I recently found myself in the somewhat unusual location of Bethlehem, PA, for an Esko | Brand Solutions, Brand Summit on May 2nd, 2019.

“Why this location?” you may ask.  Well, Bethlehem is home to Factory, LLC which is in fact an old Bethlehem steelworks factory that has been remodeled into a fantastic brand support structure for small brand business owners. The dream was to bring creative companies into one space and create a one-stop shop for small brand owners who need services such as marketing and business direction as well as graphic and packaging design.

This Brand Summit hosted by Esko and our new partner, Adept Packaging, provided project solutions and staffing for companies. Attendees represented some of the world’s most well-renowned companies, including Stanley Black & Decker, PRS IN VIVO, Church & Dwight, The Hershey Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Construction Specialties, Zippo Manufacturing, Bamboo Rose, First Quality Enterprises Inc., Menasha, and Under Armour.

The day began with introductory remarks from Adept’s David Foster, during which he commented on the latest trends for CPG and Life Sciences brands and illustrated how forward-thinking organizations are leveraging them to compete and succeed. This was followed by Esko’s very own Aaron Mallory, who delivered an inspirational discussion about the Digital Maturity Model for Brand Packaging and left many attendees wondering where their own companies are on the digital maturity scale and questioning how they can achieve “digital brand nirvana.”

Tim Pollac from Factory gave a from-the-heart oratory about why the Factory was formed and how his team transformed their dream into reality. He shared details about the history of both the building and Bethlehem, PA, and I think we were all surprised to discover this sleepy little town offers many interesting things to see and do. Case in point: this slice of hard-working America, set amidst lush rolling hills, is also home to a brand-new casino that attracts busloads of tourists from NYC every day.

Next on stage was our long-time partner, VTales. VTales’ Alexander Heiner and Jeremi Sterckmans are the creators and partners of Esko Studio Store Visualizer (who flew all the way over from France for this event!) and suffice it to say, they wowed the audience with the most realistic virtual reality show many in the audience had ever seen.

Imagine for a minute that you work for a beverage company: VTales’ (VR) solutions enable Alexander and Jeremi to demonstrate and show liquid sloshing around in a virtual bottle in a virtual store as if in real time… mind-blowing!  Now adjust the lighting inside the store or on the shelf, and the audience isn’t quite sure if what they are seeing is real – which of course is exactly the point of the Studio Store Visualizer software solution.

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Following lunch, Esko’s own Katie Keown and Bart Meersschaert from the Brand Solutions pre-sales team gave a wonderful overview of a “day in the life” of packaging design, illustrating how structure and graphics can first be unified and managed through WebCenter and then easily distributed to social media and marketing via MediaBeacon, our Digital Asset Management solution. The story resonated with the audience and of course, packaging stakeholders responded well to how easy it can be to transition online packaging artwork projects into actual deliverables like 3D assets – all in a matter of minutes rather than hours or even days.

In summary, the event was successful, and the audience remained engaged from beginning to end – hopefully, a sign we were entertaining enough to pass for “regular guys” and not just sales reps trying to take their money!  One comment in particular from a customer stayed with me. He said, “This was the best event I have ever been to.” After the time and thought the entire team (pre-sales, sales and marketing) put into event planning, it was exactly what I needed to hear, and it certainly lit the fire to put another Brand Summit on our events calendar soon.

Interested in hearing where Esko will be next? Contact us to learn more.

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