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From commodity to service

Transforming a paper brand

into a new category


MSc. Thesis of Nick Poldermans
TU Delft, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
Strategic Product Design Master's Program
Chair of the supervisory team: Prof. dr. ir. J.A. Buijs
Supervisory mentor: MSc F. Secomandi

Company:Tan Brand Communication Consultants

Company Mentor: Kyle Talbot
Client: Hello Paper

Nick Poldermans, December 2010

Student number: 1222821
Commercial Printer - A company which business revolves discussing the operating companies of PaperlinX, yet it
around the professional printing and production of print should be noted that the operating companies in this context
products (“Drukkerij”). Production may also include: binding, perform the same tasks as a merchant.
folding and more functions.
Paper - There are several details related to paper, which
Commodity - The term commodity is used for lowly define the product on a technological level that is relevant to
differentiated products. Commodity markets are characterized commercial printers. This is discussed in Appendix 1.
by increasing homogeneity of products, higher price
sensitivity among customers, lower switching costs, and Print Buyer - A print buyer is in this report defined as a
greater industry stability (Reimann, Schilke, et al. 2009). person or company which orders/buys print products at a
Classic examples can be found in: salt, nails or sand. commercial printer.

Communication Platform - A meeting place designed Print Product - In this report a print product can be
to facilitate interaction and collaboration among people who defined as a product which has been produced by a commercial
share common interests and needs. It can be both physical printer. This can be a magazine, a flyer, packaging and many
(e.g. a fair, event) or digital (e.g. website, online videogame); other applications.
it can even be a combination of both. The communication
platform is a tool to support a community. Printing - Printing is one of the main topics throughout
this report. The context is always focused on the professional
Community - A social network of individuals who interact, printing performed by commercial printers. There exist many
whether in person or through online media, in order to types of printing, of which off-set and digital printing are the
pursue mutual or shared interests or goals. two main methods. Due to the complexity of these printing
methods they are further explained in Appendix 1.
Holding Company - A type of parent company that exists
primarily to exercise control over other firms, often without Ser vices, Products, Solutions - In Appendix 2 an
significant operations of its own. The control is exercised introduction to these three topics can be found to define them
through ownership of a majority of the controlled firm's
Social Media - Primarily internet and mobile-based media
Merchant - A merchant is a company which buys in and
that enable people to share and discuss content among each
sells products which were not produced by them, in order to
other. Examples are Facebook, twitter, linkedin, myspace,
earn profits.
blogs and more. A communication platform can incorporate
social media.
Operating Company - An operating company falls under
a holding company. In this report the term will be used when
Graduating at a consultancy company was one of my main than the common stereotypes of it being white and made from
goals during the search for a proper (i.e. the perfect) project. trees, and services were still a vague and undefined concept in
I wanted to experience the atmosphere and the specific way my educational experience. After the initial exploration of the
of working, feeling it would be an interesting professional company and market a world of challenges quickly exposed
context for my own future. From the project I expected it to itself; and a challenge was exactly what I was looking for.
require strategic thinking and to challenge me in ways I had
not yet experienced during my years at the Industrial Design Many thanks go to Kyle Talbot for the opportunity to do this
faculty. I set out to find a matching project and company, project and his advice during the entire process, Margreet
which proved to be troublesome in a market suffering under Sloot for her advice and insights from the view of PaperlinX
the after shocks of the financial crisis. and of course, everyone at the Tan Brand Communication
office for their support, participation in the brainstorms,
When I contacted Tan Brand Communication Consultants delicious lunches and mainly their fantastic company.
I received immediate positive reactions. During my first
meeting with Kyle Talbot we discussed my experience and the I would like to thank my supervisory team, Jan Buijs and
Strategic Product Design master and what possibilities this Fernando Secomandi, for the clever remarks and stimulating
would offer within Tan. Tan had a number of active clients questions. Keeping a critical eye on the project, which was
with whom we could do a project together. One of them was very valuable when I buried myself in paper.
PaperlinX and their brand Hello Paper.
Last but not least, my friends, family and girlfriend for their
Hello, a paper brand which wanted to extend into the field of understanding, support and contributions to this project.
services. My knowledge on paper did not reach much further
Enjoy reading this thesis,

Nick Poldermans
Executive Summary
Hello Throughout its existence Hello has positioned the brand as
Hello Paper is a brand of paper aimed at commercial The Answer to the needs of the commercial printers. As of this
printers in Europe. Since 2001 they have been the number moment their actions do not fulfill this vision beyond their
one in their market, by offering a strong product available marketing message. It was concluded that this vision should
in a broad number of specifications, combined with proper be the guideline for service innovation under the Hello brand.
marketing. Hello starts to realize their brand is slowly losing Accordingly the commercial printing market became the main
its advantage. The competition is catching up, by following in focus for the project.
their footsteps. Hello needs to innovate.
Commercial Printers
Hello is a product of PaperlinX; an international Holding Building on these insights the project focused on the needs
of paper merchants. Within Europe PaperlinX owns of the commercial printers, and their clients, the print buyers.
merchanting companies in 18 different countries, which they The communication market, in which commercial printing
call operating companies. Each of these operating companies plays a role, is changing. Online media like websites and social
is responsible for the sales and distribution of the products media are increasing in use while printed media is decreasing.
and Hello is one of their most important product brands. Currently the offer is greater than the demand for printing.

Internal Structure Commercial printers can be divided in two types; printers

Through the commoditization in the market, Innovation focused on capacity and printers focused on service. Due to
within the product paper is not an option. Hello spotted the the difference in demand and offer the market became focused
possibility in moving towards offering services around their on price, and printing was considered a commodity. This
products and clients. Hello has pursued this in the past, change lead to the fact that service focused printers started
yet to no avail. An exploration of the paper industry and competing on price, which in its essence is the field of capacity
PaperlinX' structure revealed that Hello innovated based on focused printers; a lost cause.
the technology and resources of the operating companies,
which were not directly linked to Hello. These innovations Service focused printers are having trouble distinguishing
were therefore credited to the Operating Companies. It was themselves in this market. It was discovered that their
concluded that Hello would have to innovate independently approach towards the print buyers was outdated and the
from them, in order to succeed. main cause of this. A technological mind-set and technology
driven innovation does not match with the print buyers. Print
buyers are creatives; active in marketing, communication and
graphic design. Commercial printers need to change their information to help them with their business. For this a
approach towards their clients. Three different issues were conceptual design of a communication platform was designed;
acknowledged to improve the approach of the commercial including the many factors surrounding it.
As the community grows, Hello will re-position itself in the
Improve the transparency of the Printing Process, Instigate a pro- minds of the commercial printers and the brand will become
active approach towards the print buyers and Create print buyer accepted as a provider in categories beyond paper. Through
centered touch points, were the three search fields which were the community Hello will be able to have dialogues with
concluded from the analysis. These three search fields were their clients. Hello will leverage this central position in the
used as the starting point for the generation of new concepts community to gain insights into the market. These insights
for Hello, aimed at the commercial printer. will lead to opportunities for new products, services and
Idea Generation
Creative sessions lead to several ideas and five of these ideas Once Hello has gathered enough research, their brand has
were selected. Each of the concepts had market potential, yet re-positioned itself and the communication platform has
it was concluded that the they are too ambitious to implement a sufficient amount of members, Hello will be able to use
under the current Hello brand. The concepts would first Hello Solutions as a sales platform for new products, services
demand a re-positioning of the Hello brand. This lead to the and applications; profitable solutions. In this report three
creation of a complete strategy for Hello, to move the brand conceptual applications and services are provided, to give
towards new product categories. Hello an insight in the possibilities this could offer the brand
in the near future.
The Strategy
One of the selected concepts covered the creation of an Conclusion
online Hello Communication Platform, aimed to help the With this strategy Hello will be able to extend its brand into
commercial printers strengthen their position. This concept new categories. Due to the troubling predicted future of paper,
was taken as the starting point to re-position the Hello brand. this will provide the brand with new fields to pursue growth
Building on Hello's the answer, it is named Hello Solutions. and revenue.

Hello Solutions is an online communication platform

through which Hello provides the commercial printer with
Reading Guide I Section 2 Section 4
Ch5. Communication 22 Ch9. Strategy 54
Introduction II 5.1 Broadening of the Market 22 9.1 Foundation 54
5.2 Dynamic is Convenient 22 9.2 Strategy Roadmap 55
Section 1 5.3 The Role of Print 23 9.3 Vision & Brand 56
Ch1. Paper Industry 6 5.4 Conclusion 24 9.4 Business Model 58
1.1 The Market 2 9.5 The Operating Companies 59
1.2 Market Structure 3 Ch6. Print Market 25
1.3 Merchanting 4 6.1 The Market 25 Ch10. Comm. Platform 60
1.4 Commercial Printers 4 6.2 Commoditization of Print 26 10.1 Objectives 60
1.5 Print Buyers 5 6.3 Commercial Printers 28 10.2 Road to Success 61
6.4 Print Buyers 30 10.3 Content 61
Ch2. PaperlinX 6 6.5 Print Job Cycle 31 10.4 Design 63
2.1 Structure 6 6.6 The Gap 35 10.5 Organization 68
2.2 Product Brands 7 6.7 Search Fields 36 10.6 Marketing 70
2.3 Services 9 6.8 Conclusion 37 10.7 Finances 72
2.4 Marketing 9 10.8 Roadmap 74
2.5 Sales 9 Ch7. Communities 38 10.9 Platform for Sales? 75
7.1 Communication Platform 38
Ch3. Hello Paper 10 7.2 A Community 39 Ch11. Solutions 76
3.1 Brand & Product 10 7.3 Independent or Branded 40 11.1 Objectives 76
3.2 Sales 12 7.4 Online Business Models 41 11.2 The Concepts 76
3.3 Marketing 13 7.5 Partnership 42 11.3 1. Printer Improvement 78
3.4 Competition 13 7.6 Conclusion 42 11.4 2. Update 81
11.5 3. Print Store 83
Ch4. Focus 15 Section 3 11.6 Portfolio Management 85
4.1 Product Innovation 15 Ch8. Ideation 46 11.7 Conclusion 85
4.2 Differentiation in Brands 15 8.1 Introduction 46
4.3 Diffusion in Structure 16 8.2 Method 46 Ch12. Evaluation 86
4.4 Brand Extension 17 8.3 Concepts 47
4.5 Target Group 18 8.4 A Strategy 49 Ch13. Recommendations 88
4.6 Focus 19 8.5 The Concept Strategy 50
4.7 Conclusion 19 8.6 Model 51 References 90

Epilogue 94
Reading Guide
Report Structure Research
This report describes the graduation project carried out For this report both literature and emperical studies have
within the Strategic Product Design master programme at the been conducted. Informal interviews, case study research,
Delft University of Technology. a shortlist of professionals formally interviewed, and more.
To pursue clarity, the conclusions of these studies have been
The report has been structured into a logical sequence, to
implemented throughout the entire report. Therefore the flow
provide the reader with a clear foundation leading up to the
of the report for the reader does not have to be interrupted
final strategy. The actual process used an iterative approach,
to discuss research methodology. Literature references
repeating and re-evaluating steps throughout the progress of
are mentioned in the text and the list of interviewees are
the project. In figure 0.1 is a graphic model of the report.
mentioned in the references chapter (page 90). The results
and methods of the formal interviews and case studies can be
The report is divided in four sections. The first will cover an
found in the appendices.
exploration of the paper industry and an internal analysis of
Hello and PaperlinX. The second section will explore the
communication industry, the commercial printing industry Appendices
and the topic of communication platforms. The third section The second report covers the appendices. In many occasions
will cover the ideation of concepts for Hello. The fourth these will provide background information or visual
section will describe the selected final Strategy. representations of issues discussed in this report. It will be
noted in the text when an appendix is of interest.

Ch1. Paper Ch5. Commu-

Industry nication
Ch10. Phase 1
Ch6. Printing
Ch2. PaperlinX Ch4. Focus Ch8. Ideation Ch9. Strategy Ch12. Evaluation
Ch11. Phase 2
Ch3. Hello Ch7. Community
Paper Research

Section 1: Paper Section 2: Printing Section 3: Concepting Section 4: The Strategy Evaluation

Fig 0.1 The structure of the report

This project was a cooperation between a number of different own lines of paper. BührmannUbbens wanted to improve
parties. The assignment was conducted together with Tan the coherence within the market, by creating one single brand
Brand Communication Consultants, a marketing and which would be sold at all the local sales offices throughout
brand strategy agency from Utrecht. The project was done Europe. This brand would have three different types of paper,
for PaperlinX, a large international merchant of paper and available in a wide array of specifications.
communication materials. It entails the development of a new
business and service strategy for one of PaperlinX' brands: Hello was officially launched in six European countries in
Hello Paper, therefore the client of this project. 1998 and it replaced well over 10 existing brands. It became
one of the first cross-country paper brands. Whether one
would order it in Germany or Great Britain; the brand and
PaperlinX product would be the same. This new strategy within the
PaperlinX is an international group of merchants of paper paper industry lead them to become the number 1 brand in
and communication material; for example, in the Netherlands their market in 2001, a position they hold to this day. The
they own the well known BührmannUbbens. PaperlinX' brand and its related marketing were originally created in
focus lies in four different strategic areas; commercial print cooperation with Tan Brand Communication Consultants.
paper, office paper, signs & displays and packaging material.
The company’s main aim is with commercial print paper, Tan Brand Communication
paper aimed at commercial printers. A commercial printer
is a company which business revolves around professional
printing; to create brochures, magazines, business reports Tan was started in 1997 by Kyle Talbot and Annelies Nagel.
and many other products. Within the European market Tan offers strategic advice and creative communications to
PaperlinX' biggest brand is Hello Paper. help companies develop their brand identity. Their clients
range from business-to-business software developers, to
bed manufacturers, clothing brands and paper merchants.
Hello Paper
One of Tan's main clients is the paper merchant PaperlinX.
Hello Paper is a premium paper brand aimed at commercial Since 1997 Tan has been involved with many of PaperlinX'
printers. The Hello Brand started its life in 1997, initiated by brand launches and marketing campaigns. In fact, Tan was
BührmannUbbens. BührmannUbbens had many sales offices responsible for the initial launch in 1998 of the Hello Brand.
throughout Europe; in the UK, The Netherlands, Germany Since then Tan has been one of the main sources for creative
and many more. Each of these local offices were running their input for PaperlinX.

Due to Tan's longlasting relationship with Hello Paper branding are shrinking. In order to distinguish themselves,
and their extensive knowledge on branding, this project Hello realizes they should take a next step in a new direction.
was conducted at the office of Tan. At Tan it was directly
supervised by Kyle Talbot, co-owner of the company, in Hello would like to focus more on the creation of services
close contact with Margreet Sloot, the Category Manager surrounding their business and their clients. A field which
responsible for Hello Paper. they explored in the past, yet to no avail. Driven by the
possibilities the internet and online communication offers,
The Project Hello sees opportunities for their brand to extend in this field.
They spotted a possibility in creating a professional online
Hello Paper has always positioned itself as an innovative communication platform; useable for both the commercial
brand; innovation based on the needs of their clients, the printer’s and Hello’s own interests. Yet, the specific objective(s)
commercial printers. Hello’s tagline is The Answer, they or service(s) are still unclear.
envision to be the answer to the commercial printer's needs.
Due to a combination of reasons; branding, product quality, The initial insight by Hello to move further into services
range of specifications and a broad distribution network, surrounding the commercial printers seem justified, related
Hello Paper took the number one position within several to the lack of opportunities in product differentiation. What
years of their introduction. Yet, for the past couple of years this service should entail remains to be unclear. Hello is
this position has begun to crumble. Competing brands are considering creating an online communication platform for
catching up to Hello and Hello is no longer the defining its clients, yet the exact reasons behind this need to be further
brand in the market. explored. This lead to the creation of the following broad
objective for this project.
Problem Description
Differentiating a paper brand is difficult within the
Commercial Printing Paper market. It is a crowded Business- “Design a strategy and service to elevate
to-Business market with up to a hundred competing brands.
Hello Paper’s role within the commercial
Though Hello Paper is the biggest, they only have about
printing market, providing a path to move
four to five percent of the market; leaving ninety-five for the
competition. A troubling issue is the lack of differentiation Hello Paper from a product brand to
in the product. Differentiation on a product level is close to becoming a service brand.”
zero,; the product is a commodity.

Hello Paper notices it is slowly losing ground to competitors.

The possibilities to define Hello through its product and

Section 1
Paper & Brands
The initial objective, described in the introduction to this project, is of
a broad nature. In this first section the focus will be on paper.

Chapter 1 will explore the paper industry. In this chapter the state of
the market will be researched, including the two main trends affecting
the sales of paper. The structure of the market and its stakeholders
will be defined, in order to generate an overal view on the industry
and the power structure. Accordingly the following chapters 2 and 3
will dive deeper in PaperlinX and Hello; to discover the possibilities
of both and to find out what the underlying reasons are for Hello’s
unsuccesful (for them) attempts in the field of services were.

In the fourth chapter the conclusions from these analyses will come
together to create a focus for the project.

CH. 1

Paper Industry
A steady future of paper has been questioned since the introduction of the personal computer in the
1970s. In actuality it turned out better than expected; up until several years ago the future of paper was
still strong. Yet, throughout the past years the industry started to show cracks. In this chapter the focus
will be on the analysis of the paper market for commercial printing.

1.1 The Market initiated by The Stationers Company (NLK Associates,

2008) and “World Graphic Paper” by EMGE Paper Industry
It is estimated that the entire paper Industry will decrease Consultants (EMGE, 2010), both acknowledge two main
over the following years (table 1.1). These tables sketch the important trends in this market leading to this change.
current and future market for paper. Hello is Wood Free
Coated paper (see Appendix 1); a market which will be the 1.1.1 Trends
least affected in the coming years. The least affected obviously Sustainability
doesn’t mean the market will be fine; sales in Wood Free Society’s concerns for the environment goes up and down,
Coated paper will decrease. affected by many different influences like the fluctuating
economy. The issue that continuously keeps rising is the
Even though this is a business-to-business industry, ultimately concern about the negative environmental impact of paper
demand for paper comes from consumers. Two recent and print (Carli, 2010). Even though reading on a computer
research studies, “The Future of Paper and Print in Europe” or any digital device may not actually be more environmental
friendly, it doesn’t change the bad image of Paper. More
importantly, it doesn’t change the fact that every product or
service can and should be made more sustainable.
This has a growing effect on the use and purchases of
paper by many corporations, institutions and governmental
organizations. In general this means a shift towards buying
recycled paper and policies which reduce the usage of paper*.
The reduction of paper usage is one of the easier steps,
Table 1.1 Estimated decreas in sales (NLK Associates, 2008)

Fig 1.1 The structure of the commercial printing market

making it a starting point for many companies. market environment for the paper and printing industry. It
leads to publishers, advertisers and, basically every company,
Within the paper industry this has been an important topic to move into digital media; further away from printed media.
to approach. All of the large merchants and manufacturers Though the effects of this change are noticed in the paper
have put efforts into improving their corporate sustainability; industry, they are most relevant to the print industry. Paper
both internally and externally. Internally the recycling of paper is the medium, but printing makes it a communication product.
has become the rule, instead of the exception, and the same This topic will be further elaborated on in Chapter 5 and 6.
goes for re-forestation. Externally many paper merchants
and manufacturers have started creating campaigns to make
people aware of the misconceptions which are existing around
1.2 Market Structure
the sustainability of paper (EMGE, 2010). A difficult, already In figure 1.1 is a simplified representation of the direct value
lost, battle since reducing the use of paper is always better. chain in the commercial printing market.
Many merchants have introduced high quality recycled brands
over the years and for PaperlinX this is the brand Revive The manufacturer develops and produces the paper. They
aimed at commercial printing (see chapter 2). distribute the products towards the many merchants groups.
Through the operating companies of the merchant group,
Change in Media the product is sold towards the commercial printers. The
The most important cause for the decrease in the paper commercial printers process (e.g. print, bind) the paper into
industry is the change in the entire communication field. The printed products, in assignment of their clients; the print
innovations of the past two decades done in the digitalization buyers. Print buyers can be divided into two groups; creative
of communication have an increasing effect on the sales of agencies and corporate end-users.
paper in the long run. The changes are difficult to grasp in a
single sentence. The internet, social media, smart phones, the
development of E-readers and iPads; it keeps on changing the

*Please consider the environment: Do you really need to print this report?

1.3 Merchanting been with them for years or decades. This strong bond exists
due to the personal approach: the personal relationships is
1.3.1 Product very important.
Merchants are dependent on a small group of Manufacturers
to supply the product. Throughout the years these Looking at Reimann, Schilke, et al. (2010), they define
manufacturers have been able to streamline the entire four main characteristics of commoditization: product
production process of paper. Paper has reached the end of its Homogeneity, High Price Sensitivity, Low Switching Cost
development stage. Since a small number of manufacturers and Industry Stability. All of whom match perfectly to this
supply ten merchanting groups, it leads to a product field; the paper and merchanting industry is a commodity
differentiation of close to zero. One manufacturer might use industry. The key-success factors in this business follow out of
a double coating technique while another uses a special triple this: one is price, two is the distribution channel and three is
coating. The differences in use are neglectible; in some cases the personal relationship.
it is even the exact same product. When the paper for Hello
comes out of the paper manufacturer, it will be wrapped and 1.3.3 Marketing
branded as Hello. Yet, the exact same paper will also be sold The commoditization of the market reflects itself in the
under the competing brands Garda, Magno and Triple Star. marketing of the merchants and paper brands. Marketing
within this field can be “Old Fashioned”. To keep or obtain
1.3.2 Service clients, it is common to offer free gifts: dinner, golf trips,
The Merchanting of paper is a service. Merchants are manufacturer visits, educational weekends and so on. Since
constantly trying to add and improve services, to build the financial crisis this has started to decrease, but it remains
stronger relationships with their clients. An example of this to be a normal approach. A common factor in many business-
is the improvement in the online ordering system; improving to-business markets (Dwyer & Tanner, 2005).
usability of the software, and customization possibilities for
ordering paper. Another example is quicker delivery or the
customization of product orders (per paper, instead of per
1.4 Commercial Printers
pallet). Anything to remove the discussion further away from The main target group for Paper Merchants and Paper Brands
the focus on price, which has become more relevant again are the commercial printers. The second group are the print
in this day and age (See chapter 6). The fact remains that buyers; creative agencies and corporate end-users.
advantages, on services, are always short lived. Within months
after the introduction of a new service, competitors will have There are a handful of large printers per country, but an
picked it up too. Then it depends on the relevance and quality incredible amount of small and medium sized regional
of the additional service whether it is attractive enough to printers. The large printers have to be innovative (or their
switch merchants. Even though switching costs are low, the equipment suppliers have to be) to remain on top of the
industry is very stable; many of the merchant’s clients have market. The smaller regional printers are more conservative,

offering a basic strong product. There are tens of thousands contact with the commercial printer. In some cases this is
of printers in Europe alone. To put it in perspective, there handled by a creative agency hired by company X, in other
are around 2000 commercial printing companies in The situations it is directly handled by company X.
Netherlands alone, of which only 20% has more than 10
employees (CBS Centraal bureau voor de statistiek). In its pure basics, Print Buyers will hire Commercial Printers
for a print project. The Commercial Printer will produce
Commercial Printers can be viewed as Print Manufacturers. the print work and deliver it to the Print Buyer. In this
They combine a number of ingredients to create a printed relationship the Print Buyers have an enormous amount of
product; paper, ink, printing plates, toner and more. For power; if they want a specific type of paper, or a specific paper
commercial printers paper is therefore an important brand, the commercial printer will use that brand. In figure
ingredient. Commercial printers are dependent on merchants 3.5 are the five main reasons for commercial printers to switch
to supply them with this input of paper; it’s the merchant’s between paper brands (Opticom, 2007); lead by the needs of
service that makes the commercial printer’s business run the print buyer.
smoother. Whether that product is Hello or one of its direct
competitors, the commercial printer will not notice. It’s the For Hello this can be viewed as an important opportunity.
relationship between a merchant and a commercial printer that The fact of the matter is; print buyers care very little about
counts. paper brands. What matters to them is the final product
and that it fits their expectations; it basically depends on the
performance of the commercial printer. It is extremely difficult
1.5 The Print Buyers for experts to tell the difference between paper brands; let
The clients of the commercial printers are an enormous alone the print buyers. Print buyers will of course have a
group; basically it can be assumed that every company needs preference for a specific kind of paper: if you are making a
(professional) print work, which makes most of these a fashion magazine, you want a glossy paper for the cover. But,
possible client of commercial printers. Print Buyers can be whether that glossy paper comes from brand A or brand B,
divided in two different groups, based on who is in direct does not matter.

In most situations the Print Buyers will select one or several

commercial printers as approved suppliers, and the choice
for paper brand is left up to the Commercial Printer. It is
estimated that between 5-10% of the print buyers specify a
paper brand.

Figure 1.2 Reasons to Switch brands (Opticom, 2007)

CH. 2

PaperlinX is a young company. In 2000 it demerged from Amcor, a large packaging company from
Australia. Over the years they have grown by acquiring many paper merchants from around the world,
like Spicers Paper in Australia. PaperlinX acquired the Dutch company BuhrmannUbbens in 2003,
immediately making Europe PaperlinX’ most profitable market.

Today the PaperlinX Group is one of the largest paper many merchants, or Operating Companies as PaperlinX
merchants in the world, selling over four and a half million addresses them, each work under their own flag (figure 2.1).
tons of paper and packaging materials worldwide.
2.1.2 Operating Companies Regional Focus
Clients for the PaperlinX group range from small companies
2.1 Structure to large international companies; a local printing company
The headquarters of PaperlinX are located in Australia. The buying commercial printing paper or a multinational like
company is active in three different international markets: Shell buying office copy paper, and everything in between.
Europe, America and Australasia (i.e. Australia and Asia).
In this project focus will be on the European market, and
therefore the European division of PaperlinX. PaperlinX
Europe’s head office is in Amsterdam. A small office of around
50 employees which mainly focuses on the Finances, IT,
management and marketing of the entire group.

2.1.1 PaperlinX Europe

PaperlinX is a Holding company. Within the European
market the PaperlinX group owns local merchants in 18
different countries. BührmannUbbens is one of their main
sales channels in The Netherlands, Robert Horne in the
United Kingdom and Deutsche Papier in Germany. These
Fig 2.1 PaperlinX Structure

In order to serve these local companies a local approach
is likewise used. For example, BührmannUbbens in the
Netherlands has three regional offices (figure 2.2) which
each serve a specific area in The Netherlands. This method is
used by each Operating Company in the PaperlinX Group
across Europe. This leads to a highly regional focus from the
operating companies, and to some extent each Operating
Company has their own agenda (e.g. making their sales quota
for that year).

2.1.3 Outsourced manufacturering

The fact that the PaperlinX Group focuses completely
on merchanting, mean that they do not actually make the
products themselves. The paper is produced by external
paper manufacturers. Within this industry this is the
logical structure; there is a division between merchants and
manufacturers. Hello Paper for example is made by one of
the world’s largest manufacturers; Sappi. There is a short list Fig 2.2 Regional Offices BührmannUbbens
of around ten large manufacturers, which make the paper for
around a hundred different brands of paper in the European be divided in four different strategic areas; commercial print
commercial printing market. PaperlinX uses several of these paper, office paper, signs & displays and packaging. Due to the
manufacturers; some products are even produced by a list of structure of the PaperlinX Holding, many local merchants
manufacturers. offer various other additional products. The additional
products range from printing press equipment, ink and even
PaperlinX focuses on the distribution, sales, branding and printing work flow software. In reality this means that the
marketing of it. PaperlinX pursues a House of Brands portfolios differ per operating company.
strategy (Rao, Agarwal, et al., 2004) and it functions as a
managing holding for its operating companies (e.g. the local PaperlinX distributes both a mixture of in-house brands and
merchants). external brands. PaperlinX aims to generate 35 percent of its
profits from the in-house brands and have them available at
each of their merchants, all across Europe. PaperlinX earns
2.2 Product Brands 65 percent of their profits through the distribution and sales
PaperlinX Europe and its Operating Companies distribute a of external brands. These are brands developed by companies
long list of different products. The core of their offering can outside of the PaperlinX Group. Some of those brands

even compete with PaperlinX’ in-house brands. This is the Core
common approach in this market, due to the separation of Core is positioned as the basic brand. It is available in two
merchants and manufacturers. different surface finishes; silk and gloss. The product is
produced by four different manufacturers leading to a lower
PaperlinX has a portfolio of their own brands in each of the level of consistency (whether this difference is discernable may
four strategic areas (Appendix 3). The focus of this project lies be questioned). The product is available with less specification
with the strategic area Commercial Print. than Hello; only in the most commonly used grammages,
sizes and volumes. Core is therefore aimed as the basic
2.2.1 Commercial Print solution to the commercial printer’s day-to-day printwork.
There are three main brands in Commercial Print, Wood Free
Coated paper portfolio: Hello, Core and Revive (figure 2.3). Revive
Revive is positioned as the recycled brand. The product is
Hello available in the three different surface finishes; matt, silk and
Hello is the premium Wood Free Coated paper brand. It is gloss. The product is further more available in different levels
available in four different surface finishes; matt, silk, gloss and of recycled paper contents; 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% recycled.
fat matt. The product is produced by one single manufacturer Though the product is within the same market as Hello and
(Sappi), which creates a higher level of consistency in the Core, it can be viewed as a subcategory. The product is more
paper. The product is available in an incredible range of interesting for the End User (e.g. Philips, BMW), with an
variants: grammages (weight and thickness of paper), sizes elaborate CSR plan, due to the sustainable nature of the
(size of each sheet) and volumes (amount of paper per order). product. Revive is therefore positioned as the high quality
The customization possibilities make it a broadly applicable sustainable solution aimed at large corporations and printing
product, the single manufacturer promises consistency which companies for which sustainability is an important issue.
combined makes it the premium brand.
The price difference between Hello and Core is marginal; 2
to 5 percent depending on the agreement between operating
a new age in recycled paper

company and client. Revive is on average 20 to 25 percent

Sales Price

more expensive than Hello and Core.

2.2.2 UplinX
An additional company, part of the PaperlinX group, worth
mentioning is the company UplinX. UplinX is a premedia
solutions group.The group consists of a number of different
products and companies which offer software solutions to
Utility/Quality (as positioned in Portfolio)
the print industry (Appendix 4). The company is one of
Fig 2.3 Wood Free Coated Paper Brands

the largests in its market. They have several brands in their Since the local sales representatives are responsible for the
portfolio and operate in the United States, Australia and sales of the products; a large section of the campaign is spent
Europe. on the promotion of the brand internally.

2.3 Services 2.5 Sales

Up until now the structure of PaperlinX and the product 2.5.1 Personal Sales
portfolio have been explored. To understand the full aproach With most clients the operating company has a long lasting
of PaperlinX it is necessary to know how they supply their relationship; clients do not switch merchants often. In most
services, marketing and sales. business-to-business service provision the management
of relationships, between customer and employee, is an
It is a competitive field and distinguishing a merchanting integral element (Bitner et al., 1994). The foundations for
company in services is difficult. The focus for the operating the customers’ perception on quality are formed during the
companies of PaperlinX lies with making their clients life personal contact, and are largely based on emotion. Though
easier, by reducing their costs and reducing their workload. the products and technological systems backing up the service
For BührmannUbbens and Proost & Brandt. An example of (e.g. product delivery), are of great importance; the service
this is the possibility to customize the size of the paper or the encounters between client and employee are the face of the
quantity down to single sheets. services (Yastrow, 2007). The management of relationships
is the single most important factor in the business of the
Operating Companies; the sales representatives make or break
2.4 Marketing the company.
Within the market, and with the right target group, the
PaperlinX brand is known. Yet, in actuality clients are 2.5.2 Online Sales
mostly familiar with the brand of paper and the operating One of the main changes within PaperlinX’ operating
companies that sells it. PaperlinX is the global holding and companies for the past decade has been the move towards
their marketing and promotional resources are spent on the online sales channels. Currently around 15 to 20% of sales
marketing of the exclusive in-house brands of their portfolio. are through an online sales website, without interference of
PaperlinX focuses on the europe wide marketing activities employees. Yet, related to the previous mentioning of the
of each of the in house paper brands. Yet, even though Core, importance of personal relationships between employee and
Hello and Revive all function in the same market place, their client, an average of 80% is ordered by a personal phone call or
target groups are of course different. Though both Core and by an e-mail to the usual sales representative.
Hello are aimed at commercial printers, Revive is aimed at
the end user; the group for which sustainability is high on the
agenda. In the following chapter the efforts for Hello will be

CH. 3 Fig 3.1 Hello Mission, Vision, Values, products

Hello Paper
BührmannUbbens, which originally started Hello, wanted to create a brand and a product with a vision
based on the wishes and needs of their clients. Hello was officially launched in six European countries
in 1998 as one of the first cross-country paper brands, replacing well over ten existing brands. In 2001
they became the number 1 paper brand in their market, a position they hold to this day.

When Hello was launched it created a stir within the vision is strongly pursued through Hello’s complete identity;
commercial print market, a highly competitive market in marketing, advertising and promotion (see Appendix 6). This
which sales were led by the price of the product. vision is one of the core values that made Hello the biggest
brand in its market. Hello was the first paper brand that
“For PaperlinX Hello is the most talked and listened to their clients; and used that throughout
important brand, a brand with a lot of their branding.
Roberto Cavicchia, Category Director PaperlinX
3.1.3 Product
One of the main strengths of Hello has always been the
quality and diverse specifications of its products; the different
3.1 Brand and Product papers (Figure 3.1). In the previous chapter it has been
3.1.1 Cross-country Brand discussed how Hello compares to the other brands in the
The main reason for the succes of Hello is the fact that it was PaperlinX portfolio. All the paper for Hello comes from
one of the first europe wide brands; previous to Hello most one single manufacturer, which therefore creates the highest
merchants (i.e. operating companies) each had their own line consistency in the product. Furthermore, Hello is available
of brands. Hello replaced a number of those brands and made in a broad range of grammages, sizes and volumes. The paper
it known across Europe. can be ordered to the exact specifications of its client; making
the job of their client a lot easier. A study by Hello Paper with
3.1.2 Brand Vision 2500 printers from thirteen European countries, confirmed
Hello Paper was created with the vision that it was the that the Consistency in quality of Hello’s products was most
response, the answer, to the needs of its customers. This noticeable. (PQR, 2007). Today, the products of Hello are

The Answer

Trouble Shooting Representative

Sample Book
Traveling Sales Representative

Office Sales Representative Promotional Website

Delivery of orders
Product & Packaging

Online Ordering and website

Training Courses and Special Events Advertising (Magazines, online)

Fig 3.2 The division between service touch points and brand touch points

basically as good as they can be. 3.1.4 Service

Hello has always distinguished itself through its products
For the last couple of years Hello has therefore focused on and services surrounding those products. For example, when
adding new product lines to its portfolio. This year Hello the Hello brand was introduced they promised a 24 hour
will launch Hello Hot Silk to the market; a paper with delivery service, which at the time was desperately needed
an improved silk surface quality and faster ink drying and by the commercial printers. Yet, over the years these services
runnability. Hot Silk is more expensive than Silk, yet due to started to lose its value and recognition. The regional
its improved printing speed it can actually become cheaper operating companies which were basically responsible for
for specialized printing companies (which want to run the the provision of these services (they distribute and sell
maximum amount of print jobs per day). To make things the product), started offering them on all the brands they
clear, Hot Silk was developed by manufacturer Sappi, and is distributed. For the operating companies this was a necessity,
already sold under the Sappi Tempo brand. due to the fact that competitors also started offering the same
services on all brands. Once both the basic brand and the
These products extend the Hello brand into niche areas. They premium brand are delivered within 24 hours, Hello loses its
are more expensive and specialized products; and are either advantage. Hello’s clients see the brand as a steady and reliable
only used for special print jobs or by commercial printers with player within the market; good price, broad offer and useful
specific needs. catalogue.

Hello was not recognized as a distinctive brand and clients do

not know what services they offer (PQR, 2007).

3.2 Sales tools. The tools used for marketing by Hello Paper range
from advertisements, folders, magazine inserts to gifts for
Up until 2005 Hello Paper had a steady yearly rise in the sales clients. The marketing is smart, clear and promotes the
of their products. Yet, since then sales have stalled and during values of Hello: Fresh, Pioneering, Sophisticated and Active.
the financial crisis they decreased heavily (figure 3.3). Each year the brand has one or more marketing campaigns,
depending on whether a new product is launched or if sales
are decreasing.

200.000 The touch points between Hello and their clients are mostly

150.000 related to branding. Due to the structure of this industry, the

100.000 role division between PaperlinX, Operating Companies and
Paper Brands, Hello focuses on promotion and marketing.

3.4 Competition

Fig 3.3 Sales Figures of Hello Paper Competition to a paper brand can be viewed on a number of
levels. On a product level it can be compared to competing
The reasons for this decrease are multifold. First of all paper brands; even to competing merchants. On a broad level
there is a decrease in the entire sales of paper products due paper is competing with many communication mediums. This
to the change in the communication industry. Paper has an will be further explored in chapters 5 and 6, this paragraph
increased competition from other communication mediums, will provide an insight into the competition of paper brands
which are expected to grow throughout the following years and merchants.
(EMGE, 2010). Secondly Hello has been dealing with fierce
competition, both through improved branding and marketing There are around eight to ten large merchanting groups in
from competing paper brands. A third factor is caused by Europe and each of these merchanting groups has a number
the mergers of competitive merchants, which increased their of Paper Brands in its portfolio. As the analysis in chapter
distribution channel(s) beyond that of PaperlinX (and Hello). 1 (see figure 1.1) showed; this leads to a high number of
competitors. Competitiveness between merchants is low. Most
commercial printers remain loyal to their main merchants;
3.3 Marketing leading to longlasting relationships.
When Hello Paper was introduced on the market they
showed that a lot could be obtained with proper marketing, Due to the commoditization in the market there is little
promotion and branding in this market. Over the years competition on products or services. Antalis/Arjo Wiggins
they organized many marketing campaigns, using various are the main competitor of PaperlinX; they are the largest

merchant with the biggest distribution channel. But, all 3.4.1 Service
merchants offer great services and have great personal After an extensive analysis of the market, it was concluded
relationships; two of the key-succes factors. The distribution that offering services around Paper brands are an uncommon
channel is the third key-success factor through which approach. The largest part of the paper brands focuses
merchants can still define themselves. exclusively on marketing. There is a clear division in this
between merchant and paper brand. The merchant provides
The paper brands, as discussed in chapter 1, mostly define the services relevant for the commercial printers, the paper
themselves through their branding. Again, due to the brand focuses on the product and it’s marketing; Hello’s
commoditization, it can be stated that there is no competition approach is no exception in this (see figure 3.2). There are
on a product level (with the exception of niche markets). Due little to no services which are paper brand-specific. Some
to the regional focus of the entire market there are many local marketing efforts might be viewed as a service in the broadest
brands available and there are a lot of competing brands to sense of the word: the organization of design contest, a
Hello Paper. In table 3.2 the top 15 of European Brands is company magazine; yet they never add honest practical value
given, researched by Opticom (2007). Hello is the number to the commercial printer.
one brand, yet PaperlinX estimates the gap between Hello
and number two is continuously decreasing every year. 3.4.2 Marketing
Due to the lack of product and service differentiation,
Table 3.2 Most Well Known Brands
marketing becomes the defining factor important factor for
The most well-known brands in Europe 2009 the brands within this market. Most of the largest brands
An analysis of the brand awareness of Wood Free (e.g. Novatech, Garda, Lumi) focus heavily on marketing and
Coated Paper brands in Europe (Opticom, 2009)
branding. Each of the brands position themselves through
Brand Merchant Group a specific brand identity. Sticking to the earlier mentioned
1 Hello PaperlinX brands; Novatech’s identity is driven by technology, Garda
2 Maine ArjoWiggins
3 Profi Igepa focuses on Fashion and Lumi focuses on nature. Though the
4 Novatech Antalis products don’t differentiate, the brands do. Yet, as was already
5 Satimat ArjoWiggins mentioned a number of times; the merchant (e.g. operating
6 Garda Lecta Group
7 Luxo Papyrus company) makes the difference. Brands are of lesser value,
8 Magno Sappi which is no surprise considering how they are used in this
9 Creator Lecta market.
10 Lumi Stora Enso
11 Condat Lecta
12 Galaxi Inapa In Appendix 7 a more in-depth analysis of the competition
13 Claro Antalis can be found.
14 Chromomat ArjoWiggins
15 Burgo Burgo

CH. 4

Hello is in a difficult position. Their sales are decreasing and the market is becoming more competitive.
Hello has proven in the past that it is possible to add services to a paper brand. Yet, due to the complex
structure within PaperlinX these services are often short lived. Something must change. Building on the
expertise which was gathered in the previous three chapters a number of conclusions has been drawn to
give focus to the project. These are discussed in this chapter.

4.1 Product Innovation Niche markets are currently a field in which many paper
brands are heading, because there is little to gain with the
The products of Hello are of high quality and on this level core products. This decreasing need for product improvement
there is no doubt from the clients point of view; Hello is a shows in the fact that it has been well over four years since
premium paper brand (PQR, 2007). Within this area there product innovation was introduced within Hello’s paper.
is little room left for further innovation. Each paper could More importantly, the product is developed by an external
have even faster ink drying and other improved features, yet manufacturer and the formula for the product is not restricted
it is not a necessity for the commercial printers. The expected to Hello. For example, Hello Gloss is the exact same product
introduction of Hot Silk, a paper which allows for faster print as competitor’s Antalis’ Triple Star and Hello Fat Matt is the
production, is a product aimed at a niche in the commercial exact same product as competitor’s Garda Cartiere’s GardaPat
printing market. Only printers with an incredibly productive 13. The to be released Hello Hot Silk is the exact same
printing process will benefit from using the more expensive product as Sappi’s Tempo paper. A product portfolio can be
Hot Silk. extended into niches, but a paper brand can hardly define
“To define Hello in its products itself through its products. This leads to a focus on branding.

would mean moving to a higher level.

That just does not match the Hello Brand. 4.2 Differentiation in Brands
Products like Hello hot silk are never Within the portfolio of PaperlinX the differences in the
a replacement for the standard Hello products of Core and Hello may be neglected. Where Hello
products; they are in a niche.” does distinguish itself is through it’s broad offering. Hello is
Ralf de Jong, Price Benchmark Coordinator PaperlinX available in a large amount of different formats (grammages,

size, volume; Appendix 5), which makes it versatile brand. Interestingly enough, the Opticom (2007) research report
That is what makes Hello a premium brand. The brands do focuses mainly on Brand Awareness. In fact, the analysis of
not differ much in product quality. Branding makes it possible the market showed that most paper brands focus exclusively
to position them in PaperlinX’ portfolio and in the minds on creating brand awareness. Davis et al. (2007) found that
of the commercial printers. It improves market coverage by within B2B commodity businesses, company resources are
providing commercial printers with a choice, even though the better spent on programs assuring a consistent product brand
differences are marginal. experience through a higher level of value, service or employee
training, than investments in building brand awareness, such
Opticom (2007) does a yearly Brand Equity analysis on the as advertising. Currently, all paper brands including Hello
paper market. It focuses on the Brand Awareness of the paper focus exclusively on creating awareness. Whilst research
brands. Comparison of the products itself does take place, proves the value of building services around the brand. Yet,
but the outcomes differ very little due to the commoditization most literature focusses on services which are offered by the
of the products. Yet, to what extent the paper branding supplier, not the product brand itself (Hill, McGrath, et al.,
makes a difference within this market remains to be difficult 1998).
to pinpoint. Most research on branding, brand awareness
and brand equity has been focused on the the Business- The fact remains that focusing on creating awareness is an easier
to-consumer market. In Business-to-Business the levels of solution than actually adding value to the products brand equity, if the
importance have always been questioned. Interestingly, Fern product is a commodity (Reimann, Schilke, et al., 2010).
and Brown (1984) question whether organizational buying
(i.e. buying in a Business-to-Business context) is in fact that
different from consumer buying. They found that the risk for
4.3 Diffusion in Structure
the organization is most important, while personal preference It is not that Hello has not pursued services surrounding
and the risk of personal failure are also two very important its products throughout the years. The effect of it has often
factors in the selection of a brand. This is similar to Business- been overshadowed by the Operating Company’s brand. The
to-Consumer markets, as Bernoff & Li (2008) summarize PaperlinX group grew to a large holding within a marginal
it in a single sentence: “Businesses are people too”. Hutton time period of ten years. The fast growth of the group shows
(1997) further explored brand equity in an organizational the power and strength of PaperlinX, yet it also leads to
buying context and actually found that brand equity exists in many internal organizational issues. The operating companies
business-to-business. It was found that buyers were indeed are largely responsible for their own wellbeing. PaperlinX
willing to pay higher prices for certain brands. Yet, higher is constantly in the process of aligning their operating
levels of commoditization in a market decrease the value of companies, to maximize the value chain. It confuses the
brand equity; and this makes a difficult issue in the paper clients; within the Netherlands both BührmannUbbens and
industry. What is the level of commoditization in a specific Proost & Brandt fight for their business. Odd considering
product category like Wood Free Coated Paper? they are both part of the PaperlinX group.

This all has an effect on the in house brands of PaperlinX. 3.2). Hello can promise 24 hour delivery, but the Operating
Due to the complexity of the group, one of the most Company delivers on that promise. For Hello to pursue the
important factors is internal marketing. PaperlinX develops improvement of their service offering and become a service
a new product line extension or a new product brand, yet brand, it is of upmost importance that the client is able to
thousands of local sales representatives from 14 different relate the services (exclusively) to Hello.
countries have to sell it. PaperlinX puts great efforts in
streamlining this internal marketing process, yet it does Hello needs services which are completely their own and for the largest
cause problems in the creation of product brands which are part not dependent on the Operating Companies. It will allow for Hello
dependent on one strong coherent message throughout the to pursue a strong and consistent message, without diffusion caused by
organization. the operating companies.

It is a troublesome issue for Hello to pursue services

surrounding the brand and products. Simply because the
4.4 Brand Extension
client does not recognize or acknowledge them as Hello’s This change in the market and a decreasing demand for
services. This is a common issue in Business-to-business innovation in paper, has made Hello’s current vision to slowly
markets. The branding of products and their services is start losing its value. Hello has build a strong vision, to answer
difficult due to the issue that the product brand comes second the needs of their clients. Yet, they only offer the answer
to the firm brand (Gordon et al., 1993). Hello suffers the through marketing and through their paper products. Which
same consequences. The quality of service, the people offering is completely logical , yet clients needs in paper have been
the service and the relationships between brand and client are answered. Roscam Abbing & van Gessel (2008) acknowledge
linked to the operating company selling the product, instead this shift from creating compelling brand promises (e.g. the
of the product brand itself (Berry 2000, Gordon et al. 1993). answer to the printer’s needs) to fulfilling on those promises
In this market the product brand is mostly used as a logical in a meaningful way. The latter has become the possible next
way to distinguish between the different products that are on step for Hello. Hello is a strong brand, their product has
offer (Sinclair & Seward, 1998, cited by Davis et al., 2008); reached its potential; how can they maintain this image with
Core is basic paper and Hello is premium pape . The defining their clients by fulfilling their needs?
brand in this equation is the operating company, not the
product brand. Due to the lack of innovation in its products, Hello will have
to extend its brand in a new (product) category in order to
This is the main problem which diffuses Hello’s positioning pursue this vision. Brand Extensions are very common; more
as a brand which adds services to its products. Hello’s touch often than not they are a financially effective method with
points with their clients are completely focused on branding a higher chance of succes for companies to introduce new
(e.g. marketing, advertising), whilst they are dependent on products or services; compared to introducing a new brand
the Operating Companies for their services (see Figure (Aaker & Keller 1990, Ries & Trout 1981). Estimating the

vision to build on. Yet, Hello is currently completely focused
on paper; to find similarity in a new service will be near to
impossible. Furthermore, services often lead to a higher
perceived risk of purchase, due to intangibility and non-
standardization of services (Zeithaml, Parasuraman, et al.,
1985). The brand has also been losing its value. Hello’s clients
no longer view them as innovative in the market (PQR,

There are opportunities for Hello to extend its brand, yet it should be
properly analyzed whether the extension matches the current brand. A
re-positioning strategy might be a necessity to move into a new category.

Figure 4.1 Commercial printer Robert Bosch

4.5 Target Group
success on beforehand is difficult, due to the dependence on
From the analysis it could be concluded that the print buyers
many untangible factors (Hem, Chernatony, et al., 2001).
have a lot of power in the choice for paper brands. If a print
Most research confirms that brand extensions are more easily
buyer has a preference, the commercial printer will comply.
accepted if the brand has a reputation of high quality (e.g.
The emphasis in that sentence should be on if. The initial
Aaker & Keller, 1990). Ambler & Styles (1996) found that
research shows that there is little interest in paper brands
brand extensions are more successful if they are more similar
from the print buyers side. The print buyer will have a
to the core product. Sinek (2009) argues that the core vision
preference in type of paper (glossy, silk, matt, white, ivory,
of a brand is the defining factor in proper brand extension.
etc) yet brands have usually little value to them. Though this
Sinek mentions Apple as an example, whose vision is aimed
provides an opportunity, to get Hello embedded in the minds
at the creation of beautifully designed, innovative and user
of print buyers, it is held back by the fact that their interest
friendly products. This vision has lead Apple successfully
is low and they are a difficult group to approach. In 80-90%
into several product categories, straying from their core
of the cases it comes down to the commercial printer for the
focus on computers. Something that Dell for example never
choice of the paper brand.
succeeded in. The acceptance of brand extensions is a highly
psychological process in which; the level of quality, similarity
Both the commercial printers and the print buyers will be explored
to the core product category, the brands vision (and reflected
in the following section, but the general focus will remain with the
brand image), the risk of purchase (related to the expected
commercial printer.
quality) and the innovativeness of the client are all combined.
Building on these insights Hello has advantages for brand
extension. The brand has a high perceived quality and a great

4.6 Focus
Based on this analysis the focus for this project will be directed at the following.

1. Innovation independent of the 2. Services focusing beyond paper 3. Adding value to the business of

operating companies the commercial printers

Hello has always been dependent on the The analysis has showed that needs of Hello is a premium paper brand. The
operating companies for the delivery of clients related to paper have been answered. operating companies focus mainly on
their services. The client therefore does not Building services around paper, might not decreasing the costs for their clients by
see these services as Hello’s and the directly lead to higher paper sales. offering smart logistical services for example.
operating company receives the (justified) A highly relevant issue for the clients, yet
credit. Hello should innovate independently Hello positions itself as The Answer to the more difficult to implement for Hello, if they
wish to be independent from the Operating
from the operating companies, without commercial printer’s needs, yet currently

becoming dependent on the operating this is just a promise. It is time to fulfill this
companies resources. Hello should be in promise, and use it as a vision for Hello’s Hello has the opportunity to focus on
control. services in the future. Hello should extend services which add value for the commercial
their brand beyond paper, and be the printers; by improving their position or
A solution could be found in an online answer to the needs of the commercial revenue. In this the role of and the
platform. This would allow Hello to remain in printers. relationship with the Print Buyer is essential
control; through online platform regional touch to explore.
points become less important. Given the negative projected growth of the
paper industry, entering more promising
markets can also reduce risk for Hello.
Focus Vision

Hello needs services which are, for the In order to move towards becoming a Hello must innovate through adding
largest part, independent from the service brand, Hello will have to value to the commercial printer’s
Operating Companies. Hello must be in innovate based on the needs of their business; value which improves their
control. clients. position and revenue.

4.7 Conclusion
Based on this Focus the next section of the report will dive exploration of online services and communication platforms.
into the commercial printing market. It will explore the needs An online platform would allow Hello to act independently
of the commercial printers, the relationship with their clients from the operating companies, due to the fact their business
and their role in the communication industry. would be online and not directly dependent on the operating
companies for delivery of services.
The vision that Hello should innovate and approach services
independent from the Operating Companies lead to an

Section 2
Though Hello had initiated a number of interesting services in the
past, up until now Hello has always been dependent on Operating
Companies to deliver them. In this divergence between paper brand
and operating company, the latter wins in power. It was concluded that
Hello should therefore develop innovations which are for the greater
part independent from the Operating Companies.

It was found that Hello’s strengths lay in it’s high brand awareness
across Europe, and their image of consistent quality. Hello wants to
be The Answer to the needs of their clients. This provides an excellent
platform for innovation, which should therefore be driven by the needs
of the commercial printers and their clients, the print buyers.

In this section the printing market will be further explored, to find out
in which areas Hello can support their clients, to spot opportunities.
Chapter 5 will discuss the communication industry, chapter 6
the commercial printing market and chapter 7 will explore online
communities; due to the fact this has been considered an opportunity
by the author of this report and Hello.

CH. 5

The paper industry is basically dependent on the printing industry. The change in the
printing industry is a big one, lead by the fact that the entire communication industry has
changed. Before the commercial print market can be further discussed, it is essential to
understand the changing role of printed communications, the print product, within the
entire communication industry.

The communication and information market is changing. This the different communication channels which are currently
change has had its largest effect on paper and printed media. available. Fifteen or twenty years ago print was always the
Overall sales in commercial printing are expected to decrease logical direction; it was much easier and relatively cheaper
2 to 5% each year for the next 10 years (EMGE, 2010). Most than Television or Radio. Today there are many more media
commercial print communication is used for marketing, available and people are scattered, using many different types
advertorial and promotional use. Advertising expenditure of communication (Anderson, 2006). Yet, communication
is a common meassurement linked to commercial printing budget within companies are not increasing with this change
sales and advertising expenditure is expected to fall 22% in (ZenithOptimedia, 2010). The same budget which a number
magazines and 25% in newspapers; while ad expenditure is of years ago would be spend on TV and Print, suddenly needs
expected to rise 8% in internet, all during the next 3 years to be spread across six, seven or eight different communication
(ZenithOptimedia, 2010). Everything points towards a mediums (Webb, 2010) (see figure 5.1).
difficult future for commercial print and paper.

5.2 Dynamic is Convenient

5.1 Broadening of the market A further movement away from print communication
One of the main changes is the move towards online is the fact that communication is increasingly becoming
communication; annual reports can be downloaded from more dynamic. Where we would obtain our news through
corporate websites and newsletters and magazines are, for a television news program or a news paper, fifteen years
example, turned into online content. The focus has moved ago, today many have shifted towards the internet and free
from the, for example, company’s brochure to the company’s online websites for their news. In fact, today we even obtain
website as the main focus point. A logical effect looking at news from around the world within seconds through twitter


Future? Website

Television Print Search Print


Mobile Television

Radio Social

Fig 5.1 The spread of the communication budget during the 1990s and the communication market of today

(Anderson, 2006). Information and communication have The choice for a certain communication medium has always
become dynamic instead of static. People can read, watch, come down to the convenience of it. The convenience of the
listen, react and share within a single medium; the internet time, price and reach of a medium (Leonhard, 2010). Today
offers the opportunity to create a dialogue surrounding communication takes this convenience a step further due to
communication (Kagan, 2008). Another practical example can the ability to constantly adjust it. The website can be adjusted
be found in E-mail marketing. Many companies have included at any moment of the day and with twitter, Linkedin and
E-mail marketing in their structure; all because it’s an easy facebook companies can have conversations with their clients.
and fast tool to deliver a message. An E-mail campaign can Paper cannot do this.
be created and distributed in a single day, even within hours.
This change of dynamics in communication has been making
5.3 The role of Print
“Paper is very static, and the website This change from static (Print, TV, Radio) to dynamic
is dynamic. And that’s the future, constant (Website, Mobile, E-Mail, Social Media) has lead to the fact
change… Paper will take on a supportive that print is no longer the main focus of communication. It
role.“ has become a once-a-day medium, for example; a magazine,
book or news paper. The internet (e.g. social media, website,
Els Teunissen, Graphic Designer.
mobile) is used throughout the day, for many different needs
in many different contexts (Microsoft Advertising, 2010).
print less and less relevant. More importantly, print is a static Print is simply losing relevance and becoming secondary.
product; once it is created it cannot change.

Fig 5.2 The Kindle, The iPad and the QUE ProReader. What will it mean for the printing industry?

“We get more jobs, but in smaller born after 1995, the year the internet was introduced to the
print numbers. For example; Of this pop- public; they grew up with the internet. Facebook opened its
digital doors in February 2004 and today* Facebook has five
up book only 300 were printed. Within the
hundred million active members which have been online in
clients budget they could have easily printed the past 30 days (Facebook, 2010). It shows the fact that the
3000, if they would have chosen a simpler communication market is changing incredibly fast. It is near
design.” to impossible to predict what will have changed in another five
Peter Lagerweij, CEO Printer Libertas.
“We sell luxury, and at the moment
This change leads to a new focus for print. It is not
dissapearing, of course. Print will become increasingly more print is the only medium that can truly,
extreme in its role, since its role as the common medium tangibly express the level of luxury and
will decrease. Print will be used as a highly low budget quality of our actual products.”
product and, the other extreme, a luxury product (Microsoft Danielle Sala, B&B Italia
Advertising 2010, Webb 2010). The latter being interesting for
a premium brand like Hello. The change can already be noticed,
simply compare a current copy of your favorite magazine to years. What the market will look like in 2015 or even 2020.
one from five years ago (e.g. Autoweek); most likely it will It is expected that the market for commercial printing will
have become better produced with better paper. decrease. The change in the role of the print product, will
demand a change in the role of the commercial printer.
This will be further explored in the following chapter,In the
5.4 Conclusion following chapter the expected decrease within commercial
The communication market will continously keep on print is further explored and the effect it has on the market
changing. 70 million people in the European Union were and the commercial print companies.

* 13 September 2010

CH. 6

Print Market
The importance of the printed product is decreasing within the entire communication
industry. This change has had enormous effects on the commercial print market. Increasingly
the product is becoming a commodity and many printers have been forced to file for
bankruptcy. In this chapter the print market will be explored, leading to opportunities for
Hello Paper.

6.1 The Market Therefore there is a relative high number of small companies.
These many small companies focus on specific regions (e.g.
Commercial printers are businesses which offer printing Delft has ten commercial printers, which mainly focus on
services to the market. A research from 2005 showed that Delft and the surrounding area). These are the main target
there are around 78.000 commercial printers (Ernst&Young, group of the merchants and Hello paper. Most large printers,
2009) in Europe; these are the possible target group of Hello. focusing on big productions quantities like magazines and

This is in fact an estimation, because the number of printers 80%

is decreasing. The printing market has been under a lot 70%
of pressure by both technological and social changes in
the world. The need for printed communication is simply
decreasing and the role of the printed product has changed. 50%
Within Europe the market consists for 72% out of
Small Printing Enterprises, of less than 50 employees
(Ernst&Young, 2009). In fact, the total number of employees 20%
working in this field rank around 552.000 (statistics from 10%
2005; Ernst&Young, 2009); this includes both large and
mid-sized companies, and it means an average of around 7
< 50 50 - 250 > 250
employees per company.
Employees per company
Fig 6.1 Number of employees per commercial printer

Fig 6.2 impression of a commercial printer, inspired by Competitiveness of the European Graphic Industry (Ernst&Young, 2009).

news papers, buy their paper directly from the manufacturer market is broadening, while the percentage of printed media
or they have large contracts with a few merchants. Next to is decreasing. Viewing this as a percentage of the United
this they have a lot of knowledge in house (and therefore States Gross Domestic Product, as one of the largest print
are less likely to look at Hello for special services). They market, gives a broader idea of the extent of the decline
work without much interference of a merchant or leverage (ERC Research, 2010). In 1993 the printing industry was at
of brands. Therefore the focus will be on small to mid sized its peak with a total of 1,22% of the American GDP. If this
enterprises. trend of 1,22% would have continued through the years, the
print industry would now total 176,2 Billion Dollar. Today it
is only 88,2 Billion Dollar, or 0,61% of GDP. The total sales
6.2 Commoditization of Printing of today are almost equal to those of 1993. The production
The Impression of a Printer (figure 6.2) shows the way capacity of today’s commercial printers is simply higher than
commercial printers experience the change in their industry. the demand for printed products.
The commoditization of paper is a logical conclusion after the
analysis of the paper market (Reimann, M., O. Schilke, et al., 6.2.2 Automation
2010). Due to the changes in the communication market the The difficulty to define oneself can be linked to the
sames is happening in printed communications. automation within the print industry. Fifteen years ago, even
ten years ago, printing was more of a technological craft.
6.2.1 Decrease in Sales Separating the colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key/Black
Chapter 5 on the communication market showed the change in a full color document to be able to print it through offset
and the effect it is having on print communications. Basically (see appendix 1), would take over an hour. Today one of the
paper and print are a static communication medium; once many Adobe programs can do this at the click of a single
it is printed it does not change. The entire communication button. The craft is decreasing in the process. Almost each

printer can now do the exact same kind of work as any of many large print jobs are increasingly outsourced to these
its competitors. The effect of this is that many printers have countries. The eastern European market is in fact one of the
started to focus on perfecting the printing process in order to few currently on the rise within Europe (EMGE, 2010).
lower the prices. Leading to the commoditization of print. This added level of competition to the (Western) European
printer increases their problems even further. Though Hello
6.2.3 Technological Mind-set sells their product in both western and eastern Europe, the
This focus on automation rolls out of the technological mind- commoditization of print can never be a good thing if you are
set of the printers. Printing has always been a manufacturing a premium paper brand.
business. The ones that distinguished themselves usually did
this on technological advantages. In today’s market this is 6.2.5 Financial Crisis
no longer valid (Ernst&Young, 2009). Commercial printers In 2008 the Financial Crisis hit the world. The printing
should be pursuing innovation driven by the customer and industry was already suffering, yet this lead to a large sudden
the market. Though the mechanical life of printing presses decrease in sales; estimated between 15 and 20% (EMGE,
is still twenty to thirty years, the relevant marketing life of it 2010). This sudden change exposed many printers to the
might not even be five years (Webb, 2010). Most printers are issues currently harming their market. Desperate to keep
their presses rolling, many started to decrease their prices.
“We used to buy the biggest, the A three hundred thousand euro press working against cost
longest, the fastest, the most powerful price costs less then one not being used. Offering printing
printing press we could get our hands against cost price partially destroyed the price benchmark
on, and that would be our set-up for the of printing. The reasons why many printers started lowering
following ten to fifteen years.” their prices is related to the fact that they found it difficult to
define themselves within this market in any other way (Webb,
Robbert Bosch, CEO Royal Printer Callenbach
still stuck with high investments in printing presses which
are no longer relevant in today’s market; or they simply don’t 6.2.6 Conclusion
realise how to make it relevant in this market. Printers are The technological mind-set and related approach, is the most
still approaching their company from a technological stand important reason for the increasing commoditization of this
point, whilst the technology has become the commodity in market. Through the years the printers have stopped adding
the equation. value. In its basic form the product and service of printers
hasn’t changed over the last decade(s). Many of the printers
6.2.4 Printing in the East have not sufficiently grown with the total development of
A side effect of this is the threat of emerging Asian and the communication industry, instead they almost boycotted
Eastern European competitors (Ernst&Young, 2009). The the entire change in the market. Viewing the internet as the
lower labour costs in these regions make it even cheaper and enemy of print.

6.3 The Commercial Printers price war, in which simple standard print jobs (e.g. flyers,
business cards, folders) are offered against minimal prices.
Treacy and Wiersema (1995) defined three fundamentally Many printers have been unable to survive in this competitive
different types of business disciplines; Customer Intimacy, market. But by now, even the price benchmarks for capacity
Operational Excellence and Product Leadership. Allthough printers have been broken down.
companies must pursue all these disciplines in order to be
succesful; the main focus usually lies with one. The Customer The focus within this market is on operational excellence.
Intimacy discipline focuses on adding value through building Yet, due to the lower price benchmark and demand, this does
on the customers specific needs and demands. This usually not necessarily mean that it gets your company more print
leads to the creation of value added services and high work; unless you are incredibly succesful at it and are able to
customer relationship management. Operational Excellence reduce your prices severely. Reimann, Schilke, et al., (2010)
on the other hand focuses on streamlining the operations found that Operational Excellence and Product Leadership
of the company to reduce costs and improve profit margins. are becoming of less value once a market is moving towards
Product Leadership focuses on the creation of innovative and commoditization, an issue that shows in commercial printing
premium products. (Ernst&Young, 2009). There is little value in focusing on
operational excellence.
Commercial Printers are mainly focusing on two different
directions; operational excelence and customer intimacy. This 6.3.2 Service Focused Print Providers
leads to two main types of printers, respectively; Capacity In chapter 5 it was stated that print is becoming a luxury
Focused Print Providers and Service Focused Print Providers. product. This is the field in which (Western European)
printers can and some currently are distinguishing themselves;
6.3.1 Capacity Focused Print Providers innovating on the product and service (See figure 6.6).
Through the constant streamlining of their printing process
Capacity Printers are able to offer print work against lower Service Focused Print Providers will offer: storage, graphic
prices. It is an intense market; in order to keep profits coming design, customized lay-outs, distribution, packaging and more.
in, the presses need to be rolling all day. It is focused on bulk Some printers are even expanding into web design or E-mail
(quantity). This market is ruled by medium to large sized marketing. Printers can basically make more profit with
printers; companies with the resources to be a capacity printer. services than presses. Some printers are expecting it to even
move further; that printing companies will eventually become
Due to the trouble within the commercial printing market marketing service providers which offer a broad line of
(see paragraph 6.2), many commercial printers have been marketing products (from E-mail marketing to social media
enticed down this path. The last couple of years even smaller marketing). In this scenario it is expected that print will be
printers have started to enter this market, just to keep their sold below cost price and that profits will be generated by the
presses rolling. This field of printing has become an (online) additional services (Webb, 2010).

Fig 6.3 Target Group Definition of Commercial Printers

Though becoming a marketing service provider sounds like

an interesting venture, building services is a difficult task
for the commercial printer, as paragraph 6.2 elaborated on;
otherwise the product would not have so easily turned into a
commodity. Some printer are calling themselves marketing
service providers, yet most are failing; they are viewed as
production companies, which have little knowledge on
marketing services. Simply changing your name does not
change your image.The main reason for this downfall of the
commercial printer lies with the changing needs of their target
market; the relationship with the print buyer.

6.3.3 Conclusion
Based on these assumptions it becomes possible to further
define the target group. The service focused commercial
printers have difficulty to redefine themselves in today’s
market. Though troubling for the printers, it offers
opportunities for Hello to support the commercial printers
with these issues. Hello is a premium paper brand and their
vision is to be the answer to the needs of the commercial
printers. The capacity printers focus on cost reduction; a
field on which the operating companies of PaperlinX also
focus. Based on these assumptions the service focused print
providers will be the target group. It was already stated that
Hello is focused on the European print industry and that
small to mid-sized companies are their main target group.
So far the commercial printer has been viewed as the target
group; yet a commercial printer represents an entire company.
To define the target group the definition in figure 6.3 (left)
will be used; this will be the main focus.

In the following paragraph the relationship with the clients of

the service focused printers will be explored; the print buyers.

Fig 6.4 Graphic Designer Els Teunissen

6.4 The Print Buyers

6.4.1 A Changing Role
Ten to fifteen years ago a print buyer would focus completely
on what its job description says: buying print. The print
buyer was highly knowledgable about paper and printing.
In large companies with a printing budget exceeding one
million Euro a year, a dedicated print buyer will save enough
costs in order to be valid. The fact that the communication
market has broadened has also lead to a changing role for
the print buyer. Literally hundreds, even thousands of print
buyers lost their job (Dana, 2010). Budgets are spread across a
broad range of communication media, and the role of printed
media in this has sunk (see chapter 5). In many occasions the
responsibilities of the classic print buyer have been absorbed
by the marketing manager, communication manager or
publishing manager (O’Brien, 2010). This blurs the role of
print buying. Two main groups of print buyers can be defined;
Creative Agencies and Corporate Buyers.

Creative agencies are a large group, and increasingly becoming

more important in their role as print buyers. Creative agencies
can be companies from 1 to well over a 100 employees; yet in
most situations there’s only one print buyer (e.g. the desktop
publisher or communication manager). For corporations
with an internal marketing or communication department
the buying of print is usually done by the communication
manager. Yet, let’s not forget that many small businesses
also buy print (brochures, flyers and folders). Though these
companies usually hire an external creative agency for
this work, there are occasions when they will organize it

6.4.2 Relationship with the Printer new print buyers can in some scenarios almost be viewed as
The diffusion of the role of print buyers is hard to handle. In common consumers. Commercial printers are currently not
the old situation the print buyer would be on the same level as adapting their business to this.
the printer. It was a technological, organizational and financial
role which matches the mind set of the printer (O’Brien, The main conclusion that can be drawn from this paragraph
2010). Today in many situations the print buyer has a creative, is the fact that there is a gap between the commercial printers
communication or marketing background. the services and and print buyers; on a social and professional level. In
approach they expect or would like to see are different from paragraph 6.5 this gap will be further explored through an
those of the classic print buyer. analysis of a typical printing job process, and the relationship
with the print buyer in that process. In paragraph 6.6 this
The main difference between the classic print buyer and will be outlined through three main reasons, leading to three
today’s print buyer is the fact that they are increasingly search fields and opportunities for Hello.
becoming more driven by emotion. There’s a mismatch
with the commercial printer. Due to this increasing lack of
6.5 Print Job Cycle
technological knowledge print buyers make a decision based
on price and gut feeling (Webb, 2010). Yet, this is difficult to To further explore this gap, and the tangible issues it brings
grasp for the technologically focused printer. with it, the process of a print job was analyzed. On the
following page is the printing cycle of a typical printing job
6.4.3 Conclusion (Figure 6.5).The model is based on the Service Focused
In the current commercial print industry, the print Print Providers as was discussed in the paragraph 6.3. These
buyers primary need is focused on price. Due to the low printers will involve themselves in projects and aim to help
differentiation between printers it is the only clearly their clients with all the steps through the process, since it
recognizable issue that distinguishes one printer from the will often be a demanding print job (imagine for example a
other; it can come down to literally tens of euros on a a children’s pop-up book, a high quality magazine or a number
twelve thousand euro print job (taken from interview). A of varying products part of one single marketing campaign).
research with print buyers has also indicated that an increase
in the service level of printers, and additional services will be The cycle is based on interviews with printers, print buyers and
appreciated (Ernst&Young, 2009), but are simply not offered the experiences within the TAN Brand Communications office.
to the level and needs of today’s print buyer.
Please view figure 6.5 for an understanding of a typical
Todays print buyer has different and broader needs than printing cycle.
before and commercial printers need to transform their
services to fit these needs. Basically, many of today’s print
buyers aren’t as educated in print as they used to be. These





Fin s



Fig 6.5 The Print Job Cycle of a typical print project

Table 6.1 A number of the touch points between the typical commercial printer and the print buyer.

6.5.1 Touch Points to the market. Drukdrukdrukker is an example of a typical

During this cycle there are many touch points between the printer; not an exception, but sooner the rule in this industry.
commercial printers and the print buyer. In Table 6.1 is Commercial printer Moo has created an approach, focused
an overview of a number of these for a typical printer (see completely on their target group; creative professionals. For
appendix 12 for more background information). To relate Druk Druk Drukker the main target group is the same,
this to the previously explored social and professional gap yet the approach is completely different. First of all, the
between commercial printers and print buyers, three of these obvious difference lies in the design of the website. Though
will be briefly discussed. This will provide the reader with an a subjective topic, most of us will value Moo.com above
understanding of the issues. Drukdrukdrukker.

In the ideation (chapter 8) each of the touch points and steps in More interestingly is the practical way they approach their
the print cycle will be further explored, to find opportunities for clients. On a technological level both commercial printers
Hello. would be able to offer the same products (see paragraph
6.2.2). Yet, the difference with commercial printer Moo is the
Website fact that they have applied their product to the needs and
Research studies show that over 48% of print buyers always wishes of the target group. Druk Druk Drukker would also be
checks the website of a printer before starting a new job, able to print a different image on each business card, yet they
45% does this frequently or sometimes and only 7% never have not translated this opportunity towards the client. Moo was
does this (Dana, 2010). In Figure 6.6 and Figure 6.7 are two simply created with today’s print buyer in mind. Druk druk
examples of websites from commercial printers. Moo is an drukker was created from the own view of the commercial
example of a successful printer which has adapted its business printer.


started in 2004 in the United Kingdom. Their business focused

completely on the printing of Business Cards. What made their
product special was the fact that on the back of each business
card a different image could be printed. Technologically not a
difficult process, yet a simple innovation which spoke to the

Recently Moo.com opened an office in the united states. Their

sales reach all over the world, with four main products; normal
business cards, small business cards, postcards and stickers.
Moo.com is mainly used by people from a creative profession, to
whom this approach has proven very attractive.

Fig 6.6 Moo.com a commercial printer focused at business cards, postcards and stickers


Commercial Printer Druk Druk Drukker is one of the top ten search
results in google when looking for “Drukkerij” (Commercial Printer
in Dutch); most of the existing websites of other commercial
printers have a similar online approach.

Druk Druk Drukker offers an incredible variety of products; from

business cards,to flags, to books in all sizes, and the list goes on.
This commercial printer focuses on price; yet their prices do not
differ from the competitors.

The website is difficult to use, and the amount of products which

one can select from make ik difficult to select. The website was
obviously designed from the view of the printer, not aimed at the
view of his clients.

Fig 6.7 Druk-druk-drukker.nl an average Dutch printer offering its services online

*To get an understanding of this issue, please take a look around on these websites online.

“I have a big job coming up. I’m occurs during the printing, this can be of great importance
probably working with the new printing to the print buyer. For commercial printers this would be an
company and we’re thinking about using excelent point in the process to show the value which they are
digital printing...But, this last bad adding to the project, yet no such thing occurs.
experience, with him and digital printing,
puts me on edge... on all levels. Once I 6.6 The Gap
hand in the files, I have to trust him. I can
never be sure until I actually receive the The print industry has, similar to the paper industry, become
work.” a commodity market. This can be explained through a number
Els Teunissen, Graphic Designer
of reasons; the drop in overall printing sales, the technological
Marketing focused mind set of the commercial printers and the
Due to the current market conditions many clients easily continuously changing role of their clients; the print buyers.
switch between printers, making the Pre-Print Process touch Commercial printers don’t speak the language of the the print
points incredibly important. Yet, research and market expert buyers, which makes it difficult for print buyers to distinguish
opinions shows that too few printers pay attention to this between commercial printers. The main way print buyers
area (Dana, 2010). Promotion and marketing are below currently differentiate between commercial printers is on price.
standard; especially if you realise that their clients are mostly
working in the communication, marketing and graphic design 6.6.1 Why did it come this far?
(Webb, 2010). First of all, too few commercial printers do One may wonder why this has happened. There are numerous
active marketing. As the previous paragraph showed, many resources available to the commercial printers; industry
websites are years behind in design. The same is true for the magazines, industry associations, suppliers and more. Yet,
marketing touch points. Flyers and brochures are outdated there are very little resources directly available that tackle
and social media is out of the question. In various situations a these specific issues (see Appendix 10 for an exploration of
flyer or the website will be the very first touch point with the
commercial printer's business; this can not lack in quality.
“...Print Associations have certainly
done their part in failing their own
Printing industry by turning a blind eye to media
After the entire project is discussed between commercial and communication trends— Certain
printer and print buyer, and the project is signed off, the actual associations have done very little but
printing and processing will commence. Though, currently defend printing—that is, defend the status
actually not a touch point in the eyes of the commercial
quo from encroaching new media and now
printer, it can often be a troubling time for the print buyer.
Due to the lack of transparency during this time, print buyers
no one knows the value of print anymore.”
are often unsure what is happening in the process. If any delay Joe Webb, Disrupting the Future

these resources). Whattheythink.com is an American website The Commercial Printers were never stimulated by their
aimed at commercial printers. Joe Webb, one of the managers associations or industry resources to re-invent their business.
at whattheythink.com, released an e-Book (Webb, 2010) The associations focused on keeping Print alive, while they
past september which’ following quote sums up the problem should have focused on keeping the Printers alive (see page 44
perfectly (see quote on page 35). for an example).

6.7 Search Fields

Based on the analysis in this chapter three main opportunities can be defined to improve the role of the commercial printers within
the communication industry. In the Ideation phase of this project the following three search fields will be used as a starting point
for the generation of ideas.

1. Improve theTransparency of the 2. Instigate a Pro-Active approach 3. Create Print Buyer centered

Process towards the Print Buyer touch points

Today’s print buyer do not share that mind Commercial printers still do business based Currently there is a need for translatation
set of the commercial printer; they are on principles from when the printed between commercial printers and print
creative and driven by emotion. There is product was still going strong. In those days buyers. They simply are not speaking the
little interest in printing for print buyers, print buyers would find commercial same language, and printers are missing out
focus lies with the end result. Commercial printers, relationships were longlasting and because of it. The communication channels
printers realize this and therefore focus on service was just as important as price. Today (or touch points) of the commercial printers
the end result, by taking as much out of the this approach is no longer valid. The whether it is; the website, the personal

hands of the print buyers. Though this Commercial Printers are still print contact or the E-mail contact, is not up to the
improves the process for the print buyers, it manufacturers, working in assignment of standards of the print buyer. Each of these is
also leads to the commoditization of the print buyers. Yet, this wait-and-see, reactive, initiated from the view of the commercial
product. Print buyers don’t realize what a approach has driven the focus towards price, printer, not from the view of what the print
commercial printer does for them, because instead of service and quality. For commer- buyer would like to see.
the process and the entire market is highly cial printers to become relevant in this
nontransparent. Furthermore, commercial market they will need to step away from the
printers have not added value which is print manufacturer image, and focus on
noticed by the print buyer. becoming pro-active members of the
communication industry.

The Commercial Printer should adjust The Commercial Printer should be more The Commercial Printer should design
their services in order to make the pro-active in their approach to the each of their touch points to the needs
process more transparent to their own market. They must take the lead in and wishes of the print buyers.

advantage. projects, actively approach clients and

create a new name for their company.

6.8 Conclusion business in other fields instead of price. The analysis of the
Print Job Cycle showed a number of issues, and opportunities
6.8.1 Change in the Market for the commercial printer to improve their business. Based
The change in the commercial printing market has proven on this analysis three search fields were defined to create new
to be a chain reaction of several factors. The demand for concepts for the commercial printers: improve the transparency
commercial printing decreased due to increased competition of the process, instigate a pro-active approach towards the print
from other mediums. The commercial printers had difficulty buyers and create print-buyer centered touch point.
in handling this. Suddenly the offer was greater than
“...they are not proactive towards
the demand. Commercial printers needed to distinguish
us. It’s a traditional industry and they
themselves and approached this they way they were used to;
wait to be asked.”
innovate based on technology. Yet, the technology is advanced
these days, and the differences between most commercial Daniele Sala, Communications Manager of B & B Italia

printers in technology are marginal.

A number of functional design directions was also already
The clients of the commercial printers, the print buyers, recognized in this process, these are the areas in which
were at the same time also changing in role. Due to the the business of the commercial printer could be improved.
decrease in demand for print, many professional print buyers Examples of these are: the website, the marketing, the printing
lost their job. The task got increasingly taken over by the production process, and more. These were briefly discussed
communication manager, the marketing manager or the in this chapter (see paragraph 6.5.1), yet they will be further
publishing manager. For this new print buyer, buying print is explored in the idea generation. They will lead to a several
just one of their many duties; certainly not at the top of the concepts (see Chapter 8).
With this the groundwork for the new concepts for Hello has
Based on these new print buyers, combined with the been laid. In chapter 8 this will be further discussed.
technological commoditization and decrease in demand,
commercial printers had to distinguish themselves in new and 6.8.3 Trends
innovative ways. A difficult issue. Many commercial printers The generation of concepts will be driven by the search fields and,
had difficulty in coping with the change and they started the analysis of the print job cycle and the related touch points. Yet,
focusing on price. Yet, distinguishing in price is war within throughout this chapter a number of trends has been discussed,
this market. yet without clearly defining it as a trend. To clarify the trends
which are of influence of this project, please view appendix 9
6.8.2 The Search Fields for an insight. The main trend which will be taken into account
These insights lead to an analysis of the printing process, to is the focus on online business for commercial printers; online
find out whether commercial printers could improve their communication, online sales, and more.

CH. 7

In chapter 4 it was concluded that an online communication platform would be a valid possibility for
Hello to approach their prospective clients. In the research described in Chapters 6 it was found that
their is a gap in understanding between commercial printers and print buyers. To make commercial
printers aware of this an online communiction platform is a relevant idea. In this chapter the
possibilities of this will be further explored.

7.1 Communication Platform and offers independent reviews by users. Enticed by the luring
success of online communication platforms, most companies
An online communication platform defines itself as: “A feel the need to take action. As Bernoff & Li (2008) mention:
meeting place for people on the Internet. Designed to “Companies know they have to be there, they just do not
facilitate interaction and collaboration among people who know why.” Online communication platforms are simply a
share common interests and needs.” To most people the basic great and relatively inexpensive way to reach a large number of
Discussion Forum will come to mind. Today’s communication people, if you know why.
platforms often offer much more. From platforms which allow
people to co-create online, online sales platforms, platforms In the internal analysis it was concluded that Hello should be
for product research, platforms for live customer support, less dependent on the operating companies for the delivery
and more. A platform is often an integrated system of many of services. Yet, without the operating companies Hello has
functions like: blogs, industry news, white papers, videos, a little reach; they miss their regional distribution channels. An
classic forum, real life events and of course all integrated with online communication platform could provide Hello with
social media like twitter, facebook, linkedin or myspace. the proper medium to reach their clients, while minimizing
the necessary resources and financial investments (Anderson
Allmost all existing companies have a website. This website is 2006, Porter 2008). In fact, the opportunities spotted in
often used as an online brochure, focused on push marketing; Chapter 6 provide a proper reason to use this approach.
promoting the benefits of the products. Yet, when a consumer
wants information on a new television, they do not go to the Based on these insights communication platforms are
Sony or Panasonic websites. More often then not, they will explored in this chapter. The focus will be on the proper
go to a website like CNET.com, which compares televisions method to create a platform, to explore the possibilities it

Don’t let the name fool you. Beernet is a website focused on
exclusive news for the american beer industry. Every week a news
letter (the Beer Business Daily) is send out and articles are posted
on the website. For this simple offer its members pay $499 for a
one year membership. Furthermore they offer special research
report starting at $499 per report.

Beernet started as a simple blog, yet within 9 years it grew to a

highly profitable business with revenues rating over a million.
It is estimated that out of a targeted 3000 possible users in this
industry, over 2000 are a member of the Beer Business Daily.

The name and the design might confuse you due to its simplicity
and humour; but this is exactly what speaks to the people in this
industry. It is finetuned to the needs of the target group.

Fig 7.1 The Beer Business Daily, an online industry news platform aimed at upper management in the beer industry

could offer Hello (for profit) and learn from a number of case is exactly where the value lies of communities. A community
studies. This chapter will not discuss the technologies (e.g. is defined by its number of active users; users which actively
Twitter, Youtube), due to the fact that these are subject to read, participate in discussions and add content (Bernoff & Li,
constant change and the initial strategy to move online will be 2008). Whether a community is used for support, marketing
independent from the technology to be used. or innovation, it can only become valuable in those areas once
there are enough members. Yet, communities do not sprout up
by coincidence. People will need a strong incentive in order to
7.2 A Community become a user of a communication platform.
A communication platform is dependent on the amount of
visitors it receives. The communication platform could be “Any plan to monetize content must
deemed the software or the technology, whilst the group of start with first attracting faithful users by
visitors or users is called the community. As Porter (2008) constantly providing a stream of attractive,
describes “When you support an activity, when you make relevant and timely, targeted values, and
people better at that activity, by either supporting them to then convert this attention into money.”
directly or helping them support each other, then you gain
Gerd Leonhard (2010)
the opportunity for that group of people to call themselves
a community”. Being the company behind this community 7.2.1 Community Objectives
offers great benefits and power (Bernoff & Li, 2008). Wu (2009) acknowledges three main objectives for
communities: support, marketing and innovation. Three
Most of today’s successful communities started out as a separate goals, yet in practice they will be overlapping and
simple online blog or news website and in a process of one to pursued all three. A support community offers knowledge.
several years they grew into large groups of people. And this Dell has a large online community which support each

Dell Ideastorm is a platform for research and innovation for Dell.
Users of Dell computers can post product and service ideas and
from time to time Dell organizes a special Storm Sessions. An
online brain storm in which Dell offers the users a dilemma or a new
innovation to discuss and brainstorm on. Dell validates each idea
and let’s the author know what will happen to it. Currently out of
the 14,867 posted ideas, Dell has implemented 425 of them.

The platform is build on the altruism of its users. The users can
vote on each others ideas and they get (online) recognition for this.
There is no financial or other tangible benefits involved for the

Sadly for Dell the platform is decreasing in popularity, its last storm
session reading: “What can Dell do to make IdeaStorm better?”

Fig 7.2 Dell Idea Storm, a research and innovation platform aimed at Dell’s core users

other with technological and software problems. Marketing and; What business model can be applied to make it profitable?
communities are aimed at improving the brand awareness and
equity of companies. Starbucks has a community through
which people simply discuss the brand and products. The
7.3 Independent or Branded
last is innovation. Usually the community exists of motivated If Hello was to pursue an online communication platform
users of a company’s products. They possess a wealth of aimed at commercial printers, this will most likely be branded
information for the company, which the company can tap into under the Hello name. The issue with branded communities
to improve their products. Rowland (2009) found that the is the relation between wanted and unwanted interference
main reason for B2B users to use a community is support; or, from the Brand, which in the end all depends on the
a knowledge community. expectations of its users (Bernoff & Li, 2008). Re-calling the
statement from Porter (2008) at the start of paragraph 7.2;
For Hello to build a community they will need to create great communities can only exist if everything is aimed at the needs
value for their target group. Galliford (2010) argues that there of its users.
are three main functionalities of content in order to make
it valuable for its target group: the level of exclusivity, the For Hello and their customers the goals differ, which is the
amount of time it saves and the amount of risk it reduces. In case in most situations (Razorfish, 2010). As a brand Hello
chapter six an opportunity was spotted to help commercial might want to talk mainly about paper, yet the research has
printers with their business activities; this can consist of proven that the commercial printers do not. Research has
knowledge content (e.g. information) or even specialized shown the main, untouched, need of commercial printers
services. Within this area Hello has the opportunity to offer (see chapter 6). Hello has the opportunity to support the
content which is not yet available (see paragraph 6.6.1). An commercial printer in their process to adapt their business
interesting concept, yet it leads to a number of issues: Is the to the new print buyers. Yet, if Hello would subsequently use
Hello brand strong enough to carry this communication platform? the community to market their paper products, this might

affect the growth of the community. This is a delicate issue, for online content. Worth will first need to be proven, before
which should be approached with care. Hello will need to people will be willing to pay for it, or for additional content.
approach it properly and this will not be an easy process. Online consumers are not used to paying anymore (Anderson,
Hello currently focuses exclusively on marketing; and the 2009). Services like Google or Skype are free to its users.
commercial printers know this. Online business makes this possible. Once the content (e.g.
information, software) is produced, distribution and sales
costs are close to zero. Anderson (2009) recognizes three
7.4 Online business models online profitable business models:
Part of Hello’s aim with a new service was that it would earn
profits. In 2009 the market for paid online content in the Direct Cross-Subsidies
united states was estimated at 15 billion dollar (Galliford, In one of the most familair business models free products
2010). This number shows the opportunity in this market, yet (e.g. a community) are cross subsidized by paid products,
many companies still fail to pursue it successfully. It demands software, services or knowledge. The following examples
a change in mind-set to build a business model around online all have a community (see Appendix 11); Threadless sells
content. The trouble with making money on online content T-shirts (products), MarketingProfs sells research articles
remains the fact that it’s often plagued by free copy or free (knowledge), TED sells conferences (networking) and Ebay
substitutes. The news paper industry is probably the best sells online auctions (listings). All of these companies have a
example of this change. large online communication platform, yet they generate the
revenue to support this community from cross subsidized
As Miles Galliford (2010) notes, people are not eager to pay sales.


Stompernet is a platform aimed at internet marketing. The platform

has an enormous collection of articles, tutorials and videos on
the topic, a collection of downloadable applications to aid with
the management of online marketing (e.g. to meassure website
statistics, etc) and stompernet organizes special live events and
video conferences. Furthermore, it includes an active community
of over 250.000 members which can help each other out.
Memberships run up to 200 $ a month plus extra costs for special
features, services and applications.

Stompernet started with articles and the possibility to ask

questions to stompernet’s experts. The platform was able to extend
its portfolio in a number of directions over time, now a successful
multi-million dollar online business.

Fig 7.3 Stompernet, a platform aimed at businesses in need of internet marketing knowledge and advice

Three Party Market provide opportunities in this area.
Advertisements and sponsorship fall in this category. Users
obtain products, services, software or knowledge for free, due It should also not be forgotten that profits can be generated in
to the third party which subsidizes them. Existing platforms areas other than financial benefits. Communication platforms
in this market, for example whattheythink.com (Appendix can offer businesses opportunities to do research and acquire
11), partially exist due to a large number of sponsors; in most knowledge from their clients. This can subsequently lead to
cases large printing press manufacturers (e.g. Xerox) or paper innovation and revenue.
merchants (e.g. Sappi).

7.5 Partnership
Freemium is a model which fits between the previous two. So far it has been assumed that Hello could create a
In the freemium model a fraction of the users subsidizes the communication platform of their own, yet they could also
free users. Ebay or Flickr are well known examples of these; a invest in an existing platform or create a partnership with
number of users pays (for a premium membership) to obtain another brand (to spread the cost). Within the Wood Free
a number of extra services. Coated paper market, Hello is the number one brand. Yet,
when one would view the entire printing industry, and all its
“The time-honoured approach — “if related stakeholders, Hello has strong brand competitors.
you want this content you’ll have to pay, As the internal analysis showed, Hello is currently behind
first” — is collapsing and won’t come back. the operating company’s brand in importance. Working
The new paradigm is: “It seems like you like together with external stakeholders, for example printing
press manufacturers or existing content platforms (e.g.
my content. Here are a few options to have
whattheythink.com, printweek), brings a great risk of being
an even better experience.”
overshadowed by that stakeholder. Hello’s intentions could
Miles Galliford (2010) suffer the same consequences as those within the structure of
For Hello three party markets are most likely not a possibility.
Advertisements or sponsorships of a branded community
is considered unlikely (Nicholson, 2009). A branded
7.6 Conclusion
community with advertisements from other products The main conclusion which can be drawn is the fact that it
seems questionable. Depending on the development of will not be an easy process to create proper communication
the community, opportunities might present themselves platform to support and stimulate the growth of a community.
in the future to focus on sponsorship. During the start of It could offer Hello a great platform to manage its own direct
the community Hello should focus on creating value for channel with its clients. But, people in general are sceptical
themselves; the cross subsidies and freemium business models towards paying for online services. The case studies prove that

there many possibilities, it is a matter of what Hello will be
able to offer its clients.

Growth Community
7.6.1 Branding
Hello has the opportunity to create a proper communication
platform. Based on this analysis the communication platform
should be initiated under the Hello brand. This will
allow them, as one of the first paper brands, to create their
own communication channels with their clients; without
interference from internal (e.g. operating companies) or Time/ Value Added by Iniatior (Hello)
external (i.e. an external partner) stakeholders. Hello has the Fig 7.4 Starting a community takes time and resources
vision and brand identity (chapter 2), the answer, to build on.
They can and should use this benefit. valuable content. Yet, once the ball gets rolling, it will start to
take on a growing life of its own.
7.6.2 Growth comes first
The value of a communication platform lies in the number of 7.6.3 Use & Content
its visitors or users, the community. Hello would have to first Branded communities in the business-to-business field
focus completely on growth. The commercial printers will not are focused on support or, research and innovation for the
easily be convinced towards a Hello branded communication company. Yet, the commercial printers do not need support
platform and Hello will have to prove its worth. Hello has for their paper needs and Hello currently does not pursue
stated that they would prefer a profitable platform, but this extensive product innovations which would benefit from a
simply is not possible during the first phases of its existence. community. Innovation through the community to extend the
It takes time and effort to start and grow a community brand in new categories could by very valuable.
(figure 7.4). This is one of main reasons many communities
never take off; it usually demands more time and effort than 7.6.4 Revenue
expected. Once an online community of faithful user is created
Hello can start focusing on generating profits through the
Increasing activity is an iterative cycle of many factors which communication platform. The most often used and least
each affect one another. Creating more content will lead to demanding business models, sponsorship and advertising (e.g.
more visitors. More visitors will lead to more community Three Party Model), are out of Hello’s reach. This means
members. More community members will lead to more Hello will have to focus on the sales of content, whether it is
discussion. More discussion will lead to more content. And knowledge, products, services, applications or events, in order
so on. To get people towards the community, and to get to gain revenue through a platform. The research in chapter 6
them actively involved, the community should offer foremost and the case studies show there are plenty of possibilities.



his poster is part of a European
campaign to promote the Power of
Printed communications. Research
has proven that printed communications
are still one of the most persuasive types of


Institutions and printer associations are

often focused on keeping print alive; whilst
they should have focused on keeping the
printer alive. There is no use to promoting
the old paradigms around print, because
these no longer exist in todays society.
Television, the internet and social media
reign. Printing is not dead, it just needs to
adjust its position within the market, to
match needs and wishes from todays print

One may wonder whether a poster like this I am the power of print. By adding print to TV and online, brand awareness
will persuade people working in marketing, and consumer purchase intention is increased by 50%. Learn more about print
media at printpower.eu.
advertising or related fields to actually focus
more on printed communications.
To order the brochure, download the reader
at www.upcode.fi on your mobile
and scan the code using this reader.
Add print, add power
Section 3
An exploration of commercial printing exposed that the industry was
suffering under the existing market conditions. Printing had been
driven towards becoming a commodity. After pealing away a number
of layers it was discovered that the covering issue was a gap between
the commercial printers and their clients (i.e. The print buyers); on a
professional and social level. An analysis of the printing process and
the relationship between the commercial printers and their clients
lead to the creation of three search fields to improve the position of
the commercial printer. These are: improve the transparency of the
printing process, instigate a pro-active approach towards the print
buyers and create print buyer centered communication (e.g. Touch

Within these three search fields a number of opportunities was

already recognized throughout the project. Yet, in the following
section this will be further explored. Based on the search fields and
the analysis of the printing process an idea generation phase initiated.
The process and the selected concepts will be discussed in this section.
The section will end with an analysis of the selected concepts and the
conceptual creation of the new strategy for Hello.

CH. 8

The initial research in the first two sections of the report lead to a number of opportunities for Hello.
The conclusions from these studies were taken as a starting point for the generation of concepts. During
the this phase a number of creative techniques were used, covering brain storms, creative sessions
and discussions, In this chapter of the report a number of the most promising generated concepts are
ilustrated, leading up to the selection of a final strategy for Hello.

8.1 Introduction 8.2 Method

In the first section of this report the paper market, Hello The analysis of the market and target group (see chapter 6)
and PaperlinX were explored. It lead to the conclusion that lead to the following three search fields:
Hello will have to focus on the creation of concepts which
could function, for the largest part, independently from the 1. Improve the transparency of the Printing Process
operating companies. It was concluded that Hello’s resources 2. Instigate a pro-active approach towards the print buyers,
are currently, yet their brand and vision offered potential to and;
use as a platform for brand extensions. Hello’s vision, to be the 3. Create print buyer centered touch points
answer to the commercial printer’s needs, lead to the focus on
the needs of the commercial printer. These three search fields were used as a starting point for
the creation of the concepts. They were combined with
Throughout this project it was expected that the the analysis of the printing process (the Print Job Cycle;
opportunities may be limited, due to the size and state of the see paragraph 6.5), to search for opportunities in the
market, and therefore the scope has always been kept broad. current process. Accordingly through creative sessions;
In the second section the role of print in communication and mostly individually and, with fellow students and with the
the commercial printing market was analyzed. It was quickly employees from Tan Brand Communiction Consultants, a
discovered that the market was in trouble, yet this also offered number of ideas was created and explored. These ideas were
opportunities for Hello. After further exploration the gap discussed with the supervisors at Tan Brand Communication
between the commercial printers and the print buyers was Consultants and the TU Delft, to come to a selection of
defined. This lead to the definition of three search fields. concepts.

8.3 The Concepts
On the following two pages the most promising ideas are For the sake of simplicity this chapter focuses on the presentation
briefly presented. The purpose of this chapter is not to give of the selected concepts. For an insight in the idea generation
finished concepts, but to show the possibilities that would be process, and other ideas, please refer to Appendix 13.
interesting to explore further.




P Improve Service C
Improve Loyalty

Printer X

Made by







8.4 A Strategy 8.4.2 Hello Knowledge
There is an exception in this, in the shape of Concept 3 Hello
Each of these five selected concept answers to one, or more, of Knowledge. Hello Knowledge does match the current brand.
the designated search fields. Yet, it became troubling to match If Hello were to start an online platform and start providing
the concepts to the Hello Brand. knowledge (e.g. articles, tutorials) to the commercial printers;
they would simply start providing The Answer (Hello’s
8.4.1 Matching the Brand tagline). A perfect match to the brand and relevant and viable
Due to the broad nature of this project, the idea generation within the market. Hello would use the online platform to
was approached on varying levels. Hello Knowledge (Concept make commercial printers aware of the issues in their business
3) was already acknowledged when researching the market. (chapter 5 and 6) and provide them with advice on how to
A more in-depth look into some of the deeper problems, improve on this.
exposed the other four practical and relevant concepts.
The issue with this concept is the difficulty in making profit
The problem with these other four concepts is the fact that on knowledge. The analysis in chapter 7 showed the difficulty
they do not match to the current Hello brand, being too for many (branded) communication platforms to generate
ambitious. If we would take the first concept as an example: profits. The examples which are able (e.g. Stompernet,
Hello Update. Hello Update solves the issue that little contact Beernet), evolved over several years in order to become
exists during the printing process. Hello Update solves this profitable. In short, the content of the Hello Knowledge
with a software application, useable on mobile telephones and concept would have to be very strong in order for commercial
computers. Through the application the commercial printer printers to start paying for it. And creating high quality
can send updates to the print buyer to update them on the content takes time and experience; for Hello to become an
status of their work. expert in it and for the commercial printers to accept it.

An interesting tool, yet Hello is not a software developer and 8.4.3 Concept Choice
the idea strays far from the current products and vision. This After discussion of the issues of these concepts with Tan
is problematic (see paragraph 4.4). Hello would first have to Brand Communication Consultants and the TU Delft the
adjust their position in the market. They could work together following decision was made. Inspired by the example of
with a software developer, preferably PaperlinX’ UplinX, Stompernet (see chapter 7) it was decided to create a complete
but who would get the credit in that scenario? Most likely strategy for Hello, with Hello Knowledge as a starting point.
UplinX. Hello update just stands too far from the current A strategy which will re-position the brand, to be able to
brand and this is true with all four other ideas too. Each of the endeavour in the development of software applications aimed
concepts would demand a transformation of the Hello brand, at commercial printers. This conclusion lead to the following
to re-position it in the minds of the commercial printers, in final concept strategy.
order to be implemented.

8.5 The Concept Strategy
The final concept is a combination of various factors to create a single strategy. The created conceptual strategy allows for Hello to,
at their pace, transform themselves from a product brand into a service brand.

The explanation of the strategy will be brief, since it will be further developed throughout the rest of the report.

Step 1: Communication Step 2: Research on the Step 3: Sales on the

Platform Communication platform communication platform
The first step will be focused on the re- Once Hello has a sufficient amount Once the communication platform is
branding of Hello. Hello’s position will of members on the communication succesful, with a high enough member
be strengthened by making it a brand platform, Hello will leverage their count, Hello can extend the use of it
which listens to their clients and provides central position in this network to towards becoming a sales platform. Hello
them with content to help them develop gain insights into the market. Through will, together with external companies
theirselves. A brand which thinks with, these insights, or research, on the (e.g. UplinX, Tan), develop new products,
not for, the commercial printer. communication platform Hello will services and applications. These solutions
be able to spot opportunities for will be sold towards the commercial
Hello will start with the creation of an new products, services, software printer through the platform. Hello will
online communication platform (Concept or applications. These will be called be able to provide the commercial printers
3), a website, aimed at the commercial solutions. with more than knowledge content, they
printers. Commercial printers can become will provide them with the actual tools to
a member of this platform, which will give Accordingly Hello can use these improve their business.
them access to knowledge to help them opportunities and turn them
with their business. Hello will provide the into actual solutions aimed at the
members with content to improve their commercial printers, to generate
understanding of the print buyers and the revenue.
communication market, as discussed in
chapter 6.

8.6 Model By starting with concept 3, Hello Knowledge, Hello will build
a communication platform to help the commercial printers.
Below (figure 8.1) is a graphical representation of this strategy. With this platform Hello will re-position itself, creating a
In this model the funnel can be observed as the scope of brand with a vision for growth. Once Hello is accepted by
Hello. the commercial printers as a brand with a new vision, which
understands them and actually answers to their needs, Hello’s
Currently (Now) Hello is simply a paper brand, focused on scope will broaden.
the marketing and promotion of that product. In this state
it is difficult to extend a brand; the vision (the answer) is not As time, moves on and Hello develops itself, the scope
strongly supported by their actions (Sinek, 2009) and the will broaden, and new opportunities in categories which
concepts lack similarity (Ambler & Styles, 1996). The scope previously would not have matched to their brand and vision,
is narrow. will become possible; including the concepts discussed in this

? ?


Fig 8.1 The strategy will focus on providing a road map for Hello to becoming a service brand, to broaden their business

Section 4
The Strategy
The analysis in the first two section lead to a number of conclusions.
In chapter six three search fields were created which, together with
various other factors, were used to guide the idea generation. The
ideation phase in the previous section lead to the creation of numerous
ideas; of which five were selected.

Upon further exploration it became clear that the Hello brand would
have to re-position itself before most of these coneepts could be
implemented. This lead to the creation of a complete strategy, through
which Hello will re-position itself and accordingly will start extending
its brand in new categories. This strategy will be developed in this

Chapter 9 will cover the overall strategy. The strategy has been
divided into two main phases; The implementation of the Hello
Solutions Communication Platform (i.e. providing the answer) and
the development and sales of products, services and applications (i.e.
providing the solution). Both will be discussed in chapters 10 and 11.

CH. 9

The aim of this project was to transform Hello from a product brand towards becoming a service
brand. Currently Hello is completely focused at its product lines of paper and a shift like this does not
happen overnight. The successful implementation to become a service provider requires an integrated
approach. This chapter will discuss the overal strategy; the initial foundation, an introduction to an
implementation roadmap, the vision and business model.

9.1 Foundation From the analysis of the commercial printers it was found
that the gap between them and their clients provides an
The market of Hello is changing; and not to their advantage. opportunity for Hello. Hello will help printers adjust
Paper sales will keep on decreasing and combined with the their touch points towards the print buyers to improve
commoditization of the product, it will only increase the the businesses of Commercial Printers. Hello will develop
competition levels in the industry. Competitors have already tools based on the three initial design directions; improve
been catching up to the brand. Hello has always positioned transparancy, improve pro-activity and a print-buyer focused
itself as the answer to the needs of the clients. Up until a approach.
number of years ago, Hello had an innovative positioning in
their clients minds. Currently it is just one of the many brands In here lies the opportunity for Hello. Hello can help the
available. commercial printers to understand the print buyers and they
can help to improve their marketing, website and services;
Roscam Abbing & van Gessel (2008) describe an opportunity to reshape the commercial printer’s touch points in order to
in this by starting to fulfill the promises a brand makes. improve their business.
Currently Hello only promises to be The Answer. This core
vision is only aimed at paper products, yet it provides a great Hello can provide the commercial printers with the answer
platform to move it into a new category. Fullfilling the vision (information, knowledge) and the solution (services,
to be the answer to the clients needs. To be truly innovative applications, etc) to support them in the improvement of their
Hello will need to thread outside of its comfort zone to create business.
a new concept towards the industry.

9.2 Strategy Roadmap
9.2.1 Providing the Answer 9.2.2 Providing the Solution (Chapter 11)
Hello will become an online provider of Hello will become a provider of applications and
knowledge to help the Commercial Printer ser vices to help the Commercial Printer.

Hello will start a website, an online communication platform. Once Hello has re-positioned itself as a brand which is
Through this platform Hello will help the commercial knowledgable on the market, a brand that knows how to
printer to understand the print buyer. They will offer improve the commercial printer’s business, a brand with
practical information for Commercial Printers to improve their own online community, they can use the website as a
their business and relationships with their clients. With this sales platform to launch new services and applications. Hello
knowledge the commercial printer will be made aware of the will become a provider of Solutions. The term solutions has
issues that are troubling their business. On this website Hello been chosen based on the fact that the products can come
will tackle important issues for commercial printers; how to in varying ways; an application to remain in contact with a
improve the commercial printer’s website, how to improve client during a project, a set of tools to define the strategy of a
their marketing, how to improve their knowledge on design, company or a total integrated solution of service, application
and more. Helping commercial printers adjust their business and product (i.e. paper).
to today’s, and tomorrow’s, market environment.
Using this new position, Hello will start with the sales of
Hello will be able to apply the platform for their own benefit simple applications to improve the Commercial Printer’s
by using it for practical research and to start debates with business. The technological development of these solutions,
the commercial printers. It provides Hello with a platform will be developed with smart use of partners and sister
to improve their own knowledge of the market and to spot company UplinX.
opportunities for new products and services.

This first phase of the strategy will be further explored in chapter This second phase of the strategy will be further explored in
10. chapter 11. In table 9.1 is a summary.

Fig 9.1 The vision and Brand of Hello Solutions

Table 9.1 Objectives, Audience and Method

9.3 Vision and Brand In Chapter 10 the necessary internal marketing activities to stimulate
the succes of the communication platform will be further discussed.
9.3.1 Vision
This change that Hello will undergo needs to be supported 9.3.2 Brand Name
internally. For this service to properly grow, and to be Hello will expand its brand into a new direction. This
accepted and supported within the company, it will need a communication platform should not be seen as a marketing
strong vision. A strong vision will show the people within platform for Hello paper. It will be a separate platform,
PaperlinX what the plan is for Hello, and it will inspire them hence the creation of a new name. The chosen name is Hello
to support the change (Sinek, 2009). The vision is based on a Solutions. Hello has always promised to answer to clients
methodology proposed by Sinek (2009). through their paper products. Hello Solution matches to The
Answer, yet it shows that Hello will live up to their vision.
Sinek argues that the most successful and innovative The name is broad enough to both cover the initial online
companies start from “why”, the core reason for a company communication platform and it has the abillity to extend itself
or brand to create its services or products. Of course most into a sales channel for online services and software solutions.
companies aim to create revenue, yet this will never be a The logo of Hello has been slightly altered to express the new
motivational vision for employees to follow. If Hello wants vision.
to grow and improve its position in the market they will
need to believe in this vision; it needs to be embedded in
the company’s culture before it can grow to its full potential
(Roscam Abbing & van Gessel, 2008).

9.4 Business Model Phase 1 Phase 2

9.4.1 Investment
The strategy consists of two main phases. Phase 1 (providing Communication Platform Hello Solutions
the answer) of the strategy will focus on the creation of a • Community
€€€ • Applications
• Knowledge Content • Services
communication platform; a website which will support • Discussion
Hello’s clients with valuable information through which Hello
will be able to have a dialogue with their clients. In phase 2
(providing the solution) of the strategy Hello will be able to
distribute and sell specific applications and services through
the communication platform. Commercial Printer

Before Hello will be able to move to phase 2, they will first

have to establish a successful communication platform with a Fig 9.2 The Business Model of Hello Solutions

steady community of commercial printers; you simply can not

sell anything if nobody is there to buy it. This communication
platform will demand investments in people, resources and
9.5 The Operating Companies
time, before Hello can generate revenue in phase 2. The analysis in section 1 of the report lead to the conclusion
that Hello should innovate independently from the operating
It should be noted that the communication platform will lead companies; or, at least they should have final control. With
to indirect revenue through a number of factors. in marketing, this strategy Hello will create this.
PR and research. In chapter 10.7 these investments and
benefits will be further Discussed. This does mean a change in dynamics for the first time,
between Hello and the Operating Companies. Hello will need
9.4.2 Revenue to handle this issue delicately. The operating companies might
Once Hello will start with the sales of applications and view the new strategy as an invasion of their field. Up until
services, (Solutions) they will be able to generate direct now all services beyond the product have been executed by the
financial revenue. The business model of this strategy is called operating companies, not the paper brands. Hello will have to
Cross Subsidization (Anderson, 2009) and it is shown in face it head on, before the new strategy will be implemented.
figure 9.2. In chapter 7 a number of different business models The goal should be to involve the operating companies to
was explored. Based on the intent of the strategy and Hello’s a level that will satisfy them, yet will not make Hello lose
experience this business model fitted best. It should be noted control. Throughout the development of the strategy this role
that untill Hello will start with phase 2, there will be no may change, depending on the direction Hello Solutions takes
profitable business model in place; beyond indirect revenue further in the future.
(chapter 10.7).

9.5.1 The communication platform 9.5.2 Solutions
To stimulate the acceptance by the operating companies of The second phase of this strategy will explore the
the communication platform Hello will have to involve them opportunities to venture into new categories. Hello should
positively in the platform. focus that these new directions do not interfere with the
business and services of the operating companies. Though
Hello will offer content on the platform which is of main chances are high that these solutions will not interfere with
interest to the commercial printers. This content will in fact the operating companies, in fact Hello will meet challenges
also be valuable to the operating companies; information in new competitors, every new solution should be partially
they can use in their daily conversations with and sales to evaluated on their match with the operating companies.
the commercial printers. Hello will be able to share extended
information with the operating companies. Hello will Due to the complexity of the strategy, this topic is discussed separately.
instigate a separate section on the platform especially for the In chapter 10 the communication platform will be discussed, and this
operating companies. This could contain information which is topic will be touched.
not interesting for the commercial printers, or it could mean
advanced access to information before it is published on the
communication platform.

Once the platform develops itself further, Hello will be able to

cooperate with the operating companies in the organization
of special events; through which both parties could benefit.
Hello would be able to publish videos from the events online.
There are many opportunities to cooperate with the operating

It should be brought to the attention of the operating

companies that the main goal of the communication platform
is to support the commercial printers; it should not be viewed
as sales platform for the operating companies. The operating
companies can participate on the platform, yet their focus
should be on helping their clients,. This will create a positive
Halo effect towards their own business.

CH. 10

Communication Platform
An online community provides a brand with a platform to easily distribute their brand message,
thoughts, new ideas and new products with their specific audience. It is not only a great way of sharing,
but also of obtaining knowledge. An online community can create word of mouth, which is a powerful
medium. The larger the community, the larger the power one has in an industry.

An active online community does not sprout up and grow on their clients and supports them beyond paper, Hello will set
its own. It demands continuous effort from Hello to create a up a communication platform. This platform will allow Hello
proper communication platform for the commercial printers. to grow from a marketing focused, one-way communication,
In this chapter the objectives, design, content and organization brand into a brand which has a dialogue with their clients, and
amongst others for the success of the communication platform provides them with answers to their problems (figure 10.1).
will be discussed. Eventually the communication platform will make Hello the
brand that even links customers to one another. Providing one
of the first proper communication platforms for the European
10.1 Objectives commercial printer market.
10.1.1 Re-positioning Hello
From a brand point of view Hello has pursued to be 10.1.2 A Platform for Research
the answer to the clients need by listening to them and The community platform is part of a strategy to pursue
starting up conversations (Chapter 3). Yet, in actuality this growth in new categories under the Hello brand; to eventually
communication has mostly been a one way street. Hello use the communication platform as a sales platform. For Hello
focused on marketing messages and these were not the result the communication platform will provide them with a tool to
of the engagement in conversations with commercial printers; gather knowledge on possible new concepts in new categories.
marketing messages do not answer to their true needs. Hello They will come in contact with knowledgeable people which
is a paper brand, nothing more, nothing less. can provide them with information and feedback.
Hello can not simply start extending its brand in new services,
without first re-positioning itself. In order for Hello to re-
position itself as a brand that does understand the needs of

Fig 10.1 From one way communication to a dialogue; moving towards a community

10.2 Road to Success 10.3 Content

For these objectives to be reached Hello will first need to Even though an online communication platform consists
create a successful communication platform; a community. of various important factors to make it successful, next to
Communities, like plants, don’t just grow on their own. They proper user-focused design the single most important one
demand (tremendous) effort from its initiator (Nicholson, remains the actual content. What content will be of value to
2009, Bernoff & Li 2008, Strauss 2009). Hello must the commercial printer which is not already widely available?
offer value to the commercial printers in order to build a (Strauss, 2009) The issue to keep in mind is the fact that in
community. This expresses itself through (see chapter 7): many situations the goals of the company and the customer
content on the platform, design of the platform, the marketing differ (Bernoff & Li, 2008). For Hello the most obvious
of the platform and the network (i.e. people) on the platform topic would be paper and the paper industry, yet this is not
(Leonhard, 2010). the main interest for the comercial printer (see Chapter
6).The exploration of the print industry has shown the main,
Each of these topics will be discussed in the following untouched, need of commercial printers is knowledge on
paragraphs. The network on the platform is a difficult topic to print buyers, on design, marketing and strategy; knowledge
discuss; getting the right people towards the communication to improve their overall business in applying itself to today’s
platform demands for a large part on the content, design print buyer.
and marketing. In this report the focus will be on the
organizational team behind the communication platform; the 10.3.1 Content Vision
community management team. In the analysis sections of this report the market of paper,

communication and print was analyzed. The overall Commercial printer should design their touch
conclusion from the analysis is the fact that there is a point from the needs of the Print Buyer
communicational, relational and business gap between the
commercial printers and the print buyers. More importantly, 10.3.2 Content Directions
many commercial printers are not aware of this; and the These three search fields have been translated into three
possible business they are missing because of it. Three main main directions for content; to make it tangible for both
design vision opportunities were discovered (Chapter 6) in target group and initiator (Hello). The content on the
order to improve the printer’s business: communication platform will focus on: Strategy, Marketing
and Design. In table 10.1 is an exploration of each of these
Commercial printers need to improve the three content directions.
Transparency between them and the Print Buyer
An example is the website. Success in today’s market simply
Commercial printers need to pursue a Pro-Active depends on being found, and the internet is the first place
approach towards the Print Buyer over 90% of the printer’s clients uses to find information on

Table 10.1 The content directions and examples within each direction

Commercial Printers (Dana, 2010). It should be an integral 10.4 Design
part of the commercial printer’s strategy. Yet, many printers
still use websites as a simple promotional brochure with very The design of the platform should be aimed at the needs and
little actual content (Webb, 2010) and lacking any marketing wishes of the target group; the commercial printers. The
value to attract the print buyers; no portfolios, no prove of objectives of the communication platform have been set.
quality, etc. The website is one, if not the, most important A large part of the success of the platform depends on the
touch points beyond the personal relationships; and the design content. The content discussed in the previous paragraph
will reflect the quality of the commercial printer. Yet, more reflects the research on the target group. The next step is to
often than not the website looks like it is well over 5 years old. translate the needs and wishes, the personality, of the target
group to the design of the platform.
Today’s website offers so much more opportunities to elevate
the commercial printer’s role in the market. The website is just 10.4.1 Design Vision
one of the many examples where commercial printers could The power of making a successful communication platform
increase benefit, all other touch points should be designed lies in tailoring it to your specific target group. The content
in order to match the demands of print buyers: Online has been discussed in the previous chapter, now the design
Sales Channels, Marketing Tools, Sample work/portfolio, of the communication platform will be discussed. For the
Packaging, Prototype design and more. design of the community platform three personas have been
created. A persona is a fiction person, or a user archetype,
10.3.3 Conclusion that can help to make decisions about the features a system
These three fields, including the given examples, are an should have in order to meet users’ needs, both on a functional
indication of the opportunities for this platform. Currently and visual level (Adler, 2005). The Personas can be found in
commercial printers have few resources to turn to for Appendix 14. Based on this analysis of the target group the
information on these three topics; neither from commercial following design vision attributes were created.
printing associations nor existing magazines and websites
aimed at commercial printers (see appendix 10). Throughout Visually Attractive without distracting
the development of the platform new directions and Many of the existing platform in this market use an old
opportunities for content will present themselves, and existing fashioned, news paper like, approach in its visual design. The
ones might disappear in due time; it is the role of Hello platform should reflect the current communication market.
Solutions to apply these changes throughout the existence of It should be noted that a visually attractive design should
the platform. not distract from the actual content, or the purpose of the
platform. Form follows function is the key in the design.

Quality through Simplicity

The design should be of a simple and practical nature. This

should demonstrate itself in the creation of an open and easily Public Knowledge
approachable communication platform of which the goal is Public knowledge is the function through which Hello can
immediately clear. share articles, features, interviews, case studies and webinars
(online videos of seminars) on the platform. It is basically
Digital intertwined with Physical the main page of the communication platform, including a
For most commercial printers their main source for number of sub-sections, making it user friendly to navigate.
information are the industry magazines and talking to
colleagues and clients. Their industry creates physical Print Debate
products. The internet may in ocasions even be seen as the Many existing research platforms use diverse techniques for
enemy. The platform should incorporate physical aspects. research. Print Debate was inspired by Dell’s Storm Sessions
(see Chapter 7); a research (and branding) tool of Dell to
Informal, yet professional discuss their products and services. Print Debate is a function
A personal approach is used throughout their entire business; through which Hello can open up focused discussions
with clients, suppliers, colleagues and consultants. Even between their experts and the users of the community. Hello
through their existing magazines and websites. Humor is can use the Print Debates to gather qualitative research. This
even often part of it. The overall design should radiate an qualitative research can be used to create new services for
informal and down-to-earth image. Yet, this should not turn Hello. See page 67 for a graphical representation to clarify the
to unprofessional levels. goal of this function.

These attributes will be used in the visual design of the Community

communication platform. For a clear understanding on The community is the area on the communication platform
how these attributes reflect themselves, please explore the through which users can ask their own questions or share
conceptual design of the platform on the following pages. It their own thoughts; it’s a discussion forum. In this area there
should be noted that these attributes can also be used as a are no restrictions; if people prefer to discuss a printing
guideline for the creation of content. method, or a printing press, this will be allowed. It is the area
on the communication platform that will allow for direct
10.4.2 Functional Design conversation between the users.
Combining the design vision and the objectives of the
strategy lead to the design of a number of functions. These News Letter
function will be roughly explained. On the following pages is A News Letter, though to most considered a simple
a conceptual design of the communication platform, including and un-exciting element, it is for most companies and
detailed design features. their communities one of the most important means of
communications (Forootan, 2010). The target group may
not be easily convinced towards the online communication

platform. Providing a monthly or bi-monthly E-mail have to be open to the public (people simply do not become
newsletter will keep them up to date. The newsletter could members, without knowing exactly what that membership
contain parts of the public knowledge section and the will get them). For this it has been chosen to make parts of the
print debates; motivating the reader to become part of content of the Public Knowledge open, accessible to everyone.
the discussion. Furthermore it will provide Hello with a
function to do quantitative research amongst its members by 10.4.3 Conclusion
integrating it in the news letter. These functions have been discussed seperately, yet they
will be intertwined in use. Content provided by commercial
Membership printers on the Community may be picked up by an employee
For Hello to create a proper community, commercial printers of Hello and turned into a Print Debate. In the end, Hello
will have to become members. Of course this is for free. If will have the opportunity to gather knowledge through all the
people become a member, they will have to provide certain different elements of the platform.
contact information. This information allows Hello to create
a database of its members. Next to the basic information (e.g. In Figure 10.2 is a systematical map of the communication
Name, E-mail Adress), Hello has the opportunity to discover platform. In this map the information streams are made clear
more of its members (e.g. profession, size of company, type between Hello – The Platform – The Commercial Printers. It
of (printing) company, etc); information which can be used for also shows the connection between the different functions of
future research activities from Hello. the platform. On the following pages are conceptual designs
of the platform to provide a tangible insight in the design;
To attract people in the first place to the platform parts will covering the main page and the Print Debate function.

Fig 10.2 A map of the information flow on the communication platform (Stakeholders and Platform elements)
Hello Solutions Membership
In this conceptual design Hello Solutions is a separate website Memberships allow the user
Conceptual Design from Hello Paper. This will improve the reliability from the access to the community,
Main Page commercial printers; this is more than marketing. It can be print debate and possibly
expected that there will be a positive Halo effect on Hello Paper extended knowledge.
through Hello Solutions (Kwon & Lennon, 2008).

Visually Attractive Content Format Printable Content

High visual appeal, yet The content will mostly consist of written content. The content can be easily
supporting the content. Throughout the development of the platform Hello may printed (in a magazine-like)
Everything should have a be able to offer video content. If Hello would start with format, for commercial
clear goal. the organization of seminars these could be recorded and printers to read exactly the
placed online. way they wish.

Print Debates
Hello will focus on topics which are affecting the commercial printers on a practical and
Conceptual Design regional level; the big debates on the future of communication will not lead to useful
Print Debates implementable insights. The PaperlinX market research department will be able to provide
relevant topics for discussion; relevant for Hello and for the commercial printers. Through
the Print debates Hello will be able to explore the needs of the commercial printers and spot

Experts Debate Format Print & Social Media

Hello will need external expertise for the organization of To provide a low barrier Debates can be easily
the platform (see paragraph 11.6). In this example a Web to join discussions, shared, to improve its reach
Designer provided his insights in a specific topic. the focus is on textual and increase the number of
communication. members.

10.5 Organization will demand proper knowledge on the printing industry and
its stakeholders combined with knowledge on marketing,
In the introduction of this chapter the importance of the communities and social media.The community manager will
network was discussed. The network being the people the have to take on an active role, highly social. It is important
communication platform provides access to. This will consist to realize that with this platform Hello is giving up part of
out of the Organization Team and the user network. The its control to the users. It is not expected of this target group
user network are the users of the platform. Though the that they will miss-use is it; it is a quality a community
entire platform is aimed at Commercial printers, in an open manager must be able to deal with. The management of a
community there is always a chance of people from other communication platform is almost similar to the management
fields joining in; this all depends on how the organization of a restaurant. It’s a combination of content, presentation,
team positions the platform. The Organization Team is social interaction; A complete experience. The community
responsible, from Hello’s side, for the organization of the manager will become the personality, the face, of the
entire platform; including frequency, quality and maintenance communication platform.
of the content, the interactive contact with the users, building
a network of experts, etc. An important role which demands 10.5.2 Network of Experts
a proper team with the right qualifications (Bernoff & The creation of the content will have to be (partially)
Li, 2008). The organization has been divided in two: the outsourced and Hello will need the support of experts to do
community management and the network of experts. this. To build the proper content the right resources have to
be found; both internally and externally. Experts on specific
10.5.1 Community Management topics. Godes & Mayzlin (2004) define these experts as Key
The Hello Solutions community platform will demand a Influencers; people with an in depth knowledge on certain
community manager to manage it. The community manager topics, great communication skills and the network to reach a
is largely responsible for the success of a communication large group of people.
platform. The role of the community management can be
divided into two (Kloos, 2008); Community Strategist & To find these people a number of models has been created, yet
Expert. The strategist is responsible for the successful strategic it is stated that in most companies it will be based on personal
implementation of the communication platform. It covers the opinions to recognize the key influencers (Godes & Mayzlin,
pursuit of community growth and constantly matching the 2004). Verganti (2008) advises to seek people within the
community and its content to the vision of the company. same field, dealing with similar problems; how have graphic
The community expert focuses on the social side of the designers handled this change towards online and social
community; the management of the dialogues between users media, what is the view of the print buyer at a multinational
and brand and managing the creation of the content. or which commercial printers currently are thriving and
The community manager will be responsible for the how have they done this? Hello needs to know these people,
constant development of the communication platform. It whether they are: Sales representatives, commercial printers,

print buyers, graphic art professors, marketing experts, provide information on her best and worst experiences with
bloggers or designers. Key influencers can and should be commercial printers. A social media expert could record
found anywhere (Godes & Mayzlin, 2004). one of its talks on video and distribute it through the Hello
platform. The possibilities are endless, dependent on the
Internal Expertise community team responsible for the organization.
The PaperlinX Group is an enormous holding with
thousands of employees. There’s a chance that a number of 10.5.3 Development of the Platform
those employees fall in the Key Influencer category. Hello will The development of the communication platform will be
use the PaperlinX group to find the right experts internally. outsourced to a professional web design agency. It is of the
This may be a highly positioned merchant manager, the CEO upmost importance that the communication platform will be
of PaperlinX or maybe even a new young sales representative. developed from a user point of view (Bernoff & Li, 2008); it
Bernoff & Li (2008) state that it can be people from all levels is more than a promotional website and it will be heavily used.
within companies. PaperlinX will need to find and cherish There are a number of companies which focus completely on
these people because they will have the opportunity to take the design of communication platforms (communities) and
an important role on the new communication platform. They social media strategies, like Ning and Communispace. Once
may not be able to lead the community, but they are incredibly the communication platform is designed, the management
valuable in helping to build and support it. will be done in house. PaperlinX has an extensive IT
department and they will become responsible for the technical
External Expertise development of the platform.
Hello, and the internal experts part of the community, are just
beginning within this area. Their knowledge on changes in the Conclusion
market, ability to do research, are available. Yet, information Communities develop themselves over time. It is a constant
related to communication, marketing and web design might iterative design process in which functions and content
not be. External experts are needed to provide the community can constantly be adjusted. Hello can start small, with a
with relevant information outside of the scope of PaperlinX. basic platform. This will allow the community manager to
The core of the PaperlinX business is based on the building familiarize his or herself with the management. The most
of personal relationships. With these networking skills at important advice is simply to be alive online. Use trends and
hand it should be feasible to find a number of experts to help daily industry news items to guide content. If a user posts a
Hello with the creation of this communication platform.The topic, make sure there is at least one answer that same day.
important thing is to attract diverse people. If there’s a special event on the industry, integrate it in the
community. Engage, challenge and interact on the platform
Depending on the expertise Hello can use these influencers with the users. Simply make sure that not a single day goes
in many ways. A marketing expert, with its own blog by when nothing happens on the platform; it should always be
could write a number of articles. A graphic designer could alive.

10.6 Marketing
As consumers we’re used to communities easily evolving on
their own, even around brands; Apple, Lego, Polaroid and so
on. In Business-to-Business this is different; the target market
is often a specific population. This makes marketing an
imperative part to stimulate success (Rowland 2009, Strauss
2009). This chapter will be divided in two section: External and most of them are approaching this Future of Print
marketing and Internal Marketing. Internal marketing is an in a questioning matter through their marketing, asking:
important factor within the structure of the PaperlinX group. “What is the role of print in this digital world?” Hello will
distinguish itself by approaching the issues which affect the
10.6.1 External Marketing daily business of commercial printers; not the big questions
Up until now the objectives, content and design of the bothering the entire industry. Commercial printers need to
communication platform have been explored. Based on the be enticed by values that matter to them, making a fullfilling
analysis in the first chapters of this report, it should provide and challenging marketing message; making the commercial
Hello with a formula to build a successful platform. Whether printer want to know what is available to him or her on the
people will keep on returning to the platform, will depend Hello Solutions website. The touch points are not designed,
on the actual implementation. The issue which remains; why but an example is given in the figure above (the packaging of
would commercial printers come to the website in the first Hello paper).
place? Marketing plays a role in this. The objective of the
external marketing is to create awareness of and interest in the Hello has been creative with their marketing in the past
communication platform. (Appendix 6) and in today’s market this mindset becomes
more relevant.
Promotional Marketing
Hello has a number of existing marketing tools, or touch Social Media
points, which it currently uses for the promotion of the Social media is mentioned under Marketing, yet it must be
brand. Examples of these can be found in Appendix 6. The viewed as much more. It should be an integrated part of the
current touch points are: advertisements in reading material, community, using social media to increase the reach of the
direct mail, the sample book, website, gifts and the sales communication platform.
representatives of the Operating Companies.
Hubspot (2010) found that traffic towards company websites,
For the marketing it is essential to define Hello Solutions within B2B markets, on average increases over a 100% when
above the rest. Most companies within this market have the company maintains a twitter account. Accordingly the
started to realise the issues which are troubling them, research shows that B2B users are most likely to use twitter

and linkedin and it shows that companies maintaining active the first time, not directly benefit their own company. Internal
content on their website increase traffic with over 400%. marketing becomes a defining factor.

The Community Manager of Hello Solutions will become 10.6.2 Internal Marketing
actively involved with social media. Social media is a tool to The internal marketing has always been an important topic
increase reach among the target group with little effort. The within the PaperlinX group. Everytime a new marketing
goal for the social media will be to share information from campaign for Hello is launched, a large section of the
the communication platform (e.g. Latest Posts), to engage campaign is spent on promoting the brand among the sales
with others from the industry and to promote others from representatives around Europe. For the upcoming Hello
the industry (Bernoff & Li, 2008). Social media can only be a Paper campaign all the sales representatives will receive a
useful tool when one acts social (nobody will like a brand or flyer explaining the goal of the new campaign, a new sample
person that only talks about themselves). More importantly, book and a gift in the form of a bright red Hello computer
similar to the demands of the communication platform, it is Keyboard.
of the upmost importance to be constantly “alive” online, every
day of the week. The objective of the internal marketing for the platform will
be threefold;
The difficulty in maintaining a social media strategy is the • To inform the operating companies of the new
complete dependence on the person who manages it. This communication platform;
becomes a larger issue in Business-to-Business markets • To motivate operating companies to market the platform
(Strauss, 2009); this person will need to be socially strong towards commercial printers;
and knowledgeable on the paper and printing market. This • To find internal experts whom can contribute to the
person becomes the personality of the brand, not a role for platform.
just anyone.
Hello Solutions has been created with a vision to support
The author is currently following a concise 80 people on the commercial printers (see figure 9.1). Which makes it
twitter within the paper and printing industry; there are a different situation from a new campaign for (new) paper
thousands more active commercial printers out there. product lines. With the communication platform Hello is
not making empty promises, and this vision should be shared
Sales Representatives throughout the PaperlinX group. In order to convince the
The most important touch point within this field remains sales representatives within the company and to even get them
to be the contact with the sales representatives of the local involved, Hello Solutions will need to prove itself and share
operating companies. The sales representative are in close the goals for the platform with the sales representation (see
contact with the clients through E-mail, Phone and in Person. chapter 9.4).
Yet, the marketing they will do for Hello Solutions will, for

10.7 Finances and provide a platform for research. Both of these objectives
can be measured (Bernoff & Li, 2008). They can be translated
10.7.1 Cost Structure into return on investment fields for the Hello Solutions
The cost structure of the communication platform depends Communication Platform; Brand Benefits and Research
on a number of different variables. The most important Benefits (see table 10.2).
cost will depend on people; the management team. For the
organization Hello will have to appoint a community manager Sales Benefits
(paragraph 10.5), which can be a part- or full-time function. This strategy was created with the main goal to move the
Part of the content will most likely be created by motivated Hello brand in new categories (see chapter 9). However, this
people from throughout the PaperlinX organization; communication platform can positively influence the sales
attaching an exact cost estimate to this is difficult. The numbers of Hello paper. Even though the internal analysis
creation of the platform will depend on Hello’s preferences. (see section 1 of the report) proved the difficulty in improving
Will they purchase an existing system or have a specific sales of specific paper brands (due to the commoditization of
platform developed for Hello Solutions? the product), the research into the brand equity within this
market showed there is a definite effect.
There are a number of variables related to the development
of this platform. To provide an insight in the related costs, an Brand Benefits
estimate can be found in Appendix 17. One of the most important goals was to create awareness
and re-positioning the brand. Based on the topic of raising
10.7.2 Return on Investment awareness, the following can be measured (Bear, 2009):
The Return (increased revenue and reduced costs) on Amount of Community Members, Web Traffic, Web Traffic
the Investment (time, resources and people) may seem Referrals, Search Volume Trends, Social Mentions, time
problematic for communication platforms (Millington, 2010). spent on site, repeat visits, Recommendations, printed press
For the Hello Solutions communication platform the Returns attention, etc. Bernoff & Li (2008) translate this into three
may be measured through the sales numbers of Hello paper, value measures Attaching estimated financial values to each of
yet a large part of its value will be missed if this is the only these topics will make them measurable; advertising value, PR
measure. The most important factor therefore becomes to value and word-of-Mouth value.
translate the, perceived, non-financial impacts to measurable
values; financial impact (Blanchard, 2010). This will give an insight in the success of the communication
platform, and therefore the awareness it has created. There are
The initial objective for this communication platform was many existing software tools to measure these numbers, for
not aimed at generating direct profits through sales, though example The Online Community Research Network company
there will be sales benefits noticed in Hello Paper. The focus offers simple packages of software and online applications
of the communication platform was to re-position the brand which make it possible to measure the Return On Investment

of communication platforms. Hello will decide on the Research like this is a costly affair for the brand. The
(financial) worth of it. communication platform will allow Hello to find experts
among the commercial printers, and use their intelligence in
Research Benefits the discovery and development of new concepts.
The second objective for the platform was the possibility to
allow quantitative and qualitative insights in the problems of The problem remains that a number of issues are too
the commercial printers. Hello will be able to discover new intangible to measure (Millington 2010). For example, the
opportunities through this platform. In chapter 8 a number communication platform will improve the sense of unity
of opportunities within the commercial printing market are amongst the clients of Hello, the commercial printers. Yet,
spotted, and the platform will allow Hello to test the waters what is the worth of this community. Another issue may be the
for these ideas with commercial printers. improvement of the brand image. Hello can research whether
the view from the commercial printers on Hello has changed,
Currently the brand is dependent on external companies for and how, yet the financial value is intangible. Hello will have
most of their in-depth research. For example, in 2006/2007 to decide what the value is of the communication platform to
Hello did a basic research in six different countries through their brand.
twelve different focus groups. The research was aimed at
getting feedback on a specific number of service concepts.
Table 10.2 Return on investment value and measurement

Fig 10.3 The Roadmap towards the creation of the Hello Solutions Communication Platform

10.8 Roadmap 10.8.3 Platform Live

A month before the platform goes live Hello will start and
In figure 10.3 is a conceptual roadmap on the implementation of the
internal marketing campaign to inform and motivate the
Communication Platform.
employees with the PaperlinX group. Once the platform goes
live an external marketing campaign will commence.
10.8.1 Compiling a management team
Hello will start with the compilation of a management team.
10.8.4 Research
Let it be stated that these roles can be part-time, and that the
Hello will start, in cooperation with the internal market
network of experts should be constantly expanded. Once a
research team, with research through the platform. Based on
community manager and an initial number of team members
this research, and the analysis within this report, a number of
has been appointed, the planning can commence.
opportunities will be selected.

10.8.2 Development of the Platform 10.8.5 Sales of Solutions

During the planning phase the design of the platform will be
Depending on the research, the growth of the platform and
finalized and partners for the development will be attacted.
the needs of Hello, in 2012 they will begin with the sales of
At the end of the development the platform will be tested and
solutions (e.g. services, applications, products). See chapter 11.


Fig 10.4 The three values to decide whether to start with the second phase: the Sales of Solutions through the Platform

10.9 Platform for Sales? if it has 9% spectators of the total target group (visitors that
view the website, yet don’t participate) and 1% active members
The main question which remains: when is the of the total target group (visitors that actively participate on
communication platform a success and when can we move on the platform). These numbers are an estimate, since they differ
towards the sales of solutions? This relates to three different for each market and target group. In business-to-business
factors; the brand image of Hello, the size of the community these meassures could easily run up to 84-12-4 (Wu, 2009).
and the (research) foundation for new solutions (figure 10.4). Using the 90-9-1 rule as a meassurement, and based on the
target group, it could be stated that the community must
10.9.1 Image of Hello have 300 active members (0,3% of the target group) and 2000
One of the main objectives was to re-position the Hello different monthly spectators (2% of the target group). This
brand in the minds of the commercial printers. Hello needed would provide Hello with a sufficient platform to start with
to become a pro-active brand again, innovative within their the sales of solutions.
market and answering to the needs of their clients. Before
Hello can start with the sales of solutions, they will need to 10.9.3 Opportunity Recognition
be sure that their brand can support this task. It would be In order for Hello to be able to develop solutions, they will
advised to research the brand image among a the target group, need to have sufficient (research) foundation. Hello will need
during the progress of the platform. to plan the research carefully, in order to anticipate on the
development of new products. In the analysis of the market
10.9.2 Activity on the Platform a number of opportunities was recognized, which could be
In the benefit analysis in chapter 10.7 it was stated that the used for further exploration. Once Hello has a sufficient
success, or benefits, of the communication platform could be foundation, they can take the next step and start with the
meassured in a number of ways; which all lead to a view on development and marketin introduction of new solutions.
the activity on the platform. Acording to the 90-9-1 rule (Wu,
2009) a communication platform can be deemed successful

CH. 11

At this point in the timeline Hello has re-positioned its brand, and the communication platform has
a sufficient amount of activity. Through this platform Hello will be able to spot new opportunities in
the commercial printing market and they are able to research new application and service ideas. In this
chapter this process will be further explained and a number of conceptual ideas will be provided as an
inspiring starting point for the further development of the strategy.

11.1 Objectives develop potentially succesful solutions to be offered, sold

and distributed through Hello’s own online platform Hello
In the first phase strategy, the focus was with the re- Solutions.
positioning of Hello, creating awareness through becoming a
knowledge provider and researching the commercial printing What kind of solutions could Hello offer the commercial
market. Hello will enter the second phase, providing the printers through their platform? To be able to give Hello
solution, when the communication platform has become an understanding of what they should aim for at this stage,
a success. In this second phase the focus will be on the a couple of already identified business opportunities are
development and sales of the solutions. materialized in this chapter. These concept function as
example solutions and Hello is encouraged to develop their
11.1.1 Sales own concepts when they enter this phase.
In the first phase of the strategy, providing the anwser (Chapter
11), Hello created an environment for themselves in which Therefore, to give Hello a more tangible insight in the goal of
they could spot and identify business opportunities. In this this strategy, three of these concepts will be materialized in
second phase of the strategy, Hello will develop and sell this chapter.
Solutions for these spotted business opportunities. The term
solution is used, because the opportunities may be of different
types: a service, an application or an integrated solution 11.2 The Concepts
combining product, service and software.Depending on the The reversed funnel model in figure 11.1 shows the
shape of the solution, Hello can partner with sister company development of Hello Solutions throughout its existence.
UplinX or specialized external parties. Together they will In 2011 Hello will introduce the Hello Solutions

Fig 11.1 Throughout the development of Hello Solutions the brand will be able to endeavour in new product categories

communication platform. As the communication platform funnel will become broader. The furter in the future, the more
becomes more succesful (chapter 10.9) Hello can start with elaborated the concepts can become (Hence, the reversed
sales to generate profts. At the beginning of its existence the funnel model).
new solutions will stand close to the Hello Communication
Platform; helping the commercial printers understand their The objective of this strategy is for Hello to start actively
clients. Focused on creating awareness. As the commercial researching the market and innovating on the opportunities
printers become more knowledgeable on the market, the focus they will spot. Therefore, to give Hello an insight in this
for the Hello Communication platform will change from a development, three exemplifary concepts are created: Hello
guiding role, into a supporting role. Printer Improvement, Hello Update and Hello Print Store
(see figure 11.1). These concepts are located in varying places
In a supportive role Hello will start offering more in-depth of the reversed funnel model, ranging from close to the core to
solutions in order for commercial printers to become more far in the future.
transparent, pro-active and print buyer focused in their
business (based on the search fields: see Chapter 7). As the On the following pages these three concepts are described. In the
platform and the commercial printers develop further, the paragraphs after this more information is offered on the
solutions will become more in-depth integrated solutions: the development of the portfolio.

11.3 Hello Printer Improvement
11.3.1 Foundation • Improving your Ser vices
The first concept, the concept closest to the core, builds on • Improving your Strateg y
the knowledge content of the Communication Platform.
• Improving your Personal Contact
The communication platform is aimed at providing
knowledge to and sharing knowledge with the Commercial
The commercial printers can buy these tools on the Hello
printers. As Hello continuously refines the content and
Solutions platform and they will help the printers with the
the communication platform, their own expertise will also
given subject. A conceptual version will be explained through
continuously improve. An approach used by many similar
the first tool: Improving your Website (see figure 11.2).
platforms (see chapter 7) is to start generating profits through
the knowledge that is offered. If the content is exclusive and
11.3.3 Technology
valuable towards the commercial printers, it is an opportunity
The conceptual representation in Figure 11.2 is an online tool,
to profit from it.
integrated in the Hello Solutions communication platform.
The tool could incorporate a number of technologies;
11.3.2 The Printer Improvement Tools
depending on the needs of the commercial printer for each of
This lead to the creation of the Printer Improvement Tools
the different topics.
concept. The concept will cover a number of tools which will
help the commercial printers with issues in their business.
11.3.4 Conclusion
The tools will, depending on the subject, cover a range of
Generating profits through the knowledge Hello will offer
different approaches. Each tool could consist of a package of
is a logical first step after the communication platform starts
questionaires, documents, articles and more. These packages
to become successful. The quality of these tools will need
can be sold towards the commercial printer and they will
to be of a higher level compared to the (already available)
answer to a valid issue of theirs.
knowledge on the communication platform. Profits can be
generated through sales per tool, yet depending on Hello
Five different topics have been selected:
own goals it could also lead to yearly memberships which
provide access to extra levels of content (e.g. The tools) on the
• Improving your Website communication platform.
• Improving your Marketing

Solution Improving the business of Commercial Printers by offering packages of knowledge and
tools which can be easily used and implemented: the Hello Printer Improvement tools.

Fig 11.2 An exemplifary concept of a Print Improvement Tool aimed at website development

Add Photo


back Albert Leuven

Hi Albert,

The first 10.000 copies just

rolled of the presses.
They look fantastic! It did not
mess up the coating, so don’t
worry. Will send it off for
binding now.
Best Regards,

Add Photo


Fig 11.3 A representation of a number of the functionalities of Hello Update

11.4 Hello Update
11.4.1 Foundation
In the printing process there is a gap between the commercial in the process are overcome, when the first complete print
printer and their clients. The commercial printers are keeping product is done, and more. By communicating these towards
this gap in existence, worried that more transparency in the the print buyers, the commercial printers will improve the
relationship will degrade their position. In the process of transparency during the project. The print buyer will become
print projects (see chapter 6), in most situations the print aware of the effort the commercial printer puts into the
buyer will provide the commercial printer with digital files for project, and how highly the commercial printer values the
the project and within a number of days the print products relationship with the print buyer.
will be delivered to the print buyer. Between the provision
of files and delivery of the print products there are little Next to this main focus of Hello Update, the application
moments of contact (i.e. touch points). Commercial printers can be easily expanded with more features. The Update
are often worried that more transparency will make their system could also be used in more casual situations; when
work more troublesome, inviting uninformed print buyers a commercial printers comes across a graphic design or
onto their printing press floor. Even though Print Buyers have an example of a specifically printed product. They can
acknowledged that they would like more transparency and be easily photograph it and share this with their clients. The
more informed (see chapter 6). application can include a printing handbook; a database
featuring clear explanations of terms and process methods
11.4.2 Hello Update used in printing; which can be added to Update messages.
Based on these insights the Hello Update concept was This would allow a print buyer to easily learn more on the
generated. Hello Update is an application which allows activities of the commercial printer, without them having to
commercial printers to inform their clients on the progress go out of their way to explain this. A new feature could keep
of the print project; when, how and where the commercial a history of all sent updates and allow the commercial printer
printer wants to. This application will transform the negative to quickly attach notes to specific clients; for remembering
view of the commercial printers on transparency in the specific things about the relationship with a client.
printing process into an opportunity; adding a new touch
point between commercial printers and their clients (i.e. the The possibilities of this application are multifold and the
print buyers). application could develop itself over time. Version 1.0 will
During a printing process there are always essential moments simply contain the update function, yet throughout its
depending on each different project; the moment the cover of existence new versions will introduce new functionalities.
a magazine has just received its coating, when difficult steps

Solution Improving the bond between commercial printer and print buyer by keeping print buyers
up-to-date on the progress of the print project throught the Hello Update application.

11.4.3 Technology
The conceptual representation in figure 11.3 is based on a
smart phone application. The smart phone allows for the
commercial printer to create an Update in any environment,
for example, right on the printing press floor. The smart phone
allows for updates to easily be combined with photographs
and to be send towards a broad number of receiving mediums;
from E-mail, MMS, to Twitter. The concept could be
supported through other mediums as well; a dedicated
software applications for computers or a plug-in application in
an existing computer program (e.g. Microsoft Outlook).

11.4.4 Conclusion
The application improves the transparency during the printing
process, it allows the commercial printer to become more
pro-active by stimulating them to take control and initiate the
contact, and both function and design of the application are
aimed at the needs of both the commercial printer and the
print buyer.

The application gives Hello a strong platform to create a

dedicated Hello application. It could evolve throughout its
existence and offer more extensive functionalities.

11.5 Hello Print Store
As the Hello Solutions platform keeps evolving, Hello can online store front would be an excellent addition for copy
broaden its view further and further. The first two concepts shops, or other small local commercial printers. Many small
stayed close to the initial focus of the communication commercial printers which are venturing online are therefore
platform, this third one will be a more elaborate and currently creating their systems in-house with the help
integrated solution. from an external ICT company, based on low cost software
packages and software plug-ins. Though these systems work,
11.5.1 Foundation they do not radiate high quality, neither are they user-friendly
One of the main trends within this market is the move designed. A few companies have been explored which offer
towards digital printing and web-2-print services (see store front software towards small commercial printers, yet
appendix 9). Many large companies have already paved the again it is of low quality. There is an opportunity to develop
road and slowly small and medium sized printers are starting well-designed store front software for small commercial
to follow online. Moving business online requires a change printers.
in strategy. The website can no longer focus solely on its
promotional value; it has to become an online store front for UplinX is one of the main suppliers of this software, and a
the commercial printer. sister company of Hello. UplinX has a number of software
packages that covers this field: software for the basic store
Many of the larger commercial printers have, through front, templates to brand this online store front for each
cooperation with software developers, created their own different commercial printer, software to streamline the back
software system for this online store front. Often these office organization, software which creates a digital prototype
systems are rather complex, due to the many tasks they have presentation of an uploaded PDF, and various other services
to fulfill. There’s a long list of different products which can and applications (see Appendix 13). Through a partnership
be ordered, many specifications, and so on. In today’s market with UplinX, Hello has an opportunity to move into this in-
there are a number of professional software developers, depth field of the commercial printing industry.
PaperlinX’ UplinX being one of the largest, which offer
software created specifically for the commercial printing 11.5.2 Hello Print store
industry. Based on these insights the partnership of Hello and UplinX
can develop an online Storefront specifically for small
This software is advanced and well designed. Yet, it is often commercial printers. UplinX will be mainly responsible for
too expensive for small commercial printers to purchase. An the creation of a specialized software package aimed at small

Solution Improving the online sales channels of small commercial printers through an integrated
solution of products, services and software in Hello Print Store.

A module which integrates the
printer’s website with a
prototype (dummy) service
from Hello.

Fig 11.4 A systematical representation of the concept

commercial printers. It is advised that this is done on co- 11.5.3 Business Model
operation with a team of user focused designers. The existing Most software systems in this field will have high start-
systems has show that they can often be of a technological up costs which makes them unattractive to most small
nature, in which a certain amount of knowledge on printing is commercial printers; you do not even know whether you will
desired to order print work. The clients of small commercial be able to turn it into a profitable business at that moment. If
printers (which eventually will use the software) are often less UplinX would be able to develop a simple modular system,
knowledgeable on printing. to keep start-up costs at a minimum, then the system will
develop itself over time. If, for example, a commercial printer
The system will be a simplified modular system. The amount wants a system they will start with the basic functionalities.
of functions should be concise at the start, yet it should If the commercial printer is successful, they are able to extend
provide the possibility to grow throughout its existence. If the the system with new functionalities. Through this business
commercial printer becomes more successful they will need model the profit of the Hello UplinX Partnership will
to be able to extend the system. In figure 11.4 is a conceptual increase as the sales of their clients increases.
systematical represenation of this idea.
11.5.4 Conclusion
In this cooperation Hello will be able to provide the Hello This integrated solution, Hello Print Store, is still in a
Print Store clients with the proper paper for their online highly conceptual stage. Based on the initial explorations
venture. In this way Hello will be able to link their product of the market there are definite opportunities within
(paper) to a service and application (Hello Print Store) and this field. In this concept Hello will be able to put all its
create an integrated solution. Hello will furthermore be experience gathered during the development of the Hello
the trusted face of the venture and able to supply the Print Solutions platform into work, though it will demand careful
Store clients with key information (from the Hello Solutions preparation. An interesting field to explore in the future of the
community) to stimulate their business success. Hello Solutions platform.

11.6 Portfolio Management This paragraph simply provides an insight, but due to the
broadening scope in possible categories (represented in the
As these three concepts show, there are diverse opportunities reversed funnel model, fig 11.1) Hello will need to thread
for Hello in the future. As the Communication platform will carefully in the development process of the solutions. Each
progress, Hello may find that there are a number of directions project to the main strategy and vision of Hello Solutions.
they can take. To maintain a solid strategy throughout
the development of the Hello brand, proper portfolio
management is a necessity. Cooper and Edget (2008) define
11.7 Conclusion
three goals for the management of portfolios. Though these three concepts are not definite, they have
the opportunitity to be developed by Hello throughout the
Strategically Alligned to the Vision growth of the Hello Solutions platform. The objective of these
Each new solution should match Hello’s main strategy and three concepts is to stimulate Hello and PaperlinX to take
vision. Hello should pursue the creation of a solid portfolio a new look at their clients, to look beyond the client’s basic
of solutions which do not negate each other, they should and needs into the relationship between commercial printer and
carry out the vision of Hello. The brand vision (see chapter 9) print buyer. The commercial printing market is going through
will be used as a filter to guide innovation (Roscam Abbing, a transition and Hello should use this chance to become part
2010). of the solution.

Maximize the Value of the Portfolio The strategy discussed in chapters 9, 10 and 11 can be used
To maximize the value of the portfolio will demand as a blue print and road map for Hello Solutions. Due to the
constant mapping of each of the different products and both complexity of building towards a complete strategy, and the
strategically and financially make sure they maximize the implementation within Hello and PaperlinX, a number of
value of the portfolio. Resources are not unlimited and must issues has been left out and will need to be further explored
be divided well. Too many project at the same time will lead to by the company itself. The development and innovation of
difficulties in the development process and, possibly valuable, concepts are two of these factors. These, among others, will be
projects will go lost. briefly discussed in the recommendation chapter (see chapter
Seek Balance in the Portfolio
The portfolio should be balanced in a number of ways.
Cooper & Edget (2008) mention the division between
longterm and shortterm project, or low risk and high risk. It
even moves into the different product categories and target
markets; balance should always be maintained to spread the

CH. 12

Through the progression of this project decisions were made and directions were chosen. The strategy
was the final combination of all these results. During the course of the project the progression and the
choices that were made, were discussed with Tan Brand Communication Consultants, TU Delft and
PaperlinX. For the evaluation of the complete strategy it was discussed with the department focused on
Hello Paper, at PaperlinX.

The project is appreciated by PaperlinX. The research and the The operating companies have mostly focused on adding value
final strategy appealed to the management of Hello. Though by reducing costs for the commercial printers. For a premium
the project lead to numerous results, for this evaluation the paper brand the focus should be on adding value by improving
following three topics were deemed most interesting by the the position or revenue of the commercial printers. It was found
author, based on the discussion with PaperlinX; innovation, that Hello’s strengths lay in it’s high brand awareness across
client focus and the strategy. Europe, and their image of consistent quality. Hello wants to
be the answer to the needs of their clients. This provides an
excellent platform for innovation, which should therefore be
12.1 Innovation driven by the needs of the clients.
The Operating Companies are a powerful stakeholder in
the Value Chain. Though Hello had initiated a number of These insights will demand a change within the approach of
interesting services in the past, up until now Hello has always PaperlinX, and Hello. The brand manager of Hello agreed to
been dependent on Operating Companies to deliver them. the importance of this change, yet Innovation has never been
For Hello’s, and the Operating Company’s, clients this made it supported to these levels within PaperlinX. Innovation is
unclear what value Hello was specifically adding, if they were technology (e.g. Resource) driven. Yet, most of these resources
not delivering it. In this divergence between paper brand and aren’t Hello’s; they are the Operating Company’s. Hello has
operating company, the latter wins in power. Hello should already started with the internal preparation of an integrated
therefore develop innovations which are for the greater part new strategy for the brand. These results will provide them
independent from the Operating Companies. with an insight in how to approach innovation under the
Hello brand.

12.2 Client Focus Accordingly a strategy was created to transform the current
Hello brand into a platform for growth; growth in variety
Building on these insights the project focused on the needs of categories. The strategy builds on one of the concept to
of the clients; the commercial printers and print buyers. The create a community under the Hello brand for the commercial
print industry is suffering due to the commoditization of printers. By creating a communication platform, to support
the print product. Unable to properly adjust business to the and stimulate the growth of a community, Hello will have
changes in the communication market their product started the chance to create their own relationships with their clients
to lose value. The offer is greater than the demand, and focus and therefore re-position its brand. Though the important
moves towards price. Due to the current focus on technology relationship with the Operating Companies will always be an
and price by the printers, they do not spot the possibilities. integral part of any venture Hello undertakes, it will no longer
The commercial printers are held back by their lack of make them fully dependent. Hello will accordingly have their
transparency in their business, their focus on technology and own platform, one which through proper development can
their re-active approach. This vision was translated into a transform itself to a sales channel for services and applications
number of opportunities for Hello. in the future.

The analysis of the print industry was highly appreciated by The strategy was well received within PaperlinX. The overall
PaperlinX. It was admitted that a number of the issues were strategy fitted properly with the previous research, and
known, yet the reasoning behind it and the opportunities it provides them with a roadmap to pursue growth within
offers were never clarified or thought of. Previous innovations the brand. It was appreciated that the strategy seemed
usually evolved from practical issues offered by commercial manageable; financial costs grows as the strategy evolves.
printers. This research provides Hello with a number of tacit Their worries were with managing the relationships with the
needs in the market, which show a lot of potential to them for operating company; they may be offended by this new service
further exploration. coming from a paper brand. Yet, a proper strategy which starts
small and evolves in time could prevent this from becoming a
issue according to the brand manager of Hello.
12.3 The Strategy
The opportunities spotted in the analysis of the printing The new strategy for Hello is currently under development within
industry were translated into concepts; a number of the walls of PaperlinX and Tan. The communication platform is
applications, services and integrated solutions of both. taking shape and a new marketing manager has been appointed
Though a number of ideas showed promise, the difficulty to manage the platform. In January the first official steps will be
was found in the implementation under the current Hello taken in Hello’s new direction, in which this project will have a
Brand. Though Hello is a strong, high quality, brand name role to play.
in paper, there was little base to promise quality in new
categories. The concepts stood too far from the current brand.

CH. 13

The strategy provided in this report deals with many of the most important issues. Due to the length of
this project, the author was unable to tackle all of the opportunities and challenges. In this final chapter
a number of recommendations is made on the further development of Hello’s new strategy.

13.1 Research shift in the company’s structure and mindset. Currently

Hello has already started with the implementation of the new
It has been stated that Hello will be able to use their position strategy and it would be advised to continue this innovative
in the communication platform for research purposes. Both trend. Hello needs to stay ahead of the competition.
qualitative research and quantitative research is possible. The
exact methods Hello will use have not been explored in this Innovation will become a central role in this. This project
project. PaperlinX’ and Hello currently have a market research takes a new look at this market; working from the view of
department in place. This department should be able to create the commercial printer and print buyers, instead of driven
innovative methods to do research through the platform. by technology and existing resources. The concepts provided
Currently a lot of research could be more easily done through in chapter 11 could for example be further developed. They
the communication platform, of which focus groups would should be aimed completely at the (tacit) needs and wishes
be an example. It should not be forgotten that not all research of the commercial printers and their clients the print buyers.
can be done through the platform, it is also advised to perform Hello will need the advise and knowledge of partners within
more in depth studies with the print buyers; which are not a this field. In the PaperlinX group Hello could for example
part of the communication platform. seek advice from UplinX. More interestingly would be to seek
help in specialized product and service innovation companies;
companies which have a user-focused approach.
13.2 Innovation
Researching the market is one thing, transforming this into Another great opportunity lies in cooperation with
opportunities and product innovations is the next step. The universities. During this project a number of application
approach this project presents, would require a fundamental and service opportunities have been recognized, which

could be further explored and eventually designed.There website. The success of the platform is dependent on a proper
are possibilities to create interesting internships and design execution of the design. It is advised to have it refined and
projects out of this; for example with the Industrial Design developed by a company with experience in the design of
Faculty. communication platforms. An example would be the company
Communispace, yet there are also many (smaller) companies
in the market with expertise in this area. The design of
13.3 International the usability, user friendliness and aim at the needs of the
At the start of the project it was decided, in discussion with commercial printers, can have a great effect in the success of
the supervisors from Tan and the TU Delft, to leave the the platform.
international and cultural issues out of the scope during
the development. This would focus on the language barriers
between the different countries. In the past Hello has usually
13.5 Iterative Process
started in a low number of countries, and through time Entering this new field will come with a change in method.
implemented it in new countries. In this industry the United The management of the communication platform demands
Kingdom and Germany are two of the most important a constant iterative approach, lead by the platform’s manager.
markets. For this platform Hello could start with English An online platform allows for constant design; even platforms
and/or German, and accordingly spread to other languages. It like Facebook and Linkedin change their functionalities on a
depends on the financial possibilities of Hello and how they weekly to almost daily basis. Though this strategy has been
would like to implement the system themselves. The designed well prepared, there are always chances that things will turn
services and applications could be more easily developed in out different. This should not be seen as a failure, but as an
different languages. opportunity to improve and change the functionalities of the
platform. The main goal should always be to keep the it alive,
and the only one who can keep it alive is Hello. Hello will
13.4 The Platform always need to offer a valid reason for commercial printers
The first steps of the platform have been conceptually to come to the communication platform, and this reason will
designed. Accordingly, This has to be translated into a final change throughout the existence of the platform.


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Internal Inter views by Tan
Margreet Sloot, Category Manager, PaperlinX Anthony Thirlby, Managing Director at commercial printer
Ralf de Jong, Price Benchmark Coordinator, PaperlinX ESP Colour
Roberto Cavicchia, Category Director, PaperlinX Barbara Kuhr, Head of Strategic Marketing at Epson Europe
John Tibbe, Market Intelligence Manager, PaperlinX Costin Mahalia, Client Service Director of Mediacom
Ayolt Pruim, Manager Fine Paper at Proost & Brandt Damiano Polcaro, head of design at Brandnation
George Knijnenburg, Regional Manager at BührmannUbbens Daniele Sala, Communications Manager of B & B Italia
Nicola Simioni, managing director at commercial
External GRAFICHE SiZ S.p.A
Peter Lagerweij, General Manager at commercial printer Job Stuijt, Senior Communications Advisor of
Libertas Rijkswaterstaat
Robbert Bosch, General Manager at commercial printer Royal Lucas ten Brinke, Head of Sourcing for Reed Business
Mart Dijkstra, Owner at commercial printer Dijkstra & De These interviews were executed by Tan Brand Communication
Bresser Consultants for Hello. A number of quotes was used in this report.
Els Teunissen, Graphic Designer at Elsewise
Vikas Sonak, R&D Communication Manager at DSM in
Employees of Tan Brand Communication Consultants



In general I am satisfied with the final result of this project. to transform Hello from a product brand towards a service
It was my goal to work at a consultancy company, which brand. This broad scope created many challenges. It took a
proved to be a great experience; a professional context I can long time before I was able to get a firm grasp on the market,
honestly see myself in the future. From the project itself it was constantly digging deeper and deeper. For future reference it
expected, even hoped, that it would be challenging process. would be clever to sooner set my boundaries, and accept that
Afterwards it can honestly be said that those expectations there are limits in every project. Different directions, issues,
were accurate. ideas and plain old hunches were explored throughout the
project. Some were dead ends and are not discussed in this
At the start of the project it felt like being dropped in report, while others finally lead to the creation of this strategy.
an ocean of information. My experiences in Business-to-
Business, commodity markets, the paper industry and the The project allowed me to dive into new creative areas, among
printing industry were all limited. I soon found out that others, social media and service design. The potential of
Business-to-Business is a different ballgame. In consumer social media as a tool in one’s strategy was very convincing. I
markets I could more easily turn to my own experiences also explored service design, a constantly developing field of
as a customer or user. In this specific Business-to-Business which I was only able to touch the surface. A topic with an
market basically each stakeholder is an expert, or at least interesting relation to brand development, which demands
highly knowledgeable. To design a new strategy and service further exploration and attention in the future.
concept(s) meant that I would have to aim towards becoming
an expert myself in these fields. Though it can not be expected that this graduation project
will be identically implemented, I am proud that my results
The assignment of the project was vaguely described at the will reflect itself in the future plans of Hello. The Industrial
start of the project. It involved transforming Hello from a Design methodologies were of great use during this project;
product- to a service brand. At the start of the project Hello the combination of creative thinking and a technological
had the idea of a customer intimacy platform as a starting background. It allowed me to have a new take in a
point. After the initial explorations it was decided to take conservative market. The results of which Hello will hopefully
the initial assignment as the main goal: to provide a route pursue in their strategy.

Nick Poldermans

One has to draw the line somewhere.