SQUELCHEDSo maybe I’ve crossed the line. I never intended this blog to belittle or to  be demeaning and certainly not to frighten off a customer who might consider coming into our printshop. The phone call I received from the franchise just a little over a week ago led me to believe that I may have done all three. It was from the new marketing director, a person I had never encountered before. She began by asking questions about the blog . . . what was it’s purpose?

I explained that it was mostly for fun, partially therapy, and that I occasionally write about something that is substantively related to printing.  The marketing director didn’t beat around the bush, but explained that the franchise was concerned with a negative tone toward customers and about the adverse impact it might have on their brand. She also stated that the franchise would do whatever was necessary to protect their brand. I understood that part clearly.

We didn’t argue. I did ask if she had read the blog and didn’t receive an answer that indicated she was very familiar with it. Mostly I listened and ultimately concluded that the best way to make sure that the franchise was not threatened was simply not to ever mention them in my blog again. This is admittedly problematic, since our printshop is usually recognized by the franchise moniker (begins with A, 2 syllables, second syllable is “graphics”), but I guess I’ll have to live with it.

Mind you, it did occur to me that marketing directors were supposed to be about marketing their business, not squelching such efforts. It also occurred to me (and I even mentioned this to the nice lady) that whatever recognition the brand name has in Middle Georgia is largely due to the efforts of my company.  That’s probably all irrelevant, though.  Besides,  the franchise has never really been very good at marketing.  Operations, yes . . . marketing, no.

So, I have a quandary and a conundrum. How can I continue to blog about my printshop without mentioning the name? I guess it will just have to be a game.  While I won’t mentioned the name A_____G______s any more, many of you will know where I work. Poor Richard might also mention the printshop behind the red awnings on Poplar Street. Or perhaps we’ll take a lead from the artist formerly known as Prince and just use some mysterious glyphs, like this, Ω&♣ζ±. Or maybe we’ll take a cue from Scooby Doo and call it GralphaRaphics.

I hope that many of you will continue to frequent Ω&♣ζ± and visit us at the place with a more recognizable name on the red awnings. To anyone who has been offended, I do offer my sincere apologies; and also the consolation that it probably wasn’t you that you thought you were reading about.  To my good customers, I offer continued thanks and the promise that we really, really do appreciate the business you do with us.

Finally, Poor Richard recommends a strong dose of humor to all of those who occasionally read these paragraphs. I really hope that you don’t take it all too seriously . . . I surely don’t.

Signing off from the printshop next to Grant’s Lounge in lovely downtown Macon!

–Poor Richard


One Response to Squelched

  1. Chris Hood says:

    This is unfortunate.

    Marketing should do everything to embrace the efforts of their Team. I’ve never run across anything on your blog that I could intemperate as being negative to AG or your customers. If anything, reading your blog would certainly do wonders to educate the print-buying public on how to work with a professional print shop and save few bucks in design time and setup costs. How this tome of print knowledge could be perceived as anything else is beyond perplexing.

    It’s amazing that corporate is not able to see that. It’s also a bit angering that you would get a call like this before anyone had apparently taken the time to read your work. How many other people within the team umbrella work beyond the nine to five to help their customers build better relationship with their team?

    While “protecting the brand” is certainly an important part of marketing, accusing a member of your team that he may be doing the opposite without having the resources to back the claim can have far worse effects.

    It’s impossible to build the desired company image or brand by stifling the efforts of the company’s team. Brands are built from the inside out, not the top down.

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