The Gen Z Mantra: Vinay Thakur

Vinay Thakur works as a packaging technologist at Kohler. Thakur talks to Mansi Gupta about where he sees the printing and packaging industry and shares his views on sustainability

22 Aug 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

What does a customer want from the printing and packaging industry?
Customers want a package that is appealing, simple to use, and simple to discard.

Do all customers want the same?
There are different kinds of customers, each with a unique set of characteristics. Some prefer particular brands for certain products. While others switch between brands frequently.

Can you elaborate?
Some use the product for some time and develop loyalty. Later they get familiar with both the product and the package and prefer this. While for some packaging is the first thing they take note of. Such consumer groups are constantly drawn to distinctive packaging.

With the rise in eCommerce, what will be the future of the printing industry?
Packages, books, clothing and other necessary items still need to be printed. Not all print products can be replaced by their digital counterparts. With additional features, eCommerce is just as effective as a promotional tool. 

How does print play a role in selling SKUs? 
The print has a significant impact as it is the first thing a customer notices. It has an aesthetic impact and various textures. The product can quickly stand out from its competitors, thanks to effective colours, printing, and conversion strategies.

What is your take on sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging is needed for present and future generations. But it should not be attached to simply eliminating plastics used in packaging. We should acknowledge that polymer is among the best things that mankind has ever created. It has enormous potential to change the packaging sector.

So, what is to be done?
As they say with great power comes tremendous responsibility and we should take that. In the packaging sector, it is our job to use plastics cautiously and responsibly.

How can that be achieved?
Reducing packaging materials should be the primary goal of sustainable packaging. Companies need to redesign packaging and work on improving supply chains. More initiatives will be seen on the circular economy and returnable packaging front. 

Is circular economy the new buzzword?
Yes. Everyone is talking about it, but only a few are making an effort to lead by example in the industry. However, achieving this quickly is tricky and we need to wait. We will eventually see greener packaging.

Can you give an example?
Once the lifecycle of the product is completed, bringing everything together is the goal. Samsung made its refrigerator packaging returnable. The loop will only close with sound recycling procedures. Consumers also have a responsibility in addition to the businesses. This idea cannot work without both aspects working together.

Are Gen Z loyal to brands or do they prefer exploring other alternatives?
Gen Z likes discovering new things, and they do the same with brands. The technique is to first investigate alternatives because it provides a clear picture of the product, cost and usability. Then the product eventually maps out and establishes its position for them.

What is Gen Z’s outlook on social media marketing in the printing and packaging industry?
The Gen Z’s lifestyle includes social media marketing. The majority of us are impacted by these marketing campaigns: Social media networks make it simple to advertise things. Many packaging sectors are present on these platforms where they interact with customers globally.

At a glance

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My team came in ninth in a national-level go-karting championship. I was the team’s vice-captain and managed the design for which we won first place.

Describe your dream visit to a factory?
I was lucky to visit Manipal Press’s printing facility in Udupi. It served as a one-stop-shop for the majority of the printing and converting tasks.

Which is better — a novel or a movie?
Movies are all forms of art together. In addition to telling the story, the movie also immerses you in it. I like watching stories come to life visually with quality production, effective narrative tactics, and mood-enhancing music. 

Which movie have you recently watched?
I just watched the Marathi film Chandramukhi, adapted from the same-titled Vishwas Patil novel. Prasad Oak does an excellent job of doing so in his project.

One thing that is on your bucket list.
Entrepreneurship. The main goal on my bucket list is to become an entrepreneur. Currently, I am working on making the foundations strong to open an enterprise.