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Ordinary greeting cards that tell your story, using video


Now that there are foil, glitter and fabric embellishments, even cards with music or LED lights, what is next for greeting cards ? What is the next bit of innovation to attract new customers and to amaze recipients ?

Enter video cards ! Imagine you could add your own video message to a card you buy in a shop. Not by using a disposable LCD video screen in the card, but simply by using your smartphone. You’d scan the card with your phone and upload your own video, either by recording it there and then, or taking it from your picture library on your phone. All the recipient has to do is scan the card with their own phone and they will see the video message you uploaded for them. And they can view it over and over again !

With these video cards you combine the thoughtfulness and permanence of a card with the best of social media, that is, to share your story in your own unique way.

Linkz have developed a simple service to make any greeting card connect to video*. So the card can tell your story.

  

*connecting cards to video with Linkz does not require special ink or physical  tags. These cards can be recycled in the usual way without any additional environmental burden.

Linkz goes unique

New! Linkz now also offer serialised marks, also known as ‘a unique mark for every item’. As always, these marks can be visible, like (stylised) QR codes, or invisibly embedded via digital watermarks.

Serialisation of marks give each printed item a unique fingerprint. This unique mark can deliver content that is specifically designed for individual end-users, allowing for highly personalised marketing or direct peer-to-peer communication. For example, you can attach your own video message to a product label or shop-bought greeting card. The video can be uploaded and viewed via a single scan with a smartphone, no need to enter authentication codes or confirm private information like phone numbers.

Another application is brand protection. By including supply chain information in each unique mark you can check whether an item has been diverted from the market it was intented for. For example, for cosmetics, wine and spirits, pharmaceutical products.

With serialisation brands can offer highly personalised engagement, as well as track and trace individual items. People interact with the world around them via their smartphones. Make the interaction personal with serialised marks.

 

Linkz at Print18 in Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linkz will be at Print 18 in Chicago, from Sunday 30th of September to Tuesday 2nd of October, showing interactive print in action.

Visit us and our partner Rods and Cones on booth 847 and learn about Interactive Print, AR and VR. We have been recognised as a RedHot Technology!

Erica Aitken from Rods and Cones will present CONNECTED PRINT – REACH OUT AND TOUCH IT!
Monday, October 1, 12:00pm – 12:50pm at S102cd (Offered by APTech)

Accelerating consumer adoption of interactive packaging

running-498257_640In the intelligent packaging industry we are all too aware of the difficulties in getting consumers to pick up their mobiles and interact with products. We don’t understand it. All these marvellous technologies that are obviously super-cool, making that essential connection between the offline and online worlds. Why don’t people tap or scan every item they want to buy or use?

Technology is moving faster than consumer awareness. As always, those that develop the solutions lose sight of the fact people may not have a direct problem to solve. In our enthusiasm we keep adding possibilities in the hope to find the area where we can relieve a real pain.

To try to understand how we could accelerate consumer adoption of interactive packaging we need to ask ourselves what consumers want and what would motivate them to use interactive packaging.

At the AIPIA World Congress last November we discussed these questions, plus a couple more, during a stimulating workshop, “Consumer Interactions”. The participants put in a lot of effort, the discussions were passionate and the result was a collection of insights that form a great start for further investigations.

Highlights are:

  • Consumers want value from their interaction, which can take many forms: convenience, information, monetary, emotional.
  • Raising awareness of interactivity has to be done on-pack, but also needs to involve traditional marketing channels, as well as other parts of the supply chain.
  • There are a range of ways to motivate consumers to interact, but it has to involve minimal effort and a good, valuable experience (remember QR codes!).
  • Success is defined as the amount and quality of data we can collect from consumers and their interaction.

If you’d like to receive the full notes of the workshop, please email n.muller@linkz-im.com. We’d love to get your feedback and ideas for the next AIPIA World Congressworkshops.

Interactive Packaging – solutions without a problem?

Bald man with shampoo

(c) Smoke and Mirrors

 

There are lots of technologies to enable consumers to interact with packaging. So why don’t brands use it more widely? And would it be useful for you?

Early November I was at the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) World Congress in Amsterdam. On display were many amazing technologies to make packaging active and / or intelligent.

Active packaging tries to solve a clear problem: currently one third of all food produced is lost or wasted from farm to fork, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Intelligent packaging that tracks goods is also addressing a clear pain point, just ask any retailer where their goods actually are. Similarly authentication and anti-counterfeiting solutions, with the counterfeit goods market currently around $600 billion/yr, rising to nearly $1 trillion/yr by 2021. These solutions are largely used by retailers and brands themselves.

But when we get to the consumer end it is not so clear where the problem currently lies. Counterfeit formula milk or cosmetics masquerading as that of a trusted brand could be inferior and potentially harmful, and surely consumers would like to check authenticity. FMCG packaging that gives discounts, connects to fun games, useful or exclusive information, what is not to like? Content-wise you are only limited by your imagination because if it is digital you can link your packaging to it.

So why are brands not connecting their packaging en-masse to digital content? At the conference there were some interesting case studies of marketing campaigns using NFC-enabled spirit bottles, yogurt pots linked to games and packs of chocolates allowing you to win heart-stopping experiences, but no evidence that brands are falling over each other to make their packaging interactive for consumers.

Why not? Because there is no consumer demand for it yet.

There are two key reasons. Firstly, consumers are simply not aware that packaging can be interactive. Unless it has a very clear call-to-action consumers don’t expect there is more to packaging than meets the eye. Secondly, most importantly, the value consumers get from interacting is not sufficient. In the early days of QR codes in marketing they often linked to desktop sites, unreadable on a mobile phone. Often the company’s home page, as if that was the point of engaging with the pack! Augmented Reality (AR) pay-offs are definite improvements, as at first they always surprise, but there isn’t always a longer-term value for the consumer. Whilst this may not matter for the marketing campaign, it does matter for the consumer for whom the next purchasing decision is less swayed by another “wow” experience.

In the absence of consumers asking for interactive packaging brands cannot see a clear ROI. To be fair, marketing departments have had a lot of new technologies thrown at them over the past decade. They have to understand rapidly changing consumer buying behaviour, be able to engage with consumers 24/7 and be omni-present in new and old channels. Adding packaging as yet another consumer engagement channel with its own set of technologies may be a bit much.

But here is the crux of the matter. Packaging is a key consumer engagement channel, and quite a cheap one at that. It’s already out there, totally under the brand’s control. Once consumers have a pack in their hand, they are much more open to the brand’s messages, be they in-store or post-purchase. Digital interaction with packaging is much easier to measure than views of TV ads, impressions of Facebook ads, views of billboards. And it allows for a two-way conversation rather than a one-way monologue, as it is much easier for consumers to give feedback to a brand via an interactive pack than via traditional push advertising.

The key to getting consumers to interact with packaging is to offer them real value.

At the congress I ran an “idea hackathon” (or “workshop”) with a group of very knowledgable and enthusiastic participants. Together we arrived at a list of what kind of content could be of real value to consumers:

  • financial gain: discounts, loyalty schemes, prizes
  • convenience: connection to other (lifestyle) apps or services, how-to videos, instant re-purchase
  • security: product authentication, back story, information
  • (emotional) connections: social messaging, sharing, reviews
  • relevance to a person’s needs: personalisation, tailoring of services.

Let’s get back to the original question. Is interactive packaging a solution without a problem? No, it is not. Packaging is a key consumer engagement channel and brands that want to win customers have to use it strategically and offer real value.

What real value is depends on the market, the geography, the product, the brand itself. Therefore interactive packaging won’t be of strategic use to everybody! In our experience it is useful for your brand if you have

  • a story to tell (sustainability, heritage, origins)
  • a passionate audience (new parents, health, fitness, sport)
  • complex products (DIY, b2b, health)
  • multilingual markets
  • captive audiences (hospitality, airports)

So, do you know what you want your packaging to say? Do you want to test what works for you? Or just understand better what the options are? We can help you find out. After all, that is why we started Linkz.

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