Board Converting News, December 7, 2020

GPI Offers Three ‘Takeaways’ From PACK EXPO Connects 2020 In the year that COVID-19 ground packaging industry events to a halt, organizers across the globe made the call whether to take their events virtual. PACK EXPO did just that, reimagining its in-person event as PACK EXPO Con- nects, a virtual solution for the 700+ exhibitors and 18,000 attendees that would usually attend the physical show. The event promised to bring the industry together, connecting exhibitors and delegates through inspiring content, live chats and product demos. Our Graphic Pack- aging International (GPI) team offers three key takeaways from this year’s technologically ambitious event: 1. Virtual insanity? Or a fitting showcase for paper-based innovation? The number one goal of this year’s event was to connect the industry, according to Jim Pittas, President and CEO, PMMI. And despite a few technical glitches on day one, the event did just that, with exhibitor initiatives driving engagement. Two distinct positives came out of the virtually man- aged experience for GPI. First, targeted webinar atten- dance was planned ahead of time. Second, a new way of collecting booth engagement data, measured with clicks, was extremely valuable. Graphic Packaging’s Director of Marketing and Bev- erage NPD, Roxanne McSpadden, found the event to be

insightful and the strong showing of fiber-based solutions inspiring. 2. Was packaging sustainability still a key consider- ation? Yes! Despite the need for suppliers to respond reac- tively to the pandemic in recent months, the strong show- ing of fiber-based innovation highlighted that sustainability is still at the forefront of the packaging industry’s agenda. Plastic replacement is a hot topic for brands and the buzz around hybrid food packaging solutions reflects the great strides they’re making on the journey to heavily re- ducing the amount of plastic in applications where it is unavoidable in protecting and preserving the product ef- fectively. 3. Is the future of packaging events digital? Of course, the newfound lead generation gems generated by PACK EXPO Connects couldn’t quite make up for the of-the-mo- ment finds and true-to-life machinery demos that come with traditional trade show territory. However, the huge amount of useful and inspiring content generated during the five days is available online until the end of March, al- lowing attendees to scour the material. McSpadden suggests the future of events could actu- ally become a hybrid solution that combines the best of physical and virtual elements, giving those that can attend first-hand insight and those that can’t the benefit of online content access for a later date. Visit for more information on the event and all it has to offer.


December 7, 2020

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