The first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging
When I first arrived at Vistaprint, the direct marketing engine that had driven the revolutionary tech company from start-up to aspiring global brand was busy undermining the very brand it was selling.
What had been a brilliant offer that drove huge volume ("Business cards are FREE! at Vistaprint") had become a crutch driving ever-increasing discounting. Messaging consisted of little more than the punny decoration of offers. And if there was a brand voice, it was that of "a tacky aging Elvis."
In short, the channel marketing creative was broken. And it was my job to fix it.
An evolutionary design approach A revolutionary design outcome
While I was inclined to pull all of our communications, we had so many pieces in market that I recommended that we take more of a "Good, Better, Best," phased approach to fixing how we looked.
In the "Good" stage, we went through every piece we had and eliminated the worst stuff.
Then, in the "Better" stage, we migrated the remaining "Good" pieces over into a new standardized template.
And finally, in the "Best" stage, we rolled out an integrated new look.
selling is about value and value is about more than price
Historically almost all of Vistaprint's communications were singularly offer-focused. I however, was confident that with the right messaging strategies, we could deliver just as high (if not higher) sales numbers and ALSO deepen our brand meaning.
With this in mind, I set out (along with my great partners on the brand strategy team) to create a "Brand Truths" document that would consistently guide all of our designers, writers, and marketing partners as to "who we were," "what we were about," and "how we needed to communicate."
Writing this was like pulling teeth. But I'm happy with how it turned out. And ecstatic about the work it resulted in!
best can always be bettered
This year, in order to keep raising the bar on quality, reduce the costs of production, and increase the unity of our global brand, I organized a Global Brand Creative Summit.
At this event, we brought together lead designers and copywriters from around our world of offices and I brought in several specialized top level freelancers to provide us with both a fresh perspective and also to expose our senior people to best in class thinking.
The event was a wonderful five days that resulted in greater team cohesion, the identification of new talents, and, most importantly, the codification of the highest iteration to date of our brand style.