A brand identity is one of the most important aspects of a business. It creates a visual representation of the company’s values and personality, setting the tone for the audience while also differentiating it from the competition.
Something as simple as a website can tell a story about a business and its connection with customers. AlphaGraphics, a leading franchisor of printing and marketing solutions, recently used a brand refresh to showcase its own story, evolution, and continued growth.
Here to discuss the brand refresh and the decision to implement it is Ryan Farris, COO and president of AlphaGraphics.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What went into the decision to implement the brand refresh for AlphaGraphics?
Ryan Farris (RF): Our focus was making sure we could continue to present all the offerings that we bring to our customers at AlphaGraphics. The first key element was being able to accurately display the value that we provide our customers. The brand refresh was also an opportunity for us to establish that value while also enhancing the AlphaGraphics brand.
There were two components to the brand refresh. The first was emphasizing our ability to offer solutions in addition to products. We wanted to bring the solutions forward to better help our customers understand that we can provide an answer for their marketing challenges.
The second part was continuing to build brand equity, which means we really needed to reinforce our color scheme and design. The brand refresh allowed us to make sure the colors and logo were dominant everywhere to help with brand recognition.
FC: What would you consider to be the biggest difference between the old branding and the refreshed branding?
RF: For the brand refresh, we placed more focus on the needs of the customer vs. the product. Sometimes as a business, we get focused on what we do instead of what our services can do for the customer. The refresh was a chance to emphasize the great qualities of AlphaGraphics and our extensive history but put it back in the lens of our customers. We wanted to convey that we are locally owned and operated businesses that provide marketing and solutions for other locally owned and operated businesses.
FC: How has the brand refresh helped AlphaGraphics promote themselves as a marketing partner?
RF: It made us realize that we were not utilizing our website to its full potential. The brand refresh included adding a whole new section on the AlphaGraphics website for solutions, where we could convey that we offer a marketing solution that can help multiple businesses. It gave us an opportunity to talk more about the value we can provide local businesses.
The addition to the website was transformational. When you think beyond the visuals and begin thinking about where you display and push content, that opens up a much better channel for displaying value. It gave us the opportunity to make marketing more of an emphasis for the AlphaGraphics brand.
FC: With AlphaGraphics recently celebrating 50 years, what are some of its recent successes? Utilizing the brand refresh, what are some of the services you will continue to build on moving forward?
RF: We’ve been doing this a long time, but we are not offering the same things we were offering 50 years ago. We aren’t offering the same services we were even 10 or 15 years ago. The company continues to evolve, and that is done proactively because we listen to our customers and owners, and we adapt to the needs of the local market. The service is always focused on helping our customers be able to communicate their value.
Two areas popped out last year that we are going to continue building on. One of those is making it easier to order online. Normally, interactions with our customers happen face-to-face. We like to show our customers samples of assets and provide options on how to deliver their product to their target market. With COVID, we couldn’t do that anymore. Immediately, we needed to develop an online option that was fast and easy.
Customers were trying to solve problems in a day. They needed to let people know they were open for business, otherwise they were missing out on thousands of dollars in lost revenue. We pivoted quickly to make our online ordering available while providing customers the same quality they would find with an in-person experience. Customers were able to then pick up their product immediately or have it delivered. The online store really helped us grow in a niche that was seeing difficulties at the time. We are making additional investments so we can continue building onto our online store.
The second part was the need for transformational interior and exterior communication. The demand for exterior signs really exploded during the pandemic. The products ranged from a simple yard sign supporting a school to redesigning the graphics on a retail business. Now we are producing takeout signs that sit outside buildings. We really saw an explosion in our business category because of the need. We don’t see that need going away. We see a great opportunity to build on that.
The last piece we are seeing traction in is digital marketing. Businesses need to be easily found and represented online. Our ability to help customers set up their website, implement better SEO strategies and better understand pay-per-click is becoming a big business for us. It’s always been an area we were working in, but it really exploded during COVID.
Now we are investing in some phenomenal tools that enable our customers to be more self-reliant. Showcasing our ability to be the 360-degree providers of all things marketing has been a tremendous lift.
President and COO Ryan Farris has spent over 20 years in print, marketing and marketing technology. Ryan has been a leader in public companies, private companies and several of his own companies, including one in the print and fulfillment space. Ryan grew up in Texas and currently resides in Colorado with his wife of 20 years and his three children. For more information, visit www.alphagraphics.com.