The Creative Graphics Group led by Deepanshu Goel launched CG Premedia last year under the leadership of Sanjay Sakalley. The initiative aims at providing end-to-end premedia services such as packaging design, adaptations, art-working, prepress, color management, mock-ups, and market testing samples. In addition, CG Premedia provides print production management and 3D CGI packshots for eCommerce portals – all under one roof.
The process of premedia involves several stages ranging from conceptualization to implementation – strategic advice, creative design, creative variations, models and prototypes, artwork, retouching and reprographics, printing tools, and press approvals that lead up to the ultimate printing and converting stage.
The bundle of services includes strategic package design, structural and engineering design, 3D and 2D CGI, and eCommerce images. Amplification services include creative and variant graphic adaptation, photography, image retouching, image manipulation and color correction, MIS management, printer database management, and digital asset management.
Sakalley heads the entire CG Premedia operations from the Noida corporate office. Jayaraj Nair looks after an exclusive production base in Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai. CG Premedia operations are also carried out from the Creative Graphics branch in Mumbai.
When Packaging South Asia visited Creative Graphics office in Noida in June 2022, Sakalley described it as a backward integration for the company. In the last one-and-a-half years, CG Premedia has reported significant growth, Sakalley says in our latest conversation.
The company has converted several Indian and multinational companies to its premedia services. These include Tata Consumer Products, Himalaya, and ITC in Bengaluru; Emami in Kolkata; Cavincare in Chennai; Nua Woman and RPSG in Mumbai; Zydus Wellness in Ahmedabad; Hamdard’s Khalis brand of spices in Delhi-NCR along with Dabur in Sahibabad and Bombay Shaving Company and Mars in Gurgaon. Apart from this, Sugar Cosmetics, Haldirams, Vi-John, and Pernod Ricard have also opted for CG Premedia’s mockups and premedia services.
“With his long list of both Indian and multinational brands in our kitty and ongoing discussions with leading FMCG companies, the future for CG Premedia looks promising,” Sakalley shares. He says the company is constantly trying to bridge the gap between commercial printers and creative design agencies. He gave examples of several recent campaigns to illustrate the point during our latest visit.
CG Premedia has also ventured into 3D animations and 3D images for social media posts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn along with A2 and A1 content for eCommerce channels such as Amazon and Flipkart, Sakalley says. The brand recently did 3D animated videos for Dabur’s Odonil and Bombay Shaving Company’s promotions on their social media handles.
Another example Sakalley mentioned was Mars’ Skittles candy promotions at Lulu Mall and Hypermarket in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram from 15 October to 15 November. Mars had created a Halloween-themed room equipped with a photo booth where customers and visitors could get their pictures clicked and printed at the location or emailed to their mail accounts.
Apart from this, CG Premedia has created a platform for collaboration with Haldirams. With this platform, the Haldirams team can directly interact with the team at CG Premedia rather than relying on email messages and phone calls. The platform has helped immensely in the interaction, design and ideation process of 3D animations, mockups and labels for the brand, Sakalley says.
These days brands opt for short-run jobs of a few thousand after launching a new variant in the market for testing on a select group of customers, Sakalley says, adding that they don’t want to opt for a commercial printer for these jobs. Short-run digital jobs come to the rescue for this short-quantity test marketing. When ITC launched a fresh variant in its biscuits category, it opted for around 100 kg of digitally printed packaging by CG Premedia rather than going for a commercial printer.
Though the range of activities offered by CG Premedia has expanded, its business is set to report 70-80% growth in FY 2023-24, which is nearly double of FY 2022-23, Sakalley says about the business aspect. He says the company has expanded the team with more people in the design area to look after the growing number of brands.
Sakalley says a lot of time has to be invested before the final look of the product can be agreed on. Some small and medium-sized companies are not inclined toward spending a lot of money on premedia activities, Sakalley says. On the other hand, startups such as Bombay Shaving Company and Sugar Cosmetics are very clear about what they want in terms of premedia services.
“The premedia category is relatively new to Indian brands and they are warming up to the idea of an intermediary between the design agency and the commercial printer. Though the market is big, we need to invest in educating the customers,” he says.
Many companies opting for value addition services provided by CG Premedia already have in-house design teams. The deal in designing is more on manpower, Sakalley shares. In India, the concept of premedia has not really taken off, so we don’t have much competition except for multinational premedia agencies working for MNC brands.
Going forward, CG Premedia aims to add more brands and more collaborations on mockups, premedia and design with existing brands, Sakalley concludes.