At the Argos Inspiration Days 2018, Applications Development Senior Manager Mathew Faulkner gave a really great presentation about the amazing possibilities with print. Canon has developed an imaginary brand “The Elemental” which is a full design of a shop, products, signage, decor etc. to showcase the possibilities.

… very much. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am Mathew Faulkner from Canon Europe, and I take care of applications development. That’s really a mixture of finding new and interesting and cool applications for print, but also marketing Canon’s current capabilities within the graphics and communication sector.

One of the things that makes my job a little bit easier is I love print. For me, that started more than 20 years ago as a packaging designer working for a manufacturing business. One of the great, satisfying things about that is seeing your creative efforts finally on a shelf within a supermarket. I think I’ve never really got tired of seeing print happening, from a creative process, to seeing it on screen, and then going through a print and manufacturing or finishing process and seeing the final end result. It’s a very inspiring thing for me.

At Canon, we’re very fortunate to work with some really incredibly creative people, and particularly from the photo and image-making parts of the business. One example is the guy who took these next landscape images, is Bas Meelker. Bas is a landscape artist from the Netherlands. He has this amazing eye for creating some beautiful imagery, but he also uses print within his business incredibly successfully in the way he sells his work.

Bas has this concept that he calls the art of seeing in the way he approaches the creation of his images. You or I or maybe most people in this room would drive past a field in the Netherlands, and we’d see this kind of thing. This is an area where cattle can safely within those fences come down to the water and drink. Bas has become somewhat an expert in terms of meteorology, and weather, and time of day, and light and seasons, so Bas knows exactly the right moment to go back to this same place. The image that he captures looks something like this and is much more appealing as something that you would print out and maybe put on your wall.

This kind of creative eye, this technical ability, and probably a lot of patience, developed these kind of images, which really look fantastic, and particularly this one. Bas very casually tells you that he was driving home through the Netherlands in a storm. He just pulled off the side of the road, you can see his car headlights in the foreground there, and just took some pictures of lightning, which I’m pretty sure is not so easy to do.

These images actually look pretty good on the screen, but when you see these printed, they bring on a whole new meaning, and they communicate totally differently. Especially a large format print on a really nice piece of media, beautifully lit and mounted, it actually speaks to you in a different way. You could look at the whole image as a single piece, or move closer to it, or change the angle that you’re viewing it. Or even in the case of what you see here, is view a whole gallery of images together that paint a story and tell a picture. Print to me in these environments can have real magical qualities in the way it could communicate.

Another example is a Canon ambassador photographer and filmmaker called Clive Booth, who over a number of years has been visiting a Scottish island called Islay and really capturing moments across the island and how island life is changing. That’s everything from the landscapes to the wildlife, of course effected greatly, or the first thing affected by changes in any environment. Well then, also the people, so examples here of working with some of the volunteer lifeboat crews who put their life in danger sailing through these kind of seas on the west coast of Scotland.

Then, three generations of the same family. The two guys on the left are farmers, but also highly decorated members of the lifeboat crew. The young grandson there, based on this Scottish island, will he have the same life that his father and grandfather did? Well, this is certainly up for change. You start to get these human stories. When you see this exhibition put on view on the island, it really communicates and really captures people’s attention in a way that digital print just can’t replicate in these same examples.

One final example of a photographer that we work with at Canon is Martin Parr. Martin is probably one of the most famous living photographers around today and president of Magnum Photos. For around 30 years, Martin has been capturing images on beaches. He has this view that life on beaches, and the environment, and the way people look, and the way people behave is quite different on beaches.

We followed him around Nice for a couple of days a few years ago. It was terrible. Really hot, and we’re really uncomfortable. He was shooting images during the day, and then we built a pop-up gallery with him. In the afternoons, we were choosing images and putting them in the art gallery. People were coming along as we built up towards a big opening night at the end of the weekend. They would come along, and they’d see the images they’d have taken, the lady with the dog, and the guy on the bottom there on the left as a tourist, and the fitness guy on the top right.

When you go, you see there on the bottom right-hand side was an Australian visiting Nice with a group of friends. He’d enjoyed the Nice hospitality probably a little bit too much the night before and then fallen asleep on the beach the next day. His friends had hilariously covered him in stones. They put cigarettes in his ears and things in his hair, and we convinced his friends to bring him to the opening night.

At this point, he didn’t even know his photograph had been taken. We thought we would capture the moment, and he’d maybe be a little bit embarrassed, or hopefully he’d see the funny side. As you can see there, he’s taking a selfie of himself with a picture of himself unconscious, and it’s … Actually, it was the proudest moment of his life, I have to tell you. It was really kind of a fantastic moment, and it shows you the power of print in these circumstances.

How do we relate this to printers? How do we find some real value in terms of print? Let’s just take a really simple example of a very basic application, like a poster. A few examples of posters there. One’s advertising a catwalk show, one advertising an online competition, and on the left-hand side, an example of a 50% off poster for a retail store. You would typically see this in a window. What is it? It’s just a 50 euro cents, or a one euro worth of print, one euro poster.

Actually, that could drive traffic to the store and increase footfall, so potentially, it could actually increase the revenue of the store on that day. That could actually be the difference between the store making a profit or making a loss. Suddenly, what was a one euro piece of print actually has quite some value, so it needs some important attention. How should that poster be designed? How often should it be changed? Should it be changed every two days or every two weeks? What’s the answer?

Equally, who should design it? Should it be designed centrally? Should it then be printed centrally and distributed to the stores, which then gives you a few days’ delay between an idea and actually promoting? Or, should it be designed centrally and printed in the back office of the retail store, giving you that immediacy? There’s no right or wrong answers, but the point is to really consider what a few minutes ago was one euro cent poster, now actually can have some terrific value. Therefore, the print process and workflows that go into that can really support the end user of those posters, and as printers, we can really help that process.

For Canon in this environment, I always kind of talk about having a problem, but it’s kind of a nice problem to have in that we have a giant portfolio of print products. I could sell you everything from a 1,000 euro CAD printer that could also print posters, up to a really highly productive, continuous-feed inkjet system of a million euros, and then almost everything in between, from wide-format printers, from cut-sheet presses and production devices. From a manufacturer’s side, how do we really succinctly and simply explain and find the right solutions for our customers and make the right recommendations about products? Just hold that thought for a second.

One of the things that big companies are often guilty of is quoting these types of giant numbers, you know, 21 billion in impulse purchases in each year. It’s kind of like, so what? What’s the point? I would also put Canon in this category as well. I took this from a Canon publication. How can I make decisions about my business based on these huge numbers that don’t really relate to what I’m doing, that don’t help me look at which applications to go into? One of the things we really want to do is to help our customers with very relevant insights. What are the trends in the market, and what’s happening that is relevant to a business of our customers?

Well, then, to make links to those insights to applications, what are the applications that service those new opportunities? It could be in existing or new markets. Then, finally, what are the right technologies that enable us to produce those applications? For us, this is really about a simple process of explore, inspire, and improve. We’ll help you explore new market opportunities and new trends. We want to inspire you with applications, and then also find ways to help you improve your business by implementing those applications for your business growth.

That takes us to the Elemental campaign. When I mentioned earlier about a need for Canon, we want to help our customers in terms of finding the right solution for them from a giant portfolio and also from looking at trends and market insights. The Elemental campaign for us is a completely fictitious campaign. For sure, it won’t help you feel younger, look better, or have smoother skin. But using this story we’ve created, what it will show you is how print and having the right integrated technologies will really help a marketing campaign and help a brand marketing campaign connect to customers and add real value.

Elemental is a beauty campaign. When we looked at this, we developed a customer profile, discerning customers, probably high levels of disposable income, but also with great choice in that matter as well. So, Elemental needs to raise brand awareness. They need to connect with customers. They need to support the retail sales and online sales as well, and balance that multichannel or omnichannel of the sales process. Taking all these things into consideration, we then built this campaign that allows us to communicate about applications and the value, the real value they can add to a business.

Of course, Elemental has to cut through the promotional noise. We all spend hours and hours a day on screen time, social media, online, email, and there’s a huge amount of traffic. Actually, if we look at some of those relevant insights we talked about, print can actually play a much greater and greater role in the way brands connect with customers. There are some real statistics that really show the value of print in these circumstances.

We hear quite often, particularly from brands … They say, “We don’t have a budget for print.” But when you look at some of these insights and the way that communication’s not solely print or not solely digital, the way that a multichannel campaign can really help, then you would definitely be finding budget for print, either from an existing pot or finding extra budget for print, and that these are the kind of values we can help demonstrate to your customers.

Like any marketing campaign, it starts with a customer journey, and these are simply the touchpoints, or the steps along the way that a brand has with a customer. It could be a single touchpoint with seeing a poster and buying something in store, or it could be a much more detailed campaign, using multichannels. We of course got the Elemental store and the whole customer journey with us here, so take some time if you’ve not already to have a look at that and understand it. But just to give you a few examples of how we’re approaching this customer journey …

This first example … Let’s say our discerning customer, a potential customer for Elemental, the first touchpoint they have is with a direct mail piece that they receive. This is a long postcard. No envelope, of course. The message is on the outside. It’s also an unusual format, so it stands out in the post, and the message is immediately in your eyes. This for us would mean it’s been printed on an imagePRESS. It’s printed 5up, it’s duplex, and it uses some of the unique functions of the long page feature. You can see in this example how we’re going from market insights, a very succinct way of describing the efficiency of this type of print and its format and its size, and then also straight to the technology and the application, in this case, with the imagePRESS.

Let’s say the customer has taken this direct mail piece to heart, and they’ve registered online. They’ve taken up the offer, and they then receive a thank-you email with an offer for either online or a personalized visit to in store. Let’s say there’s also a free gift with this. For us, we call this a premium direct mailer. It’s printed on two different types of media weight, so it gives it a really nice feel. It means it’s also highly targeted as a piece of personalized messaging as well. For us, that means printed on the VarioPrint i-series with inline perforation, so great for tearing off vouchers within that store.

The next piece is a common problem actually within online sales. You might have experienced yourself, you’ll go online, you choose some products, you put them in the checkout basket, and then you get distracted. You say, “Oh, I’ll come back to it later. I’ll do something else.” Then, often you’ll get an email from that brand that says, “We notice you almost made a purchase earlier. Here’s a link that takes you back to where you were.” It’s really trying to promote.

There are very strong statistics that say when a brand does that, there’s a 40% chance that you will actually purchase those products, so there’s a real incentive to do this. But let’s say in this case, our customer here missed the email. We could actually then send automatically through the same process a printed direct mail piece, perhaps with a free sample of the products they almost purchased. Again, highly targeted, very personalized. It’s showing that Elemental is a brand really starting to understand their customers. In our case, from a multichannel point of view, this would use a partner company, like EFI’s DirectSmile, to send the email and then automatically to send the direct mail piece printed as well.

Then, let’s say the customer then orders this product that they had the opportunity to try. We then send them an invoice as a transactional document, as a receipt, for that purchase. But again, this is not purely a transaction. It’s not an ordinary invoice. This is an example of a mixture of transactional content but also more offers and more promotions, so it’s cross-selling and upselling to the customer. Then, again, from a technology point of view, this will be the ColorStream 6000 Chroma, which is really highly cost effective at this type of dynamic print content.

So, you can see these different steps in the journey that focus through with connecting with the customer and targeting them in a very specific way. When we then go to the streets, and I won’t go through the same examples in the same detail, but the streets environments … I think 98% of us see outdoor advertising every single week, so a really effective way to win brand awareness and to keep things at the top of people’s minds.

The same thing for the final parts of our customer journey into the store, and again, a great example that you see in the area next door in terms of the different applications. Retailers want people to keep coming into the stores. They want to create a great ambience and to create a feeling where people who come to stores do so to touch and to try and to feel, so they have to be a nice environment. Digitally printed décor is a fantastic way to do that, very low cost and could be changed to reflect new seasons and even new lines of products.

But also, point of sale. Around 80% of marketeers feel that point of sale is the most effective channel for influencing customer behavior in a retail store. Back to our poster example, your point of sale had better be well designed, well positioned, and really well thought out to have that maximum impact.

So, you can see how we can kind of build this multichannel campaign. Elemental enables us to tell a very simple story but also to share the value that print can have. I wanted to really just, I suppose, leave you with three final thoughts. It’s never really been easier to look at the value of print and to prove that value of print, whether it’s in a single application, or whether it’s a whole multichannel view as well. It’s not only electronic communications that can be measured. There are some great systems for doing that with print as well.

Every application can work singly on its own to create success, but equally, in the way I’ve described so far, they can also work together as a really targeted and highly successful campaign, enabling our customers to really find ways to find the right budget to print and to be the most successful they can for the least effort.

Then finally, it’s really about getting in the minds of the customer. Think about how the brands target their customers. Think about what those customers, how they want to interact with the brand, and then think about how print and different applications and different approaches can support the brand in that way. We have many customers now who are, as print service providers, are using this Elemental campaign to explain to their customers in the brands or in the creative agencies or advertising agencies how this process works and where they can really find the most success from this type of opportunity.  Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.