Branding your comapny should be the first thing a company does. You have to convince potential customers to buy from you. Very few people have a monopoly like Microsoft or Ebay, Everyone else need to steer business to their company or product. When people think about your company, what is their impression. For my company, Solutions Ink, I wanted to portray a fresh, professional, ease of use type of company whoose product meets their quality needs while helping their business. I wanted to portray Solutions Ink as always on the fore front of the printing and promotional product industry's.
To achieve this I needed to tell potential customers of new and innovative products for the printing industry. Variable data, large format digital printing, digital printing with pantone colors, label and form combinations, magnet and form combinations and e-commerce ordering systems. How best to show customers then actually devise a campaign where the product you are trying to educate your customers about is sent out to them to give them ideas how to use this product to help their businesses. One campaign I organised was to compile a list of fashion retailers whoose logo's were specific pantone colors that are not reproduced well in 4 color process printing. Today with 6,8 and 10 color presses you can print in 4 color process and 2 pantone colors quite easily. This keeps the integrity of the company's logo intact in their big marketing or flyer campaigns. This is OK for large run printing jobs. The problem is that even for large chains, you tend to have regional sales in a small amount of stores. In store displays usually are done in small numbers and are printed digitally. Today there are certain digital presses that can insert pantone colors on top of the 4 color process printing. After devising a mock up campaign and targetting by variable data the buyers of these retail fashion chains, I was able to secure 2 large accounts for present and future business.
This technique can be applied to any industry. The key is to really now your product and the strengths of your company. The next step is to educate your customers on your company's merits. Then you must reinforce your image constantly to stay in your existing customers mind, as well as peak the curiousity of potential new customers.
Once you have achieved this, giving out promotional products is a useful way of staying on their minds. The trick is to find a great promotional product, that fits you budget, is useful to the end user and doesn't shout your name too boldly. Humour is a great way to have your customers keep your stuff. The items seen most times for an office person are calendars and coffee mugs. To be different in the Montreal Promotional Product market, Solutions Ink sent out to all existing customers a 14 ounze special mug which was imprinted with thermochromic ink. The ink is heat sensitive and evaporates on heat and returns on cold. With this you can print something underneath the thermochromic ink which is revealed when cold. On the outside we simply put the word STRESS in red over a black background. Most people who work know about stress. The humour side was that when you poured your hot coffee the message turned into stress free at Solutions Ink. A simple inexpensive idea that our customers really enjoyed and every time I stop at one of their offices I readily spot our mugs. On top of this I received 4 orders from these customers for these mugs with a different message for their customers.
Another great way for your company to be branded positively is to become associated with a worth while charity. Today we must give back to those less fortunate. Sponsering an event gives your company great exposure but the real treat is in knowing that you've helped others. Money is not the end all, all the time. A funny thing, helping others usually rewards yourself if not immediately some time in the future.