A brand is more than a logo. In this day and age, a company’s brand and its customer experience are irrevocably intertwined. And for small businesses, developing a unique brand identity and delivering a memorable customer experience is key to competing with big brands—and their even bigger budgets. Here are three print must-haves small businesses can use to set their brand apart, enhance their customer experience and keep customers coming back for more.


The Business Card

Business Card are an oldie but goodie in the branding and graphic design realm. Even with digital communication, an estimated 27,397,2600 business cards are printed annually in the United States alone, and only 9% are discarded after the cardholder’s information is added to digital storage.


But even if your business card is discarded, they’ve more than likely done their duty of generating a first impression. A business card’s design and paper choice are often a customer’s first introduction to a business. Jill DiNicolantonio’s recent post, Four Ways Paper Impacts Brand Identity, is a must read for anyone not aware of how paper selection can impact a brand.



Direct Mail

Adding direct mail to your client’s omni-channel campaign is a smart move. In an IWCO Direct study in 2015, 44% of respondents said of the three to four communication channels used in their marketing efforts, direct mail offered the strongest return by 15% to 17%. And according to the Direct Mail Association Response Report, direct mail outperforms digital channels with a response rate of 3.7% compared to just 0.62.


From the creative perspective, direct mail offers a ton of options for budgets big and small:

  • Bigger budgets opting for a luxe vibe might consider adding a unique fold or technique, such as an emboss, to stand out from the crowd.
  • For smaller runs, digital printing is a great way to promote a new product offering. Not only is it more cost-effective, but you can also tailor your message by swapping out images and copy based on unique customer data. As an added bonus, more and more printers are able to add cool techniques to digital runs.



Printed Newsletters

Creative that encourages physical interaction, such as a newsletter, increases a recipient’s belief that a brand is honest and sincere by 41% (PHD Media, 2015). As far as messaging and intent go, customers who receive printed materials are able to recall 75% of advertisements—compared to just 44% in a digital format (True Impact, 2015).


One change from newsletters of the past—when writing content, encourage your client to think of their customer first. The successful newsletters of today aren’t only a canvas for businesses to boast about their product offering or latest successes. Think about what your client’s customer might need to do their job, then write content that makes YOUR CLIENT an invaluable resource to their customer (and a repeat customer for you).


Hungry for more print design and branding tips? Be sure to request a complimentary copy of our latest promotion, Make Your Mark on Cougar®.