Saturday, September 17, 2016

Seven Identity Items Every Business Needs

In the past, all sales and marketing materials were printed. Later, the Internet added new ways to reach customers and prospects. Over time, Internet-based marketing replaced some printed materials, enhanced others, and also provided new marketing tools.

No matter what kind of business you have, there remain some basic printed items that all businesses need:

  • The corporate identity package consists of business cards, letterhead and envelopes, note cards and envelopes and mailing labels.
  • Sales material consists of a company brochure, note pads, and a direct mail piece, such as a postcard or newsletter.
     

The Corporate Identity Package

A corporate identity package is an efficient way to establish brand identity and to provide basic contact information to customers and prospects. An identity system has several specific parts: the overall layout, the fonts, the color palette, and the paper. All work together to create the brand identity. Considering the importance of making a positive and lasting impression on customers and prospects, it is best to have the entire system – business cards, letterhead and envelopes, note cards and envelopes and mailing labels – professionally designed and printed.

When you hand a business card to someone, you are establishing a personal connection, which the recipient will recall later. You’re also putting a face to a name – the corporate brand now has a live person attached to it. Even better, handing out business cards doesn’t require anything from the recipient except the willingness to accept the card.

A business card is actually a very economical form of advertising. If you give out five business cards every day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday, a purchase of 500 cards will last for almost four months. And it costs the same to print a professionally designed business card that makes an outstanding impression, as it does to print an ordinary business card that looks like everyone else’s card.

Here is the essential information to include on your business card:

  • Business identification. This includes the business name and logo. Include business contact information such as address, phone number, and website.
  • Individual contact information.
 
This includes the individual’s name and title, direct phone numbers (land line and mobile), email address, and alternate physical address if the individual does not work at the business location.

By convention, phone numbers are listed in the order of the individual’s preference (i.e., if you prefer to be contacted by cell phone, list that number first).

  • Optional information. If the card is not too crowded, or if it is a fold-over card, additional information such as business tag line, the individual’s photograph, and a list of products and services can also be included.
 
The design of the other three elements of the corporate identity package should match the business card. The purpose of letterheads and envelopes is to visually express the company’s identity and make a good first impression. As with business cards, this is best achieved with professional design and printing. As desktop color inkjet printers have improved, it is tempting to forego printing a supply of letterhead and envelopes, and instead print as needed. While this may seem easier, it is likely more expensive.

Whenever you need to send something in either a large envelope or a package, you’ll need a mailing label. This is another opportunity to reinforce your professional branding. Make sure the design matches the other elements of your corporate identity system because the mailing label is often the first thing a recipient sees and thus their first impression of your company.

Note cards are many times preferable to using letterhead for writing short letters and thank you notes. They are more personal, especially if handwritten. Even Jimmy Fallon is a big fan of the handwritten note. By matching your other stationery items, it gives your personal note a professional appearance.

Sales and Marketing Materials

The success of any business depends heavily on its sales and marketing effort. A company’s sales staff needs to have collateral material to augment and reinforce prospecting and face-to-face sales activities. The basic elements are a company brochure, a direct mail piece, and note pads.

  • The company brochure introduces the company, and its product or service. It provides the distinctive features and benefits that distinguish your company from the competition. It often provides background information about the company and includes contact information. Common elements include the year the company was founded, list of locations, names, photographs, and brief biographies of founders and key personnel, contact information, mission statement, and a brief corporate history.
     
  • The direct mail marketing piece could be a postcard, a newsletter, or a mailer with a response device. Its purpose is to introduce something – the company to prospects, or your products and services to both customers and prospects. It also serves as a reminder to customers which keeps the company top of mind. Direct mail marketing pieces should always include a call to action and create a sense of urgency.
     
  • Note pads are a give-away item that reinforces the company brand and makes your contact info easy to find. Branded notepads are terrific give aways for trade shows or leave behinds after a sales call.
     
Visually, sales and marketing materials need to be consistent with the corporate identity. This means more than just using the company name and logo. Typography, copy writing style, and color palette should reinforce the corporate identity by conveying the same “look and feel”.

Just like the business stationery package, sales and marketing materials need to be professionally designed and printed. This is especially true when the material is in the form of a folded brochure. To ensure that the brochure lies flat after folding, the width of the individual panels must be adjusted slightly. In addition, folding by machine produces a tighter fold with sharp creases.

Professional Expertise

Part of our professional expertise lies in our design department. Phil Gross trained at Drexel University and has over 7 years of experience. Brigid Kaye trained at The University of Texas and has over 30 years of experience. To schedule an appointment to talk about your corporate identity or sales collateral material, call Brigid at 215-923-2679 or email brigid@creativecharacters.com.

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