Richard Askam - the Digital Nomad

Re-invention isn’t easy but of course sometimes it’s a necessity (as the saying nearly goes). Each and every one of us at some point in our lives goes through this process, often subliminally but if you are like me, then you secretly relish the journey. Moving from one passage of life to the next takes courage and commitment but ultimately is nearly always worth it. How many times in your own life have you asked yourself the question, “Why didn’t I make this change six months ago?” Some of us seem to be pre-programmed to resist change and as a result we ride out a storm for longer than sense would normally allow. Be that a personal relationship, a work situation or a living situation. It’s a human condition to attach irrational fear to situations when we are not sure of the outcome – the fear of going to the dentist or doctor is often worse than the outcome and to worry twice is to double the pain – hence why we resist the change that is often needed.

In the world we live in with a ‘what’s next’ generation who can’t wait for the next groundbreaking innovation, brand owners need to be careful to ensure that strategy and creativity are the drivers of campaigns. Don’t just see the technology as the game-changer in itself. It needs to be seen as the enabler. If brands want younger consumers to buy and engage with their products then they must understand that for them, technology is not just a pleasure – it’s an expectation. Having been through the early stages of the digital revolution already, we are starting to see the refinements that are needed to allow the mass market consumers to adopt this behaviour as the new normal.

Already this year we have seen further breakthroughs with direct to object printing revolutionising the sports world with photo-personalised footballs courtesy of the new ecommerce brand Ballpix and the emergence of a true in-store solution for nearly all personalised products with a collaboration between Infigo Software and Afinia Labels. But is this just the tip of the iceberg? The industry still sees digital as a bolt on to traditional print, a business that continues to get harder with constant downward price pressure being dictated by market forces. Yet as Winston Churchill once said: ‘When you are going through hell – keep going!’ Ask yourself this: does the benefit of change outweigh the cost of change or the cost of not changing?

We are at the inflexion point for digital now, the point where it truly makes sense to brands, retailers, consumers and print and packaging suppliers to embrace the change. I’m sure it is easier to imagine what is possible than it is to implement it. But digital is not going back in the box now. If you have already made the investment then a bit like skydiving, once you jump you can’t get back in the plane again! My advice is to look at what you can do already and share this with your customers. In fact, invite them into your business to share ideas: who knows, they might have something they want to do that you haven’t thought of yet. Everything works better when you collaborate, everything works better when you engage directly – it’s good to talk!