You use an online portal for your brand material ordering to simplify and unify. But how can you ensure your portal is really helping you save time and money while at the same time, keeping an eye out for brand consistency? Here are some tips:

Lock in your brand specifications.

Set your online portal up to lock in your brand’s font, size, color, etc. so that your brand stays consistent. The more individuals with access to the portal, the more important this becomes. Small mistakes in your organization’s brand identity exaggerate over time, eventually diluting your brand equity.

Track your inventory.

Your online portal can hold virtually anything that can be printed. Expand your horizons beyond just letterhead, business cards, and envelopes. Add all of your marketing materials, from brochures to pitchbook and proposal covers. Set up your system to automatically track inventory, providing alerts when supplies are getting low.

Keep your orders flowing.

Try to order at minimum two to three times a month. People that order less frequently often forget all the ins and outs of how the order system works. While you’re there, check and see if there are any other materials you can add to the site? What about your brand brochures? Slip sheets?  Pocket folders? The more you put into your system, the easier they are to manage and the more cost efficient the process of ordering becomes.

Make sure you approve a proof.

Check the font, colors, and inspect carefully for typos. Your system should be set automatically to your brand requirements. But when you need something that falls outside the ‘standard,’ make sure you work with your vendor to accommodate this need at the outset. And, make sure you know what your window is for making a change to what you’ve submitted. In most cases, it’s 24 hours.

Add controls where you need them.

Do you want just one person to place all the orders? Or will there be multiple people per location/department? Do you want single or multi-level approvals? Do you want your system set up based on user, item, dollar value or other options? How will payment be made for the order? When your system is first set up, your vendor should review all of these decisions with you and configure these options into the system.

Online ordering can provide real benefits for both large and small organizations. It greatly reduces the emails, phone calls, back and forth that normally goes into ordering brand materials. It allows for real-time proofing. And gives you the luxury of managing your projects on your own time, at your own pace.

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Precise Continental
In June 1996 Sheila Donnelly scheduled a two-week visit to her father’s company, Precise Continental, to explore career options in the graphics industry. On the 2nd day the prepress department manager quit. Flash forward 20 years. Today Sheila oversees operations at Precise. Follow Sheila on Twitter @PreciseContinen.

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