Last week at the National Postal Forum I was able to join a group of some of our best clients for a dinner at Alexander’s Steakhouse. It was a wonderful meal with excellent wine, and Alexander’s surprised us by serving green cotton candy in honor of St. Patrick’s Day at the end of the meal.
My only complaint about the evening—and about my stay in San Francisco in general—is that it was nearly impossible for me to find a cab. Surely a large tourist-filled city like San Francisco should have enough cabs to accommodate individuals who do not have their own transportation, right? It took me a while but eventually I realized why I was having so much trouble. The cabs weren’t yellow. There were plenty of cabs, but I simply wasn’t seeing them.
The streets in San Francisco are not as long and straight as the New York City streets I am accustomed to navigating, so there was a very small window of time in which to identify and flag down a cab before it was past me. And since these cabs weren’t yellow—they were white, green, blue or sometimes even tan—I simply did not realize they were cabs until I was able to read the logos and advertisements boldly printed on their sides. By then, of course, each cab would already be past me. To make matters worse, these cabs were all manner of vehicles. I was not only unable to identify them by color, but the shapes were all wrong too. If I lived in San Francisco I would probably get used to this and it would once again become easy for me to find a cab. But if I lived in San Francisco surely I would not have the same need for a cab. A large percentage of cab riders must surely be individuals from out of town.
My experience in San Francisco made me wonder if it is always a good thing to stand out in the crowd. Does standing out sometimes turn you into something that people don’t recognize for its intended purpose? Do the rare San Francisco cabs that are actually yellow get more business than the multi-color cabs that require a lot more effort to design?
The Future of Print
My opinion is there are some things that need to conform to a particular standard in order to be most effective. I believe that transactional statements fall into this category. A transactional statement should have a certain look and feel in order to not be mistaken as something else.
This is why Pitney Bowes spent the time and research needed to develop a wrapping solution that can create a business envelope with the look and feel that people expect. And, that is why our IntelliJet® Printing System can cost effectively produce high quality personalized communications with precise, company color standards that meet brand expectations. While we believe that each mail-piece created by our IntelliJet® printer and assembled in-line with the Mailstream Wrapper™ Productivity System is a work of art, our customers and clients will see it as much more. They will see it as an important, accurate, easy to read communication from a trusted provider with colorful charts and graphs that make it simple to understand their account information, relevant offers and helpful information on ways to save money or stay safe and healthy, and of course, a clear call to action. Our customers see it as a way to strengthen their brand and grow revenue. We see it as a brilliant communication. All of the cost savings and efficiencies that the Mailstream Wrapper and IntelliJet Printing System create can be our little secret.
But, what do you think? In print as in life, is it always a good thing to stand out in the crowd?