Anyone who has ever used the London Underground network will have heard three words constantly played to them over the loud speaker system. These words are there to protect you and keep you safe, these words draw your attention to potential dangers that lie just in front of you. Everyone understands the danger of course but it makes perfect sense to be constantly reminded of it. What are those three words?
Before I tell you I think I should give you another example of the dangers that aren’t quite as obvious. I am sitting on the plane at Lyon airport waiting to take off and just putting into words the learnings I am taking away from another magnificent Dscoop EMEA conference. 3 full days of collaboration, innovation, education and let’s not forget…celebration! This is only my second Dscoop conference, the first being Dscoop Phoenix in March – and what I thought was a unique experience in the USA turns out to have an equally unique European cousin.
Personally, I’m not aware of any other industry that is so collaborative in its approach. An industry working so well together to innovate and increase capability in this digital age. I am astonished at the pace of change and the desire by Dscoop members to lead the charge – if effort wins the race, then it’s gold medals all round! However there is a risk I have identified this week and one that I highlighted in my speech to the conference on day two. As an industry innovating in the digital print space and offering solutions for personalisation, customisation and localisation it seems there is one key element being left behind…..the customers. And by customers I mean the big global brands who have the most to gain from the direct to consumer engagement opportunities that these new techniques offer.
In short, there is a gap appearing between capability and believability. Capability of the PSP’s who are delivering more and more exciting ways to deploy personalisation and mass customisation across many substrates using digital print – and the believability of the brands who simply don’t understand the opportunities that this can bring because they are analogue thinkers in a digital world and in a lot of cases advised by their external agencies who understand even less.
I spend my working life as a speaker talking about the early campaign case studies that can demonstrate the power of these new techniques and whilst attending the educational sessions at this weeks conference, I heard the same issue coming up time & time again - “ Brands don’t seem to understand what we are offering them yet?” I urge the industry to take a breath and talk directly to these brands and tell them the story, the story of how these techniques are not to be afraid of. Yes they offer disruption but by themselves they are not disruptive.
I like the idea of a customer day at future Dscoop events, a chance to show & tell these brands exactly what is possible. An opportunity for them to witness at first hand exactly what is now possible utilising digital print. A chance to avoid the danger of leaving too much space between capability and believability. So what are those three words I mentioned at the start? Mind the Gap….