Printers Backward at coming forward

Printing World

We are often being told that we have entered the Information Age of computers and the Internet, but in some cases our industry has yet to fully embrace the advantage of the printed word as a means of selling itself. And the simplest and probably most cost-effective means of self-promotion available is the corporate brochure.

Yet I would wager that there are many managing directors reading this who are about to inwardly grimace because they know that this is one simple option that they have totally ignored or disregarded. Whatever the reason, the facts are what they are and companies are not helping themselves.

As you can imagine, we are constantly asked to find high calibre candidates for printers. Well, there is no surprise in that, it is our raison d’être. This is supposed to be the start of a professional working relationship in which both Harrison Scott Associates and our client companies work toward the same end, the recruitment of new employees. We are often asked to perform structured headhunts where initially we provide target lists, supported by progress reports, and the client reciprocates with supporting company literature and information. This is the theory-the reality is often very different.

When our research department approaches candidates for the first time, one of the most common concluding statements made is: “Send me some corporate literature to look at and I will get back to you”. The cynical among you out there may argue that this is a throw-away line to put us off, but I can assure you that over 70% of those candidates who do receive corporate literature in some shape or form do come back to us. It is the first tangible contact they have with the prospective client and it can have a major bearing on how matters progress. There are numerous examples of candidates who, when initially approached by us, were not fully committed, but once they receive the literature they become serious, simply because the brochure did what it should do – sell the company.

When Ian Johnstone who is now with Waddington Chorleys, was first approached by us for the position, he was hesitant, as he already had another offer on the table, but when he received the corporate literature it whetted his appetite to investigate the opportunity further. As Mr. Johnstone says: “Obviously I had heard of Chorleys – who hasn’t? But until I actually received the literature I did not appreciate fully how big it is, the facilities it has and the markets it is in. It prompted me to attend an exploratory meeting, and the rest, they say, is history.”

In these competitive times, every company should be looking at the best way of marketing itself, to maximise every selling opportunity that is presented. It seems like a common-sense statement to make, but what is the reality? With the exception of the top 50 companies in the industry, very few place any emphasis on marketing themselves via corporate literature. There are exceptions, of course; companies like Carrprint, a £10m-plus specialist commercial printer based in the north of England. Paul Reeve, the business development director, says: ”We believe strongly in the benefit of having a quality corporate brochure. It is an extremely effective tool; hence we have spent a considerable amount of time and money in producing it. In today’s competitive climate, we want to ensure in everything we do that the market can differentiate between Carrprint and other suppliers, and a quality corporate brochure plays an important supportive role in that desire.”

Perhaps if companies considered how much they spend, for example, on client entertaining and actually evaluated the return they receive from this spend, they would realise that some of that budget could be offset into developing a first rate corporate brochure. It is quite ironic that while printers at the Printing World Awards receive accolades and congratulations for the superb quality products they produce for others, they do not consider the benefits of doing likewise for themselves.

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