Building Out A New Facility and A Bright Future

Even in the midst of a pandemic, Gabriel Group has some great news to share!

As some of you may know, the last few months at GG have been very exciting as we’ve been tearing down walls, building breakrooms and setting up new equipment in a brand-new building! Our newest addition is right next door to our Lakefront facility which has been used as our fulfillment and handwork headquarters over the past few years. While these services will continue, our “buildout” facility will now house an additional 40,000 square feet of production space to complement our existing operations!

On June 10, a small group of masked Gabriel Group team members got together to make it official with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a speech from President, Charlie Pitlyk. While there were many details to celebrate, one addition in particular has been on the wish list of many Gabriel Group associates over the years: a highspeed Ricoh color inkjet printer with dynamic perfing. The many benefits of this well-loved machine include the ability to print variable color in large volumes which eliminates the need for purchasing forms and the ability to perforate anywhere on any form while staying in line with personalization. (Are you swooning too?)

While continuing operations from a digital print and lettershop standpoint, Gabriel Group is also very proud to add additional capabilities to its list of specialties. These services include card affixing, mailing label personalization and production, multiple insert match mail (up to 12 inserts in a mailing package – doubling our former capacity!) and high-speed bindery that will improve our turn times.

This latest adventure has come with plenty of hard work, but also an incredible amount of excitement and anticipation for the future. With our additional capacity, equipment and associates who have joined our team in order to staff the buildout, Gabriel Group has already started to work with new clients, get new projects completed and out the door and translate our one-of-a-kind company culture to a completely new space – all things we are so very proud of.

And we’re not done yet! While we’re nearing the end of this chapter and stage of growth and development, there’s plenty more to come. Stay tuned, world …

A very special thanks goes out to Charlie Pitlyk, Dana Benbenek, Paul Hawkins, William Pingel, Michael Huff, Mark Kayser, Kevin Brennan, Ken Lindsey, Carolyn Bruce, Kim Brown, Joyce Berra, Kelly Murphy, Phyllis O’Gorman, Traci Young, Dave Hawkins, the rest of the Gabriel Group team, in addition to Cyndi Greenglass, Barb Graves and Kathy Marocchi from our sister company Diamond Communication Solutions for your dedication in making this massive undertaking a reality. Your hard work is so very appreciated and valued!

Willing, Ready and Open – Are You Prepared?

Written by Ryan Hartman, Senior Director of Client Strategy & Business Development

As the country gets ready to move into the next stage of life during a pandemic, businesses around the U.S. are scrambling to cover their bases as they get their “Open” signs ready to hang in their windows once again.

Between guaranteeing safe sanitation measures and communicating to your customers the right way, preparing can be daunting. But when it comes to your marketing efforts, we’ve got you covered. Look below at the three major checklist items that need to be on the top of your mind to make you feel willing, ready and able to open your doors.

  • Reach out and engage.
    While you’ve hopefully maintained communications while you have had to close, it is even more imperative to get in front of your customers now before you invite them back into your building. Let them know about your reopen date, the procedures you are taking to keep them safe and your expectations when it comes to how your business will be run in the future. After you get through all the serious, but necessary, talking points, do not forget to have some fun and celebrate! It’s been a long couple of months in quarantine … make sure and tell your customer base how excited you are to see (or at least interact with) them again!
  • Update your COVID-19 policies.
    Once you have your action plan in place, make sure you update your website, social media pages and signage. Your customers will be doing plenty of preparation of their own before coming to visit you in person, so ensure that all the information they are seeking is readily available on every one of your marketing platforms. Continue to stay updated on the latest CDC guidelines and best practices here so that you can adjust, if necessary, in the future. And if you do, always send out an email outlining the changes so that your customers have the most up-to-date policy possible.
  • Do not stop communicating.
    From your announcement of sharing your intention to reopen to posting community-driven messages on Facebook, you simply cannot overcommunicate right now. Uncertainty is still very much in the air, so continue to be a voice of reason and positivity for your customers while we shift into the next stage of non-normalcy. (Let’s be honest, right?) Once you do reopen, do not stop letting your customers know how things are going. Acknowledge that although the insurgence of masks, gloves and social distancing will take some getting used to, you remain thankful to be open again and to have their business.

This next big step towards recovery is an intimidating one – but no doubt an exciting as well. As you prepare to reopen, keep the three ideas listed above in mind and you can’t go wrong. If you need further advice on marketing your company in the best way possible, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at ryan.hartman@gabrielgroup.com or 314.373.6100.

From lessons learned to reopening preparation …

… we have everything you need in our latest edition of Gabriel Group’s nonprofit newsletter, The Messenger.

The last few months have been tough, but so has the nonprofit community. While you’ve been fighting to keep your communities healthy, safe and strong, we’ve put together a case study on emergency response from one of our incredible clients, membership recovery advice and more as we all prepare for the next stage of our new normal.

Start reading here.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to be a constant source of support and positivity among the uncertainty. If you need assistance with your fundraising and membership goals, give Anna a call at 314.743.5796 or email anna.mcnulty@gabrielgroup.com today.

Customers And Safety First!

Written by Steve Koch, Vice President, Gaming Solutions

Soon, casinos will reopen and players will be back on the gaming floor. However, the environment around them and the way they interact within it will have changed. Preparing your facility to be safe upon their return will, of course, be vital. Equally important will be providing your players with much-needed information and tools to know you have taken care of them and have their best interests at heart.

No doubt you are currently utilizing social media, and perhaps direct mail or phone calls to stay in contact with your players. Take advantage of your current communication opportunities to let your community know how you are preparing for their return. Note those extra efforts, whether it be rearranging machines for distancing or extra sanitization measures. Assuring your players’ safety will be key to making them feel comfortable and returning often.

An added safety package upon your players’ arrival may be advantageous as well.  Consider a welcome packet which may include the following:

  • Personal hand sanitizer
  • Disposable gloves
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Protection Mask
    • Perhaps a scarf or mask with your casino’s logo
  • A welcome card with vital information regarding casino safety
    • First and foremost, a grateful “Thank you”
    • Information regarding what has been done to prepare the property in advance
      • Cleaning casino floor, preparing restaurants, sanitation of hotel, bathrooms, slot Machines, chips, etc.
    • What is currently being done to maintain a clean environment
    • Any new rules for distancing and safety

Now is the time to collaborate with others and prepare to move your businesses forward. Share your thoughts, ideas and plans with your peers. Your friends are listening and anxious to share as well!

It’s Time for Solutions

Written by Steve Koch, Vice President, Gaming Solutions

At Gabriel Group, our casino team believes there’s only one way to go from here: onward and upward. While businesses have had to pivot with barely a moment’s notice to adapt and overcome – there’s still work to be done. As the saying goes, change is the only constant in life.

Change requires resilience – and better yet, solutions. Although your casino might be closed for now, brighter days are coming. Continue reading below to find out how you can successfully adjust to this new normal as you wait for the all-clear to reopen your doors and persevere moving forward.

  • Commit to your digital efforts. Time at home means more time online. While playing at your casino has been put on hold, spend some time focusing on building your acquisition and retention efforts. Take the time to optimize your website by making it as user-friendly as possible for future visits. Create ads and retarget them to prospective players to increase brand awareness and convert leads even faster down the line. Enhancing your digital presence is crucial during times like these.
  • Connect with those who matter most. Prioritize making personal touchpoints with your players. With staff away from the casino, considering telemarketing campaigns could be your best bet when examining your options to maintain your most important relationships. Whether it’s just a friendly check-in or you’re looking to receive feedback on past visits, making sure your players keep you top of mind will never fail you in the long run.
  • Bridge the gap. Don’t wait to market to your players. Mail them something now that they will already have in-hand when it comes time to reopen. By offering them their weekly free play offer valid through a date well into the future, your patrons will be ready to visit when it’s safe to venture out, and they’ll even have a nice reminder on their fridge in the meantime. (Magnet mailers, anyone?) This will help bridge the gap from when you get the official green light to reopen to getting your first offer in their mailbox after the fact

These uncertain times can be unnerving – but we hope you’re feeling hopeful about the future.

Multichannel Marketing
in the Midst of a Crisis

Written by Ashley Dalton, Director, Client Solutions

While it still seems impossible to wrap our heads around the current state of the world, we all know that as marketers – the show must go on. It’s a fact that companies and organizations who stop communicating in times of trouble fare worse than those who continue to market during uncertainty.

With quarantine reigning supreme, there’s no better time and place to reach your audience than right now at home and online as we wait this crisis out. So why not do both? Check out our tips for multichannel marketing in the age of COVID-19 below.

  • Bring back the thank you card. When a customer converts online, reach out via the mail to thank them. It’s a hard time to be in business – so make sure you tell them how much it means that you have their support right now. It can be a classic card in an invitation envelope, or it can even be a straightforward postcard. Whatever you choose, making the effort to express your gratitude while keeping your brand in front of them will always pay off.
  • Offer discounts for online ordering. Being flexible and willing to implement savings for our consumers is paramount in this economy. While we’re all hunkered down during stay-at-home orders, make it easy for your customers who want to order online. By offering discounts, you’re allowing them to rely on convenience and be thankful for your accommodations. Whether it’s communicated through the mail or online, let them know what options you’re making available for them and their family.
  • Implement contests to spread some fun and positivity. While it’s hard not to get caught up in the day-to-day craziness this pandemic has caused, it’s important not to lose sight of the value that truly engaging your audience brings to your organization. Consider implementing a contest on social media or award prizes from responses received via a printed or digital questionnaire. These ideas will help you keep the conversation going between you and the people who matter most to your business while adding some fun and levity to our current situation.

So keep on keeping on. Know that even on the toughest days, you still have options to stay in front of your audience while we all adjust to this new normal – both online and through direct mail. Let us know if you need anything. We’re always here to help.

 

Stewardship, Fundraising and Advocacy – What’s Working Right Now?

Our very own Alicia Lifrak and Dana Hines joined Mike Fulton of the Asher Group on April 7 to discuss what’s working and what’s not working right now during the global pandemic. The discussion, which was moderated by Cyndi Greenglass from our sister company Diamond Communication Solutions, explored traditional, online and virtual tactics that can be employed by nonprofits in order to stay engaged with constituents without in-person experiences. Specific topics included:

  • Helping clients develop innovative, virtual advocacy and communications strategies to reach and motivate elected officials and government regulators during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond in the absence of face-to-face communications.
  • Navigating the “new normal” with an industry roadmap to finding stability and a course to recovery from human services to health care to cultural institutions – the path ahead is riddled with uncertainty, but nonprofits are not totally unprepared to meet the moment for the third largest employment sector in the U.S.
  • Thoughtful strategies and tactics on the way forward for membership departments at visitation-based cultural organizations including planning, communicating and engaging audiences in uncertain times.

Watch the recording here.

Bridging the Unknown – Marketing Now to Prepare for your Reopening

Written by Steve Koch, Vice President, Gaming Solutions

In these unprecedented times, the value of communication is now more important than ever. However, without definitive opening dates, casinos face a difficult challenge of knowing when the right time will be to begin targeted marketing efforts to reengage their customers. Sending out monthly offers too soon risks wasted expense, while waiting too long may give your competition the upper hand. It is likely that restrictions will be lifted with little notice – making it even more crucial to have a plan for getting your players back on the casino floor.

Gabriel Group has engaged in strategic discussions with several of our casino partners and developed an offer to engage players immediately, promote a quick recovery when you are able to resume operations and “bridge the gap” between the time your casino reopens and when your first monthly offer hits your players’ mailboxes. Because even with proper preparedness, chances are that mail offers will lag behind your reopening. This bridge piece should be mailed now and be used to show support and concern for the community during these difficult times. In addition, it allows you to get that first, valuable offer in your players’ hands immediately. The valid dates for your offer(s) should be set for “opening” through a specified date a month or two in the future. This gives your players the incentive to come in on opening day and takes the pressure off you to take a gamble at when the right time to send your monthly mailers is.

Our goal at Gabriel Group is to help you with your current communication needs and to prepare for the future needs of your casino. We hope you’re well and feeling hopeful. Let us know what we can do for you to make sure that’s the case. We’re always here to talk.

Look for the Helpers …
Be the Helpers

Written by Alicia M. Lifrak, CFRE
Executive Vice President

While this current crisis is unquestionably unprecedented, we want to let you know that we are here to help you in any way that we can. Your mission is too important to too many people to not take this opportunity to strategically focus your efforts to ensure minimal disruption.

In similar times of crisis (natural disasters, 9/11 and periods of severe economic downturn), we have assisted our nonprofit partners to make sure that they come out stronger on the other side. We have also seen the impact of what halting your fundraising efforts entirely can do to an organization. Even during these most stressful times, we must find a way to persevere. Here are some tips that we can offer as you move through the coming weeks and months.

  1. Stay the Course. To the best of your ability, keep your fundraising programs intact. Circumstances may require that you adjust your strategies or channels, but now is not the time to disappear. Organizations that pulled back and stopped soliciting after 9/11 and the 2008 recession took years to recover from their losses (some are still trying to recover), while organizations that continued to solicit their donors with messages of need and impact emerged stronger and healthier.
  2. Stewardship. Acquiring new donors may be difficult during this time as individuals wait out a time of uncertainty before making a major gift decision, but this creates the perfect opportunity to be omnipresent with your existing donors and make sure that they know the impact of their gift. Positive storytelling, digital programming and impact reports are all great ways to let those who love you best know that you still appreciate all that they have done.
  3. Stay Connected. Most people are stuck at home right now and there is a lot of stress as people are feeling disconnected (from sports and culture and day to day contact with their friends and family). Find communication platforms that allow your donors to find a sense of community by bringing them together with your efforts. Your donors will recall this later when all the dust is settling, and their appreciation for you “being there” with them will be significant.
  4. Make the Message Relevant. It is particularly important in your efforts that you continue to communicate your ongoing need and articulate how these events are impacting your organization both in the short-term and the long-term.  But you also need to be sensitive and empathetic to their concerns and challenges, and those of the community around you. Make sure that any messages (or asks) coming from your organization in the weeks and months ahead are taking the broader sense of fear and uncertainty (that is challenging us all) into account.
  5. Be Prepared. Have contingency plans in place for your organization beyond just fundraising and marketing efforts. How will prolonged school closures, entertainment shutdowns and other economic factors impact your organization? And more importantly, how can you help? Be the voice of consistency and paint the picture of the better days ahead.

As Mr. Rogers so famously said in an interview, his mother would tell him “always look for the helpers” when a catastrophe occurred. “There will always be helpers,” he said, citing medical workers and others who come into a troubled situation. “Because if you look for the helpers, you will know there’s hope.” You and your organization have always been the helpers in your community. They need you now more than ever.

 

Gabriel Group Remains Open During COVID-19 Pandemic

On Saturday, March 21, St. Louis County in Missouri (Gabriel Group HQ location) issued a Stay at Home Order for non-essential businesses effective Monday, March 23. Gabriel Group has been designated as an essential business by the definition of the county and will be continuing operations moving forward.

Only associates necessary for the production of client work will be expected to report to our facilities. All other associates will be working remotely in an effort to comply with the county’s order and maintain the safety of our associates and the community at large.

We are grateful to remain open and provide uninterrupted service to our clients. For a list of frequently asked questions and corporate announcements from our parent company, OSG, click here.