Monthly Archives: June 2011

Vanguard Direct Integrates Print, Production, & Distribution

Vanguard Direct is a family-owned business that has grown dramatically since we first opened in 1976 and now employs nearly 150 people. We have remained steadfastly committed to integrity and accountability from day one. We take pride in the enthusiasm and professionalism we bring to our work, and our clients trust us to deliver what we promise. That will never change.

Printing stands as the cornerstone of our business. You benefit from our vast knowledge and experience, access to the best technologies, and an unrelenting drive to excel on each run. You will find our print work clean and compelling because it is our goal to make you look your best. And you can rely on us to manage rush jobs that require extraordinary attention to detail.

The picture below is an example of Vanguard Direct’s print production services. We printed the envelopes and inserts that were distributed in newspapers across NYC. The Mayor’s Office was looking to highlight the importance of not parking illegally in accessible spaces, so adding the envelope and insert to the ad in the newspaper was a great way to get the attention of NYC drivers.

Our full-service agency can solve any communications challenge you face. You can count on us to deliver marketing expertise, including creative, production, and distribution services. Our approach to integrated marketing allows you to orchestrate your various marketing activities, improve the productivity of your efforts, and make your marketing dollars work harder and more efficiently.

Author: Stephanie Huston

Cannes Outdoor – A Few Favorites

One of the most prestigious festivals celebrating advertising is happening now in Cannes, France. Today I’m focusing on some of my favorite outdoor campaigns. Here are my choices from the Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories. Be sure to go to http://www.canneslions.com/work/ and check out all the work yourself!

Gold:

Silver:

Bronze:

 

Author: Eric Swenson

What Is On-Demand Book Publishing, and When Should We Use It?

Many of us have most likely heard the term “on-demand book publishing.” Few of us, however, understand the process and know when to use it. In the literal sense, on-demand publishing means that nothing is produced until there is an order to fill. This order could be for one book or a million. The content for this book can either be predefined or submitted at the time of the order.

Amazon is one of the largest––if not the largest––on-demand book publishers. When you order a non-mainstream book from Amazon, the order is usually sent directly to a digital press to be printed and shipped to you.

Better than Amazon is Lulu. Lulu.com is a company devoted to online on-demand book publishing. Authors of all levels can sign on to Lulu and upload their books to be ordered in printed or even digital formats. Lulu also goes a step further and offers help with many services that surround successful book publishing that might not be readily available to all authors. These services include pre-publishing, marketing, and ISBN distribution. This is the key factor that has led many upcoming authors to Lulu instead of its competitors.

So, when is the right time to pursue on-demand book publishing? Basically the answer is: anytime you want to publish something that doesn’t have a large initial distribution plan or is not immediately time-sensitive. Or maybe you just want to print your family photo book for the holidays, for that is the fastest-growing segment of on-demand book publishing!

When was the last time you thought about an on-demand book publishing solution?

Author: John Mehl

Social Media is Not a Strategy

I’m sure you’ve heard the following question a lot: what is social media? And I am sure that by now you have a solid understanding of what it is—a platform where people can connect, congregate and work together through multi-social interactions.

Many marketers have changed their marketing communication plan by adding social media to their communication path. However, many marketers have made and still make mistakes in thinking that being present on social media is enough. Then there is that other group of marketers who ask—what should my social media strategy be?

Would you be surprised if you hear that —“Social media is not a strategy. Social media is a venue for marketers … a set of technologies or tactics that enable us to elevate and amplify brands and their marketing communications.” At least, that’s what Anthony Young says in his Ad Age article, “Social Media is a Venue, Not a Strategy.” Being social out there is a must in today’s market. Therefore, Anthony Young makes sense by saying that the question shouldn’t be, “What’s our social-media strategy?” but, “What do I need to do to make my brand more social?

If you want to be the winning brand— you have to get the product messaging and communication strategy right. Social media should be taken as a single, thought-out, powerful part of a communication mix. You should know your audience, set realistic goals, as well as track your results. Click here, to get an idea of a successful social media campaign.

Have you incorporated social media within your marketing mix— any stories to share?

Author: Marina Kaljaj

Twitter, the future tool of human communication revolution

Last week a wide array of traditional media elite and social media leaders gathered in NYC for the annual 140 Characters Conference held June 15–16, 2011 which centered on the 140 character medium known as Twitter.

What was the takeaway? Twitter is no longer a fad.  It may not last forever and few of the first in any product category last for the duration of the product’s use, however Twitter has deeply embedded its heels into modern human communication.

User adoption and integration into the web has become common, meaning that Twitter is mainstream.  Twitter is comparable to email, TV, radio and snail mail ¾ part of the communication mix. Like other communication channels, Twitter doesn’t reach everyone, but in certain areas of a market, it will penetrate deeply and very close to the target audience.  Twitter has added another medium to the human communication system giving the masses another method to share content with anyone who wishes to receive it. Twitter joins the likes of media monoliths like newspaper, radio and television without the massive upfront costs of equipment and infrastructure to support the organizations. At the 140 Character Conference (140Conf), founder and host, Jeff Pulver related the impact of Twitter to that of his early experience as a ham radio operator. Jeff would listen to a transmission, filter out the interesting content and relay the content to other ham users or off air to other mediums like his family and friends, very similar to Twitter.

Over the thirty plus presenters at the 140 Conf in NYC last week, the theme of content curation was paramount. The net has exploded the amount of content which anyone can access, but it is the individuals who filter that content and provide added value who will win the race for clicks and eye- balls. The other substantial take away was that Homo sapiens adore talking about themselves. We love the perception that people care about who we are and what we have to say. It is leveraging our desire to talk about ourselves that many have been able to develop significant communities around any given topic. The community could be a support group for individuals with an illness to nerdy farmers who tweet to stay connected to the outside world.

No other media in history has been able to curate the opinions of the masses instantly. We have seen Twitter support revolution in the Mid-East, but the potential for Twitter to cause a revolution in human communication is ever present. Marketing and advertising adoption of social media has been toward selling a product or service.  The lack of overwhelming success supports the fact that social media will be great for helping brands expand their presence and learn more about what makes the brand tick in the eyes of their consumers versus selling a widget directly.

Twitter is like a live wire tap on the public conversations of every user which the media and business world can tap into, evaluate and report on at their every whim. The future of Twitter and the social media landscape will be riddled with the success and failure of people to develop communities who can support any given objective. Some will monetize and others will make the world a better place, but by creating an environment where people can connect, share and “do good,” the power for Twitter to act as a revolutionary tool in human communication is immense. Whether you are a marketing professional, advertiser, CEO or grandparent, you must add Twitter to the likes of radio, TV and newspapers in your mind. Realize that Twitter is nothing more than a short collective, conversation between any user of the medium. One guarantee can be assured ¾ we are only on the crest of the wave of change which social media, and the new mediums which they have yet to introduce, will be brought to humanity.

 

Author: John Carew

Spotlight on Vanguard Direct’s Pennsylvania Office

Vanguard Direct’s headquarters are in New York City, but we have a total of five locations on the East Coast: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Florida. Our Pennsylvania office has nine employees based out of Fort Washington, PA and one employee based out of Florida.

The Pennsylvania office opened on December 1, 1999. They were established to help support our Philadelphia clients and expand our service markets in the mid-Atlantic region. Our Pennsylvania team works closely with our NYC headquarters. John Incollingo is part of our Upper Management team as the Regional Sales Manager and supports the office’s function to service and develop marketing opportunities.

Our Pennsylvania team has just recently moved from West Chester to Fort Washington in December 2010.  The move has allowed them to be more centrally located and to best serve their customer territory.  For the PA office staff, it has also improved the commute time and distance for most of the employees and has enhanced the office space. The new expanded conference room allows for onsite client presentations and serves as a training center for our staff.

The Pennsylvania office covers the five county area of Philadelphia, plus South Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. We have a very seasoned staff in the PA office – our sales team of five has over 125 years of experience, as well as our customer service team of five, has over 100 years of experience! That’s an average of over 22.5 years per person.

You can reach our Pennsylvania office at:
Phone: 267-468-0211
455 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 128
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Author: Stephanie Huston

Going Back to Basics: Typography in Design – Part II

When working in design, being mindful of type is essential to producing quality work. Today I’ll outline part two of my two-part series on common typography mistakes you should be sure to avoid.

6. Overusing Centered Text – When using centered text, it tends to be serried and jumbled in appearance. It may even be perceived as sophomoric in most cases, so I suggest saving it to flyers and the like and nothing more. And while we’re on the subject, try to limit typographical alignments. If you have blocks of copy that mix left, right and centered text, you will have a very visually confusing page.

7. Body Copy is Too Large – Normally, non-designers will immediately use a 12-point font for body copy since that is the default setting for most applications. Smaller font sizes create a more professional look. Large body copy, on the other hand, can be clunky (unless you’re designing a children’s book). It’s also important to note that viewing text on a computer monitor is much different than print. In most instances, type on a screen appear smaller and less crisp. Get into the habit of looking at preliminary printouts of your design.

8. Know Your Grid System – Understanding the grid has become one of the most important things for a designer to learn. It’s the basis for creating clarity and making your type and layouts more cohesive. Plainly speaking, the typographic grid is an invisible two-dimensional structure made up of a series of intersecting vertical and horizontal axes used to structure content. The grid serves as an armature on which a designer can organize text and images in a rational, easy to absorb manner. It upholds the four basic principles of graphic design which are Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. Check out the site called The Grid System (http://www.thegridsystem.org), for links and resources pertaining to grid systems. Or read the seminal book on the subject, Grid systems in graphic design by Müller-Brockmann. A blog post could be written on this subject alone.

9. Double Word Space After a Period – Remember when your grade school teachers told you to add a double space after a period? Well, forget it. Double spacing derives from the Victorian and typewriter days. It’s best to stay single. Unfortunately, the people who are supplying you the text usually don’t know any better, so it’s a problem designers have to put up with. In the meantime, use the “search-and-replace” feature of your software to eliminate unwanted double spaces.

10. Watch Those Rags – When aligning type on the right or left, the uneven or the ragged side of the text block should have good rhythm and be consistent. Make adjustments for the text to read properly and become more balanced. In Quark Xpress, for example, try to keep the tracking generally between +3 and -3. Only in dire circumstances should you exceed those numbers. The strategically placed shift-return will also help, as well as reduce hyphenation. Finally, remember to look out for widows at the end of a paragraph.

 

Author: Eric Swenson; Assistance by Will Lovell