com), is a new approach to covering the creative world across all media. In recent years the walls that have separated the print and digital worlds have crumbled, with more and more communications professionals compelled to take a broader, more holistic approach to “getting the message out.” The print focused are experimenting with augmented reality, apps and special online content, and the Web-savvy are rediscovering the attention-getting qualities of print. Both have a great deal to learn from each other.
Visual Media Guide and the online version, Visual Media Access (vmaccess.org) are Northern California’s premier resource directory of visual media resources. The Visual Media Guide is a 300 page printed annual that lists members of Visual Media Alliance and provides contact information, company description and each member’s capabilities and equipment. Each member receives a free listing in the guide. Opportunities to advertise are also offered. The guide is distributed to a list of 6,500, including creative and marketing professionals at 500 large companies in the region.
Opportunities to advertise are also offered, at PromoteMyFirm.vma.bz
Article by Noel Jeffrey