Monday, December 5, 2011

Size Matters...

 Most of us get caught up in the Christmas rush, or so many retailers would hope you do. One of the growing trends in the last couple of years is offering a custom size to consumers. We see this mainly in the food industry however it's starting to spill over into other areas of consumable goods, such as cleaning supplies, paper products and everyday staples.  In today's manufacturing environment, 1 gram times a million packages amounts to a million grams, and while the value of 1 gram is debatable, 1 million grams gets the attention of most CEOs and CFOs.
 Because it's Christmas time, and because we love these at our house, let's take a look at Turtles. There was a time, not so long ago, when a box of Turtles was a box of Turtles - everyone had the same size and packaging. These ads are all from local flyers from the first week of December.

 Note the different sizes and pricing. Pricing is an art, and sometimes certain strategies work, however liberal deception can come back to haunt you.
 Here's another example, a little easier to calculate. We buy a lot of blueberries - it's one of our favorites around here. The clamshell packaging looks the same, and it's the same surface area. The difference is in the weight and depth. (and price of course)

  And finally, this one is really interesting. Which one is it - 375 or 500 grams?
 I wasn't trying to turn this entry into a trip to the grocery store, but more a marketing awareness opportunity. To maintain a good reputation and build a loyal customer base it's important to be consistent with your current market. If you try to deceive or take advantage of customers, you may get away with it once or twice, but eventually people will recognize what you've done and we all know how difficult it is to regain the trust of a "lost" customer. This principle will apply just about anywhere, not just at the grocery store.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September... the best time to fish!

 We love September - no kids, no bugs, good fishing and quiet times.
Just back from two weeks at Agnew Lake Lodge. The first week was unbelievably nice - walking around in a tshirt and bathing suit most of the time!
 Fishing was good, but not the best we've seen - in our second week a cold front blew in and everything turned off for about three days, then really slow fishing followed. In all fairness, we may have spent more time socializing with friends than fishing, but we did manage to eat walleye pretty much every day - we ate smallies and pike a couple of times too. All in all a good vacation.
Here's some pictures.
Nice catch - lunchtime!

Geese flying south at sunrise
Walleye - 20+"

Nice Smallmouth Bass

September sunrise

Sunset fishing

Friday, June 17, 2011

Paper weights?

 A few of my customers have expressed interest in learning more about the markings on the packages when it comes to buying paper. Here's paper weights explained in layman's terms.

What Does a Paper's Weight Mean?
Paper is measured in pounds per 500 sheets (one Ream of paper) of a standard size of sheet based on the group or category of papers the grade. The different types of grades are Bond, Book, Text, Cover etc. Each group of the grade of paper is assigned a standard size that all weights are referred to. The basics of this standard are as follows:
Bond has a standard size of 17 x 22" and this is the size that is measured for 500 sheets. If 500 sheets of this size weigh 20lbs., then the paper is classified as a 20lb. bond. Heavier and lighter stocks will obviously be thicker or thinner than the 20lb. Therefore 16lb. Bond or 24lb. Bond will be the variations on this.
Bond stocks (often referred to as "Writing") traditionally are uncoated stocks and are normally used around the office such as letterheads, photo copier and laser printer paper. The standard weight utilized is 20lb., with 24lb. being the heavier alternative, and 16lb. being the lighter alternative.
Writing is a grade similar to bond, but made with a shorter fiber, yielding a softer sheet which can be made with a variety of finishes and which accepts ink more readily. Writing is generally more expensive than bond and is used for higher end applications like company stationery. Some bond and writing papers have distinctive watermarks in the sheet.
Uncoated offset is made specifically for the rigors of commercial offset presses and is often used for the same applications as bond.
The basis size of bond/writing papers is 17 x 22", whereas offset papers is 25 x 38".
 Equivalent bond/writing and offset weights:
16lb bond or writing = 40lb offset
20lb bond or writing = 50lb offset
24lb bond or writing = 60lb offset
28lb bond or writing = 70lb offset
32lb bond or writing = 80lb offset
Both Coated and Uncoated stocks are available under the category of Book Papers. Weights vary from 30lb. bible stock (very thin - mostly utilized for bibles) to a maximum around 115lbs. This classification is the most common for posters, catalogues, booklets and publication magazines.
The basis size of Book papers is 25 x 38"
Gaining on quality above the book grades, Text stocks are utilized in projects requiring a better grade of paper and usually range from a low of around 60lb to a high of 100lb.
The basis size of Text papers is 25 x 38"
Cover papers, as the name denotes, is heavier and is utilized for post cards, business cards, rack cards, door hangers etc. The ranges of weights for Cover are from a low of 60lb. to a high of just over 100lb.
The basis size of Cover papers is 24 x 36"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Colour Scheme Designer

I posted this link on my fb page also. It's a great tool once you get the hang of it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Creating a Buzz at the Trade Fair

 I don't think anyone missed the $50 bill stuck to my name tag - it got LOTS of attention!
A+ Executive Administrative Solutions set up a nice display - Executive Virtual Assistant par excellence! Graphics by RGS.

 The button add on is from the 70's. Dad's old button collection came in useful...again. Wrapping the cards was to give it the investment look. Anyone need a Dragon? The binder featured recent work I've completed with printed samples - call 647-409-1196 to have a look.
 My friends from Catering by Gregory's joined me - showcasing some of the work I've completed with them, as well as their wide range of catering abilities.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everybody Wins!

 I call this the Charlie approach - everybody wins! If you're going to make an offer, make everyone a grand prize winner. It works! Why? Because everybody wants to be a winner.
Some of the most successful marketing campaigns are those that include everyone. If they perceive they won the grand prize - even better. Print cash, give it away... you'll be noticed, guaranteed!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Target Marketing

This ad raises the bar - appeared in the Brampton Board of Trade magazine, Trade Talks. The agency that created it - Soda & Tonic.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Back to the Future?

 Thought I'd share this - I found it very interesting...

Admail, is it the answer?
A new decade is upon us, and with that has come a renewed sense of optimism. Marketers may not know exactly what’s in store for the economy this year or beyond (we’ll leave the predictions to the economists), but many do have a better understanding of how to leverage their media mix to drive greater ROI. That’s because—and if there’s a silver lining to the recession, this is it—marketers have had to scrutinize and justify every marketing dollar spent. That has led to some aha moments for many direct marketers. Take the Web, for example. There was a time, not all that long ago, when many companies believed email—and other digital communications like mobile—would mean the end of direct mail. Yet, when we look at what’s happening today, nothing could be further from the truth.
In some instances, email is, in fact, the right communication tactic, and in others, direct mail (particularly those with a brand building objective). But what has surprised many marketers is that often times they work best in partnership, delivering a much stronger ROI together than they ever could apart.

The Great Email Vs Direct Mail Debate
 DM has played second fiddle to email in recent years and the consequence is empty mailboxes. When study participants were asked about how they treat DM, 40% said that they opened them all the time, 27% said they opened them occasionally, while only 33% said they never open them. DM is tangible, and, when done right, makes a lasting impression.
DM is a non-intrusive channel that appeals to consumers’ five senses, evoking emotional reactions that drive purchase behaviours, explains Nadia Fiore, former marketing manager at Canada Post.
“When you think about the consumer, it makes a lot of sense,” says Fiore. “When they receive a direct mail piece and then a similar promotional email message or vice versa, the recall component comes into play. That recall is very influential in terms of purchasing behaviour.”
According to a 2009 Canada Post study, capitalizing the best of both tools, in the right circumstances, can attain a 300% lift in purchasing intent.
This finding is supported by a 2008 Belgium post office survey that showed combined email and DM lifted purchasing activity by 255%, and reduced cost per response by 25%.
Combining email and DM gets better results in the B2B arena, as well, according to OgilvyOne’s Stevenson. “It has a halo effect on email. DM is tangible and it can quickly raise the core value proposition to make one more predisposed to email, which makes quick click-through responses more likely.” Stevenson adds that permission-based email prospects are incredible catches. “If someone gives you their email at an early stage in the prospecting relationship, their close rate increases by up to 45%. This is because giving you an email address is a careful consideration, it’s a value exchange.”
Fiore points out that it’s important to keep in mind that consumers prefer to receive certain types of message one way or the other. For example, evidence shows that email is preferred for invitation to a webinar, newsletters and confirmation of purchases, while addressed mail is preferred to communicate special offers, information about new products, while also building customer relationships and strengthening your brand. And therein lies the fundamental fact to keep in mind when choosing the right media, for the right consumer, at the right time. “What’s the number one mega trend we’ve seen the last five years?” asks Stevenson.
“The consumer is in control.” They want a level of customized control, such as the choice between receiving a personalized paper communication in the mail or a digital file delivered through email, based on their preferences. So at the end of the day, reaching your consumer still involves a basic rule of thumb it would appear…“Know thy customer.”

Back To The Future 1 - Original Teaser

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PMS can be a problem...

 While we're on the subject of colour, I thought this might be a good addition. I remember when this colour system was first introduced to me. I was a film stripper in a screen print shop at King and Spadina, (1980ish) and at first Pantone was giving away colour guides to us. Then after a year or so, we were paying $5 each, then $10, then $15 and now the guides cost hundreds.
 The problems associated with Pantones are conversion to CMYK. Many of the new digital printers are adding shades of base colour (light cyan, medium cyan, light magenta, medium magenta, ect.) to more accurately render PMS colours, however traditional print in CMYK is still only 4 colours and limited in gamut.
 The following write up was gleaned from the Pantone website, and provides a brief history and description of the Pantone Matching System®.

The Pantone Matching System®
and Pantone Formula Guides.
The year was 1963. Hundreds of ink manufacturers were producing ink for thousands of printers. Ink manufacturers provided swatches of their inks that did not match or “translate” from manufacturer to manufacturer. Corporations produced color standard guidelines for the two or three colors associated with their brands. But a universal color reference library to identify and communicate color along the product development workflow from designer - manufacturer - marketer - printer - retailer -consumer, did not exist. The Pantone Matching System and Pantone Formula Guides were created to fill this void.
Because the Pantone Matching System concept was simple to understand and the Pantone Formula Guide was easy-to-use, consumer acceptance was immediate. By publishing a color reference library printed under tight quality standards, identifying each color by a unique number and linking each color to a precise ink mixing formula, everyone involved in the development process could accurately communicate color. And everyone understood the value in being able to specify a color as “Pantone 485” and having that shade of red look the same from design concept to finished product and from product packaging to product advertising.
The original Formula Guide was called the Printers’ Edition and had 500 colors for offset printers. Though the current Formula Guide now includes 1,114 colors, the concept of the first Formula Guide hasn’t changed much since its inception nearly half a century ago.
From these humble beginnings, Pantone Color Libraries have been developed for the graphic arts, textile, fashion & home and plastic industries. Today, specifications for thousands of Pantone Colors are built into design software and production equipment. Pantone, Inc. publishes a variety of products for color communication from printed guides to dyed textiles. All to provide a set of common languages recognized worldwide as international standards for the communication of color.

The Pantone Matching System
In contrast to the commonly recognized color spaces, the Pantone Matching System is a color communication system, with each color referred to as a Pantone Spot Color. The Pantone Matching System is not considered a color space but a color system. The result is not a gamut since there are a finite number of colors that are included in the Pantone Matching System.
The colors in the Pantone Matching System have been selected to encompass as much of the visual color space as our ink set allows. There are Pantone Spot Colors spanning much of the CMYK and sRGB color spaces. However, when a CMYK or sRGB representation is not accurate enough, the use of spot colors ensures the perfect color every time.

Understanding the Pantone Formula Guide
14 PANTONE Basic Colors
The 14 Pantone Basic Colors found on pages 1.1 and 1.2 of the Formula Guide, plus Pantone Transparent White, are the building blocks of the Pantone Matching System. Precise mixtures of these Pantone Basic Colors, provided in parts and percentages, allow the ink mixer to accurately create the 1,114 unique spot colors in the current palette. In the development of a printed project, the mixed colors are compared to the color swatches printed by Pantone in the Formula Guide or chips book for a quality check of color match.
PMS Yellow
PMS Purple
PMS Yellow 012
PMS Violet
PMS Orange 021
PMS Blue 072
PMS Warm Red
PMS Reflex Blue
PMS Red 032
PMS Process Blue
PMS Rubine Red
PMS Green
PMS Rhodamine Red
PMS Black
Plus Pantone Transparent White

Without consistently accurate Pantone Basic Colors, the mixed spot color will vary. To ensure quality, Pantone tests every ink manufacturer’s version of the Pantone Basic Colors annually. Only when an ink manufacturer’s version of the Pantone Basic Colors matches the control version of the Pantone Basic Colors at Pantone, do we approve them as a Pantone Licensed Printing Ink Manufacturer.

The Center-line Concept
The Formula Guide is printed with seven colors per page and uses a “centerline” concept. The center-line color (usually, but not always, the color in the middle of the page) is a mixture of one or more of the 14 Pantone Basic Colors. Lighter colors are printed using the same ratio of Pantone Basic Colors as the center-line color plus increasing amounts of Pantone Transparent White. Darker colors are printed using the same ratio of Pantone Basic Colors as the center-line color plus increasing amounts of Pantone Black.
Using page 11 C from the Pantone Formula Guide/solid coated guide as an example illustrates how the center-line concept works. Pantone 165 C is the center-line, and is a mixture of 50% Pantone Yellow and 50% Pantone Warm Red. Pantone 164 C, Pantone 163 C and Pantone 162 C get progressively lighter by adding increasing amounts of Pantone Transparent White. Pantone 166 C, Pantone 167 C and Pantone 168 C get progressively darker by adding increasing amounts of Pantone Black.
Most Pantone Colors, such as Pantone 165 C, have the center-line color in the middle of the page. However, as colors were added, exceptions occurred. For example, on page 26.5 C, the Pantone Basic Color Violet is the center-line color but occupies position 5, just below the center of the page. The important thing to remember is the concept of adding Pantone Transparent White or Pantone Black to change the appearance of a center-line color, wherever the center-line color appears on the page.