Why you want Secure Laser Checks


checkbook
Check fraud runs into the tens of billions of dollars per year according to the FBI. It’s estimated that over 1 million checks are forged EVERY DAY in the US. Even as the use of checks is dwindling, paper checks remain the payment type most susceptible to fraud.

The most common techniques for forging checks are:

  1. A chemical wash to wipe away the written dollar amount so a larger amount can be inserted
  2. Toner lift off – removing toner with a razor blade or adhesive tape
  3. Photocopying – simply photocopying a check and cashing it at multiple banks

The best way to protect yourself and your business is to use secure laser checks.

Here are a few things you’ll want to look for in secure laser checks:

  1. A True Paper Machine Watermark. When held to the light, the watermark should be visible. This type of watermark cannot be copied or counterfeited.
  2. Visible Fibers. Visible yellow and blue fibers are distributed throughout the check paper to give a visible form of authenticity. This is often an additional charge.
  3. Invisible Fluorescent Fibers. Invisible fibers that fluoresce under UV black light provide check authentication and can’t be duplicated by regular printing.
  4. Chemical Reactive. A certain class of chemicals that cause the paper to react and change color when attempts are made to alter a document with bleach or another solvent.
  5. Optically Dull/Dead Paper. In order to allow invisible fibers to fluoresce under black light or to print with invisible inks there needs to be enough contrast with the surrounding paper. This is accomplished by using optically dead or dull paper.
  6. Security Level Toner Anchorage. A saturation treatment is applied to both sides of the paper to provide true document security. This treatment ensures that little or no toner can be removed using tape pulls, creasing the paper will not result in toner removal, and that scraping to remove toner will result in paper damage.

It’s important to do everything you can to protect your business from fraud. Even if you are the victim of fraud, showing the banks that you have done due diligence will work in your favor. Of course, we hope that will not happen to you – and using secure laser checks is one of the best ways to keep your business safe.

How Fonts and Color Affect Packaging

We’ve talked about how important paying attention to your packaging can be in influencing your customer’s buying decisions. Here are a few things to pay attention to:

Fonts and Typography. There are two things to pay attention to here. The readability of your font and the personality of your font. The personality of your font?! Yes. Think about it – would you buy an expensive computer component that used a curly fun font? Of course not! Fonts have ‘personalities’ and messages they put out even before anyone reads what they are saying. Elegant, serious, fun, delicate, aloof, strong, casual, formal, and more. So think about the message you want your fonts to be conveying.

Make sure your font is readable. Some fonts are best as text, others may be better as headers. Some fonts are so intricate that they are best left for wedding invitations – and perhaps only the name of the bride and groom at that!

The same goes for the actual typography – what is being emphasized, the placement of words, the use of capitalization, different sized fonts. All of these things work together to convey a message.

Color. Color is a science in an of itself. Some quick examples include: Red adds energy and urgency, bright colors give a less serious tone, white is clean and simple, blues convey calm and trust, black is heavy and powerful, green often is tied to eco-friendly, yellow is happy, orange is creative, purple is luxurious, and the list can go on and on. These same colors can also work against you if they are not conveying the message you are after.

Make sure you have a handle on your audience and what speaks to them. You also want to have a good sense of what is appealing about your product and what will best represent it to the audience you are after. Let’s take the example of makeup – depending on the audience you are targeting, you might concentrate on pinks for young women, green for eco-concious consumers, metallic and purple for the more distinguished crowd, and orange for the fun loving creatives.

Color is also important as a way to unify your products and communications. Given that the average consumer spends about 4 seconds looking at a product on the shelf, you want them to be able to identify your products quickly. The way to do that is to be consistent in your use of color and fonts and typography. It’s important to distinguish yourself from your competitors, but you don’t want to distinguish yourself from yourself. Your customers will thank you for making their job of identifying your products easier with increased sales.

Solutions: Invoice envelopes

porath-envelopes-2With our recent re-branding, we decided to put our money where our mouth was. There are so many opportunities that businesses fail to take advantage of to get the word out about what they do. And one of those places is envelopes.

Sure invoices can go out in plain window envelopes with a perfunctory return address. They will get the job done – your customer will receive the invoice and (hopefully) pay it. But what a lost opportunity to let them know about things you do they might not know about or might need a reminder about.

Since you are paying for the postage regardless, one option is to put an advertising insert in the envelope. But what about the envelope itself?! All of that pristine white paper just calling out to be used. The white canvas that will be seen by the postal carrier, the person sorting the mail at the business, the person they show because it is so cool and different, the intended recipient…and who knows who else.

And that’s what we did. We highlighted a few of the things we wanted out customers to be aware of – things they might say ‘I didn’t know you did that!’ – and we used the canvas of the back of the envelope to give a shout out about different products we think our customers might be interested in knowing about.

What about you? What could you be shouting out to the world on your envelopes?

Packaging matters!

nonprofit_fundraisingDespite all of the admonitions to not judge a book by its cover, it’s nearly impossible to do. Our brains are programmed to judge by our senses – originally as a protective mechanism of the more life or death type than the type of situation we run into on the library shelves, no doubt. Just as authors and publishing houses put large amounts of thought and resources to cover design, this is not a place to skimp if you are putting out a product or an envelope or any type of packaging.

According to 99designs, 4 seconds is the MAXIMUM time the average consumer will dedicate to a product sitting on a shelf. 4 seconds. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, and it isn’t. It really is just enough time to get an initial positive or negative take on something – in other words, does the look of the packaging inspire more or less interest. Test it for yourself. Our attention spans are shrinking and you might be surprised by how antsy you get after a full four seconds.

Another reason to pay attention to packaging is what I’m calling ‘shop by cell phone.’ Have you ever been in the store looking for something for a friend or spouse or partner and you’re not sure which one they want? The answer – take a photo and text it to them. Or, buying something for yourself and you want some feedback? Take a photo and post it on Facebook to get feedback from your friends. Doesn’t sound probable? According to an infographic by The Paper Worker, 40% of consumers said they would share a photo of packaging if it is interesting or gift like.

Other interesting points on that infographic include 90% of consumers reuse packaging and bags after a purchase. Think of all of that unpaid advertising compounded by the implied positive recommendation by the person reusing the bag or packaging and the continued positive sentiment and reminder of their shopping experience. A 30% increase in consumer interest has been reported by businesses after they start paying attention to their packaging. 52% of consumers who purchased online said they were likely to return to a business for another purchase if they received the original purchase in premium packaging.

And don’t just stop with product packaging! The same holds true for envelopes, gift card holders, etc. There is a lot to pay attention to – not only the visual senses, but also the sense of touch are activated when it comes to packaging. There is no guarantee that your packaging will be appealing to everyone who looks at it on the shelf, but chances are if you’ve taken some time and care in your packaging design it will be noticed and you will see a difference in customer response.

Digital or Offset lithography?

antique-wood-printing-press-alphabet-numbersThe two most common ways to print these days are digital and offset lithography. Digital printing (think sophisticated, hi-res copier) is a thermal process requiring the powdery toner to be heated to bond to the paper. Toners, not ink, are used to create a full pallet of color that approximate those possible with offset lithography, traditional printing presses that use actual ink.

Digital printing requires less setup time than lithography and so often smaller printing runs will be run digitally to be more economical. There is a break even point beyond which it is more economical to print using offset lithography. Often this has to do with the number of colors being used as well as quantity. Occasionally the type of paper required for the project will also determine which method is used. Lithography presses can handle thicker paper than digital machines, for example.

There are some situations in which a customer would choose to go with lithography over digital. One of the advantages to offset lithography has to do with color – since it involves ink that can be precisely mixed to match color every time. If it is very important that you have a precise color for branding purposes, for example, we would print using offset lithography because we can mix the ink to that exact color every time, whereas color with digital printing can vary by machine and even by changes in the pressroom environment.

Because digital printing involves toner that goes through a thermal fusing process, there are some limitations. The fusing process doesn’t work on stock heavier than 12pt, which is about the thickness of a nice greeting card. We are not limited to 12 pt stock for lithography, because lithography is laying down ink and allowing it to soak into the paper and dry as opposed to fusing it to the paper with heat. We have had projects that we have literally made stock out of a “paper sandwich” to get a desired thickness and run it on the offset machines. Lithography also allows for different textures and finishes that do not run well on digital equipment.

As we said in the beginning, offset lithography involves a great deal more setup costs, which can make small quantities of full color lithography prohibitively expensive. Although cost can often be a deciding factor, it is not always. Each method has advantages and disadvantages. The key is to figure out what is best for the results you want for your particular project. And that’s why we are here. Give us a call at 216-626-0060 and we will happily share our expertise!

What is Cross Media Marketing?

media-diagramWhile cross-media marketing is one of the new buzz words in advertising, it is a concept that has actually been around for a long time. Just think of all of the different types of advertising that have come along: Wall and rock paintings date back to 4,000 BCE; sales messages on papyrus discovered in Egypt date from 1,000 BCE; bamboo flutes were played to sell candy in Ancient China as recorded in the Classic of Poetry; bronze plates for printing an advertisement for sewing needles from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) may be the oldest evidence of print marketing; town criers were used in Europe during the Middle Ages to sell produce and merchandise; 1836 brought the first paid advertisement in a newspaper; radio ads started in the 1920’s followed by television ads in the 1950’s and cable TV in the 1980’s; internet marketing began in the 1990’s; guerrilla marketing with its unusual approaches to advertising in public spaces also began in the 1990’s; email marketing; sky writing; direct mail; and more.

Rather than each one of these marketing platforms rendering the previous ones obsolete, they have all continued to build on each other – because there is no single message or type of message delivery that will appeal to every person. In addition, the more times, places, and permutations of a message people see, the more effective it will be.

Our goal is to help you be as effective as possible in your marketing, communications, and promotions. Cross-media marketing is about having different types of media interact with each other in an orchestrated way in order to engage your audience. That might mean sending out a direct mail piece with a QR code that sends people to your website or uses augmented reality to bring attention to your latest promotion. It might mean that your event is being promoted with similar graphics and wording on social media, on your website, in both your email and print newsletters, in posters around town, on press releases, and in TV coverage.

There is not one type of marketing that is right for your business or organization, although there are types that might be more right for the demographic you are wanting to connect with. You might be surprised, however, to find that some of your assumptions may not be accurate. Not all Millennials are tuned in to internet advertising (actually very few are!) and many seniors are!

We’ve got a new look!

We gave our logo a makeover!

porathbusinessserviceslogo-300

As with anything design related, fashions change and what was once fresh and new becomes worn and “tired.” Our customers have used words like creative, problem-solvers, results-oriented, go the extra mile, do things others won’t, customer comes first, and innovative to describe their experience at Porath. We wanted to capture the dynamic feeling we felt when we read those words. We hope you agree that we did!

We wanted our logo to reflect our company and our mission. As some of you know and others may imagine, to rebrand is not a simple process. Our process started with a brainstorming session. We threw out ideas of the feeling we wanted people to have when they looked at the logo. We wanted it to feel modern, strong, full of color and possibility, and to have a sense of movement. We think it looks cool all on it’s own on a white surface and also looks great reversed out on a black background!

You’ll notice that the name has changed as well. In our old logo, ‘Porath’ was in the background. For the new logo, we brought it front and center. We decided to drop ‘Print Source’ and replace it with ‘Business Services,’ which actually has been our legal name all along.

Why ‘Business Services,’ you might ask? Aren’t we printers? Yes, absolutely!!! But we are also so much more. Just as logos need to change to reflect the times, industries also need to change to fit the needs of the times. Over time, we have shifted from simply being printers to actively partnering in your project from beginning to end, including content, signage, and fulfillment. We bring the breadth of our years of printing and mailing experience to every project, with guidance and input to help your business or organization soar. We are the answer to your marketing, communication, and promotional needs.

Give us a call at 216-626-0060. You’ll be glad you did!

Solutions: Promotional Products or Ad Specialties

bottle-1Whatever you choose to call them – promotional products or ad specialties – the bottom line is that they are effective at keeping your business or organization in your target audience’s mind. According to a study by the Advertising Specialties Institute:

  • 42% of respondents had a more favorable impression of an advertiser after receiving a promotional item.
  • 24% said they are more likely to do business with the advertiser on a promotional item.
  • 62% reported they have done business with the advertiser on a promotional product after receiving the item.

There is a huge array of products to choose from at every possible price point. The biggest bang for your buck may be pens – everybody needs and uses pens and according to business marketing research, writing instruments are the most recalled ad specialty (followed by shirts, caps and bags).

Give us a call at 216-626-0060 to find out what possibilities are available to you! Your customers will be glad you did…and so will you.

 

Do You Have A Print Marketing Strategy?

 

Chess-StrategyPRINT STILL MATTERS

Even though the common adage these days is that “print is dead,” print marketing remains a powerful tool for businesses to include in their marketing repertoire. Print marketing materials offer a variety of benefits to businesses, and these unique advantages can help your firm stand out in a crowded marketplace full of pop-up ads and thinly veiled promotional blog posts.

DIGITAL OVERLOAD

The nature of the Internet and online marketing operations can be overwhelming for consumers. When searching for a product or service online, customers can get trapped in search engines and digital limbo. By now, we have learned to instantly close popups and avert our gaze from digital banner advertisements. The message is clear; people are sick of seeing online advertisements. At this time, the printed advertisement might be the most powerful option.

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE BLOG POST

While it can be incredibly difficult to get influential people to participate in an online interview, and this should be enough to impress an audience, the lasting impact of a printed story with images and compelling graphics still holds more weight in people’s minds. It has a legitimacy that can’t easily be replicated by a blog post or a tweet.

DIGITAL DETOX

Due to the current saturation of push notifications, constant email advertisements and popups, many younger people are embracing the idea of using less technology and spending less time online. Additionally, older people are less likely to be computer savvy and thus aren’t likely to see online ads either. In this over-exposed digital marketplace, many people are simply deciding to unplug and declutter their lives.

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN

With this recent shift in attitudes and consumer sentiment, print advertising might be the most effective way to stand out from your competition. Companies sending a direct mail piece to their customer list or to a targeted list are more likely to reach interested customers and potential customers. There is a lower cost associated with reaching current customers, and these customers are already familiar with your brand. Consumers love high-quality original content, and this content becomes even more valuable in print form. A collection of editorials, opinions and essays can be a way to establish your brand as an authority on the subject matter, which will set you apart from your competition. Consider adding print media to your strategy, and you might be surprised by the results.

Don’t Believe the Hype – Why You Still Need Direct Mail Marketing

mailbox-directmailModern marketers often tout the benefits of digital marketing. Some even claim that direct mail marketing is a useless thing of the past. Digital marketing has a place, but with today’s consumers increasingly discounting email marketing as unwanted noise, direct mail is still a valuable part of a well-rounded marketing plan.

Postal mailboxes have no “Spam” filters or “Promotions” tabs:

Email filters can capture messages before they ever reach your intended recipient. Spam filters are not infallible; they sometimes mistakenly intercept messages your target consumer wants to receive. Postal mail, on the other hand, does not have this problem. Mailboxes have no spam filters, so you can be sure that your message gets in front of a potential customer every time.

The expected has become the unexpected:

The average modern consumer is bombarded with numerous marketing messages every day. He or she is used to scanning their email subject lines and discarding many messages as spam without ever opening them. In the past, people did the same thing with junk mail. But because so many marketers are now focusing their efforts on digital marketing, there has been a drop in the number of direct mail pieces consumers are receiving. As a result, they are paying more attention to the contents of their physical mail box. They’re used to being sold to via email. By sending your marketing message in a less expected way, you have a better chance of grabbing your target consumer’s attention.

Everyone gets mail but not everyone gets online:

The moment you hit send on your email marketing campaign, you limit your reach. Digital marketing messages only gets in front of the online segment. Because almost everyone gets postal mail, direct mail marketing reaches a larger population. This can be especially important for products and services targeted to certain demographic groups, such as older consumers.

Direct mail adds a personal element that’s tough to duplicate through digital media:

Trust is an essential part of making sales. Digital marketing messages can feel anonymous, making it harder for the consumer to develop a sense of trust in the sender. There’s something about holding a letter that feels personal. The personalized nature of direct mail helps the target consumer trust the sender and favorably respond to the call to action. To craft a powerful sales message you must make the recipient feel like you’re speaking directly to him or her. This is best accomplished through direct mail.

It’s easier to make direct mail pieces stand out:

When your potential customer opens their email, all the emails tend to look similar. The subject lines are the main differentiating factor, leaving you with very little means to stand out from the crowd… and that’s only if your email made it past the spam filter. Direct mail allows you many ways to make your piece stand out and grab the recipient’s attention, raising the chances your message will be read. At Porath Print Source we have many ideas to get your mail piece noticed – just ask!

Summing it up:

It’s easy to see why direct mail marketing belongs in your marketing plan. An intelligent marketing strategy uses a variety of channels to put the right message in front of the right person, at the right time. Direct mail marketing is a powerful tool to help your business accomplish that goal.