Four Reasons Great Promotional Products Work

GettyImages-1046622928.jpgBranded products are everywhere: featured in movies, professional sports, and even on your favorite jacket or thumb drive.

These products bring pleasure and familiarity while sending a message of brand support to friends and casual observers. And these ideas carry substantial weight.

Another Washington First

The first known example of distributing promotional products was in 1789.

Commemorative buttons, created to celebrate George Washington’s inauguration, featured a crisp, stamped profile of Washington and the Latin phrase “Pater Patriæ,” meaning “Father of his Country.”

Sported by patriotic Americans, the buttons celebrated American democracy and support for the first president. The passion behind this message continues to live on: in February of 2018, one of the inaugural buttons was auctioned for $225,000!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Washington’s buttons fueled momentum, and your customers are wired to respond to promotional products too.

Eight out of 10 U.S. consumers own at least one giveaway item, and 60 percent of people who receive a promotional gift keep it for up to two years! If those stats don’t speak for themselves, here are four reasons that branded merchandise will work for businesses of any size:

1. Free Stuff Grabs Attention.

Like candy at a parade, free stuff draws people.

Promotional gifts catch their eye and make them wonder what the hype is about. When you give gifts, people are attracted to you. Whether its curiosity, playful interest, or eye-catching designs, giveaways generate interest and ignite conversation.

2. Product Giveaways Pave Pathways for Loyalty.

Once you have their attention, you open the door for further interaction.

This happens, in part, as new customers warm in their perception of your brand. According to Tourism Consumer Insights, 52% of those who receive your product are more likely to think highly of both you and your business. As affinity increases, so does their interest in your business, because it’s human nature to want to give back to someone who has given to us.

In a Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) study, 85% of consumers who received a promo product said they ultimately did business with the advertiser.

3. Brand Recognition Peaks Through Repeat Exposure.

What is the ultimate goal of branded products? To engage and influence buyers.

Tangible, useful products offer your business endless opportunities to distinguish itself and to do it repeatedly! According to PPAI, 73 percent of those who receive a promo product said they used it at least once a week.

Offering free items to consumers is an incredible marketing tactic that will keep your company on their minds anytime your product is in use.

4. Giveaways Extend the Life of your Message.

How long does it take you to forget a text message or delete an e-mail? Seconds.

But tangible products (especially stylish or fun items) are much harder to toss aside. As you weigh your best product option, consider the interests and needs of your target customers and create the kind of products they’ll actually want. If 75% of your prospects use public transportation, tasteful branded umbrellas might become a constant companion during their morning commute.

People love stuff. It’s just a fact. And while only 28 percent of people are able to recall a TV ad, 57 percent are typically able to recall an advertiser on a mug.

While promotional pieces bring upfront expense, the longevity and brand recognition they create is an investment that keeps on giving.

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Reel in Prospects by Adding Print to Your Content Marketing

Content is king in advertising and communication concept, colorful arrows pointing to the word CONTENT at the center with chess king on black cement wall, creativity of brand website and social mediaResearchers estimate that in 1984 a person saw an average of 2,000 ads per day.

By 2014, they saw about 5,000. With the explosion in spam and social media ads, that number increases daily. But consumers are fed up with in-your-face advertising that seems disruptive or manipulative. Instead, they’re attracted to authenticity and friendliness in a brand.

How can you build that kind of culture in your business?

It’s All About Content

Narratives and content marketing can bring fresh life to your marketing mix!

Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. It shifts your team away from a “message” focus to a more optimal “people focus,” building trust and driving more profitable consumer action.

Content marketing generates stronger leads, increases sales, and enhances customer loyalty. Consider these facts:

  • 77% of internet users read blogs
  • Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without blogs
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times the leads
  • A 2014 Brandshare survey found that the majority of consumers are suspicious of brands’ intentions, but 87% said they would like a more meaningful relationship with their preferred brands

Why Print + Content Marketing = Success

When people consider content marketing, they typically think of digital media.

However, true diversification means thinking bigger. The Content Marketing Institute suggests two out of three marketers don’t include print in their content marketing, but there is strategic value to including printed content elements.

Why?

1. The Information Factor

Nielson found about 56% of consumers rely on printed matter for sales information, and:

  • 56% preferred mailed or delivered circulars
  • 52% relied on newspaper circulars
  • 37% relied on in-store printed pieces or store-generated e-mails
  • 27% relied on store websites

Print is seen as a concrete, reliable source, especially by prospects nearing a decision. If you neglect printed content marketing you may minimize your chance of landing a valuable client.

2. The Trust Factor

With today’s “fake news” paranoia, trust in digital media has decreased.

A 2017 study showed that printed news magazines are the most trusted news source (72% rated them positively) while only 33% believed social media provided honest information.

Even print versions of national newspapers were regarded as more trustworthy than the websites of that exact same publication!

Because of the physical nature of the medium, print is naturally viewed as more informative and trustworthy than digital media.

So how can you add print to your content marketing strategies?

  1. Use embedded QR codes in game-style promotions or in-store displays. Check some inspiring examples here or here.
  2. Look for ways to get your business or product featured in magazine or newspaper articles.
  3. Employ printed “how to” postcards or maintenance checklists with online coupon discounts included in the text.
  4. Print inserts for invoices or point-of-sale kiosks that highlight an excerpt of your blog to lead them online.
  5. Consider generating your own quarterly or bi-annual niche publication.
  6. Print custom thank-you notes with a snippet of your brand story or the first paragraph of your blog on the back.

Printed content marketing should be used as “bait” to generate nibbles from your potential customers.

If you don’t have a place to reel them in (like a “get started today” link) or a way to keep them in the net (a defined sales funnel or a customer retention program), all your time and energy will be useless. So be strategic, be customer-focused, and get out there and fish!

Out-of-Office Messages with Personality

Market-353For many people, taking time away from work can be difficult, but setting up your out of office (OOO) message is one of the first steps that can help you disconnect and feel less stressed when you are away from work.

Many people are hesitant to disconnect entirely from their email, even when on vacation, and fear an OOO could lead to missed opportunities. However, OOO messages can be a creative way to create emotional connections with prospects, clients, and coworkers.

Regardless of why you are out of the office, your message can help recipients feel more connected to you socially and can even serve as a conversation starter the next time you speak.

For example, you could say “Hi, I’m away from the office celebrating our 20th Anniversary with my beautiful wife. I’m hoping to perfect my sailing skills, and if I’m lucky, I will have a story to tell you about catching a few great fish! I won’t be checking my emails until (date), but if you need something urgent, please contact (add name and email).”

Another creative OOO that you can customize for contacts already in your address book could include sharing a helpful resource, such as saying, “I’m out of the office at a conference until (date), but in the meantime, I wanted to share this article featuring 20 great tips for XX. Enjoy!”

Not only can a well-crafted OOO give you the separation you need from your business emails, but it can also give you the opportunity to connect with your contacts more deeply upon your return.

The Power of Teamwork

kirkSurely you’ve heard of “The Avengers”… a group of superheroes who, despite their differences, work together towards a common purpose. Regardless if you are a comic fan, “The Avengers” offer an important lesson about teamwork and, more importantly, the value of teams.

“The Avengers” teach a valuable lesson that the power of one (team) is better than one person. A successful team becomes a genuinely cohesive unit that functions with a single purpose, giving them the power to accomplish wonders. Becoming a team can be challenging and requires all members to put their egos aside and trust one another. Team members respect and trust one another despite their disagreements, and see the value that each member brings to the table. Every member of a team serves a different purpose, but no one member is more important than another.

Here’s the way I see it: A wise man once said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Give us a call the next time you need help on an important printing project. We’d love to become an extension of your dream team!

Leaving a Legacy with Your Small Business

In the 1950s, a young boy named John was enthralled by every chance to visit his best friend.

This family owned a soda pop bottling plant, which sparked a lifelong love for exotic flavors in John Nese. Years later, Nese brought soda to his family’s Italian grocery store in Los Angeles, known today for its 600 soda and beer flavors from around the world.

The variety wasn’t always this broad. Nese said the change came 20 years ago when independent grocers were being squeezed out by chains. One soda dealer offered a profit of $30 a pallet if Nese would streamline shelves and eliminate variety. Nese wouldn’t bite:

“Nuts to that,” he said. “A light bulb went off (and I said), ‘You know, John, you should be happy you own your shelf space, and Pepsi doesn’t, and you can sell anything you want.’ So I went out and found 25 brands of little sodas.”

Nese says this “freedom of choice” philosophy defines his family and his business, and customers can even make flavors of their own at the store. Rows of cane sugar syrups line the wall, along with bottles, caps, and carbonated water dispensers. “Whatever you think of, you can make!” Nese exclaimed.

This passion has fueled the Galcos’ grocery for over a century, and the Galcos plan to continue this legacy.

Successfully Passing Down Your Business

Small businesses make up around 99 percent of U.S. companies and 20 percent of these are family owned.

These businesses play a crucial role in creating jobs, exporting products, and generating wealth. As Baby Boomers reach retirement, 4 million of them will be handing off their privately-owned small businesses; in the next 15 years, we will see the largest transfer ever of private business to the next generation!

What are the keys to successfully navigating these transitions?

Preparation and communication are essential. Here are a few steps businesses are taking to pave the way for a smooth handoff:

Think decades in advance.

Small business owners often wait too long to start planning a transition, and typically only half of those planning to retire have identified a successor.

Justin Goodbread, a certified financial planner and exit planning advisor says the process is especially weighty for families:

“Families will most likely also have to cope with emotional and psychological issues that surface during a generational transaction. I believe a 10-year period is needed to successfully navigate a family business transaction.”

Sketch out clear successors and exit strategies.

A strong mission statement and business plan, a clear exit strategy for senior leaders, and an early commitment from successors are important hallmarks to longevity.

Build the right team.

Many businesses believe they can manage their transition independently, but this assumption is costly.

Healthy handoffs will require input from lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, business valuation experts, and a family business planner to shepherd the process. Though senior leaders may wish to gift the business ownership, experts believe financial buy-ins allow successors to get some “skin in the game,” as they emotionally double-down in commitment, maturity, and vision.

Be flexible as you exchange roles and responsibilities over time.

The gap between generations requires effective communication and an organized structure for each person involved.

This should be reviewed regularly to adjust the roles or time commitment of each team member. Goodbread recommends younger successors earn more responsibility on a day-to-day basis:

“It has to be earned or merited,” he says. “The problems start when a junior takes over a senior’s position in the company without earning it or wanting the position.”

Use Great Body Language to Speak with Success

Communication conceptRamona Smith, a 31-year-old Houston teacher, has faced many challenges, including coaxing her son through cancer and struggling through a divorce.

But Smith believes life is about more than what knocks you down, it’s about the lifelines people offer to help you back up.

One of Smith’s lifelines was the mentorship she found in Toastmasters, a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership. In her 2018 speech, “Still Standing,” Smith posed as a fighter on stage and talked about surviving round after round with life but bouncing back again. Her accomplishments include dropping out of college four times (before graduating at the top of her class) and, most recently, being crowned the Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking in Chicago.

Smith outlasted 30,000 other competitors over six months of competition before being named the champion in August. Her success comes not only from her will to fight but from one speaking technique that helped her connect:

“If my hands are open to the audience, and my fists are not closed, and my arms are not too tight toward my body, it just makes the audience feel more connected, like I’m really open,” Smith said. “I’m vulnerable, and I want to give you all of me. And it makes me look relaxed and comfortable.”

Dananjaya Hettiarchchi, a human-resources specialist who won the Toastmasters competition in 2014, broke down the effectiveness of this technique:

“If you really concentrate, when you look at the inside of your palm, your eye relaxes,” Hettiarchchi said. “And a lot of great speakers, they open their palms towards the audience, showing more openness. And that allows the audience to connect with the speaker better, as opposed to showing the back of your hand.”

Best Body Language for Effective Presentations

If a simple gesture can have such an impact, what other nonverbal communication can increase our impact? Check out these tips from some of the world’s most personable communicators to increase your own credibility.

DO:

  • Open your hands toward the audience to relax and connect.
  • Use facial expressions with purpose. Sometimes when we’re nervous our face freezes up. If you don’t have an expressive face, work with a mirror to see how your expressions reinforce your message. Give your entire talk silently (while forming each word) and let your face do the communicating!
  • Maintain intentional eye contact. Leaders who speak over people’s heads or get buried in their notes seem impersonal or insincere. When you speak, move from face to face, making eye contact with one person at a time to ensure your audience is engaged. When answering a question, use extended eye contact to convey sincerity.

DON’T:

  • Hide, clasp, or fidget with your hands. This implies you don’t believe what you’re saying, or shows meekness that fails to command attention. Instead, keep your arms forward in an open manner. Use your hands to explain your point through confident, concise movements.
  • Plan your gestures in advance. Physical expression in presentations should arise spontaneously. Though body language is important, planned movements will seem awkward or inauthentic. Instead, plan key moments where you might take a different position in the room or how you will use visual aids to keep communication transparent.
  • Roam aimlessly or exhibit poor posture. Body language communicates a lot about your character, so pacing can make you seem jumpy or slumped shoulders may convey discouragement and apathy. Instead, move with purpose in your presentations. Aim for a neutral position, sitting or standing tall like a string is connecting your head to the ceiling.

Remember, the most important visual you can show your audience is yourself! Sharpen non-verbal communication skills and reap the benefits of credibility and respect!

Easy Apps for Visual Storytelling

Tech-352.jpgCREATE SHORT AND ENGAGING VIDEO SNIPPETS

Here are a few apps that make it easy to create short and engaging video snippets for social media and marketing content:

    • Adobe Spark is a free online and mobile graphic design app which allows you to create beautiful images, videos, and web pages easily.
    • Lively enables you to convert live photos to GIFs and video.
    • Canva Animations adds animation to simple design. Just create your design, go to “Download,” and select “Animated GIF/Movie” from the drop-down menu. From there, you can choose an animation style and download it as a GIF or movie. Note: the app works best with the simple Canva templates. If your design is too complicated, Canva may not offer the option to animate it.
    • Ripl can be used to create animated, eye-catching posts and short video snippets. Choose from 200+ animated designs to easily create posts that fit your unique brand. You can add your photo(s) and text, choose a design template, customize the post for your business, and share in one tap to your social media accounts.
    • Apple Clips (available on iOS only) is a basic video tool for making short videos with added text, effects, graphics, and more.
    • Quick is Go Pro’s super simple video creation tool which allows you to create cool videos quickly.
    • Videorama makes editing video easy and will enable you to add transitions, use stock videos and images, edit the video length, add transitions, add music, slow or speed up video, and more.
    • Boomerang is a short video snippet that repeats.
    • Rewind is an app that shows your video content in reverse.

If you’d like help creating stunning print marketing materials to complement your social efforts, give us a call today at 856-429-0715!

Four Tips for Authentic Photography in Marketing

GettyImages-834741464.jpgIn a digitally saturated generation, today’s marketer’s need great stories and striking, memorable images.

Regardless of your business or your market niche, powerful visuals can make all the difference! Consider these statistics:

  • Articles with relevant images average 94 percent more views than text alone and a press release with photos increases online views by 15 percent.
  • Sixty percent of consumers who use online searches prefer to contact a business whose listing includes an image.
  • 70 percent of e-commerce shoppers say the product image is very important for purchasing decisions.

Your viewers crave expressive images, so photography is crucial in marketing. Photography offers a slice of life view that communicates authenticity and value to your customers. How well do your images translate the nature of your business? Are you using drab photos or bland stock selections? Three benchmarks to evaluate your images are:

Engagement and Emotional Response

What emotions do your photos evoke?

How does the atmosphere of the photo connect with your viewer’s passion or life experience? Does it compel viewers to lean in or linger?

Brand Story and Context

What is the bigger brand story you want to tell?

Excellent photography adds credibility to this message because visuals increase the detail you bring to your message. Do your images hammer home your story?

Momentum and Shareability

Photographs can send numbers skyrocketing because people love to share captivating images!

As you employ vibrant photos, you increase your chance of people passing along your name, chatting about your product, or returning for a purchase. How much momentum do your images create?

4 Tips From Photography DIY-ers

What if you want to use more realistic photos but can’t afford to hire a professional?

By pairing modern technology with a few photography guidelines, even an amateur shutterbug can make photos pop! Here are four tips from the pros to get you started:

Rule #1: Avoid Low-Resolution Shots from Your Phone

While a casual snapshot can work for social media, if you are planning to share photos regularly, invest in a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) and check out an online tutorial. Even small investments will ensure the quality of your photos reflects the excellence of your business.

Rule #2: Use the Rule of Thirds

Most DSLR cameras can display their grid, which includes nine even squares. If your subject is directly in the center of the grid, the image will be more static because the eye is drawn to the image but has nowhere to travel from there. When your subject is positioned closer to the edges, the eye is forced to track toward it or be “drawn in” to the bigger message.

Rule #3: Think Slice of Life

What do you want to tell your clients about your business? Say it in photos! If social media or reality TV have taught us anything, it’s that people love following the ordinary activities of others. Casual photos of your team doing business are perfect for showing off your identity and featuring your unique competitive advantage.

Rule #4: Make Use of Natural Lighting

Ever think you’ve captured the perfect photo only to find the sun has wrecked it? On a sunny day, most photos will be compromised by shadows or overexposure. Overcast hues are better because the light is softer and more diffused. For best results, place your camera in a position where the light is coming from behind you and shining directly on your subject.

Marketing is all about communicating value to your clients. For more tips on putting photography to grow momentum and authenticity, give us a call at 856-429-0715!

Promote it with a Postcard

A VERSATILE AND AFFORDABLE MARKETING TOOL

Market-352.jpg

Postcards are a versatile and affordable marketing tool that can boost recognition and sales. Because postcard coupons don’t have an exterior envelope, they grab attention with a bold message and get to the point quickly. Here are a few creative postcard ideas to consider for your next marketing campaign:

    • Express your gratitude by sending a postcard with a handwritten thank you note.
    • Design your postcard as a coupon to help increase sales.
    • Use postcards as a tradeshow pre-mailer, with a convenient tearaway portion to drop at your booth for a chance to win door prizes or other giveaways.
    • Demand attention with a folded or oversized postcard, which also has more room for information.
    • Extend the life of your mailing with a tearaway reply card, information request form, or business card.
    • Save on postage and envelope costs by designing your newsletter, brochure, or catalog as an oversized postcard.
    • Create a “we’ve missed you” or product reorder reminder campaign to help reactivate old customers and boost sales.
    • Consider adding a magnet to the back of “save the date” postcards to increase their staying power.
    • Create a monthly product spotlight postcard campaign that highlights various products or services you offer, and includes a coupon discount.

If you need help creating the perfect postcard your customers will love, let us know today!

Start Mouth-Watering Conversations Through Word-of-Mouth Marketing

GettyImages-472581106.jpgKaren Weber-Mendham was a part-time librarian and mother of three when she turned her family’s propensity for garlic cheesy bread into a cool million.

This northern Wisconsin family often ordered cheesy bread while waiting on pizza. Weber-Mendham said the kids’ appetizer passion was so strong “they would arm-wrestle each other for a piece!”

Cheesy fever inspired the family to enter the 2013 Lay’s potato chip competition, “Do Us a Flavor,” challenging customers to create a new chip flavor to hit store shelves that year. Lays was swamped with 3.8 million submissions as the contest winner was given the better of two options: $1 million or 1% of the flavor’s net sales over a year. Beyond fame and fortune, Weber-Mendham was given the opportunity to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and was flown to Los Angeles for the big reveal with Lay’s endorsement celebrity Eva Longoria.

“Eva was so genuine and happy for me when I won,” Weber-Mendham said. And yes, “She’s as beautiful in person as she looks on TV.”

Catalysts for a Great Conversation

What was Lays up to in this fun-loving campaign?

Were they desperate for creative ideas? Hungry for the inspiration only average citizens could bring? Or did they strike gold by tapping into a conversation with everyday Americans?

Word-of-mouth promotion has been identified as the most valuable form of marketing, tagged “the original social media.” According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising, and trusted referrals are most likely to drive sales for your company. But in an American Marketing Association survey, 64% of marketing executives say that, though they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing, only 6% have mastered it.

As you seek to generate good gossip about your company, here are three action points to keep in mind:

Engage

Make a commitment to listen.

What would that truly look like in your context? Allow your customers’ space to be heard and to contribute to the company as a whole. Engage with clients through e-mail surveys, online question and answer boards, social media service options, or by highlighting customer success in your printed newsletters. When customers are heard, they feel connected and valued.

Encourage

Allow people reasons or avenues to talk to each other or to talk about you.

Like a common chalkboard with a fun question in your favorite coffee shop, invite clients into the conversation and give them tools to chat. Encourage people to talk about your services and products with you and with others by creating helpful, shareable content, including icons to your favorite apps that will make it easy for your fans to spread your name around!

Equip

Give your fan base tools to become brand advocates.

Let them know their opinions are important and look for fun ways to spread the word. To create buzz around the Ford Fiesta, Ford gave away a number of cars and asked ambassador “influencers” to test drive and share their experiences.

During “Do Us a Flavor,” Lays received over 1.4 million Facebook and Twitter votes, one of its biggest marketing campaigns ever. While you may not give away a car, give away tools to get your fans advocating: ask clients to pass coupons to five of their friends, to give you an online review, or be part of a fun selfie or Snapchat contest to boost your reputation.

Get the conversation started and pave the way for new growth!

Rethink Your Business Cards

Product-352.jpgA NEW TWIST ON AN OLD CLASSIC

Who says business cards have to be boring? If you’d like to put a new twist on an old classic, why not try turning your business card into a label or a magnet? Label or magnet business cards offer alternative ways to creatively distribute your contact information.

When printed on a label, you can easily affix your business card and ensure it won’t get lost or misplaced on product samples, literature, packages, booklets, quotes, envelopes, etc.

When printed on a magnet, you provide a convenient way for your contact information to be readily available and ensure front-of-mind awareness.

If you’re interested in label or magnet business cards but aren’t sure how often you would use them, try ordering a small run of 50 to 100 using the same template as your conventional business cards. It will be fun to get customer feedback and will be less expensive to see if this creative idea is something you’ll stick with!

The Snake and the Saw

kirkOne night a curious snake was out looking for food and entered a carpenter’s workshop. The carpenter, who was not very organized, left several tools lying on the floor. One of the tools was a sharp saw. As the snake was snooping around the shop, he climbed over the saw and got a small cut. Assuming that something was attacking him, the snaked turned around and bit the saw so hard that he cut his mouth. This made him angry and he coiled his body around it and attacked again and again and again until the saw was covered in blood and appear to be dead. The snake died from his own wounds.

Here’s the way I see it: Sometimes when we are focused on trying to hurt others, we only wind up hurting ourselves. We’d love the opportunity to work on your next important printing project… with happiness guaranteed!

The Power of Store Ambiance and Sensory Cues Unmistakable Ambiance

GettyImages-854010066.jpgAs viewers enter the Richard Mille watch boutique in Paris, their senses are inundated with beauty. Large glass panels are etched with details of the emblematic RM tourbillon, giving viewers the sensation that they might be entering the heart of the watch itself. Extreme elegance buoys buyers through the store, with black leather chairs, Macassar ebony, and brushed steel accents. The impact is palpable.

As a primary showcase of the watches, these interior design elements are vital. The Paris boutique offers a theatrical look with a touch of femininity. “I wanted to go against the traditional macho design, with its dark materials, cold metals, and dark atmosphere,” said Mélanie Treton-Monceyron, the watchmaker’s creative director. “I thought we needed to open the shops, give light and add lighter colors.”

Treton-Monceyron says she’s stirred by functional spaces like hotels, airports, and factories, rather than drawing inspiration from typical retail designs. The space itself is her muse: “I was a choreographer and dancer before,” she said, “so I look at a shop from a stage design vantage point and move inside the space — using my own body to sense the space left and right and position everything from the watch displays to sofas to walls.”

Increased Personalization Through Sensory Impact

As today’s merchants seek to grow online sales, businesses are also showcasing more personalized experiences in their stores.

The ambiance is imperative: 1 in 5 consumers said they choose to shop in person because of an enjoyable atmosphere. From convenience stores to car showrooms, merchants hope to connect their product with its people through environmental elements that generate sales. Sensory impact plays a principal role:

“Advertisers are increasingly aware of the influence sensory cues can play,” said Ryan Elder, associate professor of marketing at Bringham Young University. “Our research dives into which specific sensory experiences will be most effective in an advertisement, and why.” Data found that people caught in sensory experiences (like taste or touch) were more likely to buy at an earlier time, and suggested consumer behavior can be influenced by both actual and imagined sensory experiences like sounds and smells. Even online reviews that articulated these features were ranked higher in terms of how useful they were to others.

Drive Sales for Ambivalent Customers

With 37% of U.S. consumers saying that being in the “right mood” spurs impulse purchases, here are some elements that can drive sales for ambivalent customers:

Music and Scent: What are the first things people hear or smell when they enter your establishment? Does the “first impression” profile you display match the brand message you want to project? Like songs or smells adjusted to the holidays or festive events, details create emotional connections with clients, giving brick-and-mortar shops an advantage e-tailers simply can’t match.

Décor: From colorful artwork to oversized custom posters, match your décor with your target patrons. Build an ambiance that will encourage customers to linger. And don’t underestimate an uncluttered, tidy environment: a 1997 study showed customer satisfaction was greater in “pleasant” (versus disorganized) furniture stores. Customers in pleasant stores spontaneously spent more money on articles they simply “liked.”

Spacial Layouts: What does your store blueprint or interior signage communicate? Are you looking for a consistent, orderly flow or a casual, flexible feel? For Richard Mille, directional (yet conversational) spaces were key. Trenton-Monceyron says she designs open spaces to admire and dialogue because the brand believes watch shops are about more than just sales:

“They are like the salon of conversation of Marguerite de Navarre during the 16th century; a place where you can come just for visit, discuss and exchange a point of view.”

Keys for Change: Small Businesses Making a Big Impact (Part 2)

GettyImages-869281580.jpgConnor’s Collision Center of Richmond, Virginia, was looking for a way to build a charitable culture in their business, so they launched the “Recycled Rides” program and began donating rehabbed vehicles to individuals nominated by the community.

In part 1 of this series, we explored the story of one changed life (Georgette Carter) and the way businesses are strengthened through innovative corporate giving.

What about your business?

Maybe you can’t rehab cars, but every company can give back in some way! That starts with a desire to grow in generosity and a plan to carry that out. Unfortunately, some business owners pull back from giving because they find themselves strained by the number of needs or a plethora of last-minute requests. To grow in giving, they need a narrowed support focus to help them move ahead.

Identify Brand-Extending Areas of Support

Smaller companies may find it helpful to develop target giving priorities that relate to their mission or their brand.

These funding priorities can be publicized through an application process which sifts out casual candidates and allows employees managing requests to process them in a scheduled, thoughtful manner. As you narrow your giving focus (i.e. schools, sustainable community solutions), key in on priorities that are close at heart and well-suited for both your brand and your community.

Greg O’Neill, co-owner of four Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine shops in Chicago, said this strategic giving shift was key for their company:

“Small businesses get inundated [with requests] and it’s really hard to say no. We’re a bulls-eye for anyone and everyone looking for donation, sponsorship, philanthropy and giving of any kind. A lot of businesses say yes, yes, yes and give until it hurts.”

O’Neill’s team implemented an application process, identified sustainable agriculture and feeding programs as a funding priority, and scheduled key deadlines for recipients. As a result, the number of requests declined and the number of meaningful partnerships increased.

“We tend to do fewer one-off donations now,” O’Neill says, “and instead we create more relationships.”

If your company chooses to donate to causes outside key funding priorities, there are additional strategies to make your contribution stretch farther than the gift itself:

  • Offer coupons for high-dollar products or services that don’t cost much to your company
  • Consider in-kind gifts and allow employees to use workday hours to participate
  • Rather than just giving cash, reach out to your best sales rep. Buy a case of one good item from them and donate it to the event or cause
  • Host a yearly contest where your community or employees can submit nominations for someone needing a hand. Document the results and include them in your newsletter or company Christmas card to spread the holiday cheer!

As you seek to give strategically, here are four questions to consider:

  1. What brand extending areas will you support?
  2. How can you publicize your giving priorities in a way that structures the giving process and streamlines requests?
  3. How can you affirm employees who go the extra mile to give beyond the walls of your office?
  4. How can your compassion be print-recognized (i.e. banners or photo murals) to make it a more mutually beneficial partnership?

Your charitable efforts may be humble, but they are unique to you and they make a tangible difference in your community. While generosity begins in the heart, often innovative community support begins with your business!

Custom Candy Bar Bands

MAKE YOUR SWEETS LOOK EVEN SWEETER

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Custom printed candy bar bands make your sweets look even sweeter with custom packaging. They are a great way to promote your brand and custom message for fundraisers, special events and celebrations, and much more!

Candy bar bands are available in a variety of papers, shapes, and sizes, and can be enhanced with unique effects like die cutting, embossing, and foil stamping. They can be designed to close with peel and seal closure, glue, double-sided tape, or a customized label, such as a monogram symbol or corporate anniversary seal.

If you’d like help creating unique candy bar sleeves for your next event or fundraiser, stop by or give us a call today at 856-429-0715!

Keys for Change: Small Businesses Making a Big Impact

GettyImages-853185816.jpgThe winter of 2013 was a hard one for Georgette Carter.

As a single mom raising two young boys while she cared for a father with dementia, money was very tight. Then, she totaled her car and found her resources – and her hope – were nearly gone. That is, until a 1996 blue Ford Contour arrived from the Connor Brother Collisions “Recycled Rides” program.

Conner Brothers of Richmond, VA, overhauls donated cars and awards them to people who have been nominated by community members. Carter said her heart was rehabilitated almost more than the car she received:

“It turned my life around. I can get to my job on time, and I don’t have to maneuver to get my child out of daycare. I’ll never take that for granted again.”

Getting Others Involved

Small businesses like Conner Brothers are creating innovative giving models that not only impact people but strengthen the business and the character of the companies themselves.

Kevin Conner said his company donated its first car and was looking to extend the “Recycled Rides” program to three other locations, but they had some pushback in the process. Some objected to giving away freebies when they were working so hard to earn a living themselves. But Conner says this mentality changed when employees got physically involved because compassion comes from being part of an experience instead of merely giving a donation:

“I got them involved in actually giving the cars away, handing over the keys,” Conner says. “Now the guys at the shop call me and ask, ‘When is our next car?’ It would be easy to give money or a service here or there, but it’s the teamwork behind the program that creates an amazing atmosphere for a successful company.”

The car giveaways have become such a cornerstone for Conner Brothers that the program helps define the type of employees the company wants.

“Giving back is a huge part of our company,” Conner says. “I challenge the guys every day to give back in some way, to give customers more than they expect. People remember that.”

Giving That “Changes” Lives

Another giving strategy comes from literal pocket change, as givers round up or down for charity.

For example, the ridesharing company Lyft recently launched an initiative allowing customers to round up their fare to the nearest dollar for military appreciation and human rights campaigns. More than 40,000 passengers donated over $100,000 in the first two months!

Grocery stores, mass merchandisers, and retailers have also invited customers to donate change to worthy causes. As technology and digital platforms make such giving easier, small businesses have challenged staff members to round down their net pay to the nearest dollar (or tenth dollar) and give the difference to charity. While painless or even unnoticed, these small donations add up to a collective impact with heartfelt results.

Whether your employees give financially, volunteer together, or embrace a community partnership project, innovative giving helps your business to:

  • Stand out from competitors or set itself apart in the community
  • Make matching donations alongside employee giving to multiply impact
  • Use positive feedback from supported causes to provide content for print and digital marketing
  • Increase team unity as employees give toward a common cause

While generosity begins in the heart, often innovative giving strategies begin with small business. Join us for part two of this series to gain more inspiration for a culture of charity that will strengthen your business.

Printed Gifts Are Perfect Any Time of Year

GettyImages-517492290.jpgProviding your customers with a small memento of your business is one of the best ways to keep your brand top-of-mind.

However, many business owners struggle with ideas about what they can use as gifts that are cost-effective, memorable, and useful to their clients. There are plenty of options on the market today in terms of promotional products, but a thoughtful printed gift may be the ideal option for your business.

Here are some of the ways that businesses are making themselves memorable in print!

The Gift of Humor

Knock knock. Who’s there? Etch. Etch who? Bless you, friend.

There are few things that will put a smile on someone’s face more quickly than a corny knock-knock joke. You know they are terrible, but you still have to smile! Your customers will feel the same way, so why not gift them with a little light and laughter in their life? A small printed joke book is the perfect way to let your customers know you’re thinking about them. Humor has been shown to build trust and inspire creative thinking — what better gifts could you provide to your best customers?

Giving Notes

Many organizations are clear and consistent with their message of helping others, so why not extend this concept?

A simple printed postcard or notecard showing your clients that you contributed to a specific charity on their behalf is a terrific way of showing your commitment to giving back to the community and the world. Prefer to have a more lasting memory for your customers? Printed magnets or labels will also help you share the message of generosity.

Office Supplies

Who “borrowed” my notepad this time?!?

Offices throughout the country hear this cry on a regular basis, so why not take away some of this pain? Printed pop-up notes or notepads are an inexpensive gift that will be appreciated for weeks — or even months. Plus, you can add your brand in a way that not only are you sharing your message with the individual sending the note, but the recipient will also have a positive association with your brand, too. Instead of doing a simple blank note, why not print inspirational statements on them or create bold “Thank You” messages on the notepad? Your customers will love being able to share them with friends at work.

Desktop Prints

Motivational posters or prints are always a welcome gift, as they help clients stay encouraged even when they’re going through a rough patch.

A simple mini-print is ideal for this situation, and you can even upgrade to a small matted display for your best customers. Help customers see how much they mean to you by sharing a heartfelt note that brings together your brand promise and shows how far above and beyond you are willing to go to provide top-notch service.

These are only a few of the ways you can share the appreciation that you feel for your clients on a daily basis. How do you show appreciation for your clients?

Employee Newsletters

Market-351While many companies use newsletters to build relationships with their customers, many overlook the team building potential that an internal newsletter could have on their own employees. An employee newsletter is a great way to boost employee morale and focus on their successes.

Here are a few tips for creating an employee newsletter your team will love:

    • Include “Employee Spotlight” articles as a fun way for employees to get to know each other. The info could range from the employee’s position within your company to their hobbies, interests, family photos, etc.
    • Acknowledge employee birthdays, corporate anniversaries, new hires, promotions, team successes, and more.
    • Keep your team informed with customer survey results, customer compliments, and thank you notes from appreciative customers.
    • Assign a few teams to specific parts of the newsletter each month, such as pulling company stats (sales volume, tradeshow outcomes, etc.), taking photos at company events, etc.
    • Create an ideas library. Stockpile various ideas, photos, jokes, quotes, seasonal graphics, etc. to save time down the road.

Our creative team would love to offer ideas if you need help creating or getting started on a newsletter. Give us a call at 856-429-0715 or stop by today.

Memory is Like Salt

kirkA friend told me a story about two men who happen to run into each other at their favorite spot every day – on a bench located near the beach. The one man said to the other, “You look miles away… what are you thinking about?” The other man replied, “Every day, I dream about how I was sitting on this same bench 25 years ago with my wife. She always loved to get up and dance on the beach like no one was watching. Now I come here daily to try to relive the memories.”

The first man replied, “That’s great to enjoy your memories, but don’t forget that memory is like salt. The right amount brings out the flavor in food, and too much ruins it. If you live in the past all the time, you’ll find yourself with no present to remember.”

Here’s the way I see it: Dr. Seuss said it best, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” And remember, we’re here to help with your important printing so you can focus on the more important things in life.

Color Combinations that Tax the Brain Easy on the Eye

GettyImages-616121574.jpgHumans are creative beings, and one of our favorite ways to express ourselves is through words.

Words can bring sweetness to the soul, arouse dormant hunger, or give voice to beauty in the world.

That’s why names are such serious business. How much thought do we give to naming a pet? Or a child? Beautiful names can bring a charming nostalgia or an air of sophistication to the bearer.

But while some names are sweet on the ear, they don’t translate well for the eye, causing potentially years of frustration for your grade-schooler (or your veterinarian!).

Here are five names that are fun for the ear but a nightmare for the eye:

Eulalia (Yu-LAY-Lia), like the mayor’s wife in The Music Man

Azaiah (Az-EYE-ah), which has rocketed in popularity since 2000

Grigoriy (Grig-OR-y), a Russian variant of Gregory, meaning “vigilant or watchful”

Bludeuwedd (Bloo-da-e-wedd), referenced in Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, a Welsh name meaning “face of flowers”

Aelwen (Eisel-wen), originating in England, with versions of the name in J.R.R. Tolkien’s literature

Color Combinations that Tax the Brain

Some things are beautiful in concept but difficult in reality.

Similarly, certain images or color combinations are challenging for your eyes as well!

Have you ever seen a website that seems to chafe your eyeballs? A fabric pattern that makes you intrinsically recoil? This is actually not just a “tacky” color combination, it is a brain hijack: your brain gets misled into viewing these colors in 3D. Some colors appear to recede, while others float forward.

For example, the combination of blue and red can be very difficult for the eye to process. One color may jump out while the other appears buried or muted. This effect, referred to as chromostereopsis, was first noted by Goethe in his Farbenlehre (Theory of Colours).

Goethe recognized blue as a receding color and yellow/red as a protruding or dominant force, arguing that, “like we see the high sky, the faraway mountains, as blue, in the same way, a blue field (also) seems to recede.” This phenomenon explains the visual science behind how we perceive colors and objects and is extremely important when you consider layouts and color combinations for print.

Some Important Color Takeaways

As you choose color combinations, here are some chromostereopsis design takeaways to consider:

  • Avoid putting blue and red (or green and red) near each other on a page or screen.
  • Avoid putting blue or green text on a red background (or red/green text on a blue background).
  • If the color combinations you’re using seem obnoxious, adjust the hue or filters to mute more jarring pure tones.
  • Separate contrasting colors, either spatially or semantically (like using lines or charts to divide them). This will prevent viewers from having to pay attention to items of both colors at the same time.
  • If you want to use chromostereopsis to your advantage, try using a jarring color combination in the background with a contrasting color on top (like white text on a black and red background, as we see here).

When the dynamics of good design are utilized, viewers will look at your images longer and perceive your ideas more clearly. So, stretch your designs but don’t strain their brains!

Tips to Push the Envelope

ENSURE YOUR ENVELOPES GET NOTICED AND OPENED

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Envelopes are just as important as the marketing materials inside them. If your audience doesn’t open your envelope, your entire effort is a loss. Here are a few ways to ensure your envelopes get noticed and opened:

    • Plan your envelope design early – it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Design your envelope with the contents in mind, including a teaser, deadline, photo, or description of what’s inside.
    • Consider a variety of colors and textures (linen, cockle, matte, translucent, coated, glossy, metallic, etc.).
    • Include a hook message that piques the curiosity of your reader, such as “Open immediately to see your savings!”
    • Consider an oversized envelope that will stand apart in a stack of mail.
    • Address the reverse side of an envelope (the side with the flap) and reserve the full front as a mini-billboard for your marketing message.
    • Take advantage of your marketing real estate by printing on both sides of the envelope.
    • Consider adding stickers to add emphasis, such as anniversary seals, product guarantee labels, or a warranty sticker.

Do you need help getting your creative juices flowing? Ask us for some promotional envelope samples today!

 

Customize Printed Mailings to Maximize Your Impact

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One of the best ways that brands can engage their customers is by making people feel valued and unique.

Brands that are able to provide their customers with this feeling of connection are going to be one step closer to creating true advocates for their brand. Perhaps one of the best ways that modern organizations can offer a customized experience is through meaningful personalization — far beyond the “Dear Friend” found in some mass mailings.

See how businesses are using personalization in their printed materials to create an experience that customers will appreciate and remember.

Tailored Offers Drive Traffic

Grocery stores are able to effectively track a massive number of items and customers, including when and where they purchased specific products.

While your business may not be quite that complex, you can certainly track in a more simplistic way in order to offer timely and meaningful coupons to your customers. For instance, offering a discount card tied to someone’s phone number allows you to discover which days of the week they are coming to see you and how often. Upsell your services by providing discounts on off-days when they may not visit or to shorten the time between services. This strategy works especially well for service-based businesses such as hair and nail salons.

Treating People Like Family

If you are able to capture additional information about your customers such as the age of children, this allows you a greater opportunity to customize your message.

Knowing the general age of your customers or whether they’re empty-nesters, young parents, or an older retired couple provides you with the information that you need to create offers that are more compelling. One example would be a restaurant whose tables are nearly empty on a Wednesday night. Sending information to young families that Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays is likely to bring in a wealth of new business on that evening and keep your tables full.

Move-In Special

There are many businesses that thrive on new families moving into the area — from retail establishments to grocery stores and everything in between.

Consider working with a few complimentary businesses in your region to create a move-in special: a package of offerings that can be mailed to families just as they move into the area. These hot new potential customers have not yet formed an opinion of the area and will need to create new shopping patterns. If your offer comes at the perfect time as they’re moving in and purchasing new products for their home, they are likely to continue visiting your establishment over the years.

There are many different ways that your business can take advantage of a compelling, personalized offer in print. Contact us today to discuss your next printing project: 856-429-0715 or visit http://www.sjprinter.com.

Fold-Out Brochures

EVERY BUSINESS HAS A STORY TO TELL

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Every business has a story to tell, and brochures are a great way to tell it! Depending on what you’re selling, sometimes it’s necessary to tell a more complete story, which often requires more room than a standard brochure.

Fold-out brochures are a great way to double, triple, or even quadruple the size of your marketing real estate.
Fold-out panels are a great option no matter the size of your brochures, such as a mini-brochure, standard size, or oversized leaflet. Popular choices include a four-panel bi-fold, six-panel tri-fold, or six-panel z-fold.

If you’re looking for a creative way to distribute your fold-out brochures, consider designing them as a door hanger. You can also add tear away coupons, information about upcoming specials, or a customer loyalty card as incentives to visit your business.

Or, if you’d like your fold-out brochure to hold additional materials, you could even consider designing it as a foldout pocket brochure, featuring heavy paper and pockets to hold additional materials.

Give us a call today at 856-429-0715 if you’d like help creating the perfect fold-out brochure for your upcoming project.

3 Keys to Build Better Workplace Morale

GettyImages-853926496.jpgDid you know October 7 is “Worldwide Smile Day?”

Smile day is celebrated on the first Friday of October, dedicating twenty-four hours to smiling and acts of community kindness. Why? In a “bad news” world, a little dose of joy goes a long way. Gretchen Rubin certainly believes this.

From outside perspectives, Rubin lived a marvelously successful life. She had a good marriage, a thriving writing career (formerly a Yale graduate clerk to Sandra Day O’Connor), a warm relationship with in-laws, and two lovely daughters. But in 2006, Rubin realized something was missing. She had a mild case of “the blues,” a below-the-surface irritableness she couldn’t shake. While she was generally happy, Rubin struggled to enjoy happiness each day.

“Did I have a heart to be contented? No, not particularly. I had a tendency to be discontented: ambitious, dissatisfied, fretful, and tough to please . . . (It was) easier to complain than to laugh, easier to yell than to joke around, easier to be demanding than to be satisfied.”

Driven by curiosity, Rubin threw herself into a soul-searching experiment resulting in the best-seller, “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.” Rubin chose monthly themes, like “energy,” “love,” “work,” and test-drove happiness theories. In the end, this created an entire cottage industry (blogs, videos, starter kits), driving people to aggressively pursue happiness. Rubin found a commitment to simple daily habits (like making the bed) brought a drastically cheerful increase:

“This is about ordinary happiness,” Rubin said. “I wanted to change my life without making major changes. I wanted to show that you don’t have to do something radical.”

Lighten the Mood, Lighten Their Load

Work is life, and life is work. As hard as you try to separate them, work affects your personal life, and vice-versa.

So, what if you could increase happiness at work? What would increased “ordinary” happiness do for an entire company? Statistics say employees who report being happy at work take 10 times fewer sick days, and 36% of employees say they would give up $5000 a year to be happier at work. Happy salespeople produce 37% greater sales and “happy companies” outperform the competition by 20%!

The Keys to Building Morale

Your brain works efficiently when you’re in a good mood. Forward-thinking businesses connect these dots, believing a better “company mood” brings a stronger bottom line. Here are three ways to build better workplace morale:

  1. Cozier Spaces. The office layout, lighting, and aesthetics are a major part of employee satisfaction. Have discouraging cubicles or ugly paint? Throw a little money at this problem and harvest new energy from your team each day.
  2. Parties and Perks. Whether its chair massages, goofy competitions, or summer snowcone festivals, everyone benefits from fun at work. Professional growth opportunities are also significant: in a 2013 poll, 84% of employees claimed the opportunity for advancement was very important. Encourage people to attend conferences, practice peer-to-peer training, or try workshops for growing specific skills.
  3. Improved Communication. As you mobilize teams, tap into the foundational reasons people give their best, like self-improvement, societal impact, or ability to reach challenging goals. When Sandra Day O’Connor was asked what she thought made a happy life her response was simple: Work worth doing.

As you lead, give your team regular feedback. Without guidance, people feel deflated or unmotivated. Personal improvement areas should be private and actionable: explain to employees where to improve and give examples of change. Author Scott Halford says positive feedback is vital:

“Positive feedback stimulates the reward centers in the brain, leaving the recipient open to new direction. Meanwhile, negative feedback indicates that an adjustment needs to be made and the threat response turns on and defensiveness sets in. You don’t need to avoid corrective feedback altogether. Just make sure you follow it up with a suggested solution or outcome.”

The Enduring Impact of Print

Digital technology is overratedThe 1960s gave us many iconic classic cars, but perhaps none is more legendary than the Aston Martin driven by James Bond (Sean Connery) in the 1964 film, Goldfinger.

A long list of tricks made it one of the most beloved movie cars of all time: machine guns, an ejector seat, smoke screens, and a futuristic onboard navigational system. Bond’s reputation as a suave man of action and a smart connoisseur of fine things rocketed Aston Martin to popularity as one of the most desirable automobile brands in the world. The car was so beloved it was later stolen from a Florida airport hanger and is reportedly worth nearly 10 million today.

Vintage. Classic. Irreplaceable.

Those are some of the words we associate with things that are original, things that set the “status quo,” and that just can’t be shattered or ignored. Today’s generation is manifesting a hunger for the authentic, and a desire for craftsmanship is at the forefront. In an age of identity theft, cheap counterfeits, and digital dominance, Carhartt clothing coined the call for craftsmanship as the “road home from a throwaway world.”

The Original Design Format

Local printers believe in the beauty and craftsmanship of their trade, and in the hard-hitting, precise, flawless quality that hard copy printing can bring. As the original format for marketing impact, we believe print design is as essential as the ABCs – in ways as basic as these:

A = Attracting New Customers

Print is essential for attracting new customers in ways digital advertising never can.

Print products allow you to uniquely target the right customers by placing your work directly in before their eyes and in their hands. While digital ads are quickly forgotten, print offers a sense of credibility and real-time professionalism that engage consumers with an immediate, tangible impact. Printed pieces also have a greater opportunity to arouse passive audiences (like those viewing a banner, poster, or printed advertisement), to keep reader attention longer, to improve reading comprehension, and to improve the top-of-mind awareness your business desires.

B = Building Traffic Online

Online content requires a combination of above- and below-the-line marketing support to drive traffic online and increase profits across the board.

Hard copy print products can increase online engagement through a variety of marketing initiatives. Consider on-page ads with online coupon options. Feature your online calendar or offer VIP discounts for those who refer a friend or add social bookmarks to your business. Use printed inserts or brochures placed at the point of sale for invitations to educational blogs, webinars, or freebie giveaways you feature only online.

As you connect your online and conventional marketing strategies, aggressively seek customer feedback and look to solidify your niche in the collective conversation. Inspire professionalism, reliability, and consistency in everything you publish, both digitally and in print. Better integrated communication will bring more consistent, profitable results!

C = Cementing Brands Offline

Often, we overlook the power of print products to cement our brand in consumers’ minds.

A 2015 neuromarketing study revealed that direct mail simulated a 70% higher brand recall3, a dramatically more persuasive element than digital media.

And don’t underestimate the poignant response physical print brings.

Consider the emotions you experience when you see your favorite coffee logo adorning a steaming mug, or how you feel when a co-worker walks into the room wearing a T-shirt of your favorite podcast or band. Print products bring a palpable, concrete response that digital advertising just can’t match!

Whether it’s yard signs, car window adhesives, banner advertising, or just good old-fashioned swag, claim some real-estate for your image and you’ll find your brand developing staying power with a lasting return.

Do You Play Offense or Defense at Work?

kirkWhether or not you are a football fan, there are many similarities between the workplace and the football field. The biggest similarity is understanding the difference between playing offense and defense.

No matter if you are on the field or in the office, it is often easier to learn defense, meaning you are simply reacting to the actions of others. When we are on defense, we typically don’t need to think as hard or make as many decisions, although defense can also be more exhausting and mentally draining. Many of our workdays are bogged down playing defense – answering phone calls, replying to emails, and attending meetings.

In comparison, playing on offense requires a proactive approach. In the workplace, this means creating goals and setting priorities for items you want to accomplish above and beyond the typical daily tasks. Being proactive requires more thought, planning, and dedication to achieve success, and also results in a greater sense of accomplishment and excitement for the future. So, what do you play most frequently at work – offense or defense?

Here’s the way I see it: A wise man once said it best: a good offense is the best defense. Give us a call if we can help you create print materials that will crush the competition.

5 Ways to Skillfully Handle Criticism With a Smile Instead of a Frown

GettyImages-663360750.jpg“This work is sloppy and does not meet the needs of the company. You’ll have to completely rework it.”

“Is this all you’ve gotten done for today? You’re going to have to step up your pace.”

“Why didn’t you follow the instructions I gave you? This is terrible work.”

“I liked your old hairstyle better.”

Criticism, no matter how delicately someone gives it to you, hurts.

Being criticized makes us feel worthless, painfully vulnerable to our own negative thoughts and unsure of our abilities. Some inexperienced managers think criticizing their employees will incentivize them to work faster and harder but, of course, we know this tactic is the absolutely wrong way to motivate employees.

Scientists speculate there is something instinctual, or innate, about our adverse reaction to even mild criticism. Just like the human body is hard-wired to instantly move into a “fight or flight” state when confronted by danger, our psychological self (psyche) reacts to criticism defensively. In other words, being physically struck closely parallels being verbally “struck.” Our heart and breathing rate increases and we may start perspiring as our internal temperature rises. Depending on the type and level of criticism we hear about ourselves, some people tremble, feel extremely anxious, and may even start crying.

How to Give Criticism Positively

Before you criticize a family member, friend or fellow worker, stop and think about how you could rephrase what you are going to say to sound more like constructive criticism.

Examples of constructive criticism include:

  • (When someone fails to complete a project on time): Next time we have a project to work on, we’ll make sure there are enough resources and time for you to finish it as planned. In fact, perhaps we can schedule the project in advance so you are not inundated with work?
  • (When someone has been “slacking” in their work): You’ve done a great job reaching several goals lately. Nobody can achieve every goal they set for themselves so don’t let this affect your sense of accomplishment. Maybe your goals are a little too aggressive?
  • (When someone isn’t contributing to a group effort): I’ve noticed you haven’t wanted to take an initiative lately. I would really like to see you take a leadership position because I think you have the talent and skills to be successful.

5 Ways to Handle Criticism Positively

  1. Objectify Yourself

As soon as you realize you are being criticized unconstructively, step away from your emotions by imagining yourself as a life-size cardboard cutout.

Wait until the person criticizing you leaves before allowing yourself to think about what they said. Consider who criticized, what they criticized you about, and whether it was actually warranted. Remember that people who are criticized are usually doing something new, different, and possibly daring.

  1. Don’t Cross Your Arms

Adopting a defensive posture may provoke the criticizer into extending their critique of you.

Simply stand with your arms at your sides, nod, and show that you are listening.

  1. Learn from Criticism

Is there a grain of truth in the criticism you received?

Don’t let strong emotions cloud your ability to judge truths about yourself. Many of us say or do things that are not in our best interest but fail to realize our error.

  1. Get Feedback from a Friend

Tell a trusted friend about the criticism you received.

Getting another opinion can help mitigate the negative feelings you experience from a criticism.

  1. You Control Your Emotions and Thoughts

Nobody is in control of what you think or feel.

The way you think and feel about criticism is all up to you, not the person who criticized you.

“Criticism is something you can avoid by saying nothing,
being nothing, and doing nothing.”
~Aristotle

How to Mobilize People Through Powerful Writing

Businessman Writing in Planner at Cafe Window“Darkest Hour,” a 2017 war drama film, devotes its narrative to the early days of British prime minister Winston Churchill, who rallied a nation against the merciless Nazi onslaught of World War II.

The film chronicles Churchill’s authentic, soul-stirring speeches and the Shakespearean gusto with which he delivered words like these: “Let us, therefore, brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.'”

Though the world still heralds Churchill’s heroic statements, few people knew that Churchill overcame a lisp in his childhood by practicing his enunciation. Churchill understood the power of words early in life, and historians estimated that he spent one hour working on each individual minute of a speech he gave! Churchill sought to portray England’s struggle in a larger historical context: good outlasting evil, hope to overshadow the impossible, and perseverance overcoming persecution.

The result?

The entire fate of world history shifted through the hearts and hands of the people he inspired. President John F. Kennedy summed up Churchill’s influence like this: “In the dark days and darker nights when England stood alone — and most men… despaired of England’s life — he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”

Writing: The Building Block of Success

What can we learn from Winston Churchill?

While not all of us have oratory giftings, be encouraged that Churchill was also a student of language, and he overcame his limitations with study, practice, and passion!

Would you like to be more successful in your personal and professional impact?

Writing is the foundation of modern education and fundamental to all business success. Whether you’re penning a quarterly report, crafting an in-house memo, giving a congratulatory speech, or even dashing a quick e-mail, here are some tips for writing in a professional, persuasive manner:

  1. Grab them early.
    Great writing doesn’t allow readers to look away! Use punchy headlines, riveting stories, or gripping questions to draw them in immediately.
  2. Get to the point.
    After you use that “luring” intro, don’t let them linger! Get to the point quickly and efficiently, without “burying the lead” too deep in the text. Eliminate unnecessary words and use language that is clear and efficient. An energetic, fast-paced tone will assure them that reading to the end is worth their time.
  3. Be convincing but not too clever. Persuade your readers with clarity but also with logic and facts. Providing evidence (or examples) for your premise will build momentum and increase authority. As you write, keep a personal tone that is warm but convincing. Ask yourself, “would this make sense if I was sharing it with a friend over coffee?” Phrases with an awkward, artificial ring should probably get the ax!
  4. Keep it moving. As you lead readers toward a closing statement or action step, take a broad glance at the entire piece. Does it flow smoothly with a directional movement that builds toward a thoughtful climax? Does it read well on the page with adequate breaks and subheadings? Consider adding skim layers or reducing the size of a document if you sense people will be bogged down in your thoughts.
  5. Add depth and dimension. As you seek to add that extravagant bow to your smartly wrapped package, review your piece and look for ways you can really make it “sing.” Consider colorful vocabulary, punchy alliteration, or rich rhythms as you vary the length of your paragraphs. As French writer Charles Baudelaire once said, “always be a poet, even in prose.”

Why Aesop Would Have Been More Successful Than Bill Gates Today

Tortoise and Hare Story Alternative VersionAn ancient Greek storyteller and fabulist, Aesop is thought to have been a slave who eventually acquired his freedom by reciting clever moral fables involving animals with human characteristics.

Insightful and astonishingly original even today, Aesop’s fables continue to delight and educate us with their startling observations of human failings and strengths.

We all know who Bill Gates is–only one of the wealthiest people in the world and founder of Microsoft.

Although Gates is the epitome of the successful businessman, Aesop would have given him a run for his money, so to speak. Aesop’s keen intuitiveness into the human psyche would have made him the ultimate inspirational and motivational manager or employee. In fact, Gates may have chosen to work for Aesop instead of running his own business!

Check out these three fables from Aesop and how you can apply their moral teachings to your own business:

The Donkey and the Mule

The owner of both a mule and a donkey loaded them with supplies before making a long and arduous journey. When they reached the hilly country, the donkey begged for help by asking the mule to take some of his load. The mule said no. “I’m carrying too much now as it is. You’ll just have to deal with it.”

Within days, the donkey stumbled from weariness and died. The owner had no choice but to put the donkey’s load on the mule’s back. Now the mule had to carry double the load he was once carrying.

What was Aesop trying to say with this fable?

When you help others, you are helping yourself.

In a real-world setting, this fable is about teamwork. Although we all have encountered problems when trying to accomplish projects as a team, trying to do something by yourself means you are stuck with only your skill sets, your ideas, and your extremely subjective perception of how satisfactory the project really is. Ultimately, refusing to help others limits your ability to help yourself.

The Cat and the Mice

An extended family of mice needed to develop a good plan to protect themselves from a devious cat. One of the younger mice spoke up and said: “I think we should tie a bell around the cat’s neck. That way, we’ll know when our enemy, the cat, is coming for us.”

An older, wiser mouse asked: “That is a great idea, but who is going to undertake the dangerous task of belling the cat?”

The mice fell silent, realizing this plan would not work.

Moral of this Aesop fable:

Successful ideas are ideas that can be fully implemented.

While it’s great to throw around ideas, only realistic, sound, and sustainable ideas are the ones that provide satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and financial benefits. The next time you are involved in a strategy meeting, remember the importance of challenging everybody, but keep in mind Aesop’s catalyst for true achievements: can anybody bell the cat?

The Lion and the Oxen

A lion took to prowling a field where several oxen were grazing. The lion tried to attack the oxen many times but they always positioned themselves in a way that protected their vulnerable bodies. They met the lion with their horns instead of their tails. Eventually, the oxen started fighting with each other and went to separate areas of the field. Without the protection of their fellow oxen, each ox died a horrible death as the lion attacked them one by one.

Try this one on your own. How could you apply the moral of this story to your own business?

The Way I See It

kirkI heard a story about a lady driving to work who followed a car which had a sign in the back window that said, “Learning stick – sorry for the delay!” Knowing this information, she was very patient with the driver’s slow shifting and gave the car plenty of space at red lights and stop signs. After thinking about this, I asked myself a tough question… would I be as patient with someone driving like this without a sign? I can definitely say no.

We don’t know what other people are going through. We don’t wear signs that show our personal struggles, such as “Going through a divorce,” “Lost a child,” “Feeling Depressed,” or “Diagnosed with Cancer.”

If we could read signs of what others are going through, many of us would be nicer. But the truth is, we shouldn’t have to see signs to treat strangers with kindness. We should be kind regardless of whether we know what struggles others are dealing with or not.

Here’s the way I see it: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. And think of us the next time you need help with your printing so that you can focus on more important things in life

The Way I See It

kirkHere’s a true, inspirational story about an American Navy fighter pilot in Vietnam, named Captain Charlie Plumb. On his 75th mission, with five days left before he was to return home, his jet was shot down. He was ejected and parachuted into enemy hands, resulting in his capture and torture. He spent a total of 2,103 days as a POW (prisoner of war) in Communist prison camps.

After returning home, a man came up to him and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. I heard you were shot down!” Surprised, Plumb asked how the man knew about that. The man smiled and said, “I’m the sailor who packed your parachute, and I guess it worked!” Plumb thanked him profusely and said, “If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb became a motivational speaker, sharing his POW experiences with audiences around the world. One of his signature messages describes the chance meeting with the sailor who packed his parachute, which ultimately saved his life. After telling his story, he always asks his audiences, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

Here’s the way I see it: Never underestimate the impact you may have on someone else’s life. Let us know if we can help with your next printing project so that you can focus on more important things in life.

How to Chart Your New Future

Young African female entrepreneur dreaming up new business ideasIrene Obera is an 84-year-old southern California native who loves bowling, tennis, and educating others.

She also happens to be the fastest woman on earth for her age. Irene has been breaking records in Masters athletics for forty years, and her aging philosophies are captured in her own words:

“If you don’t move it, you lose it.”

And:

“A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits – and I want to be a winner.”

Irene is one of many “superagers,” a term for people in their 70s and 80s who have the mental or physical capability of their decades-younger counterparts. Irene serves as an inspiration, not only for the power of dedication but the promise of possibility when we harness our full potential. Living well is a goal we all desire and living fully alive is the essence of life. No matter what our strengths or sphere of influence, each of us has the potential for success and impact. This potential is a treasure that should be uncovered, protected, and stewarded!

Shake Off That Slump

Then what do you do when you’ve hit a slump? When complacency has settled like fog, or when you want to grow but feel stifled professionally (or personally) at almost every turn?

Maybe you’re satisfied, but not feeling sufficiently challenged in your daily tasks. What should you do?

Here’s the truth: small adjustments DO make an impact. But we tend to enjoy comfort and resist change, making it harder and harder to change gears.

So, how can we move forward in a positive way that will impact us for years to come?

It Starts with Education

An easy place to start is where many of us began: with education. Education is a gift! The opportunity to learn can unlock our potential, grow our social circle, reap financial rewards, and energize our mind, careers, and health! Consider this statistic:

The Rush Memory and Aging Project, conducted in 2012 in Chicago with more than 1,200 elders participating, showed that increased cognitive activity in older adults slowed their decline in cognitive function and decreased their risk of mild cognitive impairment. The study showed that cognitively active seniors, whose average age was 80, were 2.6 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than seniors with less cognitive activity. Studies also show that educated people tend to enjoy better mental health, increased emotional well-being, and expanded opportunities.

Add Spring to Your Step

Whether you desire personal or professional development, growth of any kind has the potential to chart a new course for your future.

Ready to increase your mental capacity, improve your quality of life, and enrich your emotional health? In this two-part series, we’ll look at four avenues for gaining ground that will enrich your life and expand your opportunities.

  1. Stretch Yourself. 

The first step in continued growth is your own buy-in.

Take ownership over your desire to develop and look for new challenges, side projects, or free professional development opportunities offered in or outside your company. Seek out webinars and podcasts on a weekly basis or consider short online courses. Be curious about aspects of the workplace that don’t directly affect your job. Ask questions and get involved where you might not otherwise. When you show others that you are interested in learning, it communicates a proactive spirit and opens invisible doors to future opportunities.

Living fully engaged brings richness and reward. Join us for part two of this series, as we look at four more avenues for personal and professional development that can bring impact for decades to come!

Down-Selling Pays Off

SHOW YOUR CUSTOMERS YOU HAVE THEIR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND

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While we’re all familiar with upselling and cross-selling to boost sales, few salespeople will practice down-selling. Although your higher-priced items likely have a more substantial profit margin, down-selling can be just as, or more, important to your company.

Down-selling is a great sales technique to show your customers you have their best interests in mind. For example, if you think a customer is considering an overly featured product that has no value for their simple needs, down-selling can be a great way to build rapport with a customer and still get a sale.

Down-selling can also be used as a backup if customers reject your original offer or have budgeting issues. For example, you can suggest a comparable product or service at a lower price that better matches their budget or needs. If you haven’t already, this is an excellent example of the importance of categorizing your products when possible, ranging from value/entry level to premium.

Down-selling is a great way to keep the customer engaged in the sales process. In addition, if a customer trusts you and appreciates your honesty, they will likely purchase from you again in the future, creating a loyal customer. After all, a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.

Promotional Labels

ENGAGING PROMOTIONS YOU CAN STICK ALMOST ANYWHERE

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Promotional labels are a fun way to make engaging promotions you can stick almost anywhere. Not only are they affordable and unique, but they are also often a crowd-favorite at trade shows and other company events.

Promotional labels are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, durability, and colors/finishes, such as square, circular, or die-cut, as well as embossed, laminated, or foil printed. They are also designed for easy handling and can be created as individually cut labels or rolled labels with a scored backing for easy distribution.

In addition to handing them out, promotions labels can be applied to marketing materials and packages as a way to grab attention and spread the word about a new product, or upcoming sale or event.

Let us know if you’d like help designing the perfect promotional labels that will look as polished and professional as your brand.

5 Reasons Why Print Marketing Still Pops

GettyImages-695773692.jpgWith all the buzz around social media marketing, leveraging influencers, and digital retargeting ads, has print marketing lost its luster?

Smart marketers know that just as there are millions of individuals in the U.S., there are hundreds of ways to reach them. As more people flock to the internet to shop, do their taxes, and connect with friends and relatives, you may be surprised to know that the digital proliferation of messages has brought consumers’ attention back to a tried-and-true favorite: print marketing.

Here are five reasons why print marketing still pops for your next promotion.

1. Print is Surprising

Think about it. You may receive dozens or even hundreds of emails each day. How much time do you devote to considering each one?

An unexpected advertisement may receive a brief glance, or it may go directly to your spam folder if it is poorly written. Contrast that with the number of pieces of printed mail that you receive on a daily basis. If you’re like most people, you probably get less than ten pieces of written correspondence each day. That gives your message that much more of an opportunity to make an impact with a well-designed and colorful print piece.

2. Print is Memorable

Reading a newspaper or other longer-form printed media is considered “lean forward” reading — while skimming emails is something you’re likely to be multi-tasking and “leaning back,” or being less engaged.

Studies show that people are up to 70% more likely to recall businesses when they see their information in print versus online.

3. Print is Easy

The same study that tested customer recall also explored the effort required to process print materials versus digital materials.

The findings are unexpected: direct mail requires significantly less mental effort to process, by over 15 percentage points! Printed ads in newspapers or delivered via direct mail are more memorable because they’re often mostly visual instead of packed with words. According to a Temple University study, physical media wins out over print in nearly every category, including engagement, memory accuracy and speed, and desirability.

4. Print is Trusted

The recent outbreaks of viruses make online advertising a dicey proposition — at least in the mind of many Americans.

You don’t hear the news media touting the number of people who lost their personal information to a newspaper, right? This familiarity with printed media helps give messages received in this format a more comfortable and trusted feel than advertising that arrives in a digital package. This is especially true for demographics of a certain age, where printed mailers were the way to receive valuable information.

5. Print is Creative

Sure you can argue that digital advertising is incredibly creative and interactive.

However, print media allows you to effectively cross genres with your messaging, switching between print and digital with ease as long as you have an effective strategy in place for messaging. A truly cohesive experience from print to digital makes consumers feel unique and valued, but that conversation begins in the print space.

These are only a few of the many reasons why print marketing and advertising is still at the top of the heap. The additional mental space and recall, opportunities for creating a cohesive brand feel, and the ability to cross platforms from print to digital make postcards and other mailers a compelling proposition for businesses.

These Two Things are the Keys to a Successful Business

The physical and emotional abuse began when she was five years old.

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By the time she was 13, she was homeless and relying on the kindness of strangers to feed and house her. At 14, she gave birth to a son who died in infancy. Shortly afterward, she was sent to live with an uncle in whom she later referred to as her “father.” Even though this teenager had suffered years of poverty and abuse, something fierce and fiery within her would not give up. She attended a Milwaukee high school and earned grades good enough to get her into the Upward Bound program, a federally funded program to help gifted students achieve academic success.

This determined, courageous young woman was later transferred to a suburban high school where she was picked on by her more affluent peers. After being caught stealing money to keep up with the lifestyle of her peers, she was once again sent to live with another relative in Nashville, TN. Here, she became an honors student and joined a speech/debate team that eventually took second place in a nation-wide dramatic interpretation contest.

After winning a college scholarship, working as a news reporter, and ultimately, landing her own TV show, Oprah Winfrey is now one of the world’s most famous, most beloved, and most successful women in history.

Attitude is Motivation and Motivation is Attitude

Imagine you are the owner of a bakery that was handed down to you by your parents and grandparents.

One of the traditions you continue to keep as the owner is wearing a large pin on your uniform that says “Business is Awesome!” While all business have down times, the idea behind the pin is that, no matter how the business is doing, your attitude remains the same.

What do you tell customers who ask you what’s so great about business? In most cases, people asking you this question are going through a rough time in their lives or may be coping with business problems themselves. You might tell them business is awesome because you love meeting new people every day or that business is great because you can work in an environment where everybody gets along and enjoys each other’s company.

At the heart of this story lies the power of embracing a positive attitude. When you anticipate the good things and refuse to become a victim of negative thinking, the motivation to continue naturally emerges, sustained by your sense of renewal, hope and expectations.

Falling Down 10 Times Means You Have to Get Up 10 Times

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Many times I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I am not afraid to say that I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

You have to keep “getting up” (as Oprah Winfrey did) to take those next steps toward meeting or exceeding your goals.

The motivation for getting up and getting back on track is more powerful and rewarding if it is for personal rather than material gain. Keep reminding yourself that the most significant accomplishments in world history all started because someone fell down and got right back up again without even giving it a second thought.

Print Made Digital: How Business Cards Are Still the Best Way to Connect

GettyImages-1003427474.jpgDigital communication and marketing tactics may be the hottest topics on everyone’s tongues, but there are still some serious limitations to connecting your physical and digital worlds.

There are ways that allow you to quickly trade contact information, but they can require both parties to download the same app and are difficult to coordinate in quick hallway conversations. Business professionals will tell you that you never know when you’re going to meet someone who can tie together the pieces of a particular project, so it pays to be prepared to capture contact information regardless of your physical location. That’s where business cards come in as one of the best ways to connect with people in person.

Boost Your Brand Recognition

Keeping your branding on point can be an ongoing challenge, especially as your business grows.

Marketers must be diligent to ensure that all marketing materials are consistent and cohesive with colors, fonts, styles images, and even the tone of language that is used — or your brand voice.

One particular printed item that often ties together all of your branding is a simple business card! Business cards are relatively inexpensive but can pack a big branding punch when they provide each prospect or contact with the look, feel and logo of your business.

Convenient Communication Tool

Business cards are one of the most convenient communication tools available because you can simply slide your hand into your pocket or purse and immediately be able to share your contact information with others.

If you’re in the middle of another conversation, there’s no need to break off topic and attempt to program a number into your cell phone; instead, you can simply pop a business card into someone’s hand! If you’re at a conference or trade show, business cards allow you to jot questions or topics of interest on the back, which can help jog your memory of the contact and how you need to follow up with them in the future.

Ideal for Direct Marketing

Sending emails and even text messages may be one of the most effective ways to reach a wide range of individuals, but an old-fashioned phone call packs an impact.

Including a handshake with your business card creates a personal connection that people will remember. If the person you’re speaking with isn’t the perfect contact for your business, the good news is that your business card can continue marketing to the next person who receives it, too! Digital marketing tactics such as QR codes add extra bang to your business card by providing your prospects with additional information that couldn’t fit within the space available on a small business card. Have a special offer that you’d like to share? Drop a discount code on your business card and you’ll be sure to create a lasting impression!

Print marketing tactics such as business cards are still one of the best ways to reach your target audience in a personal way that builds long-term relationships. Business today is still driven by relationships. Ensuring that you have personal knowledge of the people you are working with — and that connection — is best formed by creative printed materials that reinforce the look and feel of your brand.

The next time you’re shaking hands with someone, be sure you’re sliding a business card to them at the same time, and your message will be reinforced even after you are long gone!

The Black Dot

kirkI heard this inspirational story the other day and thought you might also enjoy it.

One day, a professor told his students they were going to have a surprise quiz. He handed out the quiz, placing it facedown on each student’s desk. He then asked the students to turn over the paper. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions – just a small black dot in the center of the paper. The professor told them, “I’d like you to write about what you see on the paper.” The students looked very confused but completed the project. At the end of class, the professor read each response out loud. Every single student wrote something about the black dot, either explaining its size or position on the page.

Then the professor said, “I’m not going to grade you on this, instead, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the large, white portion of the paper. Instead, everyone focused on the tiny black dot. The same thing happens in life – we tend to focus on only the black dot – whether it be a frustration or problem, a fight with a friend, the lack of money, or other issues. In reality, the dark spots are tiny when compared to the blessings in our lives, yet they tend to monopolize and pollute our lives.

Here’s the way I see it: When you focus on problems, you will have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you will have more opportunities. We’d love to offer a creative solution for your next challenging printing project. And remember, other printers may be nearby, but nobody comes close.

Create Custom GIFs

EASILY CREATE YOUR OWN CUSTOM GIFS

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Animated GIFs have become a popular way to communicate on social media, blogs, and even texting. While many people download pre-made GIFs, you can also easily create your own custom GIFs. Here are a few examples of popular iOS and Android apps that allow you to turn almost any video clip into a GIF:

  • Giphy is not only the internet’s largest GIF search engine, but the Giphy Cam app enables you to film videos directly through the app, create animated stickers, and more.
  • Gifx is a creative and customizable app that allows users to apply more than 200 GIF effects to photos and videos, as well as add music, adjust opacity, size, etc., and add creative masks.
  • GifLab (iOS only) offers one of the easiest ways to create GIFs from your own videos. It has minimal effects yet the essential features for beginners.
  • Gifs Art (iOS only) enables users to create and customize GIFs from almost any type of media (photos, videos, existing GIFs). It also features a built-in library of masks, stickers, and creative effects.
  • Tumblr features a GIF tool directly in its mobile app so users can easily create GIFs from videos or photo bursts from their camera rolls.

If you’d like other tips to stay ahead of the creative curve for work or fun, check out the tips on our website or give us a call today!

Boost Your Facebook Reviews

FACEBOOK IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR REVIEW SITES

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While there are many online resources where customers can leave reviews, Facebook is one of the most popular. Since the majority of your customers are likely already on Facebook, writing a review and recommending a business takes minimal effort. While you can also ask customers to write Yelp or Google reviews, they may not already have a Yelp account or Gmail account and may be less likely to open new accounts just to review your business.

Another benefit when customers choose to review your business on Facebook is that their review is also visible to their friends, family, and other connections, extending the reach of their review.

When you search for a business on Google, a box on the right side appears showing an overview of the business with photos, hours of operation, Google reviews, AND overall review scores from the web, such as Facebook and other sites. This enables anyone to view your Facebook review score, even if they don’t use Facebook.

One of the easiest ways to get Facebook reviews is to ask your loyal customers directly. Make a habit of asking customers how their experience was, and when they provide a positive response, say, “We’d appreciate it if you would take a moment to share your experience on Facebook!” Or “We’re glad to hear it! Please review us on Facebook!”

You can also include review requests as a note enclosed with a package, as a tagline on your email signature, in a handwritten thank you note, or even post a public request on your Facebook page, such as “We hope you enjoyed our latest promotion! Leave us a review to let us know what you think.”

Before requesting a review, ensure that your Facebook page has reviews enabled. Go to Settings > Edit Page > scroll to the bottom and select Add a Tab. From there, select Reviews. Then, drag and drop the order of your tabs to position them the way you want on your Facebook Page.

When asking customers to provide a review, include the direct URL for your Facebook Reviews tab: www.facebook.com/pageusername/reviews.

Why Your Brand is The Most Important Asset in Your Business

GettyImages-664463046.jpgYour brand may not be as recognizable as Coke, Pepsi or Walmart, but it speaks volumes about your business.

Your brand is much more than a simple logo or tagline; it is the sum of all the different interactions that your prospects and customers have with your organization. This could include printed correspondence, your website, phone conversations with your sales reps, and more. It’s an intangible asset that is captured on your balance sheet in case you are selling your business, and it should be treated as your most valuable asset. Creating a cohesive brand experience for your customer begins with expressing your brand consistently across your various channels of communication.

Digital Presence

Your website is your digital front door, and when your brand isn’t well represented on your website, then you can cause significant confusion among your core audience.

When you work closely with a designer to translate your brand from printed pieces to the web, you’re ensuring that customers and prospects are comfortable with interacting with your brand on any channel. If you are using social media channels to promote your brand, you may want to audit the design look and feel for consistency. Many brand managers find it easiest to define a brand across all channels during a refresh of the look and feel of your digital presence. Everything down to the color that you choose for your logo mark will help tightly define your brand.

Brand “Voice”

Is your brand a little smart and sassy, or cool and classy? Slightly high-brow or ready for some fun?

The brand “voice” that you define is essentially the personality for your brand. It’s unlikely that a well-established bank would want to suddenly start using emojis in their brand communication, for instance. Alternatively, a fun and feisty new design firm would want to use different messaging than a financial institution! Your voice should be made up not only of the way you want your brand to appear, but also allow you to communicate effectively with your core audience. Based on demographics, your brand may have a slightly different voice when speaking to various audience segments.

Marketing Collateral

Each piece of marketing collateral that you create — from letterhead to your website to your latest printed sales brochure — should all have a cohesive design that sticks close to your brand guidelines.

That doesn’t mean that everything has to look the same, but when someone looks at a piece of your marketing materials, they should have that “Aha! I recognize this brand!” feeling immediately. In today’s fast-paced digital world, it can be easy to create a new look for your website or emails and forget that your printed materials, such as business cards and letterhead, need to be refreshed to match an updated look.

Finding Your Identity

Each interaction, each step of each process, and each conversation that happens between customers and prospects is yet another piece of your brand identity! You can see why this makes your brand one of the most critical assets in your business.

While all of these pieces work together to create this mystical thing that we call “brand identity,” there are some definite hallmarks that help set the tone.

Ready to freshen up the look of your business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other identity materials? These items are often the initial introduction to your brand, and you want them to make a great first impression!

Getting Creative at Work May Be the Best Use of Your Time Today

GettyImages-697661006.jpgBetter. Faster. Cheaper.

Those are the siren calls of managers today — always on the lookout for ways to make their workers more productive.

What if you discovered that your teams would actually gain productivity by taking the time out of their day to be creative? While carving out time for creativity may feel like a waste of time upfront, you may be surprised to find that the results of making this space will be far-reaching. The daily grind and immediate needs of others don’t leave a lot of time for thinking outside the box, but you’ll see that scheduling time for creativity is a critical ingredient for high-performing individuals and teams.

Small Investment, Big Rewards

Getting creative doesn’t mean you need to pull out the fingerpaints and scissors in your common room.

It just means that you should offer your team members a variety of ways to choose their own path when it comes to specific tasks, brainstorm new ideas (and implement them!) or look for ways to help others. Taking as little as 90 minutes every week two weeks gives people the time and space to unleash their great ideas and helps them work smarter — not harder. This small investment can pay off with big rewards. Even if you don’t implement every idea, your team will be excited to get together and share their thoughts and suggestions and know that they’re being actively listened to.

Creativity Takes Many Forms

Brainstorming is an easy way to build camaraderie within a team and also generate some amazing ideas, but what are some other ways to bring creativity into the workplace?

These tips can help you get started on a productive time together.

  • Create effective work groups. It’s important to ensure that your teams are well-balanced when creativity is your goal. If you have one individual who tends to overpower the conversation, it can be tough for others to join in on the fun.
  • Make it challenging. Consider asking your teams to solve a unique challenge — maybe one that’s not even related to your current situation, but designed to help people come together around a common goal.
  • Give them space. Not physical space, mental space! If individuals are so concerned about daily tasks that they’re unable to devote the mental capacity to the project, you’re not going to reap the benefit you might expect.
  • Allow freedom to choose. If you’re offering a specific work opportunity that needs to be overcome, don’t get too tied down in the details of how it needs to happen. Ask that teams consider the “Blue Sky” approach, where there are no boundaries, no limitations (systems or individuals) and just go for it. The sky’s the limit!

Perhaps the most important thing to remind your teams going into a creative space is that all judgment should be suspended.

There are no bad ideas. Every individual deserves to have their idea or direction fully listened to. Don’t evaluate ideas before their time or you will interrupt the flow of information that is what brings true creativity to light. After a few sessions, you may be surprised to find that your teams are excited — and not reluctant — to join in on the fun.

With luck, this openness, creativity, and conversation will begin to flow throughout your teams on a more regular basis. As people come to realize that others will listen, they are more likely to share without fear. Let your creativity free and reap the rewards!

Labels Are a Promotion that “Sticks” With Your Customers

GettyImages-917368066.jpgCustomers can be a difficult and fickle lot.

They’re always shopping around for the “Next Big Thing,” surfing your competitor’s websites, and price-checking on their phones. With all the different business options available today, it can be tough to keep your business in their mind without spending thousands of dollars on local and digital advertising.

There’s a smarter way to keep your customers engaged with your brand’s identity without breaking the bank — labels!

Labels are the ideal way to turn a basic and ho-hum bag or box into a full-color masterpiece that is interesting and fun. See how you can leverage labels to create a promotion that truly sticks with your customers.

Adding Excitement to Your Packaging

Basic white or kraft boxes and bags are simple, inexpensive packaging for your products, but they don’t do anything for your brand identity.

When Maggie, a bakery owner, recently visited her local print shop, she was looking for a logo that could be printed on her various sizes of packaging. What she learned was that each size of packaging would require different setups to print the logo, and full-color printing on non-standard size items could get add up. After speaking with the sales team at the print shop, Maggie realized that there was a better option that would reduce the overall costs of using different packaging for her products.

Full-Color Labels in Any Size or Shape

Part of the challenge of running a bakery is that you’re selling all different sizes and shapes of goods.

You may need a small bag for a donut or bagel, a nearly-square box for layer cakes, and a large rectangle for sheet cakes or a dozen baked goods. Creating a single logo for packaging that would look good on all of these sizes and shapes would be difficult. However, labels are so easy to create that you can utilize a variety of labels to make a custom-printed look that features a stunning full-color image.

Add Promotions When You Need Them

Labels are an incredibly versatile promotional tool.

You can add them to a package or leave them off to create a different mood or message for your customers. If you’d like to offer a coupon on a particular type of order — for instance, a dozen donuts — then you can utilize a label to attach a printed coupon to draw added attention to the offer. The label itself could become the offer, too. You could have a batch of labels printed offering “10% Off, Tomorrow Only” and then be able to pull out this promotion anytime sales are experiencing a bit of a slump.

Operational Labels

You can also use labels within your business to classify items at a glance.

For instance, a tiny sticker that denotes which day of the week a particular item was baked, or showing a ‘Sell by’ date. Write-on labels and waterproof labels are available based on your particular needs and are a great way to keep your business organized and running smoothly.

In this particular instance, Maggie was inspired to create a series of labels for each day of the week to indicate freshness to her customers. She also worked with a designer to envision a new look for her packaging that included a single-color package and full-color labels that added a pop of color and plenty of personality to her baked goods. Since people “eat with their eyes” it made good business sense for the packaging to be as appealing as possible!

Ready to revamp the look of your products or rev up your organizational skills?

Print is Alive and Well

Is Your Phone a Part of Your Body?

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This may not be far from the truth! Recent research found that the average person reaches for their smartphone 150 times a day, including e-mails, calls, photos, messaging, or checking the time.

This begs a crucial question. In terms of modern day marketing, does this rise in digital dominance erase the power of print? Not a chance!

Hard Copy Rules

Naomi Baron, author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, surveyed university students worldwide and came to a profound conclusion: young people have a near-universal preference for print.

When given a choice of various media – including hard copy, phones, tablets, or laptops – 92 percent said they could concentrate best on hard copy.

Respondents said drawbacks of digital media included distraction, eye strain, physical discomfort, while hard copy benefits included stronger visual memory, an increased desire to “re-read,” and sensory connection enabling one to touch, experience, and “keep” printed materials. Baron said that in the Slovakian respondent data, one out of TEN mentioned smell. “There really is a physical, tactile, kinesthetic component to reading.”

Don’t Forget the Fun

Looking to draw attention back to print marketing but need some inspiration to get you started?

Print comes alive through color and texture, but also through humor. Here are a few spunky print ads that helped restore our faith in the creativity of the medium in 2017:

Snowbird Ski Resorts.

Snowbird was looking to overcome its ho-hum ski magazine campaign with something different. Cloaking its sales pitch in sarcasm, Snowbird featured one-star reviews from complaining customers.

“Too advanced,” read one review. “I’d heard Snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail was a steep chute or littered with tree wells. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun!”

Snowbird’s agency hand-picked reviews that would tantalize hardcore athletes to give the resort a try. “We’re known for our steep terrain, long runs, and deep snow,” said Snowbird marketing director David Amirault. “Beginner skiers and snowboarders . . . often find this a challenge. However, for our core guest, it’s what makes them come back year after year.”

Creative campaigns like this will definitely keep print marketing fans coming back as well!

Burger King.

One audacious print campaign was Burger King’s “Burning Stores,” which showed actual BK restaurants on fire with the headline “Flame grilled since 1954.”

Showcasing one of its worst moments was ridiculously brave, tying BK’s “flame-grilling” service near a flame-grilled franchise in a shocking, hilarious graphic. “Burning Stores” reminded us that engaging modern audiences includes a willingness to be vulnerable. Grey Africa’s Fran Luckin, chair of the Print & Publishing jury at Cannes, called “Burning Stores” the ideal print ads for a social media age:

“We’ve got a brand being brave enough to be authentic,” she said. “It’s a move away from having every single piece of print communication be so carefully crafted and put out there as an official announcement. There’s a sense here of being more playful, more authentic, a sense that you can be a little bit more edgy in your communication.”

Luckin reminded content producers that it’s ok for companies to laugh:

“I once heard a Coca-Cola executive use the work ‘flawsome,’ which I loved. In the social media age, where people can find out information about your brand quite easily, you have to be a little bit more real. You embrace your imperfections. You have more of a sense of humor about your corporate image. [Burger King] is a brand that’s brave enough to stick its tongue in its cheek and be a little bit young again.”

Custom-Tabbed Resource Booklets

A GREAT WAY TO ORGANIZE A VARIETY OF INFORMATION

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If you’re looking for great way to organize a variety of information in a sleek, bound booklet, a custom-tabbed resource booklet may be just what the doctor ordered.

Custom-tabbed resource booklets are an ideal tool for emergency guidebooks and can include site-specific procedures, policies, contacts, maps, and more. Colored subject tabs enable readers to quickly find the topics they need without having to open the book.

While you may have an official ERP (Emergency Response Plan) that is 100+ pages long, a custom tabbed resource is a great way to ensure critical information can be easily found and used in a real-life emergency. While many organizations publish emergency information on the internet, remember print is the best policy in the event of an emergency. Even if your internet goes down, your emergency response plan will still be available.

They can be spiral bound and available in any size you need, varying from small pocket guides to oversized displays that can be hung on cubicles or breakroom walls. They can feature layered tabs that are color coordinated and organized based on your specific categories. We can also laminate or coat your booklet pages for extra durability.

If you’d like help creating the perfect tabbed resource booklet for your organization, give us a call today. And remember, other printers may be nearby, but nobody comes close!

Printed Banners Work Wonders for Upcoming Events

GettyImages-911142722.jpgPromoting your event in your community without a large budget can feel like an overwhelming task.

While there are plenty of things that you can do with unlimited budgets such as billboards, printed mailings or even postcards, the larger items can be costly and mailings take a bit longer than you may have to publicize your upcoming event.

As a community events coordinator for the local YMCA, Danny L. knew that he needed suggestions for his frequent activities that would bring in additional funds for local groups without breaking the bank.

Raising Awareness (and Dollars!)

From fundraisers for local families experiencing medical challenges to Daddy/Daughter dances at the “Y”, there is no end to the number of events in the community on a monthly basis.

The YMCA has a long history of supporting the community by offering reduced-cost monthly fees and other support mechanisms. However, they are not able to financially support the needs of these worthy groups for promotion in any meaningful way. Instead, any promotional dollars would need to come from the group — and they are generally running on an incredibly tight budget that makes advertising difficult. The tremendous good that is done on a daily and weekly basis through community walks or 5k runs, pancake breakfasts and other fundraisers is significant, but without publicity, the scope of these events is very limited.

Go Where the People Are

Danny realized while looking at a yard sale sign on a busy corner one day that there was a better way to get out the word on upcoming events — banners!

He tested his theory and had an inexpensive banner printed for an upcoming event. He then asked people who attended the event how they learned about it. Surprisingly, quite a few mentioned that the banner prompted them to drop in for a few moments and make a donation! Ever since that time, Danny has been using large printed banners placed in strategic locations throughout the city to drive traffic and interest in upcoming events. He found that placing them approximately two weeks before the event worked best, as people were able to plan ahead to visit, and then also were reminded to come closer to the event.

Creating the banner was very straightforward, and involved Danny sketching out the times and dates as well as a quick call to action that described the event. He found that there was only a little information that could be placed on the banner without it becoming overwhelming for people to read. Let us help you create a banner for your upcoming event today!

The Seasons of Life

kirkHere’s a thought-provoking story about a man who was raising four sons. He wanted them to learn how to make wise decisions without judging things too quickly, so he sent each of them individually on a quest to look at a pear tree that was located a long distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. After returning from their quests, the father asked each of them to describe what they saw.

The first son said the tree was ugly, twisted and harsh, and recommended it be cut down. The second son said it was sad-looking but was starting to get green buds and seemed full of promise. The third son said it was stunningly beautiful, covered in blossoms and smelling sweet. And the fourth son said it was drooping with fruit and full of life.

The man explained they were all right, but they should not judge the tree’s value because they had only seen one season in the tree’s life.

Here’s the way I see it: Just as you should never judge a tree by one season, you should never judge a person by one difficult season in life. After all, no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

The Communication of Change Keys to Meaningful Change

Hand flip wooden cube with word "change" to "chance", Personal development and career growth or change yourself conceptThe oil crises of the 1970s rocked many industry giants, including the transportation industry.

In 1981, British Airways was reeling from massive financial losses and a reputation for terrible service. Nearing meltdown, the airline brought on a new chairperson, Lord King, who quickly spotlighted three areas where the company was operating inefficiently: careless spending, disorganized staffing, and inadequate communication. King’s leadership quickly produced results. After only ten years, the company became the largest airline in the UK, reporting the highest profits in its industry ($284 million, to be exact!).

What was the key to this turnaround?

Large-scale organizational change. King made major structure changes, including a reduced workforce (from 59,000 to 39,000), elimination of unprofitable routes, modernization of the existing fleet, and marketing upgrades to revamp the airline’s image.

Did King make these massive changes by crossing his fingers and wishing for the best? Hardly. British Airlines combined accurate research with a clear strategy that informed their decisions and overcame resistance.

Discontentment: The Shadow Side of Success

One thing King had in his favor was discontentment, which was at an all-time high.

While many of us believe contentment is key to a happy life, sometimes pain (including frustration with “business as usual”), is a gateway to greater fulfillment. Experts find that a shadow side of successful people is this common personality trait: they struggle with perpetual discontentment. Forbes columnist Brianna Weist says this:

“There is a difference between people who are content and people who are successful, and it is because the latter push themselves whereas the former tries to sustain the status quo. Without a certain measure of growth or expansion, the human mind gets bored, or tired. This will, eventually, lead to a tipping point at which the content person becomes discontent… and then change is made.”

Change as a Formula

Pain moves us: to make radical shifts, to take risks we wouldn’t otherwise consider, and to get the full potential out of life.

Dissatisfaction, combined with a skill set and action plan, can be the most essential agent for change. But far-reaching change can be tricky to maneuver, requiring precise timing and a thoughtful strategy.

Organizational change experts David Gleicher and Kathie Dannemiller coached change strategists with a model that looks something like this:

  • If change were a formula, it is this: “D * V * PF > R” (Dissatisfaction * Vision * Preferred Future > Resistance)
  • Dissatisfaction paired with a vision for a preferred future motivates people to overcome resistance to change.
  • To catalyze change, an idea or product must possess a clear path for a breakthrough while fanning the flame of frustration with the current state of being. If the product of those three factors is greater than the existing resistance, change will occur.

What This Means For Your Business

It means you can relax, even when people are unhappy!

Intentionally listen to your employees and customers and consider rising frustration as the first step to positive change. Use the change model to evaluate whether the time is right to communicate early steps towards meaningful shifts. Find healthy networks or professional development opportunities where you can reflect on industry trends, process leadership ideas, and analyze competitors to identify areas of opportunity.

Finally, cut yourself some slack if you feel irritated with your own areas of personal frustration. Great futures can come from great pain, so allow your dissatisfaction to chart a course toward exciting new destinations. You’ve got this!

CD Mailers

CREATIVE AND AFFORDABLE WAY TO MAIL DIGITAL CONTENT

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If you’re looking for a creative and affordable way to mail digital content on a CD, we can help with the perfect solution!

Custom-printed flat mailers that include a CD slit are a great way to combine a creative marketing message with low-cost packaging. CD mailers can be designed as a durable mini folder and feature full-color, custom messaging artwork on the outside and inside flaps, as well as a designed third panel if needed.

Sending your marketing materials digitally on a CD can be a great way to save money, such as when distributing large annual reports, customized welcome information, confidential financial documents, and more.

CD mailers are available in a variety of sizes, as well as vertical or horizontal. We can help you choose the correct size for USPS automated processing. Give us a call today if you have questions or need help designing the perfect mailer.

Takeout Menus: Functional and Promotional

GettyImages-86508173.jpgMost restaurant owners know that their menu is one of their top selling tools.

While this may surprise the average consumer, restaurant managers often use their menu to upsell pricey items such as appetizers, drinks, and side items. The placement of each item within the menu is of the utmost importance, and even small changes can cause a jump in sales of ten percent or greater — or a similar-sized drop in sales if item placement doesn’t work for buyers!

Printed takeout menus are still one of the best printed promotional tools that restaurants can use. Consumers are more interested in ordering food ahead of time for takeout, and having a menu visible when hunger hits really boosts your brand to the top of your consumer’s mind. See how takeout menus are one of the most functional and valuable tools for your restaurant business.

Strategically Situated Items

Restaurant menus are highly tailored, and often tweaked multiple times a year by consultants or managers to ensure that consumers are selecting items that are the most profitable and pleasing to their tastes.

If a menu isn’t easy to read, consumers can become confused and take additional time before placing their order, which may lead them to look elsewhere.  Guests are easily confused and overwhelmed when there are too many choices presented. Restaurants often try to limit their choices to a maximum of seven options per food segment to reduce the chance that people will default to a known option that may be less expensive.

Shifting Consumer Habits

Rachel V. noticed that her restaurant was gaining significantly higher dollars from takeout orders than at any time in the past.

In order to capitalize on this trend, Rachel decided to work with her local print shop to create a friendly takeout menu that highlighted a variety of their in-house favorites that were less likely to lose quality if they were boxed and transported elsewhere.

While customers were welcome to order anything on the main restaurant’s menu for takeout, the items the team added to the takeout menu were the “recommended” options. Rachel decided that not only could she use the menu as a functional piece that listed their phone number to call ahead for orders and the appetizers and entrees that they offered, but also as a promotional vehicle to offer seasonal discounts and special deals.

Smart Menu Design

Rachel knew that creating a takeout menu with enough food variety to interest her clientele was important.

With the limited amount of space available on the printed takeout menu, Rachel decided to leverage the space by putting visual cues around the most expensive items. This served to set these foods apart and draw the eye with small pockets of negative space.

She also decided to get a little creative with the descriptions of the food that she added to the menu. Oddly enough, she soon noticed that these menus were drawing in new customers — customers who were purchasing some of the higher-priced options that her traditional visitors were not necessarily drawn to.

As time went on, Rachel continued playing with the options that were on her restaurant’s takeout menu. Seasonal favorites were added, coupons made an appearance, and special items were a high point for returning customers who valued the convenience of being able to order their food ahead of time. The small print runs offered by her local print shop allowed her the flexibility that she needed to test, adjust and test again!

Is a Bleed Right For Your Print Project?

OVER THE EDGE PRINT.

The way you set up your print project can make all the difference in the final look and feel of your marketing piece. One of the most effective, yet simplest ways to change things up is by using a bleed in your design.

If you’re unsure what exactly a bleed is, how and when you should use it, and the potential challenges with adding a bleed to your project, keep reading. We’ll dig into the bleed concept and provide some best practices to make your print project look amazing every time.

What is a Bleed in Print?

A bleed is a printing technique where your design is printed bigger than the final product’s finished size and then cut down to size. It eliminates any unwanted white space or borders around the edge of your design.

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To put it another way, have you ever seen a printed marketing piece where what’s printed runs all the way to the edges, while other printed pieces may have a white border where the printing stops? That’s a bleed.

The Pros and Cons of Bleeds in Print

Now that you understand what a bleed is, there are times that you may or may not want to go in this direction.

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ere are some things to keep in mind when considering a bleed:

  • Bleeds work well if your design has a full-colored background.
  • If you have letters or images that you want to run right to the edge of your piece without the risk of being cut off, a bleed allows for that freedom.
  • A bleed can be slightly more expensive depending on the sheet size. (Remember, the image is printed larger and cut down to your desired finished size.)
  • If you’re printing a booklet or something that is going to be folded, you almost certainly want bleeds along interior borders, so it doesn’t look as though the project is unfinished. You want it to flow cleanly from one page to the next, and having the colors “meet in the middle” of the folded area is the best way to do that.
  • Bleeds are also great if you’re going to cut your project down to a smaller size, while you may want to skip the bleed if you’re creating a project with an exact border.

Understanding the Bleed Marks on Your Proof

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Once you’ve decided to use bleeds in your print job, you’ll want to understand the markings on your proof when you receive it. The trim marks are generally seen as corner line markings just inside the printed content and ensure that when your pages are trimmed, you will see the full image on the page with no white border. Fold marks are generally dashed lines indicating where you fold an 11″ x 17″ sheet in half, for instance.

Fortunately, using the default values within your graphic design software often provides the best option. It is still helpful to understand how bleeds, trims and folds work to create the most professional print project possible.

If you’d like help creating the perfect brochure for your company, please give us a call today at 856-429-0715!