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Take Flight: Introducing Mike Ferrari of Ferrari Innovation Solutions

Packaging Experience Summit
September 26, 2018

We caught up with Mike Ferrari, Founder and Principal of Ferrari Innovation Solutions, and guest speaker at Packaging Experience Summit. After 32 years of service with Procter & Gamble, Mike is now a renowned brand packaging consultant, coaching for corporate leaders. Learn more about Mike and his experience in packaging.

In anticipation of Packaging Experience Summit on March 19 –20, 2019 (mark your calendars!) we’ll be highlighting our stellar lineup of experts, influencers, and powerhouses in the packaging and digital print industry.

Today we caught up with Mike Ferrari, Founder and Principal of Ferrari Innovation Solutions, LLC. After 32 years of service with Procter & Gamble, Mike is now a renowned brand packaging consultant, coaching for corporate leaders. He is dedicated to educating, guiding, and inspiring those in the packaging industry to grow.


How did you get into packaging? What has kept you in this industry?

In 2002, Procter & Gamble declared the first Moment of Truth (FMOT) as a corporate focus. Packaging became important and a newly created position to deal with this would report directly to top leadership. I was tapped to take the position and lead P&G brands globally to provide technology to create “stopping power” while shoppers would walk the aisles.

Since 2002, digital technologies have transformed both consumers and packaging. Ifind this an exciting and innovative industry to remain a part of and to help people along this new journey.


What major changes have you observed in consumer shopping behaviors over the past few years? 

I have observed three major phases of change in shopper behavior over the span of my career:

Phase 1: I lived most of my life with brands pushing a marketing message in a mass production mode. Shoppers had limited choices.

Phase 2: In 2002, shoppers were no longer majorly influenced by TV, publications, radio commercials. They were spending more time with their DVR’s and computers. This gave birth to FMOT. Packaging needed to stand out on the shelf as SKU proliferation created more choice.

Phase 3: Around 2009, smart phones enabled the internet to become a prolific presence in shoppers’ lives by allowing them to take this powerful tool with them wherever they went. The balance of power switched from brands to shoppers. The ability of shoppers to compare options while in-store, place orders through eCommerce, and the explosion of subscription model shopping while in the convenience of their home. Shoppers are now in control of what they want (including personalized packaging), when they want it and how they want it. This era began a new period of mass customization in packaging in response to consumer behavior.


What are common missed opportunities for brands when it comes to the experience they are delivering with packaging?

Brands are largely focused on delivering quarterly results. There are only 2-3 brands that I am aware of looking at the long-term reinvention of their workflows made possible with the digital technologies that can make them more agile, relevant, and secure for their consumers and to grow their base.


What advice do you have for brands who are hesitant to embrace change in packaging?

The digital age is here to stay. Millennials, as well as Gen Z’ers, have different habits and expectations. Packaging needs to rise to meet these new demands that are not yet taught in MBA classes. Brands large and small trying new ways to engage and interact with their younger target market are finding success through packaging.  

I recommend brands create a two-prong approach to short and long-term success.First, introduce digital technologies and begin trialing new packaging approaches in the marketplace. Both for productivity and for consumer innovation while maintaining analog for long run packaging. Next, form a team to create an “all-digital workflow” reinvention strategy.


What emerging innovations are you excited to see make their way into the world of packaging? 

There are several major trends taking place that should not be dismissed by brands, including but not limited to:

·       All press manufacturers embracing and selling digital presses (Liquid Electro Photography, Ink Jet, Nano technology)

·       Software developed to improved artwork creation through print production management

·       Wider and faster digitalprint presses

·       Digital decoration (spot varnish and variable foiling)

·       Digital creasing and cutting

·       In-line inspection

Some of these are in their early stages while others are maturing, but what is certain is the future of digital hardware and software will continue to improve. 


What is one key takeaway you hope to impart on attendees of Packaging Experience Summit?

I hope that attendees are inspired to create a learning culture and “test a little and learn a lot” in the marketplace. Another takeaway is for attendees to reexamine their business and ask themselves some questions to guide their sustained success:

Do I have a packaging strategy that provides increased productivity and innovation to achieve a constant stream of promotions, short runs, and speed to market?

Do I have a marketing strategy that will engage consumers across the shopper omni-channels, leveraging packaging (as its own marketing channel “on 24/7” and requires no power), creating personalization and eCommerce packaging?


To stay updated on Mike, be sure to follow him on Twitter via @gamechanger78. For the opportunity to meet Mike and listen to him speak in person, register for Packaging Experience Summit today. Save 25% on 2-day early bird admission tickets when you register before December 31st, 2018.

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