Fanny Packs Are Back

fanny pakAfter the fanny pack fad of the ’80’s faded, those functional bags of yesteryear were deemed uncool and were only seen on clueless tourists in bright tropical shirts.  But a lot has changed in the last few years, and the fanny pack is back in fashion and hotter than ever.

Rebranded as a “belt bag”, “hip bag” or “waist bag”, the modern fanny packs come in various shapes and sizes. The styles range from practical nylon or polyester, to high-end leather.  They can be simple with a single zipper, or decorated with studs and creative stitching.  Nike and Adidas offer options aimed at athletes and the casual day-tripper, while numerous high-end designers like Gucci and Calvin Klein bring runway-worthy styles to the fashion-conscious crowd.

The resurgence in demand for practical, versatile items fuels the growth in this category for women and men alike.  The fanny pack is responsible for 25% of the growth in the accessories market, and is the fastest growing segment in the men’s market.  Worn around the hips or across the chest, these bags are turning up everywhere.

The good news for corporate marketers is that the promotional suppliers have responded to this popular trend, and offer lots of fanny pack options that would be perfect for concerts, festivals, sporting events and trade shows.   Considering the current excitement around the contemporary fanny pack, it should be on the top of your list for upcoming event giveaways.

Social Media + Promo = Brand Fans

Socialmedia-pmSocial media marketing is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals.  Promotional merchandise is products branded with a logo or slogan and distributed in marketing and sales promotions.  When you put them both together you have a powerful marketing strategy that can help your company stay ahead of trends and better target specific audiences, resulting in a new generation of brand fans.

Since social media is basically free and available anywhere for consumers, many companies already use it to find potential clients.  The next-level step would be to design a clever social media campaign that is tied to a unique audience or experience.  Consider these ideas to better connect with, and ignite, your followers:

  • Offer a Gift for Super-Fans:  Choose a few devotees engaged with your brand and reward them for their loyalty with a gift that would appeal to them.
  • Ask for a Shout-Out:  Send a message like, “Be one of the first 50 people to retweet our big news and receive XXX”.  Be sure to specify what they will receive and make it creative.
  • Drive Demand with Limited-Edition Items:  Create a custom item that represents something unique to your brand.  Offer it to your followers as part of a contest to sign up for a new service, buy a product, donate to your charity or book a trip.

There’s no doubt that clever promotional merchandise – of good quality distributed in a creative way to a specific target audience – can do big things for any company, large or small.  But you have to be ahead of trends and engage your brand fans where they spend their time – on social media.  So go ahead and surprise them with cool stuff – it will help you break through all the other marketing noise.

Tariffs? What Tariffs?

TOD40D_Blue_5723Since July, tariffs have been imposed on nearly half of the Chinese goods imported to the US.  Those tariffs – which is essentially a tax on an imported good – can either be absorbed by the importer or passed on to the buyer through price increases.

For the most part, the impact of these tariffs on the promotional products industry won’t be felt until 2019, but why wait?   There are many high-quality options for USA-made promotional products, and none of them will be subject to tariffs.

  • Drinkware:  Cups, mugs, and tumblers are all available in various colors and shapes to help keep your customer hydrated.
  • Tote Bags, Aprons, Tablecloths:  Create a custom bag with one-of-a-kind features; trade show table covering with enhanced graphics; or colorful apron for staff or customer gift.
  • Socks:  Exploding in popularity and available with low minimums and endless customization options.
  • Plastics:  Bag tags, cell phone holders, ice scrapers and clipboards are a few of the many plastic promotional items that remain popular giveaways at an affordable price.
  • Paper Products:  Notepads, calendars, sticky notes and journals are all made in the USA and are among the most popular giveaways for home, travel and office.
  • Leather Goods:  From key tags to high-end luggage, every customer appreciates the quality of genuine leather and the appeal of American craftsmanship.
  • Caps and Hats:  Many US manufacturers offer ball caps and knit beanies, which are especially good for inventory programs that want a unique product but can’t afford long lead times.
  • T-Shirts:  Short sleeve and long sleeve tees have been made in the USA for many years, but with the increased attention on this category, there are more choices and better price points.

There are many reasons, other than avoiding tariffs, to consider buying USA-made goods for your next promotion.  Those reasons include supporting American jobs, reducing carbon footprint, and endorsing the superior human rights environment of the American worker.  When you add it all up, a USA-made product with your corporate logo sends the right message to your customer without blowing the department budget.

 

Tech The Halls

keyboardSome things never change.  Corporate buyers will be asking what’s new and different for the holiday season, and corporate customers will want cool and useful products that make their lives easier.  The easy answer for both is tech!

Tech gadgets remain high on the list of the most well-received gift for Millennials and Gen X customers.  Both groups stand out for their use of technology, supported by research that reveals some 54 percent of Gen X and 56 percent of millennials consider themselves digitally savvy.

So what are the items these tech savvy customers want?  Consider the following options:

  1. Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard:  When you want to travel light and still have the ability to work efficiently.
  2. WiFi Home Smart Plug:  Allows remote access for anything plugged into it; can schedule on/off for devices; and monitors energy used.
  3. Bluetooth Headphones:  Smaller, better sound quality and no cords!
  4. Bluetooth Speaker With Amazon Alexa:  Bluetooth speaker that integrates with Alexa – just tap the speaker to ask Alexa a question.
  5. Bluetooth Tracker:  Find your bag, wallet, phone, keys and more with a small tracking device that attaches, sticks or drops into your personal items.
  6. Leather Tassel Phone Cable:  Because tech accessories can still look cute!

The holidays are just around the corner, and the best tech gifts won’t last forever.  Pick one of the many popular tech items that works for your budget; add your logo; and tech the halls in 2018!

 

Branded Apparel With Attitude

hoodedDon’t expect your target customer audience to get excited about another shirt, hat or fleece that looks just like all the others in their closets.  Appreciative, yes – excited, no.  But with a little extra time and effort, your company can offer a clothing item that showcases your brand creativity and youthful attitude.

  • Fully customized hooded sweatshirts are a perfect cold weather item for young and old, male or female, regardless of industry.
  • Yoga leggings with custom waistband or all-over print are designed with relaxation in mind, and work well for women’s organizations, gyms or yoga studios.
  • All-over print t-shirts and jackets make a bold statement for corporate conferences, team events and trade shows.
  • Custom branded pockets on all types of t-shirts provides a single-location brand statement that pops off the garment.
  • Add subtle creative flair with a custom logo inside collar on 1/4 zip, 1/2 zip or full zip fleece.

Be bold, or remain understated – in either case the difference is clear when a custom branded apparel item stands out from the crowded field of embroidered or screen printed corporate clothing.  Showcase your brand attitude – it’s everything!

Are You Prepared?

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According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) nearly 50% of U.S. adults do not have the resources or plans in place in the event of an emergency.  44% of Americans don’t have a first aid kit, and 48% don’t have standard emergency supplies like flashlights and basic tools.

At the minimum, the American Red Cross recommends the following basic supplies for emergency preparedness:

  1. Flashlight
  2. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  3. Extra batteries
  4. First aid kit
  5. Multi-purpose tool
  6. Cell phone with chargers
  7. Emergency blanket
  8. Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  9. Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  10. Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  11. Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  12. Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  13. Family and emergency contact information
  14. Extra cash
  15. Emergency blanket
  16. Map(s) of the area

As we witness more natural disasters around the country, a first-aid kit, easy-to-carry emergency kit, or even a reliable flashlight are practical gifts that companies can give to any audience, at any time.  It’s a gift that demonstrates your corporate commitment to client and employee safety.  In the coming holiday season, consider the gift of safety!

Brands And The Digitally Inclined

h_70370The goal of branded giveaways is to drive brand recognition and customer interest, but the results are often not what we counted on.  When the choice of gift does not match up with the demographic of the intended audience, the expected impression can fall flat.

When considering the fact that everyone from toddlers to seniors have embraced the digital age – whether intentionally or by necessity – it’s a logical choice to select a promotional product that appeals to our global digital transformation.  And that digital transformation is not just about technology, it’s also about the products that make it easier for customers to access that technology.

  • Activity Tracker:  These staples of the health-conscious crowd are offered in varying price points, with a variety of features from simply counting steps to connecting with friends for friendly fitness challenges.
  • Smart Watch:  There are lots of less expensive alternatives to the Apple watch, and they offer many of the same features like bluetooth capability and cameras.
  • Flash Drive:  Store all of those digital files in one small, portable place without the fear of losing everything in a computer meltdown.
  • Power Bank:  Recharge mobile phones and tablets on the go!
  • Backpack:  Give a backpack with features like built-in power pack and headphone access.

Millennials and the Gen Z generation are always looking forward, spending an average of 10 hours day in front of screens, with a short attention span that responds to engaging digital content.  For your next corporate giveaway, consider a gift that keeps these digitally inclined customers aware of your brand while communicating and working in a digital world.