Gone are the days of mass produced communications, with mailing list volumes in the hundreds of thousands. Our digital capabilities are now far more sophisticated, and we have developed means of reaping valuable consumer insight, with clever ways of communicating to our customers instantly.
But that doesn’t mean print is dead. Printed matter, when used correctly can reinforce and elevate any brand. Here are a few ideas on how to make print work for you.
Talk to me.
As marketeers, we strive to speak to the right customer in the right tone, ensuring that every touch point is relevant and hardworking. The development within digital print has meant that we can exploit our customer knowledge and drive conversion. But this information can also be used to reinforce brand values. When I bought my new Mini, I received a simple A5 postcard from BMW, with an exact image of my car, and messaging “The wait is almost over”.
I can’t describe how excited I felt. A personal message (without repeating my name ten times!), which made me feel valued and reinforced the individual nature of the Mini brand. I imagine the cost to BMW was minimal, but the impact was massive. The fact that this wasn’t an instant, automated email only served to enhanced the value.
Touch is one of the 5 senses, often underestimated in a digital age. As we shop, converse and research online, the good old-fashioned brochure is often left by the wayside. I think about the way I feel when my White Company brochure, or Cath Kidson brochure lands on the doormat. Beautifully printed on uncoated stock, the texture exudes luxury and reinforces the brand, and I want to take time (another modern day luxury!) to savor it, without it being backlit. Ikea have summed this up beautifully with their bookbook campaign https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOXQo7nURs0, sometimes you just can’t beat the printed form (although I may check availability and order online!).
A break from the screen.
Go beyond CMYK.
Seek out innovation, and use it sparingly to drive your brand forward.
Recently, Truth produced letterheads as part of the rebranding for Robinsons Brewery. The design was simple and stunning, and it would have been so easy to produce standard CMYK letterheads (which would have being stunning too). However, we took the print up a notch by adding a laser compatible foil and the result is fabulous. With a foil integral to the design, it reinforces the heritage of the brand, and the ongoing commitment by Robinsons to quality. It’s simple, and beautiful, and it works.
It’s about who you know.
I am often faced with challenges I haven’t tackled before (it’s the nature of production!) and I know that the key to achieving the best possible outcome from my clients is the relationships I have with my suppliers. Always keep a keen an eye on print costs, but never underestimate the value of a good quality printer. When I discover a reliable supplier, I hold on to them, drawing on their knowledge and expertise, and reassured in their ability to do a good job. You get what you pay for, and investment in a strong relationship with innovative print partners will pay back dividends.
Keep it simple.
As technology develops, there is a tendency to adopt new techniques ASAP, and over use them. This doesn’t always support the brand, and can often undermine it. A simple, straight forward brand doesn’t need bells and whistles and uber personalisation, it needs straight forward print. Select the right substrate, and a 4pp A5 can work just as well as a complex one piece mailer. Simple.
To conclude, printed materials are as relevant to marketing today as they have always been. Maybe there isn’t as much profit as their used to be, so printers need to be more innovative. As long as the thinking is good, the channels are considered and the end product is representative, print will always be of value to any brand.