How the Product Labels of the Future Will Change Everything with Francisco Melo of Avery Dennison Smartrac

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Marketing Trends Background

In a world of increasing consumer awareness, creators are finding there’s a new, emerging factor that is important to target markets: transparency. People want to know where their goods are coming from: are they ethically sourced? Are they really made up of the materials they list on the back? How long was this product on the shelf?

Businesses are finding that answering those questions has opened up an entirely new way of doing business. And for Francisco Melo of Avery Dennison – s a global materials science company specializing in the design and manufacture of a wide variety of labeling and functional materials – it is an exciting new frontier; an opportunity for businesses to be more accountable and sustainable. And Avery Dennison is more than up to the task.

They’ve created an internally-built startup that has developed the world’s leading connected product cloud, an end-to-end platform that can enable each and every physical item in the world to have a unique digital identity. You can see where your product was created, where it was shipped, and everything in between. More than that, it also allows you to find out the best way to dispose of it, should you need to. This entirely new way of approaching the supply chain is something that could – and, according to Francisco – will absolutely change the way we all approach buying things.

“It’s about having that common vision and working towards it, and then understanding it’s the creation of win-win partnerships. This isn’t about me winning and your business losing… we both win because we create better evidence and we create a better future for tomorrow. We do something that’s right for the business and right for the planet.” 

To hear all about Franscisco’s bold plan for the future of RFID and the implementation of this bold new tech into existing companies, be sure to tune into this week’s episode of Marketing Trends.

Main Takeaways

  • Find win-win partnerships. The business world will always be competitive – that’s the nature of the industry. But, there are ways we can work together – businesses, consumers, suppliers… everyone. And if we’re going to change the way we approach consumption on this planet, we are going to have to. Innovative concepts, such as atma.io, are just the start of the ways we can adjust.
  • Keep a balance between optimization and velocity. The two concepts seem at odds – are you getting better, or are you going faster? But Francisco is adamant that striking a balance between the two is imperative in order to keep a company healthy. Find ways to make sure you’re doing the best you can with what you have now while also keeping your eye on the next big thing. You can have a preference of one over the other, but they need to work in sync.
  • Digital identities are the future. While talk of the metaverse and avatars might be filling the airwaves, the real digital revolution has already begun on the supply chain, and it’s making everything more transparent. Bringing in everyone from the supplier to the retailer to the consumer makes for a more seamless shopping experience, while also helping everyone involved keep track of the environmental impact of the transaction.

Key Quotes

“I found that I really love being at the intersection between the technology element – the understanding of the technology and the marketing element. The value that it brings… that’s really what excited me the most through my journey through a number of companies.” 

“The easiest way to lead people is to come to a joint vision and be able to deliver on that without necessarily having the full ownership of that… your success is very dependent on everyone else’s success.” 

“I’m probably more towards velocity versus optimization. I tend to be asking… What’s next? How do I drive it faster? How do I become more agile? How do we take it to the next level? Having said that… those things go hand in hand.” 

‘It’s all about creating a smart retail lens, but I think more than that – what [digital identities] allow from a consumer standpoint is a smart supply chain. This isn’t just about retail, it’s about the supply chain. Because you can know what’s happened to that product throughout its journey from the moment it was born…up to the retail and, potentially, beyond retail as well. I think it provides a level of transparency which is one of the key elements.” 

“I think the potential that lies ahead of us with a consumer element – not just potential from a business standpoint… can we help people make sure they know how to dispose of things? Can we help people to make sure they know what they should do with specific products so they don’t contaminate the soil?” 


Francisco Melo is the vice president and general manager for Avery Dennison Smartrac. In this capacity, Mr. Melo directs and guides the strategy for digital ID solutions globally, working with brands and enterprise customers, to enable them to capture the benefits of enabling every item with a unique digital identity and digital life.

Prior to joining Avery Dennison, Mr. Melo was a co-founder and CEO of Creativesystems (today part of Sensormatic), an RFID systems integrator and SW developer company. His earlier career includes extensive international experience in management, consulting, and business development with Synectics Inc. and Altran, as well as market development and product development roles at Royal Philips Electronics.

Mr. Melo has a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Science in Instrument Design and Application, from The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. He is passionate about how technology enables a better world, and how creativity is at the heart of disruption and progress, collaborating with the Porto Business School (PBS) at the University of Porto (Portugal) in the field of innovation and creativity.

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Episode 287