Best Practices: Communicating with the Brand Owner
There’s language, terminology, and knowledge that is perfectly normal in a pressroom, but may be completely foreign to those outside the world of print, including brand owners and other customers.
However, there are ways for printers to communicate with brand owners to better translate what the customer is seeking into language that corresponds to the print process.
Scott Hosa, associate director for graphic technology at Landor, a brand design firm, says he’s been part of conversations where a brand owner has said he or she wants packaging with “bling” or to “pop off the shelf.”
That’s all well and good, but most presses don’t feature an in-line bling station.
In situations like this, Hosa explains it’s imperative for printers to not only be listening to what the brand owner is asking for, but to be asking questions as well. So, in this instance, the brand owner may not be familiar with the term ‘foil stamping,’ but if the printer explains that process and how it can add that flashy element to a package, a brand owner is likely to appreciate it.
“[A brand owner] may not be totally educated on all the intricacies of printing,” Hosa says. “So what I’ve seen be most successful is not necessarily focusing on what to listen for, but asking the right questions.”
In other instances, a brand owner may be familiar with a specific element of the printing process and request that it be part of their packaging. If a printer does not have that capability available, rather than just replying with a “no,” suggesting an alternative method can keep that business in house.
Alan Colvin, a principal and creative director at Cue, a Minneapolis-based brand design company, explains that in many instances, a printer can suggest an alternative process that can even be an improvement to what the brand owner had in mind.
“Sometimes printers have alternative processes, technology or techniques that could be better than what a brand owner is thinking,” he says. “Alternatives will often come with some differences in quality, timing or expense. Still, printers can offer more efficient or premium options that may not have been considered by the brand owner.”
Sticking with the foil-stamping example, Hosa explains that if a printer does not have that capability, he or she could recommend something like a metallic ink or substrate that may provide a similar effect.
“I know you asked for foil stamping,” Hosa says, emulating a conversation between a printer and brand owner. “We may not do that, but we have another technology where we use a holographic varnish that gives a compelling shifting glimmer effect.”