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USPS’s Picture Perfect Branding for Mailers

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has introduced Picture Permit Imprint Indicia, a new promotional tool for businesses to imprint their logo, brand image, or trademark to First-Class and Standard IMb (Intelligent Mail barcodes) letters and postcards. Commercial mailers may apply on the USPS website, send in their images, and once approved, begin attaching their image to their mailing items.

Tom Foti, manager of direct mail and periodicals, says the USPS is responding to interest from a wide array of customers. He says that Picture Permit can potentially increase open rates and enhance the value of the mail.

“We’ve seen interest from larger industries such as the financial industry, insurance industry, retail industry,” Foti says. “[We’re seeing] those that want to make first impressions with their customers….  At the same time, nonprofits are seeing the value in visual send-outs to where customers tend to look.”

Foti says the USPS has been putting operations in place to streamline the process; it takes approximately 2-3 weeks for companies to receive approval. “We do testing on the images,” he says. “Then once we see that those images meet our operational requirements, we go forward and approve the image and the customer can start mailing. We’ve been doing a good job at turning [the process] around relatively quickly on our side.”

A fee of 1¢ for First-Class Mail and 2¢ for Standard Mail applies. Additionally, images must be in color.

Picture Permit Imprint Indicia is another step in USPS’s strategy to enhance print with digital elements. The USPS has been working towards a digital mailbox solution. On January 28, the postal service began requiring customers who use POSTNET barcodes to transition to IMb’s to retain their discounted pricing. In March, during his keynote at the National Postal Forum, USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe discussed MyPost, a project currently being tested to determine the location of mail pieces by using IMb’s.

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