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NFC-Powered Storytelling — A New Opportunity for Printing Companies
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The Finns drink more coffee than anyone else in the world. If you read more, you’ll see what it has to do with NFC.

In the past year, I have given half a dozen presentations aimed to label printers and converters considering entry to smart label manufacturing. Just recently I introduced RAIN RFID to a group of printing professionals from Thailand and elsewhere in East Asia and South-East Asia in ASPT 2019 event in Bangkok. Many printing companies are thinking about how to replace declining ink-on-paper business, and smart labels are a good option.

NFC Based Marketing is a Good Way to Start in Smart Labels

A frequent question from print houses is simple: “What should we do, how do we get started with smart labels?”

Embedded in this simple question are a number of other questions:

  • How should we invest and what we need to buy?
  • What should we tell to customers to convince them about RAIN RFID or NFC?
  • How should we train staff from sales to operations?
  • and more

After the ASPT Symposium, we visited Doi Chaang Coffee, a Thai coffee company. The company is an example of using packages to support their brand story. And what a story they had! The way they supported it with bio-plastic materials and package visuals was just perfect. In my mind, the story connected to the print houses’ question of how to get started. And one clear answer started to emerge.

Obviously, following the NFC marketing route to smart label manufacturing is only one of the options, but I believe it is a good one. The approach can be used by printing houses regardless of their business area, location or details of operations.

Doi Chaang Coffee – the Story

Good Story Makes a Great Foundation

The Doi Chaang story is an excellent example of how storytelling is used in brand building. Having a great story helps a lot and that is a big advantage for Doi Chaang. The storyline has its heroes and villains; there are ups and downs in the plot.

After learning the story, and connecting the brand with the names and faces of individuals the consumer connection is deeper. It is not just a cup of coffee, but it is a cup of coffee from Doi Chaang region, from Mr. Pikor Saedoo and his family to me. When a company can communicate such a personal story to its customers, the likelihood of buying again increases. It is a very efficient way to improve brand loyalty.

What About the NFC?

For Doi Chaang, creating the story itself is not a challenge, as it already exists as part of the brand. Currently, the users are directed to the story through images and slogans on packages and brochures. The challenge is to get the full story to as many customers as possible by finding the right channel.

NFC Delivers the Story

Every customer that visits or purchases the Doi Chaang coffee without learning the story can be perceived as a lost opportunity for both the customer and the company. And that has everything to do with NFC.

NFC-enabled labels have many advantages, starting from the simplicity of use when the only required step is to bring your smartphone to the NFC label. Another big advantage is the full control over the brand message - rules must be followed, but there are no third party format requirements, policies or procedures for advertising. Last but not least, it improves the experience for the customers, leaving them more loyal to the brand of coffee they are drinking. If done right, NFC labels can help to build customer knowledge and focus segmentation efforts to deliver relevant and targeted content. A brand could also choose to drive online sales simply by adding a “Tap and Buy” NFC tag on the item.

Placing “tap me” NFC tags to tables and counters at Doi Chaang shops is likely to get several persons to tap the tag and see what is the content. And the content could be a video of the Doi Chaang story. With NFC the lost opportunity is saved. For illustrating the possibility we produced few tags for our internal use at the office. And placed them next to the Doi Chaang coffee we served in our kitchen. And people took the opportunity to tap & learn more about the story.

So, What Should the Printing Companies Do?

We made the tags with the Reelsurance machine. And that brings up the last point. When a printing company starts smart label manufacturing three things should align:

  1. There must be a customer with a need for smart label,
  2. There must be production equipment for making that type of smart labels,
  3. And there must be skills and knowledge to produce those labels.

Any Company With a Brand Name is a Potential Customer

When all of the questions: to whom, what and how are open, answering them becomes extremely hard. There are a lot of standards around RAIN RFID and NFC, there are numerous technology choices, and anyone can really need almost anything; so how do you know where to start? In my opinion, starting with NFC labels encoding for marketing purposes is a good choice. I believe it is easy to find customers interested in enhancing their storytelling and marketing. That is “to whom”.

Learn the Basics

This choice limits the technology challenges. An easy way to start is to purchase blank NFC labels and start with personalization – printing, and encoding. The tags would be ISO14443A tags encoded with the NDEF URL message. Voyantic Reelsurance automates this, you only need to know the web address to encode and the system takes care of the technical details. The inlay must be chosen, and that is something Voyantic can help with in the beginning. We will ask a few simple questions and help you to write specifications you can use in purchasing the blank labels. There are more possibilities in NFC than using it as a gateway to a website URL. It gets easier to expand the knowledge when you have already made the first step.

Reelsurance Tests and Encodes NFC Labels

The investment decision is also easy. When the use case is as clear as this, Voyantic can offer the complete reel-to-reel machine with quality testing and encoding capability in a single delivery. And our support includes getting started in manufacturing. The machine is upgradeable, different NFC cases can be made with the same equipment, and expanding NFC to RAIN RFID is the next milestone to consider.

Do you have a question about implementing NFC or RAIN RFID? Write me an email and I will be happy to discuss!

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