Photo of logo and brochure design for Ben E. Keith's 2015 Mid South Food Show

Ben E. Keith Eats Up their Food Show Branding

Ben E. Keith, a distributor of food service products and premium alcoholic beverages, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, hosts an annual Mid-South Food Show. The one-day show featured technology demonstrations, over 150 of their vendors showcasing their latest items, an American Culinary Federation Culinary Competition, guest speakers, and even a party the night before.

They wanted a special look for this years event. It was important that the look communicate their overreaching focus of simply providing customers with fundamental tools they need to succeed. They also desired an fun, creative and edgy look that fell in-line with the spirit and goals of both the company and the event.

The solution was a logo that literally spotlights a spoon in front of an audience. The logo would be used on specially die-cut hexagon shaped brochure that would be distributed to customers during food deliveries. They also used JPG images from portions from the design to promote aspects of the event in their client email campaigns during the weeks leading up to the event.

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Historically, the speaking portion of the event had not yielded a great deal of interest from participants. However, this year they had made a special effort to acquire speakers they thought would generate interest and likewise wanted to be sure those seats were filled. Because of the time constraints of the show, the keynote speaker would present one hour before the published event start time. The night before the event the staff cut-off the portion of the leftover brochures that featured the speaking schedule on one side and the cover graphic on the other. They handed those out to guests at their party the night before in an effort to drive traffic to both the early speaking event and the mid-day presenter. The result was great. Both the speaking events and the food show was well attended. They indicated that not only was the design creative and very fitting for the event, but that the hexagon brochure design was also key in getting attention and sparking conversation. Their only wish is that they had utilized the logo design in more of the event’s promotional items like tee shirts and banners.

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Photo of Ben E. Ketih sunglasses - lumpy mail

Ben E. Keith Uses Lumpy Mail to Increase Trade Show Appetite

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

Ben E. Keith, a distributor of food service products and premium alcoholic beverages, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, frequently uses hospitality and food trade shows to showcase their newest products. The company had committed to participating in a new event in Memphis, Tennessee and wanted to maximize their return by attracting restaurant owners, chefs and others in the industry to this event. They engaged CustomXM to assist them in their marketing efforts to drive booth traffic to this single-day food expo.

RESULTS

Over 160 individuals stopped by the booth and registered, which yielded a 52% response rate. Glenda Clark, part of the Ben E. Keith Marketing team, was ecstatic with the results.

“The turnout at the Memphis show was great! That is well over what we expected. At the last tradeshow we had in Memphis several years ago, we had less than 20 visitors.” 

TARGET AUDIENCE

The targeted audience was restaurant owners and chefs in the Memphis, Tennessee area.

SOLUTION ARCHITECTURE

Ben E. Keith engaged CustomXM to assist them in marketing an upcoming food show in Memphis, TN. It had been a while since they had participated in this Memphis event, and they wanted to use unique techniques to engage prospects and drive booth traffic. After determining the objectives and incentive, an Alaskan Cruise, two mailings were created to attract and engage the target audience. Ben E. Keith had a database of 305 prospects and sent them an invitation via a traditional style A6 mailer.

This was followed with a lumpy mail box that included a customized card and luggage tag, inviting recipients to stop by the booth and register for the grand prize of an Alaskan Cruise.

 

The mailer box, which was approximately 3.75” x 6.5” x 2”, looked very similar in shape and size to a “fried pie” box made famous by a national fast food chain. After getting postal approval that this box could in fact be mailed, CustomXM proceeded with the graphic design and production.

On the outside of the box, the words “Need A Vacation?” were boldly and prominently displayed along with the Ben E. Keith logo. Anyone in the restaurant or food industry knows how few and far between vacations are, so these words were chosen as they would certainly resonate with the recipients. Additionally, the unique size alone of this lumpy mail piece would capture the attention of the mail recipient. Inside the box was a personalized note card inviting recipients to visit the Ben E. Keith booth during the food show and register to win the grand prize of an Alaskan Cruise. Additionally, to reinforce the idea of a much needed vacation, a Ben E. Keith branded luggage tag was included in the box as well.

REASONS FOR SUCCESS

The main reason for success was a clever design that caught the attention of the recipient combined with a great offer (free cruise).

SignsXM Launches with Out-of-the-Box Lumpy Mail

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

CustomXM added a new division, SignsXM. It wanted to find a unique way to announce its new offerings which included all types of wide format printing, including banners, signage, wall graphics, vehicle graphics and more. CustomXM also wanted to use a cross media, multi-channel approach that would drive results and illustrate CustomXM’s marketing capabilities.

The SignsXM Awesome Banner Thingy Campaign: Complete with personalized box, envelope, personalized mini-banner and a fun-to-follow instruction sheet below. The inside of the box lid had a QR code that led to a fun video

 

RESULTS

CustomXM created a unique, dimensional mail piece that included a personalized mini-banner for all recipients. CustomXM encouraged recipients of their “Awesome Banner Thingys” to post photos on Instagram, which would qualify them for entry into a prize drawing.

420 pieces were mailed to prospects and current clients of CustomXM. Over 12% of recipients responded and completed the online survey. Additionally, over 13% of the recipients posted photos of their Awesome Banner Thingys on  Instagram accounts. Many of these respondents were a different subset than those that responded to the online survey.

The campaign received quite a bit of social media buzz and accolades from local ad agencies. It immediately led to meetings and opportunities for signage and direct mail proposals for clients and prospects. Many of these opportunities led to new business within the first three weeks of the campaign.

This campaign also received national recognition by receiving two Bennys awarded by the Print Industries of America during their Premier Print Awards, an international print competition.

TARGET AUDIENCE

The targeted audience was current clients and prospects of CustomXM.

SOLUTION ARCHITECTURE

At CustomXM, they like to market themselves a little differently. They like to use the marketing tools they are constantly advocating, and they like to have a little fun. They accomplished all this and more with their “Awesome Banner Thingy” campaign.

Recently, CustomXM added wide format services to their offerings. They even created a separate division, SignsXM. But they felt that it wouldn’t be enough just to tell folks about these new services, it would be better to show them. And have them show others.

To engage its target audience, CustomXM developed a dimensional mailer – an 8” x 8” x 1.25” box complete with a personalized label informing recipients that a “surprise” was inside. Inside the box was the following:

  • A personalized envelope and note card introducing the new division and services.
  • An instruction sheet showing recipients how to put together their own Awesome Banner Thingy
  • A QR Code that linked to a video explaining how to construct the Awesome Banner Thingy
  • The actual Awesome Banner Thingy which was a 3.25” x 7.5” vinyl banner, personalized with the recipient’s name, complete with a grommet and very tiny banner stand.

To encourage responses recipients were given two opportunities to participate in a prize contest

  • By visiting their personalized website and completing a survey
  • By sharing a photo of their Awesome Banner Thingy on Instagram
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Above:  photos posted by Box Thingy recipients. Recipients were asked to post photos of their banner-thingys on Instagram with the hashtag #thinkitsignit. The Instagramers were entered into 3 different sets of drawings for prizes and winners were announced via Instagram videos.

 

REASONS FOR SUCCESS

The main reason for success was a clever design and personalized promotion.

 

Article courtesy of W. Caslon & Company, 2015, PODi.org

The $1,000,000 News Conference

With the announcement of a $1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub needed a polished and attractive backdrop for the press conference stage.  Not only would it be in the spotlight of the media, but also be host a number of important local, state and federal leaders.  SignsXM provided them with a 9’ x 7’ step and repeat backdrop, as well as two 3’ x 6’ foot retractable banner stands. customxm_hubconference_casestudy2

“In addition to helping us prepare for a major news announcement, we looked to the creativity of CustomXM to give our new location a sense of permanence. The interior and exterior signage and graphics they produced accomplished both with great success.”  – Warwick Sabin 

SignsXM also provided The Hub with window decals to add additional exterior branding to an exterior that is still a work in progress. A large acrylic contour cut Launch Pad sign greets the guest from the entrance facing Broadway.

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“The banners and backdrops created by CustomXM not only allow us to brand internally, we also use them for events and activities outside of the Innovation Hub.” – Warwick Sabin

The $1 million dollar grant will allow the Hub to complete building renovations, including establishing the Silver Mine co-working space.

 

Can you Sell? Apply Now! Hurry, while supplies last.

We are looking for a new sales rep!  Our highly energetic, and sometimes photogenic sales rep, Charlie, is moving back home to Denver, Colorado. He moved to Little Rock nine years ago after accepting a track scholarship from UALR. We were fortunate to have him on our team for the last 3 years as he has excelled in selling print, signage and more for our North Little Rock company. But he is leaving, and we need to keep his sales mojo going. Quickly!

We could go on and on about what Charlie did and what his job involves, but since he always had a way with words, and video, we will let him have the honor of doing so:

Straight and to the point. With a little humor mixed in. That’s Charlie, and that’s what we are looking for to fill this position.

Interested?  If so, please do this:

  • Watch the video a few more times.
  • Pay attention to the 3 individuals Charlie refers to during the video.
  • Make your own short video (less than 2 minutes) and in it, you need to SELL. Pick one of the individuals shown in the video, and sell them something they could use. Sell them something that could benefit them, and something you are passionate about.
  • Post the video and send the link to [email protected], use the subject heading: You’ve got to see this!
  • Feel free to include your resume and any questions you may have along with your video link.

Thanks, and happy selling! We look forward to seeing you.

Resurrecting Funeral Directors Association Membership

The Challenge

The Arkansas Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) works to establish, cultivate, and promote programs and policies that strive to mark the passage of life with dignity and instill high standards for ceremonies that are sensitive to the special needs of those who survive.

With approximately 300 funeral homes in the state, and membership currently at about 80 members, the Association was exploring ways increase statewide membership, while retaining and increasing engagement with its current members. A membership of 150 funeral homes was the desired goal. While cost of membership is often the reason given for those who decline membership or renewal, the association also wanted to explore ways to promote the value of the membership itself.

The Solution

CustomXM, a North Little Rock, Arkansas direct mail and print provider, proposed a concentrated effort to promote the value of membership in AFDA in conjunction with their upcoming 2015 Annual Convention. Because of the small existing membership and potential membership population, we recommended the following:

  • A direct mail campaign consisting of a well-organized and visually attractive brochure. This piece highlighted member benefits and included the conference event schedule, as well as member testimonials. The brochure would feature an incentive offer that reflected a substantial savings for members if they acted before the registration deadline.
  • The brochure mailing also included a well-organized registration form encompassing membership renewal and the conference registration.
  • A series of personalized postcards followed the brochure mailing. The postcards highlighted membership benefits and the available training opportunities. The same call to action incentive was also included in these direct mail pieces.
  • A segmented email campaign was launched just before the incentive offer expiration which targeted A) non-members and B) existing members thanking those who renewed early, and asking them to attend the conference and training. Lastly, an informative email that included the conference schedule was sent to the entire database prior to the registration deadline. All emails contained a link to the AFDA website with event information and links to a downloadable version of the registration form.
The Results

As a result of the campaign, AFDA membership reached new levels and the conference had a record number of attendees. Jeff Smith, President of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association had this to say:

We had a record crowd this year and exceeded our projected attendance for the banquet, Thursday and Friday Continuing Education, and increased membership 20%.
Thank you! Your creative work with our efforts yielded great results.

Add Some Bling To Your Storefront

We all know the secret to retail success – Location, Location, Location.  Let’s assume you have your perfect location, you secured your ideal piece of real estate, so now what?

You must now let the world know – tell your customers who you are and what you are all about. And there is no better, more cost effective way to do this with exterior and interior graphics.  Here’s why:

  • The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Signs do more than just look pretty – they work hard 24/7. And the best signs do this:
    • They Inform
    • They Sell
    • They Educate
    • They Entertain

Retail signage and graphics tell a story, leave an impression and set a tone. The proper signage inside and outside of a store can inspire confidence with customers and employees alike.

So here are few tips to help with your retail sign efforts:

  • Use photos in your design.  According to a DMA study, using a photo creates a 300% greater recall than ads without photos.
  • Try to keep headline copy to seven words or less.
  • Pay attention to color contrast. Certain color combinations are very appealing for readability – Black on Yellow; Black on white and vice versa.  Signs with grays, pinks, light blue may not attract the same attention as stronger color combinations.
  • Keep your message simple.

The graphic at the top gives several examples of effective, affordable uses of exterior signage. But remember, interior signage such as Sale signs, floor graphics, POP displays are equally effective and affordable.

And get this – Full priced merchandise that has signage outperforms sale merchandise that doesn’t have a sign by 18% (in a study performed by the Institute of Retail Management).

Take a look around inside and outside your store.  Does your signage set the right tone? Does it inform, educate or entertain.  Most importantly, does your signage sell?

If not, we can help.

Need photos of interior or exterior graphics? Go here.

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Paul Strack [email protected] @pstrack

State Senate Approves Bill to Wrap Capitol Dome

The Arkansas Senate this morning approved HB – 4115 that would allow for the Capitol dome to be wrapped by a North Little Rock sign and graphics company.  Proposed by Rep. Sidd Fitch (Mound City), this bill allows for the dome to be completely covered by either a camouflaged or metallic adhesive graphic. Rep. Fitch indicated that after reviewing many choices, the Dome Restoration Committee Members (DORCs) decided on these two final options. “We had nicknames for both versions – Camo Capitol and Chrome Dome,” said Fitch. The bill was written in such a way that final approval of the design will rest solely at the discretion of Governor Asa Hutchinson.

“At this point, I haven’t made a decision as to which version I will approve” commented the spokesperson for Governor Hutchinson. “On one hand, I like the Chrome Dome and its ability to reflect its surrounding environment. The longer I stared at that reflection; it was almost as if I could gaze into the soul of the Legislative session. Then I realized it had no soul.” When asked about his thoughts on the camouflaged version, Hutchinson’s spokesperson responded, “I like its ability to help our State Capitol remain under the radar. I may suggest to our friends in Indiana that they may want to consider this technique.” He also commented that the Camo Capital fits well with Arkansas’ constituents who enjoy hunting, fishing and in partaking in the best that the Natural State has to offer. Buford Smith, owner of BS Gun & Tackle Emporium, fully supports the camouflaged plan, saying that “now Arkansas will be able to compete with them Duck Dynasty boys from Louisiana.”

Artist's rendering of Chrome Dome.

Artist’s rendering of Chrome Dome.

Not surprisingly, this bill has already been met with some vocal opposition. Some lawmakers expressed concern that the Chrome Dome would already violate SB-79 –the Personal Rights Protection Act currently under review. Due to its photogenic reflective nature, Chrome Dome would garner the attention of many passersby, all of which will be in possession of cameras. The natural tendency will be to take photos. However, since SB-79 was recently vetoed by Governor Hutchinson, people appearing in the reflection no longer have to be removed from the photos if they did not give prior consent. The Chrome Dome is still an option.

Once the final design is approved, CustomXM, a printing and design firm in North Little Rock, will produce the graphics and apply to the dome. CustomXM president, Paul Strack explained, “This is an exciting project for us all. Since the current legislative session has been quite uneventful, we are proud to do our part to help call attention to our beautiful State Capitol.” Strack also explained that in order to comply with eco-friendly guidelines, all materials will be made from recycled products. “It will be the first time we will employ our newest production technique call ‘rehoming’.”  This is a new process that takes ridiculous and nonsensical legislative bills from the current session and transforms them into something of value. Strack indicated that there would be more than enough bills to complete this project.

Once ratified, the contract terms extend from April 1, 2015 through April Fools’ Day, 2016.

 

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Paul Strack [email protected] @pstrack

What’s New Wednesday – Can You Spare a Fiverr?

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How much would you pay to have not one, but two cows dance in front of your logo?

As you think about that, consider this –

Today we have the luxury of being able to purchase anything, absolutely anything, from our laptop or phones. And this omnipresent availability has driven our price expectations and realities to incredibly low prices. But even at that, what would you expect to be able to purchase for five dollars?

Surprisingly, and maybe even frighteningly, quite a bit. Maybe you’ve heard about Fiverr.com. As defined by Wikipedia, Fiverr is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, beginning at a cost of $5 per job performed, from which it gets its name. The site is primarily used by freelancers to offer a variety of different services, and by customers wanting to buy those services. Over 3 million services, over 100 product categories, all starting at $5. Is this a great country or what???

A quick review of the Fiverr web site will show you that most of the services offered tend to cater to those desiring some sort of creativity – graphic design, copy writing, branding, stationery design and even legal services. Well, I certainly appreciate a creative lawyer.

But for $5.00? Really?

Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, let me say just a few things:

  • We offer creative services (duh), and charge much more than $5.00.
  • We often use local designers and other freelancers and they charge more than $5.00.
  • I appreciate a bargain.
  • I’m willing to try most anything once.
  • And I have used Fiverr.com not once, not twice, but three times.

And I feel really good about it.

Our First Fiverr Foray Featured Fingers. Just take a look…

We had so much fun with that one, we decided to get more fingers and hands involved with Play-Doh:

And finally, we decided to splurge and celebrate the fact that we are, All About That Print.

But does this whole cheap-creativity-on-demand undermine our services, and those of other artists, designers and creatives?

Hardly.

Here’s why –

  • Few, if any of these “gigs” cost $5.00. Most all of them have add-ons. My Finger Fiverr was in fact $5.00; the Play-Doh video was $25.00, and as far as the All About That Print video, I rewrote the lyrics – Fiverr provided the music and vocals for $85.00. We produced the video in house.
  • These gigs are what they are – inexpensive and expedient. They may serve a specific purpose, but you do need know what you are looking for.
  • And you absolutely must remember, as in most all things, you do get what you pay for.

So if you need to have cows dancing in front of your logo, by all means, use Fiverr. But if you need true creativity, a concept, a cohesive design, or a true marketing campaign to tell your story, you will need to look elsewhere. Preferably here.

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Paul Strack [email protected] @pstrack

Not Quite Fifty Shades of Grey, But Close

Today is THE day!

Never has there been so much anticipation over something we expertly deal with on a daily basis.  It’s important that we do talk about this and eliminate all our fears and anxieties.

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  • While we don’t have exactly 50 Shades of Grey to choose from, we do offer a wide variety of exciting options.
  • We don’t require contracts for most of our services, although we are happy to produce them, even in multiple parts if requested.
  • We do offer online submissions.
  • If this is your first time, we know you may feel apprehensive about some of our services, but our quality team of customer service experts encourage you to sit back, relax, close your eyes and allow yourself to become totally satisfied.
  • Yes, we do offer a complete bindery service.
  • Often, our creations are quite stimulating.
  • When you entrust your print, marketing and signage services to us, you will no longer feel the need to be chained to your desk.  Get out and explore the world!
  • Our goal is to help you dominate your industry.

Contact us, we’d love to engage in some one-on-one conversation.

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Paul Strack [email protected] @pstrack