Canada Post's Personalized Stamps Bring Positive Reviews

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A new program from Canada Post Corp. that allows marketers to create their stamps by inserting photo images of their choice into self-adhesive forms is getting good reviews from Canadian marketers.

The program -- called Picture Postage -- requires small businesses to send to Canada Post the graphics they would like to use on personalized lettermail stamps, which are equivalent to First-Class in the United States. In a few weeks, Canada Post, Ottawa, returns the graphics to the company in the form of miniature images on a sheet of adhesive paper. Alongside the logos, also on adhesive paper, are Canada Post stamps -- in this case, graphics of a frame that says "Canada" and the price of the lettermail stamp, which is 46 cents. Companies must stick the adhesive logo in the frame before placing it on the envelope. The stamps cost less than $1 per stamp, not including postage.

Jeanette Tremblay, owner of Jupiter Media Inc., Prevost, Quebec, an Internet service provider and Web design firm, ordered more than 250 stamps this year with her company's logo and name. She has been using the stamps on envelopes of invoices and other correspondence to her clients in the past few months.

While Tremblay could not say whether the stamps have brought any measurable return on investment, she said they do "create loyalty to the brand name, as well as a recognition of the logo. I think it's a really cool idea."

Thomas Wright, president of Solomon Coatings Ltd., Edmonton, Alberta, a manufacturer and marketer of coatings that protect materials in a variety of internal and external conditions, ordered nearly 100 personalized stamps a few months ago.

Instead of a logo for his stamps, however, Wright -- who had heard about the program on the news -- used a photo of himself alongside some of the coatings he sells. He has been using them in the past few months on envelopes of thank-you notes, other correspondence and advertising fliers he sends to current and prospective customers, and he is pleased with the response.

"The key to the stamps is that they provide a level of corporate identity that is not easily matched," he said. "When the photo is on the stamps, then the person gets recognized as the person. When they see me, they can point to the letter and say, 'That's you, Thomas!' "

Wright said he plans to purchase more stamps for direct marketing programs.

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