What Does Your Brand Say About You?

Zoe Maolmhaadhog brand guidelines, marketing, SM1 Print, What We Do Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How many brands do you suppose there are in the world? Some have found worldwide fame and others have fallen by the wayside. Do you ever wonder, therefore, what makes a successful brand? Want to know the secret of brand success? Ok, just lean a little closer, we don’t want everyone to hear do we? A little closer still… it’s you.

That’s right. You are the person who knows more about your company than anyone else. You know what makes your company great and how you tower above your competitors. You built the company up from scratch so why aren’t you taking control of your own brand design?

Put Yourself in the Driving Seat

Now I don’t mean that you have to sit there and let your creative juices flow. You can still hand over the actual designing job to those better qualified, but you can retain control all the way through the process with just one simple task – your brand guidelines.

Effective brand guidelines are like the difference between putting up a flat pack set of drawers with clear instructions and putting one up without. You might manage without instructions, but you’d be quicker and much more effective with them. Plus, you’d make far fewer mistakes.

The Rules for Successful Brand Guidelines

Remember that you are trying to explain the very ethos of your company to people who may know nothing about your industry. So describe your company as simply as you can and don’t use technical jargon. This might seem patronising, but prepare the guidelines as though you were talking to children. That way you will be forced to explain yourself as clearly as possible.

So now let’s get onto a few do’s and don’ts of your brand guidelines.

DO get it right. Sounds obvious enough but if you’re not sure how your brand identity is going to be represented then your creative team don’t stand a chance. So get together with colleagues and work out where you want your brand to go.

DON’T leave the logo up to the designer. They might have a completely different idea of what your company represents, so be clear on what you want your logo to say to people.

DO know your colours. There are certain colours which are used on different marketing platforms, such as RGB for screens and CMYK for printed matter. Get to know them all.

DON’T think that one size fits all. Your logo needs to look great in a variety of sizes to fit on business cards or on a full HD monitor. This is where simplicity works best.

DO know your fonts. They aren’t all the same! The right font can have an impact and form part of your brand identity, so choose just a few for headlines, content, taglines, etc and stick with them.

DO a trial run. Put your brand design in a few different media examples such as on your website, on a business card, a print advert, etc to see how it looks.

DON’T forget about your brand once it’s designed. Keep on top of where it is being used and how it looks. Review your guidelines regularly too – after all no brand is set in stone and you may wish for it to evolve with the growth of your company.

DO enlist the help of the professionals. There is more to designing a brand than a scribble on a piece of paper. Professional branding is worth the cost, particularly if you have a great set of guidelines to help.

How to Get it Right

Be simple. Take a leaf out of Aldi’s book. It’s one of the most successful brands which simply reflects what the company offers – a no frills, low priced company and that’s proved popular with customers who know exactly what service they will be getting. Likewise the Candy Crush brand is playful, fun and bold just like the game.

How to Get it Wrong

You are unlikely to notice any bad branding because, well, they’re unnoticeable and for good reason. However if I mention London 2012 you might have an idea why. It attracted 11,550 criticisms and a petition to rebrand it.

But perhaps more unfortunate was a women’s clothes brand. I’ll leave you to figure that one out yourselves!

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New Businesses and Social Media

Zoe Maolmhaadhog SM1 Print, What We Do Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , ,

Once upon a time there was a young business entrepreneur named Alice who had heard all about the benefits of social media.

Her friend Mr R White was always busy updating his social status and had quite a crowd of followers all eager to talk to him. So, being curious, she decided to find out more and took the plunge into the bizarre world of social media networking.

She was confronted with many doors with names such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+ and Twitter. Some she had heard of and others, such as Elixio, Kiwibox and Pingsta she had not. She tried to get into one of the doors but she found that she just couldn’t fit in.

What was she to do? Which was the right social media platform for her and her business? She began to despair and cried big tears which turned into a sea and bore her away onto the banks of a forest.

Identifying Your Brand
Alice wanders around aimlessly until she bumps into Miss Kat Pillar. She asks her what’s wrong and she begins to tell her how she doesn’t fit into any of the social media doors. Miss Pillar thought about this: “Who are you?” she finally says. “I hardly know” Alice replies.

“That is the problem then” Miss Pillar remarked before crawling away. Alice thought about this – could she be right? After all, as a small business she didn’t really have a unique identity to speak of.

Moral meaning:
With multiple social media choices and different methodologies for each platform, the one thing that must remain consistent is your brand. It’s the essence of your business, the look and feel, your voice and mission. With consumers having more options than ever before, if you want to stand out, define what your brand stands for.

Needing Direction
As she wanders on she bumps into Professor Cheshire and decides to ask him which way she should go. He tells her that it all depends on where she wants to go. Alice remarks that she doesn’t much care where she goes but as the Professor points out, wandering aimlessly will make her mad. So Alice realises that not only does she need a brand but she needs a direction too – a way forward with which to drive her business.

Moral meaning:
Think about what you really hope to achieve from social media. Engaging business contacts? Mentoring? Building brand advocates? Or an incentive for new customers. Whoever you decide to target with social media make sure you have a clear sense of purpose.

Don’t dismay!
Alice stumbles upon Mr Hatter having a mad party behind the Twitter door with Marquis Hare and Dodo. They have formed quite a little clique and rudely ignore Alice as she tries to engage them in conversation.

Eventually she becomes very disheartened by their lack of response and so leaves to try one of the other doors.

Moral meaning:
It can be hard to interact with people and many businesses give up at the first hurdle, but remember that every brand had to start somewhere and you can’t expect to be popular straight away.

Have corporate guidelines
Then Alice sneaked through the Instagram door and saw a delicious cake with a sign saying “EAT ME” so she did without thinking. To her horror, lots of people complained at her wilfulness and she didn’t know what to do.

So she looked to the hearty Queen, an established social brand who has many followers hanging onto her every word. She even has a YouTube account where she shares her passion for croquet.  HRM tells Alice off and is very clear on the fact that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about social media conversation.

Moral meaning:
Guidelines are there for a reason. You have to stay impartial to current affairs and make sure all your colleagues are aware of the rules. Even large brands like Kellogg’s can fail on social media so keep it appropriate and inoffensive. Always think before you act.

Alice Learns from her Adventures in Social Media Land
As Alice reflected upon her adventures she realised that social media could help her company to develop and reach out to customers and business contacts, but that she needed to think carefully about how best to use it. It was no good having lots of different accounts, so she needed to focus on the social platforms which would best suit her, where her customers were most likely to be and devote her energies to these. She needed to be professional in her outlook, yet approachable at the same time. Patience was also important, she couldn’t expect to be a success overnight but must keep on updating and keep her updates relevant and interesting with incentives for people to share and like.

Armed with all this information, Alice felt confident and happy and with that she suddenly found herself back at her desk, knowing exactly what she was going to do next.

THE END

 

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, How To Get A Client, To Be Loyal To You

Zoe Maolmhaadhog Digital, SM1 Print, What We Do Leave a comment   , , , , , ,

Yes it’s that time of year when lovers go all dewy eyed over each other and bunches of roses are marked up 150% in price. You might be thinking of lavishing attention on your better half in order to earn some extra brownie points and keep your relationship sizzling but why stop at just your better half? What about your clients?

Now we’re not suggesting that you turn up at their work naked but for a single rose clenched between your teeth – although that would be memorable! No, what we have in mind is something to put a smile on their face and your business in their heads.

Get Up Close and Personal
Have you ever had that lovely experience when you walk into a shop or bar and staff remember your name? Not only that, but they remember what you bought last and even the conversation you had with them? It’s a pleasant experience isn’t it? One which makes you feel special, valued and appreciated and which ensures that you visit the same establishment again. That’s exactly the kind of service you want to be giving to your clients.

Now we realise that to remember the details of each individual client might be going a bit far, but you don’t have to take such extraordinary lengths to make clients feel special. You just have to get a little personal and show that you do care about them and value their custom.

So how can you achieve this? Well in this age of technology the answer is pretty straightforward – personalised data.

Show That You Care
An automatically generated email or non-descript leaflet shoved through the door is not the way to reach out to your client, in fact that’s probably the best way to lose their custom. We’ve all pretty much had enough of spam tactics, which is why you need to make appropriate contact in order to show that you care.

Most companies have a detailed picture of their clients which includes their name, line of business, address, buying habits and so on. All of this information can be used to make contact more personal and appropriate. We’re not just talking about those cards with their name written in sand on the front cover, anyone can do that, no we’re thinking much more creatively!

For example, for a pre-event brochure we did recently, we marketed to clients using their personal names, company name, their service or product and their location within the actual body of the text so it appeared that we’d done the brochure just for them. It was a hit with everyone and provided a talking point all day.

Obviously the more information you have on your clients the better the result, so instead of talking to a generic customer you are talking directly to them. Now that should get their attention!

Quality Matters
What would happen if you took the one you loved out for a meal to a restaurant? You’d think they’d be pleased right? But what if that restaurant is McDonald’s, (yes, it really is listed as a restaurant) would they still be as pleased?

You see, it’s not just the thought that counts, quality counts too. If you send your customers brochures, cards or leaflets that are of an inferior quality then that gives them a good indication of just how much you think of them. Surely it’s worth spending a little more money if it gets you a better result? A McDonald’s meal deal might be cheaper but it’s not so great if you end up eating it alone.

Now we don’t know about other print companies but here at SM1 our digital print comes at no extra cost. We also use only the highest quality of materials in a range of finishes such as die cutting, stitching, binding, embossing, laminating, etc so you can make a real impression and stand out from the rest.

Go on, it is Valentine’s Day after all. Treat your clients right now by making them feel special and you’ll reap the rewards later on.

Business Cards Are Dead!

Zoe Maolmhaadhog Business cards, Digital, Print, SM1 Print, What We Do Leave a comment   , , , , ,

Surely with the modern age and advent of new technology the website has now taken the place of the business card?  If someone wants to know more about you, all you need to do is give them the address of your website on a piece of paper, or business card……ah, see what I did there.

You see the truth is that the humble business card is still as vital today as it was when it was first introduced in 15th century China. So how have business cards remained such a vital part of networking?

First Impressions Count

I’m going to make a presumption here. I’m going to presume that you spent a lot of time, effort and money on your website. Am I right? No doubt you make sure it’s kept up to date, is SEO friendly and has plenty to draw the customer in, after all that’s the first impression an online customer has of your business so it’s essential to get it right.

Now take a look at your business card, if you even have one. Does it have the WOW factor? Does it get your heart pumping and your blood coursing through your veins? If not, why not?

Take a look at all the cards you hold in your wallet or purse. I bet you can hardly distinguish between the local taxi service, pizza outlet or that new business contact you made months ago can you? All ended up shoved in your wallet or purse and forgotten about and that is exactly what happens to your business card.

Unless you offer something a little different.

88% of Business Cards are Thrown Out in Less Than a Week

After all, why spend all that effort on jazzing up your website if, when you are networking at the latest show or event, you are handing out business cards that may as well be advertising John Doe & Co from Dullsville in Boredom City?

How many business cards do you think the average MD gets handed on a weekly basis; especially when it comes to networking events? You might have all the charisma and charm of Russell Brand but if your card doesn’t get a second look then you can kiss your new-found contact goodbye as you watch your card being placed in their wallet along with all the others.

Rock it don’t knock it

We all know how important it is to get first impressions right. Business managers, CEOs and directors can meet hundreds of people every week, all vying to do business with them and all employing their own tricks to get themselves noticed.

It’s like competing against hundreds of talented singers in the X Factor. You can have an amazing talent but unless you have that one noticeable feature, or offer something a little different, then you are forgotten and filed away.

We don’t just want you to offer something a little different, we want you to make an impression so great it would be like getting slapped in the face with kipper made from vodka fruit jelly – refreshingly different with an edge.

It can take more than a nice image to wow people today, it takes a little creativity, a sense of humour and fun and the desire to surprise. Once you have the element of surprise then they are putty in your hands.

But I know what you are thinking – what can you do with a business card? Well seriously, what can’t you do with it? How about a 3D card which opens up to reveal a pop up cartoon? Or how about a card in the shape of a paper aeroplane that can glide over a crowded room to its intended target? You can even have your details embossed on the side of a clothes peg.

Why stick to a 2D card when there are so many other ingenious ideas out there? Imagination has no limits, so whatever your line of business, we can come up with a business card which is unique, dramatic and which will definitely make an impact.

Give us your take on this – don’t be shy now! We want your best and worst examples of business cards and if you feel they have a place in the business of today. Post your comments on our Facebook page or give us a Tweet.

Are business contact policies bad for business?

Zoe Maolmhaadhog SM1 Print Leave a comment   , , , , ,

According to Wikipedia, B2B is defined as “commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer”.

Every business relies on other businesses to some extent to help them run their own. Where else would they get their exceptional print marketing material, their laptops, office furniture, water coolers. The list is endless. With this in mind, here comes my filet mignon for September……

SM1 Print Studio exhibited at the South East Business Show back in May. After a successful day’s worth of networking with the attendees and the exhibitors, we wanted to do a follow up campaign saying ‘hello, remember us, it was nice to have met you at the show.’  You know the drill.

Upon our return we find out that the courier lost one of our exhibition boxes containing all of our leads. The horror!! But, I decided not to give up hope and contacted some of the exhibitors I knew I had spoken to.

At least I had the company names from the exhibition list and all I had to do was give them a quick call, say ‘hi, remember me’, and collect their contact information. Simple, I thought… Sadly no, it wasn’t.

Conversations generally went as follows:

Me: ‘Hello, can I speak to your marketing manager please?’

Them: ‘We are not allowed to put you through to the marketing manager.’

Me: ‘OK, can I have their contact details? I would like to send them an email.’

Them: ‘We are not allowed to give out employee contact details.’

Me: ‘OK, but I met them at the SEBS show last week and wanted to touch base.’

Them: ‘What was their name?’

Me: ‘I can’t remember, that’s why I asked to speak to the marketing manager.’

Them: ‘I’m sorry, we can’t put you through to the marketing manager.’

Am I completely missing something here? I really don’t understand why businesses make it impossible to speak to employees. Have you any ideas why this would be? To me it’s a terrible company policy!

I can totally understand this policy when it concerns B2C. In fact, I constantly unsubscribe from unwanted emails and have ‘No Junk Mail’ stickers plastered across my drive-way, porch and front door.

Understandably, many people see this as an intrusion into their private lives. But is this way of life now happening in the workplace? Technically we are just the same people when we are at work, but instead, we’re sitting at a desk with smarter clothes on and a smile on our faces when we answer the phone. Is our perception of unwanted calls, emails and mailers the same at work as at home?

I am a learned marketer and know from trial, error and having attended many conferences, that marketing to someone who has shown an interest in your product or service is a ‘lead’. All leads must be nurtured, cared for and loved, via some form of follow up communication!

My call was not irrelevant. It was hardly cold (luke warm I would admit to), as I had spoken to them merely one week prior. I’d even done a little research into their company. I had remembered their issues (but sadly not their names). I was, at least I thought, ready to salvage some leads from the show.

It turned out that at least half of the companies I called would not divulge their company details, no matter how I went about the dialogue. However, I am extremely persistent and love a challenge, so I’m not ashamed to admit a little Machiavellian phrasing.

Having to find sneaky ways to speak to a company’s marketing manager is a great shame. Businesses are missing out on new high quality services, time saving solutions, opportunities to save money, and that’s just from us!

What do you think? Should businesses make it easier to get through to important people in the company or are they right to put up the communication barriers?

Cross-Over Marketing: Nothing New But Incredibly Effective

Zoe Maolmhaadhog SM1 Print Leave a comment   , , , , , , , ,

When is target marketing a business not classed as business targeting?

The answer, when advertising companies look to a business profile to determine the consumer characteristics that are likely to be interested in their offer. Cross-over marketing isn’t a new idea but if the target audience is carefully considered, it can be very powerful.

Let’s take Mr Giles Smith as an example to demonstrate the potential of cross-over marketing. He’s 35, has no children, works in the City and has a decent amount of cash to splash. He’s travelling to work and checking out other cars on the road. It’s not long before he can opt out of the company car scheme. He can then choose his own car for a change. His mind wanders further. His mortgage is coming out and he should find a new provider and probably improve his disposable income.

He looks down at his outdated watch. The cuff on his shirt is frayed. The traffic lights take a while, so Giles grabs a pen and scribbles on his hand “go shopping.” Giles’ girlfriend is having supper later and he realises there is no food in. It’s their six-month anniversary! Giles had promised her something special to celebrate. A weekend away perhaps?

The lights turn green. He continues pondering the things on his to-do list that are beyond his actual job. He feels morose and stressed.

Once at work, Giles has access to products and services that have short cuts, save time and help do his job well. But today, Giles is thinking about consumer spending whilst in a business environment.

The opportunity is there for consumer goods marketers to get their message to their target audience, discerning consumers with high incomes looking to spend. Marketers who should be targeting these individuals are companies with high-ticket offers, online shopping services including delivery, and last minute purchases such as low cost airlines and travel websites.

Imagine Giles gets to work and orders some new shirts from the catalogue (printed by SM1 Print Studio of course!) he received on his desk that morning. The items are delivered to work. He orders the food shopping online too, with delivery in a one-hour slot. He also books a last minute break away, printing his tickets electronically. Giles’ mind is clear. He can focus on work completely feeling more efficient and on top of things.

Business-to-business data holders need to start differentiating between people at their place of work from those at their home address. They could add those questions to their registration and data collection processes to help distinguish where the people are.

The mix of both consumer-type segmentation (income bands for example) and business demographics provide a targeting profile richness, that is hard to beat for offers that fit the cross-over market profile. As more databases are developed that are ostensibly consumer files with business characteristics, data buyers should be clear about who it is they want to target, in what mode and where.

Campaign objectives and expectations may vary quite considerably as a result. The fundamental question for you is, who do you want to reach and where do you want to reach them? This could be SoHo businesses, business people at home with offers relating to their place of work, or consumer offers based on a professional profile.

Why not help Giles live his life better.

Melinda is married with two children under five and works full time as an advertising director in a small agency. She’s really busy. But that’s another story…

Should gender be considered for B2B marketing?

Zoe Maolmhaadhog SM1 Print Leave a comment   , , , , , , ,

When you come home from a busy day at work ready to relax, unwind and watch some good television, you are bombarded with gender-targeted adverts aimed at attracting us to their product. For us girls it’s washing up liquid, miracle age-defying creams and of course those amazing women on roller-skates with periods!

Going slightly off topic here, but if you have a spare five minutes you really should watch the video response from Bodyform to a rant by a confused boyfriend about periods. A brilliant piece of customer relationship management!

Then there’s the ads targeting men. Age-defying super cars and a plethora of razor blades that are turbo, supreme, powerful or whatever is the latest improvement that they must have or girls won’t fancy them. As these are aimed at men, I’ve pretty much forgotten them before the advert has even finshed.

We are all aware that focusing your ad-campaign on your target audience by location, career level, purchasing authority or whatever else could influence it, does get your message across to those people who are most likely to be interested in the product or service you are offering.

However in business, gender does not seem to be one of the demographics that is used. Personally I haven’t seen any examples (let me know if you have) and I’m wondering why not? Are business marketers overlooking an important demographic group here?

Clearly men and women think in (very) different ways. We purchase things differently and we often do business differently too.

Like it or not, there are always roles and companies that seem to attract more women than men and vice versa. This is not to say that either does a role better than another, but there are certain sectors, such as HR and secretarial roles, that do seem to have a higher ratio of female employees than in sectors such as law and accountancy.

Times are definitely changing though. Women in the workplace have moved on from being minority players to majority players and have become decision makers across all levels within most organisations.

In fact, the 2012 Female FTSE Board Report by Cranfield Management states that 89 FTSE 100 companies now have women directors. And did you know that for the last 20 years women have started up more new businesses than men? In the US, 7.8 million businesses are also owned by women (say lots of websites).

Combine this with the fact that women are generally better at networking and resourcing (including shopping!) than men. Plus we use the Internet more often and are more likely to look for new connections and resources to give us the best help. Taking all of this into account so far, what does it take to market well to women?

Firstly, getting the language right is important. I feel that in too many business to business (B2B) communications the language used is very male targeted, and don’t even get me started on the imagery. It also really helps not to call her Mr or Sir! (“Dear Sirs” is so frequently used).

Maxine Marshall, deputy editor of B2B Marketing magazine says….

In the workplace, gender-based marketing could be very beneficial for certain brands. However, it is extremely difficult to get it right as it’s very easy to cause irritation and come across as patronising to females.

For example, in the workplace there are products used by both men and women, so to market those to women using stereotypical targeted marketing tactics could backfire. Unfortunately many women do tend to adopt a ‘male’ attitude in the workplace to help them progress.

There was a recent campaign targeted at female HR directors that I felt was particularly sexist and patronising. It personified a piece of software as a “sexy and straight-talking assistant” who the designers thought would appeal to the predominantly female community in HR. Take a look, would she appeal to you?

Women want to be seen doing a great job, working hard, and to feel proud of what they’ve achieved. They don’t want to be overlooked because of their sex, but I’m not sure they want to be recognised for it either. In business marketing it is necessary to be aware of the audience you’re trying to appeal to, but not to single them out too much.

What do you guys think? Do you feel gender-targeted marketing is a demographic that should be used in business, or do you think it’s just not necessary?

Is Royal Mail killing direct mail?

Zoe Maolmhaadhog SM1 Print Leave a comment   , , , , , ,

I can’t remember the last time I went to the post office or needed a stamp.  All my birthday and thank you cards I create online thanks to my favourite site jibjab.com. My love and complaint letters are emailed and I pay all my bills online.  What do I need a Post Office for?

Online purchase mistake it so happened to be. I had to return an item I thought was 10 times bigger (really must read the full descriptions on ebay) and how much?!? I remember a first class stamp costing 27p (that’s how long it’s been). Prices went up in April to ninety pence for a large letter. Nearly a whole pound! For an extra 20p I could get the bus and give it back to them myself!

It’s not just the common man these prices are going to affect. The Royal Mail has also very recently had a business postage increase, which is going to affect all users of direct mail. This highly effective marketing method (see January Blog) for getting your message right in front of new customers in their own homes could make businesses reconsider using it.

Last year in March 2012, Postal Regulator Ofcom announced that Royal Mail is now free to set it’s own prices under a new seven year framework, giving it the freedom to change prices and terms and conditions with no statutory notice requirement. Basically they’ve now got free rein on what they charge. Unlike before this change, commercial users of Royal Mail now have very little power to dispute how any price increases will affect their business and higher costs could potentially drive them away to use cheaper marketing alternatives.

So how much of a price increase am I talking about here? The Direct Marketing Association says business mail prices are going to increase between 8% and 20% and direct mail costs are going up between 1% and 5%. Lighter weight items are not increasing in price as much as heavier weight items. I should also point out these increases don’t include VAT. Shouldn’t Royal Mail be supporting UK business and helping to promote them given the current economic climate? Most marketing budgets these days are pretty tight. So thanks very much Royal Mail!

What does this mean for you and your business? Given what I’ve just told you, should you bother with direct mail anymore after these price increases? It is still a worthwhile marketing tool? Well we know that direct mail does work. The Royal Mail itself has research showing this, and on their website states that it improves a multi-media marketing campaign by 20%. A survey by One Post also found that three quarters of people are happy to receive direct mail. We’d rather not have the price increases at all but the good news is that discounts are available if your direct mail is classed as advertising mail, and there are also discounts for sending 3D mail, catalogues and large format acquisition mailings.

The Royal Mail door-to-door rate card can look complex. Working out the best direct mail plan for you can give you a headache! Especially figuring out if you qualify for discounts or not. With our knowledge and experience in this area, we can help you in creating the best direct mail campaign at the lowest possible price for your business. We can go through all the options available and come up with an effective plan.

What about Digital Marketing? Despite email, video and other forms of social media marketing being a growing method of advertising for newer companies, a survey by BIA/Kelsey found that older companies are actually increasing the amount they spend on more traditional methods of marketing, like direct mail.

What do you think about the Royal Mail price increases? Do you think direct mail is still worth using?

How green is your marketing?

Zoe Maolmhaadhog Print, SM1 Print, What We Do Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , ,

Hands up those of you who recycle at home? Hands up who’s sustainable at work? Hands up who cares? Come on admit it. I bet my bottom dollar there are some of you who don’t.

Being green is a thankless, imperceptible and quite frankly a strenuous task. We are guilt-ridden as our children learn that, if their parents don’t take action now, the whole world will look like an apocalyptic landfill by the time their offspring inhabit the earth. I had a very stern talking to last week when I put a sweet wrapper in the wrong bin. Won’t be doing that again!

Even if we wanted to be greener doesn’t it take time, research and our hard earned cash to even make the smallest of changes in the workplace?  For large corporations money isn’t so much of an issue and reputation is paramount for their success. But for the smaller organisations out there, without much spare cash about, without the resources to make these changes, it seems easier not to bother at all.

Shame on me. I’m sounding rather anti-green.  Most unheard of.  I’m not really though, I just get overwhelmed by it all and I’m little lost as to where to begin.

Unless you are a nihilist, deep down you know we should be doing something to help our planet. We spend enough time nurturing our own gardens, painting our walls in the latest Dulux trend and making sure our homes are nice and tidy because we want to live in a better environment.  Our planet is no different to our homes. It is our home.

With that positive attitude sitting on my shoulders I thought it wise to take advantage of my new job at SM1 Print Studio, who in 2012 were runners up in the Best Green Business Awards, and pick my General Managers brains to find out about the recycled paper we use for our clients print marketing.  “We don’t use recycled paper” he said. “We don’t?” I replied, thinking I really can’t be mouthing off about a greener planet when my own print company doesn’t use recycled paper.  “But why?” I trembled, my February blog topic slipping away from me, “Why?”.

Half an hour later I learnt that recycled paper isn’t very environmentally friendly at all. Who’d have thought? Apparently, there is much debate about the energy spent in taking it to the recycled bin, driving it to the plant, the chemicals used to strip the ink, the squishing and the squashing back to paper shape then the redistribution.

“And ….” said my GM, “After all that messing about the print quality of the recycled paper is so bad I’d never use it for my clients unless they specifically asked for it. The best use for recycled paper is packaging or loo roll”.

He then explained that what people should be doing (I’m going to change that to could) is using managed crops for paper instead.  So I took a look at the Forest Stewardship Council  and found out they have a global system that allows consumers to identify, purchase and use timber and forest products produced from well-managed forests.

Looking out for the FSC logo allows you to make a decision on the products that you buy and be confident that they are sustainable plus you can do your bit to buy what you need without damaging woodlands and forests.

As SM1 Print was already using FSC products I was doing fabulous green direct mailings (see January’s Blog) and didn’t even know it.  I was a very happy bunny.

So what next? What else can I do to get my ‘Green Marketing Activity Badge’? It’s all a little vague out there in the Googlesphere. What do you do for sustainable marketing? Do you even do? I’d  be really interested in finding out.

Tell me your green marketing practices via Twitter or on our Facebook page.

Print is dead, long live print

Zoe Maolmhaadhog SM1 Print Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m a little fed up with digital marketing. Well maybe fed up is the wrong word, its more bored with digital marketing. Yes it’s cutting edge. Yes it’s targeted and response driven (when done right) and apparently its saving the planet from the evils of direct mail.

But it’s just not doing it for me anymore. I want something different. I want….. print back. My name is Zoe and I’m a printaholic. There I’ve said it.

In fairness I’ve always had a bit of a paper fetish. Show me a stationery cupboard full of clean white paper and I’ll show you a smiley sideways face and don’t talk to me about Kindles. The Kindle and drugs are the two things that my son is not allowed to participate in until he is a 40 year old man with a mid-life crisis.

Now there are cynics amongst us that will say that I have switched allegiance just because I’m now the proud owner of the marketing manager title for SM1 Print Studio but having done my research and gorged myself on statistics I was very surprised at some of my findings.

According to Royal Mail in 2011 21.9 million UK adults took action due to direct mail. That’s impressive right? That’s over 48% of the population. Here’s another…. 9 out of 10 people open direct mail (FastMAP) and aiding the point I haven’t made yet, 49% of adults are more likely to open direct mail if they are intrigued by the package (British Market Research Bureau, 2010).

But the planet! The waste! My footprint! The horror! Well, for all those eco-warriors and vegans out there direct mail only accounts for 2.4% of land fill waste plus there’s a host of recycled paper, packaging and vegetable-based inks you can offset your carbon footprint with. More green tales in February’s blog.

Now especially for those cynics above, here’s a tiny incy wincy plug and my point in question, intriguing mail works. In January we ran a ‘Back to Work’ campaign aimed at showing off the possibilities of direct mail. We sent over 200 personalised pencil case shaped packages packed with goodies for your return to work. It was a fun campaign to run and we’ve received lots of interest with customers wanting to do something different for theirs.

But I wouldn’t be a good little marketer if I didn’t send a follow up email directing them to a purl landing page and why wouldn’t I?  Like any type of marketing, print works best when it’s part of a crossmedia campaign but an electronic pencil case just wouldn’t have cut it.

So give print a try, unleash your creativity and add direct mail to your marketing mix. And of course, use our clean white beautiful paper do it :-).

What would you send to your clients? Tweet us your ideas. I smell a competition brewing.

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