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Brand Authenticity: If You're Not Genuine We'll Know It

February 18, 2015 9:59 am Published by

authenticbrands-700x700 copyOnce upon a time, a brand could rely on billboards and signs, radio and TV ads, public relations efforts to promote itself and attract buyers. Potential buyers had to go to a physical storefront to learn more or buy what they wanted. By mail came catalogs, flyers and the like. Brand authenticity wasn’t a part of the mix simply because the company controlled the message.
In today’s digital world consumers have access to anything, 24/7, delivered right to our front door or handheld device. We have all kinds of access to (and impact on) brands that consumers past didn’t have. The hyper transparency of today makes it tougher to stand out over the noise of everyone else trying to do the same. We can talk about our favorites, complain about the bad stuff, share hints and experiences. It’s a whole different ball game.

Why Printed Calendars Still Matter

January 8, 2015 9:00 am Published by

Last year, at just about this time, I wrote (vented) here about the disappearance of my promotional calendar from a real estate agent we used for a summer rental. So when the familiar envelope arrived yesterday I was happily surprised to find the functional, practical and everyday useful calendar back in the mix.
These guys must have realized just how effective printed promotional calendars are. Even today.
2015 Wall CalendarsThere’s something to the printed calendar that the virtual ones just don’t have. Permanence. You can touch it, use it anytime. What often gets overlooked in our tech-obsessed world is that not everyone is comfortable using technology, relying on apps. Unlike the digital variety, printed calendars are there, every single one of the 365 days of the year, as useful as ever. As perfect a place for your business name, contact info or message as you can get. Rather than being intrusive and annoying like virtual ads, your message on a printed calendar is quietly there, a subtle reinforcement and reminder of your business. Your understanding of real world needs.
You can’t beat that.
PPAI research from 2011 finds that 80% of homes and businesses are still using a printed calendar. Despite the explosion in technology and dizzying number of apps, this number is down just 20% from levels reported in the initial study conducted in 1981. (more…)

Networking For Business: Opportunities Are Everywhere

December 28, 2014 9:59 am Published by

business-networkingWhen it comes to networking for business, there’s really not much new. Except this.
Rather than focusing your networking efforts on those awkward business card passing events, be aware of the everyday chances you have to meet people, build relationships and perhaps your business as well. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at the number of opportunities that present themselves in your ordinary world. Real world examples of networking success stories like these abound.
The opportunities are out there… all you need to do is look and be ready to embrace them.

Promo Products: Still Best For Recall, Building Relationships

November 11, 2014 10:00 am Published by

When was the last time you watched a commercial on TV? Poured over an ad in a magazine or newspaper? Listened to a radio spot or didn’t click past an online ad? Chances are, like most people today, your answer to all this is “never”. Which is why the recent promo products news is so striking, especially if you’re trying to promote a product, build a business.
ASI (short for Advertising Specialty Institute) has released the results of this year’s survey of consumers, asking them about the company advertising they saw and remembered. This is the 6th year for this widely quoted, well regarded research that involves in person interviews with businesspeople as well as students in cities in North America, Canada, Europe and even Australia.
screen-shot-2014-02-20-at-9-25-36-amThis is key information for every business owner. Yet again, quality promo products bearing a company name or logo were recalled by 85% of the consumers in the survey. That’s far above the other ways to reach an audience, like ads on prime time TV or magazine and newspapers. Investments in these approaches bank on the idea that people will see, and remember the ad. If they don’t, the time, effort and money invested are a waste.

Gifting Tip: Pretty Business Gift Packaging Matters

October 30, 2014 8:59 am Published by

The right business gift packaging does more for you then you might think. It’s a demonstration of time and effort that makes a good gift great, helps a ho-hum one seem special. Which is why we’re encouraging you all to give some thought to packaging the business gifts you plan to give this year. You’ve taken time to select something special… you’e waited while it was imprinted with your name and logo — why risk your investment of time and money by skimping on the packaging?
Paying attention to packaging a business gift shows the recipient (customer or employee) that you’ve gone “above and beyond” in your efforts. This sends a powerful message to everyone who gets your business gift this season. A message that nay business, large or small, needs to deliver over and over again.
As in the past, the pre-holiday season brings an excellent piece about packaging business gifts that you really need to check out. The use of quality packaging for such gifts is on the rise, most likely because we’re all looking for ways to make our gifts (and business) stand out, look sharp. Paying attention to how a business gift is packages is the final piece of the puzzle — it’s an easy (and affordable) way to present a business gift that ensures the  “WOW” factor, reinforce the good decision it was to do business (or work) with you, continue to build that special one on one relationship. (more…)

Must Have Promotional Products For Startups (Everyone Else, Too)

October 17, 2014 1:01 pm Published by

startRecently we were asked to recommend the best promotional products for a business just starting out. A small, one man outfit without deep pockets or lots of staff who needed help getting the word out about his services. TV and radio were way too expensive. Print ads might be okay, but this new business owner was looking for a way to promote his business that was more effective, and frankly more affordable too.
Something that stuck around longer than an ad. Something that presented his new business int he best possible light.
There aren’t that many ways to get the word out on your business as effectively and efficiently as a promotional product does — which makes them a smart choice for any business (just starting out or been in the thick of things for a while). As our regular readers know, promotional products say a lot about your business, especially if they are useful, top quality and engage the senses.
Here are the suggestions we made…

Promo Products: The Not So Secret Weapon Of Advertising Pros

May 26, 2014 12:03 pm Published by

When it comes to getting the word out about a product or a business, it’s a smart move to look to advertising pros (real ones, not the phony TV kind) for advice. To see what they do and why.
Ad agency pros, and advertisers working in larger corporations are a reliable source of information on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to promoting a business or product because they are being held to a hard line in terms of results. There’s no time, or budget for things that don’t work, no career for a pro who doesn’t perform. A recent PPAI benchmark study based on input from these pros found that promo products are considered an effective way to deliver brand recall and generate sales — 74% of those surveyed said these items are effective, even highly effective.
Not many other ways to get the word out about a business can say that. Not TV. Not radio ads. Not even print ads.

Can Promotional Products Deliver An Insult?

February 25, 2014 11:59 am Published by

Apparently the answer is a big, fat YES, if the product that bears your name somehow reinforces a stereotype that is offensive to a particular group. And does it in a very public way, a way sure not to be overlooked.
In this case, the example of inappropriate promotional products comes from the gifts given by bank Goldman Sachs, major sponsor of a recent Harvard event (WECode) aimed at women who are interested in computer science. The gifts in question are mirrors and nail files that bear the company logo. Yes, you read that right.
Was this a calculated slap in the face to women, or is it all an overreaction to a simple gift?

Promotional Products For When It's Cold Outside

January 10, 2014 11:26 am Published by

By now we all know what winter is made of — it’s the time of year when heated car seats are worth their weight in gold, when a warm cup of coffee is welcome at any time of day, and paying for someone to pump your gas seems worth it.
About 200 million of us (the eastern two thirds of the U.S.) have been affected by the record-breaking cold — keeping businesses closed and consumers huddled at home, away from work, school, restaurants and malls. 
Here are bigpromotions, this nasty (but not surprising) weather got us thinking about all the products we know that are suited to this blast of winter — quality items that will reflect positively on your business or brand for years to come. Affordable items that people actually want — helpful ways to deal with the discomforts of winter and get your business noticed at the same time.

Reusable Shopping Bags: Good For Business, The Environment Too

November 22, 2013 9:30 am Published by

So… how many shopping (plastic or reusable) bags have you carried already this season?
There’s no arguing that plastic shopping bags are a modern marvel. These single use bags made their appearance in the grocery store checkout lines in 1976, and in the years since have become what  Guinness World Records calls  “the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world.” It’s true, they’re everywhere.
You can see why — these bags are durable, waterproof, can hold far more than their own weight and come in lots of sizes. What’s more, plastic shopping bags provide a fantastic place to showcase a company name, logo and message. A place that’s noticed by lots of pairs of eyes as it’s carried through the mall and back home. The fact that they’re affordable doesn’t hurt either.