Custom Promotional Products – from Sourcing to Fullfillment to Shipping

Our team excels at custom projects. We recently handled a special project for a Fortune 500 client to create a series of gifts for an executive leadership training series. This involved sourcing a stylish custom box that featured a debossed logo, as well as custom foam inserts that would not only protect the product, but have an elegant presentation and ship safely both domestically and globally. There were different themes based upon which country and location the leadership class took place. Some of the gift items included personalized letters, branded leather luggage tags, engraved brass compasses, commemorative coins, acrylic branded paperweights, and imprinted magnifying glasses as well as other items. Our promotional team and account manager sourced all the products and handled the print, packaging, fulfillment and shipping to over 50 locations globally. So, if you have a unique project and are wondering where to start or what vendor to contact…give us a call. We’ll be happy to assist and work with you to coordinate all the details so that your project exceeds expectations.

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Posted in Fulfillment and Distribution, Personalized Printing, Print, Promotional/Speciality Advertising | Leave a comment

Velocity Print Solutions to Centralize Manufacturing

Albany, NY

Velocity Print Solutions a Northeast Regional provider of print related communication services, headquartered in Scotia, NY has announced plans to centralize their production facilities. Velocity will be moving its smaller lithographic printing operation located in Middlebury, CT to their larger Albany, NY (Scotia) production facility. Velocity will be retaining a sales office in CT to house customer service and sales personnel. A six color large format 40″ lithographic press with automation and coating capability will be moved to the NY facility and will complement the existing offset and digital printing offerings.

Customers asking for higher volume print quantities more suited for lithographic than digital will be pleased to learn we can now offer all this in one location. Project management will be streamlined with the variety of presses all in one location as well as fulfillment, mailing and shipping services. In addition, the corporate office in Scotia will be adding positions for press operators, production and sales staff.

Jim Stiles, CEO states that: “This consolidation will put Velocity in a much stronger position to compete in the marketplace. Our wide variety of print related services that we currently offer will be complemented by the new services we intend to add in the near future.”

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Posted in Company News, Digital, Press Releases, Print, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custom Flash Drives. A success story about branding.

Here is a short story of how we helped one of our customers prepare for a Symposium in Las Vegas.

Kevin, our Central NY Account Executive, was contacted by the ESD Association (Electrostatic Discharge Association), headquartered in Rome, NY,  to assist them in sourcing products for their upcoming symposium which was being held in Las Vegas. They were looking for buttons, a tote bag and most important, a flash drive that they could load with all the technical sheets pertaining to the symposium. All items would need to be imprinted with their logo or other message and these would be distributed to all attendees at the event.

Kevin, with the assistance of our crackerjack promo team, sourced a very slick looking 1GB Jaguar Flash Drive (pictured)


that would be perfect for their needs. It was imprinted on both the cap and the sides of the drive and then all the data was uploaded for them. When complete all the products were shipped directly to our customer for a successful event!

The moral of our story?  Don’t just think of us as just your printer. Yes, of course that is our core business but we are very much solution oriented and love to partner with our clients on all their marketing needs. We can simplify any event you may have. From printing registration packets, conference binders, training manuals, name tags, lanyards, posters, banners, gift bags, giveaway items, etc… You name it and we’ll find it for you. Our production team can package everything for you and our shipping crew can ship directly to your event location to save you the hassle of transporting yourself.


 

 

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Posted in Case Studies, Company News, Digital, Fulfillment and Distribution, Personalized Printing, Print, Promotional/Speciality Advertising, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Multi-tasking: Skill or Excuse?

The other night, after dinner, my daughter and I were cleaning up the kitchen. I was washing the dishes, she was drying them and putting them away – or at least that was the task she was assigned. She dried some and put some away and then I noticed that the dishes were piling up beside me. I looked around and found her feeding the cat. She came back, dried a few more dishes and disappeared again, this time she was writing a note to herself about school. She came back again and helped a bit more, then was gone. When I tracked her down she was checking her email to see if her teacher had replied to her about a project. When I questioned her about the mounting stack of dishes on the counter she replied that she was multi-tasking.

That really made me think about the value of multi-tasking as a skill. How often do we let ourselves get pulled in different directions instead of staying focused on the task at hand? Our industry demands everything immediately. I don’t even get actual deadlines anymore, everything is either HOT or due ASAP. This false sense of urgency makes it easy to justify the partial completion of jobs and projects in favor of the most recent crisis that was dumped in your lap.

So, is it a skill to let yourself get interrupted? Is it good time management to drop everything you are doing in order to work on something that is of equal importance as the project you were working on in the first place? Are you using good organizational skills if you start a project and then stop it in favor of working on something that you would rather do? Is multi-tasking just another way of saying, “I get easily distracted”?

In answer to all of those questions I would have to say, “It depends on the situation.” I would love to be able to tell everyone who calls, emails and stops by my desk that I’m busy and that I’ll help them as soon as I wrap up whatever I am working on. However, the reality is that our business is so fast-paced that I think I could only get away with that kind of response a couple times before my boss started getting complaints. The trick really seems to be determining what is truly urgent and what can wait. Once you know that, then you can decide whether you are going to multi-task or just plain task.

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Posted in Printing Tips | Leave a comment

Eye-Popping Signage

Advertising dollars are getting slimmer and slimmer and the number of different ways to advertise are ever increasing.  Attention getting signage remains one of the most eye catching methods to grab attention.

Yard Signs – I love seeing yard signs, it’s a fun way to remind people of upcoming activities and advertise events.  They’re affordable, easy and extremely effective.

 

 

Sail Banners – Whether you are a restaurant looking to draw attention, a retailer offering a sale, or an event planner the attention getting outdoor sail banners will do the trick.

 

 

Vinyl Banners – All types of banners for a variety of use.  Indoors, outdoors, with grommets, etc.  Vinyl banners are cost effective and go anywhere.

 

 

Inflatables – Want to really grab some attention to passers-by, inflatables are a cant miss.  Available in lots of different styles and options they will grab the attention of everyone around.

 

 

 

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Hidden Easter Eggs in Graphic Applications

Written by Stef King, Prepress Manager CT

Hidden features or Easter Eggs exist in many of the applications we use from day to day. This is a way for developers to leave you a special message or just let you know they were there.
In QuarkXpress there has been a Martian hidden in their application for years. To bring out the Martian you need to select an object and hit command (or Control) shift + delete and he will come out and destroy your selected object. If you do this 10 times in a row a giant monster will come out and blow up the object. Of the hidden features you can find this is my favorite.
In InDesign if you go to the about InDesign menu and type the word butterfly you will be treated to a nice display of fluttering butterflies.
In Illustrator you can display fun facts or even eyes that follow your every move within the application. To do this open a new page at the bottom left of the illustrator window command + option click (Control+alt click) on the box next to the page number. You should be able to choose from quite a few fun facts & eyes that follow your mouse.
In most versions of Photoshop if you hold the command + option (Control+alt) and click about Photoshop you will see a different splash screen with credits or even a special hidden message. This splash screen will also tell you the code name for that version of Photoshop (CS6 code name is Superstation / CS5 code name is White Rabbit). In Photoshop 4 if you hold command+option (Control+alt) and click on the layer options Merlin the wizard will pop out for a visit.
Best way to find theses easter eggs is to explore your applications, most times holding the command + option (Control+alt). Happy hunting!

 

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Posted in Company News, Print, Printing Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oops, we messed up – now what do we do? 3 Key Steps to Keeping Your Customer

Oops, we messed up – now what do we do? 3 Key Steps to Keeping Your Customer

Yes, occasionally mistakes do happen no matter how many T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. It happens. We’re human and sometimes things slip through the proverbial crack. The real test of superior and Above and Beyond customer service is how the mistake is handled and rectified. Do you attempt to cover up with a thinly veiled excuse that even a 1st grader could tell was bogus or do you take it on the chin, call the customer and explain what happened and work together to find a solution that will solve the immediate problem and get back on track. Obviously the correct response should be honesty is the best policy as we were all taught in Kindergarten. To attempt to conceal or downplay the problem will only serve to diminish your image and tarnish your reputation in the eyes of the customer. Confront the problem, find a solution and then make it right. This is where a solid quality management system can be a benefit. Review your process procedures and find the root cause and fix it.

A well handled “disaster” can be recovered from and actually increase the loyalty of the customer. Remember the Tylenol crisis of 1982? The company won praise for its quick and appropriate action. Having sidestepped the position others have found themselves in – of having been slow to act in the face of consumer concern – they achieved the status of consumer champion. Within five months of the disaster, the company had recovered 70% of its market share for the drug – and the fact this went on to improve over time showed that the company had succeeded in preserving the long term value of the brand.

In fact, there was some evidence that it was rewarded by consumers who were so reassured by the steps taken that they switched from other painkillers to Tylenol.

The 3 key steps to follow:

  • Act quickly, with complete openness about what happened.
  • Take steps to ensure that measures are taken which would prevent a recurrence of the problem.
  • Be prepared to absorb the cost of fixing the problem to reestablish a basis for trust with the customer.

 

 

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Posted in Cross-Media Marketing, Digital, e-Solutions, Fulfillment and Distribution, Personalized Printing, Print, Printing Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redefining your brand

Polyester. The word itself brings to mind images of people in plaid and paisley outfits with big hair from the 1970s. Horrible refrains written by the Gibb brothers echo through my head when I think of that time period. I remember my mom listening to them on the AM radio in our car when I was a kid. I also remember being dressed in striped polyester bell-bottoms and sent to school (sorry, image not available). I was so happy when denim and cotton became the preferred fabric of clothiers.

Fast forward to present. Quite a few of the big names in athletic apparel use polyester as the primary material in their shirts, shorts, sweats and more. But now, polyester and polyester blends, are touted as moisture-wicking, non-chafing, high performance fabrics. It is sold to us under such names – Dri-FIT (Nike), Climacool and Climawarm (Adidas), PlayDry (Reebok), Double Dry – formerly Duo Dry (Champion), UA Tech (Under Amrour). Walmart has even gotten in on the action with their Dri-Star brand. The list goes on and on.

This is a prime example of how a once scorned product can make resurgence and not just make a minor come back, but take an entire industry by storm.

Those of us who still make our living in the printing industry have had to undergo a similar transformation. Long gone are the days where a printer can survive and make payroll by just printing stuff. Now, we handle mailings, warehousing, pick and pack, online ordering, promotional products, wide-format posters, event signage, marketing and more.

The modern day printer has had to reinvent themselves and their product offerings in order to stay relevant and to stay afloat. That was one of the big draws for me to come to Velocity. I love to learn new things and fortunately, I work with a group of people with a similar mindset.

So, even though Print is our company’s middle name, print is only one of the many products/services we offer.

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Shouldn’t Variable Digital Print be more than just a name?

Written by Jim Stiles

I just received a couple of direct mail pieces in the mail that were personalized or at least looked that way. They both had my name “JIM” in big letters on the front and some catchy line following to get my attention. Both companies used the same technique and surely expected to get some lift in response because of the use of the personalized attention getter. There is no doubt that personalization can lift response rates, but I wonder if the vendor that sold these companies on the use of personalization did them justice. There are many proven studies that show even the most basic personalization can lift response rates, however the same studies show that in-depth personalization makes a much larger impact.

Simply putting a name on a post card has become almost common place and the audience is now less and less impressed by these tricks of the trade. They realize that some software is simply merging a name and when thrown into all the other wonders of technology that we are all experiencing in our lives today can almost go unnoticed or look gimmicky. True in-depth personalization should be much more than a name.

When considering the use of personalization we encourage our clients to think past the parlor tricks and to take advantage of the variable content available today in our more sophisticated data lists. Let’s think for a moment what is included in a basic data list. There is the sex of the individual, the location, job title, company size, etc. Even with this basic information a personalized campaign can be built to get the individuals attention without them even realizing it. The most basic form would be to use one set of graphic images and background colors more suited for females and one for males. Now add in the location and make the images specific to that location. The result is a campaign that is personalized to the individual’s sex and location that will capture their attention without them even realizing it.

Many of us now utilize CRM systems and our leads and prospects are manually researched and entered. Why not increase the depth of the knowledge base you are creating and include some personal information, business duties, hobbies, future business needs, product offerings, etc. etc. Now, picture a campaign designed to not only address sex and location but perhaps a third more personal interest or need.

For example, this campaign for a state wide bank chain in the state of CT uses:

  • Uses spring flowers for females and a golf course for males
  • Uses a shore line reference in text for zip codes on the southern half of the state and hiking reference in the northern half of the state.
  • If family income is over X amount the text pushes investment options and lower income families get text offering a free beach bag when a new account is opened.

Nowhere in this campaign is their name or obvious personal information. The campaign is simply personalized to the point of relating to the client without them realizing it. This simple bank campaign can run easily on a digital press using one data base, 4 different images and a couple of variable text blocks.

So let’s get past the parlor tricks and start to take advantage of real in-depth variable printing.

 

 

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How appealing is your Annual Appeal?

Thought I would share a story of how we helped one of our clients achieve their annual appeal goal. In past years, this client simply mailed a plain letter on their letterhead asking for a donation. Nothing fancy, no return envelope, no reply card, no color – just plain vanilla. Results were less than they hoped for and they did not achieve their goals.

We approached them and offered to sit down and discuss some other possible alternatives that could help them increase their donations. As a non-profit with a limited budget and staff we needed to maximize their efforts and show them how by investing a little more they could achieve their goal and increase the size of the donations.

First, we discussed the “List”. We talked about the importance of the list and how it could be improved. Who was on their mailing list, how accurate did they think it was and could it be scrubbed? They agreed to take some time and work on improving the list. Second, we showed them various samples of other non-profit appeal letters and discussed what might work for them. We decided to keep the letter format but add personalization and use both sides, we added some color to make it appealing, and put a perfed reply card at the bottom for them to use when replying. Levels of donations were included, as well as options to mail or donate online and most importantly an envelope to reply back. The reply envelope included text thanking them for their support and the outside window envelope included a message indicating that this was the Annual Appeal. Third, we mailed it presorted first class so the receipt would be timely and any bad addresses would be returned so the list could be updated for future use.

The results were vastly improved and they met their goal!  We work with many non-profits but the same techniques and solutions can be used in other markets and campaigns.

 

 

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Posted in Case Studies, Company News, Cross-Media Marketing, Digital, Personalized Printing, Print, Printing Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment