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AMPR Winter 2014 TRANSFORMATIONS

Jan 24, 2014 12:00 AM


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A HELPING BRAND…

“We are a media company, and we believe that is the future of our industry”

Thirteen years ago, Bob Anderson contemplated purchasing a small printing company in Phoenix that was in dire straits. “It was a boutique printer that had gotten into trouble in the late 1990s. They were going to shut down and go into bankruptcy.”

Still, Anderson, who had a background in distribute-and-print for banking, hotel and lodging and restaurant customers, saw potential in the struggling operation. “They had great systems in place, great quality and great people,” he says. “They just lacked leadership.”

FULL-SERVICE MARKETING SOLUTIONS

Anderson bought the company, now called Prisma. In 2000, it was a $1-million firm with 28 employees. Today, it’s a $38-million operation with more than 200 employees. It’s also no longer a printer but “a full-service marketing solutions provider with an emphasis on commercial printing, specializing in online marketing supply chains.

AN ONLINE PIONEER

In 2000, Prisma was one of the first printing companies to let customers order customizable, short-run products online via dokshop, a web-based brand management tool for financial, restaurant, hospitality, education and health care verticals. Avnet, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and University of Phoenix are among dokshop’s current users.

So how did Prisma not only survive the dot-com boom but flourish for the past 13 years? Anderson credits the company’s grasp of inventory management as well as having both IT and production strengths. “We had the manufacturing backbone plus the electronic and IT [core].”

EXPANDING ITS REACH

Acquisitions helped propel Prisma forward. In 2009, it acquired a mailing and fulfillment company, while 2012 additions included a grand format specialist as well as Sir Speedy Scottsdale. In 2013, it folded some marketing companies into its mix. “Printing still accounts for 65 percent of our business, but in most cases printed materials now support a larger project,” says Anderson, CEO. “For many clients, we create fully integrated marketing campaigns that are delivered through both print and electronic mediums.”

Prisma’s depth is evident in its relationship with the Arizona Cardinals. In addition to installing new signs and graphics at the team’s home stadium, it prints the team’s media guides, game-day programs and season tickets. Prisma also produces and tracks direct mail promotions sent to fans and season ticket holders.

STRIKE UP THE BRAND

In September 2013, the company unveiled its new branding, the culmination of an 18-month project that started shortly after Simon Beltran joined the company as president in 2011. Beltran, a 13-year veteran of xpedx, was drawn to Prisma in part by what he terms its “visionary” approach to acquisitions. “They needed to be additive to our existing foundation to help us expand and strengthen our capabilities to grow,” says Beltran.

The branding includes a new name (it dropped “Graphics”) and tagline (“Message to Market”). “We were determined to do all of the branding work in house,” says Beltran. “We knew if we could successfully launch and reposition [the new brand], we’d have a great story—we can say, ‘We did all of this for our company and we can do it for you, too.’”

In recent weeks, as Prisma has rolled out its fresh identity, including a new logo, signage, website, a colorful 90-second animated video, and more, they’ve heard the same question from many clients: Who did all of this?

WALKING THE WALK

“It’s been the greatest thing to respond with a resounding ‘We did!’” says Beltran.

Anderson reflects that conversations with customers have changed over the years. “Clients really don’t care what equipment you have. They care that you can deliver a product, service or message to the market in one fell swoop. We’re talking about logistics, speed to market and our people. We’re a media company now, and we believe that’s the future of our industry.”