Sat, Feb

Want answers to burning questions? Tell the organisers of the Sign and Digital show given they’re asking PSPs to get involved in shaping the 2019 event. Personally, I’d like to see them build upon the Mary Portas speaking coup they pulled off this year. Given most of you do work for high street brands, it was great to hear from someone with her vision, status and links to the big names on their marketing strategies – and to get a heads-up on where print is likely to fit within those strategies as time goes by. Would be great to get the same kind of insight from other key market sectors too don’t you think?

As editor of the FT I suppose you’d expect Lionel Barber to use his speech at the Printing Charity’s annual lunch to say: ‘Long live the printed word’ in this increasingly digital age. But what about printed images? To my mind, the ‘printing industry’ focuses too much on text in relation to print’s role in communication. Here in wide-format world we know very well the power of printed graphics. Thinking we should be making more noise about that. Agreed?

I’m en route to the Printing Charity’s annual luncheon today, so thought it timely to flag up the sterling work it has been doing since its foundation in 1827 and to remind you to make it known to your staff - they may find need of it at some point!

OK, so where do you stand on the Brexit situation? Do you want me to just shut up and not ask because you’re sick to the teeth of the topic and just want a resolution, whatever way it goes, or are your hard-wired into wanting a specific way forward? I would love to hear your views. You know where to reach me…

Yes, I’m planning Widthwise 2019! The annual poll of large-format PSPs will open in January. We’ll be asking the usual questions so we can bring you grassroots data and analysis of the sector, but is there anything specific you’d like to see thrown into the mix? You can have a nosy at previous reports at: http://bit.ly/2DoLDAv

Are women in your business falling into a gender pay gap? Apparently it was Equal Pay Day on Saturday - see the news: http://bit.ly/2PmDEvh - and the Fawcett Society and Warwick Business School have been flagging up the fact that little progress seems to be being made in ensuring women get paid the same as men for doing the same work. Dare I say it, but in print there has been, for many years, something of a divide between what have been perceived as men’s jobs and women’s. Sadly, to some extent, that divide still exists, so how do you determine fair pay across the workforce?

I’ll be on my way to the BSGA Sign Awards as this drops into your inbox. I do love to see how PSPs are helping clients to fulfil their creative brief – but can we step up the conversation and have more input with creatives about print possibilities? Just asking….

As a digital printer perhaps you are contemplating a trip to the Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin next March. If so you’ll probably be keeping your eye on the speaker line-up as more heavyweights add their names to the list, but just in case you’re not up to speed these big-wigs will be giving their insight: Stephanie Caspar, president of technology and data, Axel Springer; Scott Havens, global head of digital and media distribution, Bloomberg Media; Robin Fields, managing editor, ProPublica; Jason Kint, CEO, Digital Content Next; Marcus Brauchli, managing partner, North Base Media; Heather Bryant, founder, Project Facet; Nancy Spears, CEO, genConnect; Ling Fan, founder and CEO, Tezign; and Andy Brown, chairman and CEO, Kantar Media. Not your bag? Fair enough, but I’d be interested in finding out where you go to keep abreast of digital development beyond large-format print technologies ….

Well, it came as no surprise when print chiefs participating in this year’s Widthwise Round Table on the state of business in the large-format print sector got hot under the collar regarding Brexit. The upshot was that any decision would be better than ongoing uncertainty. You can read the whole report on the meeting in the upcoming issue of Image Reports, but ahead of that I’d love to hear your take on the state of business.

I see InfoTrends has a new study out - ‘Winning in an Evolving Print Services Market’. I have to admit I’ve not read it, I’ve just noted the key trends highlighted in its press release on the publication, and it’s really just what we’ve been saying for years. What ‘insight’ would help you improve your business? I’m working on the Widthwise 2019 survey questionnaire as you read this, so let me have your thoughts please.

I get inundated with case studies from machine manufactures and suppliers, highlighting how fab their kit is, and I pass them on to you unedited in these newsletters and on our website, making it clear that they are marketing collateral. But that’s not to say they don’t have value – heck, we’ve even carried articles in Image Reports pointing out that PSPs should be jumping on the same marketing bandwagon and get case-studies on unusual jobs out in front of prospective clients. The assumption is that case studies bring in more business - do they?

Do you use business development/consultation services? If so, I’d love to talk with you about your experiences - good or bad - so please get in touch. Thank you.

Picon - which represents suppliers of printing and allied equipment - celebrated its 100th birthday yesterday, with a lunch at Stationers’ Hall in London, at which CEO Bettine Pellant said: “I am really proud to be part of an organisation which has reached such an important landmark and one that has emerged stronger and with a broader membership and remit. We remain relevant and proactive, creating opportunities to speak out on behalf of our sector and to create commercial opportunities - be that attending UK and international exhibitions or holding business forums. We can only ever be as good as our membership and this is a strong and proactive team who compete hard by day but enjoy each other’s company and respect each other’s views within the Picon organisation.” Got to ask - should more suppliers to the large-format print sector be members?

My son flies off today to work in Japan, which got me thinking about international trade. Do you do much of it, and is it increasing or decreasing? They’re questions I’ll be putting to the participants at the annual Widthwise Round Table discussion later this month, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts too.

Upcoming Events