Friday, 5 October 2012

Your Corporate Identity

So you’re in the process of either (i) starting something up, or (ii) re-moulding yourself into something you think you ought to have been from the start but for some or other reason didn't do from the start. That means you’re looking to look a certain way, feeling to feel a certain way…

The first thing you do, essentially, is you start thinking logo. Then you start thinking tagline, by-line, motto, you choose a catchy phrase that somehow describes what you do, who you are, and so on. I personally have no truck with taglines. I don’t think they say much. It’s way too easy to mess up, and then it’s sitting on all your nice expensive stuff, right there for everyone to see, which invariably leads to much embarrassment down the line, when you and your company has grown up and you have that “I ought to have known better” feeling.

Let’s use a quick example: you start yourself a courier company. You get a logo with a bee carrying a package, with all the appropriate little lines to indicate speed, zipping around, getting that delivery done lickety-split. Your tagline reads: “A-Z, eesy as can bee”. Get it? Bee? (by the way, that ‘Z’ is pronounced ‘zee’, as in the American ‘Z’, not ‘zed’ like the SA version. Personally, I think the Yanks have this one right. We say Ay, Bee, Cee, right, not Ay, Bed, Ced. So it should be ‘zee’, not ‘zed’. But I digress…)

Some companies have used their taglines to great effect, of course. See if you can identify these (and mail me if you want the answers):
  • Today. Tomorrow. Together
  • One tool, a couple thousand uses
  • Saving you time, saving you money, putting you first
  • A diamond is forever
  • A mind is a terrible thing to waste
  • Between love and madness lies Obsession
Some known, some not so known. Now, see if you can identify some companies from their logo’s (again, mail me for the answers – as if you’ll have issues with these):

Is there a point to be made here? I think there is. And that is why I rely more on the power of an image when branding your company than I do on a catchy phrase.

You’ve decided that you’re going to do it, now what do you do? Well, here is what we suggest. The standard stuff is logo, business cards, letterheads…yes, yes, but there is so much more. Here are the standard (and not so standard) items we’ve created for companies:
  • Logo
  • Business Cards
  • Letterheads
  • Compliment Slips
  • Invoice / Quotation Books
  • Email Signatures
  • Pamphlets / Brochures
  • Website
  • Web Banners
  • Vehicle Branding
  • Signage
  • Branded pens, magnets, keyrings ...

Monday, 24 September 2012

Order your 2013 Calendars now.

Place your 2013 Calendar order by 28 September 2012, and we’ll print an additional 10% free*
Like our Facebook page and get 5% discount on your order!

*maximum of 50 free calendars per order and all prices include VAT

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Choosing the right GSM Paper for your printing

One question you need to answer before ordering any flyers or leaflets is, what thickness of paper do I need? Printers get all technical and use funny terms such as GSM. It is a common method to specify the ‘thickness’ (and as a result, quality) of a sheet of paper by measuring it’s weight in terms grams per square metre (GM or GSM)

Paper Thickness

A business card is around 280gsm, a postcard at 200gsm; a restaurant menu 130gsm; a good quality letterhead or compliment slip is around 120gsm. To put these figures into perspective, a low-quality sheet of photocopier paper is often around 80.

As papers are usually graded by weight, one manufacturer’s 150gsm paper may seem slightly bulkier or thicker than a competitor’s product. This can be down to factors such as the coating, or the type of gloss finish, if any. Despite this, a paper’s GSM rating is probably the best possible viewpoint as to how ‘thick’ or ‘stiff’ the paper will feel.

So, now that you are clear on the different types of paper qualities - which ones should you choose for the paper in your project?

Whether it is a gloss, silk or matt finish is mostly down to personal preference, but gloss paper is seen as producing the most vibrant of colour reproduction when printing. Different opinions on gloss range from classy to tacky. If you are creating a full-colour document featuring photographs or colourful illustrations, you’ll get the more vibrant and effective colours if you opt for a coated paper.

Do not use a glossy finish papers if your document is designed to be written on, as your ink may rub off
Items such as letterheads and compliment slips are almost always printed onto uncoated paper -  with 100gsm seen as the norm, and 120gsm adds s feeling of importance.

Finally, be cautious to the fact that colour reproduction will differ regarding type of paper the ink is printed on, as different types of prints may have different needs, so it important to consider exactly what you want before you go ahead with it.

Email us if you have any further questions on this topic.

What are the most used Paper Sizes:

A6 - 105x148mm
A5 - 148x210mm
A4 - 297x210mm
A3 - 297x420mm
A2 - 420x594mm
A1 – 594x841mm
A0 - 841x1189mm
Business Card – 90x50mm
DL - 110x220mm

Monday, 28 May 2012

Direct Marketing and the Art of Brochure Maintenance

Some time ago, around 1995 or 1996, I was introduced to ‘Direct Marketing’.  Very generally, this term was used to describe a mass pamphlet drop.  Referring to something as indirect as flooding an area with tens of thousands of pamphlets as ‘direct’ marketing seemed a little absurd, but what did I know?  Wiser people than me were directing the shots.

The same wise people also told me that you need a minimum of 250,000 pamphlets to yield any kind of response.  And that response, the wise people say when considering trends, is a 7% response with a 4% take-up of your product or service.  Let’s do the math quickly on that one:

250,000 pamphlets x R0.40 = R100,000 (that’s the average price, by the way, for an A5 full-colour single-sided pamphlet printed on non-glossy paper).  7% of those 250,000 people pamphleted will respond, and 4% of those 250,000 will buy from you.  So, 4% of 250,000 being 10,000 people, it means that you have spent R100,000 to gain 10,000 new customers.  That sound like not a bad campaign to you?

Not having ever been asked to print 250,000 pamphlets, for one client at one time, and not subsequently having had access to the after-print stats, I really can’t testify to this particular piece of info from the wise ones.  But we have nonetheless, over the years, created brochures – both in print and electronic.  Not only have we designed and printed them, but we have also actively been involved in the writing, the strategising, the ‘put-it-all-together-so-that-it-makes-sense-to-the-intended-target-market’ stuff.  And over the years we have learnt a few things.  Here they are:

1.   Nowadays, emailing 250,000 people is not marketing – its spam.  Don’t be a spammer.  Target your brochure at your intended market.

2.   Be conversational.  Stiff and formal language, the kind they teach you in high school or business school, doesn’t really work as advertised.  Show your target market that you’re a human being, and that you’re passionate about your business.  Don’t treat your business like a commodity, even if you’re selling one.  If you’re passionate about what you do, and it comes through in your communications, people take notice.  You build an audience this way, rather than a mere customer base.  An audience, by the way, comes back to see what  you have to say.  You don’t have to always go back and speak to them; they’re already listening.

3.   Be personal.  Use your name for your email and not the name of your company.  Your email is more likely to be opened if it comes from you, and not from ‘ABC Equipment Supply’.

4.   Your subject line must encapture the soul of the email, and the attaching brochure.  Avoid words like ‘new’, ‘astounding’, ‘amazing’ and so on.  That sounds like a miracle cure, and no one will open it.

5.   The longer the document, the more it matters?  No no no.  Don’t be caught by that kind of thinking.  Short, punchy and to the point.  Say what you need to say in as few words as possible.  If you haven’t got them in the first paragraph, they’re not going to read the second and third.  And remember: big words are not impressive.

6.   Imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery.  Looking around to see what other brochures in your market say and copying those brochures is a bad idea.  It is not short-cutting, it is stealing.  Be you, be original, and leave someone else’s text and images where they belong: on someone else’s brochure.

7.   Finally, send your brochure out on Tuesday morning.  On Monday morning your intended market is getting into the business of finding their feet after a weekend.  Any mail not seen as directly related to their own business is likely to be binned.  Friday is likewise a problem day: you’re in the business of winding down to the weekend, and you’re wrapping up, NOT considering taking on a new supplier or buying a new product.  Tuesday, we find, is best.  That way your recipient has had Monday to sort out what must be done with the week, is is generally in a better frame of mind for opening unfamiliar mail.

A good brochure is one that comes with experience.  Don’t be afraid to mess it up the first couple of times.  If you keep your target market small enough then the fallout will not be as bad as you think.

Of course, you could just as easily contact us.  We’ve done brochures.  Lots.  And we know a few things.