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Paper Sells

By Joan Sahlgren

September 13, 2018

width=300Marketers and sales teams everywhere are often on the hunt for new information to tip the selling scales in their favor. This year’s research on consumer attitudes, conducted by the Paper and Packaging Board, shows that paper remains a strongly preferred material. Of consumers who have seen Paper & Packaging—How Life Unfolds advertising, 55 percent note more favorability about the paper industry’s materials over other industries, particularly plastics, coming in at 39 percent.

And, what about products packaged in paper? Seventy-five percent of these consumers agree that paper-based product packaging is an essential part of everyday life. Sixty-eight percent agree that products that come in paper-based product packaging feel more premium. These numbers are high by any measure! This means that paperboard presents products in a better light—one that consumers value.

Though our industry knows that we continually innovate and that paperboard has unique properties for graphics, we wonder, do consumers care? When surveyed, 7 out of 10 consumers rate the industry as offering innovative products.

The statistic that brings it home for me? Since the start of the campaign, there has been a statistically significant improvement among this same audience around the following statement: “I think more highly of companies that package their products in paper-based packaging.” In 2015, this number came in at 44 percent. Now? Sixty-eight percent agree.

As we all work to make our industry successful, we can walk in the door to talk to customers, retailers, and consumers knowing that we stand on a good playing field—one that may even tilt in our favor. A consistently high reputation score for paper versus other packaging materials provides a more positive selling environment.

width=150Joan Sahlgren is senior director of public relations at the Paper and Packaging Board. She can be reached at