My first real brand project was in 1997 when I was the advertising account executive for Scitex Printers.

Scitex was launching Versamark, the industry’s first large format, on-demand, fully variable printer. A product that would allow, for the first time, the ability to print short-run books on demand. Now publishers could print high-quality, four-color, full-bleed books as they were ordered, rather than running large printings, warehousing and hoping people would buy them.

In short, I helped launch the technology that would allow Amazon to produce and sell my books, “Aha Moments” and “More Aha Moments.”

I couldn’t have been handed an easier first branding project.

Being the industry’s FIRST made positioning easy!!! The only real challenge was getting the target to see the new possible applications. And, targeting was a breeze as there were only a few commercial printers or publishers that had a need for the new applications.

I couldn’t have been handed a harder first branding project.

We launched Versamark, internationally, in about 12 different languages (11 of which, I didn’t speak or read). I became completely reliant on translators and regional sales reps to make sure we were saying what we needed to say.

Versamark ProductThis project also posed a challenge as we had no product. The brand launch was planned to coincide with the industry’s largest international trade show … before the final product rolled off the production line. How do you provide a product shot in sales collateral and on websites with no product? Styrofoam, a skilled sculptor, a great photographer and a gifted designer!

Now, 22 years later, Scitex is gone. Over the years Scitex sold off different product lines to companies like HP and Kodak. While the company is gone and the logo is history, the Versamark brand  lives on with Kodak.

Today, there is more competition, an expanded target and new applications for Versamark. But the Versamark brand remains. I believe that, with a change in companies, the name remains because we created a brand foundation that Kodak still uses today, “Quality. Value. Scalability.” And, with that foundation, and being the industry first, the value of the name is its awareness, perception and brand equity.

The awareness and perception began with the launch campaign that positioned the Versamark printer against the leading technology of the time, leaving the Versamark as the solution to the industry’s current “vices.”

Vice … Versamark

Vice: Trade off of cost, speed and quality.
Versamark: Versatile suite of solutions to optimize application requirements.

What does this mean for your community bank or credit union?

You can create a sustainable, equitable brand if you follow a few simple branding basics:

  • Keep your brand foundation simple. Don’t try to say too much.
  • Speak directly to a defined target.
  • Position yourself against your target’s current pain points … Be the solution.
  • Position yourself against the competition … Differentiate.
  • It doesn’t matter if your logo lasts 22 years as long as your brand equity continues to sell decades later.

As you look at your brand, today, be the “versa” to your community’s vices.

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