“All you need is your idea,” says HP Philippines managing director Pallasena V. Viswanath, as he relates the convenience of personalization.
With digital printing, gone are the days when large volume requirements get in the way of creativity. Now, you can have a stack of calling cards, each with a unique design. Or party invitations with every guest’s name printed on every piece. You can also order just a single notebook with your name on the cover and all the pages. All with offset color quality.
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“That’s because of the software, and the printer is printing page by page,” points out Viswanath, referring to his brand’s Smartstream, Mosaic, and Collage programs which create a plethora of design variations. Even books can now be produced one by one, only upon order. So publishers are spared of printing in tens of thousands and the burden of storage.
“We don’t just print documents, we can also print clothes,” Viswanath adds while showing off his eye-catching vest with comic design. The options for media extend to various packaging materials such as plastic and cans. “It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it’s fast, too,” he guarantees.
Personalization, according to Viswanath, gives value to the consumer and makes your company look bigger, more professional than what it is. Research indicates that 70 percent of shoppers are willing to shell out anywhere from 10 to 50 percent more for personalized products. This is based on social listening recently conducted across 45 million conversations in different countries. The demand for personalization transcends generations. Boomers (27%), Gen Xers (32%), Millennials (45%), and Gen Z (53%) are buying in.
“Think about the new age economy that we have. The reason why companies are successful is because they personalize everything. You advertise today, very targeted with the data. Print, in the same way today, is highly personalized.”
Make it yours
In its framework, the Personalization Pinwheel, HP reveals that there are six emotional drivers to why people like customized items.
The top two are “Fingerprinting” or making items unique for the consumers and “Permission to Indulge which involves tailoring the experience to their own individual preferences. “If you want to become important, if you want to be seen as different, you better personalize your experiences,” injects Viswanath. Ranking a close second is “Bringing Bonds to Life” which says you can grow market penetration by expanding into gifting and e-commerce through fully customized products. The personalized gift market is expected to be valued at $31 billion by 2021, a 55 percent jump from 2016’s numbers.
Another factor, referred to as “Flying Your Flag,” drives engagement by personalizing products through showcasing and celebrating hidden identities. “Letting It All Hang Out” refers to increasing connections with Millennials and Gen Z, the biggest groups of prospective patrons, by celebrating individual consumer stories. Then there is “Mindful Materialism” which encourages building value and differentiation through purpose by enabling consumers to express their own voice in solving social or environmental issues.
“There is great potential for Philippine brands to explore new, personalized approaches to further grow their business and accelerate speed to market,” Viswanath states. There is so much room for expansion, in the food and beverages sector alone, where 64 percent of consumers are willing to pay 10 percent above price listed for personalized items. Some chocolate brands have learned to ride on the trend with packaging that quickly adapt to the trends. Seventy percent of wine bottle labels around the world are printed on HP machines. “Because wine bottles are not printed in huge volumes, every wine bottle has to have a particular year and other particular characteristics,” he rationalizes.
F&B establishments stand to gain much from personalization, in Viswanath’s opinion. “The biggest problem of franchise business is yes, you get a steady what-you-can-expect experience every time. But that’s also the problem, it’s the steady boring same experience you get everywhere. Restaurant franchisees can look at personalization or some uniqueness about the location where they are, if it had some way of personalizing itself for that branch,” Viswanath suggests. “Most of the restaurants you go to they don’t change the menu cards. And it’s always soiled. Why? Because they think that to make menu card is expensive because they have to go to a printer and all. They don’t know that it can be done so easily with digital printing. They can actually virtually print a menu card everyday,” he quips.