Check printer uses stories, social media to change perceptions

Project Rev aims to help small businesses market themselves better while changing how people think of Deluxe, the check printing company behing the project.

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But people don’t write as many checks as they used to, and Deluxe is branching out into helping small businesses market themselves better. Most small-business owners put marketing off because it’s time-consuming, it involves money, and it’s outside their expertise, says Terri Shapiro, executive director of brand and media relations for Deluxe.

Deluxe really ramped up its small-business marketing efforts a few years ago, but the company didn’t have a big reputation beyond check printing. Enter Project Rev, a contest in which Deluxe gave nine small businesses $5,000 worth of services and support each. The contest was such a success in 2010 that it’s back this year with 10 companies that each get $15,000 in support.

And it all happened because of blogs and social media.

Revving up

Deluxe first announced Project Rev on with a wire-service press release on March 18, 2010. Coincidentally, that was also the day President Barack Obama marked as his U.S. House deadline for passing his health care reform bill. “We didn’t get great pickup of the press release,” Shapiro says.

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