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I’ve been asked to write a book about how to build a brand, with reference to my company, TV in a Card, which I set up 3 years ago to provide video in printed magazines, brochures and greetings cards. As I get stuck in to the book, I realise that the story of TV in a Card is as much a story about me as it is about the brand. We are all of us a brand in our own right, whether we like it or not; the sum of our experiences. Who we are now, is a result of luck, good and bad, design, how we are built, and the choices we have made over the years that have taken us to the person we are today. We each have been dealt an individual hand in life, sure, and we can only play the cards we have been dealt. But sometimes, as in poker, we can bluff those cards.


The book that I am writing is about luck, good and bad. It is also about recognizing opportunities – and, sometimes, failing to recognize them. But it is also about a breakthrough in communications that has been staring us all – literally – in the face; and how I capitalized on the opportunity it presented.
I’ve had many opportunities in my life that I didn’t run with, that turned out to be far more lucrative – in the short term – than the one I am running with now; I played around with pay as you go phones before they existed, I coined the term “debit cards” for pre-eighteen year olds, I turned down the idea of ring-tones for mobile phones over dinner with a venture capitalist with a dismissive “that’s never going to catch on”; but the one I chose to run with – and it is always important to pick the one you can run with – is the TV in a Card.
If you are not passionate about a business you had better leave that business alone. So while some of those businesses I ignored are billion dollar businesses in their own right, they weren’t right for me, and I would never have been successful within them. The only time I felt a real passion for a business – and it was love at first sight – was when I first saw the TV in a Card.
A TV in a Card provides a unique and highly effective way through which companies can market their services and products by delivering a combination of video in print in a uniquely portable and highly innovative way, allowing brands to deliver their message directly into the hands of their chosen target audience.
Companies are constantly on the hunt for more effective ways of communicating with their customers. Indeed, when I came up with the idea of TV in a Card several years ago, it was because I was working for Xerox, and I had been given the un-envious task of trying to figure out how sell printers with a price tag of 100,000 dollars.
The one thing in our favour was we knew the buyers – there are only so many people in one city in the market for a six figure dollar printer. And I knew how much had been spent on previous campaigns, the most recent cost of a regional advertising campaign came in at about $300,000, which included outdoor advertising, newspaper coverage and a handful of Internet banners – and this had resulted in no discernable uplift in sales. I figured that of all the companies in the region that could buy our printers, there were probably 300 that we would like to target.
We certainly had lots of compelling content, high production video direct from our top ad agency. I could, I reasoned, buy each of our potential customers a portable DVD player loaded with our video and a post it with a note stuck on the front saying “Press Here”. The cost of the DVD players would be $50 each, the DVD and post it notes a further $5 each. So to reach 300 companies would be $16,500, leaving me with $283,500 change from my $300,000.
Buying video players and sending them directly to customers seemed a little clunky, if arguably more effective than a large-scale media campaign (and don’t forget the brand awareness generated through media campaigns that is more difficult to quantify). But there was no doubt in my mind that this method would be a more effective way of communicating the message. But what if I could get my video screens into something even easier? I thought about those audio birthday cards that sang happy birthday when opened and wondered if I could do something similar with video. Screens were getting thinner. What if I could create a video greetings card, that played its message immediately upon opening, without the need for any plugs or wires?
Fast forward a few years and now TV in a Card is known to be one of the best and most innovative means of communication. It has been taken from the original concept, communicating video and sound messages that can last for several minutes, to being able to hold video, stills and documents that convey information not only as an advert but also in great detail, and in a medium that is universally regarded as the most powerful form of media. A recent study by Harvard Business Review concluded that the brain only retains 20% of what it hears, 30% of what it sees, but an incredible 70% of what it sees and hears simultaneously.
Because of advances in flat screen technology, the TV in a Card is also uniquely portable, which makes it easy to carry around and share among peer groups. Easy is good. It makes people happy to share the product – because it is neat, cute and novel – and these people have acted as the early evangelists for the product itself.
Flat enough to place within a brochure to be carried around as a video brochure, the LCD video products can also now be used for communicating messages accompanied with an abundance of text. Some business choose to provide the video material as an alternative to reading the text while others are using the text and video content to compliment each other.
Whether you have a TV in a Card video book, or incorporated within a traditional brochure, video combined with print in packaging help businesses put across a comprehensive message.
Customers have lauded this concept because it gives them complete freedom to convey the wholesome material they wish to present. With LCD screens being light and flat these devices are ideal in flat objects like files and folders.
Whether you choose to use a video booklet or video brochure or any other form of video package, it will need to be conveniently flat to place inside a folder. There is a lot of research still going on in this domain in order to produce the best form of device that can carry a greater amount of data. With the passage of time, more effective playing devices with even better quality will be introduced, and this quality and flexibility is precisely what businesses want in presenting their material. Customers who view these forms of LCD Video Brochure card will be more attracted to the service and product presentations in this way, so these companies benefit from this mutual attraction.
Video in print is one of the recent ideas that have entered the market. This means of marketing is being lauded by the early adopters, unsurprisingly the world’s best known brands, and it is now approaching popularity among the more innovative of the mainstream, who see the product as an ideal way to get their messages seen and heard above the general media noise, which nowadays is considerable.
(President of the marketing firm Yankelovich, Jay Walker-Smith estimates that we’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today)
The fusion of video and print is an idea that certainly provides immense solutions, and is capable of drawing a great amount of attention. There have been many tools used for marketing purposes. However, not many have come close to video in print in its ability to draw customers’ attention.
So while this newly introduced concept is still in the process of taking root, there will be a great deal for marketers to learn from in order to ensure maximum leverage through it. TV in a Card is conducting constant research with our clients in order to maximize its use and how best to use each element offered by this new medium of video in print to use each element required to its maximum.
Managed through a flat and light video-playing gadget, a company can project information in a unique way and at the same time give the customer the choice of how they absorb the messages conveyed.  Those who do not like to read too much text certainly appreciate this method of communicating information, and in today’s modern world we are constantly seeking easy ways to view and share information, with video becoming the most natural form of media. Still, there are many people who find it more convenient to go through information in the form of a combination of both video and text and TV in a Card offers this as well. Certain markets require certain elements, and we work with businesses to identify what blend of text and video would be best to implement to suit their target customers.
What is certain is that businesses are benefitting from the choice of communication and ease of targeting. Combining video – the most powerful form of media – with the precision targeting of direct mail, it allows businesses to reach customers they had previously been unable to and get their message seen and heard.
Russell Lawley-Gibbs is the inventor of the TV in a Card, His book will be released in early 2015.