Print Leaders Forum: Evolve, innovate and inspire

An excerpt from AP March 2020 Print Leaders Forum – by AFI Branding operations manager Dan Mantel 

2019 gave companies in the industry the opportunity to get their houses in order ready for the new decade. There was opportunity to make some key investments and I believe 2020 will see these come into fruition.

It’s an exciting time to be in the industry as we continue to evolve, innovate and inspire to stay at the forefront of what we do.

Sustainability got some great airtime in the industry last year and I’m sure will continue to gain momentum in 2020.

As companies start to prioritise the environmental impact of their print, we will see more solutions offered by the industry. There’s potential for huge education in this space to ensure sustainable solutions are just that and not simply there to tick a box.

Customers will become more informed and discerning and we need to ensure we are leading the industry with revolutionary and long-term initiatives.

The demand for experiential and engaging experiences created through print will also be a major trend for 2020.

Print is ever evolving and heading into new spaces and we need to be prepared to work with clients to create something new, different and inspiring. It will challenge the industry to provide solutions to client briefs, but also to innovate and inspire through new product development and print techniques to keep fresh and relevant.

The presence of physical retail stores is on the decline, but I believe we will see growth and investment in brand activations, flagship and pop-up stores.

The focus will be on customer engagement through interactivity and show-stopping displays that are both memorable and get people talking. Retailers have a tough job ahead in keeping their brand relevant and front of mind; the print industry needs to support this and help offer creative and industry-first solutions.

I believe printers in the industry should also be focusing their efforts this year on building relationships with clients, suppliers and importantly, investing in their staff.

At AFI, we believe in long-term partnerships and some of our best work comes from relationships that nurture mutual trust, respect and belief to bring the project to life. At AFI, we are fortunate to have some of the industry’s best technology – but the key to making this work hard is to ensure a culture of engagement, retention and collaboration from staff and suppliers through to our customers and their end-users.

AFI will be focusing on people and partnerships in 2020. We’ve identified some great opportunities while away at a strategic planning workshop in November last year and will be looking to roll these out in 2020.

2020 is potentially going to be a challenging year, but that opens up an interesting playing field.

It’s an opportunity for companies to be bold and take risks and lead the way through innovation. We, like any other industry, can never get too comfortable and need to continually evolve what we’re offering. I’m excited to see what 2020 holds and to be part of the journey!

This article was written prior to the impact of COVID-19. The digital version of AP March 2020 is available here.

And as part of AP’s 70 anniversary, we’re pulling together a list of 70 local industry pioneers – you can make your nominations here.



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