First impression… how is yours?

Every time we meet someone new, we make a first impression of some sort. Once we realize that this is a fact, we can be aware of how others see us. This is true in our personal lives as well as our business lives. This post will focus on the business side of things.

Let’s say that you’re a business owner, or maybe you’re in sales. Either way, you represent a company, and a product or service that must be sold, in order for your company to exist. Different companies have different strategies for getting their message out to the masses, and I may have a biased opinion, but I think that printed material plays a large part into the way that companies are initially judged.

Here are a couple of scenarios:

You have a meeting with a prospect, one chance to make your first impression. You make your introduction, present your business card, and make your self comfortable for the next part of the meeting. You make your pitch, and have a great meeting, you feel great about it! It’s time to get the heck out of there before you talk yourself out of sale. You shake hands, and let your prospect know how much you enjoyed meeting them, and you leave… Speaking of leave, the only thing that you had to leave with your prospect, was your business card. I sure hope it was special!

Let’s say that your prospect is one of those folks who never purchases anything without talking to three potential vendors. Now let’s say that one of those vendors, your competition, has invested in their first impression. They have had pocket folders and ad slicks printed up, and the pocket folder has some snazzy embossing or foil stamping on the front. This dude doesn’t just hand his business card out, he nails the prospect with a nice hefty package. This is the sort of collateral piece that says, “Look at me, I’ve been here a while, and I’m serious about my business.”

So your prospect has had a couple first impressions, and now they have to get back to what they do best, which is what we all do best… make money for our company (unless your company is a non-profit). So a couple days go by, and the first impressions are getting a little fuzzy with all the busyness of business… you know what I mean. So now it comes time for your prospect to make a decision on the new vendors that they have been “interviewing”. The prospect retrieves all of the information that was left with them. Your business card gets a glance, but the prospect picks up the pocket folder, kicks their chair back and settles in to read your competition’s literature, not to mention checking out all of the full color pictures in their trifold brochure!

What can you do to improve your first impression? Invest in it! Of course you printing isn’t the only thing that contributes to the way that people judge you. You should dress professionally, take care of your hygiene, be polite and helpful, just to name my personal top three.

If you think that you can’t afford to have your company’s sales materials professionally printed, think again. Call your local commercial printshop (stay away from the internet printers, they only care about your money, not your image) and ask them for their advice. Let them know what your budget is and ask what options you have within your financial limits. Your local printer will have several options for you. Go see them and let them help you make a great first impression. Your competition won’t know what hit ’em!

Posted in Digital, Marketing, Offset, Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Digital Printing is here!

Brandywine has gone digital!  People used to ask me when we were going to start offering digital printing, and my response was something like… “Never!”  Well now I’m sitting here eating my hat.  We installed our first digital machine last week, and we’re not looking back.

The digital age has been upon us for several years.  It’s not that we were scared of it, we just didn’t jump on the wagon when all the other guys in our industry did.  Using traditional offset printing presses, we have been able to deliver a very high quality product on a very consistent basis.  However, as buying trends change, we see companies that need printing focus their marketing efforts more directly.  This focused marketing results in lower quantities of printed materials.

The downside to offset printing is the preparation costs, or as it has been labeled “setup costs”.  These costs are associated with everything that it takes to get ready to print, before the first sheet of paper is ever touched. The plates, the ink, the time that it takes to line everything up… not to mention cleaning the press up at the end of the job.  All of that stuff has to be paid for regardless of the quantity of sheets printed, and it takes a lot of materials.  The upside of offset printing is that it’s the golden standard when it comes to printing.  Sheet fed offset printing can’t be duplicated.  It’s a process that has been perfected over the last one hundred years or so.  When it comes to printing, there is no process more consistent than offset.

Now digital printing on the other hand is a different animal.  The downside is that the consistency and quality don’t compare to the offset process, but as time moves on it’s getting closer… everyday!  There must be an upside to digital printing… Yep, here it is.  The quality is very good, and pretty consistent, but there are no preparation costs associated with each job.

There are three basic costs in digital printing;

•1 The payment on the machine.

•2 Something called a click charge, which covers all of the repairs, maintenance, and toner needed.

•3  The labor involved int he production process.

Believe it or not, that is very simplified compared to the costs of offset printing. So the biggest advantage of digital printing is PRICE!  As customer expectations fall, and digital quality rises the price is the deciding factor.

We have seen some of the largest companies move to purchasing digital pieces.  The lower prices of digital printing compared to offset printing, have allowed companies who purchase printing regularly to spread their budget around to more projects.  So digital printing isn’t hurting our industry, the money is still being spent, it just purchases more value than it has in the past.  Digital is here to stay… and so is Brandywine!

Posted in Brandywine, Digital, Marketing, Offset, Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Responses

1st Blog!

Happy New Year!!! Welcome to our new and improved Brandywine Printing website. A new decade is upon us, and I’ve wondered how we’re going to refer to the previous decade… You know, in the 70’s we had bellbottoms and Afros. The 80’s brought in big hair, and sitcoms. The 90’s came around and introduced the Internet, and cell phones. Now here’s where the problem comes in. It’s easy to write that in the 00’s we saw the resurfacing of bellbottoms and Afros. But how do I say it? 00’s… hmmm. Let me know when you figure it out.

Brandywine Printing has been in business for several decades, and we’ve seen the trends in the printing industry change over the years as well. In the 80’s it seemed like the thing to do when approaching retirement age was to buy an offset printing franchise, hire some one to run the printing press and squirrel money away for the true retirement years. It was a no brainer!

The 90’s and the personal computers came around and changed the products that businesses purchased. Instead of buying the traditional letterhead, envelopes, invoices and business forms, companies began producing these items on their own, using personal computers and color laser printers.

The previous decade, the 00’s whatever we’re going to call them changed things in offset printing even more. This decade introduced the “digital age”. With it came email. Yes believe it or not, email was a novelty before the year 2000. Other “ground breaking” technologies in the 00’s were digital printing, color copies, PDF workflows, direct to plate systems, and the best of all Internet based printing companies (ie. vista print… and sarcasm). All of these things either sped up the printing process or made it more affordable.

Now we’ve arrived in the 10’s or teens, as I’ve decided to call them, even though we’re officially in the “tweens”. I believe that this name will catch on before any one gets confused, like with the 00’s. The Internet and email has contributed significantly to the decline of standard office stationary, direct mail, and newsletter printing. This decline turned the printing industry on its ear! The printshops that have endured the change in buying habits over the last couple of years, and are equipped with the technology to face the next couple of years will be around for a long time. Brandywine Printing is proud to be one of those printshops. Rest assured that we’ll be here when you need us!

Be sure to let us know what you think about our new website, and if you haven’t stopped by the shop in awhile call and schedule a personal tour!

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