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Chroma Copy Imaging--Driving Ahead Of Market Demand

September 1998

"After all, a single graphic is just one part of a client's total strategy. It must reinforce a client's brand, the objectives in a specific marketing campaign, the mission of the client's business as a whole."

While projects at Chroma Copy Imaging are generally custom-produced, they tend to fall into one of three categories: visual merchandising displays for use in the retail industry; graphic presentations for trade-show booths; and small-format, on-demand output for handouts, seminar kits and presentation materials.

Specific products range from small color copies to building-sized murals. They also include backlit displays, standard and 3-D point-of-purchase displays, presentation graphics, on-demand color printing, trade-show booth graphics and hardware, directional and event signage, and computer-based presentations.

"We can produce images in many ways," Cacciatore explains. "Traditional photographic prints, digital photography and enlargement, ink-jet prints, you name it. We'll take a software box that's 9˝ tall and make a custom 3-D graphic of it that's eight feet tall, which involves form-cutting, transparency prints and custom construction.

"Or we'll print backlit display murals that stand in a 6x14-foot window, mount them and ship them to multiple locations across the country. Whatever is needed. And we'll strive to do it in about half the time most companies require."

Fast turnaround is certainly a need of Chroma Copy's clients that Cacciatore considers "one of our niches." Cacciatore says that Chroma Copy cuts traditional production time in half thanks to its highly trained technicians, the best equipment available and its strong relationships with clients.

"Developing a relationship with a client helps us learn more about their businesses and their marketing objectives," he says, "so we can meet them consistently. This usually means time savings for the client."

"It's true," says Robyn Davini, sales manager for the company's Santa Clara office. This second location was opened in 1984 to facilitate a growing number of Silicon Valley clients. "We produce amazing custom graphics in a very short period of time," Davini says. "But we're not just about output. Our real strength is value-added service from concept to fulfillment, because output isn't enough. And we listen to what clients tell us. For example, we learned that clients like to have vendors close by—that led us to open our Santa Clara office."

A new value-added service is currently in the works: electronic image management. No longer will clients have to rely on memory to know the images they've previously used or when they used it. With the system under development, clients will be able to view thumbnails of every image Chroma Copy has produced for them, via the company's Web site, They'll also be able to order reprints or repurpose the images, all online and instantly.

"This system will give clients instant access to their images," Andrews says. "Clients often want to adapt an image they've previously used, changing the text or screening back the image. We're making it possible for them to order these changes directly from their desks. No phones. No messengers sending disks back and forth. Commerce over the Internet is here."

Electronic proofing is another efficiency that is already available via Chroma Copy's Web site.

"We can photograph an object in our digital studio," Davini explains, "and show it on-screen immediately, and clients, at their desks, can view it. If they want changes, we can re-shoot that very day while the photo-shoot is still set up, then send the image digitally to one of our enlargers. It saves clients time—and saves the cost of redoing a photo-shoot."

Chroma Copy Imaging's in-house design studio was established earlier this year to help clients that have made the transition to outsourcing. "We made a commitment to go upstream in the production process, to become even more of a sole-source provider," Andrews says.

"The toughest part wasn't the decision to do so, because our clients needed it. But finding the right people was a test. We wanted graphic designers with the same proactive work style and values as the rest of the staff."

Those values—long-term employment, open-style management and individual responsibility to name just three—permeate Chroma Copy, in part, perhaps, because it is 30-percent employee owned.

"It's exciting," Cacciatore says. "All of us have a heightened awareness of how best to run the company. We all strive for efficiency and quality because we have a financial stake in the outcome."

"This place is ours, and that's how we treat it," Davini adds. "Ownership gives us the opportunity to build our own future."

And that future looks bright. Andrews believes the trade-show market will continue to grow, retail presentations will become more interactive—and to serve those burgeoning markets, another Chroma Copy location may be added.

"I think of this company as a vehicle," explains Andrews. "It's fast, it's outfitted with all the accessories for comfort, it's equipped with the technology to handle difficult terrain with ease. And it can be driven wherever the market needs it to be."


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