Category Archives: Customer Service

“The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” -Yogi Berra

Here’s a post that our General Manager, Roger, wrote for our up coming newsletter.

We are all challenged to plan for the future based on where we are and where we want to go. And those who haven’t been able to plan out their direction make New Year’s resolutions and hope they can meet those commitments; which most don’t because of the lack of commitment on their part.

Vibrant Graphics didn’t need to make resolutions, or need to use ‘luck’ as a growth tool because we know where we are and where we are going to accomplish our vision. “Within the next 5 years Vibrant Graphics will be rated as one of the premier product label printers in North America by becoming known for providing reliable, repeatable and highly customizable product labels that are scaled to add value to each individual customer’s needs.”

Over the past year we had focused on developing a customer support team that remains highly responsive to our customers, and our services are now said to be reliable and repeatable. That positive feedback from our customers has provided us the foundation of fulfilling our vision.

This year I’m excited to share with you that Vibrant Graphics is well prepared to expand our product and service solutions to a broader market base as we move forward in 2011. We are looking forward to adding new equipment and additional staff in the months ahead that will assure our customers our commitment to remain their long term strategic partner.

Every step we take at Vibrant is done with intention with the expectation our customers ‘feel’ the value we bring to the business partnerships we have established. And we are also committed to continuous training and education for our employees to ensure that our customers are receiving the best and most current product knowledge and service application available.

Thank you to all our customers for the opportunity to continue to serve you. Our success is only tempered by the hard work we have been doing on your behalf to make your business successful. Mark Twain summed it up best: “Success only comes before Work in the dictionary.”

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Vibrant Graphics Introduces “The Vibrant-Way”

Here at Vibrant Graphics, we came up with a new slogan for the way we do business! “The Vibrant-way” can be summarized with four key words – streamlined, unique, consistent and durable.

  • Streamlined – Digital printing gives you brilliant results without the cost of plates or set-up waste.
  • Unique – Vibrant images that are 100% variable – each label can be different.
  • Consistent – Accurate color matching. Each time. Every time.
  • Durable – Laminated construction gives your product long-lasting appeal.

We are excited to bring “the Vibrant-way” to our customers because it is so consistently accurate, that we are able to provide  product on time and on budget. Each time. Every time.


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Three Major Branding Blunders

Three Major Branding Blunders (And what your company can learn from them)

 1)      Seattle’s Best

Starbucks acquired the “Seattle’s Best Coffee” in 2003, and just last year they decided to rebrand Seattle’s Best Coffee to a “simpler, more contemporary logo.” Specifically, creators wanted to put a modern spin on the brand and turn it into a more universally appealing symbol.  

 Simpler is usually better, except in this case.  After just one week after the new brand launched, 68% of over 200 respondents said Seattle’s Best should try again.  Respondents’ feedback went something like this: “People have classified this new logo as looking like a bowl of cereal filled with tears, or even worse, a blood donation center.” 

 Seattle’s Best got one thing right, though.  They really got the public with their rebranding efforts.  Seattle’s best realized rebranding is more than just sending out a press release, it is interacting with people and showing people what you and your brand are all about. 

 “To re-launch the Seattle’s Best Coffee brand in some of their biggest markets, Seattle and Portland, they placed big red refrigerators throughout the cities filled with ice-cold lattes and mochas. Genius! This simple idea has caused a buzz both online and off. It also shows the public that just because your look has changed, your great taste and price hasn’t changed.”  (http://www.dontdrinkthekoolaidblog.com/rebranding-seattles-best-coffee/).  In the end, Seattle’s Best had loyal customers stay with them, because the price remained the same and the coffee had the same great taste.  I believe this is in part due to the great marketing efforts and ‘gorilla advertising’ during the rebranding transition.           

 2)      The New Coke

This is a case where the product taste didn’t remain the same.  The second brand with a blunder is Coca-Cola, or should I say the “New” Coke?  What we can learn from this brand blunder: if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

 In 1985, Coca-Cola released a major failure of reinvention. “A small minority, about 10-12%, felt angry and alienated at the very thought, saying that they might stop drinking Coke altogether.” 

 People actually developed an emotional attachment to the look, feel, and taste of the brand.  People missed the old brand so much, Coca-Cola decided to reinitiate the ‘old’ taste and style.   Something we can all take away from this is: be informative and listen to your consumer’s feedback.  During the focus group, “participants liked the taste of New Coke, but were NOT told old would disappear.”  (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/business/media/23adcol.html).  Perhaps if Coca Cola disclosed such a pivotal piece of information, the product would never have been close to committing brand-suicide.  Needless to say, Coke reverted back to the old formula which is now ‘Coke Classic’.

 Coca-Cola (Coke Classic) is in the lead today though, being within the top five brands on Facebook! 

 3)      Tropicana

You haven’t really seen a Tropicana advertisement, have you?  Me either.  Yet, we all know the Tropicana box, with the straw-in-orange logo.  That wasn’t always their logo though – At one point Tropicana shied away from the traditional orange with a straw in it.  This new brand looks like something you would buy generic, at a dollar store (but the price was definitely NOT lower)!  Consumers stated that if the price would have been lower, they may have transitioned easier in adapting to the new rebrand.

 With Tropicana having such a great brand identity and logo that is instantly recognizable (even without the Tropicana name), it does not make sense why Tropicana would rebrand.  In rebranding, Tropicana lost a tremendous amount of brand equity.  I know a number of people who were not able to find Tropicana in grocery stores due to the change in trade dress.   Many described the branding efforts as “making it more difficult to distinguish among the varieties of Tropicana, or differentiate itself from other orange juices.”  (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/business/media/23adcol.html). For example, with the new all-over orange color, customers find it difficult to pick out the “heart healthy” orange juice, since the text is hidden by the bright color. 

 This obviously changed the performance of the brand power, and resulted in loss of equity.  After the package redesign, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line plummeted 20% between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, costing the brand tens of millions of dollars (http://adage.com/article?article_id=135735). Shortly after, Tropicana ditched the new design.

 There is a lurking trend that these re-brands above have in common:  the corporations behind them underestimated the emotional attachment consumers had with the original packaging.  For instance, think of how we have all come to know and love the Coca-Cola bear and Coca-Cola Santa holiday promotions.  They are near and dear to our hearts.  IF you choose to rebrand, you must do the research and discover what your customer’s needs really are.  Lastly, re-affirm to the public that your new brand is of the same impeccable quality and value.

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How to provide great customer service in the printing industry (or any industry!)

Even as technology makes our society more impersonal, customer service still plays a huge role in any business and often makes or breaks an operation. When our company was struggling under old management over a year ago, one of the biggest complaints was that the phone would often ring and ring, unanswered, and that calls were not returned. With an overhaul to the leadership team came a renewed focus on customer satisfaction, and slowly but surely the tide has turned. The new management has made a commitment to provide exemplary service, including in-person deliveries, company tours for any client or potential client who is interested, a goal of never letting the phone ring more than twice, and expanded marketing efforts to keep our client base up-to-date on the company’s initiatives. Thanks to this hard work, we have more happy customers than ever before and our sales reached a new level in April. All of that said, there are a few basic tenets that any company must follow for customer relations success, and a few that are specific to the printing industry. Here are five that we practice at Vibrant Graphics on a daily basis:

 1.    Answer the phone promptly. This seems intuitive, but it can become difficult with the impromptu meetings that govern our industry, and the fact that less than half of our staff actually works at a desk all day. But it makes a huge difference for customer satisfaction – think about the times you’ve called a business to get an update or an answer, only to have the phone ring repeatedly or get dumped into a voicemail. Answering the phone is one of the best ways to have a personal interaction with a client or potential client, and most importantly, it shows you care. Even if the intended recipient of the call isn’t around, talking to someone – anyone – shows that you are committed to making sure that you meet the needs of the caller.

2.    Respond to emails promptly. Anyone who gets flooded with emails on a regular basis knows that it’s easy to let some of the less important queries slip through the cracks. But when it’s a client or potential client, it’s very important not to sit on the email until you have enough time to answer. I get fewer emails than the rest of the team, so I make it a priority to answer every email I get the same day – I know how frustrating it can be to have an important question go unanswered for days. It’s a simple thing, but another part of asserting your responsiveness and connecting with the customer.

3.    Keep customers updated on the status of their orders. In the past, our customers could go days without hearing a word about their order, and often orders would just sit around without even being processed. Since the staff overhaul, we always try to fill orders the same day that they are placed, and communicate with our customers about lead time, ship dates, and if there are any logistical concerns with materials and size requested. If we get a call or an email about the status of an order, we investigate and respond the same day. We also provide tracking numbers for orders that have shipped, so our clients can have the most up-to-date status on their shipped goods. The more we stick to our word and provide fast, accurate turnaround times, the more likely we are to get future orders from our customers.

4.    Connect with customers through public relations and marketing efforts. We don’t want to be a mysterious company. We do exciting things every day at Vibrant Graphics, and we’re primed on the cutting edge of the industry. We want to share this with our clients, potential clients, and industry partners, so they know how we’re making use of our time and dollars. Each quarter, we send out a newsletter with the top stories from the past three months, as well as useful information for our clients. We’re also heavily connected on the big three of social networking: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, where we can interact with the industry on a daily basis and keep our followers informed on our projects. We send out samples of our work on a regular basis, and we’ve just started to implement free giveaways of our most popular products. Finally, we send out a customer satisfaction survey twice a year to track our improvements and find out areas where we could do a better job. We want to be active listeners, and gain trust from our audience by being transparent.

5.    Welcome the opportunity for face time. Even though we’re a busy small business, we know how important it is to interact face-to-face with our customer base. Because of this, we offer in-person deliveries to our local clients, and our general manager often schedules personal meetings with many of our clients to ensure that we are communicating effectively. We also welcome any interested parties to stop by for a tour of the company, and our passionate employees love talking about the intricacies and challenges of the printing industry. Sometimes, putting a face to the name seals the deal, and for us, it’s perhaps the best way to demonstrate our core competencies and our determination to providing the best possible products and services.

Thanks to a renewed dedication to customer service over the past year, we’ve successfully re-branded ourselves as an innovative company who actually cares about meeting the needs of our audience. And we don’t just talk about quality, we actually make good on our promises, which has allowed us to gain trust on a whole new level. Most of these steps seem simple, but good customer service is often challenging and never easy. However, when you do it right, you’ve positioned your company on the path to success, and new opportunities will present themselves every day. As Benjamin Franklin once accurately noted, “Well done is better than well said.”

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