linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Hallmark - calling card
Also of interest...
 

Hallmark


  Hallmark
calling card
by Barry Silverstein
June 15, 2009

Brands that don’t keep up with the times are subject to negative perceptions, eroding brand preference and, ultimately, a decline in brand equity. Particularly vulnerable are those brands operating in businesses that seem old and stodgy. Take traditional printed greeting cards, for example. While they maintain their popularity, printed cards are increasingly under attack by online greetings—“e-cards”—which can incorporate multimedia to competitive advantage.
 
 

You’d think that would have Hallmark worried. Hallmark is the brand most associated with traditional greeting cards. The company sells them through 43,000 retail locations in the US, 3,000 retail locations in Canada and countless locations in 100 other countries around the globe.

But Hallmark, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2010, is an iconic brand that manages to keep up with the times.

Greeting cards are still the bulk of the company’s business. Hallmark produces 19,000 new and redesigned greeting cards and related products each year, including party goods, gift wrap and ornaments. Today Hallmark greeting cards incorporate everything from Disney characters to sound clips from popular movies, TV shows and songs. Hallmark also uses the Internet not only to provide e-cards, but also as a means of offering personalized, printed greeting cards that the company mails for consumers. Not bad for a little family business known as Hall Brothers that started by producing picture postcards in 1910.

But greeting cards alone do not account for a company with about US$ 4.5 billion in sales. Hallmark has found other profitable ways to leverage its brand name outside its core business.

A particularly successful brand spin-off has been the television show Hallmark Hall of Fame, which originated in 1951. It was the early days of television, when sponsored shows were commonplace. Hallmark Hall of Fame presented Shakespearean and other classic works in its first years, later moving into original dramas and literary adaptations. The show continues to air periodically. It has earned 79 Emmys to date.

One of the Emmy awards Hallmark received was for a greeting card commercial. (Only Hallmark commercials appear during Hallmark Hall of Fame.) The commercial depicted an elderly man taking reading lessons. At the end of the commercial, it is apparent that the reason for his effort was so he could read greeting cards from his grandchildren. Other Hallmark commercials present similarly poignant slices of life that relate to the importance of greeting cards.

According to Hallmark, Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations attract 10 to 20 million viewing households. Hallmark Chairman Donald J. Hall says, “It continues to work its magic on our image to a degree I cannot fully explain. I am not aware of any such vehicle, in or out of television, available to any other company, with such a positive impact.”

Hallmark Hall of Fame was just the first of many electronic media ventures for Hallmark. In the 1980s, the company bought Spanish-language television stations and the Univision Spanish-language network, then acquired a cable television network, but these businesses were sold in the 1990s. Ultimately, such forays laid the groundwork for the 2001 launch of the Hallmark Channel, a cable network that offers “family-friendly programming” and produces original movies. Hallmark Channel, currently viewed in 86 million US households, recently spun off Hallmark Movie Channel, which is the exclusive repository for Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations.

The Hallmark brand name is prominent in other media. It adorns Hallmark Magazine, a paid subscription publication that publishes recipes and projects. Hallmark Magazine has a rate base of 700,000 and averages nearly 4 million readers per issue.

The brand also achieves visibility through a chain of Hallmark Gold Crown retail stores in the US and Canada and Hallmark-branded shops in other countries. Hallmark Gold Crown stores are independently owned and operated under a licensing agreement with Hallmark. Crown Rewards, introduced in 1994, was the first consumer reward program in the greeting card industry, offering consumers points for purchasing merchandise at Hallmark Gold Crown stores. Crown Rewards has more than 12 million active members and is one of the largest and longest-running brand loyalty programs in the US.

Hallmark operates internationally through a division based in the United Kingdom. International subsidiaries include Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and New Zealand. Hallmark cards are produced in 40 languages.

Hallmark’s chief brand rival is American Greetings, a company founded only a few years earlier than Hallmark. American Greetings owns another leading greeting cards brand, Gibson, and also markets cards under the Carlton Cards brand. American Greetings produces gift wrap and party goods, as does Hallmark. At about US$ 2 billion in sales, American Greetings is dwarfed by Hallmark. However, American Greetings is publicly owned, while Hallmark is a family-owned private company, so American Greetings could conceivably gain access to more capital.

Hallmark has also faced competition from smaller brands over the years; in fact, the company was sued in the 1980s by Blue Mountain Arts for copyright infringement and unfair competition. As a result, Hallmark was forced to discontinue Personal Touch, one of its greeting card lines.

Despite these continuing competitive challenges, Hallmark is one of those brands whose name is synonymous with its product category. Think greeting cards, and chances are you think Hallmark. That’s an accomplishment worthy of a “Congratulations” card.

 
     
  

Barry Silverstein has been a frequent brandchannel contributor since 2007. He has thirty years of advertising and marketing experience and is currently a freelance writer and marketing consultant. He founded and ran his own direct marketing agency and held executive positions with Epsilon, a leading database marketing firm and Arnold, a major ad agency. Silverstein is the author of three marketing books, including the McGraw-Hill book, The Breakaway Brand, which he co-authored with Arnold CEO Fran Kelly.

  
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 9 )  email

Hallmark - calling card
 
 When I was in an advertising agency I worked with Hallmark UK in the mid-Nineties. At the time we looked at the potential impact of the 'new media' age, obviously with concern that it would kill off greetings cards (bearing in mind the UK at that time sent the highest number of cards per capita). What we found, and as far as I'm aware has subsequently happened, was that the likes of email, SMS, MMS, actually threw in to sharp relief the benefit of sending a card i.e. it can be kept and is more sentimental whereas, generally speaking, a message sent in a 'new media' channel can disappear in to the ether. 
Crispin Reed, Managing Director, Brandhouse - June 15, 2009
 
 Hallmark is, indeed, one of the stalwart brands in America; just in the interest of accuracy, Hallmark Magazine fell victim to the economic crunch and was shuttered with the Feb/Mar issue. It's too bad - the pub had a vibrant offering with rising circulation numbers, but like numerous companies this year, expenses were trimmed and this enjoyable brand offshoot was pruned. 
Jennifer Nugent, Media Director, Muller Bressler Brown - June 15, 2009
 
 Trying times bring out the passion in people – that’s multiplied 4,000-fold at Hallmark’s headquarters in Kansas City. I’m new to the company, recently relocating from Los Angeles to join their Marketing Design Studio. In my fifth week here, I am floored daily by how much my colleagues pour themselves into their work. You’d never guess a company with a 100-year legacy would feel so much like a Dot Com startup. People here are preserving and promoting the greeting card category, while simultaneously taking giant leaps forward with digitally-enabled connecting. To a brand marketer like me, this is utopia – a place where being an artist and an entrepreneur are one and the same. Don’t be surprised to see this brand thrive for another 100 years. Not because they’re so well established, but precisely because they don’t act like they are. 
Daryl Forkell, Editorial Strategist, Hallmark, Inc. - June 19, 2009
 
  brandchannel profile archive   2011  |  2010  | 2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
 
 
Dec 23, 2009 Prilosec - drug war -- Barry Silverstein
  Can Prilosec OTC cure the competition?
   
 
Dec 17, 2009 Family Dollar - bringing change -- Mark J. Miller
  Why Family Dollars is worth every penny.
   
 
Dec 10, 2009 Harrah's - a good bet -- Barry Silverstein
  Why the Harrah’s brand has got game.
   
 
Dec 2, 2009 Sutter Home Winery - uncorked -- Mark J. Miller
  Why Sutter Home has wine in its veins.
   
 
Nov 24, 2009 Kraft Peanut Butter (Canada) - sticky situation? -- Renée Alexander
  Kraft peanut butter has Canada on a cracker.
   
 
Nov 23, 2009 For Dummies - smart! -- Barry Silverstein
  The genius behind the For Dummies brand.
   
 
Nov 11, 2009 Dr Pepper - sick? -- Barry Silverstein
  Dr Pepper has the cure.
   
 
Nov 4, 2009 Dawn - cleaning up -- Barry Silverstein
  Dawn shines on expanding territory.
   
 
Oct 28, 2009 Alexander Keith's - pouring it on -- Reneé Alexander
  Alexander Keith’s savors its rebrand.
   
 
Oct 21, 2009 Tecnisa Construction Company - door-to-door -- Beth Furtado
  Tecnisa is building bonds and its brand in Brazil.
   
 
Oct 14, 2009 Rough Luxe - roughed up? -- Barry Silverstein
  Why there is No Vacancy at Rough Luxe?
   
 
Oct 2, 2009 Mondetta - flying high? -- Renée Alexander
  Mondetta’s flags fly once again.
   
 
Sep 30, 2009 Chico's - sized right? -- Barry Silverstein
  Chico’s tries on original styles and sizes.
   
 
Sep 23, 2009 TaylorMade - swinging? -- Mark J. Miller
  Why TaylorMade is part of an elite club.
   
 
Sep 14, 2009 Volute Wine - canned wine? -- Barry Silverstein
  Volute is bottling up the future of wine.
   
 
Sep 7, 2009 Chanel No. 5 - perfect perfume? -- Ana Paula Palombo Terzi
  Chanel’s future smells like its past.
   
 
Aug 31, 2009 Food From the ’Hood - growing potential -- Barry Silverstein
  Food From the ’Hood is prime branding real estate.
   
 
Aug 24, 2009 Viking Range Corporation - home on the range -- Mark Miller
  Viking Range seeks to pillage outdated kitchens.
   
 
Aug 17, 2009 Better Homes and Gardens - home sweet home? -- Barry Silverstein
  Better Homes and Gardens in the hood.
   
 
Aug 10, 2009 The Grid - line by line -- Mandy de Waal
  Find yourself on the Grid.
   
 
Aug 3, 2009 Nickelodeon - child's play? -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Nickelodeon rules kids.
   
 
Jul 27, 2009 Staples - buttons up -- Renée Alexander
  Staples’ brand, that was easy.
   
 
Jul 20, 2009 Pirate's Booty - snack fight! -- Barry Silverstein
  Pirate’s Booty is a branding treasure.
   
 
Jul 13, 2009 Hamam - steaming along? -- Elif Altunoklu
  Hamam gives the world a Turkish bath.
   
 
Jul 6, 2009 BIC - the write approach -- Barry Silverstein
  Why this brand is uBICuitous.
   
 
Jun 29, 2009 United Africa Company of Nigeria - refreshing? -- Eric Okeke
  UACN: food for thought.
   
 
Jun 22, 2009 Kohler - sinking in -- Barry Silverstein
  Kohler taps into international designs.
   
 
Jun 8, 2009 Moog - noted -- Barry Silverstein
  The electronic keys behind Moog’s brand.
   
 
Jun 1, 2009 Pentax - clicks with customers -- Jennifer Gidman
  Pentax focuses on brand advocates.
   
 
May 25, 2009 Cacau Show - sweet deal -- Beth Furtado
  Brazil has a taste for Cacau Show.
   
 
May 18, 2009 Swarovski - cutting edge? -- Barry Silverstein
  Swarovski still shines in modern times.
   
 
May 11, 2009 Mengniu Milk - skim? -- Banu Kannu
  Mengniu: Got milk scandal?
   
 
May 4, 2009 Polaroid - touched up -- Barry Silverstein
  Will Polaroid’s brand be fully developed?
   
 
Apr 27, 2009 Hand-Me-Down - howies' heirlooms -- Mya Frazier
  Is Hand-Me-Down passing on a new tradition?
   
 
Apr 20, 2009 A Prairie Home Companion - good company? -- Abram Sauer
  PHC’s unique field of branding.
   
 
Apr 13, 2009 Sellaband - cha-ching-aling -- Barry Silverstein
  Sellaband’s musical model pays off.
   
 
Apr 6, 2009 no name - who? -- Reneé Alexander
  Why no name is popular again.
   
 
Mar 30, 2009 Granado - keeping up appearances -- Ana Paula Palombo Terzi
  Why Granado has Brazil feeling well.
   
 
Mar 23, 2009 Goldschläger - flakey? -- Abram Sauer
  Why Goldschläger is young at heart.
   
 
Mar 16, 2009 Lufthansa Italia - winging it? -- Barry Silverstein
  Lufthansa Italia takes flight.
   
 
Mar 9, 2009 Natura - eco-beauty -- Jovilson Azevedo
  Natura flourishes in a branding environment.
   
 
Mar 2, 2009 Ten Thousand Villages - crafty -- Barry Silverstein
  Fair trade for all from villages to malls.
   
 
Feb 23, 2009 Orla Kiely - on target -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Orla Kiely dresses the part for Target.
   
 
Feb 16, 2009 Star lager - gazes -- Eric Okeke
  Star lager sparkles with history.
   
 
Feb 9, 2009 Hush Puppies - bitchin’ -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Hush Puppies are littered with success.
   
 
Feb 2, 2009 we - climate change -- Barry Silverstein
  Why we is in it together.
   
 
Jan 26, 2009 Carol’s Daughter - blossoms -- A.K. Cabell
  Carol’s Daughter grows up.
   
 
Jan 19, 2009 Bio-Oil - skin deep -- Mandy de Waal
  The healing power of Bio-Oil.
   
 
Jan 12, 2009 Burt’s Bees - natural buzz -- Barry Silverstein
  When honey makes money.
   
 
Jan 5, 2009 Zena AG - cutting edge? -- Jennifer Gidman
  Zena peels away branding challenges.