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SGK’s Carol Best to Present BrandSquare Live Session – 2/18

Posted By: SGK February 09, 2016

Since the FDA’s proposal to revise the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels, manufacturers and brand owners in the food and beverage space have been exploring new ways to prepare and turn the update into a competitive advantage.

The revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts label is due to an increased desire for transparent, more informative labeling from consumers. With finalization fast approaching, Carol Best, SVP of Client Engagement at SGK, will present five steps you should take to better position your brand for growth.

This 30 minute Live Session, brought to you by BrandSquare, is a highly focused webinar, which offers key insights into what companies should start considering now.

Be sure to register and tune in, Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 1-1:30PM EST. Register now for Carol Best’s BrandSquare Live Session: “Turn the Nutrition Facts Label Update into your Competitive Advantage”

For more information and resources regarding the impending label changes, please visit Schawk's Label Central for up-to-date news and insights.

About Carol Best: 

Carol Best is the SVP of Client Engagement at SGK and has fifteen years of expertise in brand strategy and client management, guiding the development and stewardship of some of the world’s most well known brands. Carol’s ability to articulate a clear, insightful strategy has helped leading marketers strengthen their agency partnerships, brand portfolios, improve brand performance, and empower brand management support through a disciplined program. She holds a B.S. in Economics and Marketing from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

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4 Consumer Trends to Watch for in 2016

Posted By: SGK February 01, 2016
4 Consumer Trends to Watch for in 2016

Last Thursday, we tuned into BrandSquare’s Live Session with Mintel’s Consumer Trends Analyst, Jenny Zegler, to learn more about consumer trends to look out for in 2016. In this article, we will go over our key takeaways, and for your reading pleasure, we have included screenshots of the presentation, below:

These findings are a part of Mintel’s Annual Trends project, where they brought together analysts in five countries from a variety of industries, including, but not limited to:

  •  Beauty
  •  Food and Drink
  • Automotive
  • Financial
  • Telecommunications

More than 100 analysts brainstormed trends and common themes occurring in their space. They contributed their thoughts and input into this report, and came up with 4 consumer trends for the North American markets.

The first being the “Balance or Bust” trend, which refers to the ways multifaceted consumers are finding harmony by going to extremes. Think: Bacon Fest to Juice Cleanses. These are on completely different ends of the spectrum in terms of unhealthy to healthy purchases and decision-making processes, but many consumers find themselves participating in both. Jenny points out that these kinds of decisions are not random, but are more of an “understood behavior” of modern consumers.

The other trend Jenny briefly mentions is “Pride & Persona”, referring to companies looking to strengthen relationships with consumers by recognizing our more diverse and open-minded society. Think: Transgender celebrities on the cover of TIME magazine. Consumers are now looking for companies and brands to be more accepting and to showcase different races, genders, and backgrounds in their advertisements, marketing communications, and the products they create.

Specifically, Jenny goes more in-depth with “The Big Brand Theory” and the “Eye Get It” trends in this Live Session, which are outlined below:

The Big Brand Theory – A brand’s story can make or break consumer purchases, which is driving the growth of craft, but not necessarily leaving big business behind.

This is the trend where we see consumers getting more excited about hearing stories about brands and gaining connection with things they buy.

Jenny points out that before the global financial crisis, many consumers were “super-sizing” their lifestyles with huge products, like Hummers. However, in 2016, Mintel predicts consumers will reverse the “bigger is better” mantra for right-sized purchases and the move toward supporting small businesses. This is the thought process that might have lead to the increased popularity of farmers markets and the push for organic, locally sourced, products.

This will impact the food and beverage space, which Mintel anticipates will focus more on craftsmanship and delivering a brand message and/or story that consumers will respect, who can now learn more about the maker and the production process.

The kinds of authentic stories companies and brands are telling to connect with consumers include:

  • Romantic – emotional, personal
  • Outlandish – legendary, exciting

Genuine stories are the most powerful stories brands will be telling in 2016. These are the stories that will give consumers security in the products they buy and ideally, will lead to increased loyalty to a particular brand. To leverage this, bigger brands are partnering with small companies to meet the “local” needs of their mutual consumers.

Eye Get It – An image is worth a thousand words, but consumers now rely on it for timesavings, too.

It’s no surprise that the power of images is mentioned in Mintel’s 2016 Consumer Trend report. This trend is rooted in the fact that consumers’ shortening attention spans are driving the need for immediate gratification in brand messaging.

Consumers are now more likely to base their buying research and decisions by browsing apps like Instagram and Pinterest. Even the “Buy It” icon seen on Pinterest is changing the way consumers buy products.

Another thing to note when touching on the topic of visuals is the increased usage of online streaming apps like periscope, GIFs, virtual reality, and emojis to communicate. This is important for brands looking to connect with their audience since emojis are the fasted growing form of universal language ever. The opportunity here is to create unique messaging by developing branded emojis. These are icons specifically related to the product or service a company provides, and can be communicated with consumers via mobile device or keyboard app.

The takeaway here is that with visuals, companies and brands will save consumers’ time throughout the buying journey. Jenny shares an interesting stat that “34% of US adult primary or secondary household shoppers prefer to see symbols rather than words on beverage packaging” which is something to consider when adding “organic” or “fare-trade” visuals to your branding mix, which mentioned above, is an important part of storytelling for modern brands.

Overall, engaging consumers with authentic storytelling and intriguing visuals will be the key strategies behind many successful companies and brands in 2016.

View the full episode >> Live Session – Jenny Zegler: Mintel’s 2016 North America Consumer Trends


For more information on future Live Session episodes, or to become an expert contributor, head over to the BrandSquare website.

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Mintel’s 2016 North America Consumer Trends– Live Session 1/28

Posted By: SGK January 25, 2016

Mintel has identified two key trends set to impact the US and Canadian markets, including implications for both consumers and brands in the year ahead.

The Big Brand Theory: A brand's story can make or break consumer purchases, which is driving the growth of craft, but not necessarily leaving big business behind.

Eye Get It: An image may be worth a thousand words, but consumers now rely on images to save time too.

Join Jenny Zegler, Trends Consultant at Mintel, as she presents Mintel’s 2016 North America Consumer Trends.   In this free BrandSquare Live Session on Thursday, January 28, 2016 and 1:00 pm ET, she will outline these major trends using Mintel’s own data and make predictions for where the trends might lead.

Register now for Mintel’s 2016 North America Consumer Trends.

We hope to see you there!  

About Jenny Zegler, Trend Consultant at Mintel
Jenny Zegler is the dedicated trends analyst on Mintel’s Food & Drink platform, blending Mintel Trends expertise with food and drink specific topics, such as health and wellness, packaging and premiumization. She has been part of the team that creates Mintel’s annual cross-category consumer trends since 2014 and annual food and drink trends since 2015. Previously, she was the beverage analyst on Mintel’s US reports team and a trade magazine journalist covering the US beverage, food and packaging industries. She holds a bachelors of science in magazine journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wollongong in Australia.

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Seven Steps to Winning on the Digital Shelf – Live Session 12/17

Posted By: SGK December 11, 2015

Take a look at your brand online, across multiple retailers. Do you have control over its appearance, information and timeliness on the digital shelf? Can shoppers buy with the same confidence as they buy in-store? With online sales of consumer packaged goods projected to grow five-fold in the next few years, you can’t afford to leave it to chance. It’s not just about making sure your products are available online—it’s about making sure they can win there.

Join Bruce Miller, Vice President of Product Development at SGK, for Seven Steps to Winning on the Digital Shelf. In this free BrandSquare Live Session on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 1pm ET, Bruce will outline the seven steps you can take to build an e-commerce infrastructure that ensures online quality, consistency and completeness. 

Register now for Seven Steps to Winning on the Digital Shelf.  

We hope to see you there!  

About Bruce Miller, Vice President of Product Development
Bruce leads the practical application of new technologies to the brand deployment requirements of SGK’s clients. His deep expertise in graphic production and management has helped advance the application and performance of graphic workflows for many of the world’s most prominent brand owners. A champion of innovation at SGK for more than 25 years, Bruce has played a pivotal role in the company’s transition from conventional analog to today’s advanced digital technologies and processes.

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Private Label: Taking the Next Step in Packaging – Live Session 11/19

Posted By: SGK November 17, 2015

Today’s shoppers are looking for value beyond price. To reach the next level of competitiveness, private labels need to appeal not just to the pocketbook, but to deeper desires. Does your product and your label speak to today’s values for healthier living, on-the-go convenience, social responsibility?

Join Jim Lucas, principal of The Evanston Consulting Group, for Private Label: Taking the Next Step in Packaging.  In this free Brandsquare Live Session on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 1 pm ET, Jim will explore how private label brands can stand out on the shelf with labeling that reflects the most closely held values of today’s conscious consumer. 

Register now for Private Label:  Taking the Next Step.

We hope to see you there!  

About Jim Lucas, Principal at The Evanston Consulting Group

As Principal of The Evanston Consulting Group, a firm focused on consumer culture, trends and insights, Jim is a frequent author and speaker both domestically and globally. He is a major contributor to the international book, “Shopper Marketing: How to Increase Purchase Decisions at the Point of Sale.” Jim has held previous executive positions in planning, retail insights and shopper marketing at Frankel/Arc (Euro), Draftfcb and most recently at SGK. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in Sociology and Statistics and his MA and BA from Loyola University of Chicago.

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Disrupting Your Processes to Control Label Content

Posted By: SGK October 26, 2015

With multiple stakeholders, manual artwork creation, and complex regulatory requirements, brand owners are often exposed to significant risks in their artwork processes, such as schedule delays, quality issues, and even costly product recalls. But according to Jackie Leslie, Director of Process Consulting at BLUE Software in her Brandsquare Live Session, these crises can be averted:  the trick to improving inefficient artwork workflows is to disrupt the process.  

Based on former Microsoft VP Steven Sinofsky’s stages of disruption, growth and innovation are achieved through introducing change and evolving based on the change. Using these four key steps, you can determine what change to introduce and how to manage the disruption.

1.    Assess Where You Are
Using a maturity model, determine if your processes are repeatable (compliant but not coordinated), defined (utilizing best practices), managed (codified best practices that span all departments and regions), or optimized (controlled processes & reporting capabilities through automation).

2.    Establish Your Objectives
Determine what you want to accomplish with the process disruption, such as reducing cycle times, gaining flexibility and scalability, improving brand consistency, or achieving regulatory compliance and traceability.

3.    Determine the Obstacles
Do your people have defined responsibilities, clear communications, accountability for specific tasks, and a means of reliably sharing information? Are your processes defined, repeatable, streamlined, measurable, and shared across your organization?  Do your technologies provide a collaborative, measurable workspace and use automation to drive consistency? 

4.    Align People, Process, and Technology
Consider each of these areas and their impacts on one another before disrupting your workflows.  A lack of alignment can lead to a failed deployment.  Ensuring all categories are aligned optimizes the effects of the disruption.

The benefits an organization can achieve through disrupting the artwork process can be exponential.  Employees gain a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities and can be more efficient and communicative through workflow automations and standardized communication procedures.  Managers and key stakeholders have greater visibility and transparency into current projects, milestones, and upcoming tasks, allowing them to balance workloads and plan for future resource needs.  And the overall process can achieve improved speed to market as well as greater measurability, accountability, and consistency.  Moreover, disrupting your artwork processes can improve your overall efficiency and drive your brand performance to the next level.

For more insights, be sure to watch Jackie Leslie’s BrandSquare recording on Youtube, “Disrupting the Process: Controlling Label Content."

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Creating Millennial Brand Engagement – Live Session 10/22

Posted By: SGK October 20, 2015

The largest and most influential generation of consumers ever—Millennials—are no longer an unreachable audience. While some companies fear the unknown of the “innovation generation,” the real winners are those who engage and interact with today’s Millennial Mindset® consumers.

Join Jeff Fromm, President of FutureCast, for Creating Millennial Brand Engagement.  In this free BrandSquare Live Session on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 1pm ET, Jeff will challenge participants to unlearn and reimagine what they thought they knew about the Millennial generation.

Register now for Creating Millennial Brand Engagement.

We hope to see you there!  

About Jeff Fromm, President at FutureCast

Although, not a millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy™. Jeff has over 25 years of marketing consulting experience across dozens of brands ranging from Build-a-Bear Workshop to Whole Foods. Jeff is the President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in millennial trends, is a contributing writer at, and has published numerous research reports and books on the millennial consumer. Jeff is a frequent speaker on marketing, consumer trends, and innovation. 

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Disrupting the Process: Controlling Label Content – Live Session 9/24

Posted By: SGK September 21, 2015

Missed deadlines. Incorrect labeling. Recalls. Your current artwork process is costing you. That's why it’s time to disrupt the process and create a better way of working.

Join Jackie Leslie, Director of Process Consulting at BLUE Software, for Disrupting the Process: Controlling Label Content. In this free BrandSquare Live Session on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 1pm ET, Jackie will explain how to identify what stands between you and a better process, how to make technology and process work together, and more!

Register now for Disrupting the Process: Controlling Label Content

We hope to see you there! 

About Jackie Leslie, PMP, Director, Process Consulting at BLUE Software

Armed with experience in project management, consulting, and over 15 years focused on brand management, Jackie is an expert at identifying process improvement opportunities, sharing best practices, and recommending technology-based solutions to help get products to market faster. Her specialty is working with companies looking to gain better control over their brand content. 

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How to Survive and Thrive “The Grocery Wars” - Live Session 8/20

Posted By: SGK August 17, 2015

Experts had predicted that we’d be buying all of our food online by now, and even though there are some quickly growing players in grocery delivery like InstaCart and AmazonFresh, grocery stores and supermarkets continue to thrive.

Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert has been analyzing consumer culture and the grocery industry for more than 20 years and he has a very clear vision for where grocery stores are headed.

In a free BrandSquare Live Session, Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 1 p.m. ET, Lempert will discuss how your brand can focus on the changing consumer and retail landscape and fight to survive “The Grocery Wars.”

Reserve your spot now!

About Phil Lempert:

Phil Lempert, an expert analyst on consumer behavior, marketing trends, new products and the changing grocery retail landscape. For 25+ years, he has identified and explained impending trends to consumers and some of the most prestigious companies and news publications worldwide. Known as The Supermarket Guru®, Lempert is one of America’s leading consumer trend-watchers and analysts. His website, is one of the leading food and health resources on the internet, visited by more than 9 million people each year.

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Branded Material Supply Chains: Capitalizing on Consolidation

Posted By: SGK July 16, 2015
Branded Material Supply Chains: Capitalizing on Consolidation

Mergers and acquisitions activities, as a leading growth strategy, will continue to grow in 2015. Motivated by industry consolidation and the response to competition, companies are finding new ways to decrease costs, streamline operations and drive shareholder value. 

M&A activity for branded material workflows can be simplified by streamlining processes and consolidating staffing models, agency rosters and technology – all with the goal of improving efficiency and profitability. 

Join Jesse Moen, Director of Continuous Improvement Practice at SGK, as he presents Branded Material Supply Chains: Capitalizing on Consolidation, Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 1pm ET.

He’ll review benefits insights from the marketplace and key tactics to discover these opportunities and deliver shareholder value from this often overlooked supply chain. 

We hope to see you there! Register here.

About Jesse Moen:

Jesse Moen brings 10+ years of expertise in brand development/deployment and in the practice of continuous improvement. He is the driving force behind the success of the SGK’s Continuous Improvement Practice (CIP) and has strategically led initiatives with CPGs and retailers such as Campbell’s, Dial, Diamond Foods, General Mills, Logitech, Merck, Proctor & Gamble, 3M, Safeway, and Titleist. Jesse earned a MA from the University of California, Berkeley and holds a Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt from the University of St. Thomas.