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Throwback Thursday: Now Is the Time to Make Your Mark

In 2016, we first released the Make Your Mark on Cougar® series. The message was simple: No matter the challenges you may face, the message you need to communicate or the audience you need to reach, Cougar® paper is there to uphold your brand’s legacy.

This piece established itself as a fan favorite, showcasing Cougar® as THE paper to express a brand’s passion, personality and purpose. Comprised of print samples featuring Cougar’s different finishes, colors and basis weights, the kits also served as a testament to how print is an essential element of branding.

As things reopen, employers look to hire and organizations work to reassure customers, print is as important now as it has ever been. In today’s Throwback Thursday edition, we take a look back at the Make Your Mark series.


The Restaurateur

Paper and print play an extremely important role within the restaurant industry. Whether it’s a menu, coaster, sign or business card, print not only communicates quality and craftsmanship, it can also set an expectation and example for the ways things should be. The samples featured in this section represent a wide array of Cougar’s basis weights, in both smooth and super smooth finishes. The samples also beautifully showcase how one can marry newer printing technology (digital) with the more traditional (letterpress).

The restaurant industry was starting to recover this summer, with businesses reopening to 100% capacity and printed menus making a reappearance. However, with the emergence of variants and mandates going back in place, businesses should not lose sight of how paper can be a great tool in helping them thrive (and survive) in the coming months. Consider these customer benefits to using paper:

  • Continue to offer paper menus in addition to the digital versions. Older customers may be challenged with accessing an online menu or may struggle to read something on-screen.
  • Paper menus that are printed digitally are also a great way to quickly and cost-efficiently update materials to reflect discontinuations, new additions or changes to operating hours.
  • Utilize direct mail to communicate any changes to operations, menu offerings or specials. Direct mail generates 10 times more response than digital efforts alone.

The Educator

Released in 2017, “Make Your Mark on Cougar – The Educator” showcases how print helps schools, colleges and universities successfully market themselves to a variety of individuals – from students and faculty to parents, alumni and donors. Communications within this vertical must be agile enough to convey prestige, value, opportunity and excitement.

Flash forward to 2021. COVID-19 disrupted the higher education sector, resulting in a drop in enrollment. Along with the original intent, schools and universities also have to reassure parents and students about safety. The sector was forced to pivot very quickly to a digital marketing approach due to printers' closure and headcount and budgets reduction. However, this approach did allow them to consistently communicate with potential customers with a more personalized approach – something consumers now yearn for.

Marketing via email and social media has its merits, but it should always be partnered with a print component. Direct mail and brochures are featured heavily in the Make Your Mark promotion, making it even more relevant today, especially as we talk about providing customers with more personalized messaging. Direct mail has changed due to a more data-driven approach, allowing marketers to better identify, target and message more effectively. Studies have shown that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. A stylish printed piece featuring a unique die-cut, personalization or distinctive folds (combined with the velvety texture of Cougar® Digital) is a striking way to make an institution stand out.


The Artisan

An “artisan” is defined as a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.  Whether you are talking about a furniture maker, a baker or a clothing maker, the artisan is a curator of culture — driven by a need to create, collect and share.

Paper is a tangible representation of their brand – and the samples featured in Make Your Mark are a testament to the possibilities with print. From non-traditional business cards to tags to unique folding, paper is the perfect vehicle to stand out in a world that has transitioned to digital.

This year has seen a boom in small business openings – around 440,000 since June 2021. These businesses are heavily made up of artisans, who were further motivated by the current economic climate to start a business. Many utilize online platforms to operate and promote their businesses, but paper should always be a supporting player.

Business owners can take advantage of what they’ve learned about customers via their online efforts and target them with a personalized direct mail campaign. Studies have found that 31% of consumers are more excited to receive their mail each day compared to before the pandemic. Consumers are also spending 34% more time reading marketing and promotions that arrive in their mailbox. Fortunately, the USPS is providing ways to make it easier (and more cost-effective) to target customers with direct mail.

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