No vacation for good marketing

Posted by Bill Alpert on Dec. 11, 2007

December’s my month for traveling; it’s a road trip through the deep south with a long promised family destination of Disney World. It’s vacation, and part of the fun is (at least for me) has been tracking the good, bad and ugly of marketing and graphics across the USA.

Marketing 101 preaches placing consistent and persistent impressions in the target market, carrying through on “the brand” in every way possible. A good example of that is Hampton Inn, a national operation(part of the Hilton family) that caters to the mid-price market, including a good number of business travelers. It’s an organization that knows its customer, and has created a consistently high quality niche product to match.

Coffee Caddy at the Hampton Inn
Coffee at “The Hamptons”

Hampton’s marketing is a bit non-conventional, at least by motor-inn standards. Its a clean visual approach, with a touch of humor. Highlights include great black and white photography, offset by a no-frills approach to typography. The effect sells on the theme of quality, in a decidedly non-snooty way. IMO it’s a perfect fit for the road weary, and price conscious business traveler.

But back to the brand, you’ll see this image and text combo throughout the property, from elevator doors to shampoo holders, to room coffee caddy (see photos). “Some like it hot” sells the brand more than just the beverage, and the close-up cropped images on the coffee pouches whisper the quality and comfort message to the customer.

Hampton Inn shampoo caddy

The real beauty here is the simplicity factor. There aren’t any color hexachrome color seps, no gold foil and embossing here, just some well chosen stock photography and a clean visual approach that (with the requisite skills) could easily be adapted to any business. Kudos!

Photo Editing on the fly, for free!

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Picnik online flash based photo editor

There’s an old proverb about not looking a gift horse in the mouth. It certainly applies in this case. Picnik is a fully web based, easy to use and FUN photo editor, available free. It’s a great tool if you need to do a quick resize of a photo, apply a red eye filter, etc., and you don’t feel like waiting 5 minutes for Photoshop to start up.

More than anything else, this type of online software is a trend to watch; it’s an interesting snapshot of how the internet is developing, and how our daily work becomes inextricably connected to being “connected.”

But don’t take my word for it; take it for a spin yourself. And let me know your thoughts by adding a comment. Check it out at

Is your business card doing its max?

How hard is your business card working?

It’s a cross section of your marketing, and a big part of that all-important first impression. It’s easy to carry, and simple to deliver. It’s personal; frequently delivered with a handshake and a smile. It carries vital information, requires no batteries and it is often saved and remembered for years.

Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at your own card. Does it harmonize with your marketing objectives? Is it clear and easy to read? Was it professionally designed and printed, or is it one of those freebie cards that in the long run cost you more money. Here’s some sage advice to remember: hire a talented graphic designer to create your company card, even if it’s the only such investment you can budget. Then get it professionally printed on quality paper stock.

Once all of that is done, how can you insure that the integrity of your card is intact, across every division and region of your company? All too often, a well-meaning staffer decides to dilute your work, by putting a personal stamp on the cards he/she orders. Fortunately, you can lock in every characteristic of company’s business card ordering system (including pricing and approval) by employing a web based business card managment system (BCMS).

At Copies&Ink, we provide business cards for individuals and workgroups of thousands. Your company can easily place card orders day or night, using an exclusive web portal, built to your specifications. It’s secure, accurate, fast and cost effective.

Winter InkBlot Hits the Street

The Winter issue of our occasional newsletter, InkBlot, will be appearing in your mailbox shortly. Read it to answer the following questions:

• Is your business card up to snuff?
• How can the internet improve your direct mail response?
• Web 2.0: Have you made the switch?

If you’re not on our Ink Blot mailing list drop us a line at:

We’d like to hear from you, if you have ideas about future articles, comments or questions.

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