Avery Dennison, one of the world’s innovators in labeling technology, has made several key announcements lately. For a look at how some traditional market segment leaders are faring, both on and offline, shining the spot light on Avery Dennison is a good start. For positive news, from what is considered a traditional rather than online conglomerate, news from this company is both positive as well as interesting given their rather more “digital” nature.
And in the latest news – distributed by Hill & Knowlton – the company had a change near the top when Debra L. Reed was elected as its director last week.
Tough Leaders In Tough Times
Interestingly, the naming of Reed, who was formerly the President and Chief Financial Officer at Sempra Energy Utilities, has had one of the most unconventional career paths to be on so many boards of directors. Rising up from basically an engineering-centric background, Reed became at 32, the first female, and the youngest, corporate officer at SoCalGas. Since then she has fairly made a pattern for anyone wanting to climb the ladder of corporate excellence serving on as many boards of directors as California has oranges. The only dark spot on her corporate resume perhaps being that she has served on the board of directors of now infamous Halliburton Company since 2001. Regardless of any shadow on Reed’s career, one thing is obvious, every company she has worked for has made money – and in most cases tons of it (she has not done badly either).
Avery Dennison, for those who do not know, was founded by R. Stanton Avery (at least the “Avery” aspect) founded Avery in 1935. The company specializes in pressure-sensitive materials (like self-adhesive labels), a range of office products, and various other paper products. Today’s Avery Dennison bears some resemblance to the office products giant its names evokes, but only just. Today’s variant is as far on the “tech” side of such products as it gets, making such innovative products as DFID (radio frequency identification) labels from their division in Georgia, to high tech films like those manufactured at facilities like the new one here in Germany, for a variety of industries. The RFID aspect is especially interesting, and a little controversial, as business from retail to health care can utilize these new technologies in a variety of tracking, inventory and some say “big brother” types of applications.
This Fortune 500 company has something over 35,000 employees in 60 countries worldwide. With sales in the neighborhood of $7 billion in 2008, and what looks like continued positive growth the company is poised for continued success.
In looking at news for the company, it also appears very regular press releases announce pretty much nothing but decent news (something with the help of Fahlgren Mortine, who supplements the work of AOR Hill & Knowlton.)
Along with their forward thinking products like RFID, a decent engagement and use of Internet and digital technology and branding would tend to suggest a company with a lead over many other traditional corporations. Webcasts of meetings, a new engaging (though not the prettiest) Website for the RFID aspect, and what appears to be a finger in every pie where there is money, indicate an intelligence which is somewhat uncommon for these older corporations.
Underneath what in this writer’s opinion is a substantial PR effort on the part of Avery Dennison (good or bad), this company seems to have very strong PR representation. The only slight I could offer now, by way of objectivity, would be that the company has transferred what may as well be all of its jobs overseas. Aside that, on the face of it, Avery Dennison is one company pushing all the right buttons.
Is all this just great PR? Well, hiring the right PR people is one sound business stroke.