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.
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.
The targeted audience was current clients and prospects of CustomXM.
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
REASONS FOR SUCCESS
The main reason for success was a clever design and personalized promotion.
Article courtesy of W. Caslon & Company, 2015, PODi.org
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.
“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.
“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.
If you are familiar with any visual or graphic design related topics, you probably have heard or even used the phrase, “white space is our friend.” White space, or negative space, is simply that: an unmarked portion of a related graphic, print, canvas or other medium where images or text do not appear. I’ve recently come across an interesting use of negative space that is more literal in nature. It is space so negative, that it doesn’t exist. In theory and in reality, it is full of holes.
Vinyl banners have been a mainstay for outdoor announcements and signage. You see them everywhere – grand openings, auto dealerships, community and sporting events. Banners and signs like these are affordable and effective sales tools. They begin working the moment you put them up, and don’t stop until you take them down. And when the need arises for these to be outdoors for an extended amount of time, or depending upon the height at which these banners will be displayed, you may notice banners with half-moon slits cut into them. This is done to allow the wind to pass through the banners. After all, most advertisers would prefer that they remain banners, and not 6’x10’ sails.
But this may not be the most attractive answer to this problem.
Fortunately, an esthetic and functional solution exists, and it’s a wholly pleasant improvement to the situation that involves negative space. Or it’s a holey improvement. Mesh Banner material, a digital media that is 60% material and 40% air (give or take) provides a solution that has some rather eye-catching benefits. This material holds full color images in a stunning fashion, and actually blends into the environment with a near translucent effect depending upon where the direct light hits it.
Until recently, I was under the impression that this material was best suited for outdoor environments only. But a visit to JCPenney in North Little Rock showed me how effective this material can be indoors too, especially in the retail environment. In the photos below, you can see how this mesh banner provides an artistic product backdrop when the primary light source is in front of it. Yet, it can appear nearly translucent allowing for product display behind it when the stronger light is behind it.
It becomes a very affordable, yet highly effective piece of interior display design.
So if you are looking for an effective way to get your message across, don’t make your audience read between the lines. Instead, let them look through the holes.
The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub approached CustomXM about creating a logo for “The Hub” that reflected their purpose and appealed to their varied and in-the-know target audience. The Innovation Hub represents a new effort aimed at promoting entrepreneurship through business incubation, academic research, technical and manufacturing assistance and job training in central Arkansas. With these aims in mind, it is the top-tier organization for the creative energies of three separate, but related ventures – The Silver Mine, Art Connection and the Launch Pad. These groups will be housed under the same roof and thrive in the atmosphere of collaboration and creativity.
The style for the logo and collateral needed to be clean, contemporary and edgy to appeal to an innovative audience that is well versed in contemporary trends. At the same time, we wanted the tone to have some wit about it, a down-to-Earth feel that was careful not to appear stuffy, exclusive or restrictive, as highly modern design risk coming across. The Hub’s vision of being a place that welcomes everyone – from the young, novice student to the well established professional. A vision of being, perhaps above all, being a place that encourages creative exploration and hands-on experimentation would be a vital part of how their look would take shape. Additionally, it was important that the logo reflect a sense of place, community and of being a central “hub” for so many different initiatives.
The solution successfully captured all it set out to do. The drop-pin icon – a current symbol now recognized universally as the badge of “place” – points to an ambiguous surface revealed only by two concentric circles that work to further enhance the importance of the pin’s marked-site. The circles appear to be ripples in the surface, perhaps made from the impact of the pin’s fresh landing – not a coincidental reference to The Hub’s goal of making some serious waves here in central Arkansas. Script type used for the words “The” and “Hub” recall mid-century style and compliment the rigid and forward slanted sans serif used for “innovation” – which appears to be caught in the act of innovating both upward and forward. The letters IN are made red to support the idea of being “the IN place”- being IN-the-know, getting people INvolved, and further emphasize the concept of place and INcluding everyones interests.
The administrative staff of The Innovation Hub currently leads a sort of nomadic existence while they await the completion of The Hub building (although subject to change at any moment, as we speak the Hub staff is actually working just down the hall from us at our sales and marketing office location) We have assisted with exterior branding during their stint at 419 Main Street, printing and installing this window graphic last November. Subsequently, 419 Main Street is now the HQ for the online retailer Bourbon and Boots. We were stoked when they asked us to outfit them with their window graphic too!
In addition to the work we’ve done, we also have just started brainstorming big plans for some pretty cool large-scale signage and wayfinding materials in the building once complete. More on that to come…