Artwork is the center of the promotional products universe. Our customers’ brand marks are their calling card to the world – their most valuable asset. When they order from you, you effectively become their brand steward.
When artwork mistakes are made or inconsistent design services are delivered – it impacts your business.
You need to ensure that each client’s brand is applied and delivered to the highest standards with a consistent customer experience.
It all comes down to process
Like any essential service, artwork services need to adhere to rigorous, straightforward and consistent processes. Sloppy or bad graphics are simply the result of inefficient approval and production approaches.
To begin to address this, you first need to look at your entire art proofing and design process and ask yourself the following questions:
Who owns the artwork process? Only one person should drive the design process for each order. Typically sales reps know the client best. It is also their reputation that suffers from any mistakes, so it stands to reason that they should drive artwork and design activities. Sales reps know what their client wants and expects – so it is important that they communicate this directly to the graphics professional and provide the required oversight.
How many steps does your typical artwork process include? The more steps – the more margin for error. Look for ways to reduce steps and overlaps.
How many people are involved in the process? This can include sales, CSRs, designers and suppliers. Keep it simple – don’t clutter the process with lots of people. Again, this increases your margin for error.
How consistent is the process and the customer experience? Consistency ensures comfort. From a client perspective, a simple and familiar approach builds trust. Make sure the customer experience is reliable and repeatable.
How integrated is the process? Understanding that distributors have CRM and other business automation systems in play – integrating artwork approval processes within existing IT systems is key to ensuring efficient processes.
How experienced is your creative resource(s)? Whether you use in-house or outsourced design expertise, it’s important that they can design effectively for the very exacting requirements of the promotional products environment.
Once you’ve examined these issues, you can begin the process of mapping out a standardized and consistent approach that will work for your team and business.
5 Reasons WHY it makes sense to optimize the artwork process:
You will stand out from your competitors Branding is much more than simply applying a logo onto a promotional item. There are unique and creative ways to enhance the graphics and brand presentation to take this to a whole new level. Seek to add value to the graphics process - to add flair that will delight your clients. Doing so will make graphics a valuable competitive edge for you and your sales reps.
You will build trust and a consistent customer experience When you consistently deliver high quality branded products on time and to consistently excellent standards, you build a trust-based relationship. Your clients will then trust you with their brand to deliver high quality outcomes on time, every time.
You will set the bar for excellence By differentiating yourself with consistent graphics excellence, you will define artwork standards that set you apart from your competition – both in terms of your clients and your suppliers.
You will reduce risk for your clients Consistent customer satisfaction is key to your business success. One mistake can derail a carefully nurtured relationship. A focused artwork process eliminates multiple steps and people in the graphics process ensuring rigorous design and review steps are adhered to.
You will reduce the learning curve for new hires A consistent artwork process makes the entire artwork approval process easier and faster. Every step is tracked and accounted for. This makes it simple for new staff to learn and implement.
Take a moment to review your artwork process. If there’s room for improvement, take the steps to develop an optimized process.
It could make a big difference.