By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
Some years ago when I was chairman of the European Lithographic Suppliers Alliance, I sat in a room in Germany hosting a meeting of the organisation. We had members from Germany, Italy, France, Scandinavia, Spain, Holland, Ireland and the UK.
Of the members present, only the Irish and I were native English speakers, but that was the language we used because it was common to all of us. It made running the meeting easy for me, but I was very conscious that we had to be careful with the words we used – no slang or colloquialisms because if English is not your first language then you may not understand. Of course in the bar later in the evening all languages were being used because we were a very sociable bunch.
The use of English in Europe and lots of other parts of the world as a common communication method is quite widespread and for those of us native English speakers it makes us very lazy to learn other tongues.
Digital Printing Can Create Big Opportunities in Small Markets
The wide variety of languages spoken in Europe is a problem for brand owners and retailers. This is because they need to ensure their products are supplied in the various markets with the appropriate language. Any attempt to substitute the local language on the packaging can result in a slump in sales. On the other hand, targeting the community with the right language can have a very positive effect.
Coca Cola cans targeting different language markets
A significant challenge faced by printers concerns shrinking print run lengths needed for flexible packaging and cartons. This means that some of the smaller markets are much more difficult and expensive to service if the correct language is to be used.
Another important factor is the migration of people from one country to another. We have seen many nationals from Eastern European countries arriving in the UK to take up jobs in the agricultural and manufacturing centres with retailers that are springing up to cater for them. Product is shipped from one side of Europe to the other to ensure the correct labelling for the consumer.
It is not practical at present to produce packaging in the very small quantities required locally to service these markets. But technologies like the Nanography® process may offer a breakthrough and give retailers another edge in the battle for the consumer’s wallet.
Image source (lobby): http://fremdeng.ning.com/m/blogpost?id=6426834%3ABlogPost%3A20637