Cary Sherburne: Hi. I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I’m here with Mark Ushpol who’s President of Ariva. And perhaps some of our readers, listeners I guess in this case, are not that familiar with Ariva. Can you give us a little background on the company?
Mark Ushpol: Okay. Ariva is the new name for our company. We rebranded last year in February. The idea was to try and pull together what was four different brands; three in Canada—Buntin Reid, JBR La Maison du Papier, and The Paper House, and RIS Paper in the U.S. And we wanted to have one name for one business with one common approach to how we go to market, so we did the rebranding last year. At the same time, it was also linked to changes in our marketplace really, print changing a lot and it was a good time to with that change bring a new approach to how we would kind of go to market.
Cary Sherburne: Okay. And maybe you could just give us like a brief overview of the portfolio that you offer.
Mark Ushpol: Historically, we’ve been a firm focused on offset printing. So we have the standard coated and uncoated products that dealt in the offset market as well as packaging materials. But with the focus of the rebranding on the new technologies coming along we decided that we should also really push our digital focus. And so we’ve gone into synthetics, pressure-sensitive papers and materials in order to have a better offering for the marketplace.
Cary Sherburne: So the materials are more optimized for some of the digital applications?
Mark Ushpol: Absolutely. That’s looking at both high heat toner applications, the HP Indigo, and obviously, the emerging inkjet technologies that are coming along.
Cary Sherburne: Okay. So you’ve got inkjet-optimized materials as well then?
Mark Ushpol: Absolutely. I think we do a lot of work—inkjet is very much emerging, obviously. Indigo has got quite a good position as does high heat toner, and we can see a lot developing with inkjet. You look at where main jet is coming; you look at the different inks that are starting to be used. I think we have to be watching inkjet very carefully. It definitely looks like it’s rapidly coming along in terms of speed and quality to really threaten offset at higher and higher volumes of print. And so we have to make sure that we’ve got the right kind of substrates that can meet those new requirements.
Cary Sherburne: So when you look at a printing firm, whether they’re an offset firm that has digitals or hybrid manufacturing or whether they’re digital only, what’s the importance of media in their businesses and enabling them to be successful in this dynamically changing market—I guess that’s a polite way to put it.
Mark Ushpol: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. I think it’s all being driven by the end users. I think the 2008 recession got everybody looking at marketing budgets, got everyone thinking about, you know, how do we best use spend. You have all these new social media that are emerging. So everyone looking at their budgets and saying how best do I take my brand to the marketplace? How can I make sure that I retain the customers that I have and try and attract new customers as an end user, whatever the big brand happens to be? And I think the print story is an important part of what that marketing effort is.
And be that that it’s still some standard offset printing or more and more of the emerging printing where you have the ability to use variable data and speak to specific groups of people and get better measures of return on investment. I think that’s what end users are looking for. So together with our printers who we view as partners, I think we together are focused at end user level at saying how can we bring some new applications, some new ways of communicating to your customer, Mr. End User, that can enable you to keep your brand strong out there in the marketplace.
Cary Sherburne: And then so where do you see this kind of going in the future in terms of, you know, new options for media, and perhaps digital packaging is an area that’s growing quite a bit. Where do you see this going in the future?
Mark Ushpol: I think we are seeing that, you know, digital graphical packaging is one of the real growth areas. That’s something that we’re getting very much into as well. I think there are people looking to personalize and be able to promote with a lot of colors and different techniques, products that we have, for example, a product called Foil Jet. With that product you’re able to really differentiate and have something that can stand out on a shelf.
Cary Sherburne: So a metallic look.
Mark Ushpol: A metallic look, exactly, going to an individual and really capturing their attention. So how you can create a standout, a point of difference in the marketplace is the key, and I think keeping up with where it’s going because it’s advancing so quickly. We’ve seen announcements of machines that are getting faster, wider. We have to make sure that we’re up with where that’s all going with the right kind of substrates. And I think it’s not about the products that we’re selling, it’s about what you can do with those products to create attention at the end-user level and to make sure that your brand remains strong. It’s all about branding and customers and customer attention at the end of the day.
Cary Sherburne: So if people want to find out more about you, where should they go?
Mark Ushpol: Our website, arivanow.com, has got all the details about the company and a special area that looks at digital printing specifically, lists our products. We’ve looked as well at, in terms of our sales force and marketing, that we very much focus on, I’m trying to come up with solutions in a partnership effort. It’s not us saying this is who we are and this is what we’ve got, but how can we work together to offer some solutions. But our website’s got everything you need on it.
Cary Sherburne: That’s great. So we hope people will take a look—arivanow.com.
Mark Ushpol: That’s it. Thank you very much.
Cary Sherburne: Thank you very much.