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Insights and inputs from our team and around the web.

You know, numerous titles came to mind for this blog. "Pandemic Marketing", though true, sounded like it was fit for a sci-fi movie. "Marketing to Our Upside Down World" was maybe a little too dramatic — though we have been thrown off our normal activities, society isn't falling apart. So, I went with the title above to emphasize that different circumstances are going to take us by surprise, but success always has and will continue to come from adapting to the circumstances.

Just a week ago, we posted a blog about what to do if your trade show events got cancelled, but now it is no longer a question of if, but for how long will events like these be cancelled. Everything has changed so rapidly in the past week, it's hard to believe that it's only been a week instead of a month. Changes have occurred rapidly as new information is released about COVID-19. We are amid a health crisis, and times such as these are affecting the global economy.

We understand that this health crisis is hitting many industries extremely hard, and our hearts reach out to you. We too are alongside you, experiencing these difficulties. In this blog, we are going to specifically address the restaurant industry. We know that this isn't something you anticipate when you sit down with your board and discuss potential threats to your company. These are hard times, especially because of the uncertainty. How long will this last? How long will we be allowed to serve through delivery and curbside take out? Will any of our taxes be exempt? What kinds of changes do we need to make in wages and policy in order to make it through?

In an article posted by The Dallas Morning News, it addresses the announcement made by Governor Gregg Abbott. Schools, dining areas, gyms and bars are closed at least until April 3rd, 2020 statewide in order to limit the spread of the corona-virus. "While dining in at restaurants and bars will not be allowed, Abbott encouraged Texans to continue ordering food from local eateries for pickup or delivery". Governor Cuomo is announcing New York on pause. All non-essential businesses and gatherings are closed or banned for the time being (Department of Health).

Though dining areas are closed, drive-thrus, take-out and curbside service are allowed. We are here to help supply your printing needs to keep your restaurant running as smoothly as it can given these health crisis circumstances.

Curbside Carry-Out Signage

Banners, A-Frame Signs & Yard Signs - All of these can be used to show customers driving by that you are still in fact open for business or to show deals and items you are offering.

Menu Boards - Some additions or changes to menus might need to be made, or posting a menu in the front window might not be a bad idea for restaurants without a drive-thru who are still offering carry-out.

Flyers/Coupons - It might not be a bad idea to put a coupon inside of your carryout orders. Offers serve as an incentive to your customers to come back, and in a time like this, customers returning is a driving fear.

Check out these and other options we have available for signage here.

Other items to consider

  • If you already have an app, make it so customers can place curbside orders through your app.
  • Make your current menu (and updated menu if applicable) available either through your app or website.
  • If moving to delivery, make sure you call your insurance to see what needs to be done.
  • If serving alcohol, please investigate the local and restaurant laws, especially in regards to the type of license you hold. Please be cautious.
  • Adjusting menus. Some more upscale restaurants may need to make their menus cheaper by selling different items in order to make meals more within a $10-$15 range. many are out of work at this time, and you need to be conscientious of others and their economic standing.

The Thomas Printworks team is here to help where we can, we are hoping you and yours the best.

Are you wondering if your trade show, like many other events, will be cancelled? Then you're in the same boat as the rest of us... no pun intended.

A few cruises have been quarantined due to outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus, and the cruise industry is scrambling to make arrangements for the high number of cancellations and survive while their bookings are decreasing significantly (The Washington Post).

The NBA, along with other major sports, are postponing games until further notice because two NBA players tested positive for the coronavirus (ESPN).

President Donald Trump has issued restrictions on foreign travel in order to prevent an outbreak of the virus within the United States, and the traveling industry is seeing tens of thousands of flights cancelled (myFT).

Most schools have cancelled classes for the next few weeks, and many universities have shifted classes to meet online for the next while. Schools will determine the outcome of the semester remaining upon evaluation in a few weeks.

Even Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, will be closed until the end of March to comply with the executive order from the governor of California (CNN).

Numerous events have been cancelled, and by the looks of it, there's a great chance many trade shows will experience cancellation as well if you have not already been notified of a cancellation or postponement.

If you find yourself with a cancelled trade show, don't fret! Not all hope is lost. Direct mail and other channel marketing can be used as great tools to connect with attendees and potential customers.

Check out this infographic, including statistics regarding direct mail and other marketing channels:

Direct response marketing infographic

Need help organizing a direct mail initiative? We are eager to help. Write us the details and we will be in contact with you shortly.

Trade Shows are an interesting concept, because you are on a quest to create a cohesive, well put together 10x10 space that represents your company as a whole. You want to be professional, but practical as you are creating a collapsible branded environment.

As with many things, there isn't one right way to do it; trade shows not excluded. There are numerous different ways to design them and change the focus, however we are going to focus on some essentials for trade shows.

1. Have a well-designed booth

This the backbone of your event, everything connects back to it! You can have the greatest sales representative manning your station, but if it's drab, not visually appealing or confusing, not even your top sales rep with have much a chance to strike a conversation with anybody.

Check out How To Design a Trade Show Booth That POPS! where we cover topics like brand consistency, color and targeting your messaging to show your solution to the problem.

There's more to it than just the back drop:

Floor Graphics

Rugged adhesive material lets you add directions or promotional messages at the foot of your prospects in your booth or on the show floor directing prospects to your booth. It can also be a great way to start a conversation, "Now step right here and tell me what you see". Get creative!

Pop-Up Banners

They are flexible, portable, and make you more visible. By placing pop-up banners in the walkway or just outside of your booth, you'll catch the attention of those walking by. Thomas Printworks carries all kinds of banner stands to make you look your best. Choose from single- or double-sided stands for maximum exposure to drive more traffic to your trade show space.

2. Uniforms and branded apparel

Brand consistency certainly doesn't stop with the graphics. Branded clothing is an essential at an event like this, a small logo shows everyone where you work and who you are representing.

Whether you're looking for a classic polo or a hat, we have a wide variety of options.

3. Give away or leave behind

Promotional Products are a great way to keep your name circulating long after the trade show and get leads. You can give away classic items like pens, flash drives or a note pad to everyone you come in contact with and also consider doing a raffle for a bigger item like a jacket, blanket or a few nice water bottles. You'll find over 25,000 items in our massive catalog and every item is fully customizable with your company logo or message.

Browse the catalog here!

There are many ways to organize a trade show, but don't skip out on these three essential items. Show up professionally and leave with new connections and possible new clients. We wish you the best of luck and hope that we are able to help you out for your next big event!

Trade Show season almost seems like a year-round season, am I right? With the majority of trade shows coming up in the end of spring, going through the summer and into fall, you have a few down months to regroup and plan what will be your theme and push for the upcoming events.

Big vehicles don't work well in small cities. For that environment they're too big; turns are hard and parking is a pain. The average height of a competitive female and male gymnast respectively is 5'1" and 5'6". They have a greater advantage being small, making it easier to do somersaults, twists and a greater power to weight ratio (McNamara). Average height is even probably too tall to be a gymnast.

In situations, there is a such thing as being too big, business included. Depending on the needs of each company or customer, some big companies aren't able to reach the demands or expectations of personal assistance and customer service. Thomas Printworks has grown and expanded to provide a number of services but has maintained its small scale business agility.

Our roots

In March of 1956, Thomas Printworks set up our first shop in Dallas, Texas. We started with a focus on traditional blueprints servicing the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. Though we have grown and the technology, processes, and product demands may change, it won’t change our dedication to providing friendly and professional service.

Our growth

Thomas Printworks as a company has undergone numerous changes. As mentioned above, we started out as Thomas Blueprints, servicing the architect and construction industries. With time, we grew our facilities in order to provide a greater range of services and changed our name to Thomas Reprographics. Just a few years ago, we went under re-branding to update our look and are now as you know us, Thomas Printworks. We never would have imagined that our business would now be in its third generation of family ownership and have over 600 employees spanning 28 locations in the U.S.

Our continued growth has been to fulfill our mission statement:

To be the world leader of Digital Print Solutions and Information Management through our commitment to World Class customer service and innovation.

We continue to grow in order to be a high quality one-stop-shop and have enough locations to personally service our customers. Although we are continuously updating and changing to be able to market to the needs of the customer, we will never forget our roots with the construction.

Large, yet nimble

We have grown from being a blueprint shop to being a one-stop print provider. Our services include:

We have the capability to service many industries, including Construction, Hospitality, Retail, Venue, Non-Profits, Commercial, etc, and all size of businesses. You're not too small to do business with us, and we can be there every step of the way as you continue to grow. From 1 location to 100 locations, Thomas Printworks can service you.

The key to us are these individual relationships that we have created.

We want to be an organization that our customers request, future employees seek, current employees treasure and our peers admire.

In order to provide this, we review orders before delivery in order to ensure high quality materials. We also have numerous customer resource managers constantly working on orders and projects to ensure the order runs through smoothly. Whether it's a big job, or a small job, we have it under control and you can rely on us to get the job done.

Thomas Printworks wants to help you! Let's get in contact.

Construction is a busy, demanding industry. The construction industry has grown on average 8.5% annually for the past eight years. With high growth rates after the market bounced back from the market crash in 2008/2009, these last few years the industry has stayed just over $808 billion. We know you have lots to do. From getting requirements and plans passed for the okay to break ground, to checking and double checking the plans, scheduling and passing inspections, then moving on to the next section with more inspections and deadlines, and coordinating subcontractors in all different fields you are busy and organization is imperative.

Hospitals tend to be high up on the list of "places you don't want to go".

Many people delay or dislike going to the hospital for many reasons, but one common complaint is the environment of a hospital.

Many words used to describe hospitals are cold, lonely, intimating, gray, low energy, etc. Now some of these feelings aren't just about the physical environment, and the healthcare industry certainly has stereotypes to fight against. However, many of these descriptions can be changed dramatically by an effort to design a warm and bright atmosphere.

In Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy, founder of the highly regarded advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, wrote, “Ninety-nine percent of all advertising doesn’t sell a thing.” Not exactly a comforting statistic, especially considering how much money you spent into creating and printing marketing copy/materials.

You don’t want your products to be in that 99%. How do you make sure you are in the coveted one percent?

If I were to say, “personalization and relevance", it'd be of no surprise. Maybe even get a slight eye-roll. Expected? Sure. But it’s true.

Do you sell the kinds of products or services that are ordered on a cyclical basis or that renew according to a regular schedule? If so, you should consider sending simple, calendar-triggered reminders based on the customer’s purchase or service history to keep your revenues flowing.

Auto dealerships use this technique all the time. To boost its service revenues, one dealership decided to slice its customer database (both active and inactive) by type of automotive service, such as emissions checks, tune-ups, and brake service. Then, the dealership sorted this data by date of the next service, such as all customers with emissions checks coming up within the next 60 days. They used this information to generate weekly alerts to car owners in advance of the recommended service dates for their vehicles.

As a smart competitor, you know that you need to snap up the opportunities before your competitors do. This includes potential customers. Your competitors are going after the same customers you are, so how do you attract them first? Here are three proven strategies that start at the mailbox.

Supply Chain this, Supply Chain that. Everything starts as raw materials and then through their own process becomes the finals goods, ready to go to the consumer. The idea of Supply Chain Management is overseeing and simplifying the process of products and services from start to finish and everything in between.

Seasons Greetings! How did your shopping go with an introspective perspective? To recap, these were the questions from the previous blog:

  • Have you walked into a new store you've never been in? If yes, how come? Did a sign catch your eye? Did it smell good? Did the atmosphere seem appealing? Was it next to another store you were going to? Was it on your way back to your car?
  • Have you gone inside a store you weren't planning on attending? If yes, what made you decide to take the time to stop? A sign? Notice something about a sale? Did you remember an add you saw? Did you remember an item you own that you enjoy and either need another one or want to give it to someone else?
  • When entering stores, where in the store were you drawn to first? Try to really think: what drew you to that part?
  • Did you make an additional last second purchase while at the register? Why?
  • Did you find a sign that caught your eye? Why? Color? Placement? Wording? Message?

Spooky season ends and 'tis the season begins. Stores are decked out with red, green and gold. Christmas trees and wreaths line the fronts, and holiday music has already begun playing on the local radio station. Christmas may be December 25th, but it starts on November 1st.

Given this, it is no shock that 22% of people plan to start their holiday shopping in October. Since 2008, holiday spending has been increasing every year. This Christmas season, it is estimated that American adults will spend approximately $900 on gifts per person. Nationwide holiday spending is projected to exceed $1 trillion. (Investopedia). Almost half of holiday shopping occurs online (46%) and believe it or not, men will spend more than women.

Bottom line, holiday spending is big and all of the stores want you to spend money. And frankly, if the item and price are right, chances are, you are looking to spend your money too.

What are Managed Print Services (MPS)?

MPS involves the active management and optimization of document output devices and related printing and business processes. A MPS program allows organizations to regain control — control over printing costs, control over printing efficiencies, and control over printing management.

The main components provided are needs assessment, selective or general replacement of hardware, and the service, parts and supplies needed to operate the new and/or existing hardware (including existing third-party equipment if this is required by you). The MPS provider can also track how the printing fleet is being used, the problems, and the user’s satisfaction.

What drives color trends?

What influences the graphic designers who are designing your marketing collateral, direct mail, packaging, and displays? These are four factors that Jack Bredenfoerder, director of BV Color Strategy, contributes to impacting the use of color:

Band-Aids are the go-to cover up for any boo-boos. For the simplest scratches and wounds that need some time to heal, Band-Aids cover it until it is ready to be out in the open again.

Cover up

While under construction, sites use fences to protect the materials against theft, keep the public away from open trenches and other dangerous equipment. In order to further protect against theft and to hide what's going on inside, many sites use fence wraps. They act as a way to add privacy and 'cover-up' the mess until construction is completed.

Fall is such a beautiful season. Greens are replaced with bright yellows, oranges, and reds. Classic flavors of cinnamon and pumpkin return, football of all levels takes the center stage, and excitement of holidays to come fills the crisping air.

What is it that makes fall exciting? If fall was year round, would it still be perceived to be this beautiful and exciting?

Let's take a look a few concepts fall can teach us about business.

Change is exciting; change is beautiful

A forest of green turns shades of yellows and reds with fall. This is a stark contrast from the appearance of the same forest for the past five or six months. Just as leaves change color, the markets change. Customer taste can change. Your company can (and sometimes will have to) change.

For me at least, fall is exciting because everything looks completely different; companies can likewise have this new excitement. Is it time for a re-brand?

Or if not a re-brand, is it time to update your look? A lot can change about a company with an updated logo, redesign of materials handed out and signage. 60% of businesses who updated their signage experienced a 10% increase in sales! Updating can boost your sales and cause a talk. Humans notice change.

If you haven't thought about digital signage, that might be a good change for you to consider. 4 out of 5 product brands noticed up to a 33% increase in sales through the use of digital signage.

Sometimes we need to let go

Leaves drop and scatter the ground. Trees need to let go of their leaves to survive. Companies likewise need to examine and let go of strategies, people, items, whatever it may be, that aren't helping their bottom line.

Just because it's not working doesn't mean it wasn't a great idea. It might just not be right for your industry or wasn't quite executed properly. Let go, and go back to the drawing board.

Be seasonal

Just like how pumpkin flavor is popular at this time- not every offer or item you have has to be available year round.

Would pumpkin donuts really be a big deal if they were carried year round? Probably not. Would October Fest be a big deal if it happened every weekend? Well, that might be.... but, the point is, items or events can be seasonal and bring excitement. It gives customers something to anticipate.

Prepare — You don't know what's in store

Plants and animal prepare for winter- if something big hits your industry are you ready to move with the change? Do you have the supplies or assets possible to do so? If you're not one step ahead, you're falling behind.

Thanks for reading this week's blog. Remember, change is good. If you're looking for a change in your signage, Thomas Printworks is here to help.

Last October, Thomas Printworks took on a project that mimicked the Miami Florida sky. For the past few years, we've assisted in large format printing projects for Alan Faena, but this one set the limits sky high.

We helped print and install a building wrap that covered the historical Versailles Hotel during the annual Art Basel Festival. Much like a fence screen or fence wrap that is used to connect to the fence to create a design or hide construction behind it, we wrapped this historical building. The Versailles Hotel is located near the center of Miami Beach, right in the middle of the festivities. As they are under construction, the building wrap served a dual purpose- covering the construction as well as showing off beautiful art and participating in the festival.

This is a big refurbishing project Mr. Faena has going on there in Miami. The building next to the Versailles hotel was torn down and in its place, a new 41 unit tower is being constructed. This will be called the Faena Versailles Contemporary (Francisco Alvarado).

The existing 1940s building, famous for the bell tower on top, is being turned into "a 22-unit condominium...that will be called Faena Versailles Classic. Faena is preserving the facade, most of the grand lobby, terrazzo flooring and custom chandeliers. Each suite will include ocean views, and custom kitchens and bathrooms, ranging from one to four bedrooms. The building will also feature two duplex penthouses with up to 7,300 square feet" (Alvarado).

With all of this work going on and Miami's annual Art Basel festival soon approaching, Mr. Faena reached out to us with a special project.

A little bit about the design...

The idea behind this project was to "transform the historic Versailles hotel into the sky itself, disappearing and becoming transparent at sunrise and sunset"(@faenaart on instagram). This effect was made possible by using photographs of both the Miami sunrise and sunset from artist Miya Ando.

This project was titled "Sora Versailles". "Sora" meaning 'sky' or 'heaven' in Japanese, (Miya Ando). (If you go and check out her page, a picture of this project is located on the front home page! You can also watch a short clip of a time lapse of the building.)

Our sales representative overseeing the project, Juan Fernandez, said, "the pictures of the project do a great job, but there's nothing quite like walking down Collins Ave and just seeing this outstanding work of art stretch up to the sky".

In essence, this multipurpose building wrap masterpiece wowed many while accomplishing its purpose. Don't let projects take you out of commission; get a design and/or your name out there! Learn more about the opportunities to create branded environments.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for a new big project underway this fall!

Whether you're a non-profit company or running an event where donors and sponsor will be in attendance, I'll bet your bottom dollar that you should try out a donor survey.

Donor surveys can be tremendously useful in planning a fundraising campaign to raise the maximum amount for your project.

Look at this statistic:

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