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: www.enjoyyourpower.com/test. 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.