Printed Banners Work for Upcoming Events

Vertical Banner Design, Signboard

Promoting your event in your community without a large budget can feel like an overwhelming task.

While there are plenty of things that you can do with unlimited budgets such as billboards, printed mailings or even postcards, the larger items can be costly and mailings take a bit longer than you may have to publicize your upcoming event.

As a community events coordinator for the local YMCA, Danny L. knew that he needed suggestions for his frequent activities that would bring in additional funds for local groups without breaking the bank.

Raising Awareness (and Dollars!)

From fundraisers for local families experiencing medical challenges to Daddy/Daughter dances at the “Y”, there is no end to the number of events in the community on a monthly basis.

The YMCA has a long history of supporting the community by offering reduced-cost monthly fees and other support mechanisms. However, they are not able to financially support the needs of these worthy groups for promotion in any meaningful way. Instead, any promotional dollars would need to come from the group — and they are generally running on an incredibly tight budget that makes advertising difficult. The tremendous good that is done on a daily and weekly basis through community walks or 5k runs, pancake breakfasts and other fundraisers is significant, but without publicity, the scope of these events is very limited.

Go Where the People Are

Danny realized while looking at a yard sale sign on a busy corner one day that there was a better way to get out the word on upcoming events — banners!

He tested his theory and had an inexpensive banner printed for an upcoming event. He then asked people who attended the event how they learned about it. Surprisingly, quite a few mentioned that the banner prompted them to drop in for a few moments and make a donation! Ever since that time, Danny has been using large printed banners placed in strategic locations throughout the city to drive traffic and interest in upcoming events. He found that placing them approximately two weeks before the event worked best, as people were able to plan ahead to visit, and then also were reminded to come closer to the event.

Creating the banner was very straightforward, and involved Danny sketching out the times and dates as well as a quick call to action that described the event. He found that there was only a little information that could be placed on the banner without it becoming overwhelming for people to read. Let CCPRESS.NET, Inc. help you create a banner for your upcoming event today! 410-574-0780.

Advertisements

The Communication of Change

Hand flip wooden cube with word "change" to "chance", Personal development and career growth or change yourself concept

Keys to Meaningful Change

The oil crises of the 1970s rocked many industry giants, including the transportation industry.

In 1981, British Airways was reeling from massive financial losses and a reputation for terrible service. Nearing meltdown, the airline brought on a new chairperson, Lord King, who quickly spotlighted three areas where the company was operating inefficiently: careless spending, disorganized staffing, and inadequate communication. King’s leadership quickly produced results. After only ten years, the company became the largest airline in the UK, reporting the highest profits in its industry ($284 million, to be exact!).

What was the key to this turnaround?

Large-scale organizational change. King made major structure changes, including a reduced workforce (from 59,000 to 39,000), elimination of unprofitable routes, modernization of the existing fleet, and marketing upgrades to revamp the airline’s image.

Did King make these massive changes by crossing his fingers and wishing for the best? Hardly. British Airlines combined accurate research with a clear strategy that informed their decisions and overcame resistance.

Discontentment: The Shadow Side of Success

One thing King had in his favor was discontentment, which was at an all-time high.

While many of us believe contentment is key to a happy life, sometimes pain (including frustration with “business as usual”), is a gateway to greater fulfillment. Experts find that a shadow side of successful people is this common personality trait: they struggle with perpetual discontentment. Forbes columnist Brianna Weist says this:

“There is a difference between people who are content and people who are successful, and it is because the latter push themselves whereas the former tries to sustain the status quo. Without a certain measure of growth or expansion, the human mind gets bored, or tired. This will, eventually, lead to a tipping point at which the content person becomes discontent… and then change is made.”

Change as a Formula

Pain moves us: to make radical shifts, to take risks we wouldn’t otherwise consider, and to get the full potential out of life.

Dissatisfaction, combined with a skill set and action plan, can be the most essential agent for change. But far-reaching change can be tricky to maneuver, requiring precise timing and a thoughtful strategy.

Organizational change experts David Gleicher and Kathie Dannemiller coached change strategists with a model that looks something like this:

  • If change were a formula, it is this: “D * V * PF > R” (Dissatisfaction * Vision * Preferred Future > Resistance)
  • Dissatisfaction paired with a vision for a preferred future motivates people to overcome resistance to change.
  • To catalyze change, an idea or product must possess a clear path for a breakthrough while fanning the flame of frustration with the current state of being. If the product of those three factors is greater than the existing resistance, change will occur.

What This Means For Your Business

It means you can relax, even when people are unhappy!

Intentionally listen to your employees and customers and consider rising frustration as the first step to positive change. Use the change model to evaluate whether the time is right to communicate early steps towards meaningful shifts. Find healthy networks or professional development opportunities where you can reflect on industry trends, process leadership ideas, and analyze competitors to identify areas of opportunity.

Finally, cut yourself some slack if you feel irritated with your own areas of personal frustration. Great futures can come from great pain, so allow your dissatisfaction to chart a course toward exciting new destinations. You’ve got this!

4 Strategies for Crafting Unforgettable Content (Part 3)

Shocked man holding some documents

In the age of visual brilliance and short-lived attention spans, sometimes we wonder if content really counts. But no matter how glamorous the graphics, they simply cannot stand alone. (Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto, right?) Today, we’re looking at part three of this question: How do you write exceptional copy? Content that commands attention, arouses interest, or compels people to action? Last week, we discussed slogans and sensory appeal. Today we’ll consider one final, fun technique.

4. Jaw-Dropping Surprises

Remember the “no way!” stunner at the end of The Usual Suspects? Kevin Spacey shakes off his signature limp and strides to freedom as his police interrogator gradually realizes Spacey is a mastermind killer who lied brilliantly for hours. Or remember how your jaw dropped when Darth Vader revealed he was Luke’s father? While these movie plots were phenomenal, the surprise factor was what drove them home.

That same principle applies in writing. As Chip and Dan Heath discuss in their book “Made to Stick,” our brains filter out consistency to focus on differences. Marketing “surprises” may include splashy headlines, shocking graphics that bring your message to life, or a story that encapsulates a core message.

In 2009, copywriter James Chartrand of a prominent website design company “Men with Pens,” dropped a bombshell on the writing world with this plot twist:

“Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants.”

Chartrand went on to reveal that SHE was actually a (literal) woman, a woman who had previously struggled as a freelance writer and single mom. As she labored to gain credibility, she decided to experiment with a male pseudonym, and quickly found her blog in Micheal Stelzner’s list of the Top Ten Blogs for Writers. Chartrand’s biography post was brilliant, authentic, and fun. But the surprise factor (that “he” was really a “she”) was the kicker that kept people talking about the company for years.

While you may not be able to drop a bombshell in all your copy, you can upend reader expectations in three other ways:

First, break the norm whenever you can. Offer unconventional advice, provide simple techniques or little-known shortcuts, or use angles you would normally avoid (like blatant typos in upscale literary magazines like we mentioned in part one). In life, and especially in art, people crave the unexpected. Surprise people consistently and you will be rewarded!

Second, defy expectations. Writers can do this is with odd pairings or disrupted patterns. For example, serene words like spa, relax, and peace can be disrupted by words like devastate or scandalize. Avoid traditional clichés (knight in shining armor, white as snow) in favor of words that overhaul expectations. A spa ad could feature odd word combinations like scandalizing serenity, gluttonous, self-gratification, or services that are devastatingly delicious. Surprise them as you shatter clichés or use tonal dissonance that is abrasive to the ears.

Finally, build a logical flow and then intentionally disrupt it. Check out these “surprise factor” car advertisements that perfectly illustrate the point. A romance spoiled. A hero thwarted. Ridiculous ideas grab us as things are placed out of context (like dogs driving a car). As you watch these clips, consider what you thought was going to happen versus what actually happened. Pay attention to the emotion you experienced when the surprise was unveiled. Did you enjoy it? Of course you did! And you’ll remember it longer as a result.

Whether it’s a plot twist, shattered clichés, or unexpected humor, readers crave fresh content and they will thank you for providing it. Now go create some surprises of your own!

Four Savvy Strategies for Crafting Unforgettable Content (Part 2)

typed words on a Vintage Typewriter

Have you hit a slow spot in your print or online marketing? Need a boost to garner fresh vision? In this three-part series, we’ll examine hands-on tools to enliven imagination. Today, we’ll focus on part two of this question: How do you write content that commands attention or sticks with people for months to come? Last week, we discussed “matching the media and the message.” Today we’ll consider two more simple strategies.

2. Saturate the Senses

One way to arouse interest is appealing to the senses. Strive to write content that paints a strong scene in your reader’s mind. Make your message easy to pull from memory by tying it to a taste, sight, smell, sound, story, or a triggering word association.

KIT KAT chocolate bars nailed this in 2007, celebrating the simple delights of candy and coffee. Known for its “break me off a piece of the KIT KAT bar” slogan, the company paired an image of coffee, a KIT KAT, and these words: “A break’s best friend.” Ad copy extolled the joy of life’s small rewards, so blending coffee and KIT KATs was like “getting two breaks in one.”

KIT KAT radio ads were perfectly timed during the listener’s morning commute or lunch breaks, and the word association of coffee breaks and chocolate made mouths water. After twelve months, KIT KAT experienced a double-digit sales growth and received national recognition for years to come.

McDonald’s awakened appetites through a short message paired with romantic, artful visuals. During summer months when nightlife blossoms, the company wanted to remind customers that late night is a great time for a snack, and McDonald’s was now open past midnight. Ads featured blurred, out-of-focus points of light, glowing together to depict a Big Mac, sundae, and crispy fries. Like a dreamy Eiffel Tower scene, the images reinforced two simple words: “Open Late.”

As you look to saturate their senses with your own hard-hitting content, here are some tips to consider:

  • Use words that show, don’t tell. Be as vivid and descriptive as possible, allowing them to vicariously experience your product or its benefits, rather than just “hearing” about these advantages.
  • Paint a picture. Use adjectives that include savory details of sights, smells, and sounds to draw them in.
  • Give specific, concrete advice. Move from vague concepts to helpful takeaways.
  • Wrap any message you can in an upbeat, moving, or suspenseful story.

3. Coin a Contagious Catchphrase

“Just do it.”

“Breakfast of champions.”

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.”

“Finger-lickin’ good.”

Like that jingle that rattles around your brain for months, a sticky slogan is a powerful way to influence customers. Why do great slogans matter? Because taglines are memorable, they differentiate the brand, and they stay relevant over a long period of time. Slogans offer a concise phrase or idea people will immediately associate with your product.

As you shape your own contagious catchphrase, consider questions like this:

  • What is your product about?
  • Can you encapsulate your message into a memorable phrase or title?
  • What unique perspective or technique does your brand offer?
  • What need or concern can you address? What real-life problem can your product solve?
  • Is there a “Eureka” factor you can highlight? What hard-hitting verbs, colorful adjectives, or real-life situations best capture these “Aha!” insights?

Once you’ve settled on a memorable phrase, feature it prominently, consistently, and with fantastic visuals to bring it to life!

Looking for more motivation to keep your copy fresh? Join us again soon as we discuss tips and tricks for producing content that counts.

Change Your Scenery, Change Your Outlook

Company coworkers working in office and sharing new ideas

On the sixth floor of a Boston office building, a sprawling Art Deco lounge gives way to a row of small, glass-walled offices. While the offices seem identical, the residents are not. As you stroll down the hall, you’ll encounter data scientists developing smart-home technology, tech rooms packed with drones and virtual reality headsets, a venture capital start-up, or even employees of Amazon, General Electric, or Liberty Mutual insurance. What do they have in common? A desire to change scenery and synergy through shared office space.

“Moving out of the corporate office empowered us to think and work differently,” said Adam L’Italien, Liberty Mutual’s director of innovation.

While Liberty wasn’t short on space, three years ago the company moved its Boston-based innovation center to a rent-by-the-month office space called “WeWork.” WeWork is one player in a co-working explosion in Boston. Since the start of 2017, co-working operators have leased 1.3 million square feet of office space for collaborative bullpens that attract smart young workers. Collaborative spaces offer employees the flexibility to work remotely, ease in moving around the city (versus locking into a longer lease), and the creative energy co-working can bring. Ann Smarty of Entreprenuer says this:

“Co-working allows you the opportunity to network and collaborate with a wide range of bright minds. Proximity gives you the chance to ‘pick the brains’ of professionals in your own line of work as well as those in related fields. Working across the desk from someone with a completely different skill set can help you discover a new source of ideas . . . (and) you might find your brain is starting to work in different ways, too! Taking the risk to invite others to work alongside you breathes new life into the creation process and shows in the finished product.”

Relationships: Our Most Valuable Resource

Whether it’s networking or collaborating, we know that together we can achieve things we never would alone. Business is constantly changing, and collaboration can shape insightful new perspectives. So where does meaningful networking fall in your list of professional priorities?

A recent LinkedIn study revealed that 70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a previous connection. But while 80 percent of professionals consider networking to be important to career success, 38 percent said they find it hard to stay in touch with their network.

What is one natural, rewarding way to overcome this obstacle? Doing business locally.

While it can be difficult to plug into regular networks or co-working opportunities, connected local communities are a great avenue for inspiration, feedback, and opened doors in the future. And vibrant local business relationships are a refreshing antidote to the isolation of the daily grind!

The Best Business is Born From Relationships

They say your “net worth” is only as good as your “network”. Local business partnerships foster a thriving business community that empowers us to grow in our goals, to collaborate on custom solutions, and to connect with important relationships and resources. It is our privilege to serve you, building a trusted partnership so that your print experience is better every time.

As you print here at home, we guarantee timely, best quality work from a printer who personally knows your product preferences, your past print specs, and the tailor services you’ve come to enjoy. As a bonus, staying networked with local businesses is thought-provoking, energy-boosting, and empowering! We enjoy our clients and look forward to great conversations with you this year. Thank you for your business. We are ready to serve you at 410-574-0780.

Printed Reminders Keep Sales on Track

Calendar Concept with a red pin

Remembering to go to the doctor or dentist’s office was much simpler back in the day when nearly everyone had a printed calendar. You would go home after a visit and immediately add your next visit to your calendar. The complexities of life today means that it can be tough to keep track of everything, even if you’re putting follow-up visits in your smartphone. The cost of a missed office visit can really add up over time, causing professionals to lose thousands of dollars per year. The tiny cost of creating a simple printed reminder that can be saved to your patients’ fridge provides an extra touch point for busy individuals.

Improved Experiences

Improving the experience of patients in today’s competitive environment may mean the difference between a growing and robust practice and one that dwindles away over the years. One physician’s office saw the benefits firsthand when Dr. Marcus L. decided to implement small printed reminders for his patients. As a family health practitioner, Dr. Marcus would often require follow-up visits with patients after their blood work was returned to review their results. Many patients would forget about this check-point, costing his staff time and money due to blank spots in their schedules with no billable time.

Boosting Revenue

Dr. Marcus was already working with a local print shop on some flyers for an upcoming health fair, and his account manager heard his woes and recommended a short-term test of some printed reminders. Dr. Marcus agreed and printed up a 3 month supply of the small reminders for his staff to pass out to patients. What he discovered after that test period was quite surprising! His staff helped track the number of empty slots. He discovered that there were 25% fewer empty slots on his schedule due to the reminders!

Printed reminders help keep patients and staff on track with follow-up visits for doctors and dentists — and could benefit many other professional offices as well! Think hairdressers, aestheticians . . . the list is endless!

 

How to Bring in Trade Show Traffic

Visitors among the stands of companies.

Picture this: it’s three weeks before your next trade show, and you’re no closer to formulating a plan of attack. Last year, the public milling about your booth was polite but lackluster. Your IT business may not be the most exciting one at the trade show, but you know you can do better. The good news is that you can. Here are some unique things you can combine with your print marketing efforts for maximum trade show results:

Look for Ways to Be Different

A company in Los Angeles called Finders Key Purse found they got the notice they wanted at trade shows by thinking slightly outside the box. Their product was aimed to make it easier for women to find their keys in their overflowing purses. Because they wanted to market their product primarily to college women, they decided to dress up as cheerleaders to make their booth both themed and identifiable.

The tactic had nothing to do with looking like a group of sorority sisters. The actual staff of the company was mostly composed of older women. With tennis shoes and silly outfits, they looked fun, friendly, and focused. You certainly don’t have to dress up as cheerleaders to gain attention to your IT booth. But you may want to come up with a way to give your company a fresh makeover when it comes to your trade shows. Clothing is one major way that you can set your company apart, but it’s certainly not the only way.

Stock Up on Freebies

Trade show freebies are some of the best parts of going to a trade show. Practically every company is giving out some type of gadget or item with their name splayed all over it. These are a great way to get noticed because it provides immediate gratification and keeps your company name front and center.

And of course, you’re going to need a friendly staff and excellent printed materials. Once you hook people in with a little gimmick, you have the opportunity to introduce your business and give people an idea of how you can really help them get where they’re going.