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We CHECK the competition! When designing your marketing materials, not only do we listen to your needs, but we also do extensive research on your competitors, to make sure you stay one move ahead.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Other Kind of Branding Consistency

There is a fair bit of information available on the importance of making sure all of your marketing materials carry the same look/feel and message but there is a missing element to this concept that isn't as widely discussed. Does the impression that your logo, website, and brochure present, carry through to the rest of the sales process? This is especially important if your customers need to visit your brick and mortar location to complete any part of the sales cycle. Does the look of your reception area match the picture your client has in his head? Does the receptionist greet him with the same personality that he would expect? Are your sales or technical people giving off the same vibe as your brochure?

I remember a manufacturer's rep that would visit me and other sales staff regularly (I wasn't always working full time as a designer). He wore a Hawaiian shirt, had a fun and casual demeanour and was more laid back than any of the other reps that would come in to promote their latest wares. That was enough to keep him likeable and memorable but his business card, literature and email signature were just like him... fun colours, loose design and very casually fun. He presented a complete marketing package. To this day, I remember him better and with more fondness than any of the others.

Conversely, I remember walking into the office of a well established advertising agency. I had to walk through an unnerving labyrinth of narrow corridors (made from those portable cubicle dividers) to end up in a reception area that hadn't been redecorated since Gunsmoke was still a pilot. When I asked for a prospectus, a very sad looking receptionist handed me a stapled booklet of about 50 black and white photocopied pages that read like microwave oven instructions. For the purposes of this article, I guess I have to give them a high mark for consistency... consistently bad, but I wonder what my final impression would have been if the had real snazzy printed materials. I think in addition to being unimpressed with my physical experience, I probably would have been just plain confused as to which represented the company accurately.

Don't confuse your prospects. If you have a brochure that is bright and flashy and fun, make sure your day to day activities within your office are bright and fun as well... from the walls to the water cooler conversation. This last piece of the marketing puzzle will leave your prospect with a complete and clear impression of who your company is... and they will be far more likely to return.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Canadian Success Story

In a downturned economy, increasing global competition and what many say is a general decrease in the manufacturing sector, a small Canadian company has done the near impossible. Elettra Technology Inc. in Hamilton Ontario has built a successful business by carving out a niche; custom (sometimes hand wound) electric motors, amongst a sea of cheap, mass produced units.

It seems that like a desert rose grows in the harshest of climates, that growth is possible in our current business climate... it just requires a good idea and a healthy amount of guts.

For the full Globe and Mail article, please see the link below

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Cost of Overseas Production

According to an article by Richard McCormack posted on ( The attractive cost of producing goods overseas, China in particular, may be a mirage.

There are a number of hidden costs associated with producing overseas, including quality issues (which of course affects customer confidence and future orders), logistics and inventory schedules. The true cost of products produced in China may be roughly 25% higher than the stated price and only 8% lower than local production.

As China's economy continues to bubble, that cost may climb. This is good news for North American based manufacturers. Our economies could sure use a fresh injection and if the current trend continues, perhaps major manufacturers will see there way to come back home, providing needed jobs and boosting local economies.