Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Future of B to B Marketing- Dive into another reality!

Did you play Pokemon Go this summer? If you are over 21 your Facebook feed was probably full of women posting a twist on the summer fun, with finding wine!

Pokemon GO uses a smartphones GPS, the camera and a clock setting to enhance the fantasy world with reality.

Augmented Reality or AR for short is not new technology, large brands such as General Electric, BMW, Ray- Ban, Adidas and Stella Artois were using it to animate product images and highlight them in a 3-D world. Some companies have used this technology to train employees. Applications currently being used in the marketplace:

Lego- offers ways for consumers to see 3-D versions of some of it's finished Lego toys.

IKEA- allows shoppers to put furniture they are considering in an electronic 3-D room using an app.

Ray-Ban -uses an app to map your face to see what various styles will look like on the consumer.

Brands like Apple are investing in this technology, according to Apple CEO, Tim Cook- they find it "exciting'.

What does it mean for you as a consumer and how does it effect the promotional world?

Some industry professional see applications in the next couple years to:

 1. Make websites more interactive with visual elements that can more effectively tell stories
 2. Showcasing samples electronically and 3-D.
 3. Education "hot spots" which allow consumers to watch videos, see applications for the products and virtually view how a product will look scaled to the space in which it will be used.

For example if a retailer of appliances or cabinetry can show you different finishes or installations within your kitchen space- why not look at how your trade show booth pieces will actually fit into the space you place to display them? We would find that exciting!

For the moment our industry is offering AR glasses and headsets like the one in this video; by the way our participate is on a roller coaster ride. We are also seeing paper and vinyl products using AR much like a QR code to re-direct consumers to a menu of choices to stand out from competitors. As we learn more about how to use this technology as part of your promotions and branding stories- we will share ideas. Read our newsletters for expanded tips.

Are you using AR? Share how; we'd love to hear from you.

* Source ASI- Advantages November 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

What To Compare When Selecting Outerwear

After a long hot summer, cooler weather is starting to come our way. If you've lived here more than on year, you know that in our area of NC, weather can be warm on Monday and cold on Friday. Understanding how jackets are constructed and identifying key features to compare is critical if you frequently find yourself outdoors or you are considering budgeting for an outwear promotion.

As a marketing and branding piece goes outwear is a proven winner. In a 2015 study conducted by ASI- the following information was gathered from consumers surveyed:

  1. 50% of consumers owned a branded outwear item
  2. 57% of men and 43% of women own promotional outer wear
  3. Consumers considered outerwear one of the top 5 products to receive; as 75% consider it useful
  4. 86% of recipients said receiving outerwear generated a more positive image of a company
What types of jackets should you purchase?

Soft shells for mobility and water resistance, yet light to wear? Micro fleece for warmth without the bulk? A 3-in-1 jacket system, which consists of two jacket layers that zip together. The recipient can choose to wear either jacket layer separately or zip them together for extra warmth and weather protection; offering flexibility and long term use.

What are the key features to consider? 

1. Articulation- increase mobility for greater ease of movement with arms & shoulders. 
2.  Breath ability-  It’s the movement of air from one side of the fabric to the other to keep the wearer     comfortable. Generally, the higher the number, the more breathable the garment.
3. Cord Locks- A stopper or toggle on a draw cord that keeps the cord from retracting into the garment.
 4. Down- The soft, fluffy under feathers of ducks & geese; excellent thermal insulator.
 5. Fill Power- The measure of the loft or “fluffiness” of a down garment that is loosely related to    the insulating value of the down.
6. Insulation-  A jacket designed to hold body heat close and buffer surrounding cold air.
7. Micro fleece- Crafted from ultra-fine yarn, this lightweight, high-density fleece is brushed less    than a regular fleece garment for softness and warmth without bulk.
 8. Soft  Shell- A fabrication that bonds an outer shell to a warm fleece or knit layer resulting    in a breathable, flexible and comfortable jacket. All our soft shells have laminate for water resistance.
9. Waterproof- Keeps outside moisture from penetrating the fabric. The waterproof rating is    typically expressed in milliliters (1,000mm to 10,000mm) based on water pressure tolerance over a 24-hour period.  Generally, the higher the rating, the higher the waterproof protection.
10. Water-resistant- Keeps the wearer dry in moderate wind and rain. Very breathable, allowing air to pass through while keeping moisture at bay.
11. Wind-resistant- A fabric’s ability to act against or oppose the penetration of wind or air, without being completely windproof.

Looking for new jackets? 

Plenty of choices in our company store-
however most of our clients prefer to compare choices in the showroom or have us set up a time to visit their location with pre-selected choices for employee to compare.

What's your favorite type of jacket?

Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Ways Eat Your Way Into Their Heart

Most promotional products only provide a memorable experience for a single person. Food products offer you the opportunity to please a whole group of people with a shareable, branded food gift. When you multiply the number of impressions a food gift makes among a staff of people, particularly when complemented by imprinted keepsakes, you create a very cost-effective gift. Food is also a "gift of love" to many individuals. It's considered as way to pass along a cherished recipe, pass along a cultural tradition and a way to show your fun side through food.

There are 5 key points to keep in mind for a successful food program:

1-      Use food seasonally as a psychological trigger such as:

·         Summer for BBQ’s or Beach/Pool Trips, sauces, chips, dips and fun containers/bright colors; package in coolers, totes, insert towels, coasters and coozies
·         Fall for harvest, apples, maple syrup, tins of nuts- slate trays, cutting boards, seat cushions
·         Winter– Hot chocolate, teas, peppermints, cookies, coffee mugs & tumblers, mittens and scarves
·         Spring-Baskets, Jelly Belly’s, Flower-growing themes, seed card recipes and bookmark-umbrellas

2-Make sure food products are packed fresh to order.

3-Know the shelf life or the additional cost in mailing to your distribution list; drop shipments.

4-Inquire about specialty packaging, building themes around products you have in stock, inserting cards or materials with your gifts, “fulfilling or kitting”.

5-Order Early for discounts; lead time increased November and Dec. Order early for discount and ship later fresh as needed!

Use food gifts to convey a message to your customers and your employees by using themes that keep to your brand- such as gummy bears might suggest you are a “big kid” at heart! Similarly kicking off a wellness campaign for reducing healthcare costs you might have protein bars distributed to employees with a branded message to “power up” to a better 2017! Use quick snacks or chocolates in a branded bowl in your conference room to “perk” up meetings.

Mostly have fun- food gifts are a great opportunity to show some personality!

What’s your favorite food gift? When we go to industry trade shows for our company we LOVE these cookies- maybe that is the key to someone's heart or at least a way to make a connection!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Why Are Calendars Still Strong on ROI?

Calendars remain a top promotional item because they bring a great return on your advertising dollars.

When you consider the cost of new customer acquisition or the long term value of monthly brand exposure to your existing clients- it's simple.

12 months of prime advertising space is smart; and calendars are useful.

Here are 8 tips to take calendar promotion to the next level as the calendar marches to December.

1. Think beyond the logo-Adding a name and custom pages forms a relationship and builds loyalty with the client. people love to see their name in print and personalized calendars are great end-of-the-year gifts for clients or employees.

2. Forget about January-If the client wants the standard January start date, then obviously you would give them a calendar with that format. But a company can hand out calendars that starts with the fiscal year, or a summer camp can have calendars beginning in May or when the season begins, celebrating a company anniversary? Maybe that date is the "first of the year"

3. Consider short-term options-Calendars that span three months at a time are useful for people that have several deadlines within that time, such as manufacturers, healthcare, and food service.
 Present multifaceted possibilities-Today, calendars are used for more than just remembering doctor's appointments. Companies with custom calendars can have special dates that relate to the company, such as an anniversary, fundraiser, or a launch date- add photos to make them personal to the recipient.

4. Use custom photographs-Various small companies, schools, and organizations are starting to create calendars with local scenery, animals up for adoption, or volunteers at work. School clubs can sell calendars with photographs of student athletes.

5. Work with technology-Even though some say that smartphones take away the need for calendars, others claim that they use paper calendars to back up their online calendars, expressing that it's easier to remember when something is handwritten. Companies believe there will always be a use for paper calendars

6. Take shape- Calendars come in shapes like towers, plans, cubes, beach chairs ; have fun. Own the landscape of someone's desk with a conversation piece that is also functional.

 7. Take advantage of sales! Calendars are often on sale till the end of August for the following calendar year- planning ahead can save you money!!

8. Add incentives- did you have a chick fil a coupon calendar- bet you did and you waited to use your monthly coupon. In 2016, why wait, technology allows our smart phones scan QR codes or  Augmented Reality ( ask for a copy of October 2016 newsletter) to send us to coupons and on line purchasing tools.

Friday, September 9, 2016

November Promotions To Raise Awareness

November heralds in several events not to miss for capturing awareness.

Starting with Movember- men to grow mustaches in support of prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. 

Companies could offer discounts for those with “a mustache” or use promotional mustache products like shopping bags, tumblers, shot glasses for incentives to purchase an item with proceeds being donated back to a cancer charity that affects men.

Encourage attention for your company by offering the opportunity to pose with faux mustache products for “selfie” moments at your location or around the shops in your area.

Similarly, supporting lung cancer awareness with positive anti-smoking messages, ribbons and bracelets; pledges from employees to try to kick the habit.

November 15- America Recycles Day
Take a look at work and home to figure out what can be recycled! There are many eco products made from easily domestic grown such as bamboo and corn, recycled plastics, old tires, old newspapers and more. By the way, glass products are naturally eco-friendly and easily recycled.

November 26-Small Business Saturday
Local retailers should plan now to thank customers with products that will appeal to customers and relate to the business. For example, a music store could distribute guitar pick key chains that day! 

Share your favorite promotions!

Friday, July 1, 2016

How Is CAS a Consumer Benefit?

Why are we certified?  

When a distributor like any other professional takes the time to master more knowledge in their industry the effect is better results for their clients. In addition to the requirement of longevity in our industry to apply; PPAI’s CAS certification requires testing of knowledge across the following ever 3 years to insure certified consultants bring “their A game” to consultations. 

What types of mastery are required? Course work in the following categories:
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Distribution
  • Trends
  • Artwork
  • Business management
  • Legislation, Intellectual Property, Legal & Ethics
  • Developing and managing programs
  • Trade shows product and display implementation
  • Integration of Technology
  • Product Safety
 Additionally this certification must be renewed every 3 years, with proof of additional course work- keeping our knowledge current!

Are there additional certifications? Yes, and we are working towards those goals! 

Want to know more?


What Is The Benefit To Multiple Memberships?

On our website 
we display our association memberships. Displayed are both ASI and PPAI's logos.

What exactly does ASI and PPAI stand for- why both, and how does that benefit me as the consumer? 

In many ways the organizations are the same. PPAI stands for Promotional Products Association International and ASI stands for Advertising Specialty Institute; which is also an international member’s organization. 
  •  Both organizations exist to support the advertising specialty industry and both are comprised of both distributors like us and suppliers; those that provide us your printed products. 
  •  Both organizations are committed to advocacy for our industry and education for our members. 
Our on going commitment to research and education related to marketing, brand and production trends translates into expertise for you by being involved with these associations. 
Tools, education, suppliers vary a bit from organization to organization so the combined reach and resources of these two organizations provides our company an advantage to cutting edge tools, as well as current relevant information about branding, marketing and imprinted products. 
Both groups provide us independently gathered, comprehensive research related to consumer behaviors related to promotional advertising
PPAI facts gather by-  studies conducted by RELEVANT INSIGHTS, Baylor University, MarketTools Inc and other firms.
ASI's 2016 facts gathered