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Burdge--Promoting Corporate Identities

October 1998
In the high-tech world of printing and packaging, the business of producing stationery may seem boring at best.

Au contraire.

In the jungle of junk mail and daily correspondence, foil stamping/embossing or engraving makes a letter stand out in the crowd. And when that letter represents a promotion or product, as it almost always does, a company's corporate identity—and business—get put on the line. Immediate awareness and long-term recognition are goals of businesses big and small.

Los Angeles-based Burdge, a premium provider of fine engraved stationery, has built a business helping companies reach these goals. In its three-generation history, Burdge has played an influential role in creating business images for more than 5,000 clients, including the Disney Art Editions, Hanna-Barbera, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers and Toyota Motor Sales USA

The service that Burdge provides is crucial to these customers. When people identify with a company's prestige or its prestigious product or cause, research indicates they're more likely to respond in a receptive way. As studies conducted by Yankelovick/Clancy Shulman show, corporate identity materials rank second only to the annual sales of a company in conveying its prestige. And prestige (if only perceived) plays a powerful role.

For example, alumni officials from the University of Southern California (USC) sent out two solicitation mailings; one was printed on an offset press using black ink, and the other was foil-stamped and embossed using the school's mascot and colors. USC reports the embossed mailing had nearly two-and-a-half times the response of the plain solicitation.

There's a lesson to be learned from this experience: Corporate identity materials can be like a fine suit of clothes—and if a company "dresses" for success, it tends to achieve success.

Burdge has been outfitting customers with fashionable corporate identity materials for 75 years. While many printers are seeking their niche in the '90s, Burdge has long since capitalized on the one it developed in 1923, when founder Charles L. Burdge (a former master engraver for Hallmark Cards) started his own engraving business.

The 20,000-square-foot facility Burdge occupies today is a far cry from the small storefront shop where it began in downtown Los Angeles. In the early days, Charles would hand-engrave copper printing plates, and policemen on horseback would have to disperse crowds gathered to watch the artistry.

Today, the same hands-on craftsmanship can be seen in many of the company's products, hand-engraved with dies created on the premises.
 

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