BlackSmith’s client, VICAM, an agricultural concern, was a company at the crossroads. When that client originally created their branding and initial brochure, they only distributed in 3 foreign countries and the vast proportion of their revenues came from the United States and from the farm belt. Furthermore, they were only a two line company with 2 lines of food testing products. However, when it came time to re-do their corporate brochure, they had grown to a 9 Million Dollar company which had grown at 3 times the industry average, went from marketing in 3 countries to marketing in 100+ countries worldwide, expanded to full-fledged agro-bioscience company with five product lines, and whose revenues were 60% from overseas. Importantly, the company’s limited partners were eager to sell the company and put the company “on the auction block” by entering into M&A. Thus, all those factors pointed to the need for greater sophistication in their corporate brochure.
Our involvement: To guide the company through this particularly sensitive and important time in their history and provide them with sophisticated trappings. Thus, it was mutually decided with the client that they needed a total re-brand. The corporate brochure was one part of that. Inclusive of the re-brand was an overhaul of their logo, concepting and shooting custom photography, writing of all new copy to reflect growth to 5 lines of products, development of iconic design element for the cover of the brochure, and redesign of the entire brochure to the highest of European design standards complete with use of extensive white space and much subtlety. Collateral piece had to strike a delicate balance of appealing to European Ph.D.’s setting food regulations and current large block of revenue generators: U.S. farmers doing the tests–all while appealing to the Investment Community.
The result: Company was sold to a 1.5B S&P player.
In keeping with the corporate color scheme and imagery, the corporate folder is an important element in a complete print marketing strategy. This project involved science and agricultural imagery to reflect the firm’s focus.
The tradeshow booth is the company’s public face at important industry conferences. The sales team can only communicate with customers who actually stop at the booth and express interest. In order to ensure the greatest pull into the booth, BlackSmith designed the booth along the same lines as the advertisements in the industry trades. That way passers-by would immediately indentify the booth as VICAM’s by virtue of the branded design.
When BlackSmith entered the picture, VICAM possessed cover stories and they were all for a waning product line. Through best targeting, BlackSmith garnered press almost exclusively for its leading product line. BlackSmith did so by developing rock solid relationships with trade editors and hiring a senior editorial consultant who was a luminary in the field of agro-bioscience and known by the trades to write bylined articled on VICAM’s behalf.
The result: VICAM’s number of average cover stories tripled. And this happened all while better controlling the message.
For this agricultural biotech client's calendar, BlackSmith recommended that they use the underlying theme that art imitates life.
For them, their life means delivering safeguarded food quality using rapid food quality test kits. Thus, for this year's calendar,we chose to use art to spotlight the commodities for which VICAM tests .
The back of each calendar page treats you to varying commodity illustrations– wine to coffee; peanuts to pistachios; corn to rice, and more . . .
The hope is that you consider framing the art prints so that they will always remind you of the partnership you share to ensure food safety worldwide.
About the Technique
Utilizing a popular painting technique, gouache (pronounced gwash), BlackSmith hand-crafted illustrations draw inspiration from the great Masters. Cézanne, van Gough, and Picasso all used gouache on occasion.Whereas watercolors are transparent, gouache contains opaque chaulks, is layered on thickly, and produces a layered, vibrant end result.
For this sophisticated 6CP pocket folder, BlackSmith did a considerable amount of research on the wine as well as the grape juice industries as the pocket folder was intended to hold collateral with regards to a quality control kit sold to industry for use with wine and grape juice. BlackSmith found that both red wine, Concord grapes, and ice wines were the most susceptible to contamination and thus, featured them prominently in the design. Also from a technical vantage point, it was important to showcase the most precise instrument as the limits for this contaminant were in the parts per trillion (ppt); therefore, a custom-shot photograph of a female scientist was integrated into the design.
Veterinary Separations Product Information Sheet
VICAM LP was a company in growth mode and was seeking attention from the Investment community. In a short time, they had recently grown from a 2 line agricultural concern to a full-fledged agrobioscience concern with 5 product lines. It was decided that a family of 5 Product Information sheets were needed to validate the company’s fast-paced expansion.
The Veterinary Separations Product Information Sheet was one of those 5 collateral pieces each representing one product line. Within the Veterinary Separations line, two products existed, SepX and SepY. Both SepX and SepY were sex selection products.
Given the ethical considerations of sex selection with humans, VICAM LP decided that it did not want to be in the middle of a maelstrom of controversy. Thus, they decided that they only wanted to market SepX and SepY to the agricultural community where they already had a considerable foothold given their food safety testing kits. SepX which worked to produce a more favorable ratio of female calves was the first of the Veterinary Separations products to launch and because of that VICAM wanted to stress its end users: dairy farmers.
To assist VICAM LP to create a line of collateral pieces that gave testimony to their 5 product lines, with this example illustrating their seriousness about the Veterinary Separations arena. In order to do this we created a PMS color scheme of 5 distinct colors in sophisticated shades to craft individual identities for each of the 5 lines and made use of them on both the front and back of the Product Information Sheets. To convey the significance of entry into additional markets, we advised the client to go with a 6-color job including 4CP with 1 PMS and a gloss varnish.
For each of the lines, we chose a product line specific photograph and chose a dramatic treatment of it, blowing it up to 8.5”x11”, cropping it closely, and bleeding it off the page. For the Veterinary Separations line their was the extra challenge of making sure that no one would think this a sex separations product for humans; thus, a shot of a Holstein cow was chosen. Holsteins are known in the dairy industry for the best feed to milk ratio.
The family of Product Information Sheet were very helpful in presenting the company to multiple bidders as they were included in the Offering Memoradum. Bidders from as far away as the Netherlands, as well as both NASDAQ and NYSE players took note. The Veterinary Separations Product Information Sheet was particularly useful in signing on and supporting distributors for this revolutionary technology, and assisted in garnering international press coverage.
When BlackSmith entered the scene, VICAM Technical Service was simply printing their wall sized posters on 8.5”x11”s and stapling them together. The effect was unpolished and unprofessional and did not convey the sophistication behind their science. Thus, BlackSmith strongly recommended to management that they immediately put a stop to this and that from there on BlackSmith work in partnership with Technical Service to produce a 4cp polished poster on a continuous stock.
Mycotoxin Poster Design
As VICAM was one of the leading mycotoxin test kit companies in the world but still faced major competition, BlackSmith advised that they develop an eye-catching poster that would nicely dress up a lab space as well as provide concrete, helpful testing statistics such as range and limit of detection, etc.
The result: The outcome was tremendous with the poster now hanging in over 5000 labs and institutes worldwide.