GBC effort promotes brand wellness

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GBC seeks to promote more than just brand consistency across the various custom presentation solutions it creates. The company also has a brand's wellness in mind.

Earlier this year, GBC began its first integrated marketing campaign built around the Northbrook, IL, firm's recent repositioning of its document presentation services. Now referred to as GBC Brand Image Solutions, the services have expanded to include more assistance in the area of brand consistency, including consulting, a customized Web catalog and the ability to store and distribute branded materials. These are in addition to the company's usual custom presentation solutions that are available on a national scale.

"A lot of companies may be doing a lot of things right in the area of brand consistency, but they're always interested in maintaining or improving their health," Amy McManus, director of marketing for the GBC Document Finishing Division, said about why the theme of brand wellness made sense.

All of the creative in the yearlong campaign is wrapped around this idea of a brand's health. For example, a direct mail postcard dropped in February depicts a pulse going across the card and then flat lining. The copy reads: "A healthy brand can be critical to your company's brand image ... So can an unhealthy one."

The integrated campaign aims to create awareness of the new services and generate leads for the company's sales team through direct mail, e-mail, banner and text ads on business-to-business sites, a microsite and events at trade shows. The targets are vice presidents, directors and managers of marketing and marketing communications in the professional services markets -- in other words, consulting, real estate, financial services, legal, architectural and construction firms on a regional to national scale.

Five direct mail drops have been done so far, one every four to six weeks, each with an average list size of 10,000 to 15,000 names. To date, 46,000 mail pieces have been sent. The company has used its own database, purchased lists and prospects provided by its sales teams to compile the mailing lists.

All of the direct marketing encourages recipients to take GBC's Brand Wellness Checkup on its microsite, www.gbcconnect.com/brandimage. To take the checkup, recipients register and give basic information about themselves. Then they answer 12 questions about brand compliance in their company. The site also offers visitors other information about branding, including several studies, a white paper and an article as well as examples of GBC clients who cured their "logoliosis," or weakening of their corporate brand identity due to inappropriate logo usage.

E-mails went out at the same time as the direct mail drops. The average blast consisted of 38,000 names, and 191,000 e-mails have been sent to date.

The final direct mail piece and e-mail go out in mid-October. They will share some of the information the company has gathered so far from the online questionnaire. For example, 90 percent of respondents see a need for brand compliance; 90 percent feel there is some inconsistent use of their company's logo and brand standards on materials, and 80 percent use binders and presentation materials as a tool to build their brand.

Results include double-digit sales growth in the documents finishing category for the company, and 1 percent to 2 percent of everyone mailed or e-mailed has visited the microsite. Of those, 60 percent registered for more information, and more than 90 percent of those who registered are downloading some of the available information.

"We weren't assuming that a brand's health was in dire need of improvement," Ms. McManus said. "Even companies that are doing it the right way, there are some things they could look at to make it better."

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