Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Creating a Culture of Resilience?

Are you persevering? This time of the year it’s pretty easy to feel like you are running on a treadmill without an exit! 

I read a couple daily blogs and this industry blog (compiled by Cassandra Johnson with PPAI/ promotional products association international) caught my attention because it spoke to the characteristics of an entrepreneur. I agree that resilience, optimism, decisiveness, as well as the ability to live with your decisions is part of being an entrepreneur.

In owning a business, I’ve often thought that if we filmed daily activity, like a reality show, clients would be amazed how much goes on behind the scenes. They’d also realize the impact of decisions we make for their benefit that are never seen.

I hope you enjoy this shared blog- Olivia

"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."
Steve Jobs

Creating a Culture of Resilience
With yet another Steve Jobs movie recently in the theaters, I am reminded of the characteristic in Jobs that I find most fascinating: his resilience. Through all the ups and downs of building the Apple computer, being stripped of his duties at Apple, roller coaster rides at Pixar and NeXT and then rebirth at Apple, Jobs remained an undeterred visionary, innovator and decisive leader.

In these times of unprecedented pace of change, economic ups and downs, and a shifting workforce, creating an organization built on resilience is more important than ever, as we discuss in today's Promotional Consultant Today.

George S. Everly Jr., co-author of the book Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed, believes the best way to foster organizational resiliency is to build resilient leaders, with a focus on front line leadership. Everly offers these five supervisory characteristics as keys to resilient leadership:
  • Active Optimism: Step one of active optimism includes having a vision for success and seeing the opportunity in every crisis. Step two is speaking convincingly of that vision but being honest about the impact of the change when it occurs and where the organization needs to go next.
  • Ability to Make A Decision: Have the courage to make a decision and take responsibility for your actions, both of which build trust and respect. Make the decision and try relentlessly to succeed, because anything worth having is worth fighting for, and possibly failing for.
  • Use of A Moral Compass: Work with integrity. Only leaders of the highest integrity take responsibility for plans that don't succeed and don't push down blame. This kind of integrity fosters loyalty and the courage to take risks that's often necessary for success.
  • Tenacity and Persistence: Tenacity is a rare trait and those who have it can use it to a great advantage. Those who use it also set an example for those they lead. Set the example to make tenacity an organizational value.
Organizational and Department Cohesion: Everly writes: "Understanding you are part of something greater than yourself is empowering." Taking on a no-person-left-behind approach builds support systems, networks, cohesive teams and even friendships that can create an organization greater than the sum of its parts

Source: George S. Everly, Jr., PhD, FAPA , is one of the founding fathers of the modern era of stress management. He is the author of numerous books and research papers and serves on the faculties of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a co-author of "STRONGER: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Five Reasons Not to Distribute a Gift Card

Gift cards are convenient and flexible, however they have 5 key limits for your brand. 
Reason #1: Gift cards are no personal; they lack a story.
A gift card can not recognize employees for their personal achievements or express  appreciation. Managers and those directly involved with performance can not articulate achievement to a group. A physical gift becomes a iconic image associated with gratitude and praise; creating motivation to achieve goals.  

Reason #2 Gift cards lack emotion

Even if a gift card presented to an employee or business partner is from their favorite store, the gift does not have the emotional connection of selecting the ideal gift or award. In fact, many recipients can not recall what they purchased with the card, which in turn forms no emotional connection.  
Reason #3 Gift cards provide no memory
Gift Cards are not memorable symbols of accomplishment or gratitude with the recipient or fellow co workers. The reward is easily forgotten. In fact, many recipients use the card for a purchase that is not intended for them personally.  
Reason #4 Gift cards are not always redeemed
Lost cards are not redeemed. Cards that expire are not redeemed. Cards that require too many hurdles to activate are not redeemed. Cards that carry a balance deemed too small after an initial purchase to motivate user decrease the value of the card. Some recipients "re-gift". Some recipients sell or trade gift cards.
Reason #5 Gift Cards Provide Low return on your investment
Recognizing an employee for good work should always increase employee performance and customer satisfaction; in turn making the company more profitable. Giving a gift to a key client or referral partner should keep you top of mind because you've touched their daily routine in a personal, emotional, memorable and lasting way.  
Looking for additional ways to add value in 2016? Check out our earlier posts this month regarding growth strategies for an abundant 2016.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Are You Positioned For Growth - part 2

 Where do you start when developing your message?

What are common reasons to brand?

  • Business to business message-New product or service, re-brand, merger, promotion, acquisition, cross sell or up sell 
  •  Business to Consumer message-Thanks, traffic builder, encourage use or trial offer, gift with purchase
  •  Internal-Employee motivation, improve morale or performance, retain employees, performance rewards, recognition

Ever heard a coach or a successful entrepreneur interviewed? Many encourage one to write down their goals; making the goal "REAL"- in the last couple years traditional calendars and journals have been replaced by moleskin leather journals suggesting a "special" place to record your thoughts. 

Our suggestion for achieving goals? Write 'um, post 'um- you will own 'um - any method can work- here are a few suggested methods.


 or contemporary-

Wanna have fun? Share your goals in a picture story-

What are your top goals? Who plans to collaborate with their brand consultant prior to implementing new campaigns for 2016?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Are You Positioned For Growth? Part 1

As we race to the end of the year, many of our clients will begin thinking of new strategies for 2016. We are no exception. Our industry grinds to a halt the last couple weeks of each year. Internally we use this time to re-tool, re-focus and re-fuel our direction for the coming year so we are "ready".
If you could find a money tree in 2016, what would it look like? How large would it need to be? What denomination of bills would need to be yielded each year? In other words, have you quantified the number of new clients needed to grow your company's revenue. How ill you achieve that growth? New clients or generating more revenue with your existing client base? Do know what the figures look like to implement changes in your operations? 
Being able to answer these types of questions helps us suggest the right types of promotional pieces. Knowing your objectives and the long term value of your ideal client base helps to determine the return on investment required to achieve your growth goals each year. 

Define your expect result, what action will occur due to your promotion?

  • What is the message/call to action with the promotions you plan to implement
  • Determine the medium for developing that message 
  • Plan for when and how you will measure the results
  • Do you have a mechanism in place or plan to process the leads using your promotional campaign? 
  • Will have a plan to implement strategies when grown occurs?
  • What major point do you want to communicate with branded pieces?  
  • What change will occur with your message?
  • What's the schedule and method of distribution you plan to use?
  • Will you need fulfillment or inventory?
  • How will this piece be part of your message related to your objectives?   
    • What is your target audience? 
    • Are there specific demographics related to age, income, gender, geography to consider in product selection?
    • This there a theme tied to the promotion?
    • What additional marketing collateral needs to be considered. 
           Part 2- where do you start with developing a message?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

It's A Wrap!

It's a wrap and I don't mean it's dinner time or the filming is complete- I"m talking about the size of your imprint area. An imprint provides such an open canvas to your brand message.

In many cases a mug or tumbler has an option for a “wrap” imprint. A wrap simply means that the image can wrap around the surface of the piece much like your hand would wrap around the item when holding it. 

What's the advantage? Flexibility for your message

  1.  The wrap imprint your group to use two different imprints for one set up price!
  2.  Brand your logo on both sides- a plus for left or right handed users
  3.  The ability to add content- your location, top tips, your value proposition 
  4.  Increase your logo size by maximizing the space. Literally wrapping your logo around the surface of the piece. * wraps can be different sizes; not one size fits all.
  5.  Add your logo on one side and share the second side with a co-brander; great for sponsorship!

The examples here show how we were able to incorporate a company's brand message into their imprint wrap . 

“Ronald’s” feet follow around the tumbler design for KTL McDonald’s; encouraging recipients to follow their feet and visit each of their locations. These were distributed to key attendees when a new location was added to the franchise owner's chain making the recipient aware of the corporation's footprint in the community. 

Leith Automotive Group's campaign to employees using the tumblers, provided a functional item in their daily routine in addition to a constant reminder to the recipient of the core values that make Leith the Name You Can Trust.
What's been your favorite way to utilize this space?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

7 Things to Consider When Buying a Table Cover

Table covers can be a confusing purchase because there are so many variables. 

We have several excellent sources—so we need to establish your needs from the start. 

1. How fast will you need it? A standard production is about 8-10 business days plus shipping, 1-4 days ground but we have quick turn at a higher price, anywhere from 24hr to 5 day production.

2. Table size, most venues have either a 6 or 8 foot table– which means that if you get an 8ft flat or convertible you can use in both spaces. If you know you will always have a 6ft or 4ft table or are bringing your own table then get one sized to fit. 

3. Fitted or non fitted? Most people prefer non fitted to make sure it works on more than one table. However fitted looks neat if you always have the right sized table. There are options that stretches to form to reduce wrinkles and to offer a more contemporary appearance. There are premium table covers that do not to wrinkle, but they are pricey; so unless you are doing a lot of shows we suggest you get a standard cover.

4. A 3 or 4 sided? Most people get 4 sided, draped to floor on each side, however 3 sided provides easy access to items stored below. Will your table be seen from both sides or will you be a drape and pole type venue? 

5. What is your content? A full color sublimated 4 sided allows you to use the entire surface, front and back providing you flexibility for different shows, perhaps your logo on one side for one set of services and other side for recruiting fairs or education seminars. etc.

6. What about a runner?– Runners are much less expensive than a table covers, and can be used in office, showroom and retail settings after the show much easier. Keep in mind these also come in different widths and options for decoration.

7. Decoration- if you have a lot of color, then sublimated is the way to go, even add photos.A thermal print in full color is an option, but it’s only one location and it sits on top of the fabric as a transfer while the sublimation is dyed into the fabric. Most table covers these days are to be machine washed, never dry cleaned. You can still get one color imprints in jumbo silkscreen but our sublimated covers are priced around the same price and provide a more upscale look with nicer fabric that will resists wrinkles better.

On our website click the displays tab on the upper left corner of the home page- there you will find table covers- however........ remember promotional expertise is what we provide you- no need to fret about your choices or waste time comparing your options- in fact they are not all on our website! Instead, tell us what you need and sit back while we create a presentation for you to compare your options. 


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Are you creating raving fans?

"According to a McKinsey Study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37-percent higher retention rate." Yet the buzz in media is around digital marketing. Is it possible that relationships build at the grass roots are overlooked? 

We find that word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 80 percent of new clients purchasing decisions. So the question begs how do you create raving fans? In listening to our clients, we find that VALUE is not associated with lowest price, rather in your expertise. Our clients find value in our ability to articulate why one product that seems to look like another is a better choice. Additionally they appreciate the ease with which we suggest not just products, but provide marketing strategies for implementation. 

Similarly when our clients talk about what builds their business, word of mouth referrals still top the list with responses around these types of programs:

1.      Rewarding loyalty and repeat business
2.      Acknowledge their pipeline for referrals with functional branded gifts,
3.      Building a culture of appreciation and fun within the daily grind of work for employees
4.      Associating their brand with quality over quantity

Understanding your value and marketing those attributes will distinguish your company while generating long term success and brand loyalty.
Speaking of expertise and loyalty?? Are you a fan of Promotional Partners on facebook- you? Are we connected on LinkedIn?

What do you think creates raving fans?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Gratitude or Reciprocity?

A gift, why do we give them?
Are they a reward, an incentive or simply gratitude? The answer may depend on the person both giving and receiving the gift. We are a culture built on reciprocity; the theory that when one gives you something you feel like you "owe" them something in return.

At the core, a promotional piece is a form of advertising build on the idea of reciprocity. Industry collected data suggests a bond is formed with the recipient and the brander when a branded gift is received. Statistics support that the recall, retention and reach of the advertiser are increased as well as the recipient's perception of the "giver" grows in favorable impressions. The result is an effective tool for marketing because it changes consumer behavior.

What about "the holidays" -
for those that celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah it’s coming.  The scrooge might argue that holiday gifting is an example of reciprocity at its worst- giving because you will be gifted. However despite cynics, many individuals who give or acknowledge during traditional times of year “gift” simply to show love and appreciation for a relationship. 

In crafting a successful employee recruitment and retention campaign, a customer loyalty program or acknowledging referrals each company must consider the who, what, why, when for distribution as well as setting a budget to execute the plan.
Depending on the size of your company it may not be practical for you to implement a program without assistance. Just as in developing your marketing plan, it helps to share with your promotional consultant your objectives for creating a program to design a plan that works for your company. Gifting can be done effectively year round; it can be crafted around calendar dates that relate to your industry or around your company's core values. Developing a program will require collaboration, it's not a one size fits all approach.

For example, if it's an employee program and you operate a large company using a redemption website or gift card program might be a great fit. Similarly handing our awards for performance at company events or recognizing key business relationships in a company newsletter works. While smaller companies may need to opt for branded pieces that are practical. Both branded and non branded items that enhance their employee and referral partners daily work routine and that can be used in their leisure activities. Learn more about what your employees use and value, invest in top quality name brand pieces that are a fit for your recipient.

Another challenge that arises regardless of the size of the company is lack of time. If you are short on time, branded pieces can be assembled as a kit, gift wrapped and have a personal message inserted; design fulfillment options into your program.

Finally, does gratitude work?
Yes...I bet you recall nice gestures, cards and gifts for performance or that made you feel part of an organization. Building value through gratitude is a powerful motivator and praise never goes out of style.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May Awareness Dates

  • Date Your Mate Month 
  • Foster Care Month 
  • National Barbecue Month 
  •  National Bike Month 
  •  National Blood Pressure Month 
  •  National Hamburger Month 
  •  National Photograph Month 
  •  National Recommitment Month 
  •  National Salad Month 
  •  Older Americans Month
  •  ALS Awareness Month
  • Arthritis Month

  • Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

  • Better hearing and Speech Month

  • Better Sleep Month

  • Celiac Awareness Month

  • Correct Posture Month

  • Hepatitis Awareness Month

  • Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

  • Lyme Disease Month

  • National Cancer Research Month

  • National High Blood Pressure Education Month

  • National Lupus Awareness Month

  • National Melanoma Skin Cancer Awareness Month

  • National Mental Health Month

  • National Neurofibromatosis Month

  • National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

  • National Stroke Awareness Month

  • Brain Tumor Action Week

  • Melanoma Monday- May 4, 2015

  • World Asthma Day

  • World Red Cross Red Crescent Day

  • World Lupus Day

  • Worldwide No Tobacco Day May 31- 2015

 Weekly Celebrations:
  • Nurse's Week - first week of month
  • Wildflower Week - week two
  • National Bike Week - third week
  • National Police Week - third week of month
  • Emergency Medical Services Week - fourth week of month

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Developing a Successful Campaign

Council Woman Dozier has been promoting benefits of local purchasing since getting on the Apex Town council back in 2013. The “Think Apex” initiative was suggested by Council Woman Dozier as a way to promote Apex businesses by make residents aware of the local choices in their own community for goods and services. By bringing together a collective source of information she believes local relationships become stronger.  

Molding this concept into a successful campaign required strategic decisions to fulfill short term and long term goals. The initial introduction of the concept was made at a “grassroots” level of engagement. This occurred at the annual Peakfest event in May, which attracts over 30,000 attendees each year. 

Magnets and decals were selected for their effectiveness in mass distribution. The cost per item is low and providing a low cost per impression for a product with proven longevity for use. By utilizing products with sustainable impressions awareness, curiosity and interest in the program are yielded and will effect change.    

During the Peakfest, our company encouraged Dozier to display an interactive banner which prompted the question, “What Does Apex Mean to You?” Attendees shared messages and words that summarized their thoughts about Apex. Her interaction with attendees combined with visual cues will generate a call to action guiding visitors to the new website created by the town of Apex.   

Are you launching a new product or service? Is your organization introducing an annual event? 

Before beginning campaign things to consider should include:
  1. Define your budget
  2. Establish the intent of your campaign, short term and long term goals.
  3. Define your target audience
  4. Define your reach of your message
  5. Consider how you will penetrate that market effectively by developing a marketing plan
  6. Establish a long term team for brand management if your campaign is for more than to promote an event, new product or service.
  7. Create a logo to promote your brand- graphics professionals like our company will be able to design a logo that is print ready in any format.
  8. Consistency of your branded materials and message is critical, considering the scope of the reach of your campaign you may need:
    1. Developing a brand guide if it’s a large initiative to educate promoters or users of your brand.
    2. Assembling a brand management team to oversea distributions for re-selling branded materials.
  9. Consider where to use images to replace words when telling stories in print or on line content.
  10. Cross promote your “story” between media outlets- with press releases, blogs, social media postings, education forums and direct mail pieces.
To learn more about Dozier’s vision for this project visit our press tab-

Friday, May 1, 2015

There’s A Worm in the Apple

by Blake Scott

Apple…What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear that word? Prior to about the year 2000, pretty much every person would respond with fruit or some variation of a food products. In the year 2015, is that actually what you think of now? Or is Apple, the powerhouse technology company mostly likely to come to mind as well as be in your possession.

Apple has grown to be one of the most popular and recognizable brands in the mobile technology industry. The brand however comes a premium cost associated with its products. This higher cost on product accessories such as chargers and connectors has lead to a large inventory of "knockoffs" in circulation.

Many promotional product suppliers began selling 8 pin and 30 pin connectors that were not certified by Apple to distributors over the past few years. There were complaints coming from users of these non certified connectors that these aftermarket chargers were damaging their devices. Additionally Apple was losing out on profits, causing them to react. 

Apple began to send out cease-and-desist letters in 2014 to promotional product suppliers stating that compatible connector that were not using the certified pin were in violation of Apple’s intellectual property. Most companies were compliant with this request from Apple, even though the letter carried no actual legal liability. As a promotional distributor who chooses to partner with companies that maintain the highest levels of safety and technology certifications, we were compliant. Our suppliers were pulling this product from their shelves in late November 2014 and we were advising you of the changes, letting our clients know that Apple certified pin products would most likely roll out in early 2015. 

Looking for products with the Apple pins-we have them from a trusted source.

Monday, March 30, 2015

April Dates- Connecting For Fun

Looking for some ways to connect with your clients or employees in April using social media or fun wacky office days for building camaraderie? 

These are national monthly dates:
  • National Humor Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • Keep America Beautiful Month
  • Lawn and Garden Month
  • National Poetry Month
  • National Pecan Month
  • National Welding Month
  • Records and Information Management Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
These are weekly celebrations:
  • Week 1 Library Week
  • Week 1 Read a Road Map Week.
  • Week 2 Garden Week
  • Week 3 Organize Your Files Week
  • Week 3 Medical Labs Week
  • Week 4 Administrative Assistants Week
  • Week 4 National Karaoke Week
April dates you might consider:
April 1- It’s April Fool’s Day so of course it’s also International Fun At Work Day and International Tattling Day!
April 2- Children’s Book Day and P&J sandwich day, why not multi-task?
April 3- Don’t Go To Work Unless It’s Fun Day and Walk To Work Day- hum??
April 4 Hug a Newsman Day, School Librarian Day and Tell a Lie Day – you pick
April 7 Caramel Popcorn and No Housework Day- perhaps buy one of your best clients a free home cleaning!
April 10- Golfer’s Day and National Siblings Day
April 11- Eight Track Tape Day- that could be really fun at the office with millennial age co workers
April 16th National Stress Awareness Day- massages for the office?
April 18 International Juggler’s Day, this could apply to multi tasking office workers or host a fun contest over lunch
April 20th Look Alike Day- who do you look like, besides yourself of course?  It’s also Volunteer Recognition Day
April 22 Administrative Professionals Day and National Jelly Bean Day
April 23 Take Your Daughter to Work Day
April 27 Tell a Story Day
April 30- Hairstyle Appreciation Day- Go retro and share all those old styles or when you had hair photos!  

Is Your Booth Attracting Business?

"Clothes make the man" "Dress for success" - ever heard those phrases?

Think closer to home; if you were headed on a night on the town hoping to meet "Mr. Right or Miss Right", wouldn't you want to put on the outfit that you thought would attract your target audience? Wouldn't you wear something that made you look good?

Recently on face book we posted that "when you don't look good, we don't look good and it hurts". Why?  

It's so easy with the abundance of choice for displays and signage to find the right pieces to cross any forum and to stay within your budget. The advances in digital image reproduction have created print rich images that will tell your brand story, drawing in the viewer with strong graphics. An engaging booth demands attention, the desire to learn more from a polished appearance creates opportunity to share your message. Display pieces continue to make advancements to hardware the set up and break down of these pieces has never been quicker or easier.

If you idea of "show ready" is a table cover, brochure and a promotional give away we need to talk!

  • Adding table top retractable or games provides interaction between you and your target audience.
  • Add unique branded pieces such as coolers or to house tech pieces with videos about your product or services.
  • Displaying literature about your company at eye level captures attention from attendees with literature stands.
  • Branding your booth colors as well as your own representatives helps to "own the space" conveying organization and purpose to the viewer; a reflection of your company's overall message to someone that is deciding if you deserve a "second glance".

One of our most popular display groups is featured on the left of our home page under displays-
Display Printing Terms:

FULL-COLOR THERMAL Thermal Imprinting uses the application of heat and pressure to transfer digital graphics to the surface of the fabric. This creates a visually bold image that is strong and durable.
Products: Table Throws, Runners, Directors Chairs, Tents, Event Chairs, and Stadium Seats.

FULL-COLOR INKJET Digital Inkjet printing is a method of printing from a digital based image directly to a variety of medias.
Products: Floor & Table Top Displays, Retractors, Banner Stands, Coolers, Prize Drop Game, Sign Displays, Light Boxes, and Vinyl Banners.

FULL-COLOR DYE-SUBLIMATION INKJET Dye Sublimation is a printing process that uses heat to transfer ink to white fabric, allowing for full-color graphics to permeate the fabric and become part of the fibers.
* machine wash but do not dry clean
Products: Table Throws, Tents, Retractors, Fabric Banners & Flags, Sail Signs, and Brilliant Boards