Last week, I opened up a 6-pack of eggs for my oatmeal cookie recipe, and out fell a small, printed insert.
I glanced at it briefly as I reached for an egg. That’s when the words, “Introducing Bob Bernard of Templeton Offset Printing,” jumped off the page at me.
What? Was I hallucinating? Suffering from too-much-print-on-the-brain? I instinctively stopped and read the little newsletter, called “The Country Hen Farm News,” all 4 ½ x 5 ¾ ” of it. I’m naturally drawn to little things (like my mini-poodle and MiniCooper), and this pee-wee publication spoke to me. Actually, it shouted.
The focus of that insert was an offset printer named Bob Bernard, whose company is Templeton Offset Printing in western Massachusetts. The headline was priceless: THE PRINCE OF PRINTS. It conveys how the customer, The Country Hen, feels about its printer.
Why is this newsworthy? Three reasons:
- A solid customer-printer relationship is a partnership that is real and is treasured. The fact that this egg business would feature its printer in the newsletter speaks to the high value they place on working with Bob Bernard. I can’t recall having seen this before.
- Any business can benefit from a customer newsletter. If you provide information on a regular basis that gives value to your customers, you are providing them a great service. You can be an egg farmer, a doctor, a daycare center, a personal trainer, a printer – you name it. The value’s there.
- There are interesting print applications just waiting to be discovered. Would you have associated an egg farm with an informational insert? Me, neither. It works. Clever, creative, personal and quirky. Just my style. Back in May I wrote about printed napkin rings from a French bistro in NYC. Loved them, too.
So I called Bob Bernard of Templeton Offset. He has been printing these inserts for The Country Hen (TCH) since 1991 and delivers them himself. TCH is his primary account, and he’s as loyal to them as they are to him. (Note to other printers: don’t you dare try to come between this printer and his client. They’re a team.)
Bob started out learning letterpress in high school, and after his US Air Force discharge, he felt that graphic arts was where he should be. The first run of The Country Hen’s inserts was for 25,000 copies. Today? He prints more than 10 times that amount regularly throughout the year. They’re printed in one color and are folded offline. The Country Hen has packaging equipment that inserts a copy into every 6-pack once the eggs are in.
These newsletters are plain and simple. They’re printed in red, blue or green soy-based ink, because everything about these eggs is organic, and customers have asked about the ingredients in the ink. They’re printed on 50# 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
The Egg Farmer
The Country Hen in Hubbardston, MA, has a wonderful web site as well as a Facebook page, new Twitter account, and a blog. (I love the blogs I’ve read. There’s one called, “Ode to the Omelette.”)
I spoke with Mary Jane Bell, who answers the phone and, among other things, is responsible for coming up with content for the insert.
The printed piece was the brainchild of the company’s founder, George Bass. Back around 1989, he decided that it was important for customers to connect with their business and to know where their eggs were coming from. The insert was born.
Mary Jane told me that for every 10 inquiries they get, 1 or 2 are about the insert and how much customers love it. As a blogger, I know how hard it can be to come up with new content. One time, Mr. Bass decided a newsletter issue would be about a recipe contest. People submitted their egg recipes. There was a cook-off, and judges awarded prizes to the top 3 winners. How’s that for clever content?
As Mary Jane puts it, they’re a two-way bridge between TCH and their customers.
Bottom line? It may take the vision of a company owner to create a unique customer newsletter, but a winning recipe means it’s something people look forward to. A team is needed to keep it going through the years. In this case, the team includes a printer, Bob Bernard. His customer recognizes his contribution to their business.
Don’t you want to be your customers’ “Prince of Prints”? Look for new ways in which print can make a difference. It could be something big and dramatic, or something petite and unexpected – like the egg farmer’s insert.
(c) 2015 Margie Dana