Apple released a tablet before the iPad called the Newton, but it was never popular. I use this example to demonstrate how occasionally products are simply too advanced for their market. We can be extremely inventive and use sustainable materials, but the customer must be prepared. They're now.
Robert Farfort, the founder and CEO of Data Image Group, a large-scale print production house based in the UK and founded in 1991, is aware of the value of sustainability to the international brands his team works with in a variety of market sectors. He claimed that sustainability was a global concern. "Today's young customers don't just purchase a brand; they also purchase the entire ethos and ethics that support the brand. It's talked about literally every day, especially on social media.
"Our clients tell us that we must take this action because they recognize its significance. We are now measuring the carbon footprint of each graphic being delivered to each store because it has become such a frequent request.
According to Robert, as consumer demand has grown, so has the need for sustainability through improved accountability and more transparent traceability. The motivation comes directly from the brands because everything we do is for the retail market, he said. "Consumers put pressure on brands, and those brands put pressure on us. Therefore, today's challenge largely entails striking a balance between morality and shareholder profitability.
Evolution of needs – the readiness factor
The creation of new tools has allowed people to express their creativity, but Robert insisted that the tools themselves don't come up with new concepts; rather, they simply liberate the mind. "And as we all know, it can take some time for people to realize how important it is to change their habits. For instance, we've all been in stores and seen shoddy cardboard sun cream displays that resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa. By the end of the first day, it is made of subpar materials and doesn't look great, but the brand is fine with it because the promotion only lasts for six weeks. Because it is made of cardboard, it theoretically "ticks the sustainable box," but when we look at the production costs, the transport and then the disposal - for hundreds of these things across the store chain – it no longer adds up.
"Thank goodness, brands and retailers are now attempting to change how they appear and feel in response to consumer concerns. Now, keeping a display in stock for as long as possible is the aim. Customer consideration of product lifespan has increased because of changing consumer expectations. And that is the readiness factor; up until now, people have simply not been prepared to make the change.
A global response on display
Robert claimed that because of the resurgence of trade shows and expos all over the world, demand for sustainable displays is quickly rising. He said, "This is in response to a combination of brand response, consumer influence, and legislation. "For the strategy to be successful, it really needs to be global, and that's what we're now observing.
We recently completed an exhibition stand for a Las Vegas event for a customer who had been impressed by a stand we had built for another client and wanted to duplicate it, he said. Absolutely no plastic fasteners, glue, or anything similar is used. Traditionally, exhibition stands were made of wood and simply thrown away after the event was over. Well, this client asked for a stand that could be used at 26 different shows!”
Data Image modified the original design so that it met all the sustainability goals, and RoberData Imaget noted that by using folds and T-junction locks rather than glue, Data Image made the stand self-building and glue-free. Our R&D Manager created a completely flat-packed stand to meet all their needs while also considering the environmental impact of moving it around. Now that they have a solution, no one needs to build the same stand 26 times.
"On top of that, the stand's dimensions of 3 m x 3 m meant that it could not be shipped in a single container and required additional shipping. Of course, this raises costs, but it also increases carbon footprint overall. In order to make it simpler, quicker, AND less expensive to transport the materials from event to event, we took a closer look at the design, made some modifications to the building process, and reduced the size of the flattened materials down to 1.2m x 1.2m for shipping.
That's just one from recently. There are more of these events scheduled to take place, and it is evident that people want stands like this, he said. This is the reason we're innovating. We're basically just changing what we've always done, not trying to reinvent the wheel.
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