What Actions Are Groups Taking to Promote An Event Industry Rebound from COVID-19?

Graphics companies have been hit hard by the cancellation of events, trade shows, and conferences in 2020. Here are just three steps that event-industry thought leaders and organizations are taking to encourage an event-industry rebound.

Promoting the Economic Impact of Events to Legislators

The Go Live Together coalition is working to ensure that when the COVID-19 health crisis is over, the voices and concerns of the live event industry will be addressed in local, state, and federal recovery funding. Coalition members come from exposition management companies, associations, convention and visitors’ bureaus, event venues, and exhibiting companies.

The coalition contends that events are a massive incubator for innoavtion and economic growth. Recovery funding will not only help the events industry, but the recovery of the economy as a whole.

Go Live Together members are using press releases and infographics to help local, state, and federal lawmakers understand the economic impact of the trade show and events industry. For example, here are some statistics published by Go Live Together.

The trade show and events industry:

  • contributes nearly $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy
  • employs 3 million workers,
  • pays $130 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.

Source: Go Live Together Infographic: Business Events Industry Impacts from COVID 19

For more information, visit: https://www.golivetogether.com/

Planning a Three-Phase Comeback

In a post How and When Will the Events Industry Get Out of This?” event industry strategist Howard Givner compares the comeback from COVID-19 to the event-industry’s comeback from 9/11: “Those of us old enough to have been of working age during the aftermath of 9/11 will attest to the fact that nobody can point to a date or even a period of time when the events industry started to feel ‘fully recovered’ from its effects.”

Givner suggests that the event-industry recovery will occur in three phases:

1) Pure Virtual;
2) Local Events that meet state guidelines for gatherings; and
3) Full-Steam Ahead (with instant on-site testing).

“One good thing to come out of all this is we finally – FINALLY! – have the entire world’s attention on the importance of live events,” writes Givner. Now that live events have been removed from our lives, “Everyone is pining away to attend their next music festival, industry conference, strategy meeting or trade show, to experience all those great things that events offer.”

Gathering Opinions from Corporate Exhibit Managers

An article by Travis Stanton in the June/July 2020 issue of Exhibitor magazine provides insight into when face-to-face marketing might resume.

Read the article about the impact on the Pandemic on the Trade Show Industry on page 50
in the digital edition of the June/July 2020 issue of Exhibitor magazine.

In Exhibitor magazine surveys of corporate exhibit managers and trade-show suppliers:

  • 52 percent predicted the industry won’t return to normal until the second quarter of 2021
  • 13 percent said they don’t expect normalcy until 2022
  • 5 percent questioned whether trade shows will ever return to business as usual.

One director of event marketing quoted in Exhibitor article pointed out that even if event ROI is difficult to measure, businesses were able to see the overwhelming value lost by event cancellations in 2020.

The full white paper “EXHIBITOR Insight Report: COVID-19’s Impact on the Trade Show Industry is available at www.ExhibitorOnline.com/COVID19.

Future 100 Report Discusses Trends Affecting Brand Marketers and Retailers

The Innovation Group of J. Walter Thompson intelligence has published their annual Future 100 report. Described as a “snapshot of the year ahead,” the report discusses 100 trends that brand marketers and retailers should know about. Print-service providers that serve brand marketers and retailers should be aware of these trends too.

According to Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the The Innovation Group, “2018 looks set to be the year in which 5G and augmented reality (AR) drive massive change in our interactions with the internet — we’ll be able to shop from our cars and visualize furniture in our homes before deciding to buy it. And, rather than being described as ‘the future’ at tech conferences, this will happen en masse.”

Here are some other trends noted in the report:

Transcendent Retail

Voice technology, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence will transform the retail industry. Customers will expect retailers “to link their online and offline worlds to create a seamless, intuitive customer experience that makes buying products quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.”

Pared-Back Retail

Not all retailers will follow the trend toward overblown, immersive experiences. Some brands will choose to pare it back to appeal to consumers who dream of a simpler, cleaner life. Some brands will adopt no-frills, black-and-white packaging that is more functional than promotional.

Staffless Retail

Some retailers are testing staff-free convenience stores that enable shoppers to purchase products without any human interaction.

URL Goes IRL: E-Commerce Comes To Life

Some e-commerce brands are testing ways to make their brick-and-mortar stores look like the physical embodiment of a lifestyle blog. Like WeWork for retailing, owners of brick-and-mortar stores might rent out temporary physical space in their stores to independent online brands.

Death of the Beauty Blue Chip

The power of blue-chip beauty brands is giving way to startup, indie beauty brands that know how to generate a lot of excitement on social media. In response, some big beauty brands have started acquiring new young brands and offering them the scale of sell niche offerings on a global level.

Brandlessness

Disruptive new companies sell premium beauty, personal care, and groceries at a fraction of the cost of branded equivalents. These direct-to-consumer goods are designed to appeal to digital-first Millennials who are less susceptible to traditional branding and advertising.

Manufacturing 2.0

Hyper-personalized manufacturing is set to transform the way we shop. According to the report, the highly automated Adidas Speedfactory in Germany is designed to quickly produce small-batch designs for specific markets. By cutting production cycles from months to a single day, manufacturing can catch up to the speed of online ordering.

Virtual-Reality Theme Parks

Virtual reality experiences will breathe new life into theme parks and other entertainment venues. Munich-based VR game developer Holodeck VR is targeting shopping malls, sports halls, and casinos.

The trends in the 200-page Future 100 report are group in categories, including lifestyle, culture, retail, tech and innovation, travel and hospitality, brands and marketing, beauty, food and drink, luxury, and health.

If you serve customers in any of these fields, it can be useful to know what trends they are following.

About the Innovation Group

The Innovation Group is the futurism, research, and innovation unit of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. The Innovation Group charts emerging global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns and translates these patterns into insights for brands.

 

Trend Report Shows Changing Role of Print in a Digital World

A trend report “Hello, Print in a Digital World 2018” illustrates more than 70 creative ways brands are combining the tactile, sensory nature of print with the real-time technological powers of digital. Thanks to augmented reality technologies or specialty inks, printed billboards, posters, magazine ads, and packages are serving as platforms to more engaging and immersive digital experiences.

The report was written by Michael Chase, Chief Marketing Officer at St. Joseph’s Communications, a full-service, smart-content factory that helps brands navigate the world of omni-channel communications.

Chase introduced the Print in a Digital World report in a presentation at PRINT 17 last fall. He points out that “We are in an information revolution powered by the intersection of two of the most commanding knowledge transfer mechanisms of our time — the Gutenberg Press and the Internet.”

Instead of relying solely on digital content to generate likes, retweets, and clicks, many marketers are finding innovative ways to integrate printed materials into their campaigns.

For example, below some case studies featured in the report:

McDonald’s Canada turned ordinary drink trays into the McDonald’s Boombox.

Travelers on Emirates airlines could scan their amenity kits to unlock augmented reality content such as games and travel tips.

French retailer Castorama created interactive wallpaper that allows children and parents to enjoy storytime together.

An SS+K ad agency holiday greeting card included a custom-designed Google Cardboard mailer that connected recipients to an 360-degree virtual reality bobsled ride.

Google and Vogue collaborated to bring voice-activated content from the print magazine to Google’s Home device. By prompting Google Home to “Talk to Vogue” users can access behind the scenes audio content from selected celebrity interviews.

IKEA “Cook This Paper” campaign used food-safe ink on parchment cooking paper to produce illustrated, interactive recipe posters. At-home chefs added the designated ingredients, rolled them up the parchment paper, and popped the creation into the oven.

Samsonite printed a specially designed sheet that customers convert into a handle-like, paper “Weight Tag.” When customer wrapped the tag around the handle of their luggage and picked it up, they could determine if their packed luggage exceeded the 50-lb. restriction set by most airlines. Special perforations on the tag snapped off when the weight exceeded 50 lbs.

ASICS used thermochromic ink to publish a print ad that folded out to create a mat that readers could step on to see the shape of their foot. A chart on the ad talked about what types of shoes were best for specific foot shapes.

Crust Pizza used capacitative touch technology from Novalia to create vinyl outdoor advertising posters that could play music. The posters encouraged passers-by to remix music on a pizza-shaped DJ deck.

About St. Joseph Communications

St. Joseph’s Communications in Toronto began as a printing company. Today, printing is just a portion of what they do. In addition to printing catalogs, custom publications, and packaging, they assist brands with omnichannel marketing, including digital production, digital signage, augmented reality, social media, custom videography and photography.

 

Innovation Group Report Highlights Trends in Retailing

If your graphic communications company serves retailers, you may be interested in the retailing trends outlined in the “Frontier(less) Retail” report from The Innovation Group of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. The report was produced in partnership with WWD (Women’s Wear Daily).

According to Lucie Greene, worldwide director of The Innovation Group, the current retail landscape seems to be borderless, blurred, and amorphous: “The physical and digital realms are set to merge in new ways with the introduction of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things.” Boundaries are collapsing everywhere.

“Geographic territories as becoming increasingly meaningless as retail goes truly global,” says Greene.

Even the idea that a product must be something tangible is changing. The report points out that “Customers now accept the digital, the nebulous, the ephemeral, and even the borrowed, as well worth spending money on.” Instead of spending money on physical items, customers may forgo buying products in favor of more experiences.

Greene believes retailers today have a permanent need for agility: “Even companies that embrace transformative innovation are finding that the pace of change, rather than being incremental, is far more rapid than they could ever have imagined.”  She contends that “A seamless commerce experience is paramount.” A minimal gap between inspiration and purchase is the key to success.”

The Frontier(less) Retailing report discusses the state of retailing in 2016. It explains the interaction of trends such as: ubiquitous digital commerce; artificial intelligence in retail; and the use of immersive digital technologies to create memorable experiences in flagship stores, parks, museums, and public spaces.

If you believe digital signage might reduce the demand for printed graphics, this report could change your perspective. To produce memorable, immersive experiences, retailers are likely to require an imaginative blend of display screens, decorative graphics, and three-dimensional themed furnishings.

The Innovation Group analysts note that “Digitizing stores shouldn’t be about slapping screens on every possible surface. It should be about using technology to create a greater sense of engagement with the physical space and the products on display.”

About The Innovation Group

The Innovation Group is J. Walter Thompson’s futurism, research, and innovation unit. It charts emerging and future global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns, then translates this information into insights for brands.

WWD provides information and intelligence to senior executives in the global fashion, retail, and beauty communities.

Why The Competition for Tech-Savvy Designers is Heating Up

If you are having trouble finding tech-savvy design professionals to help your business serve clients who want more than print communications, there’s a good reason. A new wave of opportunities for designers is coming from technology companies, start-ups funded by venture capitalists, and professional services companies.

Since 2013, companies such as Google, Facebook, AirBnb, IBM, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Accenture, PWC, and Shopify have been acquiring digital design firms with expertise in fields such as user experience, app development, creative technology, industrial design, and video storytelling.

Instead of hiring graphic designers and other design professionals to aid in short-term, campaign-related projects, these big technology and professional services companies want design teams that can assist in planning and developing new products and digital experiences for their customers.

Design in Tech

In his 2016 “Design in Tech” presentation, John Maeda, design partner of the venture capital firm KPCB, attributes the recent wave of acquisitions to the growing importance of customer experience as a competitive advantage.

He cites a Temkin Group study that shows that if people have a positive emotional experience with a company, they are 6 times more likely to buy from that company, 12 times more likely to recommend that company, and 5 times more likely to forgive a mistake.

Design In Tech Report 2016Maeda believes a new type of design is emerging that will require designers with skills that are radically different from classic design disciplines such as a graphic communications, fashion design, architecture, interior design, and landscape design.

When designing for digital experiences, he says, “Design isn’t just about beauty. It’s about market relevance and meaningful results.”

Instead of spending weeks or months to create a “perfect” design for traditional distribution channels, designers of digital experiences can have their work instantly delivered to hundreds of millions of users. The design will never be “final,” but continuously evolving through continuous testing and data analysis.

Because classic design and design thinking are not the same as computational design, Maeda believes “The general word – ‘design’ – will come to mean less as we will start to qualify the specific type of design we mean.”

Computational designers will be business-savvy professionals who know how to use research and data analytics in their designs. In addition to coding and testing skills, computational designers will need to be able to design systems and cultures.

Design Education is Lagging

Maeda predicts “The large influx of designers into top services companies through mergers and acquisitions activity will reboot the design industry,” predicts Maeda. “We will see more designers becoming investing partners at VC firms, and eventually starting their own funds.” He said many designers in tech are active angel investors.

Because this new field of design is still evolving, it has been difficult to traditional design schools to adapt their programs. Maeda notes that, “Currently design education lags behind the technology industry’s needs for data-oriented, coding-enabled graduates with business acumen. Many resources are available on the internet to supplement formal education in design. Becoming a skilled self-learner is a critical skill for a new designer.”

‘Print Is Big’ Website Confirms that Print is Not Dead

PrintisBigLogIf your potential clients want proof that print is not dead or dying, encourage them to visit the Print is Big website. The graphics software company Aleyant created this print statistics website to demonstrate the importance of print in the world’s economic ecosystem.

The Print is Big site includes facts and statistics about the printing business in the U.S. and worldwide. For example, the $898 billion global print industry is far bigger than the global video game industry ($102 billion), online music industry ($15 billion), and online advertising industry ($133 billion).

“We wanted to provide industry professionals with a ready resource to debunk the ‘Print is Dead’ myth,” explains Aleyant President Greg Salzman. “Print is a vibrant industry that provides necessary services to just about every industry. In North America alone, 8.5 trillion letter-size simplex pages are printed annually, which speaks to how important print still is in today’s marketplace.”

“Print is entering a new era of specialized communication that leverages modern data and analytics technologies and the experiences of a new generation of print business owners who came into the industry at the start of the Internet age,” said Dr. Joe Webb, Director of WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center. “Many communications decision-makers have little personal experience in the strategic and tactical use of print, and it’s up to our industry to demonstrate how multichannel communications can be more effective when incorporating offline media like print.”

About Aleyant

Founded in 2005, Aleyant provides robust software services to the graphic communications. Its flagship web-to-print software, Pressero, is a highly customizable retail and business-to-business storefront interface. Pressero has launched many of Aleyant’s clients into the expanding world of Internet-based print sales.

Aleyant eDocBuilder is a Web-based design and variable data publishing (VDP) system, Aleyant PrintJobManager™ is a mobile, cloud-based approach to MIS that includes a fast means of generating market-driven pricing, job management, inventory tracking, real-time job tracking and estimating.