Category: Marketing Insights

4 Easy Steps to Design a Piece on Red Paper Plane

Are you a small business or solo entrepreneur? Do you need a marketing piece turned around quickly in order to meet a deadline? Do you want your piece to be of high quality but not for it to cost a fortune?

Have you heard about RedPaperPlane.com?

Red Paper Plane is the online ordering division of Structural Graphics. It provides clients with an easy and intuitive way to design the high-impact formats we’ve become known for, including pop-up cubes, greeting cards and the Flapper. And you don’t need to be a professional designer to do it! Using our online design tool, anyone can customize the direct mail formats with their logo, photos and text in a fraction of the time it used to take to place art to one of our templates offline.

Just follow these four simple steps:

  1. Choose your format.
  2. Download the template.
  3. Upload your artwork.
  4. Proof and order!

Whether you’re an experienced designer, a marketing professional or a small business owner, Red Paper Plane has created an online experience with your needs in mind.

6 Quick Tips to Improve Your Brand Photography

As any good marketer knows, first impressions are everything.

So, when a prospective client visits your website, glances at your portfolio and determines whether or not they will hire you, you better make sure your product photography is on point.

Product photography is so important for countless reasons. Not only can it stimulate a general need for your product, but it also showcases its usefulness, significant features and quality. Following these six basic tips will help you to master both the technique and artistry of product photography – and ensure that you never lose a lead because of it.

1) Follow the light. Finding a good source of light is essential when it comes to photographing your products. To avoid adding unnecessary shadows to your image, keep things simple: shoot in a well-lit area, use natural light when possible and be mindful of objects like clouds that may cast unnecessary darkness.

2) Choose the right backdrop. Use your background to complement your product, not distract from it. When just starting out, opt for a simple, single-color backdrop. The purpose here is to let your product be the center of attention.

3) Consider the human element. Using models may or may not be useful for you, depending on what you are trying to sell/ photograph. Perhaps you are a jewelry company looking to promote your new selection of necklaces. Or maybe you’re looking to mentor young students. Evaluate whether or not a persona will be able to show the value of your product and effectively tell the story of your brand.

4) Show scale. Give your audience a sense of how big or small your product is. By placing the product next to a common object, you can showcase a point of difference or feature how easy it is to use.

5) Play with focus. No one wants to look at a gallery of static images. To create a more dynamic spread, consider honing in on the key points of your product and pulling it forward from the background using your camera’s focus. This is a great way to highlight the quality of your product as well as its usefulness, especially if you’re looking to compare your products with a competitor’s.

6) Tell a story. It may seem silly to think that a product photo can tell a story, but keeping this in the back of your mind will take your images from good to great. Instead of photographing your product in front of a white background, consider capturing it in use. Place it in its natural environment. Or capture someone’s reaction to it. There are countless ways to set your images, and thus your product, apart by creating or playing into the emotions of your audience.

4 Ways to Execute a Powerful Marketing Campaign

So, you want to create a powerful marketing campaign, do you? Here, we’ve compiled four basic steps to take so you can smartly prepare, execute and drive actual revenue.

  1. Set your intentions.
    What do you want your campaign to achieve? That’s the first basic question you need to ask yourself. Be as specific as possible, as “I want more sales” gives you no yardstick to help you measure the distance to reaching your goals. Think about (or better yet, write down) exactly how many sales you want this year, specify the percentage increase in digital engagement you want to achieve or spell out exactly what locations you want to work to drive brand awareness.
  2. Create an action plan.
    Write down exactly what you’re going to do and when. This may sound simple, but the act of writing down your plan helps to organize your thoughts, think through superficial problems and, most importantly, visualize how and when your marketing plan or project will come together. Additionally, it will give you records to use when you go to evaluate the success of your marketing campaign.
  3. Act.
    As Nike famously says, “Just Do It”. You’ve spent weeks, maybe months, planning this campaign. Now is the time to act on it. Review your timeline and your metrics, choose the proper media and develop a communications plan among your team and any outside vendors. Decide how often you’ll need to (and can afford to) expose your messaging to your targeted audience.
  4. Measure your results, tweak and repeat.
    The campaign has launched, but your work isn’t over just yet. Now, it’s time to see how successful it was and make some adjustments. Go back to your marketing objective, look at the key performance indicators you sought out to measure and determine the campaign’s success. Did your marketing campaign achieve your objectives? What could you have done differently to make the campaign more effective? These are all valuable insights to help you and your team the next time.

The Flapper How To Guide

The Flapper is one of our most popular and effective designs because of how interactive and engaging it is. Here are some quick tidbits about the Flapper:

  • It has increased campaign results for some clients by over 400% over previous campaigns
  • Gillette and others have used it as part of a magazine ad
  • It comes in multiple sizes
  • It produces mega results

Check out  Susie’s video that shows us just how easy and versatile The Flapper is to use.

You may also like take a look at our Flapper How To Guide.

Are you ready to design yours?

5 Ways to Incorporate Video into Your B2B Marketing

Video is one of the most talked-about subjects in the marketing industry right now, and with good reason. Did you know that videos increase people’s understanding of a product or service by 74%?

Everyone from social media strategists and content creators to businesses and brands are all jumping aboard this trend. Why? They all understand how and why video has become such a popular mechanism to win new business and increase audience loyalty.

But despite its growing relevance, one of the questions we get most is: How do I get started with video marketing? Here, we’ve included a few tips to help make your marketing videos even more effective.

  1. Choose the right files. To ensure the quality of your video and sound are exactly where you want it, we recommend using the following: a) video file format: MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, (Codec: MPEG-4, Divx, Xvid 720P) b) Audio output: Mono speaker c) Sound level: 75-80 dB
  2. Keep it short. Video is a great vehicle for delivering your message, if it’s done effectively. Keep your videos short (30-60 seconds) and entertaining while still delivering on substance.
  3. Don’t forget the CTA. Perhaps it’s as simple as encouraging viewers to visit your website or call a direct line. Whatever the call to action is, don’t forget it. This will help you track responses and, perhaps more importantly, determine the success of your marketing efforts.
  4. Make your messaging digestible. In addition to keeping your content brief, remember to share your messaging in short, potent bursts. Perhaps this means separating your video into “chapters” or creating a YouTube series to really hit home your product or brand. Allowing viewers to enjoy your content in bite-size pieces ensures your audience will absorb more of the information you’re delivering.
  5. Consider Video-in-Print formats. Here at Structural Graphics, we have produced hundreds of thousands of video units for some of the top Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Manufacturing and Entertainment brands in the world. Check out our VPA Gallery here.

The 5 People You Meet in Marketing

Thanks to Mitch Albom, we’ve already gotten introduced to the five people you meet in Heaven. But for us Earthly beings, who are still very much grounded in the here and now, this collective of people is still very relevant in our everyday lives.

Take marketing, for example. It can often be a mixed bag of personalities, backgrounds and skill sets. Some, you’ll find, have been in the industry for what seems like forever, while others, recent grads or transitioning professionals, are making their first foray into the space.

Below we’ve identified five personalities you’re almost certain to meet in the marketing world.

Which one are you?

THE VISIONARY

Wise. Early adopter. Clairvoyant. Regardless of what you want to call this person, you can always bet there’s going to be one in the group. This person is the one with a Rolodex so thick it puts War & Peace to shame. He seems to know everyone and everything as far as marketing is concerned, and often spins a yarn to prove it.

THE MILLENNIAL

Ah, millennials. This term of endearment usually refers to the youngster, maybe even the newb, in the group. Though these guys are generally new to content marketing (and maybe even the work force altogether), they have a deep passion for learning and are excited to dive in head first. At business meetings, they’ll arrive with notebooks from Rifle Paper Co. or an iPad, and they’re typically vocal about their new ideas. Contrary to popular stereotypes that millennials are the lazy generation, they can actually be a true asset to any company willing to evolve.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERSTAR

You know the guy: he’s the one who’s always checking his Twitter feed, uses words like “hashtag”, “engagement” and “SEO” in normal conversation, and has probably done a Facebook Live at least once in his life. This is the person who would rather read Google Analytics reports than Gatsby and asks if you’ve seen the latest video trending on YouTube instead of talking politics. This person eats, sleeps and breathes social media, and you better believe you can find him everywhere: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat. This list goes on.

THE PICASSO

Maybe she’s a designer who whips up brilliant infographics in an afternoon or comes up with fresh ideas for a native advertising campaign. This is the person for whom a lunchtime stroll can turn into a chance to ideate on the latest client project. She may be a bit flighty, but she always comes to meetings brimming with ideas. The Picasso’s favorite phrase is, “What if we did this…”.

THE STORYTELLER

Here’s how to recognize a master storyteller: This person cares more about engaging customers than immediate conversions. He’s worried less about ROI and more on brand loyalty. This person is always experimenting and has his finger on the pulse of what interests the company’s audience, whether that’s data, social media or experiential campaigns.

Can you think of some more personalities we may have missed? Share with us in the comments below!

Why Video in Print Can Work for Your Brand

“If a picture paints 1,000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million.”
– Dr James McQuivey, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

Within the last decade or so, the marketing landscape has changed tremendously. Traditional outreach in the form of catalogues and printed post cards has given way to email blasts and digital ads as consumers increasingly spend their time online.

This change in consumer behavior means that we, as marketers, must also alter the way in which we produce content for the companies and the brands we represent. Not only do we need to be more intentional with the stories we tell, but we must become more strategic in how we tell them.

Research shows that printed collateral continues to be a compelling and successful way to capture the attention of your target audience. However, when coupled with video, print has the capability to not only gain consumers’ attention, but also to hold it.

The statistics are there:

  • 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium (CodeFuel)
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions (HubSpot)
  • On Facebook, video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts (Social Media Examiner)
  • 76% of companies who have used videos in the past year report a direct business impact (AdWeek)

With the blurring pace of modern society, video is one of the few types of mediums that caters to the consumers of today, while still providing the value, relevance and trackable metrics marketing professionals are after. But how can we merge the strengths of print with those of video to create a singular high-impact marketing tool?

Our video-in-print brochures offer an effective option when it comes to getting your company noticed. One of the biggest advantages of combining these two mediums is the ability to enhance your brand messaging through engaging and supporting content. Video is highly visual and auditory, which means it’s easier for people to remember than text-based content. When consumers remember your video content, they, in turn, remember your brand. This can translate into better brand loyalty as well as more sales and leads.

Aetna used this dynamic video brochure to send information about its “smarter” healthcare solutions to consumers. The inside of the brochure featured a video screen with 6 buttons underneath it. By pressing each button, consumers could watch a video and learn more about each of the different solutions offered by Aetna.

T-CAAN is one of Canada’s oldest and most extensive networks of independent advertising, marketing and communication agencies. Information Packaging of Canada used this video handout at a recent T-CAAN event in Calgary. The mechanism they used was the Extendo. When you pull out the bottom panel, another panel automatically slides out from the top featuring a video about Information Packaging.

Nationwide Financial went “all out” and used this video invitation for its 2016 Nationwide Sales Invitational, a high-end event that rewards an elite group of advisors for their life and annuity sales volume and sales potential with Nationwide. The inside of this elegant mailer featured a video about the event complete with play/pause and volume controls.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch and let’s figure out how to take your marketing to the next level.

Taking it Personally: How Brands Affect Customer Experience

share-a-coke
Many of us grew up in small towns or small close-knit communities. In those everyone-knows-everyone towns, familiarity was the currency of business. When you walked into a store, you were greeted by name (and often asked how your family was doing). Shopping lists were kept on file. If Mrs. Moretti’s son was caught cutting class, you could be sure his mother would hear about it from one of the shopkeepers.

But, today, as corporations and communities seem to be getting less personal, there are a few companies looking to revive this small-town feeling — and infuse it into their business.

snickers_hungerbars15Across industries, global marketers are tapping into the psychology of personal branding and the benefits it offers when trying to reach consumers. This year, alone, companies like Coca-Cola, Snickers, Lays and Budweiser have all tinkered with adding song lyrics, team logos, names in an effort to forge a deeper connection with their customers. It’s as if they’re trying to say, “We ‘get’ you.”

According to a report by Responsys, 61 percent of U.S. customers feel more positive about a brand with a personalized message. And to millennials, who have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, this couldn’t be more apparent. Instead of blindly supporting trendy companies, they’re looking for products and services that specifically fit THEM.

“I want to buy something that’s my style, that someone looks at and says, ‘Wow! That’s perfect for Elizabeth’. I want my brands to say something about me, so that I am proud to say I use them.” – Ideastogo.com

It worked for Nike, which allows customers to design their own sneakers, and for Coca-Cola, too. After wrapping up its “Share a Coke” campaign in September, the company reported a 2.5 percent gain in sales, which they’ve attributed to the customized cans. For Snickers, the launch of their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, meant swapping their logo for 21 different symptoms people experience when they’re hungry. In its first full year, the campaign helped increase global sales of Snickers by 15.9% and grew market share in 56 of the 58 markets in which it ran.

And this idea isn’t lost on us, either. Here, at Structural Graphics, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve how print can help businesses connect with their audiences in a personal way. We design amazing print pieces with video that allow you to share a reel, recruitment video or a personalized message. Furthermore, our virtual reality viewers are making things very personal and can be customized to fit your business’ needs.

The currency of business today is to be relevant, targeted and, of course, personal.


Feeling insanely creative? Give us a call at 860-767-2661 or shoot us an email. Together we can make your marketing really pop.

What it Means to Say I’m a Creative: Shin Wakabayashi

This is the first installment in our “What it Means to Say I’m a Creative” series, meant to focus on the inspiration and drive behind each one of our paper engineers.
shin2

  1. How did you know you wanted to create (in a professional sense)?
    I remember since I was around 5 growing up watching cartoons, playing with legos, and drawing especially. My father inspired me since he drew often as a hobby, and I became more interested in pursuing a profession related to art and design during college after learning about its diverse opportunities.
  2. What advice would you give to others who want to work in a creative industry/ position?
    My advice would be to show your work to different people especially those whose work you admire and listen to their critique on your pieces. It’s good to be open to constructive criticism to figure out why some aspects work and why some don’t.
  3. What does creativity mean to you?
    To me, creativity means looking at things in a different perspective or doing something in a different way. It might help to try different hobbies, jobs, sports or artforms to inspire other methods of thinking or finding something relatable to your primary creative activity. I can relate dancing to design in that both forms allow the person to take certain existing moves or elements and his or her own spin on them.
  4. How do you feel when you tell others you’re a paper engineer?
    I feel fortunate when I tell people about my job as a paper engineer because I don’t think there are many companies that have such positions.
  5. What does it mean to say that you’re a “creative”?
    I feel more secure calling myself a production artist or paper engineer because creatives can be seen in most professions or positions in a company. Creativity lives in art, design, education, scientific research and development, politics, etc.

To learn more about Shin, please click here.