Every company has a brand. Your brand is simply what your customers think about you and how they spread that brand to others through word of mouth. Maybe you think you don’t have a brand. If so, that isn’t likely. Invisibility is a brand, too — and it’s one you want to change.

Creating a Brand
Creating or controlling your brand can seem daunting. After all, brand marketers spend millions of dollars each year on television, print and Internet advertising. How can the average marketer afford that? The good news is that you don’t have to. Your brand only matters to the people that you want to buy your products, either now or in the future. This doesn’t need to happen on a mass scale. You can micro-target to your intended customer base and be just as effective. One of the easiest ways to micro-target is to use 1:1 printing.

Take the example of Guardian Home Care Holdings. It used 1:1 printing to reduce the cost of acquisition of new employees by replacing its traditional recruiting and newspaper advertising with personalized prospecting postcards. Guardian sent mailers to a highly targeted list of health care workers. The mailers were personalized based on gender, race, specialty and other demographics impacting recipients’ employment concerns. The program reduced the cost of finding new hires from around $3,000 to less than $100, but there was a branding impact, too. Recipients were so impressed with the mailers that they often brought them to interviews, telling recruiters that the high-tech, personalized approach gave them the impression that Guardian was the kind of place they wanted to work. Guardian was seen as an innovative, progressive company that is on the leading edge of health care.

Another company reaping positive branding from its 1:1 marketing is Howard Hanna Real Estate. Every time a Howard Hanna agent sells a house, the company’s system sends out an automatic, personalized notification to all of the neighbors in the local area. Agents also have the ability to take even greater control of the personalization, adding their own images and text to make the message even more relevant to the homeowners receiving it. Recipients know that if you want to sell your house, one of Howard Hanna is the place to go.

Thus, we have two different branding messages, created by two very different companies, with the 1:1 marketing approach in common. The volumes of these mailers are relatively low, targeting only the companies’ intended prospect bases, and allowing companies to precisely manage the message and control their brands for a very manageable cost. The benefit is a double bang for the buck, higher response rates and powerful impact on company branding, as well.