As the #1 producer of warm fuzzies, Hallmark Cards is the Goliath of greeting cards. The company's cards are sold under brand names such as Hallmark, Shoebox, and Ambassador and can be found in more than 39,000 US retail stores. (About 2,600 stores bear the Hallmark Gold Crown name; the majority of these stores are independently owned.) Hallmark also offers electronic greeting cards, gifts, and flowers through its website. In addition to greeting cards, the company owns crayon manufacturer Crayola (formerly Binney & Smith), more than 90% of cable broadcaster Crown Media, and Kansas City's Crown Center real estate development firm. Members of the founding Hall family own two-thirds of Hallmark.
Hallmark publishes products in more than 30 languages. It distributes products in 100 countries across the globe. Outside the US, subsidiaries are located in Australia, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK.
On the domestic front, in 2012 the company moved its Topeka Production Center to its manufacturing facility in Lawrence, Kansas. The move was made to streamline operations, improve cost structure, and address the excess capacity at its Kansas manufacturing facilities.
Hallmark Business Connections is a unit that targets businesses with products such as incentives and greeting cards and gifts for employees and customers.The Hallmark brand can also be found on television through a licensing agreement with Crown Media, which operates cable's Hallmark Cannel. Hallmark-branded programming includes Hallmark Hall of Fame original movies, a concept that debuted in 1951 during the era of fully-sponsored TV programming.
Sales & Marketing
The company announced a strategic alliance with Shutterfly to feature its customizable cards on Shutterfly's new personalized greeting card site, Treat.com. Hallmark made the deal to enhance its brand presence in the growing personalized greetings category.
In fiscal 2012 Hallmark recorded revenues of about $4 billion, a 2% decrease from the previous year when the company brought in a little more than $4.1 billion. Cautious consumer spending led to a 3% decline in revenue for the operating unit which includes greetings, gift wrap, partyware and gifts.
Hallmark's Crayola subsidiary’s revenues were flat compared to fiscal 2011 although retail sales during the key back-to-school season were strong. Publicly traded Crown Media posted an 8% increase in total revenue for fiscal 2012.
Product development has been key for its traditional card business. Hallmark has adopted to changes in technology by launching updated versions of its paper cards. The company has found success with products such as musical cards (Cards With Sound), cards with custom recorded messages (Recordable Cards With Music), and cards with animated scenes (Cards With Motion).
The company also offers cards via cell phone at Hallmark Mobile Greetings. iPhone and iPad applications include a Go Cards app to make the card-sending process easier, as well as a Hallmark Gold Crown store locator with driving directions and information about offers available in stores.
Hallmark also gains advertising revenues from TV distribution. In 2012 The Hallmark Channel acquired the sitcom The Middle, adding to its 2011 purchase of Frasier; it made the purchases as part of its strategy to acquire and schedule popular series to compliment its block of comedy programming. In 2010 The Hallmark Channel scored big when Martha Stewart moved her program, MSLO's The Martha Stewart Show, from NBC to the network.
Mergers & Acquisitions
In 2012 the company acquired SpiritClips, a broadband subscription-based online video service and film production company based in Los Angeles. It is using the deal to further strengthen its digital offerings for consumers. SpritClips will also provide a new channel of distribution for Hallmark.