Tuesday, July 28, 2020

5 Thoughtful Strategies for Advertising During the Pandemic




If you’re like many people, you’ve probably been more conservative in your spending lately.

Recent research shows that, during the pandemic, many people were rationing food to save on expenses and grocery runs, and 23% of people were eating more plant-based meals. Discretionary spending has decreased, and consumers are shifting to digital solutions and reduced-contact channels to receive services.

On a larger scale, consumers worldwide say they expect the pandemic to affect their routines or spending for at least two to four months.

A Shift in Content and Scope

In recent months, many companies have shifted the scope and content of their marketing efforts as well.

Instead of pushing products and promotions, proactive businesses have focused on building relationships and adding humanness to their brand, including inspirational direct mail newsletters, heartfelt emails, and down-to-earth videos.

In one example, eBay championed small businesses that power the nation with its “Stronger as One” ad. Other companies highlighted safety changes and customer convenience options, like this “Call In / Pull In / Pick Up” curbside delivery ad:
“During these challenging times, we are here for you. We are making changes moment by moment to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. And what matters most is doing this together, for the community that we all call home.”

A Vision for Marketing Beyond COVID-19

Beyond connecting and empathizing, what is next for marketing beyond coronavirus?

For starters, you’ll need a commitment to move forward. Research shows that 92% of consumers believe brands need to keep advertising. Ads offer people a glimpse at a prosperous future or something hopeful to look forward, and your marketing gives people a welcome taste of distraction, entertainment, and normalcy.

Also, if the firms competing against you have lowered their ad output, now is a great time for you to invest more. As others scale back, your ads are more visible, allowing you to gather leads with a lower cost-per-acquisition.

And even if the economy seems shaky, pulling back now may actually lengthen the time it takes you to recover. If you need to tighten expenses, don’t turn off your marketing. Instead, look at ways you can rethink intake, client services, or business expenses in general.

Need some concrete marketing ideas? Here are five types of ads to consider:

1. A Product Focus

Showcase how your product is safe, accessible, or helps people strengthen their health or physical well-being.

2. A People Focus

Show prospects you care about them and that your business is standing with them during this time. This Fitbit ad offers its premium package for 90 days to help people work out at home, manage stress, and eat and sleep better during COVID-19: “Thank you for doing what you can. We’re all in this together.”

3. A Values Focus

Here you might feature positive company values or champion the solidarity and togetherness of your community.

4. A Nostalgia Focus

When things feel uncertain, old songs or vintage photos can bypass the brain and connect straight to the heart.

5. A Humor Focus

While being sensitive to people’s pain, you can still connect with your audience through humor during challenging seasons. Encourage people to laugh at their weaknesses or make the most of this strange season, like this Ben & Jerry’s “Netflix and Chill’d” campaign.

Though it may seem counterintuitive to up your print output today, now is the time to invest in a strong comeback after COVID-19.

With today’s carefully crafted message, you can ahead of shifting customer needs and shape people’s long-term expectations. As your partner in print, we are open, and we are ready to help! Contact us today to visit more.

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures  #printpowersamerica  #PromotionalMerchandise  #FaceMasks   #BrandedApparel

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Overcome Nervousness in Your Video-Conference Meetings




If you were called to stand up and give an impromptu speech, would you flourish or would you flee?

One of the world’s richest men said he used to be so scared of public speaking that he was “terrified of getting up and saying [his] name.” Warren Buffett spent most of his college years avoiding courses with group speaking elements, and even signed up for a public speaking course but dropped out at the last minute.

Beating Back the Butterflies

Glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, is believed to affect at least 75 percent of the population.

From small butterflies to full-on panic, public speaking causes many to tremble. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that some people report that they fear public speaking more than death, so “if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy!”

With the 2020 pandemic thrusting us into a new world of virtual meetings, this discomfort can be amplified. Professors and teachers around the world report teaching to dark blank squares, as students turn off cameras and “hide” from their cohorts.

In real-life groups, we don’t feel the same pressure to perform socially as we might through online platforms. Experts say that 15 percent of our communication is done verbally, and 85 percent is sent through body language, so the extra effort it takes to engage through socially distant meetups can be especially stressful.


How can you overcome this discomfort? Here are recommendations from the pros:

Adjust Your Camera at Eye Level

Don’t have the webcam pointed up at you, or you’ll offer teammates a revealing glance at your nose hairs or double chin.

Eye to eye is the best, so even if it feels weird, try to look directly at the camera (straight ahead) as you speak. If necessary, stack books under your device until your webcam is eye level.

Look at Others While You Listen

Perhaps you’re distracted by seeing yourself onscreen and feel more self-conscious as a result.
Adjust your lighting and image touch-ups at the start of a meeting, then do your best to look at others, not yourself.

Treat the Meeting Like an Ordinary Group Discussion

Forget the idea that a video meeting can make or break you.

Treat these like ordinary conversations or casual brainstorming sessions. Speak in a relaxed tone, act like yourself, and show engagement by nodding, leaning forward to listen, or tilting your head to “give them your ear.”

Practice an “Others First” Mindset

During public speaking, you feel “all eyes” watching you.

This can be painfully vulnerable, like a caveman exposed in daylight. While you may want to shrink back, calm your anxiety by focusing on your desire to encourage others. Sarah Gershman, President of Green Room Speakers, says this:
“The key to disarming our organic panic button is to turn the focus away from ourselves — away from whether we will mess up or whether the audience will like us — and toward helping the audience.
“Studies have shown that . . . showing kindness and generosity to others has been shown to activate the vagus nerve, which has the power to calm the fight-or-flight response. When we are kind to others, we feel calmer and less stressed. The same principle applies in public speaking. When we approach speaking with a spirit of generosity, we counteract the sensation of being under attack and start to feel less nervous.”
Before you chime in to share, make small bullet points of what you want to contribute, so you are focused on connection and less critical of your own, awkward voice.

Finally, building confidence takes time. Each time you participate, push yourself to do a bit more.  Unlearning self-conscious thoughts and fears won’t kill you. But it will take practice! So what better time to try?

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures  #printpowersamerica  #PromotionalMerchandise  #FaceMasks   #BrandedApparel


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Pack Extra Meaning into Your Message with Strategic Color Combinations




Of all the elements of design, color is probably the most challenging to understand.

Color originates from a light source that is viewed directly or seen as reflected light. While colors can be displayed in spectrums, prisms, or contrasts, the power of colors is not only in their arrangement, but in the way we perceive them.

Want to add depth to your message? The colors you choose can add an extra layer of meaning.

Colors Prompt a Specific Response

According to Sally Augustin from Psychology Today, research shows that particular colors can prompt measurable responses.


Here are the impacts of five particular colors, and how you can use them to your advantage:

Green

Seeing the color green has been linked to more creative thinking—so greens are good options for pieces featuring innovation, creativity, artistic specialties, or proactive growth.

Red

People featured in front of red backgrounds are generally seen as more attractive when silhouetted against other colors, so reds are great for photo backdrops, booklet covers, headshots, and more.

Having a red surface in view also gives people a burst of strength, so reds are good choices for concepts related to fitness, acceleration, competition, and courage.

Violet

People tend to link greyish violet with sophistication, so these hues can be a good selection for places where you’re trying to make a stylish impression.

Try subtle violet/grey hues in designs for home apparel, personal products, product labels, and more.

Yellow 

Yellow is associated with joy, happiness, optimism, and energy.

This color stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy. Yellows are great for stimulating appetite, implying freshness, or for conveying warmth. Yellow also screams for attention, so you can use it to grab interest. Avoid overdoing it by adding yellow in contrast with another color.

Blue

Did you know that people are more likely to tell you that blue is their favorite color than any other shade?

Blue is a great choice for design, especially with so many shades to choose from! Nature-themed blues can call forth feelings of calmness or serenity, and are perfect for striking a tranquil tone.

Turquoise or royal blues can project stability and reliability, which is strategic for brands that want to communicate productivity or security.

One caution about blue: it is not very appetizing. In the world of cuisine, humans are geared toward avoiding blue as it is often a sign of poison or spoilage. Some weight loss plans even recommend eating your food off a blue plate to squelch hunger!

Color Your Communication

Color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, sway emotions, and even influence physiological reactions.

The right use of colors can play an important role in conveying information, creating moods, and influencing the decisions people make. Be strategic and add extra meaning to your message with dynamic, powerful color combinations.



To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing or Branded Merchandise and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail  #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures  #printpowersamerica  #PromotionalMerchandise  #PPE   #BrandedApparel





Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Customer Service Stories to Make Your Heart Smile




“Well done is better than well said.” (Benjamin Franklin)

After months of social distancing, today, people are craving a personal touch more than ever. Companies that go the extra mile remind us of an important truth: people are valuable. Businesses that genuinely care about their customers will express it, and clients will reciprocate with a loyalty that lasts.

Looking for inspiration? Here are three heart-warming stories.

Lego Understands Children


Losing a toy can be devastating to a child.

Lego recognized this and personalized their response in an unforgettable way. When Luka Apps lost his favorite Lego figure (Ninjago’s “Jay ZX”) while shopping, he wrote an apology letter to Lego, begged for a replacement, and said his father had warned him about taking Legos outside.

Lego didn’t just replace Jay; they surprised Luka with something special. A customer service rep named Richard responded quickly, telling Luka he had talked to (Ninjago Spinjitzu Master) Sensei Wu:
“He told me to tell you, ‘Luka, your father seems like a very wise man. You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu.’ Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan.

“So, I hope you enjoy your Jay minifigure with all his weapons. You will actually have the only Jay minifigure that combines 3 different Jays into one! I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight! Just remember, what Sensei Wu said: keep your minifigures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu! And of course, always listen to your dad.”
Richard’s response was so creative it went viral. Lego surprised Luke and won the hearts of families worldwide.

B. Dalton: Placing Customers Above Competition


Is your company truly focused on customer satisfaction?

B. Dalton (a bookseller later acquired by Barnes and Noble) was famous for its relentless customer care. One Christmas, a mother was shopping for a book her son requested. An employee scanned the computer and found the desired book was in stock but still packed.

After unsuccessfully searching the storeroom, the employee returned with an apology. Disappointed by her inability to help, the worker then called a competing retailer, reserved the book for the customer, and printed directions to the other store. Reader DD Moffitt was stunned by this consideration. While B. Dalton missed the sale that day, it gained DD’s loyalty for life.

Trader Joe’s: Turning a Problem into a Party


One evening, a mother and son were grabbing groceries at Trader Joe’s.

The boy (as boys are known to do) was bouncing off the walls. He ran loose from his mother, escaped to another aisle, and almost ran over an employee. The embarrassed mother moved quickly to apologize, but the employee said they were all used to it, and that shopping with children was kind of like “a dance party on the floor.”

With that, he started dodging and grooving and called several fellow employees to jam along.
They asked the shy child to join in the freezer section party, and soon the whole store was laughing. By making light of a tough situation, Trader Joe’s made this an unforgettable day.

It’s All About People


Business is about relationships, and customer service stories are wonderful because they illustrate kindness in action and spark new ideas.

Enjoy these illustrations and allow them to inspire you to take your own service to a higher level.


To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures  #printpowersamerica  #PromotionalMerchandise  #PPE   #BrandedApparel

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Marketing Messages that Connect During a Crisis





We are in a totally different world right now.

Many of us are working from home and the future seems hazy. Perhaps you’re struggling to make decisions about staffing or future projects. But like a forest fire restarts growth, crisis moments can bring a new birth for your business. And that starts with how you communicate with customers.

Others-Focused Communication

In our unending-news-cycle world, much of what we hear seems like noise.

But now, more than ever, it is crucial for you to connect with people in meaningful ways. Want to send business messages that are well received? Use an OTHERS-centered paradigm.


O = ONE

Write for one person.

When you craft a message, imagine yourself speaking to one specific client. Pick out a single buyer and pretend you’re writing only for them. This helps you ditch the sanitized corporate-speak and makes your reader the focus of your message (rather than you!).

People connect to messages that are specific, personal, and conversational.


T = TRANSPARENCY

Embrace transparency to become relatable.

People may admire you for your strengths, but they connect with you through your weaknesses. Vulnerability ushers in humility and makes you instantly relatable to your audience. Transparency means letting people know how your business is doing or what has changed for you during this taxing season. You don’t have to air all your dirty laundry, just take an open, communicative posture. Now is not the time to go silent!


H= HELPFUL

Speak to their needs, not your own.

What messages are most helpful to your customers at this time? While you could send a five-star handwashing tutorial, perhaps what is needed is advice to parents on talking to their kids, or how your company is adding flexibility to meet customer needs.

Don’t be afraid to push others to success. If your clients seem fearful or tentative, perhaps your encouragement will be the fuel they need to get back in the game or to push a stalled project to completion.


E = EMPATHETIC

Make their problem your problem.

Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget what you said, people forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

How does your messaging make people feel? Does it sound hard or templated? Or does it communicate true concern and a willingness to help? Your tone should sound something like this: “If it’s your problem, it’s my problem too, and we’ll work together to find a solution.”


R = RELEVANT

Timing matters.

The relevance of your messaging applies not only to its topic but its timing. Sending pre-scheduled content with no regard to how it will land during hardships is a sure way to demonstrate you’ve lost touch with your base. Reach out to customers and find out how they’re doing, then adapt your messages accordingly.


S = SINCERE

If you say or do something, mean it!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often people talk just to hear their own voices. Using content just to fill space will strike people as stale and insincere. Instead, go out of your way to be helpful and kind without seeking a reward for doing so.

What Social Distance Can’t Overpower


Since you may not see customers directly for weeks to come, today is the time to make your website and print materials as “social distancing” friendly as possible.

By focusing on others with a relatable, helpful approach, you’ll connect with people one by one in ways that are sincere and inspiring. And nothing is more effective than that.


To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through print and promotion communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures  #printpowersamerica  #PromotionalMerchandise  #PPE   #BrandedApparel

Monday, April 20, 2020

Printers Added to Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers











Printers Added to Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers by Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency


Pittsburgh, PA—Printers and packagers have been specifically included as essential workers in the updated Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) released on April 17, 2020. Printing Industries of America (PIA) petitioned the agency to recognize printing and packaging's essential nature along with the myriad of printed materials necessary to support the nation’s other critical infrastructure sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 40 states and numerous localities have enacted stay-at-home orders, many of which direct closures of non-essential businesses. While CISA’s guidance is not law nor a binding government regulation, it serves as an important benchmark by providing a standard definition of essential workers and encourages adoption by governors, county officials, and mayors. CISA estimates that approximately 75 percent of states have adopted its guidelines to create a more harmonious approach to determining which types of businesses remain open.

Earlier versions of the CISA guidance implied printing and packaging companies were essential as part of critical manufacturing supply chains, but absent an explicit definition, PIA member companies have faced confusion or work stoppages as individual states and municipalities issued a patchwork of stay-at-home orders. In several cases, print was excluded by certain states and the industry was forced to petition governors to amend the original order. This process has created havoc for the industry, its employees, and customers.

“From the onset of this pandemic, PIA’s member companies have sought to strike a delicate balance between remaining operational to support other critical infrastructure sectors while protecting public health and ensuring workplace safety," said Michael Makin, President & CEO of Printing Industries of America.  "The CISA guidance will help ensure that the 700,000 print and packaging workers in supply chains supporting critical manufacturing sectors can remain an essential part of the American workforce."

“On behalf of PIA, the leading trade association representing the printing, packaging, mailing, and graphic communications industries, I would like to thank CISA for its extensive stakeholder outreach and collaboration during this unprecedented and tense time," said Makin. “America relies on print in times of national emergency, and print will proudly support our nation’s infrastructure and economy as we look hopefully toward recovery.”

Printing Industries of America is the largest national trade association dedicated to graphic communications with more than 6,000 member companies throughout North America, PIA, along with its local affiliated associations, delivers services and products that enhance the knowledge, growth and profitability of members through advocacy, research, education, and networking.

#PrintPowersAmerica


To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma helps organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.

To address climate change, we must use more wood, not less.
Dr. Patrick Moore, Co-Founder, Greenpeace

Monday, March 23, 2020

USPS system depends critically on the mailing and printing industry to maintain essential services






March 22, 2020


To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is to provide information regarding the functions being performed by the mailing and printing industry in support of the essential government services being provided by the United States Postal Service to the American people. 

The Postal Service’s provision of postal services throughout the United States is not affected by State and local government actions that are restricting commercial and personal activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Postal Service is an entity of the Federal Government, and the provision of postal services to the American people is designated as an essential function under federal law during times of emergency. The postal system is used to deliver, among other things, important governmental information and benefits, mail that is essential to the functioning of our economy, elections materials, and packages containing vital necessities, including medicines and other goods, and is a part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.  

Postal and shipping workers, including those in the private sector, are also considered essential critical infrastructure workers under recent guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  White House and CDC guidance has also stated that such industries have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedules.  
 
The functioning of the postal system depends critically on the mailing and printing industry. Members of the mailing and printing industry work with the public and private sector to create, print, and enter essential mail into the postal system. The industry also serves a vital role in ensuring that packages are able to be efficiently shipped from sender to recipient.      

Therefore, the Postal Service considers that the continued operations of the mailing and printing industry in enabling the delivery of critical mail and packages is vital to the Postal Service’s continued performance of its essential functions.