Part 5 of The Paper Cuts Series
Though the design industry has changed in many ways just since the 90’s, printing is still a thriving and vibrant source for connecting with consumers, and paper is the key. For this series, I’ve interviewed some of the best printers, paper reps, and designers to give their insights into how paper can strengthen your brand.
I had an opportunity to talk with Jamie Saunders one of the most influential people in social media and the Marketing Communications Manager for Neenah Paper. She has mastered the art of promoting an analog product in a wholly digital medium. Her love of paper shows, and she let us tap into her wealth of knowledge to share with you.
Give us a little bit of background about yourself.
I am a wife of 9 years, mother of one beautiful little boy and a graduate of University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). I have been with Neenah Paper for almost 5 years. As Marketing Communications Manager I am responsible for all internal and external communications for our Fine Paper division. I coordinate press releases, blog releases (which Matt Porter, our extremely talented independent writer pens), I am the voice of Neenah Paper’s Twitter and Facebook pages, our Paperworks contest coordinator and more! It’s busy but it’s a lot of fun!
What first drew (bad pun, I know) you to paper?
I have seriously always loved paper. My first obsession as a little girl was making sure that my presents stood out under the Christmas tree. I would make my mom take me to a fancy wrapping paper store and I would spend my allowance on fancy wrapping paper and bows for my gifts. I even made my own gift cards…So you could say, it started with Christmas and then eventually took over the rest of my life! In my day-to-day life, I try to write a note per day even if it’s just to my 5 year old son to say hi. There is nothing more special or heartwarming to me than a handwritten note.
How has the way you promote new Neenah products changed over your career, and what’s affected it the most? (internet, sustainability, on-demand digital printing, economic slowdown, “The Office”, etc.)
That’s an interesting question because so many of the things that you mentioned have changed the way that we, and others, think about paper. Certainly the surge of technology has affected our industry but we find ways to embrace technology in order to talk more about paper. The environment is a topic that is always hot. Neenah continues to develop and adopt new technologies in a commitment to produce our products in the most environmentally and technically advanced ways that are available. We just reached zero landfill at our mills — meaning any scrap or waste paper is recycled or used in a waste-to-energy program. How cool is that?
Social media seems to play a major part in Neenah’s marketing efforts. How do you go about selling a product that involves touch in a medium that doesn’t allow that kind interaction?
We originally adopted our social media program on a trial basis. We wanted to be the first paper company to use social media and we achieved that goal. It was rough at first because like you said, it involves a bit of touch to choose a paper but we knew that this is where our customers “live”. We had to be there. We found that you could talk about paper and make it fun, giving away promotions as prizes puts the pieces right into the hands of so many who may not receive it otherwise. I get to help people make decisions about what paper to use for a project. With our new website I am able to direct them to tools Neenah developed for our customers so they can work smarter and get what they need to get their project done. It’s been wonderful connecting with so many people who still have a love for paper!
In what ways can paper be used to define a brand, and can you think of a great example?
We believe strongly that premium companies choose premium paper products for their brands. We’re seeing our packaging line really taking off right now. Having a great looking business card, holiday card or annual report should be very important to a company’s image. We’re seeing a variety of papers for all types of applications ranging from linen textures to hand crafted aesthetic feel to matching their corporate colors. It wouldn’t be fair to pick one example, there are so many beautiful brands out there using premium papers to enhance the look of their products.
What’s the largest area of growth in the paper industry?
With the improved technology of digital printing, we’ve expanded our digital line of papers. Our new digital line up comprises papers from 12 premium brands in a wide range of colors, textures, and weights. To be specific, 29 colors, 13 textures and 12 weights. Most papers are available in five common digital sizes too. So many great things coming down the pipeline.
What are some common myths about paper that keep agencies/designers from specifying paper on print projects?
I’m not sure about myths but I would say that picking the paper as early on in the design process as possible, will really make your design pop upon completion. Paper choice is so much more important than some may realize. Using a beautiful paper can only enhance your project (and make your design look even better than you imagined!). We’re here to make you look good!
What’s the most amazing piece you’ve seen printed on Neenah Paper in the last year?
I think the most amazing piece I have seen printed on Neenah Paper in 2010 is the CLASSIC CREST 110% promotion designed by And Partners NY and printed at Hemlock Printers Ltd. It’s all about seeing solid ink on paper and I think it’s by far the most unique piece that I’ve seen in the market this year. The coverage will absolutely blow you away!
Tell me a little bit about Against the Grain, the Neenah Paper Blog.
We started the blog in June of 2009 so Matt Porter (mentioned above, our creative writer extraordinaire) could cover the HOW Conference 2009 in a thoughtful way. He has such a beautiful writing style and a way with words. While his writing was exceptional, we realized that we needed a more robust site to house it, one that really reflected Neenah Paper’s style. With our social media platform expanding every day, Rule29 understood that we needed a place to give our customers an experience that they could control. After a conversation with Justin Ahrens, of Rule29 we knew they understood our vision and we were not disappointed by the result. Love, love, love our new blog site! www.neenahpaperblog.com
How can someone find out about the line of papers that Neenah Paper offers?
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and be sure to visit our website www.neenahpaper.com
I know this is like asking a designer to pick a favorite color or font, but what’s your personal favorite paper stock and why?
I would have to say CLASSIC CREST. It prints so beautifully every time for any type of project. I think the name CLASSIC fits the brand so well.
I would consider myself anything from the French Paper line, because it’s more utilitarian, unassuming and a little rough around the edges. Which paper stock would you be and why?
I have to pick one and you picked a whole line! That’s a great question, I think CLASSIC Linen Papers are probably my best fit with their tag line “Sensible Luxury”. I love fashion and I feel like everyone should try to look their best everyday but you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it! Mixing in the fancy pearl papers with standards makes for a finished product that you can’t help but love.
HOW (pun intended) do you continue to throw such great parties at the HOW conference year after year?
I have to give props here to Tom Wright, our Sr. Director of Advertising and Promotions and Kristin Carpenter, our Design Manager for the work they do on the HOW Conference. I, like you, am just a lucky participant in all of the good fun.
If you’d like to find out more about Neenah Paper visit their newly revamped site neenahpaper.com. The site is not only a great resource for all of the Neenah Paper lines, but it also has lots of helpful tools, dielines and apps to make the process from concept to completion much easier. Be sure to follow Jamie on twitter @NeenahPaper, and become fans on facebook of NeenahPaper. For the latest paper and design articles check out their blog Against the Grain.
Check back next month when we talk folding with Trish Witkowski of Fold Factory for Part 6 in The Paper Cuts Series.
Like what you see feel free to email me at email@example.com and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall site to see how we’ve helped clients add a touchy, feely side to their brands with paper.