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    « What IS Interesting... | Main | Time is Value »

    April 19, 2007

    What do Blueprinters and Nurses Have in Common?

    Many in the industry are acutely aware of the market perception problem that reprographers have.  Few know what a reprographer is.  People in the construction industry refer to reprographers as “blueprinter” or more commonly “printers”.

    We are not the only industry with a brand problem.  I sat next to an accomplished gentleman on a plane yesterday.  He was a “nurse”.  His career started in the army where he was a medic.  He was jumping out of airplanes and providing medical support in the field.   After his career in the army he had two choices; become a doctor, or a nurse.  He chose to be a nurse.

    This gentleman was giving me interesting statistics about nurses.  What they actually do for patients as compared to doctors.  Their increasing salaries.  The shortages of nurses.  It sounded like a great opportunity, but they are having a hard time attracting males to the industry.

    I wet out on a limb and asked him if he had ever seen the movie “Meet the Parents” with Ben Stiller.  He smiled and said “Yes.  I knew the woman who wrote the screenplay."  He told me some of the stories and punch lines in the movie were his stories.  He did admit he never milked cats.  He said it took his father ten years to be able to tell others his son was a nurse.

    This gentleman is involved in several industry associations and is working on their branding.  He admitted that as long as society's perception is that you need to wear a white cap and skirt to be a nurse they are going to have a hard time attracting men to the profession.  I suggested his previous title “medic”.  It creates totally different perception.

    There are similarities in our industry.  Brands are shortcuts to perceptions.  What do you think of when someone says nurse?  What do your customers think of when someone says “printer”?


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    This certainly resonates with our company. Every now and then I'll take a phone call from someone who wants to know whether we run offset or digital presses. I tell them that we run only digital presses but that, particularly in the last year or so, the gap in quality between the two is disappearing, and most the time you can't tell the difference in what we put out. But some people have the idea that if something's digital it MUST be lower quality -- "How else could they keep their prices at a fraction of other companies?"

    I wonder how many of these people had a bad experience at some Kinko's or Staples and immediately wrote off digital printing as a waste of money. Ironically our products are much higher quality than either of those two companies, yet our prices are substantially lower... but I digress.

    Yes, many digital printers must deal with the "nurse" problem. But like in the medical profession with nurses and doctors, those who have any idea how the industry really works will give equal respect to both off-set and digital printers (doctors and nurses) while realizing and embracing the differences between the two.

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