The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated – Print
Everything Old is New Again
In our digital age, print is not dead! There are many markets where printed pieces are the right way to reach customers. Print alone is not the answer - it still requires a larger strategy with targeted messaging. For a leader in automotive parts* partnering with an Iconic American Automotive manufacturer*, point-of-sale material and promotional items are a staple of dealer support.
Customer experience is the new benchmark for marketing. Customers want to feel important and not be seen as just part of a demographic.
These industry leaders know their audience is online like everyone else. They also know that much of their audience doesn’t work sitting in front of computer and engaging them where they are is essential. Not every customer interaction is online. These off-line interactions are where the personal touch is the most meaningful.
The Parts manufacturer works to support the dealers in the OEM's Truck network on the front line. They engage with customers every day getting their oil changed or having repairs done. That creates an opportunity to build and reinforce their brands.
Meet Your Clients Where They Are
A strong brand presence creates confidence. Customers want to feel they are dealing with knowledgeable experts and are in competent hands. The world is very brand conscious and customers will seek out the brands they trust and value. Every customer touch-point encounter is an opportunity to present a strong brand. From wall posters, floor mats to window clings and counter mats, creating a brand experience is full of possibilities.
Print may be considered old school to some but it’s getting a resurgence because it’s not ubiquitous anymore. Like all marketing, it’s important that it’s relevant and useful. In today’s environmentally focused world no one wants to create something that will be thrown into a landfill. People are less inclined to take a brochure at a trade show - they prefer a digital version that can be downloaded from your website or emailed to them so they can read on their phone or tablet.
Tactics Support Your Strategy
Ultimately, the use of print must fit into your brand values and meet your audience in ways nothing else will. It should also seamlessly extend your other marketing efforts. A high-end printed manual for an expensive piece of equipment can be a great customer gift that builds your brand every time they refer to it or to update the last maintenance check.
From table tents in the waiting areas to floor mats in trucks ready to be picked up, to branded oil changes stickers, creating a customer experience is about meeting the customers where they are. Being where they are and making sure they know you’re there for them is a powerful way to build a strong brand.
Print this out if it helps you remember!
*Due to confidentiality agreements these well know brands prefered not to be promoted here.
Whitney Medical Solutions - A Brand Story
Poking The Bear
Asking questions can be dangerous. Asking a client what they think about their current brand can lead you down a path fraught with pitfalls. Still, we had to ask, “What do you think about your logo?”
It’s critical to have a goal for your website, one that is part of a larger marketing plan. When we discussed this with Steve Whitney, the president of Whitney Products Inc, he said he wanted to highlight their innovations and new products in the medical market. We said we could do that.
With this goal in mind, we asked him, “What do you think about your logo?”. Their logo was simple, a large outlined “W” and their name “Whitney Products, Inc.” below. Taken aback he asked us why we were asking about his logo. We were working on his website after all.
Your Reputation is Your Brand
Then we asked the bigger question, “Do you think your logo reflects your goal of being innovative and developing new products?” He hadn’t thought about his logo that way before and realized it did not reflect who they were and how they wanted to be perceived.
However, there was one more question we had to ask. After a pause in the conversation and gathering up our courage we asked. “What do you think of you company name?” Whitney Products, inc. was multi-generational company. It was started by Steve’s dad. This time he asked “What is wrong with our name?”.
Our answer? “Nothing is wrong with it but is it helping you build your business?” From there we explained that their name says nothing about what they do or who their audience is. Whitney is not a global consumer brand, they don’t have the resources to create brand awareness campaigns. Like many small to mid-size companies they need to leverage all their assets in the smartest way they can. A company name can be a great asset.
He was cautiously open to us exploring refreshing his brand. The result is the rechristened Whitney Medical Solutions, Inc. Instantly everyone can identify their market space and that they are innovators. Now every product and delivered package will work toward building the Whitney brand. With the name in place we set to work on developing a new logo that reflected a clean contemporary style.
The Butterfly Effect
It was like lighting a fuse.
Whitney Medical Solutions embraced the new brand and set to put it everywhere. Each time we would meet there would be a new sign or new idea for building brand awareness. There was also a new energy company-wide. Employees embraced the brand refresh and had were excited to participate in ways to put their brand to work to grow the company.
There is power in great marketing but marketing is not created in a vacuum. It very often starts with asking the tough questions and being honest about the answers.