There are several different reasons why print buyers might want your print shop to develop a web-to-print portal for them. But one of the most valuable functions of web to print portals is to help companies maintain control over brand assets and the appearance of brand collateral. Brand consistency is more important than ever in this era of non-stop, multi-channel marketing communications.
But brand consistency can be difficult to achieve if salespeople or other professionals within an organization feel empowered to design and print their own handouts, postcards, presentations, and sell sheets as needed.
As a print service provider, you understand the importance of maintaining brand-consistent colors and logos in all different forms of promotional and content-marketing pieces. But many time-crunched users of printed marketing materials probably don’t give it much thought.
They might copy and paste a few graphics from the company’s online communications, write some text, and use an off-the-shelf Word or Publisher template to quickly print their marketing materials on their in-office printers. Will the corporate logo or images look a bit fuzzy? Probably. Will the logo colors match approved brand colors? Probably not.
When employees give these do-it-yourself marketing materials to people they meet at symposiums, networking events, and local trade shows, it inadvertently degrades the brand image that marketers are trying so hard to build through tightly integrated, multi-touch marketing campaigns.
You can help brand owners reduce this risk by setting up a web-to-print portal that gives all employees easy access to brand-approved logos, templates, and images.
Now, when the company’s sales reps, financial analysts, real-estate agents, or engineers need a few branded handouts for upcoming meetings, they don’t have to waste time creating the printed materials themselves. They can click on the web-to-print portal, select an approved template, and update the text with their own copy and contact information.
Placing the order is as simple as specifying how many copies they need, what account should be charged, and when and where the prints should be delivered. After they preview and approve the customized template, the file should flow directly into your order management system and be scheduled for production with the predetermined printer and media.
An easy-to-use web-to-print portal can be a win-win proposition for both your client and your print shop. Here’s are a few points to consider::
The range of materials that can be printed through the portal is limited to standardized, easy-to-quote items. You can start the portal with a few pre-designed templates such as postcards, brochures, business cards, posters, report covers, and presentation folders. The company’s marketing team selects what type of paper should be used for each of the standardized print materials and you set the prices.
Your client’s marketing team doesn’t have to be the “enforcer” of brand standards. As long as your client keeps your print shop supplied with all of the latest logos, templates, and licensed images, they don’t have to worry about keeping every department at their company informed when updated image assets are available. Your print shop can act as the gatekeeper for the most current versions of all of the logo, templates, and other brand assets.
Your client can reduce potential liability for copyright infringement. Many office employees might grab interesting images they find on the Internet to illustrate their self-produced marketing materials. But if the marketing piece has the employer’s branding on it, intellectual property lawyers are more likely to contact the brand owner than the office worker who unintentionally used an unlicensed image.
All company representatives will be recognized as part of the same team.What it every member of a football team ran onto the field wearing uniforms with visibly different shades of the team color? It would raise some eyebrows to be sure. Color consistency in printed and online communications can also assure people that all everyone carrying brand literature is part of the same organization. If a salesperson uses a logo version that was discontinued two years ago, they will look out-of-step with the brand. Clients may wonder if the individual is a scam artist is or actually affiliated with the brand.
Today brand owners are everywhere. Local start-ups use professional branding to make them look like bigger, more established companies, Entrepreneurs think carefully about how they will control their brands as their company adds new locations and franchisees. Non-profits and enterprising artists, authors, and photographers have also learned how to use branding to their advantage.
Establishing a web-to-print portal for branded communications and print products demonstrates that your company is committed to solving real-world problems.
Setting up and maintaining a web-to-print portal for a limited range of standard printed products doesn’t have to difficult. Nor does it have to intimidating to users.
To schedule a demonstration of how a user-friendly web-to-print portal can be easily set up and integrated seamlessly with systems for managing orders, schedules, customer relationships, and invoices, visit www.ordant.com