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Cal Poly forum explores packaging innovation

The Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI) at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo developed and hosted a July 24 Executive Forum entitled “Innovation in Marketing Through Packaging Technology.”
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Featuring presentations by faculty from the university’s Graphic Communication Department, Packaging Program, and Orfalea College of Business, the event was sponsored by Exopack and supported also by Packaging World. Participating were key members of the Exopack executive team as well as representatives from six of Exopack’s largest CPG customers.

Exopack is an affiliate portfolio company of private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, Inc., which recently combined Exopack with four other companies owned by Sun Capital under the name Exopack Holdings SARL. Exopack CEO Jack Knott explains his firm’s participation in the Cal Poly forum.

“We were seeking a way to connect with some of our key customers to get their view on how we can better align our mutual interests, especially in view of the opportunities presented by the creation of Exopack Holdings SARL. What made the Cal Poly program so attractive, was its ability to bring the disciplines of brand marketing, package design, and graphic arts together so all three areas could be explored both individually and as interrelated parts of a whole.”

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The forum was built around one over-arching theme: The intersection between brand marketing, packaging, and emerging trends in graphic communication technology. Cal Poly faculty presented their research and forecasts for packaging innovation in three primary areas: printing process, electronically enabled packaging, and the role of packaging in the marketing mix from a consumer’s point of view. Specific topics covered included micro-market segmentation leading to SKU proliferation, time to market, promotional packaging, and brand and consumer interaction enabled by the rapid increase in smart phone adoption.

Included on the agenda were technologies such as digital and 3D printing, recent developments in flexo and gravure, applications like QR codes that bridge the package to the interactive world, near field communication, augmented reality, and printed electronics. The conference first laid ground work for the audience by covering current advancements in each of these areas. It then focused on why they are becoming increasingly relevant to the brand marketers’ world. Each session was designed to be highly interactive and elicit CPG customer perceptions.

“Cal Poly developed a great approach to help us educate our customers and create a highly engaging discussion,” says Knott. “We’ll look for ways to expand the program in the future so that all Exopack customers can become a part of this educational process.”
 

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