Established in 1982
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We sell boxes.
We sell lots and lots of boxes.
I'm sure this is true for nearly everyone in our industry. Packing and shipping are staple profit centers and many of us make a big deal about our box selection and packaging expertise. It sets us apart.
In my Marketing with Marty(tm) presentations, I talk a lot about branding; I talk a lot about branding as it relates to our core products and services. When we do a big print job, we present the final product to the customer in a box or tote that has our business name on it, right? When we make a key, we present it to the customer in a little envelope with our brand on it, or on a key ring with our brand on it, right? When we scan a document to email to a customer, we make sure that email has our brand in the signature, right? So why are we so reluctant to brand one of our biggest core products: our boxes?
Think of boxes as billboards. We pack in them and ship them all over the world. We sell them to customers to take home and they carry them down the sidewalk, through our neighborhood, and into their own neighborhoods.
I had some wonderful guests at my shop recently from Express Business Center in Allentown, PA. They came up to share ideas on packaging techniques, and we got into a discussion on packing and marketing. After all, they're very interconnected! How you package items represents your brand--not only in logos, but in neatness of the packing job and aesthetic of the outer carton. So take time and train your staff to package neatly, explaining that each shipment is an advertisement. EBC uses branded tape to seal their outgoing shipments, an idea that I just love!
Right now, for my branded boxes I print my logo on full sheet labels, four per page. They're cut and applied to each box that we stock, sell, and ship in. This is good for now, but soon I hope to be able to order my boxes already imprinted with my brand.
As my co-worker and I were labeling our recent delivery of five pallets of boxes, I was commenting on how many more we had "to label." She corrected me and said, "to brand." She was absolutely right!
Boxes are a good place to start. Before you know it, you'll be branding your tubes, bubble pack rolls, bags of peanuts, and retail reams of copy paper. Oh, the possibilities!
For more information on Marty, please visit unclemartysoffice.com.
Those with a lot of experience in a particular industry get too comfortable with the way things are, and as a result, resist any changes to the status quo. Such is the argument made by Professor Grant in his new book, Originals, one which I’m currently reading and one that is on Richard Branson’s top 65 best books of all times list. A perfect quote from this book is as follows:
“Ultimately, the people who choose to champion originality are the ones who propel us forward. After spending years studying them and interacting with them, I am struck that their inner experiences are not any different from our own. They feel the same fear, the same doubt, as the rest of us. What sets them apart is that they take action anyway. They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.”
In our industry, I feel that we are all at this stage of comfortability and need to adopt change and new methods of business growth in order to take our businesses to a higher level of growth and profitability. Social media allows us that platform to test out various services before launching them fully, without investing loads of capital in the initials stages. However, we have to be willing to adopt social media, slowly but surely, in order to recognize new opportunities and attract a whole new generation of clients into our stores.
For those that have not seen my latest YouTube video on social media, please go to YouTube and type in “Get SMart with Fahim” in the search box and watch that 29 minute presentation, which was first launched in Hawaii at the MBC Veterans Retreat in early April this year. Many viewers found this video quite helpful in beginning a social media strategy for their stores.
I have used social media as a platform for growth in my own store, and recently, my wife Seema and I celebrated 10 years in business on Grand Island. We held a celebration and invited all our guests, mostly through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, our blog, email and text. We did have some guests that read the local newspaper so we made sure to place one ad in our local Dispatch special edition. On April 5th, the day of the celebration, more than 200 people showed up to our party, and saw the expansion of our store and the remodeled look as well. We have made a selfie wall as well, which has become a huge hit for the Millennials and I urge many of you to dedicate one wall in your stores and make it a selfie wall. We commissioned a local artist to paint a picture of our island, using chalkboard paint, and then, we write weekly inspirational quotes on that board. Kids and adults alike have taken an interest in that wall; they come by our store just to take pics of themselves, standing in front of the selfie wall. It’s awesome! #selfiewall
Association of Mail & Business Centers TM, 1465 Woodbury Ave. #811, Portsmouth, NH 03801 ~ (815) 316-8255