Saturday, August 26, 2017

Be-CAUSE You Care- Connect Your Brand Message!

A cooler morning and days away from September are you ready to connect with the community and connect your brand to consumers? Nationally recognized dates provide ways for your business to connect with consumers, put a spotlight on issues your business values or just have fun.

 September is national Hunger Action Month - to raise awareness about domestic hunger which affects 48 million Americans. In the local Apex community, Western Wake Crisis Ministry has been working to address local needs since 1983. There 6th annual golf tournament is September 18th; golfers, donors and sponsors are still welcome.

 Looking for a way to connect with your client base on this topic? Hold a food drive and thank donors with kitchen products they can use at work or in the home to remind them of your annual efforts. Easy to read measurements are a great gift for seniors, practical for families teaching young ones how to cook and a fun way to convey measurement messages such as, Thanks for your service, no one else measures up to you!

National Assisted Living Week—September 10-16

During this week, recognize the people who need assisted living services and staff who care for them. 

 Residents and employees can curl up with a book or walk around their home in both comfort and safety with these fuzzy gripper socks. Kitchen tools paired with a easy recipe to make with visiting family or single serve salad kit are ways to show you care. 

Business Woman’s Day—September 22nd
This day recognizes working women who have contributed in America. 

Show your employers or employees your appreciation with awards, apparel, stationary or food gifts.  Desk art can be a fun way to provide a long term reminder that you value their relationship- what woman doesn't love diamonds?

Family Health and Fitness Day—September 30th

If you are a part of an organization including schools, parks, hospitals, and health clubs, then you want to be a part of this eventful day! Promote family-friendly activities with branded sports balls, moisture-wicking apparel, water bottles, towels, or fitness trackers. These gifts will remind recipients that fitness should be a year-round activity! 

 The cooler weather in September is a great time to plan fundraising events. Ready to hit the open road? Perhaps the Apex Police Departments efforts to raise money for Special Olympics through a motorcycle ride might be the right fit for fun. Their torch run coined A Day Behind Handle Bars is still seeking riders and donors! For more information

Riders will receive this commemorative towel. 

 Make an impact with your branded gifts this September!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Free Food & Outragous Fun Grow Business Connections

Cooking shows are all the rage, whether for kids, master competitors or amateurs there is a common thread- what's "you" on a plate? Creating an authentic connection between ingredients that define you and the diner who enjoys the meal is a critical step among culinary masters. Yesterday I suggested that a team approach to marketing will yield stronger results; advancing your brand. However, marketing is often an fearful word for many business owners because deep down they are convinced the tools suggested to market the business are not worth the expense.

Several times this month we been referred to new clients who have decided to participate in an event- a festival, an expo, a fair or a charity event. The owner has signed up for the event because they believe the mass attendance in that venue will translate into new business. Looking sharp is important but clients are afraid of going over budget and wasting money. In a few weeks the Apex, Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs Chambers have a joint Southwest Community Fest. How should a business plan for a successful event?
How should a business approach a community event to market their business? We start this type of planning by reminding clients this type of event requires a different position for your marketing.

1. Who is attending this event? Families and individuals 

  •  Are families an ideal contact to grow your business?
  •  If not, you have an additional challenge to connect with the attendees.
2. Why are they attending today?

  • Free entertainment for kids
  • "Something to do "
  • Food
  • Amusements

3. Why are you there?

Of course you want more business and brand exposure. Step back, think, what can you do to adapt your message that day to appeal to families and consumers rather than a traditional business to business connection usually associated with a chamber expo?

4. What is the call to action before, during and after the event? The demographic attending might have a different focus on the weekend, but attendees still have a "day job". Traditional trade-show techniques can still be applied for results, such as:

  •   Defining a list of ideal contacts you can invite prior to the event offering an incentive to attend.
  •   Inviting referral partners, encouraging them to share the event with contacts they can introduce you to during the event.
  •   Provide a reason for attendees to interact with you after the event- such as offering a discount coupon, free sample or gift for coming by after that event.
5. Keep in mind your general audience and don't be afraid of fun!

For a weekend event make sure you have some fun reasons for folks to visit your booth.

Like what? Games with prizes, fun photo opportunities- the quirkier the better.
    • For example, if you are a plumber using a toilet bowl basketball game, no doubt folks will laugh. 
    • A roofer with a beat the clock game to see how many balls you can put down the hole in the roof is a lot more fun than a static display about roofing options. 
    • A fitness business might targeting middle aged out of shape folks by offering rolling doughnut races to get the conversation started.
    •  If you aren't into fun, hire some fun- demonstrations, performers, artists, food samples there are numerous ways to engage the attendees in your space.

6- What do you give away and do you give away branded items? 

            Yes, I posed the question, do you give anything away?

Yes, we sell promotional items, but as a business owner it is difficult to see "treat or treat" attendees merely grabbing free items to put in their bag. For that reason in a business expo, we hide, yes hide, our give away items to vet interested prospects. While we might hide give away items at a business expo, we also are fortunate that we sell promotional items. There are so many fun things we can display at our table that the display alone is a draw to the booth.

For a community event, you are going to need to give something away. Be strategic with your choices. Do you want to bring folks over for food and prizes or does giving away a promotional item make more sense for your business?

Simple things make a difference:
  • Your products should hit on your brand message
  • Select useful items for the their daily routines to generate recall and retention for your company.
  • Make it easy for attendees to hear the message and connect with "you on a plate"
  • Select items you can use for other events if you are on a limited budget 
  • Limited budget? Our graphic artist can add a QR code to take the attendee to a website, video or blog to learn more about your business. 

7. What type of visual communication- display products do you buy or use? 

  • What other types of events are you doing this year- indoor, outdoor? 
    • Knowing how you will use materials later will help us to establish both a short and long term plan. 
      • For example, if you are doing a couple events a year locally you can save money and still look sharp by not over purchasing products intended for high use trade show circuits.
      • Selecting items that can be used more than one way for both indoor and outdoor events exist as options.
  • Will events always be in a trade show setting or do you need the flexibility to set up in an office or restaurant? 
    • Often we suggest a table runner rather than a table cover for some of our clients because runners adapt better to varied table sizes and shapes. 
Planning with a professional who can take an objective look at your plans and make strategic suggestions designed to generate the response you seek, but keep you on budget is an important step. Ready to put yourself "on a plate" and have some fun?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Advancing the Ball- Advancing Your Brand!

The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same."
Colin R. Davis

Our oldest son played college football. His experiences created a strong value for teamwork. He once expressed that in order for him to have an opportunity for "his moment" to receive the ball, he had to work as a team to advance the ball. Marketing is a lot like football. A series of steps are taken to move a brand forward, which create interaction and produce measurable growth; and raving fans! 

Today I read a post on Facebook stating Walmart is planning to get into the promotional products business. My first thought was, "aren't they are satisfied with being the world's largest company" (according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2016, Walmart’s $480 billion in revenue makes it the largest company by revenue on the planet. "now they gotta provide imprinted products too? "Oh great!" Then I thought about physically shopping at Walmart, while I go for price, I sure don't go for help. Think about it, when was the last time you found a helpful - knowledgeable employee at Walmart?

This month our team started the rounds of fall shows and appointments to learn "what's new" and how to apply those products to our clients marketing needs. The ability of our team to be helpful to your marketing and adverting needs is nurtured by education. We read, we listen, we research, we engage with other marketing professionals in our industry all in an effort to bring you strategies that work. Similarly we know that our diverse client base and community engagement add more plays in our playbook; allowing us to easily pivot when advancing your brand. Like a football team a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make sure the team looks good and performs well on game day!

What's working?
  • Quality products- because they are appreciated, kept and used
  • Retail brands 
  • Color rich products 
  • Spectacular packaging for the WOW factor. 
How are products being used? To shape behavior. Referrals are easier to achieve when your brand stays top of mind and your employees feel appreciated. A quality, name brand product stands out when a company wants to recruiting and retaining the best talent for employees. Quality products that help the recipient enjoy their day or that solve challenges in their day show clients you value their relationship. 

Below are some images from the show floor. 

 Vitamin packs

 Name brand technology
 Fun packaging
 Inspiring shapes- functional in home or breakroom
 Plush, warm &cozy
 Out of the box decoration

 Desk art & unique markets

 I did mention football a few times in this post
 Pop of Color

Ask us to send you some of our favorite picks from the fall shows- and of course we will provide you strategies for how to implement these products into your branding needs.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Would You Get A Microchip?

Last week several media outlets carried stories about employees willingly having a microchip placed beneath their skin. Advocators for this type of technology point to ease of use, security for data and identification. For a gal who is still getting past adult communication in the form of a text, a microchip is not coming for me. However, technology is changing our lives. As we zoom towards the end of the year tailgating, acknowledgement and gifts will take center stage. Mixing in top technology to stay connected is a great way to show you care and provide brand interaction.

 Information at your fingertips-

 Stay connected-

Track your goals-

 Never lose things-

 Fall in love again-
 Hear the difference-

Security & peace of mind when you travel-

Capture the action-

Enjoy the comfort and the sound- 

 Charge anywhere- MyCharge-

 Travel with the best-
 Fold and go-
 Take your favorite music where you want to go-
 Brands that deliver-
 According to a 2016 PPAI study- a branded gift will create goodwill, loyalty and generate a call to action with your intended recipient. In fact, promotional gifts were they only  category compared with broadcast advertising, on line advertising, mobile advertising and print advertising that topped  the #1 response from Millennial's, Gen-X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation; impressive right?  Response to a promotional gift create an emotional connection.

Which items, which brands? It depends on your message and the intended recipient, because you want to select items that will be appreciated and used. We always suggest making employee and key business relationship gifts part of your over marketing plan rather than a knee-jerk reaction to acknowledgment.

What's your favorite gift?