Industrial Marketing News from our Cincinnati Advertising Agency
Printing is more of an art than science. Here are a few things to master:
Printing methods today are almost like high quality photography. Printing quality is based on how many lines per inch the small dots that make up images measure. Years ago 133 lines per inch was common, today 300 lines per inch is the standard. With photographs that have 600 lines per inch of resolution your photos will pop right off of the page. The detail will amaze your reader and really make a good impression of your product or service.
All the high resolution in the world will be lost if your files aren't prepared properly. Some common text editing and publishing programs may not be accepted by a high quality printer. Adobe's programs such as Illustrator and InDesign are the industry standard and will coach you step by step on the proper preparation of your files. Small files cannot make great printing.
Great printing comes down to great paper. Most printers will use a number two grade paper if you don't request a higher grade. Higher grades of paper are smoother to render your high-resolution images. Higher grades of paper are whiter to bring clarity to your images. If you want to be environmentally responsible, you will want to use Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) paper. FSC paper is only a few cents more expensive but the logging practices used to make the paper preserved the forest eco-systems where they were harvested. It takes tens of thousands of years for a forest to establish a symbiotic eco-system between the animals, insects and plants. Clear cutting a forest destroys that eco-system. Even if you planted the same number of trees of the same species, that will not bring back the insects and animals. They left when the trees were clear-cut. FSC forestry only cuts a small percentage of mature trees while preserving the smaller trees, under canopy scrubs and ground cover. Preserving the eco-system so the insects and animals can't tell the difference.
Printing is a mature profession. It pays to hire a professional to manage your printing requirements. You'll receive a competitive price, a high quality job, on time and shipped to save you in the long run. Sure you can purchase printing online but be careful. Test out providers and see their quality and delivery before trusting your annual report to them. Professional printing brokers, like Lohre & Assoc., have relationships with printing factories that only sell to professional brokers. What is the role of a professional broker? A professional broker is an individual or organization who knows the printing process and can be sure that the files are prepared properly, inks and paper specified correctly, and finishing operations are understood and communicated. Printing factories to the trade don't have the time to educate the general public and waste valuable press time. Anyone can learn the trade but printing job shops won't work for the public.
Press checks will save you more grief than you can imagine. We went to a press check last week and immediately realized that a varnish had been applied to the entire sheet. This feature wasn't in the client's graphic standards. Potentially, many issues might have resulted if undiscovered: placing blame, job delays, added costs and wasted paper and time. No one would be happy except for the paper and ink companies. Even though the job had been specified properly with the Customer Service Representative (CSR), a previous version of the specifications that were subsequently revised is what the pressman received inadvertently. It only took a few minutes to stop by the press during the press check and it prevented a ton of problems. Everyone was happy and the client never even knew.
Post-press processes are the final touches on your printed marketing communications. Don't let it become your downfall by not understanding the grain of your paper, how to score and fold, and properly packaging and shipping your finished product. We always wrap our literature in packs of 25 so when they are shipped or stored in a sales person's car trunk the vibration will not sandpaper the ink right off of the page. Industrial sales literature can last for decades. There is no sense in wasting any due to high moisture environments, dust, or vibration.
Chuck Lohre's AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads
More thoughts on "Designing B2B Brands: Branding lessons from Deloitte and 195,000 Brand Managers," by Carlos Martinez Onaindia and Brian Resnick who worked for Deloitte's Global Brand & Communications group, while writing the book. These reviews look at branding from the point of view of our clients who manufacture industrial products.
Good branding requires manufacturers to have a purpose. There are several kinds of purposes for manufacturers:
Go to work and put out fires. Fundamental problems in the market and the product are being ignored. The problems will never go away and their competitors know it. This is typically illustrated by faulty product design and engineering that won't allow manufacturing improvements and economical line extension.
Treat the company as a cash cow. The company has a competitive advantage -- as long as the product can be sold, made, shipped and serviced economically -- there will be a large amount of cash that can be extracted. Decisions are only made to reduce the costs of making, shipping and servicing, not to create major new market products.
Struggle to evolve and stay ahead in a market that is disappearing. The only solution is to create a new business model for the new markets, nearly impossible for older companies, only with deep dives into world class emerging technology and leveraging inexpensive new internet marketing techniques. Requires reeducating upper management and then their leadership. Employee growth is prime objective. You'll find this in employee owned companies (Publix Super Markets Inc.). The most advanced, progressive and technologically creative manufacturing companies are this type. Some require more than 50 hours of continuing education by each employee and give opportunities to every employee that wants to grow, learn and take on more responsibility.
Micro-managing organization with state-of-the-art HR departments. It may seem inhuman but these are the most effective multi-nationals. Everything is measured and feedback given. Likewise, advanced research, industrial intelligence, global economics and IT tools are available for employee growth and product development. From the day you are hired, you are told exactly how you will be judged and compensated; but also given the tools to achieve your Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
Center your company around a unique technology. As long as you can keep ahead of any competition and get a generous margin, you can stay in business. Companies like this sometimes both sell the equipment and sell the parts the equipment can produce. Businesses like this can have a wonderful technological advantage both in engineering and marketing. Their unique selling proposition is understood by employees and customers.
An environmental sustainable purpose for a company would be to work with the environment -- manufacturing things from others' waste and your waste is raw material for another company's product. Metal foundries are an age old example of this type of continually recycling business purpose. Mother Nature does this continually and we are just beginning to understand how to mimic natural processes to do the same. Patagonia is a good example of this company type, "The Footprint Chronicles® examines Patagonia’s life and habits as a company. The goal is to use transparency about our supply chain to help us reduce our adverse social and environmental impacts – and on an industrial scale. We’ve been in business long enough to know that when we can reduce or eliminate a harm, other businesses will be eager to follow suit."
If you liked this blog post you might be interested in another post on how Lohre & Assoc. is implementing sucessuful marketing campaigns by focusing on using new internet tools to aquire prospects, convert them into customers and delight them with customer service.
As said in his blog, "People buy on emotion—and justify by logic." You can learn more about emotional persuasion at the Wikipedia post where it lists these appeals to emotion:
This ad "connects" with the viewer because it contains a human hand. The connectors on the fingers make you think about why they are there. Are they hurting the hand? What are they doing there? Adding a body part into an ad is like adding a person. It's also one reason testimonials are successful when there's a photo of the person, looking at you, telling their experiences. If the story is good enough, your opinion will be changed.
Why does this ad evoke a visceral reaction? No one likes a messy job. Here's a solution. And then, there are those hands again! You only have a few seconds to introduce the main benefit and visual that backs it up. The double entendre, from something that you can hold in your hand to a push-button effort, always helps develop the main visual and headline. Your brain looks at it like a riddle. And who doesn't like trying to solve a riddle?
This is one of the most humorous ads the agency has ever produced. It was fun to do and started out as a takeoff on the Splice Girls, but the lawyers said we had to make it a parody. So out went the attractive young ladies, and in came the construction workers dressed in drag. Those husky models were a bit surprised at the costumes we had for them! Like other successful ads we've done, it was immediately ripped out of the publication and stuck on the company billboard with callouts of the likely suspects in the company identified! It's the print equivalent of going viral.
This is the most "graphic" ad the agency produced and so were reactions. Some people really didn't like it, but most were amused and everyone remembered it. Phone calls to the client (immediately after publication) complained it cast the industry in a bad light. (The rendering business is in the business of reducing carcasses to pulp for further processing.) This ad style is hard to pull off. Industrial marketing's job is to tell a simple story with a benefit. Not to polarize the market or give the viewer any reason to go elsewhere. If you can't be funny, memorable and educational in industrial advertising, you're on thin ice. Negative ads almost always backfire in B2B. Your local TV news is all about bad news, social media is about good news. Read more about that effect in The Economic Times.
The use of strong, evocative words can make your ad work. The play on words leads to the small application photo.
Trade show displays can elicit feelings as well. It was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the creator of Connectosaurus Rex. Can you imagine having sold the idea and then having to build it! This is a highly conservative industry, but the final product was a big hit. We even added a sound track. As the visitor walked by the monster piped up and told a joke!
Last but not least, this ad won awards for its direct simplicity. Rules were made to be broken and this ad was negative toward the rumors competitors were circulating about our client. The ad reiterated those rumors and then refuted them.
If you liked this post, contrast it with Green marketing communications. Where you are going to have to use your brain, at some point.
Chuck Lohre's AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads
The marketing cycle stages are the same: audience, investigation, comparison, negotiation, sales and follow up. The Green Building movement has a passion and an involvement which is shaping the industry. The people that are receptive to Green marketing believe that Green products and services are better than others. Consumers select the standard that they believe in: The U.S. Green Building Council, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with their product certifications, Department of Energy (DOE) with their Energy Star Certifications and many other organizations are being adopted as trusted brands by the public. Wikipedia has a great page on Green marketing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_marketing/.
Sustainable products and services by their very nature are more advanced and efficient. Everyone likes to save money and have a better quality of life; these are the major benefits of sustainable products and services. As energy costs rise and quality of life decreases; more and more people will be turning to sustainable practices to preserve their lifestyle. Education and the peer sharing of these inexpensive methods and practices will continue to grow the industry. We LEED Platinum Certified our office for $12 per square foot. In this blog post I'll review the resources available to learn more about the market and the methods that are most successful.
Here are typical Green customer personas that contact us:
Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)
In 1977 a new industry came to being, marketing for architects, engineers and other professional services. The laws changed to allow advertising. The Society for Marketing Professional Services is an excellent resource for learning the best practices for marketing architectural and engineering services. Primarily the marketing department at those firms prepares proposals and complete state and federal forms to bid on projects. Especially helpful is their Marketing Handbook and its accreditation test Certified Professional Services Marketer exam. Everything from research to websites to events to exit interviews is included. If you offer architectural or engineering services this is a must have accreditation for one of your staff.
U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is how we found out about the Green Building movement in 2005. It's a non-governmental non-profit that has assembled the best sustainable building practices into an easy to understand and implement certification system. We got involved with the local chapter by helping develop their web site and display materials. It also gave us an opportunity to offer classes to pass the USGBC Green Building exam and teach renewable energy classes at Cincinnati State Technical College. As with marketing any product, the best marketers have a deep and committed passion for the industry. This is represented by Certifying our office LEED Platinum, the highest level. We did all of the work on the project ourselves and now offer LEED documentation services for other projects.
Jerry Yudeson is a pioneer in the Green Building marketing industry. He has written an excellent book, Marketing Green Buildings: Guide for Engineering, Construction & Architecture, and we highly recommend it. Jerry spoke at a Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Marketing Professional Services educational breakfast in 2006. One of the major takeaways from the presentation was to seize the moment and take hold of this new and growing industry. Lohre & Associates has embraced this concept. Because it's a unique industry and quite different from our traditional marketing communications firm, we registered "Green Cincinnati" and started our Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy division for Green Building services and marketing.
Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy
When we founded Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy in 2005 with the goal to help promote Green Building and provide the public with the resources needed to advocate for the U.S Green Building Council's LEED Certification process, we wanted to focus on the products and services that would help design, build and maintain buildings that are trying to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The Green Building movement has many different meanings and we use that general term to describe our focus but underlining that is our dedication to the U.S. Green Building Council's Certifications as the best in class.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)
The single most important thing in marketing Green Building products is the grants, rebates, incentives, tax abatements and any other cash reduction methods. DSIRE is a great resource to find the state and federal incentives available. In Cincinnati we offer extended building property tax abatement to 15 years, the only one like it in the world. It has made Cincinnati a center for residential LEED design in the nation. The state of Ohio offers a Commercial building tax abatement extension of up to 12 years for LEED Certified projects. The state of Ohio requires that all school buildings be built to LEED Certification. The Federal government offers reduced interest rates to affordable housing projects if they are LEED Certified. An added incentive to those developers is that they are required to pay for the maintenance and utility bills for 15 years. All U.S. government buildings are required to be LEED Certified. LEED buildings by definition save at least 15% on energy bills.
Fostering Sustainable Behavior
We learned about this the Community Based Social Marketing group from some employees of the City of Cincinnati. Their resources are excellent for uncovering the basic problems to changing behavior. For example, in one Mexican town the mothers wouldn't use child seats in their cars because they believed that if God planned for them to be in an accident there was nothing they could do about it. The city leaders started having the local priests bless the child carriers and the marketing problem was solved. Other great ideas we learned from them were how to use your neighborhood to encourage recycling. It takes one neighbor persuading another to realize it's easy to recycle. And as they can see, everyone else on their street is doing it as well.
The Shelton Group has done a continuous survey of the U.S. since 2005 regarding the public perception and adoption of sustainable practices. Their research has shown a growth of interest in sustainable products up to 2010 and a leveling off after that. There is no obvious reason for this trend. They have also confirmed a time honored marketing method "humor." Getting a person to laugh is the best way to have access to a few new neuron connections being made. Another important finding was that a household needs to make at least five energy efficient efforts to really see a difference in their utility bills. These things could be a programmable thermostat back, storm windows, new windows, high efficiency HVAC, insulation, air sealing, and many others.
Yale Project on Climate Change - Anthony Leiserowitz
Professor Leiserowitz, like the Shelton Group has done research on public attitudes about environmental issues. The Yale Project identified easy to understand categories of the population. There are those that are early adopters of sustainable practices to those that see no problem with the environment. Bill Moyer's recent interview is worth watching.
I'll conclude this post with references to RESNET, Energy Star and your local utility; they represent the best home energy efficiency guides. Your local utility probably has a simple online questionnaire that will offer helpful ideas to make home improvements. There is talk about requiring all new mortgages to have energy assessments done and they will probably be sanctioned by the Residential Energy Services Network. Energy Star is part of the U.S. Department of Energy and one of the original energy efficiency certifications available to the homeowner. They also have a residential energy audit online like your local utility.
GreenBiz Group provides, "clear, concise, accurate, and balanced information, resources, and learning opportunities to help companies of all sizes and sectors integrate environmental responsibility into their operations in a manner that supports profitable business practices.'
Their 2013 State of Green Business Report offers a good overview of facts and figures for green industry insiders, " In tracking the trend toward third-party assurance in sustainability reporting, we looked at sustainability disclosures made in compliance with reporting standards, such as those offered by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), or AccountAbility."
Mind Over Markets
Here is another description of the different segments of Green by CEO Carolyn Parrs of Mind over Markets, "The consumer base is made up of what I call Shades of Green. Deep Greens (19% of US population) are the most environmentally active segment of the market. They are the most willing to pay a premium for green products and are more forgiving when it comes to efficacy. Medium Greens (33% of US population) embrace environmentalism, but more slowly. They are practical and like to see the results of what they do, so are more likely to buy green products that make sense in the long run. Light Greens (16% of US population) are generally unconcerned about environmental issues. They have a “wait and see” attitude and will only buy green products if they are economically equal, or better yet less than conventional products and services. After all, shouldn’t green cost less if you are using less ingredients/supplies/parts?"
George Lakoff to green marketers: use the F-word
Mr. Lakoff has some good points about the emotional words we use like "Freedom." Using them in your campaign will make it more effective. He reports that 98% of our decisions are unconscience. Using the right "metaphors, narratives and emotions" can help call on those unconscience motives to help sell your message. From an article by Anne Clark for The Guardian.
Recognize resistance, which is so commonplace it often discourages while passing unnoticed
Muhammad Yunus, of Grameen Bank and the worldwide microcredit movement, spent more than 30 years promoting the idea of microcredit -- first in his native Bangladesh and later around the world. Growing the Grameen Bank from a small outpost to a bank that lent to millions of poor women was a long and trying process, and he learned a great deal from it. So can we. Thanks to Katharine Esty and her post on GreenBiz.
Chuck Lohre's AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads
#1. The Cover:
This YouTube video is so popular because it illustrates the number one problem mother's have with their autistic child; it's difficult to take them to the mall. A service dog makes that possible and is illustrated in the thumbnail for the video.
The cover of your brochure needs to be like the thumbnail frame for a YouTube video. Pick one that is going to get it played or opened. The cover needs to be like a billboard. So you have three words and a photo. And a logo. You need to get the reader to pick up your literature.
#2. The Content:
This illustration is effective because it doesn't look hard to understand. With the seven callouts, you can easily focus on what is interesting to you.
For the literature we're working on the central inside illustration is a cutaway of a commercial building illustrating all the energy efficient retrofits you can choose from (similar to above).
Today when you mouse over pictures, up pops related content. You can have the same effect by using a central illustration and callouts surrounding it. Digital illustrations can go even further by having you mouse over an index and the whole illustration changes. To do the same thing in a piece of printed literature you would have to use page after page to reveal the same data.
If we were combining images into one for an index mouse over it might be one for daylight and another for nighttime; one for occupied and one for unoccupied. These concepts could be included in the one illustration by using small reference images where it's easy to relate to day or night, school's in or out. The reader will at least understand that there is more to energy efficiency than a static building.
# 3. The Call To Action:
Remember when marketing communications literature from a company had a Business Reply Card? That's the same thing as an internet web site Call To Action today. A Call To Action (CTA) is an encouragement to learn more by sending a request to the company via email. The modern form of Business Reply Card. We're working on an efficient lighting retrofit brochure that will also be used on the company's web site. We'll still use the Business Reply Card for the printed literature but for the web site it will be a "Call To Action" to have an energy assessment done on your facility. If you had a trade show booth it could be a "Wheel of Fortune" game of chance wheel!
What is the comparison to the back of the brochure in the digital age? Maybe get right down to business and hint at the information that will be needed to complete the assessment by filling out a Survey Monkey survey. Or a Pinterest arrangement of past lighting energy efficiency assements. Those would be especially nice with a highlight indicating about the amount of energy/money saved.
How do you add video to a printed page? A QR code could do it. A recent Facebook post mentioned that marketing communications today have been shortened, condensed and cater to short attention spans. Your cover needs to be a billboard, the inside spread a PowerPoint slide and the meat of the discussion a video. That would point to having testimonials on the back that you can view by QR codes. QR Codes are like a bar code that your smart phone can read. They take you to a web page, create and email or can make a phone call.
If you're in mechanical, chemical, electrical or Green Building products and services, so are we. Contact us at 877-608-1736 or email@example.com for some friendly advice, ideas, and the latest trends or just to brag. Thanks for reading our blog.
These are all goals of the introductory corporate marketing communication brochure. A combination of visual magnetism, history, curiosity and purpose. You certainly want someone who actually reads it to come away clearly understanding who you are and why they should trust you with their business.
In this example the company has three divisions. One division had invested in an attractive line of product literature and a corporate overview. Their marketing communications needed the corporate overview because the market didn't know the parent company as well as other players. When the time came for one of the other divisions to need a corporate brochure it was a natural to borrow some of the design elements and customize it to their market. The results are that as a whole, if all the divisions were being presented, the parent company looks focused on their markets and their customers.
The brochure cover's number one purpose is to get someone to pick it up and open. In this case it is the reflection of a photo from the founding of the company in 1951. Hundreds of employees attended a holiday program in their new plant; the photographer captured them as they all turned around the face the camera. When we create the third brochure we'll use the same reflected image but in their product.
Usually these brochures don't stand-alone and are a continual process of evolution from previously printed pieces and web sites. And that's a good thing; rarely does a brand need a complete overhaul. The best thing is to stay on course and make small corrections. This sequence of photos illustrates the evolution of a rock crushing machine company over the last 50 years.
Now for the reveal - the first spread! Make it good because it sets the tone for the rest of the brochure.
In this example a cutaway drawing is used to illustrate the benefits and features of the product.
For multiple page brochures and catalogs a consistent grid is needed to establish the rhythm of information. To show the user where to find the information he is looking for. English readers follow an established path from the upper left to the upper right to the lower left and then the lower right. A "Z" path.
This image illustrates the cover and inside page grid for a four model machine tool spindle drill head.
This inside spread illustrates all the different voices you can mix and match to provide content and not tire the eye:
• Clear statement of who we are
• Our sister companies
• An aerial view of the plant says it all about the size and capabilities
• Our personal sales approach
• Our history through the group photos and the timeline
* For more information go to our web site
Finally, after the brochure is all done, out in the field and selling product your job isn't done. Listen closely to the feedback coming from the field and incorporate new ideas and benefit/features that help market the product. Sometimes the simplest changes help push just the right buttons in the sales cycle.
Fortunately, it has also become easier over the years and now technical illustrations can be mastered by all types of employees.
Notice how easy it is to see various elements in the illustrations above. Important parts are tinted red and the red color projects off the paper into the foreground. The blue border recedes into the background and makes the panel appear in three layers: Background blue border, middle ground gray valve and foreground red components.
Still, many lessons learned over the centuries by illustration artists haven’t been written into computer software and that is where history can come in to make your technical drawing better:
1. Make sure your illustration can be copied in black and white. Use black lines for the most important and blue tints that will disappear when you copy the illustration.
2. Red color brings the object to the foreground and blue recedes the item.
3. Better to use callout lines and place the descriptive text next to the described item than labeling the illustration A-Z or 1-N.
To the right, here’s another example of warm colors being used for important parts of the technical illustration and blue tinted objects receding behind the particles. It helps communication to use the red shift to help communication and not hinder it.
Technical drawings are quick and easy with Adobe Illustrator but communication takes a quantum leap when you add an isometric dimension. And all the measurements in the three dimensions can be taken directly off of the drawing.
For the ultimate in communication learn to use a 3D program like AutoCAD or Lightwave. Objects can be rotated to where they communicate what you are trying to portray and then fine tune the sectioning.
Steps 1, 2 and 3, will never go out of fashion for describing a sequence of events in a technical illustration. As is shown in this operation drawing, to the right, the viewer can easily see the important parts because they are tinted red as you go through the process.
Our resident illustration artist, Art Director, Robert Jeffries, has created the perfect dimensional drawing here by coloring the important things black and the less important items blue. The dimensions and their locations will come across in a poor thermographic copy.
Don’t let your chart junk interfer with communication! When laying out a chart, remember the numerals are the most important thing. Don’t make the grid black lines and the text blue! It won’t copy and it will give your reader eye strain.
Your eye naturally follows the three step process in this technical illustration, to the right, because your eye follows the red colored objects.
Classic tinting and shaping of the different planes in your technical illustration is important to separate the planes. Remember, a change in direction means a change in tint. Any object can be clearly drawn by just using gray tints. Adobe Illustrator has some great tools for this as you can position the changing highlights across a surface to make it look like anything from round to oval.
Always remember that we read from left to right and from top to bottom. Arrange your multi-step technical illustrations in that order to make them flow most naturally. If you’re illustrating for other languages follow their conventions. Japanese read from top to bottom and from left to right.
It might sound obvious but the closer an item is to another the more related it should be. That means captions should be close to the object it describes. Even visual elements relate more to each other if they are closer together. The further away an object is from another the less it relates to it. And this also means that items that relate equally to each othr should be spaced equally from each other.
This simple two step process comes across beautifully because it reads from left to right, the callouts are near the object and it would still communicate it you removed the blue color.
All the components we have discussed in this blog come together here in this simple but beautifully communicated technical illustration, to the right. The black lines clearly outline the important features. The warm colors emphasis the features being discussed and if copied would turn a medium gray tint.
In the Diverter Valve illustration below, you will see how naturally understood the tan colored pebbles flow. It’s because they seem to be floating on top of the blue colored valve. The pebbles’ color helps communicate the message.
We hope you have enjoyed this primer from Cincinnati technical illustration and drawing from Lohre & Assoc. It's what comes from over 35 years of experience, so don't get discouraged. Good design is obvious. If you keep that in mind you won't go wrong. Sometimes I say to my staff, "Does it pass the two-by-four and a six-pack test?" Have your audience drink a six pack of an adult beverage and hit them over the head with a two-by-four wooden board. If they can't understand what you are trying to communicate, go back to the drawing board! Chuck Lohre.
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