Breaking with tradition: shout media’s greg vidler on why printing endures in business
Launched at the height of the GFC in 2007, Sydney-based print production company Shout Media gained traction by capitalising on increased demand from organisations for outsourced printing. It has thrived, however, by forging collaborative relationships with its clients and maintaining a diverse pool of solutions, responsive to their ever-changing needs.
Co-founder and director Greg Vidler told Dynamic Business that his ten-year-old business is “far more than just a traditional printer”.
“Our clients think of us as their strategic partner,” he explained. “We use our in-house production combined with an enviable network of supplier relationships to provide clients with the best quality products. In addition, we combine old-school service and communication with new-school technology to keep clients in the driver’s seat of every job and project.
“Our ethos is to ‘Collaborate, Communicate, Produce, Deliver’. We specialise in solving communication challenges with creative production solutions… and we have a bit of fun while we’re doing it! That said, we keep busy, managing around 70 different production projects in any given week. These could be as small as printing a small brochure, to as large as a national retail campaign with multiple print and installation elements.”
Vidler said he and his co-founder, Adam Ziino, conceived Shout as an “antidote” to their experiences working with large commercial printing companies for many years.
“We were over all the corporate transformations, including management and structure shakeups,” he said. “They left Adam and I feeling disconnected from not just the businesses themselves but their customers. We agreed, as like-minded friends, to establish a business where we could have genuine relationships with clients who truly valued our commitment and energy, and who we knew would benefit from the broad range of print services we sought to offer.
“Plus, we didn’t want to be branded as ‘print brokers’ – a term that makes Adam and I cringe. For this reason, we resolved to strike a balance between having externally-managed production solutions, through the very best industry suppliers, and having significant capability to produce internally through investments in a range of wide format and digital press equipment.”
Vidler and Ziino began working with contacts who boasted direct relationships with the likes of Toyota, Samsung and Meat & livestock Australia (MLA), along with a range of emerging businesses, including digital agencies, retailers and real-estate firms. According to Vidler, Shout’s business model resonated with organisations eager to weather the GFC storm by outsourcing printing and thus streamline their operations and keep overheads down.
“Our view on traditional print businesses is still true to today,” he explained. “The capital investment in printing equipment is significant, the market is constantly shifting, the technology is always progressing, digital platforms are becoming more prevalent and business needs are always evolving. So, rather than investing in printing equipment themselves, it’s more cost-effective for clients to embrace the printing-as-a-service model. Our strategy has been to become a ‘printing partner’ with our clients and key commercial suppliers, so that we can offer unlimited services to our clients in an ever-changing market.”
Vidler pointed out that profit margins in the print business have traditionally been low due to industry competitiveness, with serious players having to make huge investments across multiple print locations in every state.
“It’s a tricky proposition to be successful in this game,” he said. “We’ve been able to weather our exposure to many issues being faced by print businesses due to our diversity of internal and external solutions. This, along with our track record, has meant our client base continues to grow.
“Staying ahead of the game has also involved a commitment to ongoing staff and CRM system development and the adoption of technologies that fuel efficiency such as interactive, web-based tools that provide real-time updates across our many installations, projects and campaigns.
“Of course, we are fully aware that we need to honour the confidence clients have in us by ensuring prices are competitive, that our talented team continues to refine our systems or processes, and that we maintain our ‘heartbeat’ approach to collaborating and communicating, where we’re truly in sync with our clients.
Vidler said he and Ziino will roll out new service offerings for our clients and expand more into offshore procurement in the near future.
“Ultimately, we want to continue providing clients, new and old, with superior print solutions across their total spend – and keep having fun doing it,” he said. “We may live in an increasingly digital world, but we see a bright future for print-based solutions, which convey a sense of prestige, provoke people to engage and have longevity – you can smell print, relax with it, absorb it. Certainly, our clients are using print in a way that enhances their digital and web-based promotional campaigns. Print, in all its forms, is a wonderful medium as well as a valuable component of an integrated marketing campaign.”