This year, HardingPoorman Group, was once again named “one of the best companies to work for,” and yet David Harding, CEO of HardingPoorman Group, is pushing even harder for innovation in every sphere of the business. As he leans back in his chair, David Harding (who’s based in Indianapolis) smiles and says “there’s always room for improvement and I’m fortunate enough to be in the position to spend my time visioning this stuff.”
Who is HardingPoorman Group? And, what’s this got to do with social media?
HardingPoorman Group is one of the leading commercial graphics companies in North America [and yes, they're a client]. David Harding is an earlier adopter of all things social. He’s always on top of the latest trends. And integrating social into all areas of his life, including his printing company, is something he’s been working on for years. We sat down with David recently and asked him how he does it.
1. As a leader of one of the largest commercial printers, how does you stay on top of trends?
I think you have to pick and choose because you don’t have a lot of time in your day – what types of magazines and media you use to keep on track of trends. For example, several years ago someone suggested to me choosing certain magazines and subscribing to them as opposed to other magazines. Examples are Fast Company and Wired because they are more trendy and cutting edge. This also applies to the blogs you subscribe to, the people you follow on Twitter, and the other media that hits your inbox. For example, Fast Company has a daily that I read everyday and I scan the headlines that are of interest to me.
I’m a voracious reader and I love good conversation. I ask a lot of questions when I talk to people. Then I apply the filters that I’ve acquired from all my years in business and my instincts. That gets me to where I need to be.
2. What are your views on an integrated approach to marketing? How can print, digital and social all coexist to meet different needs and goals?
Communications is focused on the person that is consuming the message. Based on where that person is and who that person is, they need digital, social and print. It’s clear that all three will coexist in the future. Integrating the experience is what smart communications people do best. Why should a printing company not be at the forefront of using social media?
It’s amazing to me that when I see people I know and what they say about our involvement in social media – it’s all positive. For example, I was recently at a social function and a guy who is fairly well connected in the social world said, “I can’t believe everywhere you guys are, social media wise.” That was exciting to hear and a nice compliment.
The point is, there are several ways to talk to people and several ways to talk to different groups and I think social media is one way to talk to a group you may not be hitting with your other marketing. Marketing is awareness. I have never had anyone come up to me and say, “Well I saw your marketing so I’m buying this product from you.” But it does build an image and awareness of your company. I think if you aren’t using social media you are probably missing an audience that you want to hit.
You can find David Harding on: