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Virtual Marketing Assistant

The value of Virtual Marketing Assistant

By Blog

Today, many customers find that there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to handle all the demands of their busy departments. With marketer’s jobs expanding to cover all forms of media, creative design, marketing strategy, product development, analytics and more, deciding how to allocate scarce resources often results in a compromise. That’s where your Virtual Marketing Assistant comes 
in.

Virtual Marketing Assistant is a one-click portal access to all marketing things.

One of the many benefits of VMA is handling simple marketing tasks that will pull those lost hours back in your pocket while taking over simple marketing tasks, with the VMA you can:

Micromarketing Campaigns
Local Event and Outreach
Centralized Ordering

Personalized Staff Announcements

Brand Office Supply and Control

Premiums and Incentives

  • Access pre-created micro-marketing campaigns
  • Implement local event marketing
  • Design and print promotional materials
  • Manage premiums and incentives
  • Curate corporate brand assets
  • Develop turnkey programs for outside 
development teams
  • Provide reports of your activity for project recaps and budgets
  • The VMA allows you to conduct all your tasks and communication in one place…right from your desktop!
    To learn more or set up a 10-minute demo contact your account representative or check out Westamerica Communications Virtual Marketing Assistant.

    Here’s a link below to save time and money in marketing.
    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281089

    Social Distance Marketing Sign

    Social Distancing in Your Marketing Strategy

    By Blog

    Social Distance Marketing SignAmericans have never had the same feelings about personal space as other cultures. Italians and many Europeans believe if you don’t provide a kiss on the cheek in your greeting it’s an offense. Now all around the world, there’s social distancing.

    We are huggers though. The hugs vary by generation for sure and differ when addressing the same sex. Younger men have made the “shake and chest pump side hug” popular when greeting each other. Women seem to prefer the “gentle loose hug and pat the back” method.

    No matter the intensity of the greeting, all bets are off after COVID-19 and the new norm of social distancing.

    The new normal after COVID-19

    Our current behaviors will be changed following this current episode. We just don’t know exactly how, and for how long.

    No matter how we are used to greeting each other, that method will now likely be changed forever. Likewise, we are seeing that waiting in line has been changed to accommodate social distancing. Be prepared for longer lines with 6-foot gaps between people.

    How do we manage this new normal within the marketing environment? What are the new rules that marketers will need to follow? In communication? In merchandising? At events?

    Things to consider while creating new rules

    Social Distancing Floor DecalWe will have to create new rules for social distancing. But how do we create new business rules limiting behavior while also keeping the user experience positive?

    In today’s day and age, how do we let the consumer define the experience?

    What is appropriate for some may be inappropriate for others. Everybody wants to personalize their experience. Is that doable?

    Sneeze guards or masks for face to face meetings?

    Think about face to face meetings and social distancing. How about the server at the McDonald’s counter? Can you really stay 6 feet away from your real estate agent or financial adviser?

    Will your server at the restaurant need to wear a mask and gloves when delivering food? Will you need to wear gloves and a mask when going to a meeting? Possibly.

    Some retailers have already started installing “sneeze guards” at checkout to keep their staff safe from customer infection. Back in the 1980s the health departments mandated the salad bar restaurants install sneeze guards. The guards are still in place. Will we create mobile personal sneeze guards that can be set up for a meeting? Someone will be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the meeting sneeze guards after each meeting. They may become the norm.

    Will every business need to maintain a supply of face masks in case a customer demands one? Probably. I can see a branded face mask available just like we have logoed coffee cups, pens and notepads.

    Crowd control for the retail and event experience

    Some companies (like Westamerica) are already producing vinyl floor graphics that help to direct traffic and create some “rules of the road” for those shopping or waiting in line.

    These graphics can be highly customized and even light-hearted, but they all are focused on the goal of creating order amid the new consumer expectations of social distancing.

    There are a lot of new behaviors that will be instituted during and after this COVID-19 episode. The alert marketer will keep a keen eye on the consumer sentiment, changing consumer behaviors and an awareness of the tools, technologies and techniques to keep the process flowing effectively.

    Keep your eyes on this…but remember your “social distancing”.

    Wide Format Printing

    What Are Large Format Printing & Display Graphics?

    By Blog

    Large-format printing offers you many new ways to promote your brand to consumers. Through display graphics, pop-up, and trade show booth graphics, you can use wide-format printing to cut through the clutter and communicate your brand promise.

    In a super-size manner, let’s take a closer look at what large-format printing is and the display graphic solutions you can produce with this technology.

    Wide Format PrintingWhat is Large-Format Printer Technology?

    One large-format printer in the UK describes large format printing as the printing of large graphics onto large rolls of paper or other materials. We agree and would add that marketing with large-format printed projects captures your audience’s attention in today’s crowded marketing landscape.

    Graphics Arts magazine has a few ways to define the technology. The category of printer type ranges from a roll-fed or roll-to-roll printer to a flatbed printer. Per the magazine, large-format or wide-format printers refer to those that can print on materials 24” to 120,” and “grand-format” printers go from 120” and wider. The size of the printer used depends on the project it needs to print.

    The large-format printer technology is digital, which means it has a computer-based interface. Software and tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based computing, have enhanced both the accessibility and productivity of the technology. The technology is also evolving quickly. As a result, the use of wide-format display graphics has increased in the past few years.

    What Kind of Projects can be produced by Large-Format Printing companies like Westamerica

    The is a wide range of projects for branding and advertising that large-format printers can accommodate. Generally, display graphics will be viewed by large numbers of people from a distance, like trade show booth graphics or outdoor advertising and vehicle wraps. From construction blueprints to trade show booth graphics to customer wallpaper, we can printers produce many different types of printed projects on a variety of materials.

    Typical projects for Large-Format Printing & Display Graphics include:

    • Posters & Banners
    • Foamcore Signs
    • Die-Cut Graphics
    • Trade Show Graphics
    • H-Stake Yard Signs
    • Maps
    • Plexiglass Wall Mounted Signs
    • Frames and Frameless Systems
    • Indoor Wall Signage
    • Window Graphics
    • Floor Graphics
    • Transit Shelter Poster Ads
    • Vehicle Wraps
    • Building Wraps
    • Magnetic Signage
    • Outdoor Building Signage

    The materials that can be used for printing vary as well. Called substrates, you can print on rigid materials that you feed into the machine, like metal or acrylic. You can also print on materials that come on a roll like vinyl or paper. The type of substrate used depends on the needs of your project, such as where it will be displayed and for how long, and what the wide-format printer can accommodate with large-format printing technology.

    Four common substrate types include:

    • Paper: This budget-conscious and versatile material is easy to use but not durable, making it a popular choice for indoor projects. There are many different paper substrates ranging from paper sheets to cardboard to foam core.
    • Vinyl: For many outdoor projects, vinyl is the go-to substrate. It uses a variety of finishes and serves as a versatile material that can work for many different types of projects.
    • Fabrics: We are excited about the ways we can use fabric to print trades show booth graphics and other display graphics. These materials create a vibrant and unique look that stands out from the competition, particularly when backlit with LED technology.
    • Assorted Rigid Materials: When it comes to printing on rigid materials, today’s wide-format printing technology can be far more flexible. Acrylics, Glass, Metallic Dibond, and even wood are a few of the materials available for wide-format display graphics.

    Per experts in the sign industry at Signresearch.org, there are some exciting trends for digitally printed large-format printing display graphics. In the indoor space, you see more brand environments, characterized by unique interior branded accents printed on vinyl and other materials and incorporated into the design of the area. From embedded fiberglass graphics to custom wallpaper and furniture coverings, the interior environment can reflect the brand message.

    The outdoor uses of large-format printing display graphics have exciting changes also. The utilization of vinyl has enjoyed both innovations to add new visual effects and competition to drive down prices. Moreover, the architectural design incorporates large-scale graphics in glass facades and other complementary ways.

    Also, the technology for embedded graphics and dye sublimation on fabric has enjoyed a growth in popularity for tradeshow booth graphics and other events as well as building wraps. There are also many innovations in sign technology, moving from wood to laminates or powder-coated graphics on metal used in trade shows and other free-standing applications.

    Large-format printing display graphics have numerous ways to enhance your brand messaging efforts or brand environment. The technology, enhanced by software and other technological tools, is evolving rapidly and can make a wide array of display graphics, from pop up graphics to trade show booth displays and more. Competition is also making large format printing display graphics more creative, beautiful, and affordable than ever before.

    The question now is what could large format printing display graphics do for your brand?

    To schedule your free consultation with Westamerica Communications today, contact us, give us a call at (949)462-3600, or visit us at MyWestamerica.com.

    To see more examples of our work, click here to see our project gallery.

    Westamerica Communications is the new spirit of communications with creative solutions for every form of media, from web strategies to traditional concepts to print and mail options, and more. Follow us on Facebook.

    Sources:

    Webster, Nigel. “What is Large Format Printing?” www.presson.co.uk. 28 February 2019. Web. 13 March 2020. https://www.presson.co.uk/what-is-large-format-printing/.
    Berger, Craig M. “Digital Print Trends and Technologies in the Sign and Graphics Industry.” www.signresearch.org. Web. 13 March 2020. https://www.signresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/Digital-Print-TT-In-the-Sign-and-Graphics-Industry_SRF.pdf.

    Dineen, Tim. “The Characteristics of wide format printing.” Graphicsartsmag.com. 9 June 2017. Web. 13 March 2020. https://graphicartsmag.com/articles/2017/06/characteristics-wide-format-printing/.

    What You Need to Know about Choosing Large Format Printing Technology Substrates

    By Blog

    Wide-format printing is an excellent way to stand out in today’s crowded marketing environment at trade shows and other events. We like to say that large format printing technology makes “your big ideas even bigger.” When you couple the medium with a compelling graphic and prime location, using large format printing technology for trade show booth graphics and other special events grabs the attention of your intended audience.

    Before designing trade show booth graphics for large format printing technology, you should have an idea of the type of material on which you will print. These materials are referred to as “substrates”. From plastic to wood, vinyl to fabric, you have many options for large format printed project substrates for use in trade show displays or special events.

    So, the real question is, how do you choose the right one for your project? We have a few ideas, which are outlined in Printing Impressions Magazine. We encourage you to start by asking yourself the following questions:

    What is your budget?

    As you can imagine, along with the different options for substrate materials, there are many different price points. Knowing what you have to spend on the project is an excellent place to help you narrow down your options. As PI World.com says, if your budget is on the lower side, go for paper, coroplast board, falcon board, or a scrim banner. Have a little more to spend? Consider acrylic, Dibond with a metallic finish or black PVC board with white ink. Defining what you can afford is always an excellent first step.

    Where are you going to use the material?

    Your placement and the related environment will have an enormous influence on the type of substrate you choose. We recommend different materials based on whether the final project will live indoors or outdoors, in a temperature-controlled environment or one subject to a varying condition. For instance, if it will be exposed to direct sunlight. However, it should be noted that most (if not all) outdoor substrates can be used indoors; it’s when you want to put a substrate more suited to an indoor environment outdoors that you start to have issues.

    The excellent news that PI World notes is there are many different price points for all budgets in materials available, no matter whether the project will be indoors or outdoors.

    How long do you need this project to be in use?

    The implications here are that some materials are more durable than others. The longer you need the project to last, the more significant the investment should be in the substrate to accommodate those needs.

    Now that you have answered these questions, you can begin sorting through your substrate options. Per Graphics Arts Magazine, there are 12 popular large format substrates that most customers choose, which include:

    • Acrylic
    • Black PVC
    • Coroplast
    • Dibond
    • Falconboard
    • Foamcore
    • Gatorboard
    • Scrim Banner
    • Removable Vinyl
    • Smooth Banner
    • Styrene
    • White PVC

    Each has an intended application, also, which makes them appropriate to specific projects over others. For example, acrylic is ideal for signage and lightbox applications and is durable for the long-term, but foam core is more cost-effective and great for indoor signage that doesn’t need to be around for a long time.

    To read what Graphic Arts has to say about all the substrates in more detail, please click here.

    Wide-format printing technology can print directly on the substrate also. For example, we have a VUTEk GS 3250 LX Pro Hybrid Digital Printer, which can handle printing directly on substrates up to 2” thick.

    This large format printing technology eliminates the need to mount printed paper on the substrate, which can be clumsy at times.

    However, you don’t always have to print on a thick, rigid material to make an impact. There are also large format printing technologies that can make your graphic part of the fabric through a process called dye-sublimation. Using our MS Impres printer, we heat the dye to 390°, which turns it into a gas so that it penetrates the fabric, becoming a part of it.

    This technique is excellent for making fabric displays that are easy to transport and especially impactful as a trade show booth graphic, especially when backlit with LED lighting. However, it is also great for making fabrics for recovering furniture or throw pillows, which can be an eye-catching way to promote your brand at a trade show.

    When it comes to wide format printing substrates and technology for your trade show booth graphics or special event, you have many options to consider. Begin by determining your budget, your placement, and the duration of the project’s use to help you narrow down your options. Then, explore what options large format printing technology and the substrate materials available offer you to accomplish your goals. You might be surprised to discover a unique way to communicate your brand that stands out by sinking into your prospects’ attention.

    To schedule your free consultation with Westamerica Communications today, contact us, give us a call at (949)462-3600, or visit us at MyWestamerica.com

    To see more examples of our work, click here to see our project gallery.

    Westamerica Communications is the new spirit of communications with creative solutions for every form of media, from web strategies to traditional concepts to print and mail options, and more. Follow us on Facebook.

    Sources:

    Dolan, Shannon. “Twelve popular large format substrates your customers should know about.” Graphicartsmag.com. 30 June 2015. Web. 11 March 2020. https://graphicartsmag.com/articles/2015/06/twelve-popular-large-format-substrates-your-customers-should-know-about/.

    Keene, Brett. “Selecting the Right Substrate for Your Wide-Format Project.” www.piworld. Com. 1 June 2017. Web. 11 March 2020. https://www.piworld.com/article/selecting-right-substrate-wide-format-project/.

    Wall Calendars

    The Timeless Calendar Stays Alive

    By Blog

    WALL CALENDARS ARE STILL A FAMILY FAVORITE AND A GREAT CLIENT GIVE-A-WAY

    Wall CalendarsMany clients are already thinking about 2020. Budgets are being prepared and programs are being decided. One of the tried and true promotional programs that offer high customization at a very low cost is the wall calendar. What else can you have hanging up in your client’s home/office for 365 days?

    Many of our clients use this tool each year as a way to build awareness of their products and client interaction. Redwood Credit Union, Ohio University Credit Union, and Johns Hopkins Credit Union use the calendar to feature member provided photos. The result is a true work of art. Contra Costa Water District uses its calendar project to solicit children’s art and use each month to feature a drawing.

    How will you use a calendar in 2020? Let us share some ideas with you!

    Contact us to find out more!!

    SpongeBob Characters Come Ashore At Comic-Con

    By Blog

    Nickelodeon’s agency, Cogswell Design, chose Westamerica to create their booth for the popular Comic-Con Convention in San Diego this summer. The convention generates an estimated 130,000 plus visitors, so the companies in attendance must deliver their very best impressions to reinforce their fan relationships. Combining animation with live-action elements, the booth posed a unique production challenge. Westamerica’s production planner, Scott Jehlik, said, “The client wanted a particular look requiring us to provide unique finishing solutions. We ‘skinned’ the entire structure, resulting in a visual masterpiece.”

    Account Manager Raquel Keena, explained, “the highlight of the booth was a dimensional sign of Krusty Krab created from Infinity board that hung from the ceiling above the booth.”

    Westamerica’s Client 2K Games Shine at Industry Show

    By Blog

    “BEST BOOTH” AWARD FEATURES SILICONE EDGE BACKLIT GRAPHICS (SEG)

    Westamerica’s Display Graphics Division has been busy during this trade show season. Although much of the team’s work centers around large format printing for our diverse client base, many clients are now unleashing the creative production skills for unique trade show and event graphics.

    Fronting the booth were the Calypso Twins, characters from the latest game.

    Westamerica client 2K Games wanted to showcase the characters from their newest release, Borderlands 3, in a larger than life display presentation at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) Sports Convention. The display featured extensive use of sublimated fabric stretched over SEG frames with back-lit highlights.

     

    “The technology in the dye-sublimation area continues to improve,” said Dan Plomin, General Manager for Westamerica Display Graphics. “We are increasingly borrowing from Hollywood’s playbook when it comes to building our large designs. Consumers want an immersive experience and we need to deliver at a higher level with each new project. Back-lit signage adds another dimension of engagement.”

    The booth garnered special attention from the industry publication, Digital Trends giving it the designation of “Best Booth” among the 101 participating exhibitors at the show.

     

     

     

    Special thanks to the GPJ Agency and SPS Studios for the great coverage and photography shown.

    AFCU Showcases Community Engagement in Video

    By Blog

    SEES VIDEO AS A NATURAL COMPLEMENT TO THEIR ANNUAL REPORT

    The team at Affinity Federal Credit Union longed for a better way to communicate their mission to both members and potential members. While their annual report served up key financial information and the traditional forward-looking perspective, they wanted to incorporate the emotion and feelings that only a video can generate. They turned to Westamerica’s Video Production Services.

    Working with Account Manager Bree Booth, their team decided that a dedicated “Mission Video” would deliver on AFCU’s key objectives in all forms of media to:

    • Explain the credit union’s purpose
    • Celebrate the commitment to the community
    • Highlight the credit union’s focus on financial well-being

    “In addition to getting the main message across, we also wanted to make sure that the content within the video was easily transferable to other media,” explained Bree.

    “While a video itself is very powerful, there are many avenues to repurpose and reuse video segments in other areas such as in-branch, social media, the website, employee newsletters and intranet, and more. The content created within a single video has much potential for additional impact.”

    The messaging strategy was deliberately very broad and designed to relate to a large group of viewers, including current members, potential members, the general public, staff, and other stakeholders. The AFCU team’s goal was to communicate that it is a member-centric organization that equally balances what’s best for the member with what’s best for the institution.

    In order to reinforce credibility and support the brand promise, Westamerica utilized client-provided photos and videos from AFCU events accented with diverse stock footage.

    Watch the video here. 

    The 2:17 video is now featured throughout their organization and on social media platforms.

    Backlit Fabric Printing

    Value in Fabric Printing

    By Blog

    Fabric Puts Your Brand Everywhere

    The pace of change in the fabric printing and graphics industry is phenomenal. Today it’s possible for Westamerica to custom design a room, from floor to ceiling…and everything in between. Imagine a room with custom designed upholstery for the couch and chairs, a custom printed rug, and custom window clings and wall coverings. Today’s SEG (Silicone Edge Graphics) fabric displays allow you to do just about anything.

    Fabric means new design opportunities for brands

    Marketers have pushed the industry and the evolution has begun. Once associated with simple advertising messages, new technology delivers the key benefits that marketers demand including:

    Visual Impact – Fabric looks great. Consider it a high-definition image when it’s mounted to a back-lit display frame. It has a more natural, organic look and fabric doesn’t reflect like vinyl. This is extremely important for signage at events that will be broadcast over the Internet or on television.Backlit Fabric

    Portability – Fabric is also easier to handle than vinyl. A fabric sign can be folded and shipped with ease. Fabric can weigh as much as 75% less than vinyl, which results in a significant reduction in shipping costs.

    Sustainability – Fabric printed signage is biodegradable and can be repurposed for other uses.

    More options than ever before

    In the past, when you considered fabric, you basically had two options – screen printing (like promotional T-shirts) and dye sublimation (like fashion clothing or upholstery). However, today’s digital technology allows you to even personalize fabric prints. It’s now cost effective to print a single, high quality printed fabric item in a similar manner you might print a single poster. And when it comes to size there are virtually no limits. Imagine the ability to print on fabric that measures ten feet in width and unlimited length. And, if you want something even wider, panels can be printed and sewn together.

    Sustainable and environmentally friendly

    Wide format printing uses significantly less ink and reduces waste, when compared to screen-printing and other solutions like vinyl. The eco-friendly, water-based inks can be used to produce an unlimited variety of designs, images, and graphics with an unlimited variety of vivid colors. Discover how your visual display marketing can reach new levels of impact with fabrics! Request a sample from your Westamerica representative or see our work!

    The “Active for Good” Challenge

    By Blog

    In the fast-paced marketing communications business, there can be days when we feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face on a tough project. At times like these, I’ve heard folks who are trying to put things into perspective say, “Hey, we’re not saving lives here.” Well, the truth is, our Westamerica Communications family recently had an opportunity to actually save a few lives. We did it by getting a little more active. And we had a blast doing it together.

    On World Food Day, October 16, we began a challenge that, when completed, would help save the lives of young children who live halfway around the world and also benefit members of our staff. We partnered with Active for Good and took part in a 30-day activity challenge.

    Active For Good provides companies and groups with activity challenges that utilize purpose as a motivator. These challenges connect physical activity with a great cause. In this case, the goal is to double the global budget for Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), the main line of defense against Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

    Without intervention, a child who suffers from SAM, and survives, will suffer from other disorders later in life including the loss of motor skills and stunted growth. With just a six-week treatment of three RUTF packets a day, more than 90% of children recover. These 500-calorie packets contain peanut paste, milk, and a unique mix of vitamins and minerals designed to treat children, six

    months to six years of age, who have been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. These easy-to-open food-grade packets do not require added water, cooking or refrigeration, and have a two-year shelf life.

    Now imagine a group of individuals who, by participating in an activity challenge, can provide these life-saving nutritional food packets to malnourished children in developing countries. The more active the participants, the more points they earn. The points convert into money to buy the RUTF packets.

    There’s something to be said for, “Purpose as a motivator.” The idea of doing something for someone else, participating in an activity to provide life-saving food for children, has an impact on people’s lives. We all know we should eat right and exercise, but many times we don’t act on that knowledge. Doing something for someone else gives us a reason to set a goal. Requiring an action, not just writing a check, engages the participants on both a physical and deeper emotional level.

    The Challenge Begins

    To begin the challenge, we divided into three teams. Our Team Captains were super pumped for the challenge. Whether participants walked, ran, rode a bike or swam – whatever they enjoyed doing to get active – that activity would convert into points to help their team, the company, and the children.

    Active for Good does a great job at keeping the emotional level high. Each participant can download the Active for Good app that tracks their activity and notifies them as they reach new levels. Individuals earn points for steps (walking around) and for minutes of activity. The app displays one leaderboard for individuals and another for teams. This creates a little competition, both between and within teams. People can also connect the app to their Apple Health or Google Fit systems that come with their mobile phone or connect the app to their Garmin or Fitbit. The app’s real-time display was a motivator for those who were close to an activity milestone.

    Participants also received individual emails as they went through the challenge. Once they gathered 500 points, they were notified that “You’ve just provided your first meal for a child.” The email also contained a link to a video that showed how the packets are made.

    Super active participants could earn a couple packets a day. When participants reached 150 packets, one treatment for a child, an email went out saying, “You just saved a life.”

    As the challenge progressed, participants were also notified by email of the Most Improved Team and Most Improved Person.

    Westamerica’s Active for Good Challenge

    Our employees truly embraced this 30-day challenge. Many averaged over 500 points a day, while more active employees averaged over 700 points a day. Among the 72 participates, I heard words like, “crushing it,” “neck and neck,” “taking it to the next level,” and “untouchable.” The competition was fierce but friendly.

    We wrapped up our Active for Good challenge on November 16th. I’m proud to say that our teams earned 1,706 ready-to-use therapeutic food packets thus saving 11 young children suffering from the effects of severe acute malnutrition. These packets will be distributed in Somalia, South Sudan, and other countries by aid organizations like UNICEF, Feed the Children, and World Vision.

    This attempt at recycling calories proved to be beneficial both for the employees who took part in the challenge and the children who benefited from their actions.

    As a way of recognizing the efforts of our teams, we presented trophies to individuals who reached specific milestones. Congratulations to all of the employees who participated.

    If you’re curious about the positive impact you or your company can have on children in developing countries, click here.