Repositioning Lessons from TGI
written by Barb Pellow for WhatTheyThink Publication
Philadelphia-based TGI has become a national leader in print and cross-media communications. Founded in 1978 as a typesetter, the company has evolved into an organization that provides superior marketing support services to the Philadelphia region. In 1994, TGI became an early adopter of digital printing with investments in a direct imaging Heidelberg press, HP Indigo Digital Presses, large format devices, and Web-to-print solutions….
Full article as published in 3-14-2012 edition of Title: TGI: Positioning and Rebranding for Cross-Media Success
Abstract: Print service providers can effectively position or re-position themselves for differentiation in today’s market. They can make their businesses stand out and effectively reach their target markets. This article explores how Philadelphia-based TGI has become a national leader in print and cross-media communications.
- To successfully position its firm and its products, a company must think beyond the product or service and consider the types of people that it hopes to reach.
- A good market positioning statement tells customers and prospects what makes you unique and clearly outlines the benefits of your products and services.
- If your company is operating the same way today as it did when it was first started, then you are stagnant and probably losing business.
- When used effectively, repositioning your brand can help you remain at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
Many factors are causing companies of all sizes to rethink their brand positioning. Changing customer needs, competitive pressures created by new entrants and product innovations, and the proliferation of new channels and promotional campaigns are sending marketers back to the drawing board. Market positioning is the manipulation of a company to create the right perception in the eyes of its target market. If a company’s products and services are well-positioned, they get the right level of attention. This leads to better sales and may enable the company to become the “go to” brand for people who are seeking a particular product or service. Meanwhile, poor positioning can lead to less-than-optimal sales and a dubious reputation.
To successfully position its firm and its products, a company must think beyond the product or service and consider the types of people that it hopes to reach. If you are selling luxury cars, for example, there will be less of a focus on reliability and a greater focus on excitement and enjoyment. If you are a deodorant manufacturer selling to the lower income market, your messaging should position your product as something that contains the same active ingredients at a much lower price.
It’s All about Positioning and Building Your Brand!
Once the hard decisions have been made about products and services, positioning and communicating the essence of your brand is how you differentiate your offerings from others in the minds of your prospects. It’s not your perception that matters—it is the prospect’s perception. A good market positioning statement tells customers and prospects what makes you unique and clearly outlines the benefits of your products and services.
Positioning is important because you are competing for attention amidst all of the noise out there. If you can find a way to stand out with a unique benefit, you have a chance of attracting the attention of prospects. Positioning is a fight for the customer’s mind. When consumers are purchasing products or services related to your portfolio, you want to be the first organization that they think about.
Repositioning Lessons from TGI
How can print service providers effectively position or re-position themselves for differentiation in today’s market? What can you do to make your business stand out and effectively reach your target market?
Philadelphia-based TGI has become a national leader in print and cross-media communications. Founded in 1978 as a typesetter, the company has evolved into an organization that provides superior marketing support services to the Philadelphia region. In 1994, TGI became an early adopter of digital printing with investments in a direct imaging Heidelberg press, HP Indigo Digital Presses, large format devices, and Web-to-print solutions. The firm recognized that long-term success would be linked to the effective delivery of cross-media solutions. In 2008, TGI dedicated its best print salesman to selling cross-media, Web-to-print, and solutions. It changed its name from Today’s Graphics to the TGI Communications Group and began aggressively training all reps for solutions-based selling. The company continued to invest in digital print technologies; it now has an HP Indigo 7000, two 5500s, and a 5000. TGI leverages a number of different software tools, including Mindfire, Pageflex, and InterlinkOne based on marketing campaign requirements.
If your company is operating the same way today as it did when it was first started, then you are stagnant and probably losing business. Change is very important. TGI President Jack Glacken realized that given the changes in the market and his business model, it was time rebrand/reposition the organization to depict a marketing image that would resonate with its target markets. The goal of the effort was to communicate that TGI has the expertise and operations to deliver the broadest range of marketing solutions to its clients… fast. TGI followed a methodical process to rebrand its business both in the eyes of employees and customers. This process included five steps.
1. Accept the Need to Change Your Image
Re-positioning means shifting your thinking and being ready, willing, and able to alter your image. TGI had adjusted its thinking and business model and needed to change the perception of its business internally and externally. Glacken notes, “We were no longer just ink on paper and we needed to communicate that we had become an innovative marketing solutions provider. We were challenged with communicating our story.” To address the problem, TGI hired Michelle Price, a brand specialist who owns and operates Tag Communications, formerly Price Communications. Michelle and her staff worked with the team to truly understand what the brand meant. A company’s brand includes the following components:
- Your claim of distinction
- The promises you make to your customer (You can’t pretend to be something you’re not)
- The tactical execution of your brand, including your tagline, logo, and visuals
- Positioning that makes sense to your customers and is aligned with your business strategy
2. Understand What Customers and Employees Think
Michelle started the process by talking to people. You need to ask your customers, employees, business partners, and industry experts for their opinions about your company, including its products, services, and brand. Find out what they like and don’t like. Is it easy or difficult to do business with your company? What value do you deliver to them? Do you have good price value? How are you differentiated from other suppliers? How do they feel about your competitors?
3. Make Sure that Messaging Resonates with the Target Customer Base
Part of revamping the TGI business model and brand involved targeting the brand to appeal to a different set of customers. The company needed to ensure that it would resonate with marketers and a tech-savvy audience. It created a new high-tech logo illustrating that marketers could find innovation “only @ TGI.”
Figure 1: TGI’s Rebranded Messaging
TGI’s recreated Website conveys the message that the company has become a partner that can provide a broad array of solutions to help marketers optimize business opportunities. One of the key features is a series of cross-media case histories where customers help TGI tell its story. These case histories review the customer’s challenge, the strategy TGI helped deploy, and the actual business results. There is an up-to-date blog, an array of valuable marketing resources and information, and links to social media.
Figure 2: Screen Shot of TGI’s Website
4. Create an Action Plan and Communicate Effectively
According to Glacken, “We learned that our brand needs to be something that we live every day. We needed to get everyone in the organization on board first.” The action plan included a comprehensive employee communications program as well as an external customer rollout.
The employee rollout included a company-wide luncheon where TGI unveiled its new logo, brochures, pocket folders, and signage. Employees were given polo shirts, tee shirts, and brand essence statement cards.
TGI combined this with an aggressive customer communication program. On March 17, 2011, the company held a Saint Pat’s Symposium that included multiple educational sessions. In addition, it launched a direct mail campaign that included image personalization and personalized URLs linked to a landing site showing videos of the Saint Pat’s Symposium and an offer for DVDs of any of the sessions.
Figure 3: TGI’s Direct Mail Campaign
Communication needs to be an ongoing process. This past holiday season, TGI created a Christmas card campaign that sent holiday greetings using image personalization. It directed recipients to a marketing portal where they could order a personalized calendar or Christmas ornament that TGI created on its flatbed press.
5. Assess the Impact
The benefits of TGI’s campaign have been tremendous. Glacken elaborated, “In the end, rebranding needs to have a positive business impact. Our rebranding brought focus to our salespeople and our company. Our profits are up since March of last year. Our first quarter, which started in November of 2011, was the best in our 35-year history. We are in a position to sell cross-media communications at a higher level. We actually just picked up an account on a monthly retainer. It was time for us to reconsider ourselves, think about how our customers were perceiving us, and then do something about it.”
Market Positioning… It’s Who You Are in The Minds of Your Customers!
Your market position is the place you occupy in the minds of your prospective clients. It’s how customers think of you in relation to your competitors. Adjectives like “established,” “cutting-edge,” “high-quality,” “inexpensive,” “convenient,” or “full-service” are all relative. When they are applied to you and your business, however, these terms can help distinguish you from the competition.
Faced with increased competition, ever-changing market demands, and rapidly disappearing profits, companies of all sizes are working to position (and in many cases re-position) their businesses to improve operational and financial performance. The hard work comes in evaluating your portfolio and ensuring that it meets the needs of your respective customers. Once that is done, you need to find a way to effectively communicate.
If your products and services are properly positioned and your communications are concise, prospective purchasers should immediately recognize your unique benefits. They will then be better able to assess these benefits in relation to competitors’ offerings. Identify your strengths and use them to position your business. When used effectively, repositioning your brand can help you remain at the forefront of consumers’ minds… and this is where you want to be!
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