Dickeson--Create Brand Recognition For Your Print Operation
Say any of these words, "Blockbuster," "Compaq," "Volvo," "Tide," "Kleenex," "Kodak," "Xerox" or any one of many, many others and, instantly, there's a picture in your mind of what these are, what they stand for. You'll pay more or buy more of these branded things than of a generic. You'll pay more for Bayer Aspirin than you would for the exact same generic aspirin.
It's easy to think of commercial printing as just a generic service—a "shelf" item. But there's something special that builds a repeat clientele for each printer, isn't there? It's not just the lowest price, because there's generally always another printer with lower prices. What is it that is special, that is that peculiar "something?" It's simply that "something" that makes your company unique, worth a price premium for the customer's perception of value.
Try this: List the top 20 percent of your customers—the ones that comprise 80 percent of your sales volume. Analyze each on that list. Why do they repeat? If you don't know, ask 'em. What is it you're doing more successfully than some other firms? Identify the customer perception of your competence. Do not confuse the customers' perceptions with your own perceptions. You're interested in what's in their heads, not yours.
Be sure to get that Al Ries book I noted and also his "Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends On It." Read 'em both, if you haven't already done so, and note carefully the message of each.
What Is Your Brand?
What is it you presently do better than your competitors? Or, what is it you want to do better than others, to be known for? What is your core competence? Is it two-color eight-pagers? Some particular fold or other property? Long-run catalogs? Price? Service? Overnight delivery?
Narrow it down to a product or competence and brand it. Give it a distinctive name that makes it identifiable to customers and prospects. Get conviction from everyone in the shop that you are the best in North America, North Dakota, West of the Pecos, or wherever you can establish your own unique claim. Then, as Captain Picard says in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Make it so!"