The QR Code Train Has Left the Station


It seems like the trend of the QR code died just as quickly as it started. QR code stands for Quick Response Code, however there isn’t much that is quick about it. Let’s go back to where it all started, Japan. The QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that was first designed for the automotive industry in 1994. But around six years ago they made a huge comeback and you could find them anywhere – t-shirts, books, posters – it’s a never ending list. In hindsight, you scan the barcode with an app on your smartphone and it leads you to information. In theory, this sounds like a great idea, but the aesthetics and usability seem to disagree.

Technological advancement has been a real downfall for the QR code. In order to use a QR code you would need some type of application that has the ability to read the code. Since cell phones don’t come with this application it adds extra steps for the user – go to the App Store, download the app, and then use it. In most cases it’s quicker just to type in the URL directly. Also, some QR codes send users to non-mobile optimized sites which is very counterproductive. Since QR codes made their big leap around 2010, many links have expired. An expired link just leaves you with a big ugly code on your packaging that doesn’t even work.

Many people aren’t aware of what a QR code is and what it does. Although it doesn’t seem like a daunting task to take a picture of a code and let the app take you to the website, if someone were to attempt and fail, that could be the end of their use of QR codes. According to an article by, only 15% of smartphone users know how to use a QR scanner. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are using the scanner, just that they know how to use it. The odds are not in good favor.

With QR codes you never really know where you’re going until you get there; that poses a big security problem. As the mobile market begins to pass the computer market there is much more access for hackers. It’s a scary reality because you never know where codes take you, and by scanning a malicious code, you could be putting your personal information at risk without even knowing. Typing in a URL or clicking a direct link, you can see where it’s taking you, and if something doesn’t look right, simply don’t click on it. With QR codes, however, you could be going someplace you never wanted to.

QR codes are a thing of the past and they need to stay there. Unless mobile devices are released with an integrated scanner, a new look, and better security features, the QR code train has left the station and is a one way ticket that is not coming back.

The Journey to the Real World

Emma_UpdatedHeadshotWe understand the importance of shaping our youth and preparing them for a future in the workforce. Earlier this summer Vive was excited to announce the arrival of our new Marketing Intern, Emma Nowak. Emma will be a sophomore at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse this fall with a business major.

Being an incoming sophomore in college, I never expected to have an opportunity as great as the one I was offered to join to Vive team for the summer. As nervous as I was to start my internship, I was very determined to try my best and learn all that I could out of this experience.

This internship is a way for me to set the basis of my future career goals and offers an opportunity to get a better grasp on what a marketing job would entail, as I continue my college career with a degree in marketing. I hope to be able to build my personal portfolio and develop a more professional presence. Sitting in on multiple client calls and emailing back and forth with the Vive team, I have begun to understand the type of communication that is expected. The amazing office with an even more amazing view, along with the great team at Vive has made me even more excited to begin this new chapter in my life.

My goal in college is one that I’ve embraced as long as I’ve been in school: to try my best and be proud of my work. I strongly believe that if someone feels confident they have done their best – whether it be for a paper, speech, or even a tryout – you have been successful, no matter the results. Another major goal for me while in college is to narrow down my career options. As of now I have a declared major but there has been very little thought into what I would want to do in marketing. My ideal job as of right now would be to work for a marketing firm in a large city like New York City or Chicago. Although my goals for college are very broad in a sense, they are goals I had set for myself a long time and they’ve always helped me achieve new things.

3 Ways To Drive Internal Marketing

Internal marketing is vital to the success of any company. All employees serve as ambassadors for your brand, so it’s helpful to arm them with tools to keep them informed of pertinent internal/external communications and engaged – the more your team members feel apart of the organization, the more engaged they will be. The following tips highlight key strategies to build stronger internal marketing presence.

  1. Internal MarketingPublish an internal employee newsletter – Internal newsletters are very informative for employees. It allows information to be easily passed down through the grapevine and engages your employees to get more involved with whats happening in the company.
  2. Schedule daily or weekly team meetings – Ignites employee feedback and collaboration. Production meetings? Morning pow wows? 2-second lean highlights, etc. This gets your employees on the same page and gives them a chance to get involved and speak up on a weekly basis and communicate goals and expectations for the week.
  3. TV Screens or Communication Boards – in production areas, high traffic areas, break rooms, etc. This could highlight birthdays, anniversarys, safety announcements, etc. Reflecting on accomplishments or special days gives your employees the feeling of recognition and pushes them to thrive for more.

Set the expection from the get-go. Planting the seed on day one and ongoing reminders engrains the importance of company culture and consistent communication.

Giving employees a voice is always a great way to make them feel valued. Asking for feedback or suggestions through a notepad or suggestion box encourages employees to jot down thoughts and ideas throughout the day to help make a better workplace for everyone.

A good company starts on the inside, that’s why internal marketing is essential to success. Although you may look to sales and revenue to see the success of company, what you do internally is what drives these numbers and ultimately, becomes “the” place to work.

Why Outsource Marketing? Let Us Explain…

The team at Vive prides ourselves on being an extension of your company, offering our best insight to help you succeed in the marketing department of your business. With proven success in the industry, Vive should be your go-to source for all marketing needs.


Marketing in plastics can be a troubling ask. It is a booming industry with a lot of players all trying to make their brand stand out. Hiring somebody without the experience and expertise needed to be successful can be detrimental to any company. A direct hire needs training and resources to help your company become successful in your industry.

Working with Vive brings in an outside perspective that allows us to offer reliable objectivity and fresh ideas you wouldn’t receive from a direct hire. The team at Vive works collaboratively every day, bouncing ideas off each other to come up with the best possible solution. Our team provides depth, with a multitude of different talents that serve a plethora of marketing needs. Having the ability to work with a team of marketing specialists that all have knowledge and experience in the plastics industry sets us far above a direct hire.

Our team can provide insight on the best publications, tradeshows and events to help your brand achieve maximum exposure. Having decades of experience in the plastics industry, we know how to get things done and how to gain exposure. The Vive team will guide you every step of the way to ensure your marketing department achieves its goals the best way possible.

Maintaining a marketing department is a daunting responsibility and key to successful business. Our competitive advantage is offering creativity and critical thinking as a catalyst for meaningful change that is immediate, enduring and effective. Vive has the resources and expertise, no training needed. Let Vive be your marketing department.

Welcome to Vive, Austin Haga

For the first time ever, Vive has extended an internship to a second semester. Austin Haga, Vive’s Marketing Communications Intern and current senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will remain with the company through the spring. Austin will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing in May of 2016.

Austin HagaStepping into my first internship was such an exciting time, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to begin my professional career than Vive. A beautiful office with a great view, a welcoming team, and I even got my own desk. I was determined to do my best and keep an open mind by learning new practices, which have really benefited me during my time at Vive thus far. Each day is something new and an opportunity for a learning experience. The ability to be involved in day-to-day operations and provide assistance on a multitude of projects has helped me grow professionally and taught many great business practices. It also made for an easy transition into the workforce.

The team at Vive welcomed me with open arms. Great culture in the office makes it very easy to communicate problems or questions when they arise. Weekly team builders and meetings allowed me to better understand the in’s and out’s of the industry in a way that isn’t just textbook. The versatility of everyone at Vive has provided me with the resources to further my knowledge in many aspects of the marketing agency industry.

Working at Vive has also given me a chance to build a portfolio. In the past three months I’ve had the opportunity to compile several social media calendars, business cards, PowerPoint templates, collateral sheets, SWOT analyses, and numerous creative projects. I’ve also had the chance to research analytical data from clients’ website traffic and help create content for new site launches.

As my final semester of college approaches, those feelings of nervousness to enter the “real world” have quickly escaped. Being Vive’s first intern to extend the internship over the course of two semesters is a great accomplishment for me. It also excites and makes me want to take on bigger projects and more responsibility. Working at Vive has not only prepared me, but has pushed me to pursue a career in a marketing agency.

VIVE Introduces Same Great Offering in Bite Sizes

Traditionally, working with Vive on your company’s brand presence is a yearlong partnership. While this robust marketing plan fits most, we recognize that there are times when a more focused marketing approach is preferred. Vive is excited to announce our new marketing a la carte menu—an avenue that lets you choose what package(s) are best for your business objectives:

  • Company Message

    What’s your unique differentiator? Vive will drive an analytical evaluation to determine what sets you apart from competition based on your company’s core strengths and customer feedback.

  • Logo Development & Rebrand

    Is your company image stale? Let Vive lead your brand into the 21st century by spearheading the creative process to acquire the perfect update as well as a communication plan to introduce your new identity into the marketplace.

  • Website Management

    Your virtual front door needs consistent attention and continuous updates. Vive manages the navigation, layout, and content creation with the web developer to ensure first impressions are positive.

  • Sales Tools

    Vive crafts effective communication tools to convey why others should do business with you. This is accomplished via brochures, PowerPoint presentations, banner ads, direct mail, and anything else that will help drive your brand forward!

  • Ad Campaign Development

    Vive has the experience and skills to create a one-of-a-kind ad campaign that brings your company into the spotlight. Let us be the creative source behind the compelling message with the memorable concept.

  • Company Video

    Tell it through a story. Vive will devise a creative storyboard to successfully illustrate your company’s core competencies as well as manage the videography team to establish a ‘wow’ factor.

  • Tradeshow Management

    Draw the right audience with a tradeshow display that presents your message with pizazz. But it’s not just aesthetics that brings success; Vive supports the tradeshow effort with pre/post-show communication efforts.

  • Social Media & Blog

    All media channels need attention. Vive submits a monthly calendar of suggested posts based on industry-related content and company highlights. We’ll even post on your behalf!

  • Brand Material Update

    If you like your logo, but your business cards, letterhead, PowerPoint templates, and social media banners need a design update, Vive will be the creative change agent.

  • Award Submission

    So you say your company is great? Let Vive author award submissions so others know what sets you apart from the competition!

We look forward to welcoming new companies who want to get started with our new project-by-project offering!

Just Begun or Halfway Done?

Earlier this summer, Vive announced the arrival of Rachel Heinzinger, our Marketing Communications Intern. With the blink of an eye, Rachel is halfway complete with her internship, but only halfway started with her journey to a career.

Rachel will be a junior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the fall. Seeking a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and minors in Spanish and Informatics, Rachel hopes to land a job for a marketing firm in Chicago or work in-house marketing for a large business firm.

At the start of her internship, Rachel established a list of objectives and expectations for her time at Vive. “My goals are to adapt to working in an office with a full-time schedule, learn new design programs, better my marketing skills, and overall enjoy my time working as an intern,” she noted.

In seven swift weeks, Rachel has accomplished myriad tasks, teaching her various lessons about marketing and the professional world. Within the first two months or so, Rachel has drafted two social media calendars (along with goals for each month), created a seven-month drip-marketing plan, written blog posts for clients, designed and built a manufacturing dictionary, listened in on logo and brand development discussions, and participated in an on-site factory tour of a local client. Rachel remains busy each day with new projects while also maintaining social media for Vive and other clients.

Vive builds their own portfolio each day with remarkable projects; Rachel aims to build her own personal portfolio with her success at Vive. Rachel believes that the internship is benefitting her by giving her a foot in the door and the opportunity for future internships, all while learning programs and improving her writing and networking skills.

When asked the best advice she has received and advice she would give, Rachel stated, “The best advice I’ve received is the same as I would give. Never give up on your dream job. With the right combination of networking and strong work ethic, you can accomplish any goal. A huge part of networking is asking questions and following up; never neglect to do both of these.”

Rachel’s internship at Vive runs through the summer of 2015.

Vive Welcomes Intern Rachel Heinzinger

Vive is extremely pleased to announce the addition of our newest marketing intern, Rachel Heinzinger. Rachel, a soon-to-be junior at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, is an Advertising major with minors in Informatics and Spanish. Rachel’s summer internship at Vive will focus on responsibilities including research, social media strategy and messaging.


To learn more about our newest team member, please read on:

What are you known for?

Always taking the stairs, no matter the circumstances.

Greatest personal accomplishment?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an ongoing passion to learn about computer systems. The dedication to acquire the knowledge of software and design is imperative to my future career endeavors. Having the opportunity to show and flourish my skills at Vive will give me the experience to test my abilities while also learning new ways to operate systems and design web spaces.

Greatest educational experience?

With many years of education and practice, I have become fluent in Spanish. The hours spent studying have paid off immensely, as being fluent in Spanish has bettered my communication skills overall. Being bilingual also gives me a competitive edge in the job market, as I’m able to communicate with a wider audience.

Vive Gives Back

Day of CaringVive is proud to be a partner of Hunger Task Force, helping ensure that low-income seniors have monthly access to healthy and nutritious foods. This past month Vive launched our very first “Day of Caring,” an initiative aimed at giving back to the community by volunteering at the Hunger Task Force Warehouse on the old 440th Air Force base to help build Stockboxes for local seniors. Along with fellow volunteer teams, the Vive crew assisted in the building of 600 boxes, an important first step in stomping out hunger in our area. With consistent support from the community, Hunger Task Force built over 100,000 boxes last year alone.

Each day seniors in our area are forced to deal with the reality of hunger. If you would like to help alleviate this burden and volunteer, please visit the Hunger Task Force website or contact Marie Jewell for more information. Vive is thrilled to continue our partnership with Hunger Task Force, with our next “Day of Caring” scheduled for August!

A Look at How Manufacturers Emphasize Marketing

The most recognized brands in the world spend billions of dollars every year on their marketing efforts. You can imagine that they’re not executing by chance without a plan; they know exactly what those dollars will bring them in return. These companies view marketing as a matter of survival, not theory.

On the flip side, some companies believe marketing is not necessary to incorporate into a business plan because business is growing and everyone’s staying busy, so why bother with the expense and hassle? This is the wrong mindset.

Somewhere in the middle is where manufacturers need to position their marketing strategy. Marketing is like food, sustained nourishment that navigates your business to meet growth objectives and keeps you there. Ongoing marketing secures your company’s future.

Teresa Schell, president/owner of Vive (a marketing firm exclusively for the plastics industry), recently spoke at the Plastics News Executive Forum on the topic of marketing. She illustrated results of an online survey from plastic processors throughout the United States that evaluated the dedication (or lack of) their companies invest toward marketing initiatives.

An interesting discovery from the survey was the lack of unique differentiators that plastic processors are using to position themselves in the marketplace. Too many companies highlight customer service, high quality parts or 100 percent on-time delivery as a selling point that sets them apart from other plastic processors. Unfortunately, these are not differentiators but a given. Without a clearly defined differentiator, there is no branding, which ultimately leads to no increased profitability.

Since the manufacturing process is similar among each business, a unique focus could be on the company’s innovation or commitment to new technology that allows production to hit the market sooner. Not all manufacturers maintain the same speed of technology infusion on their operational floor.

In the survey, most plastic processors rated their company a four (with a top score of five) for sales and marketing alignment. The two departments must speak the same message, be in sync with what an ideal customer looks like and measure frequently to make necessary changes to the marketing plan. Many companies utilize one champion with the title, Sales and Marketing, but clearly these two responsibilities and objectives are different enough to warrant the roles of two people working together on the same goal.

The survey also revealed that tradeshow exposure continues to be a concentrated area of marketing dollars. The most commonly attended and exhibited tradeshows are MD&M, PackExpo and NPE. The approach to building brand awareness to a targeted audience is proven with a formal tradeshow strategy, often times with a positive return on investment. However, tradeshow ROI does not have to be measured on just new sales, but by the effectiveness of announcing a new capability or the outreach of communication via social media channels.

A marketing strategy will successfully promote and grow your business. A robust marketing plan will help you answer key questions about your business: How will you position your company in the marketplace? How will you differentiate from your competitors? How will you reach your customers? What are your sales goals? Awareness to marketing strategies should be aligned with business goals. Continuous attention, much like continuous food nourishment, toward marketing will help manufacturers strengthen their brand identity and bottom line.