Strengthening brands: From creative to pre-media

As you pick up a product from the shelf of your supermarket, have you ever given a thought as to what goes behind the scenes in the making of that product?

15 Sep 2014 | By PrintWeek India

It is a beautiful blend of creative talent, out-of-the-box thinking, superlative technical knowledge and consistency that finally gives form and function to the product. 

Although the creative and the pre-media are extremely essential and indispensable without one another, very often, these two departments are confused with each other, or are melded into one. But their direction of work is very defined.  In fact, the creative process starts first and then goes on to the pre-media part of it.

So what does the creative department exactly do?

The creative department is where the big idea is generated. While the creative expanse can differ with each organisation with regards to the client needs and abilities, it encompasses the overall written, visual as well as audio communication for a brand.

For packaging organisations, the big idea is the positioning of the brand. Brand positioning is of utmost importance because it standardises the way consumers interact with the brand. This includes creating a strong logo, representative colours, possible mnemonics, packaging design and the overall graphic representation that consumers can identify with, time and again. If done right, brand positioning has the ability to catapult the brand into the superbrand territory.

But, it is not just the start, but the sustenance of the brand that makes it unforgettable. This requires constant communication between the brand and the agency, an influx of quality creative talent and of course, the hunger for creating out-of-the-box ideas for brands that can ultimately communicate effectively with the consumer.

Pre-Media in packaging is where creative ideas get executed on to the pack. A lot of things go into formalising these creative ideas and putting them on the pack. It is where brand identity gets a strong foundation before entering the market. This foundation is given by final artworking, formalising colours, graphic elements, reprographics and initialising colour management for packaging media.

Pre-media is a hands-on industry where great emphasis is experience in quality and consistent print reproduction. While creative works with brand managers, the pre-media department has to work with the entire supply chain to convert ideas into reality. Standardisation of brand elements through essentially print media is the purpose of pre-media. This supply chain includes print managers, packaging experts and colour specialists who constantly communicate with the pre-media organisation along with the client.

All of these people make sure that the packaging conforms with brand guidelines such as distance between the logo and its tagline, to the legal implications such as the FSSAI logo for FMCG goods. Human resources for pre-media have to be an eclectic mix between talent, and technical experience. Once all these requirements are met, it is sent for printing and to get ready for the product to be placed in it.

Brand owners work with multiple design agencies but with limited pre-media agencies. Today pre- media agencies becomes a critical knowledge bank with multiple levels of information on brand campaigns and product development. In the coming years other than the current services, pre- media agencies will be doing data analytics, too, by dipping in to their knowledge bank.

Ultimately, both creative and pre-media are indispensible for leveraging a brand’s appeal, its presence and its sustenance in today’s information-rich world. It is not in just one, but all departments and teams working in unison that make the pack that you hold in your hand, possible.

This article is contributed by Sethunath Padmanabhan, managing director, Diadeis Alia