The rise of B2B print media

Posted by digitalpress on 7 February 2019
The rise of B2B print media

Discover why B2B is one of the few areas of publishing and marketing that's on the up. (Clue: it's all about trust)

In these turbulent times, magazines and newspapers are fighting hard to maintain circulation and share of attention in an increasingly fragmented media landscape. But while the consumer titles chase after the increasingly elusive advertising and sales revenue, there's one area of print media that's thriving: business to business (B2B).

B2B media in all its forms is currently one of the most successful sectors of publishing and marketing. Whether it's newspapers (the Financial Times was one of only two UK newspapers to increase circulation year on year), magazines (The Economist is now the UK's best selling business weekly) or direct mail and door drop (the annual net spend by UK businesses on door drop was an impressive £263m in 2017). Clearly, businesses are seeing the value in print and investing both their attention and their budgets into the medium.

"Traditional print media provides consumers with a personal experience, something tangible they can interact with, take with them and go back to at their own leisure," says Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director of the DMA. "Its unique nature makes it a robust advertising medium and the figures over the past few years reflect this."

The commodity of trust
The benefits for companies in using print are well known: its pinpoint targeting, lean-back qualities and ability to stick around as a permanent reminder of a business offering all raise its ROI levels above those of other marketing media. But in the past 12 months, another factor in the success of B2B print has emerged trust.

For a successful business, trust is one of the most important values it can possess. Trust in its products, trust in its service, trust in its people it's a commodity that's difficult to build but easy to lose. The latest Edelman Trust Barometer has shown that traditional media has witnessed a rebound in public confidence, reaching a record high of 61%, an increase of 13% year on year. Taken with the fact that 63% of people turn to print for a deeper understanding of a news story (Two Sides, 2018), it's clear that customers, whether business or consumer, have a closer affinity with print than online media.

"I think that the mass of digital information and the way it's so instant is working against it," says Phil Alexander, Joint Managing Director of paper merchant GF Smith. "We are realising that digital is a fleeting experience and we don't get any feeling of ownership or any real connection with it."

Building value and confidence
Another area in which B2B print media is thriving is customer magazines. Keen to make a personal connection between their business and their customers, companies from all sectors of industry are investing in high quality publications that not only keep key clients and prospects up to date with their services and products, but provides an exclusive insight into their business and its people.

The magazine created for Swedish mining and construction specialists Epiroc is a fantastic case in point. Simply titled Mining & Construction, the biannual publication tackles complex issues within the industry, giving the high value business reader a combination of industry trends, company news and key benefits for its customers.

"The magazine focuses on the bigger picture and how we would like to help our customers and partners to make good things even better," says Anna Dahlman Herrgård, Global Communications & Brand Manager at Epiroc. "The M&C concept helps us to build trust. It allows us to share our expertise and show real examples of how our customers can rely on us as a partner."

Reliability in an unreliable world
With stability in the business world unlikely to improve in the next few years, many companies are searching for ways to build confidence in their brand and products, demonstrating authority and expertise in their respective fields, and creating a long-lasting relationship with customers. And print has proved time and time again that it's the perfect business partner.

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(Source: Two Sides)


The Coffee Cup Conundrum

Posted by digitalpress on 31 January 2019
The Coffee Cup Conundrum

With over seven million cups going to landfill every day, having your daily coffee is turning into a serious environmental problem. So what's the solution?

A few years ago, the most pressing concern of most high street coffee drinkers was whether the bored-looking barista had spelt their name right. Now, in a new era of single-use plastic awareness, many will look at their takeaway cup and wonder where it will end up once the last drop of coffee has gone.

In the UK, over seven million disposable coffee cups are thrown away every single day, which stacks up to an astonishing 2.5 billion every year. But while many coffee companies promote the recyclable nature of their cups, the vast majority simply end up in landfill because of the challenge of separating the polyethylene from the paper.

Spurred on by the prospect of government legislation on plastic waste and the opportunity to enter such a huge and lucrative market, a number of packaging companies have been working on solutions to the problem, including compostable cups and reusable cups neither of which have caught the public's or the retail world's imagination. However, a third solution may just be the answer.

From bags to riches
Cumbrian paper manufacturer James Cropper have been working on recycling the fibre used in coffee cups since 2013, when they began formulating a method for separating the plastic from the paper. Once separated, they then use the recycled fibre to create premium papers used to make thousands of bags for upmarket retailer Selfridges, as well as packaging for Lush handmade cosmetics and the Extract paper range for specialist paper merchant GF Smith. This year they have already recycled 24 million coffee cups, with Costa, McDonald's and Starbucks all collecting their used cups to be recycled.

"We have a unique process at our mill to bring in used cups and upcycle them into new, beautiful paper products," explains Richard Burnett, Market Sector Manager at James Cropper. "Perhaps one reason why we've made it work is that we only recycle cups. We don't take any other type of recycled fibre, so we've been able to optimise the process to increase efficiency and quality."

The advantage to using recycled fibre from coffee cups is that, due to food safety regulations, the cups are manufactured using virgin fibre. So once it's recycled, it can be used to produce high quality paper that can itself be recycled again and again.

"From our perspective there's more value in recycling the fibre used in cups rather than being able to compost it," says Richard. "We are seeing a lot of interest in recycling fibre, with customers wanting a lot more recycled content in their products."

Capital effort
Another organisation that's seeing the potential in recycling coffee cups is Hubbub, a charity that works with big businesses to encourage people to change their behaviour towards the environment. Enlisting the support of companies such as Costa, Marks and Spencer, McDonald's, Nestlé, Pret A Manger, Starbucks and a group of the leading coffee cup manufacturers, they set up recycling bins in the City of London with the ambition to collect and recycle half a million coffee cups. By the end of the campaign, they had recycled over six million.

"The campaign actually started in Manchester in 2016 with one recycling bin to see what would happen," explains Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder of Hubbub. "And it got broken into, because people were after the vouchers printed on the cups. But eventually that one bin collected over 35,000 cups and, taken with the Square Mile Challenge, we are now able to recycle coffee cups in the UK, which is a huge achievement."

The final countdown
With a report by the Environmental Audit Committee recommending to the government that disposable cups should either all be recycled by 2023 or be banned altogether, this is clearly an issue that needs to be tackled by the retailers, the recycling industry and the public alike. Whether a workable solution will be found in that time remains to be seen, but with a lot of people doing a lot of work in the recycling area, we may finally be seeing the end of coffee cup waste.

{Source: Two Sides}


4 New Year's resolutions for your business in 2019

Posted by digitalpress on 24 January 2019
4 New Year's resolutions for your business in 2019
The year end is a natural time for planning, so why not write some goals for the year ahead? Here are 4 great resolutions to get your started and tips on how to keep them.

1. we will prioritise customer experience
Did you make your customers feel special this year? Research shows that 66% of customers who switch brands do so because of a poor service experience, so it's a pretty crucial consideration.

But as customer expectations change, how do you know the standard you should be aiming for? Of course, courtesy goes a long way you'd never be rude, ignore enquiries or fail to fix a mistake. But over time, best practices and technologies evolve and advance, making customer satisfaction a moving target. Fortunately, the best way to find out what customers want is easy just listen.

How to keep your resolution
Here are a few ideas for assessing your customer experience:

  • Collate your online reviews and any complaints/emails to look for trends and repeated themes. These are the points to tackle first in the new year.
  • Looking at your existing customer base, work out what percentage of your customers were returning vs new. A lack of returning customers could point to a poor experience. Work on cultivating repeat business and consider checking in with first-time customers to make sure they're happy.
  • Run a short, anonymous survey among customers on your database asking for ratings on common metrics like delivery times, website experience and interactions with staff. This will give you a baseline to measure improvements against.
  • Keep an ear out on social media, whether it's checking your Twitter mentions during the working day, or automating your social listening with software.

2. we will have an up-to-the-minute social strategy
Few things move faster than social media. That's why you should regularly review your social strategy to make sure you're still focusing on the areas that will best benefit your business.

If you have a dedicated social media team or an expert on staff, they should be able to point towards any obvious improvements that require extra budget or different ways of working. If you're approaching it from a generalist perspective, fear not it's probably easier than you think to make improvements.

How to keep your resolution

  • Check you're using the right channels. Although the 'big' social names like Facebook and Instagram are unlikely to change much year-on-year, it's worth keeping an eye on emerging technologies and networks, particularly if your customer base includes under 25s, and consider adopting new platforms or jettisoning old ones.
  • Make sure your update frequency is optimal. If you're posting too often or too infrequently, you could be wasting resources. It's worth looking at your mix of promotional updates vs. interesting content as well. You may want to ramp up the content and play down the promotions, or vice versa.
  • Check your policies and approaches are up to date. As with customer experience in general, your interactions on social need to be in line with what your audience is expecting, whether that's the speed of your replies or how you tackle difficult questions.

3. we will have a brand that does our company justice
Branding isn't just the colors on your letterhead done right, it's the backbone of your business identity. The new year is a great time to check that your current branding is still working for you, and make sure it expresses your company's values, personality and strengths.

How to keep your resolution
Give your brand a once-over to make sure it's performing in all the important ways.

  • Do a competitor review compare your branding against similar businesses to make sure you're still distinctive and not falling behind current design conventions
  • Assess your tone of voice with a quick spot-check across your website, emails and social. Pick a few pages, tweets or newsletters at random to get a representative sample.
  • Review your brand values and make sure they're in line with the way your staff members feel, speak and act. If there's a discrepancy, either your brand or your company culture may need to be refined.

4. we will deliver a great employee experience
Most businesses know the value of a great customer experience, and as of recently, employee experience is receiving a similar level of recognition. Why not take the new year as an opportunity to make sure you're taking good care of those all-important human resources?

Employee experience starts at the interview stage (or on seeing the job ad, if you're being precise), and continues to the point of exiting a company, so this is a resolution your entire organization can get on board with.

How to keep your resolution

  • Make a great first impression by onboarding new employees well. A warm welcome goes a long way towards getting new hires up to speed and happy in their environment.
  • Open up channels of communication so your staff can feed back honestly and openly. An online survey is a popular. option, or you could go the lo-fi route with a comments box in a communal space.
  • Review your benefits package. Are your staff perks up to scratch?
  • Keep an eye on work-life balance. Do you offer flexible working or an option to work remotely? Can staff organise their time to suit childcare and other commitments?

Wishing you a Happy New Year from everyone at DigitalPress, do CONTACT US about all your printing needs in the New Year, we look forward to chatting.


Posted in: Inspiration  

What your branding says about your business

Posted by digitalpress on 17 January 2019
What your branding says about your business

The choices you make about style, tone, look and feel are the blueprint of your brand. Here's how they reflect your business personality.

When considering your business branding, colours are often the first thing that springs to mind. There are some established associations between colour and mood. Everyone's associations are slightly different though, depending on their life experiences so these are trends not rules.

  • Red is bold, exciting and energetic
  • Purple is creative and calm
  • Green is peaceful and natural
  • Yellow is optimistic and positive
  • Orange is fun and confident
  • Blue is trustworthy and strong

Beyond this, your colour choices mean something in your particular industry. Blue, for example, might be classic for a bank but a distinctive choice for a bookshop. What's typical for businesses in the same niche as yours? Whether you tap into the established norms or break the mold with a new approach will say something about who you are as a company.

We love fonts and we can pretty much talk forever on how to use them in your branding. Because fonts have such a rich cultural history, lettering style can have a huge impact on how you're perceived. Here are a few considerations:

Serif or sans serif?
Serif fonts are classic and elegant, and carry a sense of tradition and authority. Sans serif fonts are more modern, minimal and a little bit cool. Think Times New Roman vs Helvetica.

Multiple fonts or one?
Using several fonts at once adds energy and could even make things look a little busy, indicating a brand that's full of ideas and always has something new happening. Sticking to a single font means you'll come across as calm, purposeful and deliberate, with a no-fuss approach to getting things done.

Script and decorative fonts
If you choose decorative or script-style fonts, you can create a trendy throwback aesthetic or a timeless, classic feeling. And depending on your font choice, a handwriting-like style can also create a more personal, casual feel.

Illustration style
Few aspects of design are as expressive as illustration, and every artist has their own take on crafting editorial or creative imagery. That said, there are a few trends that most brands fall into. If you're using digital illustration, there are two primary types

  • Curvy, stylised digital vector illustrations are modern, fun and clean-looking. They often go hand in hand with tech and innovation, and are a staple among start-ups. Flat colors and clean lines are hallmarks of this style, which is often used in infographics. Vector illustrations can be easily edited in Adobe Illustrator CC, for print, web, and mobile-friendly designs.
  • Then there's the hand-drawn digital illustration style, which uses line, hatching and shading to emphasize a human element in your business and suggest creativity and artisan skills.

Of course, any kind of art can be part of your brand, from collage to watercolor, but generally, choosing analog formats rather than digital will give your brand more of an old-school, handmade identity.

Tone of voice
Tone of voice isn't just about what you choose to say the way you say it also plays a big part.

  • Does your brand use contractions (isn't, we'll)? Do you talk about yourselves in the first rather than the third person? (i.e. "We started out" not "Acme Company was founded") If so, you have a more informal tone of voice. This is a friendly tone that makes you more approachable to new customers.
  • A popular tonal approach is to use lyrical and witty language, which can be tricky to pull off one person's playful is another person's silly. But if you do this well, you'll come across as clever, approachable and competent.
  • Then there's the minimal style. If you use short statements with few descriptive words and allow images or data to take center stage, your tone of voice suggests that you're confident and quality-oriented you let the products and services do the talking

Whatever your approach, take note if your brand tone originates with a single founder or staff member, it will only be with you as long as they are. Write down a few style rules to make sure it lives forever! Read more about capturing your brand's spirit in our guide to building your brand culture and our step-by-step primer on building brand values.

The secret ingredient consistency
A brand is like a sports team every player counts, and they all need to work together. To make sure your 'team' of brand elements is performing at its best, make sure they all show up when they're needed, every time, every place.

So if your design is on point and your tone of voice is perfect, but your font choices are random and unplanned, it's never going to be a winning combination. Likewise, if you've got beautifully branded Business Cards but your website design isn't recognizably similar, your brand personality won't always shine through.

To see how we can help you get your branding and identity off to a strong start in 2019, send us an enquiry or give us a call today on 1300 377 377


Posted in: Inspiration  

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