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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, 26 March 2012

China Manufacturing Slows... Will Manufacturers Stay?

For quite some time, prognosticators have had concerns over the sustainability of China's juggernaut-like economy. It seems the bubble may be about to burst. 

Combined with recent governmental incentives to bring manufacturing back to the US/Canada will this recent news be the "final straw" that spurs a wholesale exodus or will it cause Western manufacturers to delay plans to move back home, expecting that an economic reversal in China will translate into more attractive pricing and terms?

Can and should we extricate ourselves?

You can read the full story here

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Willing Ourselves Out of Recession?

A recent story I read was pretty much a mixed bag of stats, figures and forecasts for manufacturing and the economies of the U.S. and Canada (the link to the full story is at the bottom of this blog).

Buried in the story was a piece of information that got me thinking... again... it happens about every other week:) that our economic ebbs and flows have much more to do with our own attitudes than outside forces. It seems that investors are selling off more "sure thing" investments (government bonds etc) for riskier offerings because of a greater optimism in the near future. If this trend catches on, could our climb out of recession jump into high gear? And if so... is it not because as some level, we determined it to be that way? Perhaps I'm over simplifying this... and I hope this blog isn't going to be read by any economists or I am going to get a few tongue lashings but what do you suppose would have happened if no one had paid any attention to the news of the fall of Fanny Mae & Freddy Mac (which by the way are the weirdest names for financial giants... they sound more like fast food joints). What if we had ignored all of the gloom and doom trumpeted on the news and just kept investing, buying cars, taking vacations etc? Could it be that the recession would have been little more than a blip?

For those of you who remember or still read bible stories, you might recall the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These patriarchs held to a different view than the rest of the world. Even in times of regional famine, they prospered because they chose to believe in the promises of God rather than the evening news. Imagine... all of your competitors still downsizing while you are expanding.

Faith plays a big part of our daily lives whether we want to admit it or not. We have faith that our cars will start in the morning when we turn the key. We have faith that our next paycheck will be honoured by the bank (unless you worked for Freddy Mac). We have faith that the stuff coming out of the kitchen tap is water, not hydrochloric acid... so we drink it without second thought. Why not have faith in the Word of God. It might just be the boost you and your business need to jump into high gear.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

10 Tips for Designing Effective Brochures/Flyers

The following ten tips will help to ensure that your marketing piece is effective, memorable and even enjoyable

1) Create the Right Kind of Piece

Have a clear sense of the objective the project. It will affect every aspect of the design and message. Is the piece… 

• Product? 
• Catalogue? 
• Corporate Image?  
• Spec sheet? 
• Part of a flexible package? 

2) Include a Headline and/or Intriguing Position Statement

Brochures/flyers etc that have only a product name and logo are wasting the valuable first impression! Express your key benefit in few words... this is a cover, not an ad. 

3) Place Your "POW" Statement
 within the First Sentence
Most people won't read the whole piece at first glance. But they should get your main message within the first sentence, although it should also appear throughout your overall message. 

4) Distribute Your Main Message Throughout the Piece

Your customers need to be reminded of your main point, as they are reading the supporting details. It is a good idea to reprise your main message in the final statements. The phrase, "First tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them" is touted mainly in public speaking circles, but it works here because it operates in conjunction with the way people consume and remember information... which leads us to tip number five.

5) Use Language and Style for the Main Body of Readers
We've probably all taken workshops on "personality types" or "learning styles". Although they vary in their finer points, they agree that people respond to different stimuli. Some respond better to emotional appeals, some to mental pictures, some to hard facts and figures and so on. Speak your audience's language... and unless you are sure that your readers are of one type, then use them all in your piece. 

6) Use Subheadings
People scan before they read. Make this easier by including kickers, subheadings etc. Readers should get your overall message simply by reading these. Although you can make  mere navigational subheadings like "Our Commitment" or "Our Guarantee", you'll get more people engaged if you create fresh, intriguing and benefit-oriented statements, like, "We Will Lower Your Costs by up to 15%" or "You Will Never Need Another Widget Again". Captions are also among the first things people read. Repeat your main points by strategically paly

7) Write the Piece Well

Don't grab your customers' attention just to bore them. Employ the right tone, pacing, words etc. That should go without saying. If what you have written sound like a mission statement, scrap it and start fresh, using plain, concise language.

8) Inject Your Corporate Flavour
Your company's Unique Selling Position isn't just, "the highest quality roasted coffee in Australia", it contains (or should contain) nuances of personality. Apple, Ford, Google, all have a personality that is evident in all of their marketing, your brochure/flyer should be peppered with your unique flavour.

9) Proclaim Benefits but Back Them up with Features

A benefits approach to your copy is primary, but needs context. Feature statements provide the credibility for your benefit statements. Instead of saying, "Our motors allow your production floor to run 24/7" try "Our D-series motors are the only motors that use titanium bushings so they can run continuously without overheating, which keeps you running as as efficient as possible" 

10) Be Sure to Have a Call-to-Action

Don't just say "Call Us"... tell your readers what they will get next. A special offer, immediate delivery, a free sample are just a few options. Also, lead to your website so that your media becomes synergistic. Your website should respond in kind by asking those viewers to request a print information kit.

Look for our next, "10 tips to good marketing material design" blog. 

Better yet, email us and we will let you know when it is posted.