Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What makes a product a "hit"?

Usefulness tops the reasons promotional pieces are kept, used or passed along each year when our industry conducts independent surveys. Unfortunately there are still consumers that are missing how maximizing their marketing dollars with by using ad specialty products, because they only regard these pieces as a product. Often we are asked, what is the best product I can pick or how can I be effective with a small marketing budget for promotional pieces. Focused advertising is about narrowing down what his useful to individuals you want for clients, then selecting items those individuals will find consistently useful. In other words to coin a realty phrase, it’s ‘location, location, location and your paying for advertising space in the daily fabric of their life.

A study released by Promotional Products Association International conducted among travelers at New York’s La Guardia Airport revealed new insights into promotional products’ value and effectiveness. Among the travelers surveyed questions were asked regarding recall for the name of advertisers who had given them a branded promotional product within the last 12 months. An impressive 88 percent could recall the name of the advertiser and 85 percent have done business with an advertiser as a result of receiving an item.

Promotional Advertising is about generating a one on one message that will be repeated to hundreds, thousands and even millions of viewers. This same study by PPAI reports that 82 percent of respondents possess at least one and as many as 10 promotional items, with 81 percent keeping them because they are useful. What’s more, 53 percent said they use these products at least once a week and even more—47 percent—said they keep promotional products for more than a year.

Promotional products work because they leave a lasting impression that often taps into more than one of their five senses which contributes even further to a personal and lasting connection. Building a sensory connection with a promotional advertisement helps to reinforce brand loyalty and shape consumer behavior because its recipients are tangibly connected to the company or organization. Looking for a positive change this year, start by changing your preferred advertising medium to the best choice for your marketing dollars. For some quick tips with common promotional pieces check out their previous postings on our company blog or ask us to send you guides to consumer behavior we've designed to keep our cleints on top in thier industry.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Up Up and Away, Let Your Brand Soar!

The dog days of summer and pending Labor Day outings are the perfect time to use an imprinted flying disc to promote goodwill, new products, growth and expansion or company pride. Did you know that a hard flying disc is perfect for a plate during a company family outing, outdoor concert, and school picnic? You’ll be green by saving on the paper plate cost when you insert a thin wax paper for the food and you have provided a branded memento of the day. 

Does your company picnic need some new ideas?  

How about a flying disc scavenger hunt? 

Clues are imprinted on the flying discs leading the participants to each location where they must hit a target to continue. The course leads participants to a desired location such as a sponsor for the event or a destination needed for training or the next station in a team building activity. 

Will you be an expo that could use a boost for generating traffic to your booth? 

Take advantage of full color graphics by using the shape of the disc for a wheel or symbol for your organization.For example: 

·         An auto body shop might use a wheel to imprint.  “Our mechanics always steer you right”. Then give away at an outdoor street fair, sponsor an event based on your target audience or offer as a promotion for a outdoor community event.
·         Glow in the dark discs are a great for crowds at concerts and sports events. Promoting the hosting group by throwing them into the crowd creating a desire for your branding!

Flying discs also fit into the budget friendly products because they are inexpensive, they have a large imprint area that is easily shared with another company for a dual sponsorship and they are a durable long lasting product for showcasing your brand. Capturing and retaining your brand message is an important part of what generates results. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why Aren’t Prospective Clients Responding To My Brand?

Promotional products are not “just a give away” item but a reflection of your brand message; your strategy for addressing a brand goal with a result you expect to happen. For example, if you tell a client you’re creative and creativity will help them with client acquisition, then your products that brand your company need to showcase creativity. If retention of your current client base is important, brand pieces need to be pieces that your client will find useful each day. If growing your brand exposure in the community is important remember that leisure pieces you provide employees make them a brand ambassador for your company.

Communication is critical to your message, but is the recipient hearing what you have to say? Branding goes way beyond having an appealing logo or deciding which company colors will generate positive reviews. Brand communication requires being able to articulate to others what makes your company different compared to a competitor that they view as the same or similar for services. Your message needs to fit the intended audience; for example, established professionals like words such as guarantee, reliable, safe, while a younger market key in our products or services, trends and images seeking quick results or easy to process features.

Before you begin your message clearly define your target audience.

Keep in mind that content is not for you to boast about your services or products; it needs to express a point. Ask yourself, what will be gained by reading your message. If you can share your core message with a couple of objectives you might not have a clear focus. If your intent is not to provide some substance that will benefit the reader, consider why you think they will read the content. Having clear objectives makes it easy to expand on your content with examples that make sense to your reader. Be approachable to the reader, after all your representing yourself in a one way communication that you hope will open up dialogue between you the reader at another date.

For example are the activities your company important to your brand identity?

If your company is engaged in your community then you are building a brand identity whether you’re aware of it or not; in essence others are talking about you in a positive way in the community. Consider being ahead of the curve on promoting what is important to your company. Purchase products that reflect your standards for domestically made products, ask us to partner with NC suppliers or make sure you are purchasing sustainable products for your tangible advertising is the environment is important to your company. Ask us to look for creative ways to package products so recipients are more aware of your story. For example:

  • Share articles about local causes in your blog 
  •  Post photos on your social media
  • Consider developing a secondary icon or logo that speaks to specific charity involvement. Many products can be dual branded. 
  • Offer to create some products for your favorite charity that has both your logo and their logo as part of the branding. Give out dual branded materials on key dates that you have incorporated into your yearly promotional calendar to market causes that are important to your company. 
  • In developing relationships with key clients, consider including cards or notes in with promotional gifts or distributions that acknowledge your appreciation of their business, because as it allows your company to assist your charities of choice.

At least once a year, assess your brand. Compare where your brand is positioned in relation to your competitors. Review your product selections for marketing, how those are integrated into social media or more traditional print and visual communication displays for your company. Once you’ve defined areas to change it will be easier to select products that will adapt to the strategies in your marketing plan.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Texas Hold’m with your branding?

Branding can be a fun way to educate incoming freshman about the history and location of placed on campus or promote the products your company offers to your existing clientele. How? Playing cards can have the back or face customized to your group’s needs. The only limit to their content is your imagination. Full color digital graphics will grab the view into the deck, the theme or idea to promote has 52 “faces”.

  • Use the cards to introduce destinations, faculty, local leadership, fun facts about your town or state, commemorate events or hall of fame recipients for a local booster program adding to the value of the cards as now a collector item.
  • Put food recipes, drink recipes, home care tips, quick cleaning tips on the back of the cards and distribute to women for bunco night with realtor’s name or other sponsoring organization.
  • Sponsor local school groups with overnight trips for competition, education or sports add some facts or images that they will enjoy
  • Educate new employees about key personnel, departments, or stat’s they need to know as part of a training exercise with employees. Make sure everyone is a winner when they leave taking the company branding with them for use later.
  • Kick off sales meeting with incentive program, the cards will feature awards to win travel destinations or to motivate employees. The cards could also be used to educate reps about new brand services.
  • Educate consumers with tips, support numbers, equipment information for mechanical or electronic systems provided by your company. Make your value statements and services fun to remember! For example, “Don’t play with your tech support!”

Research substantiates that promotional items that are seen as useful are kept and interacted with by their recipients. If you have a target audience that loves to play games, adding a deck of cards might be the right promotion to spice things up. Never be afraid to have a little fun with promotional branding. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

What Can I Do To Market My Company For Less than $0.50?

I will get to the point! Pencils are one of the most practical and low cost ad specialty items you can use to promote your organization or business. In fact year after year, writing instruments top the #1 spot for the most used and retained promotional piece. 84% of recipients of a branded piece can recall the advertiser at a later date. What are some ways your can use a pencil to create a call to action?

1.      Get Noticed: Present a colorful array of branded pencils artfully displayed as a “floral arrangement” by sticking them in a globe of florist’s foam tucked in an etched vase, bowl or mug with your branding for a company conference room or group gift.
2.      Get recipients involved in revealing a promotional discount by providing an imprinted pencil, blank piece of paper and an embossed piece of tin or other raised substrate in a direct-mail piece or at a trade show. Instruct participants to lay the paper over the tin and use the pencil to color over the plate to reveal the prize or discount.
3.      Appeal to the magical sense of wonder in a young audience by turning pencils into wizardly wands with clever imprints and added embellishments like glitter or themes that appeal to youth with images of sports or mascots.
4.      Digital wraps that appear like money, years of service or core value words all lend themselves to themed company parities, product launch or training seminars.
5.      Go guerrilla on a shoestring by imprinting a large volume of pencils as “business cards” that you leave on counters, tables and in offices around a neighborhood or in specified locations a target audience frequents. Pencils are often picked up and carried away in “finders keepers” fashion, putting your client’s name in circulation.
6.       Give any age a “mood pencil” activating a change in color merely by the warmth of their hand. Mood pencils are fun and a great way to highlight themes such as “when you are in the mood for a change” or “change your attitude”. Highlight changes to your business like a new website or just use these as an ice breaker for divide employees for meeting, separating by color of the barrel.

Promotional branding does not have 
to be expensive its about smart targeted marketing that promotes your brand message. The next time you are in the showroom ask us to show you some additional items in the $1.00 or less range to start building your brand. Check out these pencil specials good till the end of August-2013.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Is Branding With A Mug Outdated?

When clients visit the showroom location, they are usually amazed at all of the promotional items that can be branded. However, often promotional campaigns are still best served by traditional promotional pieces such as drink ware.  Mugs can be a useful and fun way to promote your business for example did you know:

Drink ware items have an average of 1,037 impressions per month.
87% of drink ware recipients could recall the advertiser.
51% of recipients have a more favorable view of a company that gives them a promotional piece.
82% of respondents had at least two promotional items in their kitchen.

Where does your branding stack up? Given these compelling statistics the question becomes how can you leverage drink ware for your brand awareness?  Spark the recipients’ imaginations by customizing a mug with:

  • List a calendar of local events
  • Showcase your charity work
  • Add a photo of the team
  • Invite attendees as a save the date
  • Offer a perk free refill day
  • Post a company goal to strive to achieve to travel with employees
  • Add a QR code to your website or blog to interact with daily for posting
  • Unveil a new location, product, date or objective with thermo changing mugs that when hot liquid is added completely change the face of the mug.
  • Create a gift pack around a theme such as the Fourth of July. Imprint the mug with colorful symbols or include USA images
  • Imprint a coffee mug with cooking measurements (1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, etc.) so that the beverage holder can also be a useful tool for dinner prep. Works great for campaigns with a tagline related to “Service That Measures Up.”
  • How about a housewarming gift with a mug that contains chip clips, refrigerator magnets, measuring tape, screwdriver and mini flashlight?
  • Help employees feel better when they are under the weather by imprinting with a  message that says the employer cares and stuffing the mugs with be filled with germ free pens, anti bacterial sprays, lip balm, instant-soup packets, soothing teas and throat drops. This is a great idea for cold and flu season. 

Giving a branded item is not just about picking a give away product; it’s about developing a campaign around your brand message. In developing a strategy that is not a stale or outdated outline your objectives for including a mug in your strategic plan to help guide you for how to present drink ware into an effective piece for change.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why Does Promotional Branding Change Customer Behavior?

Our clients enjoy statistical data provided by our association. The information here was provided by PPAI during the Promotional Products WORK week back in February. One of the most compelling because they change consumer behavior, take a look at some of the statistical data gathered on promotional products related to consumer behavior- provided by PPAI

Consumers Love Promotional Products!

  • 88% of people recall the advertiser on promotional products
  • 62% recall the message
  • 85% did business with the advertiser after receiving a promotional product
  • 83% of people like promotional products
  • 81% keep them because they are useful
  • 8 out of 10 people own 1 to 10 promotional products
  • 53% use promotional products once a week or more
  • 47% keep promotional products for more than a year

Consider these key facts:

Promotional products work well as a standalone advertising medium or part of an integrated communications campaign.

  • Promotional products are one of the most effective forms of advertising.
  • Promotional products are a multi-sensory advertising medium.
  • Adding a message to a product turns an ordinary message into a marketing experience the audience can smell, taste, see, hear and touch.
  • Promotional products are the most tangible, long-lasting and cost-effective form of advertising.
  • Promotional products impact consumers through a social, intellectual, educational and entertaining form of engagement.
  • Promotional products are unique and customizable.
  • Promotional products are a mainstream form of advertising.
  • Promotional Products Work! Week is a celebration by the promotional products industry to raise awareness about promotional products as an advertising medium and the benefits of working with highly qualified promotional products professionals to develop and produce innovative advertising and branding strategies.
  • In the U.S., the promotional products industry is a $17.7 billion industry with more than 31,000 businesses—97 percent of which are small businesses—and 432,000 promotional products professionals.
  • The promotional products industry has a positive impact on the U.S. economy and local state:

Promotional Products Industry State Statistics
Reseller (Distributor) Sales Revenue: $69.65 Million
Manufacturer (Supplier) Sales Revenue: $103.07 Million
Total Promotional Products Companies: 745
Industry Jobs: 5,398
Percent of Companies that are Small Businesses: 98%

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What is Content Marketing?

A marketing technique that distributes relevant information of value to the recipient as a means to attract, acquire, retain or engage that audience; with an objective of driving more profitable inaction between you and your target audience as a result of your marketing efforts.

How do you leverage content marketing?

  • You become the expert in your field
  • Engaging the buyer with your knowledge

How do you develop strategies?

For example as one who offers promotional products to my clients I might:

Start a blog that highlights innovative applications for products or what to look for in a quality product, which by the way you can find on our blog on our website.

Create quarterly reports for trends regarding branding strategies, upcoming promotional dates or marketing tips that are relevant to your market; like the electronic newsletters and blog tips you currently receive from us. A mechanic might blog about car care tips and maintenance schedule, how to stretch gas mileage or extend the life of the car.

Participate in social media using Facebook and Twitter as a way to create dialogue with followers that has useful and relevant information about brand awareness, link to case histories or supporting articles to illustrate comments. For example a local grocer might post a video demonstrating how a chef used seasonal local produce for a recipe or how to make a budget friendly meal, the best time of the year for purchases of specific popular produce and how to store it properly to maximize shelf life.

Set up a virtual pin board of unusual logos or imprint applications on Pinterest which would allow you to share visual information to an online community. For example a real estate agent might post before and after photos of what proper staging can do.

Think about businesses that are in your network of partners or one you support as a patron, think cross promotion as a way to highlight those businesses into your blog for relevant content. Most importantly start sharing your expertise.