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EasyFairs has undergone some changes (Jan 14 issue) to streamline the packaging shows and provide a platform that will allow the company to grow the events, both across European and at a global level. Matthew Rogerson spoke with Alison Church to find out more.

Packaging Today: What do you feel has made the easyFairs format so successful?

Alison Church: We established a gap in the market and developed a concept that is unique – an event that showcases the very latest ideas and innovations that make this ever evolving industry so exciting. We continually focus on what the industry needs and wants, and it is this approach that makes our show so successful for both exhibitors and visitors.

We speak with previous and potential visitors to find out what keeps them up at night. We want to hear about their needs so that we can put together a panel, presentation or show feature that could help them. We don’t guess what our visitors want, we actually ask them! With the economy improving and budgets opening up there is an optimistic mood across the industry and we want to keep that momentum going.

PT: You have recently consolidated the easyFairs packaging show concepts. Why the change?

AC: The UK market knows Packaging Innovations well as the leading packaging event for primary and secondary packaging, while in Europe our Empack events have a strong presence and recognition. We wanted to bring our successful show concepts together to strengthen the portfolio and create brand recognition across Europe. Additionally, with the growth in printing and labelling technologies and concepts, we needed a strong but simple show concept that covered both of these, hence the newly formed Label&Print event, into which we combined our previous Print, Labelling & Converting Innovations brands.

When we combine these three clear concepts in one co-located event, we create a show that provides access to all aspects of packaging right across the supply chain.

PT: Why do you feel the show is successful?

AC: Events like ours provide multiple opportunities, whether it is talking to new suppliers, finding out what’s new in the industry, networking with peers and working together to find new opportunities, brainstorming with a group of industry professionals across the supply chain, or simply acquiring new contacts; this combination allows packaging professionals to find both the solutions and the ideas to make an impact on their packaging, and their business. All of this can be achieved in one place that is intuitive and easy to navigate.

For example, the packaging industry is rife with new technologies, with printed electronics, active and intelligent packaging, the rise of digital printing, and much more. But these technologies are simply enablers, and shouldn’t be used simply for the technology’s
sake.

What packaging professionals need to know are the realistic and practical applications that these technologies have, and specifically how they can be used on packaging to engage with the consumer at a deeper level; and they need to be able to discuss with others in the industry what they can achieve both now and in the future. It is only through real live forums like our exhibitions that they can do all of this in one day. It’s about learning how to do something new or better, or even to simply make new contacts in order to help you in the future.

PT: Please discuss some of the topics you believe will be high on the agenda at the upcoming events

AC: Luxury will be under the spotlight at the London event in the autumn, with the launch of our first Luxury Packaging Conference. This will cover all the major challenges brands are facing to stay ahead in the luxury and premium markets, from trends, brand engagement and innovation to the practicalities of delivering effective packaging for luxury and premium brands.

Additionally, aside from the conference, there are topics that I would class under ‘packaging as marketing’. There has long been a disconnect between packaging and marketing, though of course the two should be heavily entwined. As consumers are bombarded with media, and are increasingly finding ways of avoiding marketing messages through traditional media, the role packaging as the key marketing vehicle will only grow; yet the two departments all too often work independently.

Some areas where addressing this is becoming increasingly important include colour management and colour consistency. Packs also have to be in line with the branding and marketing guidelines, but they also need to meet regulatory requirements and be able to be manufactured efficiently. In addition consumers are increasingly keen to feel like a product is targeted to them directly, and that they are not simply one of many.. This can be best achieved through partnership between all parties. There will always be new ideas, and new approaches, which is why discussing ideas with suppliers, colleagues and peers is so valuable to keep at the cutting edge of packaging development.

Event Diary
Packaging Innovations 30 Sep- 1 Oct 2014
Empack, Label & Print – 25-26 Feb 2015

www.easyfairs.com