Somewhere a long time ago, an unwritten code of conduct determined that printers must only promote themselves in print, with too much talk about equipment and not enough good photography of their work. Not any longer.
On August 1, Strine Printing of York, Pennsylvania decided to defy the code in a major way with a website that’s a radical creative departure for the printing industry.
An unexpected greeting
Created and produced by The Drucker Group in Chicago , the new site features a rapid fire, high def video set to a rock rhythm track that startlingly welcomes you, not to a printing company but to a place where brands empower their imaging.
As the quick, 70-second video fades away, visitors are greeted by six silver doors on the home page identified as Us, Vibe, Forte, Tech and Stories. It’s not your typical website menu, but then again neither is the content behind the doors. Videos abound, all set to contemporary rock and hip hop music tracks. Professionally shot photography is everywhere; too, leaving no doubt that Strine is a source for high impact work for national well-known brands.
Investigative marketing sets the direction
The development of the site was an evolutionary process that began with an investigative marketing probe by The Drucker Group. The two companies had collaborated in 2008 when Strine was the subject of a testimonial video The Drucker Group produced on behalf of a manufacturing client. Before any site mapping or writing began, key people at Strine were interviewed. They were asked about the company’s strengths, business philosophy, appeal to clients, and what they imagined the website ought to say. They were also queried about the company’s shortcomings, especially when it resulted in failure to land new business.
“The Strine people told us that their capabilities, especially their ability to handle all facets of production under one roof, were much more important than simply listing their equipment,” said Managing Director Scott Drucker. “Most important of all, this new site had to resonate just as strongly with corporate marketing directors and agency creatives as it would with print production managers.”
What really set the tone for the site was the briefing Patrick Strine, Strine’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, gave to Drucker Executive Creative Director Tim Terchek. When Terchek arrived in York to begin video shooting, Strine showed him a Chrysler spot that ran during the Super Bowl and featured rap singer Eminem.
“We want our videos and site to project an attitude like this,” Strine told Terchek. “Everything’s got to be cooler, bolder, hipper.” Terchek readily agreed to the strategy, tossed the existing shooting scripts, and for the next two days improvised shots of everything and everybody that exuded attitude about Strine’s passion for excellence.
“I’ve never had a client tell me that our creative needed to push boundaries like this,” said Terchek. “Especially coming from a B-to-B client, this was a dream, a refreshing change and a real exciting challenge.”
Designed for rapid communication
Accompanying the avant-garde feel of the videos is a very sophisticated and clean look for the entire site. Within a black border, content is laid out against a textured silver gray background. Type is large and easily readable with scroll bars for easy continuation of stories. On each page, videos and photos dominate. For a fast-paced business world, each page of the site is designed to quickly deliver its message.
Delving into the Forte section of the site a visitor can see the kind of work Strine excels at with nearly 100 photos of commercial, POP and folding carton projects. For clarity, work photography is huge, taking up nearly two-thirds of each page. Visitors have the choice of navigating through the collections photo by photo, or through quick view selection via the thumbnail scroll bar on the page bottom. There’s also a video on Strine’s Forte as well.
For more detailed examples of how Strine can handle all facets of a complex project in-house, the Stories section of the website presents visitors with case studies to review.
Acknowledging there will always people wanting to know about equipment, the site’s Tech section contains lists and photos of Strine’s prepress, digital, offset, finishing and fulfillment departments. More entertaining are the mini-videos in the Tech section. In less than 20-seconds, each of theses videos gives visitors a hip snapshot of Strine’s unique capability in each department.
The website’s Us section provides a historical perspective on the company’s founder Walter Strine; bios on the key managers; and a short company-defining welcome message from CEO Mike Strine.
Despite their long heritage as a printer, Strine wisely joins an ever-increasing number of companies who understand the importance of communicating via video messaging. As The Economist stated in its World in 2011 edition, “In 2011 companies will say goodbye to the written word. The basic unit of communications will no longer be typed. It will be shot in pictures and shown on video.”