Local brand – global success

Digital print for metal containers

Digitally printing directly onto cans is highly cost-effective, allowing brands to capitalize on short-run packaging for limited editions or special promotions

There is a huge opportunity for brands to engage, entertain and educate consumers in real time, opening the door for brands to capitalize on specific packaging features for local markets, while also empowering small producers to access global markets. Marvin Foreman, Tonejet’s worldwide sales manager, explores how digital printing for packaging can add a competitive edge for local brands . . . .

In a highly commoditized market, packaging is often the one thing that makes a product unique, allowing customers to identify with your brand above the many others on the shelf. Global brands know all too well that the more unique the packaging, the more chances of a product standing out.

Global brands have long enjoyed the benefits of mass production such as cheaper unit costs, bulk distribution and the ability to dominate shelf space through sheer volume, all of which are typically out of reach for smaller local businesses. However, thanks to changing consumer habits and innovations in digital print technology, small to medium businesses now have an increased focus on both branding and customer communications, and greater ability to make it work for them.

Despite having the advantage of volume and reach, global brands don’t always get it right. We have all heard or seen packaging faux pas – whether it be mistranslation or unfortunate design which causes offence, such faux pas illustrate the importance of research in local regions for global companies. The fine details can make a huge difference to the consumer experience and a brand’s reputation.

Craft beer is a good example where smaller producers have increased focus on branding in recent years; it’s also a subject close to my heart. Craft beer, and in fact many beverage products (cider, wine, ready-to-drink cocktails and even non-alcoholic beverages), are commonly produced in smaller batches, celebrated for their uniqueness and sold locally. Many breweries have already made a move from traditional bottling processes to using cans, since these offer a full 360° circumference for marketing and branding, more cost-effectively than a label. New printing technologies are allowing brewers to not only explore creative branding opportunities, but to also include additional information to tell their story and sell their products.

The game-changer: Digital print for packaging

Many of the larger brands have taken to digitally printed shrink wrap that is then applied to bottles and cans, to create marketing hype and increase consumer focus on their traditional products. The same approach has routinely been taken by the craft beer companies, using digitally printed shrink film and paper labels. However, this was primarily to overcome the minimum order boundaries set by can suppliers. This is where direct digital can printing steps in.

Digitally printing directly onto cans is highly cost-effective, allowing brands to capitalize on short-run packaging for limited editions or special promotions. Products can be canned and printed exactly as required, in the exact quantity needed, without any of the set-up costs or time required for traditional printing formats.

The true advantage of digital print is that every single can could be produced with a different image, creating virtually limitless design possibilities. Long lead times and minimum order constraints are eliminated, so essentially a digital can printing solution removes one of the most expensive and restrictive parts of beverage production today – traditional bottling and labelling.

The new digital printing technologies are capable of printing several batches a day, decreasing product time-to-market. This means that larger breweries can leverage digital print to respond to market or seasonal trends, and produce limited edition versions for events and social media campaigns much more easily.

Brands should start to look beyond digital print for customization and limited-edition products, and start to take full advantage of this technology for its economic and time-to-market advantages for mainstream packaging decoration on any scale. ‘Interactive’ packaging design will become more commonplace as more brands adopt methods to engage with customers through content such as how-to videos, coupons and promotions, which can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet via a printed code or augmented reality app. This will also have a significant impact on the kinds of data that brands are able to collect about the consumers that are interacting with their packaging.

There is a huge opportunity for brands to engage, entertain and educate consumers in real time, opening the door for brands to capitalize on specific packaging features for local markets, while also empowering small producers to access global markets.

It’s all about balance

Customization and regionalization can attract more customers, but shorter print runs are often not feasible with traditional printing processes. Digital print for packaging makes the short runs required for brand differentiation increasingly accessible for smaller brands. Truely customized packaging, made possible by printer manufacturers such as Tonejet, is key to unlocking significant marketing opportunities, for a variety of packaging business models.

When the balance between global and local branding is achieved, consumers are left satisfied and sales are certain to increase. Packaging is integral to your brand, so be sure it gets the attention it deserves. Custom digital printing operations on various types of substrate should be a consideration for any brand, irrelevant of size.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

For editorial info@ippgroup.in — for advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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