The Women in Print Awards: Michelle Gobert
Image360 Central New Orleans' president and CEO has found a niche in the specialty event signage market.
Image360 Central New Orleans, New Orleans
Industry Innovations: Provides applications from vinyl cut graphics to large-format digital printing for high-end clients such as the Olympics, NHL, NBA, MLB, and the NFL Super Bowl
Key Accomplishments: Is a board member of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, an awardee of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, and Small Business Award Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Image360 has some big-time clients on its roster: the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL, to name a few. What’s the coolest project you’ve ever worked on? Digital print and the previously mentioned sports leagues are typically regarded as male-run industries. Do you feel your involvement in both has paved the way for other women to excel in those areas, as well?
Success in business comes by way of many factors: relationships, go-to market strategies, knowledge, bankability, dedication and hard work, propensity for risk, etc. Within these factors, some element of timing makes the difference on the level of your success. We were fortunate to have been in the right place, with the right technology, and were introduced to the right people to help create our success within the event signage industry.
As early adopters of on-demand digital print technologies for special event signage, we were fortunate to leverage our competitive advantage in the marketplace. As time passed, we did whatever we could to stay on top of current technology and offer the best quality, service, and pricing to our partners, and this allowed us to expand our client base to multiple sports groups.
Working with the NFL, MLB, and NHL are exciting opportunities! Having had the opportunity to be onsite for the Pro Bowl and ultimately the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami where the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl was incredible. The memories created that year will live on forever.
I don’t know that I would say my involvement specifically paved the way for other women in this area, but I will say that it paved the way for many other companies to expand upon digital print opportunities within the industry. In an industry where “success breeds success,” we have watched our competition, one which started out buying their vehicle wraps and large-format outdoor signage from us, grow in this industry exponentially.
Your claim to fame is wayfinding and special event signage. What unique challenges do those markets bring to the table, and how have you tailored your business to defeat those challenges?
Our experience with the sign printing industry has kept us in business for the past 28 years, and we are extremely grateful to have this type of business as a portion of our portfolio. The industry naturally forces us to continually update our technology with respect to speed and print quality, while at the same time finding innovative solutions for producing and installing temporary and inexpensive wayfinding signage.
When we first started out, my husband and I would often comment on the fact that we wanted to print promotional, time-sensitive signage that included dates and specific locations. Mass customization was our strategy to increase buyer frequency so that clients would continually come back. This one-to-one marketing idea helped foster a greater customer loyalty and better return on our marketing efforts. That thought process has evolved to become an all-inclusive, relationship-building, project-management business model.
The evolution of our mass customization strategy has recently brought us to a fork in the road, which convinced us to transform our Signs Now location into an Image360 center. What a scary thought … changing our name after 28 years in the industry. We are going on three months with the new name and I must say it has brought in new clients from different markets that generally would not have called us in the past, and it has already opened the doors to some of the larger sign projects happening in our regional area. We are looking forward to working on the new North Terminal Airport Project as well as several other new construction projects in New Orleans.
They often say that being a small business owner is a family affair, and ours is no different. I am blessed to now have my oldest daughter, Christian, and son, Nicholas, working in the business. Having them join the team along with an outstanding group of existing team members has allowed us to move into the new Image360 consultative selling system, and we are looking forward to our future growth in the industry.
Meet the rest of our 2017 Women in Print Award winners.