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How we get there….

Stuart reflects on a few things recently, working on some projects have made me realise that everyone expects the result, however, the route we achieve to gain the result has shifted somewhat.

First observation, the net product of the inputs gives the result. In the rush to get to whatever you’re trying to achieve, it’s so apparent that cutting corners doesn’t cut it. Being brought up in a proper print repro environment, with good design and carefully crafted materials to work with provided exceptional results. With clients expecting the results with smartphone photographs and “canva” generated artwork doesn’t hit the gold star result, yet the expectation rises to think this will work. It’s like building houses without foundations. What’s created at the beginning of the process matters. We’re the first to champion vector artwork and studio-grade photography, all with processes in place for managing colour, ensuring reproduction supreme.

Second observation, think, and devise the process in which you need your campaign to work within. It is truly scary when clients openly admit to not having their ducks in a row. The culture of digital communications almost makes them spray and pray and disposable. Print is a different beast. Its power lies within the capability to accelerate conversion through timely nudge. Digital creates a lot of noise, and how much is remembered? Can anyone truly define or answer this I’ll be impressed if they can? Print builds trust, creates longevity, and acts as a valuable point of reference when other touchpoints have long been forgotten. However, I will admit print is not a cheap tool in the marketing tool chest, with rising costs the physical element of marketing has also been hit along with everything else. So wise deployment is now even more essential. We’ve talked clients through cost reduction methods for brochures at exhibitions, which surprised them with the leverage they could harness in the process – just as one example.

Third observation, “baby out with the bath water”. The future is truly omnichannel. Not multi-channel, but smartly using CRM data to steer customer journey progression. Multi-channel is like Arnold Schwarzenegger firing his oozy nine-millimetre rapidly in the hope of conversion. Omni channel is a well-constructed domino track with each ready to knock on the next. With so few marketers using the “mix” of physical and digital, connected and using specific landing pages from print media with the right offering.

Importantly, the above takes planning. Firing rapid bullets as previously illustrated, purely costs in wasted effort. Which indirectly is wasted money. We’ve been rightly scuppered when one project curve balled us totally off schedule. The juggling to manage expectations certainly provided one heck of a challenge.

Do we learn? Do we apply what we’ve learnt? Has the “plan, act, review” cycle now become something of history like the other traditional skills? Or needs speed overtaken, quality, fit for purpose and good design now is something of the past.

Here at HAD-Print, it’s not just about the product, the journey is essential too. We’ve said before looking at the pedigree of your print service provider can tell you a lot. It is a craft trade, fewer people are now brought up proper with education and time served experience. You can have cheap and fast, however, the remaining element in the unattainable triangle will elude you, quality and getting it to the expectation and performance you expect. Being able to combine good print knowledge with marketing understanding is now part of the essential means of integrating physical calls to action into your customer journey.

Calendars

Calendars might be everywhere, but do they get attention? From your phone, desktop pc, outlook diary reminders and more. However, do they get attention? A small thing of aesthetics and function is great but something desirable will always get attention. From loveable puppies to landscapes, a wall calendar gets more than a passing glance.

Also, when it comes to promotional products, the impact of a wall calendar is significant, what other promotional item has a year-long exposure? So, if you’re looking for new promotional products, you can’t go wrong with wall calendars. Let’s start with the key points…

1. Builds Brand Awareness

There is no better promotional item to deliver the essence of your business than a wall calendar. It can subtly get the message across about your business or even provide timely tips. That allows you to present your brand in a unique, creative way that aligns with your image and values. Creative textual content on each leaf can be enough to make your customers smile when they look at it. Ensure that your calendar designs include your company’s name, logo, and contact information so that it’s visible at all times. 

2. Generates Goodwill

Gifts for clients are key to creating a positive engagement. Meaning and relevance are critical, functional and useful and will always have more kudos. Wall calendars are a  promotional item which achieves a lot. It’s a useful, thoughtful gift, it generates goodwill and develops brand loyalty. People build business relationships with businesses they know, like and trust.

3. It’s Practical and Useful

A calendar is an item that we all use every day, whether we notice it or not. It’s essential for a good organisation, especially if you’re running a business. So, wall calendars are not only an effective advertising tool but also a useful present. Crafting a business promotional calendar can achieve more, it’s not just a promotional tool, but a point of building presence and building trust between you and your customers.

4. Long-Term Exposure

For most people, there is a designated place on the wall for a calendar. When a calendar goes up in January, it usually stays there until December. Meaning your brand name and message will be around for the whole year. Not many promotional items provide exposure for such a long time relatively small investment. Also, keep in mind that the calendar will be seen not only by the recipient but also by anyone who comes to their home or office.

If you prefer something that’s in closer range, you may then opt for a desk calendar. Again as functional as a wall calendars, they can be placed in individual workspaces.

5. Physically Tangible

We live in a digital age and we’re used to all things virtual or online. However, a physical item creates a special interaction between the giver and the receiver making a tangible connection. Think about how many people still prefer to read physical books over e-books. That is also what makes calendars a powerful marketing tool. Your logo or branding won’t be a fleeting message like an Instagram story ad or a radio commercial. It will be physically present in your client’s homes, workplaces and everywhere else. Can you name something else which achieves year-round presence promoting your business and influencing their purchasing decisions?

6. Reciprocity is Contagious 

Everyone likes to receive gifts, especially when they’re unexpected. So, receiving a calendar for a current or potential client can create smiles. What’s more, it makes you more likeable. And if a client like you, they’re more likely to remember you and continue to do business with you. Also, think about where most calendars are placed — in an office or cubicle. Those are the places where people make business decisions, which makes them a perfect place for your calendar. One glance at it, and they’ll think of you!

7. Budget Efficient

Customised wall calendars seem like a more expensive gift than they are. In reality, they are pretty cost-effective, especially in comparison to other means of advertising, as they are targeted at existing customers for return business. In simple terms, if you took every client out for lunch, you’d spend more than the price of a calendar. They provide you with targeted brand exposure at an affordable price, wall calendars can be described as one of the most cost-effective promotional products.

8. Environmentally friendly

Calendars don’t need power to be used, we can source environmentally friendly papers, and establish credentials of paper used. Our toner ink is 95% compostable and coupled with a saddle stitch option, we can minimise the impact. Of course, when responsibly recycled, they re-enter the paper production cycle.

9. It’s Simple But Effective

A printed wall calendar is a simple item — no one has any questions about how to use a wall calendar. It does not need batteries, additional parts, or instructions. Unlike with promotional clothing items, there is no wrong size. What’s more, there’s no risk that your contact information or logo won’t fit, as you decide on the size of your calendars. It doesn’t break or tear easily, which means it will serve its purpose for a full year. Wall calendars don’t take up a lot of space. So, a wall calendar is an item that’s easy to distribute, and use. Plus it gets your business in front of your customers throughout the whole year.

10. Size, and scale format to fit all…

Your wall calendar can look however you want it to. Content to match your branding; pictures, message, colour schemes, layout, and size, it can be done! With us being a digital print house, we can produce to meet limited needs, through to volumes. From saddle-stitched options or wirobound, it’s up to you. Above all make sure your branding is where -your clients will be looking at this calendar for a whole year!

Learning from a day at a major exhibition

Stuart spent his Saturday at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC. However, probably spent more time looking at the stands than some of the contents.

The world of exhibitions certainly has changed. The need is still there, the challenges and environment are very different. However, scrimping isn’t the way forward. Even if you are taking small space, make the most of it. Not like one 3×3 shell scheme where 9 pull up banners and literature stands were rammed, but think through what your message is. Less is more as some say.

Stretched cloth graphic panels at the back.

Big themes are this year’s Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show were the presence of printed fabric in use for banners and point of sale. Yes at this show the need for built stands is less, so the construction and thought processes and probably different. However, the presence of printed fabrics, not just in hanging fabrics, stretch displays panels, dividers and feather flags, was one trend that showed the shift in trends over the last few years.

Hillside Leisure certainly created a good impression with this.

The most outstanding one surely goes to Hillside Leisure for its stunning retro-themed stand. Where styling and design can create an impact that sets the tone of your business superbly. Utilising a stand designer to create such immersive visual experiences which tie together your branding, really shows this off as a pedigree in their marketplace. Plus it set the tone for the products, in the form of wonderful motorhomes.

For every highlight, you see cardinal sins against presentation, scruffy scrim banners loosely hanging on shell schemes. Firstly, if this was your business think about first impressions, that’s why you’re at a major show! The 11-second rule applies every time – people seriously make their minds up that quickly if they want to look and talk to you. 

So even if you make a basic floor plan and wall plans and think through what you have, what your messages are and be concise, it’s all about attracting people to your stand! If you have a plan and objectives getting a design professional to input is then easy as this forms the brief. Simple inputs can make a big impression, as one Foundry business we’ve been working with recently has discovered, including materials and ease of doing. 

If you are serious, exploring all the options around exhibiting at events should be considered. Talking to a stand designer like Wayne at Clarke Concepts will stand you in good stead for making informed decisions about maximising your impact and return on investment.

Canny tip… If you are utilising a smaller space nothing is stopping you from using the height to grab attention. A feather flag in these situations is a great tool for the job. Perhaps it goes with the territory with outdoor businesses maximising their display assets, but they worked well indoors, with plenty seen throughout the 5 halls. 

Use of Feather Flags for height.

The impact of environmental awareness is slowly creeping in. Great to see show signage now on thick corrugated stock which makes it fully recyclable. However, still, there is a lot more to be done to bring better environmental standards to exhibitions. Especially as some of the build practises need to incorporate more recycling and reuse, as the commercial standards or speed and time is money dictate how things are done.

As with any marketing opportunity like this is a major investment, making sure you get it right is so important. Savvy spending is an essential start if you’re new to exhibiting at events. However, if you’re a seasoned pro, the whole “plan implement review” cycle is still so important. When was the last time you properly reviewed? Things have shifted significantly over the last few years, not just with the pandemic but with technology and trends.

Why partner with us for your exhibition presence? A rounded approach, from stand to collateral and apparel, total solutions. We work with stand designers/builders, marketers, photographers, videographers and a lot more allied trades to bring together a rounded package, which will perform.





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