If I were the owner of a cardboard manufacturerPosted by in Design
I’ve spent all my life trying to figure out how to sell more. I have always had the ambition to try new things, using creativity, design and communication as tools. But the goal has always been, how can we sell more, longterm. Some wise professor once answered the question “How do you define marketing”? “Marketing is to create longterm survival”, he said.
Working with different industries, trying to promote design as an effective tool to sell products, I realised that so much more could be done. And since there are very few top managers like Peter Brabeck, I said to myself the other day, “what if I owned a company within the packaging industry? What would I then do in order to create longterm survival, knowing what I have learnt about the importance of packaging?
Well, here it comes: It´s easier to see clear if you imagine that you are the owner of a company, and not a middle manager of that organisation.
I’ve therefore decided to present some articles here on www.packagingsense.com within areas that I, during my career, have been fortunate enough to get quite a good picture of. These are:
- • a food company
- • a paper/cardboard company
- • a retailer
- • a converter, i.e. packaging company
- • a pharmaceutical company,
I’ve decided to start with the paper and cardboard industry which has not yet fully exploited the potential of what great communication can do to sales! This industry is at the very beginning of the package chain and does not really see the end product, the printed pack or a shelf-ready display carton in the supermarket. Why is this? Because the paper/cardboard industry sells just ‘a piece of board’ to a converter who adds ink on it, creases and die-cuts it and then sells it further to the purchasing department of a FMCG company. So all along the way, what counts is the price and not how efficient the design of the pack can be.
May I here quote the foreword in my book “The world’s first book about packaging communication” by Mr P. Brabeck-Letmathe who says “No matter how good today’s strategy is, you must always keep reinventing yourself. You have to fight for new ideas. You have to innovate more than renovate. In reading this book, I am sure you will learn a lot, but I also hope you find the inspiration and courage to challenge yourself and the world.”
To make a long story short: If I were the owner of a cardboard manufacturer, I would do whatever I could to help the industry which uses my cardboard to sell more. How can I do this? I would not only sell by price and service, but I would also make use of the design industry. I would dig into any project which will create a more efficient communication, as that is what sells a product ahead of cardboard quality. I would make friends with the best designers. I would invite them to be part of setting the goals for our future product qualities and specifications. I would attend as much forums as possible in order to get access to new trends, instead of waiting for them to hit me. I would definitely connect my brand with a site like this one.
Yes, I am obviously writing in my own interest, but I am convinced that the investment in teaching/informing about communication on the pack is far more efficient than advertising my company in trade journals, etc. In fact, I can influence sales of the final value-added product (the pack) and not just a piece of white board to which little value has been added apart from a whiter surface and/or a better machinability. I believe that investing in great communication, as we try to do with our site www.packagingsense.com and with our books (soon available also in Russian and Chinese) is to spend the money more efficiently than advertising ‘board qualities’.
I would also put more effort into using the package itself to express something positive about my business, as Tetra Pak does it so well. An example can be found on www.packagingsense.com under the title “Packaging is great”.
I teach a lot these days at FMCG companies, as they understand more and more that money should be spent where it has most impact on sales, i.e. on in-store communication and package design. Maybe time has come for the forest industry to be more consumer oriented, i.e. learn to know how the companies that use my material are communicating in order to increase sales.
If I were the owner of a cardboard manufacturer, I would never consider the converter as the final client, but the so-called “brand owners”, i.e. the food, drinks, pharma, etc. industries. To learn about their opportunities and problems is what we, in the communication-design business, are dealing with.
If I were the owner of a cardboard manufacturer, I would hang a couple of posters everywhere in my company and the most important ones would be:
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes”
“Learning that does not daily increse will daily decrease”