The second edition of the Summit featured over 20 market leading exhibitors including Flint Group, Kemtek Imaging Systems, MPS, New Africa Inks, Nilpeter, Nuova GIDUE, Omet, Paragon Inks South Africa, Prati and Xeikon. Attendees included label and packaging converters, designers, industry suppliers and brand owners with representatives from Appletiser, DairyBelle, Parmalat and Unilever among others. Networking activities were ample as delegates broke the ice at a private dinner and reception and private tour of Nitida wine estate, where they had the opportunity to taste some of the wines; then blend, bottle and label their own.
The conference program was packed with 14 sessions including a mix of technical presentations, business case studies and panel discussions. Highlights included the keynote speech which was delivered by Filip Weymans of gold sponsor Xeikon. Weymans outlined the growing importance of personalization and how packaging is acting as a trigger in creating positive emotions between the consumer and brands. He went onto explain how trust in brands is being instilled at a local level as the market is adapting to embrace the use of social media platforms to build communities in specific regions.
Other presentations from the first day included Séamus Lafferty of Accraply. Lafferty looked at South Africa’s position in the shrink sleeve label market and challenged converters to up their game in raising quality standards to compete on a more global footing. Lafferty defined the massive opportunities open to converters to easily increase their market share by drawing on the importance of investing in and using the best materials available going forward. HP’s Christian Menegon and Graham Finke of Didget Printing presented on the merits and value of adopting an alternative digital business model. They explained that to meet the rising use of personalized consumer engagement campaigns, a digital printing capacity can create a whole new set of rules and opportunities as printers can enhance the brand owners’ sales efforts by being capable to process short run jobs.
The two panel discussions were also well received. The African converter panel discussion with panelists including SA Litho’s Leon Witbooi, Uwe Bögl of RAKO labels Cape Town, Sachen Gudka of Skanem Interlabels Nairobi and Associated Printers’ Peter Frost explored their own regional variations, emerging technology trends and applications for future investment. The panel gave a unique insight into how vital it is to understand local cultures and markets in order to succeed in catering for their own specific needs. The brand panel discussion featured contributions from Indigo Brands’ Mark Anley, Johan Heckroodt of Lutzville Vineyards and Parmalat’s Garron Arendse. They evaluated several topical areas including the rise of the private label and how packaging improvements can preserve brand heritage.
Opportunities in brand development, product design and positioning were focused on during day two. Mark Anley from Indigo Brands also separately looked at developing innovative and iconic packaging and covered the mounting domination of short run printing and personalization. Brandesign’s Mike Taberner considered the worth and consequence of forging strategic partnerships in the supply chain to better serve brand owners. Highlighting the design and the role of the supplier – from supplier to creative force – Taberner reasoned the need for and significance of a collaborative execution throughout the entire branding and design process.
Lisa Milburn, managing director of Labelexpo, commented: “We would like to thank everyone for their involvement and proactivity in this year’s Summit. Label Summit Africa 2014 has proved to be a very thought provoking and valuable event. Feedback from our delegates has been hugely positive with many attendees maximizing their time here to network with their peers and develop new working alliances. We’re seeing the South African label and packaging industry evolve in sophistication as consumers engage more with brands which has brought about more of a pull rather than push sales and marketing culture and mentality. Like much of Africa and the emerging market countries as a whole, the South African label industry is experiencing a strong period of growth at 6% per year and this will be maintained as the young middle class demographic continues to expand and drive demand.”