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September 2005
Helping Dealers Sell More Tires

[ The Business Objective ]

Manufacturers in competitive industries like automotive products need every advantage to help their dealers stand out in the marketplace. Bridgestone (www.bridgestoneamericas.com) is one of the world's largest manufacturers of tires and rubber products, with more than 1,500 dealers across Canada and the United States.

With dozens of products, collateral management and fulfillment for this network could easily become a branding and logistical nightmare. Bridgestone corporate marketing sought a solution that would eliminate these problems, and make it easier for dealers and retailers to develop advertisements and other marketing materials. Another goal was to reduce lead time for design and approval of custom advertising, while ensuring that all cooperative advertising programs meet Bridgestone's quality and branding requirements.

[ The Proposed Solution ]





Bridgestone dealers receive annual co-op dollars to produce six flyer programs, plus special events and dealer programs to reach car tire buyers. Bridgestone wanted a better system for producing these point-of-sale (POS) displays, newspaper ads, flyers and other marketing materials.

The existing program was time consuming and expensive. Orders came in by fax, and then a graphic designer would produce custom flyers. Often, frustrated dealers tried to create marketing materials themselves without following Bridgestone's branding requirements.

"The system was very slow," says Andy Thomas, president of Copyco Solutions (www.copycoinc.com), which specializes in customized print and online communications. Bridgestone wanted a Web-to-print solution for its collateral management and fulfillment needs, and Copyco had already created Web-to-print solutions for other customers.

"We were tasked with building a site that we could use internally to process orders," Thomas recalls, and it took about a year to develop a system that could handle orders directly from dealers. Copyco presented Bridgestone with an intranet-based system that includes templates for newspaper ads, flyers and other materials. Dealers register with the program, build a profile and select templates. It takes about 15 minutes for a dealer with no graphic design experience to be trained on the system.

[ Variable Data Elements ]

Variable data and digital printing helped Bridgestone take the process one step further with the ability to include personalized collateral in materials for dealers. Variable data and images include tire brand and model, sizes, pricing, service coupons, logos and sale dates. In addition to American English, the system supports Spanish, Canadian French and Canadian English.
 

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