recognition awards

A Big Idea!

It probably goes without saying that we’d all love to be one of those people with a big idea.  The kind that rivals Steve Jobs’ IPhone, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon or Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.

Some of us would even settle for a mid-sized idea that would impact both the company’s bottom line and our personal bank account.  But it seems like there is a widespread belief that big ideas are relegated to a few and mostly the by-product of luck.

The fact is, though, big ideas aren’t hatched by a rare breed of luck entrepreneurs.  Instead, they come from regular people who are willing to ask the right questions and stay open to new ways of looking at the world.  To believe that serious creativity doesn’t live within all of us is a cop out.

Leaders are driven by asking the questions that others have not.  They don’t buy into the concept of the status quo and they’re inspired to question age old assumptions.  Finding the next big idea is about fostering a culture of questioning.  The truth is that each of us can open our minds to the possibilities of innovation.

The biggest difference between Steve Jobs and the rest of us is that he was willing to question generally accepted truths and test his beliefs.  There are plenty of people who think the ROI on social marketing is remarkable and that print is tired.  But there are some pretty forward thinking people who would argue that print is the most intimate way to engage outside of human contact.

So, whether we’re inventing the next disruptive business model or utilizing the haptics of print, we’re allowed to challenge assumptions.  We can examine the importance of asking what’s next and decide to broaden our perspectives.

As we begin to turn the page on 2017, we hope to help you ask more questions.  At Bennett, we say that “the best ideas begin with questions.”  We think that “What IF” moment might be the start of something very special.

Some words from our friends at MLT Creative

How can you make digital B2B Marketing Touchpoints truly sensational?

See (and feel) SenseAtional for yourself.

We recently were awarded the opportunity to conceive and design a printed “kit” to demonstrate, explore and showcase an amazing new printing technique for one of our long-time partners, Bennett Graphics in Atlanta.

The technique is called “SenseAtional, ” and it is that and more. It consists of tactile enhancements and foils that are applied to digitally printed designs. They’re polymers that are applied in various thicknesses from super glossy to differently textured enhancements in ways you have never seen, or felt, before. Both the gold and silver foils are elegant, versatile and can achieve effects that would have been too cost restrictive in the past even to consider.

SenseAtional logo

We designed a wish book “kit” that would push this technology to the limits of its capabilities and get the creative wheels turning for Bennett’s audience of designers, marketers and communication departments. The kit has a combination of various style images and graphics along with some of my personal photography work to help illustrate the wide range of endless possibilities this technology offers. Bennett’s team are thrilled with the final piece and the many new opportunities and interest it has already delivered.

Describing it is tough, so we included a few photographs and detail images to try and give a better sense of the experience. The only true way to “get it” is to see and feel it first hand, but more about that later.

Add a SenseAtional Splash to Drip Campaigns, Sales Collateral, Digital Direct Mail, and Event Marketing materials

The big news is what this means for using print to reach your audience in new ways that will gain attention immediately. The ability to digitally enhance and personalize your design with foil accents and tactile expressions, quickly and in small quantities, is a game-changer. It tangibly demonstrates how print is not dead and can still be an integral part of any digital marketing campaign. Using print that grabs attention in this way, paired with sound marketing outreach in other areas, offers a creative method to reach and captivate an audience with your message.

SenseAtional Savannah flyer header

If you have a new service or product that needs a creative focus or custom B2B photography to tell its story, contact us for a no-obligation discussion.

If you’re interested in learning more about SenseAtional and how it could “elevate” your marketing program’s printed outreach, contact Bill Gillespie at Bennett Graphics for all of the details and samples.


Vanity Matters

Scott Stratten, bestselling author of “Unmarketing” recently told a story during the United Marketing Conference in Nashville, Tenn., about metrics that really matter.  The general gist was that many of the metrics of a video he created were not only misleading, but distracting from what really mattered.

Stratten saw remarkable click rates, views and “likes.”  He was able to go even deeper into the analytics and determine that his overall “vanity” metrics were pretty high.  But he also noticed that he never received a spike in sales or inquiries from his speaking.

Vanity metrics are driven by the need to validate.  Whether it’s the CFO who wants to confirm that every dollar spent turns into something greater than a dollar, or the Millennial marketing coordinator who wants to prove a level of intelligence, validating existence plays a major role in marketing today.

This really is one of the best times to be in marketing.  Technology, tools data, information, ideas and innovation abound.  But as a result, prospects and customers are feeling a massive overload.  The vanity metrics matter less and less each day, and the world craves to connect on a deeper level.  This may mean doing things that simply do not scale, being more vulnerable and doing some real soul searching around what really matters to move the needle.

Marketing must be more than a series of e-blasts married to an automated drip campaign that most of us can smell a mile away.  Marketers need to harness all the available tools to optimize efficiency, but also be able to directly engage with people to seek an understanding and trust that traditional marketing practices don’t allow.

Due to noise within the channels, people don’t necessarily want to be marketed to anymore.  Therefore, brands are desperate to determine how to create engagement and conversations at every consumer touch point.  Buyers have all the control today.

This month’s Connect Magazine speaks to that very point in the cover story “Orchestrating Business.”  The second piece “Touchy Feely” speaks to customer intimacy and reminds us of the ownership people take when sensing things through touch.

The magazine is a must read for marketers, this month.  The current economic climate is such that people want more connection to one another and print is still a great example of developing intimacy.  Dr. David Eagleman’s work on the neuroscience of touch supports both pieces.

If you don’t receive Connect Magazine and would like to, please let us know.  You can subscribe on our website or call Bennett Graphics and ask for Connect.  It’s free and we want you on board.



The Revolution!

In August, analysts at Morgan Stanley using data from an Oxford University study predicted that nearly half of U.S. jobs will be replaced by robots over the next two decades. It’s said we will have cars that drive themselves, waiters we won’t need to pay and personalized butlers. Looks like we’re moving rapidly toward a future without actual jobs.

According to a 2013 Stanford University study, some manufacturing robots now cost the equivalent of about $4 per hour – and they keep getting cheaper and better. We even have robots that think. Editors at the Associated Press claim robots write thousands of articles a year for them. It would seem as if the dream of living a WALL-E-type existence, where we float around in auto-piloted chairs, sip on a liquid turkey dinner and stay glued to the attached monitors may become a reality.

Not So Fast! While it certainly seems like we’re headed toward a scary and confusing robot revolution, it is best to remember that technology always creates more jobs than it destroys. Progress creates angst, but it’s still progress. And this time will be no different. Consider that computers destroyed a great deal of manufacturing jobs, but enabled hundreds of millions of new jobs. The reality is that technology augments humans, rather than replaces them.

We don’t need to fear the robots, but we do need to understand that the jobs robots can replace aren’t good jobs in the first place. As humans, we climb the ladder of success using our brains. So we must tap into the greatest computer inside of us, embrace a strategic mindset and start anticipating the kinds of jobs that will emerge over the next 20 years.

Leadership is not about getting people to work harder. In fact, it’s about discovering new paths and new ideas, and incubating the skills needed to sustain us in the future. Leadership is about identifying markets that are important and providing that community a competitive advantage. The future is bright, and while we can all concern ourselves with the changing job climate, take solace in the fact that history proves progress is good.

This month’s Connect Magazine has a cover story titled “The Great Escape.” We discuss some of the strategies and marketing ideas that will gain momentum next year an over the next several years. A second article speaks to how your employees are your best branding asset.

Both are compelling articles that remind us where our focus should remain. If you would like to receive a copy of Connect Magazine please let us know. You can subscribe on our website and it’s completely free.

The Wrong Question!

Change has been the topic of conversation within the business community for decades. In May 2005, the Harvard Business Review cited the need for a radical departure from traditional thinking.

According to the article, “Your Company’s Secret Change Agent,” while isolated success strategies can be brought into the mainstream, doing so requires a departure from the notions of bench-marking and best practices that we are all too familiar with. The key is to engage the members of the community you want to change in the process of discovery and make them evangelists of their own conversion experience.

The ideas for creating change are pretty sound. Involving the people you want to change in process of leading change is brilliant. However, we collectively still lament the willingness to change what exists within our worlds.

So what gives?

Maybe we’re just asking the wrong questions. For example, instead of asking “How do I get this done?” or “How can I validate my work?” we should ask, “What is holding us back from opportunity?”

No matter what the solution is for change, the thing that ultimately holds us back is belief or lack thereof. In other words, maybe there is a feeling that once change is implemented we will be destroyed in some way. Belief can go a long way as long as it’s true.

We must all have faith that sticking our collective necks out is a good thing. We must believe that when we choose to do the unconventional, we will end up stronger and more educated. And we must feel confident that we can become the kind of people who not only make change, but change things for the better.

Targeted Marketing…not so much!

I have to laugh every time I read something that says print is dead.  Likewise, I laugh when I accidentally answer the phone to discover I’m trapped on a call with someone selling “exactly the email list I need.”  The message is always the same.  “Print is dead.” “Millennials prefer electronic communications” and “marketers in the know use informed email marketing to sell their stuff.”

Is that so?  Today I received more than 150 spam messages.  There were more that got through deserving to be trash.  A partial list is as follows:

Oil Change Deals

Social Work Education

Ceiling Fan Deals

3 Year Loans

Breast Augmentation

Breast Reduction

Climate Reality

Patio Furniture Deals


Motor Home Sales

Teaching Degree

Reverse Mortgage

Jewish Singles


Visit Costa Rica


Stop Smoking

Cigar Deals

Some message from Svetlana I would be afraid to open


African Safari Travel

Bathroom Renovation

Cremation Services

Plus Size Bras

Nursing Degree

Medicare Help

Like I said, this represents a partial list.  There were more than 150 messages in a single day.

Now compare that to my mailbox (USPS).  There were six pieces of mail.  The full list is as follows:

A catalog from Land’s End.  I ordered some boxers.

An invitation to a retirement seminar.  I don’t plan to go but I am the right demographic.

A notice from my bank explaining a new service.  I plan to sign up.

A new business announcement from down the road.  I’ll check it out Saturday.

A power bill.

A water bill.

Which has more clutter? My mailbox or my email box?  Which path has the best shot at getting noticed?  Which one has a better chance of making a sale?

Email is cheap.  Consequently, it’s full of junk.  Informed? Do we really think it sells more stuff than direct mail?  I think not.

Print isn’t dead.  It’s dominant.  Say yes to the mailbox!

Fish or Cut Bait!

According to the Winterbury Group, almost half ($27.3 billion) of the $59.5 billion spent in digital advertising in 2015 was dedicated to search engine marketing. Another $24.9 billion was spent on display advertising, which means that over $52 billion of the total spend was used on vehicles that don’t necessarily conjure up images of high quality.

The idea that digital advertising is the path to the consumer these days is odd.  Consider the number of marketers that toss out an endless amount of content just so their search results escalate.  While many of them may believe in the constancy of the social post and the perceived low cost of social marketing, these strategies may be cheapening their brands as a result.

Permission-based marketing respects the fact that we, as consumers, don’t want brands invading our lives and making unnecessary noise.  There are numerous brands that have made their name on mass appeal, but the organizations that endeavor for a more sophisticated persona demand a deeper connection and a more intimate way to engage.

Every channel is critical these days, but being a true right-brained marketer affords you the ability to rethink all of them.  Print, for example, still is the only vehicle that can literally touch us.  It lets your clients know that you put a little extra time into your message, and it shows that you are investing in the relationship and not merely trolling for bites.

In our next issue of Connect Magazine our cover story, “Stoking Creativity,” is focused on the kind of thinking needed to make hard decisions and elevate your brand.  Our second feature, “The Fall of the Story,” delves into the unwanted content that is clogging up our lives and lowering the value of your brand.  Both stories remind us that utilizing vehicles and people that want to inflate your brand is critical in these noisy times.

If you don’t receive Connect Magazine you can subscribe on our website.  It’s free and we’d love to share it with you.  Visit and tell us you want to be included.  It’s on press now!

Thanks For Everything!

I love this time of year!  Somehow, the holidays help me regain my focus.  I always begin the New Year charged up and committed to a better me.  At times like these I reflect on how lucky I am and how the world is full of blessings and heroes.  I met one recently.  Allow me to explain.

It was a Saturday and I had made a trip to the post office.  When I got there, the place was in a total stir.  They had closed early leaving the customers to weigh their own packages and to buy stamps from the vending machines.  Because this was new to most of us, things were moving slowly.  Lines were long and tempers were short.  No one was in a good mood.

As I stamped my letters, an old man walked through the door.  He looked to be in his mid 80’s.  He was bent at the waist and could barely walk.  It took him forever to cross the floor and arrive at the postage scales.  It was painful to watch him move.

I must confess that I tried to finish before his presence could inconvenience me.  I don’t know why I was in such a hurry.  I just didn’t want to wait.  I didn’t want this guy to interfere with my ability to get to my next trivial task.

Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him struggle with the scales.  He had a large magnifying glass and he was trying to read the display.  People waiting behind him were losing their patience.  Like me, they were all resenting him holding them up.  None of us seemed willing to share the post office with this guy…this veteran.

For some reason I spoke to him.  I asked if I could help him with what he was doing.  He said that I could.  A thirty something woman behind him exhaled in disgust and left the post office in a huff.  Obviously, she had very important matters waiting elsewhere.  This guy was really causing a problem.

“What are we trying to do?” I asked.  “I’m trying to mail this book to a friend in Texas,” he explained.  “I have arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, so I can’t do much,” he added.  “I can’t read the scales either.”

I asked if I could help him address the package.  He said yes and explained that it was a book on B-24 bombers.  He was mailing it to a friend in Texas.  The two of them flew together in World War II.  They had not seen each other in 44 years.

He told me how his granddaughter found this guy’s address on the Internet.  “She’s real smart,” he said.  “She knows how to find the address of anybody in the whole country just by typing their name,” he added.  “Then she went on the Internet and ordered this book.  We got it in the mail the very next day.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?” he asked.

As I purchased the necessary postage and stamped his package he told me what a thrill it was to find his old friend.  They had been talking on the phone and he had decided to send him this book.  His face lit up like the sun as he talked about their phone conversations and the missions they flew during the war.  He really loves and misses his friend.

By the time we finished, the post office was empty.  He turned to say thanks and offered to give me his left over stamps.  I refused and told him that I should be thanking him.  There was no way to repay the debt that we all owe him and his fellow veterans.

As he left, he turned, snapped to attention and saluted.  It was all I could do to choke back the lump in my throat.  This man was proud of his service to us.  He took it seriously.  We should too.

So…it’s the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What are you thankful for?  I’m thankful for many things.  One is my mother who cried every time the flag passed in a parade.  Her blood ran red, white and blue.  She taught all of her children pride in family and country.  I appreciate that.

I’m also thankful for our servicemen.  I include those serving today and all that have put it on the line for us in the past.  I’m also thankful for the old soldier that “couldn’t do much.”  Thanks for the gift you gave us all before I was even born.  Thanks also for the gift of your need when I was nearby.  I’m glad I was the one to receive it.

What does all of this have to do with printing and publishing?  Absolutely nothing, unless you consider our right to do it.  Nothing unless you include the fact that we’re free to write what we think even if it is against policy.  You’ll have to answer that question for yourself.


Growth is Exciting – There are Endless Possibilities!

It might seem odd to talk about equipment additions in a blog…but we’re excited.  Bennett Graphics has added a new workflow line that will allow us to add flexible packaging, labels and shrink sleeves to our products.  It’s a huge addition, directly driven by customer requests.

In a few days, Bennett Graphics will take delivery of a HP Indigo WS6800.  There will also be finishing and rewinding equipment (AB Graphics Digicon 3) and shrink sleeve equipment.  Space is being built out for the new addition now.

This is exciting stuff with tons of marketing potential.  Everyone has seen the personalized Coke bottles and decorated Bud Light cans.  Today, we’re limited by our imagination only…not by possibilities.

Come see us!  Visit Bennett Graphics.  Examine the new gadgets an imagine the possibilities…the Endless Possibilities. We can’t wait to see what you invent!

Join Us for Endless Possibilities 2.0

When we invented this series We asked ourselves what would be relevant to the creative and marketing community.  Of course, we wanted to get prospects and clients into our facility but we hoped for so much more than that.  We wanted our guests to have fun and say “WOW.”  We wanted to create content that would inspire even the most seasoned professional and send them away excited with what is possible today.

We seem to have accomplished that.  We’re excited to say that we have continued to field questions directly related to the sessions we designed.  We find ourselves immersed in elegant initiatives inspired by the day.  Guests saw things they didn’t know were possible and had little trouble relating what they learned to their own business objectives.

Next month we’ll be putting on Endless Possibilities 2.0.  It will take each of the topics introduced in the first session to a much deeper level.  Guests will see marketing communications automation at work.  We’ll be touching prospects with text messages, email, direct mail and voice recordings customized, on the fly, based on real time responses.  They’ll see Point of Purchase designed, structurally, rendered, decorated, printed and fabricated while they watch.  They’ll be challenged to identify subtle differences in finished products that are expensive and inexpensive to produce.  Finally, they’ll have the opportunity to see what’s possible with robotic laser cutting, stamping, embossing, coated papers, uncoated papers and exotic substrates.

We’re very excited about this series.  We’re grateful to our clients and friends that encouraged us to provide content like this and shared what they felt would be valuable…and we’re thrilled by how the effort has been supported by the market.

Our goal is simple.  We want to see creative take the gloves off and do whatever they can dream up.  The gap between what is possible and what can be imagined is smaller than it has ever been.  We’re excited to see the most creative people in the world experiment and challenge today’s fabulous set of tools.

Come join us October 14th.  The Varsity will be providing the food once again.  The event is a college tailgate theme so wear your school colors and plan to browse the “school tents” for ideas and fun.  Along the way you’ll have a chance to attend some really cool sessions designed to turn your imagination loose.

It’s gonna be great!