From April 14 to 16, staff from Lorpon Labels attended the annual conference for the Digital Solutions Cooperative (Dscoop), the largest digital printing user group in the graphics industry. Held in San Antonio, the event was attended by an independent community of HP Graphic Solutions business owners and technical professionals.

It was a packed three days of business development, networking and knowledge sharing, with exciting keynotes from Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, and Kevin O’Leary from ABC’s Shark Tank.

Below is a list of—what we think—the top 10 takeaways from the conference were, related to product packaging, marketing and selling.

1. Make a connection.

Did you know that 95 per cent of all buying decisions are based on emotion? Today, brands stand out by creating emotional connections with consumers. To do so, companies are connecting a package’s print and branding to the digital world by using a digital print provider, and leveraging the power of variable content. Making a connection with consumers through a package’s engineering and design can be pivotal. For example, consider how the product is gripped in the hand, and how various colours and scents will resonate. Creating this connection is central to a product’s value proposition.

2. Start a conversation.

It’s no secret that you can also create a connection (and a conversation) with your current and potential buyers via social media. Engage with consumers on topics they might not know about your brand, like your eco-friendly packaging, commitment to sustainability, single-serve options and more. Ensure your content is genuine, engaging and consistent.

3. Be heartfelt.

Millennials love companies that operate with a conscience. Today, 87 per cent of consumers say they would switch brands if the company represented a good cause. Further, 85 per cent of millennials correlate their purchasing to companies that act responsibly. Consider incorporating cause marketing into your branding efforts to make this feel-good connection.pasta_owntheshelf

4. Be different.

In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible. If your brand and products aren’t getting noticed, then you will never be heard. And, if you can’t be heard, your products won’t sell. “If we continue to judge ourselves by our ability to fit in, we will never stand out” – Richard Branson

5. Create experiences.

Engaging clients across multiple platforms is extremely important. Beyond the store shelf, you can use your website, social media and other platforms to tell your story and intrigue consumers—something that can’t fully be captured on the package itself.

6. Good customer service

and quality is no longer just a competitive advantage; it’s the price of staying in business. If you’re not providing great service and a top-quality product, you’re letting your consumers down. Consider what you can do with your business that’s courageous: product offering, branding, marketing and consumer experiences. How can you be different?

7. Tell a story.

Think about case studies as inspiration to help your brand grow. What stories can you tell that people want to hear? Talk to your packaging and marketing providers and ask them how they can help you create compelling stories.

8. Focus on buying.

Historically, salespeople would tell us about a product, and old commercials would tell you about a product using words that showcased the features and benefits of the product. The new shift is about the buying experience. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to buy. Millennials, for example, will buy for an experience; they live in the now, and want to buy to be different. The brands and products millennials choose to purchase are an extension of their personality, and they’re likely to share these experiences online.

9. Transcend commodity.

Simply put, stand out. Be remarkable and uncommon, Have consumers talk about your product to someone else. We all notice changes and something different, otherwise everything seems the same. Eventually, consumers become blind to the same imagery over time. Strive to own a moment or experience in your consumers’ lives by creating and owning a category for your competitors to try and live up to.

10. Own the shelf.

Be visible! The greatest enemy of success is anonymity. Is your brand being unique? Talk to your packaging supplier to create a better relationship, and discuss ways that you can edge ahead of the competition. They should be helping you and providing ideas about how your brand can own the shelf.

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