Opticom International Research (Opticom) today announces the results from the third independent pan-European study evaluating “The Top Suppliers of Office Paper” in Europe.

The study ranks suppliers of office paper based on how well they fulfil the demands on a number of supplier- and service-related criteria as well as the loyalty towards the suppliers. The results are based on more than 4 000 interviews with professional end-users of office paper across seven countries in Europe. Continue reading

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Opticom International Research and Nordic Paper Journal presents the results from a new Swedish study surveying perceptions related to change readiness in the forest industry, which challenges the sector are meeting and how the future prospects are perceived.

In total 432 respondents working within the Swedish forest industry has participated in a web survey concerning the forest industry and its future. The survey was sent out via email by Nordic Paper Journal as well as being accessible on Nordic Paper Journal’s website. The survey was open for response during June-August 2009.

”The results from the Swedish study are very interesting and clearly shows that the industry needs to become more market focused, create a better environment for “thinking outside the box” and to achieve a higher level of innovation. There is however no lack of faith in the future and the majority still believe in the forest industry.” (Mikael Selling, Corporate Advisor & Partner at Opticom)

10 overall conclusions from the survey

1. The significance of the forest industry in Sweden will be reduced
• The majority, 61 % believe that the significance of the forestry industry in Sweden will be reduced.
• 38 % however consider that the decrease is temporary and that the industry will pick up again one way or another.

2. Increased market and customer focus is most important in order for the forest industry to be more successful
Responding to: Which 3 factors are most important to focus on in order for the forest industry to be more successful?

• 62% of the respondents consider that “increased market and customer focus” is most important for a forest company in order to become more successful.
• A “higher level of innovation” is coming in as number 2 with 59% of respondents.
• The third most important factor, mentioned by 53% of respondents is to “increase the utilization/usage of bi-products”.
• “Reducing costs” and “increasing productivity” are of course mentioned by respondents but are not among the top three.

3. The forest industry has too narrow a focus
Responding to: Which 3 factors are given priority by the forest industry today?

• Almost all respondents, 91% consider that “reducing costs” is the predominant factor that the industry focuses on today.
• On second and third place are “increasing productivity” and “mergers/acquisitions”
• The conclusion according to the survey is that the forest industry has too narrow a focus on production related issues, and hence market issues do not get the necessary attention.

4. The environmental debate is an obvious opportunity for the forestry industry
• 93 % of respondents see the environmental debate as an obvious advantage for the forest industry. This is a very interesting and important signal to the industry but also to opinion leaders, authorities, government and to the EU-commission.

5. The forest industry’s environmental communication can almost be described as a fiasco
• As many as 44% of respondents view the forest industries environmental communication as unsuccessful/without results which must be considered as a clear underperformance.
• Only every fourth respondent consider the forest industry’s environmental communication successful.
• It is worth noting that 30 % of respondents claim that the environmental communication is neither successful nor unsuccessful. If it’s not successful then it hasn’t left any impression and the money is practically wasted, which in turn means that the communication has failed.
• With these results as a reference it’s quite obvious that the environmental communication can almost be described as a fiasco.

6. The forest industry is faced with a permanent trend shift and the consumption of printing and writing paper is going to drop in Europe
• 76% of respondents say that the forestry industry is facing a permanent trend shift and the consumption of printing and writing paper is going to drop in Europe.
• There are however divided opinions as to whether the drop will be significant or not. Almost half believe that there will be quite a small drop whereas 42 % expect a sharp drop.

7. The forest industry is seen as technology and production orientated
• It’s absolutely clear that the forest industry is regarded as “production and technology orientated”. This is the perception among as many as 94 %.
• When it comes to “marketing and customer orientated” the picture looks different. Only 35 % agree with that statement.
• “The forest industry is an industry of the future” is still regarded as true statement by a majority – 55 %. Only 4 % consider it not to be!
• According to a majority of respondents the forest industry is not perceived as “open minded and creative”, and this is both unfortunate and troublesome.
• Only 19 % of respondents believe that the forest industry has “a high level of innovation”

8. The forest industry does too little to exploit the potential in cellulose fibre
• The majority (83%) think that the pulp industry should change its production in order to manufacture something else out of the cellulose fibre in addition to paper pulp.
• As many as 76% think that the forest industry does too little to exploit the potential in cellulose fibres.

9. A narrow majority see the forest industry as a good employer
• A narrow majority (52 %) sees the forest industry as a good employer and would promote the forest industry as an attractive employer to a friend or child.
• However, as many as 30 % would not recommend the industry to friends or family.

10. Many in favor of investing money in forest shares
• There are obviously many respondents who believe in a positive development for forest companies. As many as 70 % would consider investing in forest shares given the opportunity.
• Only 14 % say that they would not consider forest industry shares if they had money to invest. The result at least reflects that there is a clear belief in the future among respondents.

Conclusions and general reflections

• The forest industry is one of the most capital intensive industries and has invested in high technology production facilities. High capacity utilisation and cost efficient production is a fundamental key to maintain profitable operations and be competitive. That is why it is simply necessary that one is production and technology orientated. But, at the same time one must also be market and customer orientated and be highly innovative in order to survive the razor sharp competition in the global market and in order to be successful. This is where weaknesses within the industry can be seen; according to the survey, the industry is primarily focusing on cost cutting and efficiency measures and giving too little attention to market related matters and innovation. Here, the industry clearly has to rethink!

• There is no doubt that the industry must increase its market focus, create a better environment for “thinking outside the box” and to achieve a higher level of innovation. It is especially important to make use of the cellulose fibre for products other than just paper. There is great and unexploited potential here. This is particularly important since there is an expected drop in the demand for printing and writing paper in Europe due to a change in reading and media habits.

• The forest industry has a good environmental story to tell, but they have not managed to demonstrate this well enough in the debate. In this area there is still plenty to work on.

• In spite of the various challenges the majority of respondents in spite of everything see the forest industry as an industry of the future and the majority would tell their children that it is a good industry to work in.

• That there is faith in the future can clearly be seen in terms of how many that would be willing to invest their money in forest shares if they won Euro 10.000, which the majority would do. That can be interpreted as a good sign!

For more information, or ordering the results from the survey, please contact Mikael Selling at:
Opticom International Research, Grev Turegatan 30, SE-114 38 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Direct phone: +46 (0)8 50 30 90 13
Mobile phone: +46 (0)708 39 90 13
Fax +46 (0)8 50 30 90 01
E-mail: Mikael@opticom.se

Opticom International Research is a leading global market research and consulting firm with the mission to help our customers make better business decisions. Since 1987, we have been dedicated to serving clients within the pulp, paper & board industry with customised research services focusing on commercial and marketing related issues. In combining our large global in-house research capabilities, state-of-the-art information technology and our forest industry competence we have proved to be a unique partner for a number of leading forest products companies all over the world that value not only speed and quality but also cost effectiveness in surveys and analyses.

Opticom offers experience and in-depth knowledge across a wide range of commercial and market related issues relevant to our customers: branding, customer and market segmentation, customer satisfaction, concept testing, campaign evaluation, pricing and positioning, channel/distribution strategy.

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Opticom International Research and Nordic Paper Journal presents the results from a new Swedish study surveying perceptions related to change readiness in the forest industry, which challenges the sector are meeting and how the future prospects are perceived.

In total 432 respondents working within the Swedish forest industry has participated in a web survey concerning the forest industry and its future. The survey was sent out via email by Nordic Paper Journal as well as being accessible on Nordic Paper Journal’s website. The survey was open for response during June-August 2009. Continue reading

Download PDF

Opticom International Research today announces the results from “The Brand Tracking Survey – Woodfree Coated Paper 2009” whereby the most known, bought and appreciated woodfree coated sheet brands in Central & Eastern Europe are defined. The results are based on interviews with 457 professional paper buyers in the sheet-fed offset printing segment across four Central & Eastern European countries; Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Merchant owned brands clearly dominate the Central & Eastern European market and particularly strong brand owners are Antalis with both Claro and Novatech in the top and PaperlinX with Hello being a top brand. UPM Finesse is the only mill owned brand with a relatively strong position in these markets. However, though not frequently mentioned spontaneously, other mill owned brands, like G-Print and Arctic, are recognised by a very large share of the Central & Eastern European printers. In these countries, it is also more obvious than in Western Europe, that some brands are more known than bought.

In line with the actuality of the topic, Opticom has given the environment a special emphasis in this year’s survey. Printer expectations on the environmental credentials/friendliness, when selecting a brand, are measured and also their perception of the performance of their current main brand/s with respect to environmental credentials/friendliness. For the first time ever, Opticom furthermore asked printers to mention the leading woodfree coated sheet brand from an environmental point of view and why that brand is perceived to be superior to other brands. According to project manager Jessica Tommila, the results indicate that Central & Eastern European printers (so far?) put less emphasis on the environmental issues than their Western European peers and that is it is even clearer than in Western Europe that there is no leading environmental woodfree coated sheet brand in the four markets covered in the survey. There are thus some very interesting opportunities for brand owners if the aim is to claim the position as the greenest woodfree coated sheet brand.

This is the third time that Opticom measures awareness of woodfree coated sheet brands in Central & Eastern Europe and for the first time, Opticom makes public the list of most well-known brands in these markets. The table below shows the 15 most known brands in Central & Eastern Europe in 2009 based on their total spontaneous awareness* among sheet-fed offset printers: (brands marked in green show a positive development in % vs. 2008)

image

In contrast to Western Europe, the most frequently spontaneously mentioned brands in Central & Eastern Europe are to a large majority merchant owned. Within top fifteen, there are only three mill owned brands: UPM Finesse in 4th place, Garda in 7th and BVS in 11th.

Since the start of the survey in 2007, there has been a very positive development with respect to brand awareness. When comparing with 2008, almost all of the top fifteen brands show a higher awareness level, as reflected by brands marked in green in the table above. The largest increases (vs. both 2007 and 2008) are seen for the top three brands; Hello, Claro and Novatech.

Hello is still the number one brand from an awareness point of view but Claro has now taken the 1st position in terms of share of printers saying that they buy the brand.

The survey not only ranks woodfree coated sheet brands based on how well-known they are but also based on how well they meet sheet-fed offset printers’ expectations on a number of quality performance criteria. It also identifies the level of loyalty towards the brand in terms of the likelihood of being purchased again in one year’s time.

When it comes to expectations on the quality features of the brands and their performance, the five most important criteria are the same as in Western Europe; consistent quality, runnability, printability, value for money and fast ink-setting & drying. Printers are overall somewhat less satisfied with the performance of the brands than in Western Europe and the three most known brands, Hello, Claro and Novatech, all need to improve and better fulfil user demands as they do not even make the top three with respect to quality associations.

The survey adds value to you if you are interesting in finding out any of the following:
> How do your customers (the printers) view your brand/the brand that your paper is re-sold as? What overall strengths and weaknesses does it have?
> Is your brand or the brand that your paper is distributed as, well-known where distributed? That is, does its awareness reflect its availability in the various markets?
> What do users of your brand/the brand that your paper is re-sold as, value when it comes to quality characteristics?
> How well does your brand/the brand that your paper is distributed as, fulfil printer demands; both in absolute terms and in relation to competition?
> How important are the environmental aspects to a printer when selecting brand and printers selecting your brand in particular?
> Is your brand one of the leading brands from an environmental point of view?
> Is there a risk in printers not selecting your brand in one year’s time? If so, why?

The findings provide useful information that enables brand owners to for example:
> Define where to focus their efforts in order to create a stronger position for their brands; is it question of raising awareness of the brand or more influencing printers’ quality perceptions or even improving the actual quality of the brand?
> Analyse their brands’ positions in the various markets and printer segments to see where they have competitive advantages and not. A lot of valuable input is provided when it comes to how to define the brand promise.
> Understand how printers view the environmental aspects when selecting a woodfree coated sheet brand

The information should be considered valuable not only to the sales force, but also to marketing departments handling marketing communication and market/business planning and development departments responsible for improving the quality of the brands. Knowing your customers (current as well as potential) and how they view various matters is the key to successful business.

For more information, or ordering of the survey, please contact Jessica Tommila at:
Opticom International Research,
Grev Turegatan 30, SE-114 38 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Direct phone: +46 (0)8 50 30 90 06
Mobile phone: +46 (0)708 39 90 06
Fax +46 (0)8 50 30 90 01
E-mail: jessica@opticom.se

About Opticom’s brand surveys for woodfree coated paper
Opticom International Research has since 1999 annually carried out an evaluation of the woodfree coated paper brands in Western Europe and since 2007 also in Central & Eastern Europe. Up to 2008, the total Brand Equity encompassing spontaneous awareness, top of mind, quality & associations and loyalty as well as purchasing determinants; frequency, drivers, were measured annually. As of 2009, the brand tracking will be concentrated to mainly awareness and quality aspects every second year and the total Brand Equity every other second year. The environmental aspects are likely to constitute a concurrent theme every year to enable tracking progress over time.

This year’s survey ranks the woodfree coated paper brands based on how well-known they are in the respective market and printing segment (this news release referring to the Central & Eastern European market for sheet-fed offset printing) and how well the brands meet printers’ expectations on a number of quality performance criteria. The quality related criteria evaluated are:
> Consistent quality
> High runnability
> Good printability
> Fast ink setting & drying
> High opacity
> High whiteness
> High bulk
> Value for money
> Wide range of paper qualities
> Environmental credentials/friendliness
In addition to these criteria, the importance of net price and end use/r specification was also rated.

The survey has also indicated the level of loyalty towards the brand in terms of the likelihood of the brand being purchased again in one year’s time and for the first time the survey identifies the leading woodfree coated sheet brands in Central & Eastern Europe from an environmental point of view.

A total of 457 quantitative CATI-telephone interviews were carried out in four markets; Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland during June and July 2009. Though results are not included in this news release, the survey was also run for the first time in Switzerland and totally 101 Swiss sheet-fed offset printers were interviewed. A brand must be evaluated by at least ten respondents in a minimum two of the four markets covered in order to qualify for the calculation of the Spontaneous Awareness Index, the Top of Mind Index and the Quality & Associations Index (quality expectations and relative performance of the brand).

The survey was also carried out among both sheet fed-offset and web heat-set printers in Western Europe. The results are published in three different reports:
> Western Europe Sheet-fed offset printers
> Western Europe Web heat-set printers
> Central & Eastern Europe Sheet-fed offset printers – this news release

Opticom International Research is a leading global market research and consulting firm with the mission to help our customers make better business decisions. Since 1987, we have been dedicated to serving clients within the pulp, paper & board industry with customised research services focusing on commercial and marketing related issues. In combining our large global in-house research capabilities, state-of-the-art information technology and our pulp & paper competence we have proven to be a unique partner for a number of leading forest products companies all over the world that value not only speed and quality but also cost effectiveness in surveys and analyses.

Download PDF

Opticom International Research today announces the results from “The Brand Tracking Survey – Woodfree Coated Paper 2009” whereby the most known, bought and appreciated woodfree coated sheet brands in Western Europe are defined.

The results are based on interviews with 885 professional paper buyers in the sheet-fed offset printing segment across seven Western European countries; Germany, the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. Total as well as country specific results are available. The survey shows that some brands are more known than bought and also that some brands more often are the printer’s main brand than others. Also, top brands from a quality associations’ point of view are not necessarily the best known brands.

Environmental aspects are heavily discussed at many seminars and conferences and for most, if not all, paper producers and merchants, environmental responsibility is very high up on the agenda. Opticom has also given the environment a special emphasis in this year’s survey as it measures printer expectations on the environmental credentials/friendliness when selecting a brand and printer perceptions of the performance of their current main brand/s with respect to environmental credentials/friendliness. For the first time ever, Opticom also asked printers to mention the leading woodfree coated sheet brand from an environmental point of view and why that brand is perceived to be superior to other brands. The outcome first of all sends a signal of a need to better educate the printers in environmental issues. According to project manager Jessica Tommila, the results indicate some very interesting opportunities for brand owners as no brand so far has claimed the position as THE leading environmental woodfree coated sheet brand in Western Europe. Symbol and Novatech are the two most frequently mentioned woodfree coated sheet brands, closely followed by Hello, Maine and Condat. None of them are mentioned by a very large share of the printers though.

Opticom has tracked awareness of woodfree coated sheet brands since 1999 and for the first time, makes public the list of most well-known brands in the Western European market. The table below shows the top 20 brands in 2009 based on their spontaneous awareness* among sheet-fed offset printers in Western Europe: (brands marked in green show a positive development in % vs. 2008)

image

Hello has, since the start of the brand tracking, been and still is clearly the number one brand from a spontaneous awareness point of view. It has a strong position in most of the markets included in this survey. However, compared to earlier surveys, the % gap to competing brands has become smaller.

Out of the top ten brands, only Novatech has a similar geographical spread to Hello as it is a top ten brand in all the six markets where it is distributed. Most other brands have a more limited geographical basis for their total awareness score. Profi and Luxo, the top two brands in Germany and Garda, the clear number one brand in Italy are the most local brands in the total top ten list, but to some extent that is also applicable to Creator, the leading woodfree coated sheet brand in Spain.

As the survey has been conducted since 1999 it enables defining trends over time. The results from this year’s survey raise questions for some of the top brands. Is a decline in the share of printers mentioning the brand as bought temporary or the start of a negative trend for that brand? Is an increased awareness vs. 2008 after a very stable awareness level 2005-2008, the start of a positive trend or just temporarily positive for that brand?

The survey not only ranks woodfree coated sheet brands based on how well-known they are but also based on how well they meet sheet-fed offset printers’ expectations on a number of quality performance criteria. It also identifies the level of loyalty towards the brand in terms of the likelihood of being purchased again in one year’s time.

When it comes to expectations on the quality features of the brands and their performance, printers first of all value consistent quality, runnability, printability and value for money. In line with the financial crisis, the latter has also become more important vs. previous editions of the survey.

The survey adds value to you if you are interesting in finding out any of the following:
> How do your customers (the printers) view your brand/the brand that your paper is re-sold as? What overall strengths and weaknesses does it have?
> Is your brand or the brand that your paper is distributed as, well-known where distributed? That is, does its awareness reflect its availability in the various markets?
> What do users of your brand/the brand that your paper is re-sold as, value when it comes to quality characteristics?
> How well does your brand/the brand that your paper is distributed as, fulfil printer demands; both in absolute terms and in relation to competition?
> How important are the environmental aspects to a printer when selecting brand and printers selecting your brand in particular?
> Is your brand one of the leading brands from an environmental point of view?
> Is there a risk in printers not selecting your brand in one year’s time? If so, why?

The findings provide useful information that enables brand owners to for example:
> Define where to focus their efforts in order to create a stronger position for their brands; is it question of raising awareness of the brand or more influencing printers’ quality perceptions or even improving the actual quality of the brand?
> Analyse their brands’ positions in the various markets and printer segments to see where they have competitive advantages and not. Though brand promises are not solely about product quality features, a lot of valuable input is provided when it comes to how to define the brand promise.
> Understand how printers view the environmental aspects when selecting a woodfree coated paper brand

The information should be considered valuable not only to the sales force, but also to marketing departments handling marketing communication and market/business planning and development departments responsible for improving the quality of the brands. Knowing your customers (current as well as potential) and how they view various matters is the key to successful business.

For more information, or ordering of the survey, please contact Jessica Tommila at:
Opticom International Research,
Grev Turegatan 30, SE-114 38 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Direct phone: +46 (0)8 50 30 90 06
Mobile phone: +46 (0)708 39 90 06
Fax +46 (0)8 50 30 90 01
E-mail: jessica@opticom.se

About Opticom’s brand surveys for woodfree coated paper
Opticom International Research has since 1999 annually carried out an evaluation of the woodfree coated paper brands in Western Europe and since 2007 also in Central & Eastern Europe. Up to 2008, the total Brand Equity encompassing spontaneous awareness, top of mind, quality & associations and loyalty as well as purchasing determinants; frequency, drivers, were measured annually. As of 2009, the brand tracking will be concentrated to mainly awareness and quality aspects every second year and the total brand equity every other second year. The environmental aspects are likely to constitute a concurrent theme every year to enable tracking progress over time.

This year’s survey ranks the woodfree coated paper brands based on how well-known they are in the respective market and printing segment (this news release referring to the Western European market for sheet-fed offset printing) and how well the brands meet printers’ expectations on a number of quality performance criteria. The quality related criteria evaluated are:
> Consistent quality
> High runnability
> Good printability
> Fast ink setting & drying
> High opacity
> High whiteness
> High bulk
> Value for money
> Wide range of paper qualities
> Environmental credentials/friendliness
In addition to these criteria, the importance of net price and end use/r specification was also rated.

The survey has also indicated the level of loyalty towards the brand in terms of the likelihood of the brand being purchased again in one year’s time and for the first time the survey identifies the leading woodfree coated sheet brands in Western Europe from an environmental point of view.

A brand must be evaluated by at least ten respondents in a minimum two different markets in order to qualify for the calculation of the Spontaneous Awareness Index, the Top of Mind Index and the Quality & Associations Index (quality expectations and relative performance of the brand).

A total of 885 quantitative CATI-telephone interviews were carried out in seven markets; Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK during June and July 2009.

The survey was also carried out among Western European web heat-set printers and sheet-fed offset printers in Central & Eastern Europe. The results are published in three different reports:
> Western Europe Sheet-fed offset printers – this news release
> Western Europe Web heat-set printers
> Central & Eastern Europe Sheet-fed offset printers

Opticom International Research is a leading global market research and consulting firm with the mission to help our customers make better business decisions. Since 1987, we have been dedicated to serving clients within the pulp, paper & board industry with customised research services focusing on commercial and marketing related issues. In combining our large global in-house research capabilities, state-of-the-art information technology and our pulp & paper competence we have proven to be a unique partner for a number of leading forest products companies all over the world that value not only speed and quality but also cost effectiveness in surveys and analyses.

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