Do the little things to make a big impression — make sure everything you give or present to clients reflects the new branding. Don’t just stop at the storefront and the website. Make sure the new branding is shown on business cards, envelopes, invoices, packaging, labels, vehicle wraps, employee uniforms/apparel, menus, and any other items that are visible to clients.
As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Nick Titus, President, Minuteman Press International Franchise. Nick is the Third-Generation President of Minuteman Press, which supports nearly 1,000 printing and marketing franchises worldwide. Nick graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2007 with a degree in Business Communications and then joined the family-owned and operated Company that his father Bob Titus and grandfather Roy Titus started in 1973. Today, Minuteman Press International supports their franchise owners worldwide with everything from marketing and branding to software development and support. Individual Minuteman Press franchises help other businesses with brand makeovers on a daily basis. As President, Nick leads by example, developing and reinforcing branding initiatives for the Company and its franchisees.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Mydad and my grandfather started Minuteman Press in 1973 so I really grew up in the business. Since I was a child, I knew this is what I wanted to do. Learning the ins and outs of the printing industry from my grandfather and my dad as well as how they treated others really shaped who I wanted to be and who I am today. I love being able to carry those lessons and their core values with me as I move forward.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I can’t think of a particular example of a branding mistake, but I will say that when mistakes happen, the biggest thing you can do to move forward is own up to it and do your best to resolve the issue.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I was just promoted to President of Minuteman Press International and I am very excited for this opportunity. I have huge shoes to fill as my father Bob Titus has been president for 25 years (he is still the CEO) but I also feel energized and ready for this next chapter. One of my goals is for our company to continue to get the word out about all that Minuteman Press franchise owners provide to their customers. Everyone knows that we print, however our franchise owners also provide large format posters and banners, custom branded apparel, mailing services, promotional products, and most recently we have added integrated digital marketing solutions.
For 2020, I am putting a real focus on technology and training in addition to continued research and development. One of the things that really sets us apart is that we own our proprietary software called FLEX and are constantly making upgrades to it. With FLEX, our owners can manage their business and handle everything from pricing and workflow to marketing and customer dashboards. When our franchisees make suggestions and/or we identify needs in the market, we are able to review and seamlessly integrate those needs into our software, which makes it easier for our franchisees to provide products and services to their clients.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
Personally, I have been fortunate enough to have a very experienced team around me since I joined Minuteman Press International full-time in 2007. Many of the employees at our world headquarters in Long Island, NY have 20 years or more of experience, and we have some who have been with us for 40 years. The biggest lesson I have learned is that collaboration wins over individualism. I appreciate that I can work with anyone on my team and either lean on their own experiences or give them a chance to bring their ideas to the table. It doesn’t matter where the next good idea comes from because we are all in this together.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
I believe that I consistently do two things in order to prevent getting burnt out. The first is that I write down what we want to accomplish. What is the goal or the message that we want to get across? This helps me stay on track and not get pulled away in different directions; I always know what I’m working towards. The other is to reflect, to look back on the project and realize what you have accomplished. Many times, during a long project or even throughout the year, you will feel like you are running in place. If you take a few minutes just sit back and reflect on how far you have come it will help you realize what you are accomplishing and re-energize you until it’s complete.
Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
Branding shows the core elements of who you are, while product marketing or advertising is used to tell a new audience who you are and introduce them to what you do and how it can be a benefit to them. Before you advertise at all, you should make sure your branding is strong and consistent across the board. Whether it’s a storefront, lobby and display area, website, landing page, banner, or trade show display, your brand needs to be cohesive in every way. After all, your brand is a huge part of your identity and you should make sure everything from the colors and messaging is authentically you. Then, once your brand is set, your advertising should serve as both that introduction and reflection of your brand in a way that captures attention and sparks action into your products and/or services.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
Building your brand and making it an authentic reflection of who you are while also engaging with and educating others on how you can help them is huge for any business. You can do all the marketing and advertising you want, but that means nothing if you don’t follow it up with a high-quality product and outstanding customer service. Ask yourself, “What happens after the customer responds to my ad?” You must be prepared to satisfy that client every step of the way. The reason you need to make sure of this is because if you have a happy client, you can build on that positive experience through repeat business and new referrals. If the client responds to an ad and was then let down by your services, then that can lead to negative reviews and obviously no repeat business.
Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
Branding and rebranding are things that our Minuteman Press franchisees do for other businesses on a regular basis. There are many reasons why companies might want to change things up. One obvious reason would be a company name change and wanting to make sure the new name and possible new colors are reflected in the rebranding.
Another reason a company might want to rebrand is because they have simply evolved over time. We actually went through this ourselves as a company not so long ago. We changed our company tagline from “The First and Last Step in Printing” to “We Design, Print & Promote…YOU!” The biggest reason for this is we felt at the time that we’ve added so many products and services that go beyond just print on paper, and so we wanted to reflect everything we can do today for our clients such as custom designs, branded apparel, promotional products, full branding and rebranding campaigns, mailings, marketing services, and more.
Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
There are downsides to rebranding if you are simply doing it for no reason, or if your branding is iconic, authentic, and still working the way you want it to work. Google might make slight, incremental changes to their font from time to time, but they are such a universal brand that they don’t need to do anything drastic at this point.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.
1. Modernize their logo, but don’t lose who you are. This is especially important for companies undergoing name changes or significant changes in strategy. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts becoming Dunkin’.
2. Change their tagline/slogan. This is for companies who want to keep their logo and company name but have simply evolved over the years. I used our example earlier of how Minuteman Press changed our tagline to “We Design, Print & Promote…YOU!” to better reflect everything we can do today for our clients.
3. Upgrade your “home base” — meaning your storefront, signage, graphics, lobby/display area. Going back to the Dunkin’ example, since they changed their name and their logo, it would be imperative for them to also change everything else over to the new branding. Otherwise, the change gets diluted and the message gets lost.
4. Make sure the new branding looks great everywhere — in print, in person, and online. This is huge because it reinforces the changes and the overall rebranding. Again, cohesiveness is key in delivering the new branding to clients to have the best impact and avoid any confusion.
5. Do the little things to make a big impression — make sure everything you give or present to clients reflects the new branding. Don’t just stop at the storefront and the website. Make sure the new branding is shown on business cards, envelopes, invoices, packaging, labels, vehicle wraps, employee uniforms/apparel, menus, and any other items that are visible to clients.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
I’ll go back to the Dunkin’ example. They obviously have evolved beyond simply offering donuts, and so it made sense to take that next step and change their branding. It was impressive in how seamless the transition seemed, because they already had the tagline “America runs on Dunkin’” without the mention of the word donuts there. When they changed their logo and branding, it was pretty much already what many customers knew them as anyway. To replicate something like that, simply be smart about your rebranding and take logical steps that make sense. Don’t just do it for the sake of doing it, have purpose behind it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Don’t forget about customer service! In the world we live in today where so much of our everyday lives revolve around the internet, it is crucial to remember how important and influential human interaction can be. The internet has made doing many things in our lives easier but at the end of the day people do business with people who they know and trust. We can’t lose sight of that.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I don’t have a particular quote that comes to mind but I feel like the biggest life lesson is that it is important to be yourself. I truly feel that authenticity makes a real difference both in life and in business.
How can our readers follow you online?
I am on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-titus-3bbbb531. We are also very active on LinkedIn with our Company page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/minuteman-press-franchise.
Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.