brandenergy Insights for brand builders from

The Brand Energy blog is ALitho's take on marketing in a competitive world and how we can do it better together. Every couple of weeks, we'll send you sparks of inspiration on topics ranging from retail merchandising strategies to direct mail ROI to the newest developments in printing technology and their value in building your brand. Look for our thoughts on industry trends, lots of success stories and lessons learned that can help all of us think and work smarter.

9 reasons we’re thrilled to be #9 in direct mail rankings

american litho-Bell and Howell top 10

On March 21, Bell and Howell published the new DM200 – the first-ever ranking of companies like ours based exclusively on direct mail revenue. All of us here in Carol Stream sent up a gigantic cheer to see American Litho at #9 on the list of top-flight direct marketers across the U.S. Why are we… [Read More]

We’re adding serious talent to grow our sheet-fed and digital operations

American Litho Tony Ferruzza - new digital team

This week we caught up with Tony Ferruzza, new Senior VP of the Sheet-Fed and Digital Division at American Litho. Here, Tony reflects on where the print industry has been and where it’s going, and introduces the new team members (ABOVE, left to right – Mike Ferruzza, Tony Ferruzza, Eugene “Corky” Czech, Daniella Tucci, Chris… [Read More]

Digital Firepower for Direct Marketing Success

American Litho Ricoh C9100

The direct marketing landscape is an ever-evolving, dynamic business. The need for speed and precision in reaching the right customers with the right information at exactly the right time has never been more crucial for a brand’s survival.   In a recent interview with Ashley Roberts of PI World, American Litho President Mike Fontana reflects… [Read More]

VIDEO: Young designers discover the power of print

American Litho COD Tour November 2016 - 750 - 422

How do exciting design ideas turn into printed pieces that inspire and motivate people? What happens from the moment a graphic designer submits files right through to the moment the finished materials are ready to ship? You can answer those questions in the classroom, says College of DuPage Graphic Design Professor Dave Rogers – but the best… [Read More]

Gold Ink Award for Weber’s sizzling new cookbook

American Litho Weber Gold Ink Award Header

Earlier this year we had the privilege of producing the 212-page Summit Charcoal Grill Cookbook for Weber-Stephens Products Corporation, the maker of iconic Weber Grills. This was an exciting project from the get-go, and we knew it would demand the best from our entire crew. Ron Weeks, our National Accounts Director, started off by searching… [Read More]

Internet retailers: what’s your number?

Businessman touching on an upward arrow formed by numbers on touch screen interface representing business growth.

We’re thrilled to be on the scene today as the Internet Retailer Conference + Expo kicks off at Chicago’s McCormick Place West. While we put the finishing touches on Booth #1968, attendees are getting fired up in dozens of pre-conference workshops offered by industry experts. Wish we could join all of them, too – these… [Read More]

And the winners are…

GEA Awards Header

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the Graphics Excellence Awards celebration hosted by the Great Lakes Graphics Association (GLGA) at the Medinah Shrine Center in Addison, Illinois.   This is an event we look forward to all year long. It’s an honor to be nominated for a GLGA award and an even greater… [Read More]

VIDEO: How can we improve your next direct mail campaign?

Sam Dentino Digital Case Study

At American Litho (ALitho), we’re not afraid to take on a challenge. That’s the theme behind this digital case study with Sam Dentino, the latest in a series we will share with you this year. Sam walks us through the process of reworking a direct mail piece, coming up with creative, cost-effective ways to manufacture… [Read More]

VIDEO: Why all-in pricing makes sense for our direct mail clients

American Litho Total Cost Per Piece

Print costs alone won’t tell you the whole story when it comes to evaluating the total cost-efficiency of your direct mail campaign. That’s why American Litho now offers all-in cost estimates for brands that want to see the bigger picture. This approach takes into account every step involved in creating your mailing, from list cleansing… [Read More]

Perspectives on the USPS rate rollback

Taking Letter From Mailbox Outside House

Unless Congress or the courts intervene, a postal rate surcharge in place since January 2014 will be rolled back on Sunday, April 10, giving us the first rate decline in nearly a century. Sounds like great news for direct marketers, right? And in many ways it is. But what about the Postal Service’s claim that… [Read More]

VIDEO: How can we improve your next campaign?

Brian J_Partners-in-Print

Making promises is easy. Delivering takes a lot more work. That’s the theme behind this video case study with Brian Johnson, the first in a series we will share with you this year. Brian explains the process of diving deeper into the details of a catalog mailing, looking for every possible way to manufacture and… [Read More]

Don’t forget your mail carrier!

through-rain-sleet-snow

One of my favorite holiday shows is the Rankin/Bass TV special “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” I love the show’s narrator, Special Delivery Kluger, voiced by the unforgettable Fred Astaire.  S.D. is a friendly mailman whose delivery truck is actually a custom snowcat that carries him throughout the North Pole, sharing tales of Santa with the… [Read More]

VIDEO: Why run in circles? We’ve got you covered

animation-frame

A few months back I shared some thoughts on growth with you, explaining why American Litho has expanded at a time when so many others say the printing industry is shrinking. The reasons we’re growing are simple – and they have everything to do with your brand. In a multichannel world, print remains an indispensable… [Read More]

Boot camp for brand builders

brand-boot-camp_4

Ever heard of the 7 P’s that are part of the preparedness strategy used by the U.S. Marines? It’s all about being ready when the big challenges come your way. Success with any print-based marketing campaign depends on having a detailed map of where you’re headed and the best tools and strategies to help you… [Read More]

Your kind of town for direct mail ROI

skyline

Chicago is known for its dazzling skyline, delicious deep-dish pizza and world-class sports teams. But there’s another reason for our fame – one you might know about if direct mail is part of your brand’s success. Our city is a mailing powerhouse, with some 40% of all national campaigns launching within an hour of here…. [Read More]

How hard are ALL your marketing dollars working?

usps marketing impact calculator

Seeing the big picture across all channels of your marketing program is a constant challenge. That’s why we’re intrigued by a new analytical tool we recently previewed with our U.S. Postal Service representative here in Carol Stream. USPS’ new Marketing Impact Calculator, or MIC, is designed to help any business with $1 million or more… [Read More]

Adopting a 3D customer acquisition strategy

3D customer acquisition strategy

Do some elements of your brand-building plan belong in a museum? Probably not. But just think: marketers who are still relying heavily on conventional direct mail are following a strategy that showed up before the Civil War. Product coupons? First seen in 1886. TV spots? Prompting us to change channels for 74 years now. Even… [Read More]

Leveraging the Best Ideas from the National Postal Forum

NPF-convention_3

We came home from last month’s conference in Anaheim with fresh knowledge and ideas that we’re rapidly putting to work for you. Here’s how we’re working with Truman Pope and the American Litho postal logistics team to help you take advantage of the best opportunities. When he wasn’t immersed in courses leading to his new… [Read More]

Multichannel marketing: when you gotta have more cowbell

ALitho gives your marketing more cowbell

I know you’ve seen that classic Saturday Night Live skit with Christopher Walken as the crazed music producer who just KNOWS his band’s new recording will go platinum if Will Ferrell can give him more cowbell. Walken is a pretty versatile guy, having appeared in 100+ films and TV shows. He’s one of only 2… [Read More]

Mega-mergers, paper costs and your next print job

Paper Chase

If your head is spinning as you watch the ongoing parade of mergers in the paper industry, you’re not alone. We’ve been keeping a close eye on things as the marriage of Verso and NewPage hit the headlines — a deal so big it prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to order the sale of… [Read More]

Easing the stress of a new product launch

packaging-stands-out

Hey, we all know life can be tough. But if you’re the brand manager responsible for a new consumer product launch this year, you’re really in the hot seat. Packaged goods companies set the threshold for new product success at about $100 million in sales within the first 12 months. Yet only 2% of new… [Read More]

Web, sheet-fed or digital? What drives the decision now

What drives the presses

Clients often come to American Litho for advice on the best way to design and produce a given print project. How exactly do we figure that out? Whether we’re talking about a direct response campaign, a major sales promotion launch or the package for your new consumer product, determining the right press environment is often… [Read More]

Supply chain worries? 3 questions to ask yourself right now

Supply Chain Problems

If you can’t get the goods, you can’t build the box. It’s really that simple when it comes to understanding supply-chain issues in the packaging industry. But in recent weeks the game has gotten even more complicated, so it’s time for some perspective. During my 30+ years in the packaging and merchandising sector, I’ve had… [Read More]

What the hockey greats know about building your brand

Neil Jacobs and Glenn Chelius at United Center

The closest I’ve ever come to actually playing hockey is the occasional pick-up game with the neighborhood kids every winter. Still, thanks to my famous-sounding name, people often ask if I’m related to Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, the Blackhawks superstar who also helped Team USA win… [Read More]

The magic touch for direct mail results

Sensory-special-effects

Your prospects are looking for warmth, sparkle, and excitement — and ALitho is ready to help you deliver. The ideas we’ll share with you here are part of the trend toward multisensory marketing, which is proving its value in direct mail and many related fields. In working with clients all over the country, we’ve proven… [Read More]

An eye-opener in your mailbox

DripDrop

If you’re a direct marketing partner of American Litho, you’ve already seen our colorful mailer asking what’s keeping you up at night. We want to know if you’re worried about the same things we are: How to max out all possible postage discounts every time you mail How to reach prospects with the right offer… [Read More]

Bulldozing the envelope

ACS-Group-Pic-750x275

I consider myself a pretty level-headed guy. But when I heard the news about Stuart Scott on Monday morning, I’m not ashamed to say I started to cry. As I read about his life, his family and all he’d achieved in 22 years with ESPN, questions were running through my mind, probably the same ones… [Read More]

How do you define growth?

american litho building

I’ve been thinking about that question a lot as the year comes to a close. What does success look like – especially in a business that’s changed so much in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down? People say the printing business is shrinking. I hear this almost every day. But at ALitho,… [Read More]

Business is good, but we are changing

Alitho at PLMA

We just got back from the Private Label Manufacturers Association show held at the Rosemont Convention Center near Chicago, where we met with retailers, consumer products companies, design firms and co-manufacturers — all looking for the next big idea to catapult their companies to new levels of success. In talking with people who dropped by… [Read More]

Better mailers for bigger response rates

woman-shopping-with-coupons-in-marke_SM

We just mailed something really great to decision-makers at 50 major grocery chains, but we wanted to share it with you, too. If you’re a retailer in any sector and you’re currently using direct mail to boost sales and customer engagement, we think you’ll identify with the challenges in this story. We’re all looking for reduced cycle… [Read More]

Do you have a minute?

american litho building

Think how many times you hear this question in the course of a business day. Ever noticed how differently you respond, depending on who’s doing the asking? The people we make time for are trusted partners and friends. We know that a quick exchange will help us do our work better, avoid pitfalls or understand… [Read More]