Tag Archives: design

3 Ways to Engage Customers in Your Brand’s Marketing Strategy

If you’re doing a good job supporting your clients, they’ll become your best (perhaps presently untapped) marketing resource for your business. Research shows that prospects are more likely to take action on or interact with your brand when they hear about someone else’s experience with your products or services than if they were to only hear a sales pitch from you or one of your sales agents.

Clearly, things like testimonials and case studies can go a long way when it comes to marketing your business. However, how can one harness all the great stories, experiences and, overall, customer feedback? Here are a few ideas.

Narrow Your Social Listening

We all love seeing the photos customers post of our products on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. So, why not use those to your advantage? By creating a unique hashtag or searching for a specific location or product name, your social listening will be much more targeted and allow you to cultivate added content to use across your own channels. Not only does this translate to better brand loyalty, but it also encourages other customers to post their own images, casting a wider marketing net for you.

Experiment with CrowdSourcing

Looking to implement a new tagline, logo or packaging? Ask your customers what they think first. A great way to make customers and clients feel valued is to engage them in your marketing efforts, involving them in decisions they can be proud of. Maybe it’s as simple as a survey that’s sent in the mail; maybe it’s a single tweet. With Instagram’s new question feature and platforms that allow you to answer questions and get feedback in real-time, there’s never been an easier time to help your audience feel a sense of ownership to your brand (plus you’ll get great insights).

Turn Customers into Advocates.

Here’s the thing: customers and clients are already talking about you, whether you like it or not. Research suggests that we still give substantial weight to the recommendations of our friends and peers, so, why not give those with positive experiences an opportunity to share them? To get started, why not invite them to do “takeovers” of your social media accounts, present at an event, or review products on their own YouTube channels. Word-of-mouth marketing will validate your brand’s credibility and turn your most loyal fans into advocates of your business.

3 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Direct Mail Doesn’t Get Tossed

It’s a common scenario: after months of strategizing and laboring over copy or designs, your direct mail piece is ready to be shipped. But when you drop it off at the post office, it can feel like you’re throwing all that hard work into a black hole; from there you have no control over how recipients respond to it, if they respond.

Know the feeling?

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of worrying whether your promo code will reach the right people or if the intended recipients will even open your mail piece, use these few simple tricks to make sure your marketing reaches the right people at the right time:

  1. Clean Up Your Mailing List. It doesn’t matter how great your copy is if you’re sending mail to the wrong people or to the wrong address (this goes for email distribution, too). If you’re using an incorrect or outdated mailing list, your mail has limited hope of landing in the mailbox you intended for it to. Instead, start with an accurate, updated distribution list. Perhaps that means scrubbing your current mailing list for duplicates, deleting any addresses that have been marked “return to sender” or removing anyone who hasn’t interacted with your communications in awhile. Whatever you do, ensure that you’re getting your contact information from a reliable source.
    Making sure your list is clean and correct not only guarantees that your mail will be delivered to the people you want it to go to, but it also eliminates the need to overspend on postage, printing, packaging and more.
  2. Pick Your Moment. Now that you’ve updated and scrubbed your mailing list, you have to choose the appropriate time to send your direct mail piece. Does it include a promotion that’s good for a limited time? Is there an urgency or a seasonality to what you’re trying to sell? This blog post goes into more detail on the best times of year to send various marketing pieces and the strategy behind doing so. The idea here is the make sure you’re targeting the right people with your marketing and provide value to them with your mail. 
  3. Capture Their Attention. When it comes to marketing, this is more easily said than done. Once your mail makes it in the hands of your target audience, the next crucial step is to make sure they’ll open it and see what you’re trying to communicate. Dimensional print is a great option for this. The pieces ship flat, but spring to life once they’re opened. A few of our favorite designs are the Flapper®, which constantly unfolds into itself, the Extendo®, which reveals hidden panels that triples the size of your marketing message, our SleekPeeks® Virtual Reality Viewers that showcase immersive experiences for your target audience, and the classic Pop Up Cube that automatically and unexpectedly pops into fully dimensional shape once removed from its envelope. 

Structural Graphics & Sister Company, The Lift Factor, Take Home Top GDUSA Awards

Who designed the most innovative packaging of 2018? Graphic Design USA, the leading B2B resource for graphic design professionals, answered that question this month with the announcement of the winners of the 2019 GDUSA American Package Design Awards.

More than 1,000 marketers, designers and printers were challenged as never before to promote their brand in a way that would forge an emotional link with their customers. Out of those entrants, Structural Graphics took home two accolades: winner in the Luxury Packaging Category for Creata Kellogg’s Jurassic World Promotional Video Box and winner in the Food and Beverage Category for the GSD&M Popeyes Emotional Support Chicken Box.

Structural Graphics’ insurance marketing sister company, The Lift Factor, is also a winner in the Luxury Packaging Category for the Brighthouse Planter Mailer.

Entering 2019: Our Marketing Predictions for the Year Ahead

In the lead up to the New Year, we put our heads together to share our vision for the year ahead. Here are a few trends we think will be shaping our marketing in 2019.

Video Marketing

Let’s face it: humans are visual creatures. Colors, graphics, movement and story lines capture our attention, especially when it comes to marketing. Take Facebook, for example. With the unveiling of their new Facebook Portal, we’re seeing commercials and ads that showcase the product as a small, but essential, character in people’s lives. And it isn’t the only one. Brands like HP, Google, Airbnb, Nike and Everlane, to name a few, have all jumped on the bandwagon that is authentic video storytelling.

But video creation is no longer only for brands with big budgets. Any good marketing campaign should be designed to trigger an emotional response, and video has consistently proven itself as an effective way to do this. According to this report by Cisco, video will make up more than 85% of all consumer internet traffic in the USA by 2020. What’s more, video marketing has zero signs of slowing down.

So what’s a brand to do? Whether you’re just getting started with video marketing or you want to up your video marketing’s “wow factor”, give our Video-in-Print Brochure a try.

The Netflix Effect

OK, so this may not be a real thing (yet), but what we’ve dubbed “The Netflix Effect” will continue to inform content and brand marketing into 2019. Four parts. Ten episodes. What’s working for streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu will work just as effectively for branded content if done right.

Strategically planning out and delivering your brand’s story in a way that plays to consumers’ interests and attention spans isn’t just great for them, it’s great for your company’s bottom line. To do this, leverage micro-targeting and new content delivery platforms and technologies.

Artificial Intelligence

Content will be more and more automated. Text aside, brands like Sephora, Starbucks and Apple are already automating their marketing using mapping, facial recognition and chatbots to aide in handling customer service interactions. As consumers crave increasingly more personalized and contextual messaging from the brands, publications and companies they support, this trend will continue to extend beyond marketing into automated news reporting, customer service, business intelligence, etc.

Engaging Audiences

We’ve really loved to see the evolution of how brands are engaging with their audiences. From Audi to the US Postal Service, virtual reality and augmented reality have proven themselves as important tools that bridge traditional print with evolving forms of media and technology. They’re so effective, in part, because of their immersive qualities – AR and VR have a unique ability to involve consumers in brand’s storytelling, creating a faster (and often stronger) sense of connection between the two.

Merging Old School + New School

Believe it or not, what’s tried and true are staples for a reason. That’s why direct mail still has value.

Here’s the thing: everyone likes getting mail. That is, when it’s personalized, unique, relevant and valuable to the recipient (not a bill…). With all of the technological advancements in automation and digital marketing, direct mail has actually proven to be more valuable if done right. In fact, response rates for direct mailers have risen to as high as 5%, more than four times that of digital.

So, don’t shy away from old school marketing like postcards, brochures and catalogs. Rather, use these formats (if they work for your brand) in an intentional way that is both relevant and valuable to the recipient. Use data to inform your content and think outside the box when it comes to choosing a design.

Don’t know where to start? We recommend taking a look at our Flapper, Pop Up Cube and Extendo.

Popeyes is Offering Emotional Support (Chicken) this Holiday Season

A common topic of discussion in the news lately has surrounded the idea of allowing animals on airplanes to provide emotional support for travelers during the holiday season, as well as the restrictions for the types of animals that should be allowed. When GSD&M, Austin, TX had a buzz-worthy idea and design for a campaign for their client, Popeyes, to get holiday travelers talking (or should we say “squawking”) they contacted Blanks Printing, & Digital Solutions and the design and assembly teams at Structural Graphics to help bring this project to life!

The solution? “Emotional Support [Fried] Chicken”. For a limited time, those travelling in Terminal C of the Philadelphia Airport during the 2018 holiday season can now pick up the box which contains a 3-piece Chicken Tender combo meal from Popeyes.  Why the Philadelphia airport? Because it was named one of the most stressful airports in the United States.

“We know holiday travel can be frustrating, and there’s no better way to ease stress than with a box of delicious Popeyes fried chicken and a good laugh. We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” stated Popeyes CMO, Hope Diaz via news release.

The best part is, Popeyes is guaranteeing that their Emotional Support Chicken is “permitted to fly without any restrictions”, helping ease some of the worries for those crazed travelers this holiday season.

Blanks Printing & Digital Solutions, Dallas, TX printed this project on the new HP 12000 Digital press. Structural Graphics proudly engineered the design for function, created several rounds of full color test prototypes, and then hand assembled for the launch in the Philadelphia airport on Tuesday, December 18th.

How to Create Higher Ed. Marketing that Works

Statistics show that high school and college-aged students like direct mail. Our direct mail is dimensional, interactive and engaging. With other colleges and universities soliciting the same top-prospect students that you are, direct mail from Red Paper Plane and Structural Graphics will make sure your message gets noticed and stays top-of-mind.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

UC Riverside chose this dimensional folder to send out information about its different colleges to accepted students. The piece starts off as a seemingly flat printed folder, but when you open it up, an intricate pop-up immediately rises from the center. Each corner of the piece featured individual mini folders, each containing step-by-step instructions on how to get started with enrollment.

Our flat-cube is one of our most dynamic and exciting designs because of its ability to immediately make an impact with recipients. This one was used by SUNY Adirondack Community College to send information about its college to prospective students. The cube immediately pops up when you remove it from the mail sleeve.

University of Canterbury used our Flapper to recruit students to its school and to promote its Product Design program. They chose the tablet-sized Flapper and displayed their information in a portrait layout. The inside of the colorful Flapper featured bright graphics that represented the key aspects of its product design program.

This clever Extendo mailer went out to prospective MBA students from the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business. When you pull on one of the sides, the other sides pops out automatically – revealing a series of business jackets, each detailing one of the 4 MBA programs and 18 specialized master’s programs.

Rutgers School of Business used the Exploding Page design to deliver information about its business program to prospective students. The self-mailer appears to be a standard looking direct mail piece on the outside, but when opened up, it expands to twice its original size. The inside of the mailer contained information about the different programs offered by this prestigious school.

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Enhance Your Marketing with Video in Print

From Facebook and online ads, to YouTube and digital video, businesses have long had to compete with with the waning attention spans of their audience in the marketing arena. However, a newer technology offered by Structural Graphics and its online division, Red Paper Plane, might’ve just found that sweet spot.

Video in Print combines the detail of print with the emotional reach of video creating a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory experience for prospects looking to forge a connection with your brand, service or product.

But, just because your print piece has a video, it doesn’t mean that will guarantee its success. Design, message, packaging and production values contribute to the overall experience your customer or prospect has about your business. Here at Structural Graphics, we craft our Video in Print brochures by way of a high-tech, high-touch production process, allowing you to press proof your piece before shipping from one of our North American facilities.

Considering adding a Video in Print brochure to your marketing campaign? Below we’ve compiled a few suggestions to get you started.

Not all Video in Print players are created equal. Speakers, video screen, battery packs and wiring can vary greatly in quality. Ensure your supplier uses top quality components and has a thorough quality control in place. We proudly have a 10-year relationship with our Video in Print player supplier.

 

The power is in the playback. Make sure you choose the right file formats and the right settings for your video playback. We typically recommend a MP4, MOV, AVI or WMV video file format and a sound level of 75 to 80 dB. Also, double check that your supplier includes a USB cable for recharging the video brochure.

 

Short and sweet can’t be beat. Again, keep your audience’s attention span in mind. Video is a great way to deliver a 30 to 60 second message, but anything longer than that and you might want to consider breaking it into individual video “chapters”. Don’t forget the call to action so you can track responses.

 

Source global, but inspect and ship local. Because Video in Print players are sourced almost exclusively from the far East, they’re often powered down to 30 percent of rated capacity to meet International Air Traffic Association regulations. This can negatively impact playback quality. At Structural Graphics, we fully re-charge our batteries, then ship them to our customers. Our battery configuration is approved by the US Post Office and is CE ROHS certified, which means that our product has met the standards for consumer safety, health and environmental requirements in the U.S. and Europe.

Experience, there’s no substitute for it. For more than 40 years, Structural Graphics has designed, produced and engineered unique, interactive print communications for some of the top companies in the world. Simply put, we know print.

 

Take a look at our Video in Print portfolio and contact us for more information. We’ll show you how to be distinctively different with Video in Print advertising.

Structural Graphics Awarded 2 Gold Ink Awards

We are proud to announce that Printing Impressions has awarded Structural Graphics not one, but two, 2017 Gold Ink Awards! With submissions in the “Direct Mail” and “Dimensional Printing” categories, Structural Graphics took home “Silver” for each.

Here are the designs that took home the prize:

Our Diagonal Box Mailer that we designed for Porsche, and their agency Cramer Krasselt, was awarded Silver in the “Direct Mail” category of the Gold Ink Awards.

Our Circle Pop-Up Brochure Mailer that we designed for Audi and their printer, Hennegan, also took home Silver, but this time in the “Dimensional Printing” category of the Gold Ink Awards.

We’d like to thank Printing Impressions for both of these honors and recognitions. To learn more about the awards, visit Printing Impression’s website here.

For more dimensional print marketing inspiration, visit us online at StructuralGraphics.com.

Structural Graphics Featured in Fold of the Week

Check it out!  Structural Graphics’ piece was featured as the 60-second Super-cool Fold of the Week.  Trish Witkowski of Foldfactory showcased our “Simply Cool Swinging Disco Ball Accordion Invitation.”

Structural Graphics designed and produced this disco ball invitation for RedRover Marketing in Tennessee for their client, the Regional One Health Foundation. They used this mailer to invite people to their annual ONE Night Fundraiser. The invitation shipped flat, but the paper die-cut spheres on the cover immediately twirl in succession when you open up the mailer to create the illusion of a dimensional disco ball.

Thanks for the shout-out Trish!

SG Paper Engineer Displays Work at Art Exhibition


How much thought have you given to paper?

It’s a fragile medium, yet it can also be considered durable and strong. We learn to use it as children – for paper mache, posters and essays – but it continues to teach us lessons throughout life.

Here at Structural Graphics, it’s no surprise that we give A LOT of thought to paper: how it works, what it is and what it can be. And paper engineer, Isabel Uria, is certainly a testament to that.

Isabel’s work is currently on display at the Drezner Gallery in Avon, CT until Sat., June 24.

“Being creative is inside all of us,” Isabel said. “Creativity is looking at a world of possibilities and acknowledging all the ways a problem can be brought to light and all the ways it could be solved. Creativity opens your mind. It is a path to visualize the past, the present and the future. Creativity is the opposite of war. It is the future. Evolution has happened because human beings have been curious to know and understand how things work and take that understanding to CREATE new developments and innovative things that serve our needs and help us. Creativity makes the world go around!”

Paper Possibilities is a celebration of our understanding of paper as an expressive material. The artists in this exhibit come from a diverse set of backgrounds. Some are paper engineers, some work with cut paper, some are origami artists, and some find their expressions in the creation of the paper itself.

This is the first exhibition of the Paper Artist Gathering, a group based at the Hartford makerspace, MakeHartford. They have been working together and sharing techniques since November of 2015, and are ready to put forth their creations. Their goal is to demonstrate that despite its reputation as a common material, the potential for expressions in paper is not yet fully explored.