Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Twist on “The Envelope Please”

Altering perceptions of an old Chinese Tradition

Hongbao, the ancient Chinese tradition of giving a red envelope containing money as a gift for birthdays, weddings, baptisms and other happy occasions, also applies to area that the Chinese government is looking to change. When Chinese families are faced with a major medical procedure, they give the doctor a red envelope with money prior to the procedure.  For the government, the preferred time for gifting the red envelope would be after treatment.

The rationale behind governmental distaste for the practice is understandable (receiving payment for better care seems to be encouraging unethical behavior on the part of the doctor), but for the Chinese people, the tradition is a good thing.  They believe giving the gift in advance of the procedure will ensure a good outcome.  Not giving the gift prior to the procedure would practically guarantee a bad outcome. Additionally, as most Chinese doctors are traditional, they wouldn’t think of refusing the gift , which would be perceived as an insult.

While fully understanding the tradition, Chinese officials are also aware that those who don’t know the custom could perceive the Chinese medical profession as corrupt.  With a goal to make Chinese society and the Chinese nation more mainstream as a super power, having a major part of their society appear to be disreputable could be a major black eye.  Understandably, the government is in a quandary between cultural reality, outsiders’ perceptions and what appears to be a sizeable gray area between the two.

The first option would be to simply let things stand as they are and address questions as they arise.  

However, with the power of the Internet and its reputation defense-minded world, this may not be a viable option.  Being proactive and explaining the hongbao tradition, as well as its underlying long-held good-intentions, could help.  In this scenario, a line or two explaining how this custom originated and came to be used in areas of life beyond celebrations, such as medical procedures, would be a good approach.

The worst case scenario would probably be outlawing or announcing a government-decreed end to the tradition. But, enforcing such a minor issue is always difficult. While it would not end it entirely — there are always those who will ignore laws that are difficult to enforce — those afraid of punishment would be torn between following the law or doing what’s necessary to ensure good the fortune stemming from the tradition.  The line between the red envelopes of hongbau and a black line potentially drawn in the sand by the government to end the practice is not just a gray area but possibly an unbridgeable divide.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It’s Officially Wedding Season!

This wedding season, consider some of our tips on how to take your wedding to the next level while on a budget.

Weddings And Hashtags
We’re all infatuated with social media, so why not bring social media to your wedding this summer? We can’t all be like the super-couples Brangelina and Kimye and get our photos on the front of magazines, but your special day can have its own claim to fame in the media. Consider creating a hash tag that’s easy to remember for your wedding guests, for example #GedsWed or a play on your last names combined. Your guests can share their pictures on Instagram, post on Twitter, and Create Vine videos quickly and effortlessly, allowing you to see your special memories after while staying on a friendly budget. Simply create signage for your event to remind your guest. We also recommend writing the hashtag on your Save the Date with the social media accounts you wish to use.  

COde to the Monogram
Thank you 18th and 19th Century Europe for the three initial creation. As the royals once used their exquisite font designs, you can use your monogram for you wedding’s Save the Date, with you and your fiancĂ©’s initials interlocking with the surname in the center. Monograms can also be used with necklaces, handbags, clothing and tableware accessories. By using the fonts Miriam Fixed Font and French Script MJ, you can re-create the royal themed monogram for your special day.

Embrace Your Inner Botanist
Presentation is everything, and guests want to open their invitation as if they are going to the royal wedding. This season’s it’s entirely about floras. A trendy way to create your Save the Date is to send it in a chic box in vibrant floral colors. This way your announcement is literally a present to your guests. Another idea: Presenting a card that opens with bits of lace and a hint of sparkle will set your invitation apart from the dull out-of-dated approach. If you want to take it to the next design level, incorporate the chevron design for a more nautical feel. Cobalt blue and off-white perfectly depicts a fresh summer beach wedding.

A friendly reminder to the bride…Wedding Invitation Do's & Dont's

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creative Branding with Envelopes

Creative Branding with Envelopes

Whether it’s online newsletters, social media, SEO or PPC, most marketers use their budget online. But is this really the most effective way to use a budget for every industry? We don’t necessarily agree. There are ways to take a marketing campaign offline and still go viral. One recent campaign that successfully utilized mailings in its marketing campaigns comes from infamous: Second Son, an open world action-adventure video game. The game’s players beat one another by defeating each other’s “conduits” or “bioterrorists.”

Playstation Game inFamous: Second Chance Mailings go Viral

So what do conduits have to do with a marketing campaign? This is where the BioFrame Diagnostics comes in. The game created a fake company, BioFrame Diagnoistics, which tests gamers in a fun way to see if they have conduit powers, like the characters in the game. Those who registered for the game early actually received a mailing with an assortment of material to test their skills. The company went above and beyond by creating multiple websites to bring game scenarios to reality. This game did not only rely on the internet (reviews and mainstream marketing) but in early March 2014, a few weeks before the release of the game, inFamous released a toll free telephone number, 1-8444-HELP-DUP to hear a fun “easter egg” recording about the game. Then, many gamers started receiving packages in the mail that had interesting pamphlets with even more interesting, cool-looking envelopes. These aluminum envelopes were packed with three ocular simulation cards, three aroma swath cards, two CRL postcards, one get tested sticker, one BioFrame Diagnostic’s pamphlet, and instructions on how to conduct a test at: The gaming community is paying attention and has started plugging the game everywhere, including on tons of gaming forums, reddit, and even news outlets. This company successfully matched traditional marketing with new marketing by bridging the gap between the two with an online game.

How to Successfully Pair Traditional Marketing with Online Marketing

This is a clear example of pairing traditional marketing techniques with today’s online marketing strategies. Through mailings, toll free telephone numbers and multiple websites, inFamous successfully paired traditional marketing with today’s online world. If you’re looking to do the same, we recommend combining your current marketing tactics with multiple mailings. To get your audience’s attention with mailings, always choose a clever, colored or customized envelope that will stand out. Then, make sure you use all social media outlets and your website (or create a new website) so your consumers are repeatedly reminded of your product, checking online websites and commenting on forums, YouTube, and more. By bridging the two types of marketing, your campaign will have a better chance of going viral and taking off on the Internet.

5 Principles of a Successful Viral Campaign

There’s more than one way to make your marketing campaign go viral. If there was a secret recipe, everyone would be following it and making millions. There are however, fundamental principles used by most viral campaigns, including: 1. Providing Free, Exclusive Content: In the digital age, no one wants to pay for content. In fact if it’s a pay-only site, most people are likely to bounce off your site quickly. If you have a product that must be paid for (such as a video game, clothing, etc.), you still need to offer the fan something. People love free things – use this to your advantage. The more compelling the FREE item, the more likely people are to discuss it. 2. Be on Multiple Platforms: A second thing any successful campaign must do is use multiple channels to get the message out. The Playstation game above, used online and offline channels. After you create your free, exclusive content, then use multiple channels (such as email marketing, social media, YouTube, mailings, your website, forums, reddit, etc.) to get the word out. This will help amplify your message and have more fans find your current campaign. In this world of information overload, you want to make sure that your campaign doesn’t get lost in an inbox and fade away with the rest of your competitors’ marketing efforts. 3. Easter Eggs: One of the quickest ways to get a consumer’s attention is with “easter eggs.” Easter eggs are an unexpected/undocumented feature in computer software, on a dvd. These are included as a bonus for the user. Google does this on holidays such as April Fools. Snapchat does this with filters. If you are a brand or are selling an item, you can add on to the exclusive content you created by hiding little gems/easter eggs for your fans to find. 4. Advertise & Reach Your Target Audience: You can do all the above, but if you don’t have an advertising plan and budget to reach your target audience, very few people will actually see your message. So that most users see your message, sponsor a post on Facebook. The same goes for Twitter. Instagram has recently added sponsored posts for businesses. By paying for this sponsored post and targeting the correct demographics, more users will see your post. Another great way to spread the word of your marketing campaign is by contacting brand ambassadors and bloggers, as well as posting on forums. If there are conventions in your field, you may also want to attend them and give out free giveaways. 5. Make Your Audience Want More: Any successful campaign leaves its audience wanting more. By doing so, you have gained their attention, having them stick around for future content. Ultimately, by creating a successful campaign online and offline, your target audience will purchase your product. Bottom line? Integrate your online and offline marketing campaigns in order to capture your target audience. Look at some of the recent trends of 2014 mailings and marketing campaigns online and offline to help spark your next great viral campaign.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Where Do Envelopes Come From Anyway? The History of Envelopes

The First Envelope

Did you know the first envelope was nothing like the paper envelope we know about today? Dating back to approximately 3500 – 3200 BC, the ancient envelope originated in the Middle East. Initially, hollow clay spheres were molded around financial tokens and used in private transactions.  These envelopes were created to ensure nobody could alter the number and type of tokens inside. If the number was disputed, the clay could be broken open and the content recounted.

Chih Poh...What?

Fast forward a few centuries to the 2nd Century BC and paper envelopes were created in China. Originally known as “chih poh,” these envelopes were also used typically to store gifts of money. In 1845, Edwin Hill and Warren De La Rue created the first envelope making machine, and changed history as we know it. The first envelopes did not actually look like anything similar to our envelopes. They were flat diamond, lozenge sheets also known as “blanks,” which were precut to shapes before entering the machine that would close the envelopes. The edges of the envelopes were treated with a glue/adhesive and were closed with a wax seal.

Pre-Gummed Envelopes

Nearly 50 years passed before “pre-gummed” envelopes were created. Today, we still close an envelope the same way. Envelopes continued to change slightly based upon technology, attempts to deter forgery and counterfeit mailings, as well as postage.

Envelopes and mailings continued to stay the same until 1998, where the digital printing revolution began. This revolution began with the US Postal Service approving being able to apply an envelope in the printer bin of a PC and “stamp” the address via the Internet. A small business could now customize its envelope labels/mailings in an easily, cheaply and efficiently.

Laser Printers & Envelopes

After these were invented, the one thing that changed is the addition of envelopes for laser printers. Because of laser printers, it’s now possible to print envelope graphics directly with a common office laser printer.  Today, we have colored and recycled envelopes. Envelopes can be hand made with foil, stamped, embossed, and more. What’s in store for envelopes in the future? Will they continue to evolve or stay stagnant? Will everyone one day be able to foil and stamp their own envelopes in seconds?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Envelope Please - The Oscar's Envelope & 2014's Stats

The Oscars 2014 Envelopes

One of the most infamous lines in Oscar history will always be, "The envelope please." Over the years, the envelopes used in the Academy Awards have matured, gaining more media attention. This year, each Oscar envelope was custom made for each nominee. That totals 72 envelopes for the Oscars' 24 categories, as well as three announcement cards for every nominee (363 cards for 121 nominees). The cost? Approximately $200 - $500 per envelope. This envelope is so costly because of the meticulous attention paid to detail. Additionally, cost was high because so few were created. Small business owner Marc Friedland and his team of 10 staffers spent approximately 110 hours creating these gorgeous gold envelopes and cards. Each envelope, with red lacquered lining and heavy ecru paper, weighs a quarter of a pound, which is significantly heavier than most envelopes.

In 2011, Marc Friedland Couture Communications in L.A. was asked to create the envelopes. According to actor Tom Hanks, "these envelopes are works of art in themselves." This year, Friedland utilized social media, including Twitter and Vine to demonstrate the actual creation process. This year's envelopes included ten specialty processes:
  1. Custom-made paper / custom printed envelopes
  2. Hand-tooled die-making
  3. Laminating
  4. Hand-folding
  5. Hand-gluing
  6. Hand-wrapping
  7. Sheeting
  8. Hand-fed gold leaf stamping
  9. Hand-fed embossing
  10. Imprinting of nominee's names
In addition to the 10 specialty processes, the envelopes also were made of "a heavyweight ecru card, featuring deco gold foil accents, and was accented with a gold-leaf embossed Oscar statuette."

How the Oscars' Envelope Can Inspire Your Mailings

Friedland stated, "Hopefully the envelope will never become digital because it's a keepsake," he said. "It's the least-tech, most-emotional keepsake I know, and it's perhaps the most-famous envelope in the world." We at Precision Envelope couldn't agree more. Although we love social media, we feel sending a letter (either business or personal) and having it designed with craftsmanship in mind, helps tremendously when sending a mailing and trying to differentiate your brand/self from other competitors, letters, etc. If you’re spending money on a mailing, you do not want your piece to be considered junk mail and be thrown out. Instead, try to differentiate yourself, even if you are on a budget. We suggest first consulting a professional to choose the style and create a design. You can help differentiate your brand either with colored envelopes, going green with recycled envelopes, or using booklet envelopes for a business.

The Future of Envelopes

With the Oscars' help in putting the power of envelopes back on the map, we are hoping to see a trend of this in all fields - from other award shows, to personal mailings, to businesses creating a signature look. By creating an envelope that feels unique, there’s somewhat of a sentimental vibe felt when receiving the mailing. Will you be taking a cue from the Oscars and change your mailings? If so, what will you do to differentiate your company from competitors?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Will Pantone's Color of the Year Change Your Promotional Mailings & Marketing?

Pantone's Orchid Color of the Year

Pantone, the world’s foremost authority on color, has chosen its 2014 color of the year: radiant orchid. With that in mind, one must ask how this will influence various industries: from your closet to promotional items for your brand.  According to the Executive Director of Pantone, Leatrice Eiseman, radiant orchid is “a little different, it’s a little off the beaten path, and it’s not a primary color.”

Pink and Orchid Colored Envelopes

Based upon past trends, we are prepared with both our pink and orchid colored envelopes. We are forecasting based upon past trends that we will see an increase in interest both for personal use and brand use. We recommend that our customers to not limit themselves to one specific color (radiant orchid) but instead, consider using various hues of the purple/pink color in order to generate the effect they’re looking for when targeting different markets.

Using Radiant Orchid for Personal Invitations

Having a bar/bat mitzvah? Planning any bridal or baby showers? Mailing a letter – just because? The receiver of the mailing will be left subconsciously feeling intrigued while opening your mailing. This is a color for those who want their mailings to pop and breathe a breath of fresh air into mailings. For personal mailings, check out these pink or orchid envelopes. Another great addition to any mailing would be to use an orchid color ink on the letters you are sending, and mail the actual letter in one of our many types of invitation envelopes.

In addition to using orchid colored envelopes, you may want to consider using it for any designs you are creating this year. These “Will you be my bridesmaid” invites are a perfect example of how to use the orchid hue tastefully and with class.

Branding Orchid Business Envelopes

Do you work in a trendsetting industry, or are you looking to revamp your company image? By utilizing orchid in its various shades, your company will not only show it's on the cusp of the latest trends but also set yourself apart from your competitors.  If you don’t know where to start, consider spicing up your business mailings this season with our #10 envelope in orchid. If you aren’t quite ready to use a pink or orchid colored envelope, consider customizing your envelopes by designing a logo or image that you’d liked to use on your envelope that has an orchid hue. At Precision Envelope, we include an entire guide on how to customize and design your own envelopes.

Other Business Decisions

Throughout 2014, it will be interesting to see where else orchid pops up. We predict seeing a change in fashion, web design, advertising ads, mailings, internet marketing, and package branding decisions. It’s well known that color has a major influence on business. Typically, companies fear spending millions on a color that can be unprofitable. One of the best ways to determine if this color works for you is by checking out Pantone’s gallery for inspiration. Their site shows numerous items, such as light bulbs, cameras, hair spray, trinkets, letters, and envelopes in the radiant orchid hue. They state that radiant orchid ushers in a new year and a new you, start something; insinuating that this color will help certain items pop throughout the year.
If you aren’t ready to go straight to changing your entire campaign to such a bright color, check out the complementary colors seen here that Pantone suggests will be in style in Spring 2014. Consider these colors for mailings, internet marketing services, and branding re-designs. We offer a great selection of colored envelopes at low prices, available in:
  • Blue (Similar to Pantone’s Placid Blue)
  • Canary (Part of Freesia’s family shade)
  • goldenrod (Similar to Pantone’s Freesia)
  • gray (Similar to Pantone’s Paloma)
  • green (Similar to Pantone’s Hemlock)
  • ivory (Part of Freesia’s family shade)
  • orchid (Similar to both Radiant Orchid and Violet Tulip)
  • pink (Part of Radiant Orchid’s family shade)
  • tan (Similar to Pantone’s Sand)

This spring, remember not to limit your mailings to plain white envelopes. If you choose to go with white envelopes, have a splash of color to help differentiate you from your competitors. If you choose to go off the beaten path, consider using colored envelopes for both personal and business use this season.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Buying Invitation Envelopes: The What, Where, When and Why of Saving Money on Invitation Envelopes

No matter the occasion, whether it be a wedding, a school or work event or a birthday party, the right invitation envelopes can help set just the right tone for your shindig. But when it comes time to buy invitation envelopes, they can get expensive! Depending on the size of your party, plus your creative idea for the envelopes, when it's all said and done, your envelopes could run upwards of a few hundred dollars. So where do you start when you're picking out your invitation envelopes? Here's a few questions to ask yourself before you pick out your envelopes.

1. Why Do you Need Invitations? The question of what type of event you're hosting will help dicatate the entire design of your invitation envelope. If you have a theme for your event as well, you can work with the envelope company to create something that matches that tone.
2. What's the size of your invitations? Invitation envelopes come in a few standard sizes, ranging from 4 3/8" x 5 3/4" to 6" x 9 1/2". Ideally, you'll want to use invitations that fit these standard sizes. Although your envelope company may be able to make you a custom size envelope, this is much more expensive than a standard size. Plus custom-size invitation envelopes also require a longer turn around time, plus usually have a minimum quantity of a few thousand. If you absolutely need a custom size it is possible, but you can save a ton of money by going with the standard envelope sizes.
3. When Do you Need the Envelopes? Keep in mind that when you're creating a custom designed envelope, it may take some time to get them done. Some envelope companies will be able to turn the around quickly (sometimes within a week) and some may take longer, especially considering how elaborate your envelope is. There are a few things you can to make sure to avoid any time snafus. First, make sure that you have the envelope design ready to go, and it is available in high resolution vector art. Make sure to always ask what the turnaround time is before you place your order.
4. Where Are you Sending Your Envelopes? Make sure that you send out your envelopes with enough time for all of your recpients to receive them and RSVP. You'll also want to make sure the appropriate postage is attached to each envelope before sending them out.