We know that writing with pen and paper is good for your brain. But it’s also good for your heart and soul. Researchers have found that people who practice expressive writing — that is, writing to help make sense of your thoughts and emotions — can experience mental and emotional benefits, including a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression and greater clarity and focus. They may even experience physical benefits. What better reasons to put pen to paper?
If you’ve been paying attention to paper trends, you already know that handwriting and journaling have made a huge comeback in recent years. Daily journaling can be calming and peaceful at the end of a busy day or in the midst of an emotionally difficult time.
“Especially with social media, a lot of people are recognizing that being digitally connected is eating up a lot of time and energy,” says Tammy Tufty, Domtar’s communications manager for paper advocacy. “They’re seeing that maybe we should go back to journaling, reading more books and just being more present.”
Why Is Journaling Good for the Soul?
James W. Pennebaker has a Ph.D. in psychology and is Regents Centennial professor at the University of Texas at Austin. His groundbreaking research on the topic of expressive writing showed that journaling not only improves our sense of mental wellbeing but also triggers actual physical benefits, such as improved immune function and faster healing.
While Pennebaker and his colleagues are focused on the scientific evidence of the benefits of writing, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that the act of journaling helps people better understand their emotions.
“Writing has a healing effect, like a nice massage,” wrote a blogger for ADDitude, a magazine and website that focuses on ADHD. “It is comforting, like a cup of tea or a warm fireplace on a chilly night. … Journaling helps me make sense of happy and sad moments.”
Journaling can also help people with ADHD solve problems more efficiently: “Typically, we problem-solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. Sometimes the better answer is found by engaging the intuition that comes from the right brain. Writing unlocks this side of the brain and brings an opportunity for unexpected solutions.”
The benefits aren’t limited to writing full sentences, either. Doodling on paper can also provide a sense of calm and help improve concentration.
“I’ve seen it with my own kids and with other professionals,” Tufty says. “While they’re doodling or drawing, it seems like they’re not paying attention, but actually they are because that activity is helping them stay focused.”
Begin Your Expressive Writing Journey
Whether you’re actively working through some emotional trauma or you just enjoy the calming effect of expressive writing or doodling, it’s clear that putting pen to paper is a great way to improve your mood.
Start your journaling journey by choosing your pen and paper. You don’t need anything fancy, but you should choose tools that make it easy and enjoyable to sit down to write. Maybe it’s a gel pen that writes smoothly in a color you love, or perhaps it’s a leather-bound journal that makes you smile when you touch the cover.
You might even choose a new journal with a cover design that uses Pantone’s color of the year: Classic Blue. “Blue is a really calm color,” Tufty says. “I find it interesting that Pantone chose it in a year where everything seems so unsettled. But it could be really helpful to choose a journal design with a calming color that inspires creativity and encourages you to connect pen to paper for journaling.”
Pennebaker, whose work on expressive writing and healing continues to influence psychologists, counselors and other mental health professionals, offers some practical advice for expressive writing.
Find a time and a place where you won’t be disturbed. Pennebaker suggests picking a time at the end of your workday or before you go to bed, but really any time of day can work as long as you can write without interruption.
Commit to writing for at least 15 minutes every day.
Once you begin, write without stopping to correct spelling or grammar. If you run out of things to write before your time is up, you can repeat what you’ve already written.
What you write and how you write it is completely up to you. There are no rules.
When you have finished your expressive writing, you can save it, burn it, erase it, tear it up or shred it. Since your writing is for you and you alone, you can decide what to do with it.
In the blue corner … PRINT! Weighing in with more than 500 years of marketing history, this long-time champion still packs a powerful punch. But can it prove itself to the new naysayers?
In the red corner … PIXELS! This nimble and quick upstart has a lot of popular support. But a closer look at its performance has some wondering if it needs to grow up and clean up its badly damaged reputation.
Who wins? Who loses? One thing we know; the story of print versus digital is still being sold as the marketing grudge match of the century. That couldn’t be further from the truth … and we are learning it from our beloved Generation Z, the digitally-native generation.
“Every industry is experiencing a digital transformation,” writes Aron Caruso in Folio:. “For some, the pandemic has accelerated this transformation. Others, like retail, travel and QSR, are trying to quickly adapt to the new criteria of our on-demand world. Consumers are permanently changing their online consumption habits, and in some cases embracing those of years past.”
“Gen Z-ers and Millennials don’t want to be connected every minute of the day. Instead, they want real-life experiences and genuine connection. They love offline activities, including, dining out with friends, travel and camping. They also love to read.”
We also know they truly embody the multi-channel consumer experience. While they have a massive amount of options to choose from, 58% read books weekly and 25% of them report reading magazines every week.
“Their love of reading goes beyond books. Millennials and Gen Z both love to read magazines, too,” Caruso continues. “About two years ago, The New York Times noticed an uptick in smaller-run magazines—particularly food-focused publications that were founded by 20–30-year-olds. This was just the early part of a trend, and other boutique titles followed, all printed on a lower budget, produced by younger adults, and read by younger audiences.”
What does this mean for the future of print? For one, it means the either/or approach is simply out the window.
“Just as the customer journey has changed in the world of shopping, so too has the media consumption journey,” Caruso writes. “Millennials and Gen Z may be digital natives, but they’re also aware of the need to unplug and look up from their mobile screens. Therefore, just as retailers have learned to do, publishers should be prepared to engage them at every touchpoint in the online and offline worlds.”
“For now, meeting audiences on social media and engaging them with ‘snackable’ content is just as important as putting a jaw-droppingly gorgeous photo on the cover shoppers see at the corner store checkout,” he concludes. “Offering a print-plus-digital bundle is as important as a special Fall Fashion Issue or exclusive streaming content for subscribers only. The evolution of publishing continues, and the younger generations are molding the future. And the future, it seems, can be perfectly bound.”
As we look toward the future of print, we must look also to the habits of this important audience, and deliver content true to their multi-channel lives. Print remains firmly in the mix for this generation.
Mohawk Renewal papers redefine sustainable papermaking by using rapidly renewable hemp and straw fibers plus recycled cotton reclaimed from t-shirt and denim. Mohawk Renewal is also manufactured with 100% renewable energy sources.
Today, Mohawk Renewal represents a fresh expression of what responsible papermaking can look like.
Hemp, unlike trees, grows rapidly, maturing as quickly as 90 days. Turning hemp into pulp requires less chemicals, water, and energy than wood
Making paper with straw eliminates the need for the annual “fall burns” set by farmers to clear straw from their fields, creating acrid smoke and carbon emissions.
Recycled Cotton paper is made from t-shirt and denim scraps, diverted from the 10.5 million tons of clothing waste Americans send to landfills every year.
I write quite a bit about the trust bump of printed magazines, how appearing in print – whether in ads or editorial content – can elevate your brand’s trust quotient across channels. Around here we know it to be a fact, confirmed by our own customers.
That trust helps explains the massively higher ROI of printed direct mail over email.
“Judging from figures posted by the Data & Marketing Association, 4.6% of all direct email elicits a response, whereas the corresponding response rate with email is a mere 0.12%,” writes Satyajit Routray in TweakYourBiz. “Hence, of 100,000 recipients of direct mail, 4,600 are likely to buy.”
And it’s not just direct mail, but print advertising that gets to benefit from print’s trustworthiness, Routray continues.
“In a press release on the PR Newswire website, the research institute MarketingSherpa reported what it found from surveying 2,400 US consumers,” he notes. “The survey asked recipients to sort advertising channels into “trustworthy” and “untrustworthy” categories – and the findings were eye-opening.”
Those eye-opening results? Fully 82% of Americans trust print ads in newspapers and magazines, while just a quarter of Americans trusted online pop-up ads. (We already know that digital ads rank low on the trust meter.)
Interestingly, as Daniel Burstein at Marketing Sherpa notes, even a well-respected brand that publishes in print sees a bit of that trust wear off when their content is published online.
“There’s a very high-value online content – even most print publications publish online as well – but that real value is drowning in a sea of mediocrity or worse, and as a whole, it damages consumers’ trust,” he is quoted as saying in Routray’s article.
In the incessant din of the online world, which seems to grow louder and more intrusive by the day, look to print to put out a message that will be more trusted from the moment it is received.
China almost killed the market when it stopped buying U.S. waste, but environmentally aware shoppers are coming to the rescue.
The epiphany came when a certain coffee chain started replacing plastic straws with paper ones. Despite increasingly dire warnings about Texas-size islands of plastic in the world’s oceans, the sudden public debate over straws was arguably a turning point in how American consumers think about sustainability.
On one hand, the rise of paper straws is a brazen case of greenwashing, since straws make up only a tiny share of waste. On the other, the proliferation of paper and bamboo straws marked the beginning of a larger commercial pivot away from plastic.
Companies are beginning to realize there’s more to lose from offending consumers who are aware of how cheap plastic products feed global warming, choke oceans, kill wildlife and—more slowly—threaten us. This is especially the case when it comes to packaging.
Containers, cartons, wrapping and everything else discarded after a product is used make up about 30% of all American trash, or more than 76 million tons annually. Now the biggest retailers and consumer goods giants are racing to replace everything from plastic envelopes to styrofoam meat trays with fiber-based iterations.
The U.S. paper recycling industry, it turns out, has suddenly found itself in demand—and maybe just in the nick of time.
Until 2018, recycling in America—from plastics to paper to assorted waste—was propped up by China’s willingness to purchase much of it, ostensibly for recycling and reuse by its domestic industries. Instead of returning to China empty, shipping containers were filled with refuse, bales of plastic bottles, cardboard and wastepaper.
But when Beijing decided it didn’t want the world’s garbage anymore, slashing the amount it would take while requiring the rest to be near-pristine, the value of American recyclables plummeted.
With an excess supply and no one to sell it to, prices for recycled residential paper even touched negative territory. That means cities have to pay someone to take away the material they collect. The S&P 500 Paper Packaging Index has dropped more than 25% since China started restricting trash.
For U.S. towns and cities, with their colorful recycling barrels and bins, what was at best a breakeven proposition suddenly became very expensive. Unable to sell recycling at a high enough price, they either had to raise taxes to pay for collection, dump it all into landfills or burn it. Many chose the latter options.
Renee Yardley, a senior vice president at recycling company Sustana Group, said 2019 has been “a challenging year” for municipalities that collect paper.
But consumer goods companies might be starting to turn that around.
Trying to get ahead of regulations in countries that ban or tax plastic packaging, some product manufacturers are turning to recycled paper for the first time. With restrictions on single-use plastics in place across 60 nations and 350 U.S. municipalities, analysts on MSCI’s environmental, social and governance research team said plastics “could lose market share to alternatives.”
More than 200 businesses, representing about 20% of all packaging used globally, have made commitments to reduce plastic waste, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Coca-Cola European Partners became the latest to do so, saying it will replace plastic shrink wrap with cardboard for its multipacks across Western Europe, removing about 4,000 tons of plastic annually.
A ton of recycled paper saves the equivalent of 17 trees, more than 16,000 gallons of water and 5,500 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to Sustana. Americans are also more likely to recycle paper; collection rates for paper are above 60%, compared with 30% for common types of plastic.
But it’s expensive to recycle paper: The process begins with fleets of trucks to pick it up and facilities to clean it, pulp it and eventually turn it into rolls of recycled paper. Then it’s sold to manufacturers for use in their products or packaging.
Now, with a potential change in fortunes in sight, the U.S. recycling sector faces another challenge: a need for expanded infrastructure. Moreover, while the low price of discarded paper makes it cheaper for consumer companies to use it in their products, it’s also attracting the attention of European recycling executives.
One of them is Miles Roberts, chief executive officer of DS Smith, Europe’s largest cardboard-packaging recycler. He’s betting big on the U.S.
DS Smith plans to open a packaging plant in Indiana and a recycling depot in Pennsylvania later this year. Roberts said a key draw of the American market is that the price of recycled paper has become competitive with that of paper made directly from trees.
“It just takes a few years to get the investment in infrastructure going,” Roberts said. “We’re really just at the start.”
London-based DS Smith’s customers include consumer giants such as Mondelez, Nestle, P&G, Danone and Unilever. They have been pushing the company to create the same types of cardboard packaging in the U.S. for their products. (Think TV dinner trays made from paper and paper alternatives to plastic bubble wrap.)
Over the past year, Austrian packaging company Mondi Ltd. rolled out paper-based packaging for everything from deli cheese and premium watermelons to wine glasses. The company notes, though, that plastic packaging will still be needed in the medical and food industries, where other materials would be unsafe or impractical.
Indeed, Mondi’s more deliberate approach is more likely to be the rule than the exception; the company said its strategy is to use “paper where possible, plastic when useful.”
It also bears noting that not all recycled paper products are as biodegradable as advertised: Some are coated in plastic or contain chemicals. Still, the demand for recycled paper products in America is rising, according to Pat Lindner. The new president of consumer packaging at Atlanta-based WestRock Co., Lindner contends that “retailers are now saying, ‘We need solutions for this, and we need it now.’”
He joined the company in March, taking over a multibillion dollar business after spending two decades in the plastics industry. WestRock has gone from working on a handful of new packaging projects to hundreds in the past year, he said. It’s replaced plastic wrapping for beer cans with printable paper labels suitable for advertising, and is substituting paper for plastic lipstick and deodorant containers, as well as envelopes, e-commerce packaging and the dreaded styrofoam meat tray.
That last item has been reborn in a new pressed-fiber version that’s fully compostable.
Ecologic, which makes molded paper bottles out of old corrugated cardboard boxes, said it’s seeing growing demand as well. The Manteca, Calif.-based company said it’s sold 10 million paper bottles since it opened in 2011, but expects to sell as many as 6 million next year alone.
“We’re a little bit more expensive than plastic, but there’s a desperation right now at so many levels to start looking at alternatives,” said founder Julie Corbett. The company makes paper bottles for use with laundry detergent sold under Unilever’s Seventh Generation brand, and the Seed personal care line made by L’Oreal.
To compete with plastic on price, Ecologic has been automating every step of its manufacturing process, and collecting cardboard waste from L’Oreal’s distribution center in Los Angeles for reuse in its bottles. Corbett said she expects demand for paper packaging to grow as consumer product giants shift household products back to powders, which also save water. The pricing gap between plastic and paper bottles should close as they scale up production, she said.
“The packaging industry has for years focused on cheaper, faster and less, but it’s utterly disconnected from the consumer,” Corbett said. “Paper isn’t complicated; that’s why it’s so beautiful. It dissolves.”Still, to be recycled, wastepaper needs to be clean. Pizza boxes stained with grease, for example, won’t cut it. Until recently, neither would paper products coated in plastic. WestRock has been trying to change this, Lindner said, modifying its recycling facilities so machines can process coated paper products such as coffee cups.
“Sometimes a paper solution is going to be more expensive,” Lindner, said, but brands don’t seem to mind, he added, given that more consumers are demanding environmentally sensitive substitutes for plastic.
In Europe, paper can “close the loop” in just 14 days, going from one product into another. European cardboard is typically 30% to 40% lighter than that made in the U.S., and uses significantly less virgin material, DS Smith’s Roberts said. As the company’s Indiana plant begins operations, he noted that lighter boxes are a big attraction for U.S. companies, especially since they can reduce shipping costs.
Yardley of Sustana agreed that active demand from U.S. consumer companies is helping prop up the recycling industry. “Customers are coming to us and making us think about it differently,” she said.
Sustana has worked with Seattle-based Starbucks to test how it could manufacture coffee cups from recycled coffee cups while making its recycled pulp compliant with Food and Drug Administration food-safety rules. The goal, she said, is to make more recycled packaging and containers that can be used with food, without the need for a barrier or coating.
Roberts said his company aims to use techniques refined in Europe to replace plastic with fully recyclable material. “The U.S. is a massive, growing and fast-moving market for paper fiber,” he said. (Updates with headquarters of Starbucks in penultimate paragraph. An earlier version corrected the name of DS Smith’s CEO and references to planned facilities in the U.S. beginning in the 13th paragraph.)
Sustainability will continue to be important for organizations big and small in the year ahead. Consumers across industries are demanding that the brands they buy make strides in sustainability. As 2020 nears, here are three valuable sustainability trends to watch.
The circular economy will continue gathering steam
This year, it was hard to ignore headlines about landfills and the United States – at under five per-cent of the world’s population, the U.S. produces 20 per-cent of the world’s trash. Increasingly, consumers are getting fed up with the old “produce, use, discard” model.
Industry-wide initiatives aimed at boosting recycling and product re-use are increasingly emerging, in response to consumer demand for purpose-driven organizations that build sustainability into their products and services. The Ellen MacArthur foundation, for example, has organized a pledge whereby companies including DS Smith and H&M have partnered with governments to create more circular processes.
For our part, we’ve embraced a closed-loop manufacturing process, using post-consumer recycled content from the “urban forest,” for new paper products that are still recyclable. Rolland has also had success investing in circular innovations, such as biogas energy and water treatment systems that reuse water to minimize waste.
Measurement, in your business and within the businesses of the partners you work with, is critical to achieving circularity. For example, we conducted a Life Cycle Assessment to measure our environmental impact and help our customers better understand how we incorporate sustainability into every part of our process.
Gen Z will continue to demand action
As the October demonstrations show, young consumers are demanding change and driving much of the conversation around sustainability – and holding brands accountable. A McKinsey study found that 90 per-cent of gen Z expects brands to take a responsible approach to environmental and social issues.
This mentality will continue to push brands to innovate and create higher standards for sustainable processes. Gen Z and millennials together account for around $350 billion in spending power in the U.S and gen Z alone will make up 40 per-cent of global consumers by 2020.
Companies are already responding to this demand with action. Some of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies are rethinking how they package products to incorporate post-consumer materials. This includes Nestle recently launching new recyclable paper wrappers for its YES! snack bars, among others.
Technology is transforming supply chain management
Pressure from consumers and regulators is also creating demand for greater supply chain transparency. Because of that, new technology is emerging to help companies shift to leaner, but also more responsible, supply chains.
IBM, for example, recently launched IBM Food Trust. It uses blockchain technology to create shared records of food system data, to create more transparency among all parts of the supply chain. Along with being more efficient, it also aims to improve food safety and help brands build trust with consumers. Nestle, Unilever and Walmart, among others, have all signed on to the platform already.
With a new year around the corner, it’s a great time to reflect on how businesses can make a positive societal impact for the future. As you set new objectives and decide which initiatives and partnerships to invest in, remember that the demand for sustainability isn’t slowing down any time soon and that responsible product sourcing could be a means of competitive advantage in 2020.
A four-year project examining the results of 54 research studies with 170,000 people has concluded that print is vital for effective education.
The argument that reading on paper results in deeper comprehension and retention, concentration, vocabulary building and memory has been given immense weight by a groundbreaking study by Intergraf, the European federation for print and digital communication.
The research examined the results of 54 studies with a total of over 170,000 participants from 19 countries, and found overwhelming evidence that comprehension of text is much stronger when reading from paper as opposed to a screen, particularly when the reader is under time pressure.
Concerned by the effect of increased time spent reading from screens in schools, the international trade body has called upon policymakers and educational organizations at both national and European levels to ensure that print retains a significant role within education.
Better progress with print
Titled E-READ (Evolution of Reading in the Age of Digitisation), the Intergraf study is a thorough project. Taking place over four years, it involved a network of almost 200 academics from all over Europe carrying out empirical research and debates about the effects of digitization on reading, especially for students and young people.
“Students learning from digital devices only progressed one third as much as they would have done had they been reading on paper”
E-READ found that print readers have a better recall of the relationship between events and are able to reconstruct the plot of a text better than screen readers. It was also found that the advantage for print was greater under time constraints and that scrolling resulted in a significant disadvantage for digital reading.
With regard to education, the digital disadvantage during elementary school was found to be two-thirds of the yearly increase in reading comprehension, meaning that students potentially only progressed one-third as much as they would have done had they been reading on paper instead of on a screen.
Paper a technology of proven strengths
The fact that young people only learn one-third as well when reading from a digital device is clearly alarming, and so Intergraf have called for urgent action to be taken at all levels to “ensure that education in Europe is not degraded by the rapid and unsubstantiated introduction of screen reading in schools”.
The statement continues: “The development of students’ reading comprehension and critical thinking skills must be immediately safeguarded. A failure to act on the advice given in such studies creates an immediate risk that students’ learning outcomes will be negatively affected by the increasing tendency of schools in Europe to promote reading on digital devices without the necessary tools and strategies to ensure this does not cause a setback in reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Products that are proven to facilitate comprehension and critical thinking, such as paper books and other printed informational texts, already exist and should not be overlooked. Paper is a technology of proven strengths.”
Urgent action required
The results of the Intergraf study and their recommendations entirely chimes with the work of Two Sides and the results of our recent study into people’s preference for print. The study, titled Busting The Myths, found that 68% of US consumers preferred to read books in print, with 65% preferring print for magazines and 53% for print newspapers.
There are many studies that show that reading in print improves the understanding of information, as well as memory and recall, which is essential for the education of people of all ages, but especially for young people. This Intergraf study is a vital piece of work that proves that print has great advantages over digital for learning. Let’s hope the governments and institutions are listening.
For more information about the Intergraf E-READ study, click here
The prevalence and use of electronics in all aspects of daily life is steadily increasing with the average U.S. adult spending 6.3 hours each day with digital media, over half of which is spent on their smartphones. The number is even higher, up to 9 hours per day, for teens.1, 2
In the U.S. and Canada, 53 and 52% of respondents, respectively, are concerned that the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health. Similar numbers, 49% and 46% believe they spend too much time on electronic devices. Finally, 31% of American respondents and 27% of Canadians feel they are suffering from “digital overload.”
Too much screen time can indeed affect your health. Digital eye strain (DES), also known as computer vision syndrome, includes symptoms such as headaches, double vision, blurred distance vision, irritated or burning eyes, dry eyes and tired eyes. Estimates suggest 50% or more of computer users suffer from at least one of these symptoms while they are looking at a screen.4 A study that compared reading on a screen to reading on paper noted that after reading from a smartphone, eye strain symptoms were significantly worse than for the printed hardcopy.5 Scientists are wondering how much of the recent and alarming rise in myopia (nearsightedness or difficulty seeing distant objects clearly) is due to too much screen time. If current trends continue, 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050.6
One thing researchers do agree on is the harmful effects of reading from screens on sleep.7 Several years ago, a National Sleep Foundation survey found that 90% of Americans reported using light-emitting devices within an hour of going to bed and greater use was associated with worse sleep outcomes at all ages. Users may sleep less, sleep patterns can be disrupted, and daytime sleepiness increased.8,9 And all those changes in sleep can have detrimental effects on our well-being and the nationwide impact to long-term brain health is potentially large.10
The light emitted from electronic devices is enough to disrupt sleep patterns, negatively impacting concentration and brain development. This is especially important for children where the quality of sleep is necessary for mental development.11
A recent study conducted by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) shows supporting evidence that a greater-than-average screen time promotes a greater chance of developing attention problems. A correlation between excessive screen time and attention deficiencies is clear.12
Too much screen time has also been linked to increases in anxiety and depression, shortened attention spans and a variety of other negative effects on our well-being although evidence is often contradictory.
We evidently understand that too much screen time can be bad for us. There is also a clear preference among the Two Sides survey respondents to enjoy the “offline” world with 71% of Americans and 68% of Canadians believing in the importance of “switching off” and reading more in print.
Picking up a book, magazine or newspaper may be the ticket to relaxation and a good night’s sleep, not to mention getting immersed in your subject. The preference for reading in print by a majority of consumers was reflected in the Toluna study which found that 68% of Americans and Canadians prefer reading a book in print (versus digital). For magazines, the preference for print was 65% for the U.S. and 59% for Canada.
“We live in a multi-channel world with digitally connected devices that are always on. We receive marketing messages, ads, and alerts from many platforms, devices, apps, and websites,” writes Lois Ritarossi in Printing Impressions. “There are five generations in the workforce making buying decisions for consumer and B2B products and services. Marketers must define and deploy omnichannel strategies to engage with their various customer segments in the channels the customers prefer for different types of communications.”
Those customer preferences may seem obvious – digital natives want everything digital, and Boomers hate smartphones, right? The reality is digital natives often long for human and tactile interactions. They appreciate unplugging away from work hours and recognize the downside of too much time on social media.And Baby Boomers are embracing technology to help stay connected and in touch.
This multi-generational and cross-channel reality means marketers are once again embracing traditional media like printed magazines, catalogs and direct mailers that may have been considered obsolete when digital natives started making up more and more of the workplace.
“Great print and well-designed catalogs and direct mail create engagement and demand attention that drives e-commerce sales,” Ritarossi writes. “Retailers are using demographic and spending data to optimize when to send catalogs and direct mail focusing on key times such as holidays, life events — such as moving — or targeted direct mail for abandoned e-commerce shopping carts that spur spending.”
It’s beyond question that technology has changed how we communicate with and engage our B2B audiences. What hasn’t changed? The fact that we are all humans, with an innate attraction to the real and the tangible. This is the reality of marketing today, no matter what generation you aim to attract.
Inkjet printers aren’t often associated with luxury, beauty, and luminosity. But Opté, a handheld makeup printer for your face, promises to deliver exactly those things. With tiny cameras that take photos at 200 frames per second, Opté quickly scans for blemishes such as age spots and hyperpigmentation, then covers them precisely as you run the device over your skin. It clicks quietly as it goes, shooting out pigment, to instantly camouflage for the day, and also a serum containing niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 designed to fade imperfections such as dark spots in 8 to 12 weeks.
“It’s about not looking fake,” says Becky Kaufman, a group head in R&D at P&G Ventures, a division of Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati. The target consumer is anyone who wants the look of flawless skin without the appearance of wearing foundation—men or women who are looking to have the natural translucence of their skin show through.
Made of 350 components, the high-tech device took more than 25 patents to develop, at a company better known for affordable skin-care products such as Olay and Ivory soap. Not only did inkjet printer technology have to be miniaturized, but P&G Ventures solved a problem that had long stymied the ink industry: how to suspend the whitening agent titanium dioxide, which usually sinks to the bottom of a mixed fluid. It took a decade to overcome this hurdle, which finally got worked out in a partnership with Japan’s Funai Electric Co.
P&G’s three formulas for Opté, designed to cover light-, medium-, and dark-toned skins, are intended to work for about 98% of tones. If the 98% can afford it. The device will go on sale in 2020 for roughly $599. “It’s the most premium beauty product we’ve developed,” P&G Ventures spokeswoman Lauren Thaman says.