Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Know Thyself" - Which car brand are you?

From a legal point of view, when a printshop becomes incorporated it marks the formation of a legal entity that is effectively recognized as a person under the law. And, like any other person, the printshop has a "personality" – its face to the market and the customers it serves. From a marketing and sales point of view, it is very useful for management and front-line workers to have a clear and unanimous understanding of the personality that the printshop wishes to embody and project to its public. Doing so can help guide everything from investments in new equipment and services, to the decor used in the plant. It also helps set customer expectations for the experience they will have when they do business with the shop.

Which car brand are you?

Better defining and understanding your printshop's personality can be helped by borrowing a technique used in marketing - asking the simple question: "If your business was a car, which brand of car would it be and what would its personality traits be?"

Here are some (briefly) detailed ideas to get you started, each of which could be expanded to cover every aspect of your business.

BMW "The ultimate print machine." We emphasize the equipment and technology we apply to print projects. We compete on value - not on price - to print specifiers and buyers who can appreciate what we bring to the table. Our lobby is spartan and contemporary and proudly shows the many international awards for print quality that we've garnered. Our press room is a showcase of excellence.

Toyota Prius "Harmonizing quality, value, and the environment." We emphasize how our print processes meet the print quality needs of our customers while minimizing the impact on the environment. We are not the low cost provider, instead we compete on sustainable value by nurturing long term relationships rather than operating on just a job by job basis. Our lobby mingles local awards for print quality and from sustainability organizations. Our press room demonstrates our environmental initiatives with dedicated recycle and reuse areas.

SMART car "Two and four-up jobs are where we excel." We're nimble and are able to turn around jobs quickly. Although we're a small shop, we can provide much of the expertise you'll find with the big shops - and we've got a few print quality awards to show for it. We compete by providing a very personal service with great value for the dollar performance. Our pressroom is quite small so, instead, we concentrate more our customer facing areas such as our storefront, lobby comfort, and on-line print order system.

MACK truck "The long run specialist." We're the big iron - so we stay with what we do best: long press runs and contract work. Our facilities haven't changed much over the years, although we do have a few bits and pieces of the latest technology. Our customers aren't that interested in awards, but we do submit work for judging, after all it does show that we are proud of our work and it does help to cement relationships with our customers. Our pressrooms are huge and not really suited for our customers to visit - so we have a small visitor area where they can relax on the rare occasion they may need to see a job on press. Because of our size we consume a great deal of resources, and because of customer concern we will be looking into implementing some sustainability programs.

Of course there are many more cars, and personalities, to explore to help you define your own unique corporate personality.

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