Innovative Packaging Requires a New Leadership Role: The Chief Packaging Officer

Welcome to ChiefPackagingOfficer.com! If you’re saying to yourself, “Wait. There’s no such role as Chief Packaging Officer,” you would be correct. As far as we’ve discovered, there is no major brand organization that has created a packaging-specific c-level leadership role. Yet, we and many other packaging professionals we’ve spoken with believe there should be.

Actually, it’s an exciting time to be in packaging. Increasingly, the packaging process is being tied to innovation. Packaging is arguably the most important brand interaction with consumers to motivate purchase. It is being viewed as a strategic, rather than tactical, discipline with real impact on ROI. We see a bright future for packaging professionals in their organizations.

But there still remain some significant inefficiencies in the packaging design and production process. This is largely because packaging cuts across so many upstream and downstream functions. They’re hard to bring into seamless control, despite growing adoption of technology, including workflow management tools.

The priorities of the diverse disciplines involved in packaging are not necessarily aligned, often putting packaging in the passenger instead of the driver’s seat. No need to say what this can cost if labeling errors or delayed time to market result. It is easy to conclude that we need a new kind of packaging leadership.

So we’ve created this website as a rallying place for change in how packaging is led and implemented – particularly by major national and global brands. It’s our aim to build a community of packaging pros here; to provide a platform for thought leadership, for productive conversation and for idea sharing – a platform that gives packaging a unique voice, and more.

We’re all busy with our day-to-day responsibilities, but we need up-to-date information to do our jobs well. Therefore, ChiefPackagingOfficer.com, will also be a one-stop-shopping spot for news about all areas of packaging.

We’ll be curating and aggregating articles from major design and packaging media around the world. So when you stop here to learn what the top thought leaders of the industry are saying about the evolution of packaging, you can also catch up on the latest industry happenings.

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ChiefPackagingOfficer.com is not an unprecedented initiative. Take the emergence of the CIO in the past 20 years; and more recently, the role of Chief Digital Officer. A few years ago it did not exist. But with sea changes in the way that stakeholders interact with companies – proactively and online – certain forward thinkers in marketing and technology began putting forth the idea that the times require a new strategic role to manage all things digital that interface with the organization’s publics.

And their drive has paid off. In 2014, a number of Chief Digital Officer Summits are being held around the globe to bring together the rapidly emerging new CDOs as a professional group. Organizations as varied as Harvard University, The State of New York and BBC Worldwide have restructured their org charts to define and add Chief Digital Officers to their management teams.

It is interesting to note that creation of this new role hasn’t interfered with existing leadership roles. CMOs and CIOs are still critical, active participants in the success of their companies. Likewise, with the emergence of a Chief Packaging Officer role, we do not see disruption of the status quo – except in a positive way that makes processes more efficient and productive.

We can envision a Chief Packaging Officer either reporting to or taking a seat at the table next to a Chief Marketing Officer. We foresee a partnership that retains the close bond that currently exists between marketing and packaging, but realigns functions of the packaging process that operate far from marketing – legal and compliance for example.

We can also imagine that this restructuring of responsibilities will help to break down corporate silos – one of the most intractable roadblocks to creating companies that can meet 21st century challenges. Yes we can foresee a brighter future for packaging and the CPG and Pharma companies it serves.

Why Us?

Why, you may ask, have we taken sponsorship of ChiefPackagingOfficer.com upon itself? It may sound cliché to say that it’s in our DNA, but, it’s in our DNA. We have a rich history of innovation in and support of the packaging and printing industries. We understand how packaging innovation and success today extend from execution on the brand side, to the prepress production and printing process — and ultimately to the consumer.

More important, we highly respect the dedicated people we work with at our customer companies, who we deem the ‘Packaging Heroes.’ They get the job done, regardless. And they inspire us.

We see firsthand how important their contributions are and know how much more they could offer if their functions were led by a Chief Packaging Officer. Please let us know by your comments what you think about this emerging topic.

As our first act as host of ChiefPackagingOfficer.com, we have prepared a white paper for you that makes the case for the need for the Chief Packaging Officer role. By downloading it, you also join the ChiefPackagingOfficer.com community. We hope you do join us and contribute to the conversation.

Look around the site, at the editorial mission (under About Us) and at the ways you can participate in the positive evolution of your packaging industry!

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