Building Brand Through Direct Mail
Somewhere in between a plain white envelope and a bright, glossy neon outer with teaser copy is the direct mail feng shuia harmonious, color-balanced, less-is-more package.
Two mailings that aspire to that height showed up in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in July and, amidst a sea of white envelopes and sparse flecks of color, turned our heads.
Sent by financial-services company Wells Fargo to pitch a business platinum credit card to its business checking and savings accounts customers, the mailings use a sophisticated combination of color, font and copy on the outers and stand out from typical financial mailings for their visual warmth and punch.
The outers, one red and the other plum, spotlight different aspects of the credit card. The red 4-1/8" x 9-1/4" outer focuses on the cash-back benefits of the card, featuring greenbacks on the front and back of the envelope and a green and gold First-class stamp (544WELFAR0604A). The plum mailing, which highlights the card's extended grace period, comes in a slightly oversized #10 envelope (544WELFAR0604B). In support of the teaser "Build control, not interest," the outer is an imageless purple wall, save for a blue and gold First-class stamp.
This technique of using different mailings to accent different aspects of the same offer is part of a larger branding strategy by Wells Fargo. "Anytime we put together any type of campaign, we have our whole branding department that helps us come up with the ideas and the creative," says Linadria Porter, assistant vice president of public relations for Wells Fargo. One of the ways the company differentiates the pieces and the messages, say Porter, is by using different colors and techniques.
The colors follow prospects inside to a one-page letter, acceptance certificate and BRE. Each mailing's letter uses the color palette of the outer, photographs of small business owners and concise copy that conveys the value of the spotlighted benefit of the card.
According to Porter, these color palettes also are used in in-store business packages that focus on different offerings for business customers. Sticking with these colors bolsters the Wells Fargo brand, setting it up "so the customers would make that connection visually," says Porter.
"The minute they see the collateral, the mailing," she adds, "they're going to know it's related to their business account."
Though Wells Fargo takes on a chameleon-like quality in the mail with this offer, it remains recognizable to prospects through the brand recognition employed in each package.
The use of strong colors adds to the feng shui appeal of these packages, setting the mood from the outset. And while it may seem risky for a financial services company to color a mailing so heavily in redconsidering the color's connotation of fiscal lossfor Wells Fargo, the color red is an old friend.
"We always kind of had the red because that was the color of the [Wells Fargo] stagecoach," says Porter. "It's totally part of our image. For over 150 years it has been our symbol. It has incredible brand recognition, and so we wouldn't change it."