In the press! Be short, but original!

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your name or your products in a magazine. The rapidly flipping through the pages of the edition that has just arrived, the nervously scanning for mistakes (in the e-mail address, phone number you provided…), the sigh of relief when you discover none, the knowledge that many people will read about you. It could be an addiction.

Bringing out your product or brand is important. As a (small) company you could spend fortunes being in all different magazines. The problem is: even if you are willing to spend it on advertising, how many people will you reach? No promises can be made. The sales person who sells you the ad will shout that his magazine is sold to 15000 people and will be read, held, fluttered and fumbled by up to 40000, can’t really promise you that all those who touch the magazine will also see your ad and read it. A ‘percentage’ will.

Advertising of course isn’t all about immediate sales: you can’t expect of everyone who sees your ad to act upon it. There are however some things to think about when you’re considering to advertise.

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ChromaLuxe is a brand and a product with many different opportunities when it comes to external communication. We want to talk to the end user about the panels, so that they will know of the product and decide they want it in their living room. We also talk to professionals to convince to offer our products to those end users. Different target audiences, different media.

Let’s concentrate on talking to the general public, the end user. Let’s say you’re selling ChromaLuxe panels: Try for looking at other opportunities than the regu!ar full-page ad. Look in the magazine for the short news facts: the pages with the small news items are the pages that are read most in a magazine. It’s short, it’s fast and it’s refreshing and quite often the possibility to announce a discount or give away 10 free panels.

Both options are interesting:

  • If you give a discount, people either order a panel from your website or call you with a specific code. This tells you know how many people decided to make use of the offer and where they saw you. A discount needs to be interesting though: for 5% no one will start up their computer. Also always mention net prices instead of percentages. This will appeal more to your audience.
  • When you give away free panels, you can limit the offer to 5 or 10 panels, only keep in mind that your readership must at least think they can win. I don’t know if many people will start up their computers for 1 or 2 panels, so make the offer enticing. You’ll also need to pay for sending the panels to the winner, so take that in to account. Another pro: If you have the contestants send an e-mail, you build up a nice database at the same time.

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If you want to try one of these options, you’ll need to talk to the editorial staff of the magazine. Sending them a panel with one of their pictures will show them the product and quality in advance and you might even get more out of it than a small article. For the magazine this is interesting as well: they have something to offer to their customers and have something to fill the gaps. Everyone wins!

One more tip! When you want to go for traditional advertising, always ask for the possibility to get an editorial. That doesn’t necessarily needs to be a complete article on your company, but it can be a mention in an article about design or new trends or a short article on a page – right – as mentioned above. It’s all about getting noticed!


Featured imageCarolyn Krekels is jr Marketing Manager at Universal Woods EMEA, in Schelle, Belgium. She has been taking care of the EMEA marketing for the Universal Woods products for 9 years so far, first working for the EMEA distribution partner of Universal Woods. In 2012 she joined the Universal Woods EMEA team. In Carolyn’s posts, she will give you insight in the marketing actions organised by Universal Woods EMEA and can give you useful hands-on tips on how to bring your product to the market. Contact her via carolynk@chromaluxe.com

Organising a tradeshow booth? Be the little girl in the red coat.

During the build up for FESPA, in Cologne, now more than two weeks ago, my thoughts drifted away to another German city: Kassel who hosted the trade show ‘World of Trophies’ back in 2006. Two things have changed since 2006: Featured imageme, in almost 10 years I have learned many things about tradeshows. For one: that service deadlines when organizing a show are always extended – a valuable lesson. The second thing that has changed is my approach. One rule: Make your Stand stand out.

Trade shows are like school playgrounds in winter: the one with the red coat is the one that gets noticed. When organizing a participation at a trade show and putting a booth together you want to be that girl in the red coat. You can be the tall boy, who will be seen by everyone, just because he’s tall. You can be the loud girl, everyone can hear. You WANT, however, to be the girl in the red Featured imagecoat who gets noticed.

Everything starts with a stand building company that understands your briefings. If you ask our stand builder (please do: Expo Z, Belgium) they will probably tell you we’re not their easiest customer and that they do have their work cut out with us. If you’ve seen the booth, you’ll understand why. We do not have a “13-in-a-dozen” concept and needed a version 2 of the stand design, but the result was undoubtedly successful.

What we tried at FESPA this year was not to show the products, but the possibilities. I must admit: we have flexible products to work with. MDF panels become wardrobe doors, Featured imagea headboard for a bed or a picnic table. Aluminium panels of 5cm wide become art. The table tops were a launched product, the floor panels a prototype, but all these applications together created a complete world of sublimation possibilities.

What helps me is to pick a theme: we had 5 at this booth of 104 square meters – I love to make my life complicated. Picking a theme is possible for almost all products and prevents you from being the 5th indistinguishable company selling printers in the same aisle. Think about the little girl in the red coat.

When the stand is there, it’s the details that will make it work: thank you Unisub for providing the tools to finish it: coasters and serving trays in our Fruitorama bar, picture frames in the space theme, to go in the Featured imagespacey teen bedroom.

Last but not least: a strong team makes a strong booth. Our designer Liese did a great job inventing a Juicebar from scratch, our sublimation specialist Eva had nightmares of 5 cm bars in 6 different finishes, our warehouse team packed our samples so they arrived in the best possible way in Cologne, my sales colleagues helped putting all the samples up, our American CEO told FESPA-visitors about Large Format Sublimation during an educational seminar… A great team makes a great show. Thanks everyone!

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Featured imageCarolyn Krekels is jr Marketing Manager at Universal Woods EMEA, in Schelle, Belgium. She has been taking care of the EMEA marketing for the Universal Woods products for 9 years so far, first working for the EMEA distribution partner of Universal Woods. In 2012 she joined the Universal Woods EMEA team. In Carolyn’s posts, she will give you insight in the marketing actions organised by Universal Woods EMEA and can give you useful hands-on tips on how to bring your product to the market. Contact her via carolynk@chromaluxe.com

Get out! Get to know the market!

After a full day of proofreading the Unisub-part of our new EMEA catalogue, I really feel the urge to talk about this brand a bit more. Not because I want to tell you about the different products we offer, but because I strongly believe that there’s a whole extra dimension lying between the lines of this catalogue.

Unisub is the brand that represents our gift items and products for personalization. A whole different market maybe than sister brand ChromaLuxe, but just as sexy if you look into it.

When considering Unisub, I could talk to you about our 10 different luggage tags, our ornaments in all shapes and sizes or about our streamline awards, a range you really should have a look at, as the quality is superb and the opportunities for using them countless.

However, I want you to look at the range from a different perspective. Of course you can be sublimating at a gift shop and offer your regulars or the accidental visitor the opportunity to have their grandchildren sublimated on a coaster as a Mothers’ Day present.

That same installation though, the desktop printer and press for small format sublimation, can take you a lot further. Here are three ideas you might have never considered.

  • Add new business: the world has digitalized over the last decade. MyFeatured image grandparents house was full of framed black and white pictures, my mother has her printed pictures lying on her living room table in an album and me personally, I store the pictures I take on my computer or smartphone. Photographers experience the same, but for them this is their income – they sell less frames, less albums, less prints. How to make money in these changing times?  Try getting more out of the studiowork, is the answer any sublimation specialist can help them with. Selling large format wall décor is great, but it’s not the only thing they can do! Help them think about coasters, a memory game, a serving tray or a puzzle, all with unique images. By all means, they must keep on selling the large format, but while they’re at it, why not show their customer the other possibilities? Help them, show them the options!
  • Think about the hospitality market and think with an open Featured imagemind: hotels, cocktail bars, restaurants, wellness centers. They all –or at least the up-market ones- want to stand out and attract returning customers. All of the groups mentioned above can use a full Unisub kit, to add the details to make their package complete. Let’s visit a wellness center: when coming in, the receptionist who’s greeting us, is wearing a name badge, so we’d know her name, the key to my locker has a sublimated key ring, I can store my valuables in a keepsake box, the doors have signs so I know where to get my massage, there is a sublimated menu on the table for lunch and my cocktail is brought to me on a serving tray, again with the center’s corporate identity. There are so many possibilities a manager might not have thought about, but that can make a difference. Help them, show them the options!
  • Do you like sports? I play amateur tennis and that’s about it. When Featured imageyou’re running a sublimation company though, make sure to get to know all the sports associations and clubs in your not too close neighborhood, and make sure they know you! The larger clubs and clubhouses can be helped in the same way as the hospitality target audience under my point 2, but also the smaller clubs now and then organize championships. Your father-in-law’s sailing club might be bored of the good old trophies and prefer an award with a picture of the winner, but they might not realize it yet. That’s were you come in: Help them, show them the options!

These are a few suggestions of where our Unisub brand can take you. Of course there are a lot more.

In other to realize this however, the first step is to do some outward marketing: don’t stay in your studio and wait for these potential customers to knock on your door, because they might never find you.

Get out, sell yourself, your service and your products. It will take some energy, but it will be worth your efforts! Good luck!


Featured imageCarolyn Krekels is jr Marketing Manager at Universal Woods EMEA, in Schelle, Belgium. She has been taking care of the EMEA marketing for the Universal Woods products for 9 years so far, first working for the EMEA distribution partner of Universal Woods. In 2012 she joined the Universal Woods EMEA team. In Carolyn’s posts, she will give you insight in the marketing actions organised by Universal Woods EMEA and can give you useful hands-on tips on how to bring your product to the market. Contact her via carolynk@chromaluxe.com

Snow White would like to connect to you on LinkedIn

Once upon a time when the animals could speak, lived in magic forests and ate little girls with red riding hoods, no one had heard about the internet, let alone LinkedIn. All foresters were still using their filofaxes for keeping the names, addresses and facts on all people they saved. Snow White was under the W and Little Red Riding Hood under the R. Tom Thumb had never been saved yet, but was under the P of ‘prospects’.

Many manuals and webinars exist that can teach a forester about LinkedIn and they will take him far. But maybe further than he needs to get. They’ll tell him about recruiting and making sales using the tool. It’s however very important to learn to walk before wanting to run.

The sublimation business is an interesting one with many markets and also many sidetracks. Being in this business brings you in contact with many people. Some of them are interesting for you now, but others can be later. Without being an expert, LinkedIn can help you keep in touch and ‘store’ the potential ones.

3 tips I would give to anyone new on LinkedIn – you’ll soon notice it becomes an addiction – but a healthy one!

  • Take care of your profile:

Turn it around: if someone who doesn’t have a (decent) image and who’s not showing any information wants to connect with you, are you tempted to accept? We want to know the people we’re dealing with and that goes both ways.

  1. choose a good professional picture, no holiday, kids or drinks ought to be in it, just you, looking friendly.
  2. Pick a title and company: you can be proud of the fact that you own your company, but ‘Snow White, owner’ just doesn’t satisfy anyone’s curiosity.
  3. The more complete your profile is, the better. As a beginner on LinkedIn you might not be worried about it, but you’ll start to be when you want others to look for you and find you. If our forester is looking for a new forest, one that happens to have a lot of fairy tale creatures going missing, it’s very interesting when he mentions he rescued both Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White.

  • Build your audience:

You don’t need to have thousands of contacts, but as a business man/woman you want more than 31. There’s some good news: after 500 LinkedIn stops counting and you get the 500+ status.

When looking for people to connect with, start with your colleagues or competitors (if you’re on a friendly base, because they might be reading this post and know what you’re up to). Also think about people you used to work with. Even family and friends are nice to get your number up. (be careful about aunts who call themselves head of their handicraft group – if you have too many of these, they might not be so good for your credibility)

  1. Once you’re connected to them – you might need to wait until they accept you – it gets more interesting. Now you can have a look at the people they are connected to. This can be interesting in two ways:
    1. These are people you know too and you wouldn’t have thought about looking for them, but now they are just within reach.
    2. These are people you might not know personally but want to get to know – this is why it’s interesting to be connected with people working for companies like your own. If there is a possibility they know your company, or if your profile is complete, you can ask them to connect. If they have a look at your profile and find the synergy, they will accept.
  2. Don’t only look for people in the same type of business as your own. Have you been in contact with a magazine? Look for the editor. Have you dealt with a freight forwarder for a trade show? Look for your contact person. Have you taken pictures for an architect? Look for the owner of the building. You might need to introduce yourself, but you will build a heterogeneous network this way.

  • Start to use your LinkedIn!

If you followed step one and two, there’s nothing more you need to start using your LinkedIn. Post about what your company is doing, which shows you’re attending and which projects you’re working on. Or, if you’re in need of info: ask for it! Your network has possibly the information you need, and – double the points! – as they are in your business, they even perfectly understand your needs!

Let me give you an example: I recently launched a post about special designs for the Universal Woods booth at FESPA. I got them, thanks to a UK contact that exactly knew what I was looking for.

The fact is, with LinkedIn, never let anyone tell you they’re better in it than you are. If you use it for your purposes and you get the results you expect, you’re doing a very good job. Only the top of the LinkedIn iceberg are users that can be posh about it because they are probably using the tool better than most of the others are.

Another fact is that, if you’re not a frequent user, there probably are features that could come in handy for you. That’s why I’d like to suggest you work on the first two tips above and force yourself to once in a while do the third.

Connect to me and have a stroll around my contacts. Let’s see how many people we have in common.


Featured imageCarolyn Krekels is jr Marketing Manager at Universal Woods EMEA, in Schelle, Belgium. She has been taking care of the EMEA marketing for the Universal Woods products for 9 years so far, first working for the EMEA distribution partner of Universal Woods. In 2012 she joined the Universal Woods EMEA team. In Carolyn’s posts, she will give you insight in the marketing actions organised by Universal Woods EMEA and can give you useful hands-on tips on how to bring your product to the market. Contact her via carolynk@chromaluxe.com

A whole new world: European Photographers in Trieste

When I was about 8 years old, I read the book ‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl, a truly terrifying but magical story about an annual convention of witches from all over. Not that I expected photographers to be similar to potential dangerous creatures, but the comparison sprung into my mind when I was travelling to Trieste last Friday for the Photography Masters Conference of the Federation of European Photographers. I was on my way to attend my first FEP event.

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I must admit that it wasn’t an entirely black hole to jump into. As ChromaLuxe has been partner of the Belgian National association for Professional Photographers who are a very active and interactive group of photographers, for a few years now, meeting up with the European Federation didn’t seem a very big leap. Being a partner of the Belgian association had taught us a lot about the profession of the photographer, how they think, what they need and how many differences there can be between all those who call themselves photographers. We’ve introduced ChromaLuxe over the last few years to the Belgian members and were able to convince them of the quality of our product. The positive feedback of our fellow countrymen made us decide to become a partner of the Federation of European Photographers: one step beyond!

This was what happened before. Now, in Trieste, I was entering a whole new world and I had one official objective and one personal. The official one: networking. The FEP represents 17 European countries; in some of them we’re very active already with ChromaLuxe Labs. The others were the subject of objective n°1. I’ve met people from Georgia, Russia, Slovakia, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal… Different backgrounds, but all great, interesting people.

My second objective was personal: suck in as much information as possible. In between the networking opportunities during breaks and dinners, there was an actual event going on: speakers from the photographic world followed one another talking about lighting, portraits, photo manipulation and photo combination. I’ve learned by listening, by talking to photographers and by being honest: I don’t have a background in photography, but I want to build a sound understanding. It was amazing how far you get by doing these three things. If you want to sell a product to someone, first get to know them. Then become a partner, and prove to them that you don’t just want to sell.

A thought on networking:

The key is: take your time. Don’t throw your cards around; never give one when people simply aren’t interested: better wait for the next occasion. It’s like dating, really, if you’re too keen you’ll end up alone because they will simply run away from you. When you enter a room, don’t jump the first person you see, go and take an interesting position, by the bar for instance: a place where people will end up anyway and mostly are open for an introduction. Don’t work your way around the room, don’t let yourself get caught as business card sponger. Take your time: never move too fast from one to another. Treat your potential business partners as friends, don’t interrupt them when they are talking to someone else, don’t give them the impression you want to make the deal tonight but get to know them. Take. Your. Time.

One free extra tip: Use your LinkedIn! What I do when returning from an event like this is connect to my ‘new friends’ on LinkedIn. This is when they become business relationships.

I went home on Monday with new friends, their business cards, the promise to be in touch to talk about ChromaLuxe but above all a mind filled with new insights in photography. Thank you members of FEP for the warm welcome, for the interesting weekend but mainly for the acquired knowledge: it will surely help us become even better partners.

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Featured image Carolyn Krekels is jr Marketing Manager at Universal Woods EMEA, in Schelle, Belgium. She has been taking care of the EMEA marketing for the Universal Woods products for 9 years so far, first working for the EMEA distribution partner of Universal Woods. In 2012 she joined the Universal Woods EMEA team. In Carolyn’s posts, she will give you insight in the marketing actions organised by Universal Woods EMEA and can give you useful hands-on tips on how to bring your product to the market. Contact her via carolynk@chromaluxe.com


Nothing ever happens in Belgium

‘Nothing ever happens in Belgium, right?’

Our fatalist taxi-driver managed to insult me and freak me out, while manoeuvring us through the busy London morning traffic. It was a week after the Paris attacks and a day after the foiled one in Verviers.

‘Who would have thought so, in Belgium… We all know, an attack in London is imminent: they know it will happen, just not when and where. But when your time has come, it has come, right?’

Welcome to London…

The Hilton Metropole Hotel in London hosted the SWPP (Society of Wedding Featured imageand Portrait Photographers) Convention and Trade Show from January 16th to 18th: the place to be for any wedding or portrait photographer in the country. Many master classes succeeded one another, with an opportunity for the attendees to stroll around the trade show booths during the breaks.

We are not from the UK, not a lab and hence not selling direct to photographers and we have four of the best UK labs selling our product, so why were we here with a booth of 4×2 m? Only one answer: Brand awareness and visibility. When a photographer turns to a lab for the printing of his images, we want him to ask for a ChromaLuxe, not a canvas, an acrylic or Dibond, but a metal print, printed on ChromaLuxe!

I have to admit: convincing a photographer to go for a ‘new’ and ‘undiscovered’ printing technique isn’t easy. They have a vast clientele who like their canvasses or framed photo paper and might not want to risk adding a new and more expensive material to the mix. However, with the right images at the booth, you will be able to attract and awe the ones looking for the novelties on the market.

Looking for great images toFeatured image display at a booth? One tip: forget about iStock and Shutterstock, but look for real photographers willing to share their images with you. You’ll find out three things working this way: 1) the extra time spent on looking for ‘real’ images will be largely compensated by the enthusiasm of photographers once they discover ChromaLuxe, 2) the visitors of your booth will be attracted by real photos of real people, in contrast to the ‘look how naturally I can smile’-family portraits you pay €5 for on image databases. 3) before you know it you’ll have a database of photographers eager to have you use their images, as for them it’s publicity too! And there’s even a number four: these photographers will talk and tweet about you and make your music. Now that’s a return on investment!

Where to find them, these photographers, you ask? They’re all around! Six weeks prior to the show, we launched a tweet, a couple of times the same one, for optimal reach:

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With the reactions we got, our graphic designer started to make the puzzle: portraits, weddings, some commercial photography. Contacting photographers, getting the high res files, sublimating the panels. Everyone who ever planned a booth knows how hectic this can be.

And for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, all of this is done from our offices in Belgium. So nothing ever happens in Belgium? No, not right.


Featured image Carolyn Krekels is jr Marketing Manager at Universal Woods EMEA, in Schelle, Belgium. She has been taking care of the EMEA marketing for the Universal Woods products for 9 years so far, first working for the EMEA distribution partner of Universal Woods. In 2012 she joined the Universal Woods EMEA team. In Carolyn’s posts, she will give you insight in the marketing actions organised by Universal Woods EMEA and can give you useful hands-on tips on how to bring your product to the market. Contact her via carolynk@chromaluxe.com

All well that starts well !

Starting a blog is like starting a relationship: it’s exciting, fun and you hope it will last forever. Above all: to keep everyone happy, you need discipline. All well that starts well though. I’m happy to welcome you to Configuration_46this blog which will be all about sublimation in the EMEA-region (Europe-Africa-Middle East), about bringing your sublimation business to the market and we’ll also be offering you a bunch of technical tips and tricks. The blog will be powered by ChromaLuxe, so do excuse us when we take live examples to pimp our story. ChromaLuxe, Unisub and SwitchCase might not be far off on many occasions.

We, I say, because I also want to welcome my co-bloggers. Every week of the month we have another writer that talks to you from his/her field of expertise. Charles Henniker-Heaton will write every second Tuesday about sublimation, looked at from the perspective of an expert in the world of photographic printing, but a relative newcomer to sublimation. I know he recently sublimated his very first Unisub items at a Christmas Fair, I’m very sure he’ll be happy to share with you how that went.

Steven Roesbeke is our Technical Support Engineer: the person to follow when you want to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of (large format) sublimation. Steven will write about how to get perfect results when sublimating, but also which accessories to look at. He might also throw in some free tips and tricks. Mark your agenda the 3rd Tuesday of every month!

The 4th Tuesday we’ll have a guest writing the blog, a different one every month. We try to look for fun, interesting or surprising stories from the sublimation business.

4 times during 2015 there is a 5th Tuesday in the month. These weeks our Managing Director Erik Wiegman agreed to end every quarter with a story about the most remarkable encounter he had, area he visited or lesson he learned during the last 3 months.

We are sharing this information to let you have a look inside our exciting world of sublimation. Please follow us, share us, ask us questions and make suggestions. We always appreciate a peek back!