Not Just For Gamers – VR And Brand Engagement

virtualTake a college tour.  Test drive a car.  Attend an art gallery display.  Or give a prospective employee a view of the workspace before they arrive for an interview.  Virtual reality gives sellers the opportunity to reinvent the way they market and sell their products.

Beginning with the basics of VR, there are two types:  360-degree VR is a video that allows the viewer to see all around them while remaining stationary.  Immersive VR is virtual space that can be moved around in.

As a practical matter, 360-degree VR is more affordable for corporate marketing purposes since the content can be created using apps for Android and iOS, and will also take videos captured with smartphone cameras.  Full immersion VR requires a specialized development team to create content, which can run into thousands of dollars.

Branded headsets for 360-degree viewing can be purchased for as low as $15.00.  With cutting edge marketing techniques offered at a budget-conscious price, it is no wonder that the promotional products industry has seen a sales surge in this product over the last two years.  Multiple headset styles at varying price points allows nearly every company to turn a future consideration of this compelling medium into a real-world decision for today’s customer or prospect.

Try offering booth visitors at your next trade show the opportunity to submit a creative 3D video for the chance to win a prize.  It will drive engagement and increase brand awareness – which, of course, is the only reason your team is at that show to begin with!

Image courtesy of NY Times

Kickin It Up A Notch

soulkixCustomers always ask ,”What’s the newest product trend in promotional merchandise?”.  Today, one of the best answers to that question is custom printed canvas sneakers.

A growing desire for one-of-a-kind goods continues to drive the market for custom-designed footwear.  This trend is spurred by millennials on one end and baby boomers on the other, making it a very appealing marketing tool for companies in any industry.

The fact that there are few promotional merchandise options that are truly unique, custom  printed sneakers stands out as a way for companies to set themselves apart.  It’s a gift that lends itself well to team recognition or as a creative way to drive traffic to a trade show booth.  If you sponsor an in-booth drawing that awards 10 people each day with a pair of custom branded sneakers, you get their contact information at the same time you get their shoe size!

Custom printed sneakers may not be the answer for a large-scale giveaway, but it’s new, and it’s hot, and it definitely shows your company is kickin it up a notch when it comes to increasing brand awareness.

 

 

Marketing To Young Buyers

y_zThere are 93 million millennials – otherwise known as Generation Y – in the US.  That group now represents the largest segment of the American workforce.  With the oldest members being in their mid-30’s, they will be a dominant force for a long time.  But right behind them is Gen Z – with 70 million members in the college and high school scene – which will soon be a factor for any company looking to promote and sell to that market as well.

As with any customer demographic, there is a unique dynamic to these young buyers.  Marketing through emails and videos; giving youthful products that appeal to this tech- savvy group; and keeping the retail styles in mind when picking out headwear and apparel are all solid guidelines for appealing to the under-40 crowd.  It’s a matter of giving something that is “cool enough”- the latest and greatest – and not something that they have received multiple times in the past (swap the white cotton tee for a bella+canvas black heather tee).

The stats – courtesy of Pew Research Center – that support the theory:

  • By 2020 40% of all consumers will be from Gen Z
  • About 40% of Gen Zers say corporate offices are their preferred workplace
  • The average GenZer has the attention span of about 8 seconds
  • By 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce
  • 90% of millennials check their emails, texts and social media accounts before getting out of bed
  • More than 60% of millennials stay updated on brands through social media
  • 77% of millennials participate in loyalty reward programs
  • Millennials consistently spend more than other generations on fitness-related products

Young buyers are the future – prepare to understand what they want, and avoid what they don’t – if you don’t, someone else will!

Books Are Freaking Great!

freakingMy best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” –Abraham Lincoln

Companies, like friends, can demonstrate how much they care about customers and employees by giving the right book.  For every individual, departmental team, or entire associate base, there is a book that can carry your message.

From bestsellers to cookbooks – adult coloring books to travel books – this gift category offers far-reaching options for any audience.  Books can be given to inspire, reduce stress, motivate top performance, make the next generation smarter, promote health & wellness, or even to just get the party started!

And if giving books is so smart, adding your brand and message is even smarter.  Customization options include:

  • Cover Imprint:  Reinforce your brand by adding a logo and message to the front cover
  • Promo-Page Inserts:  Custom design an information page that is glued-in to the book – personal letter, photographs, advertisement or contact information are all excellent content for this insert
  • Belly-Band Wrap:  Make a bold statement by wrapping your logo & message around the outside of the book
  • Custom Book Jacket:  Create your own custom book jacket featuring your unique full-color artwork

For nearly the same price as a t-shirt, water bottle or duffle bag, you can give a customized book.  Do it!  your company may find the recipients to be as grateful as a new best friend.

Get Ready To Sweat

spritzEach January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way, and many of those people will fall short.  Among the most popular resolutions is the promise to lose weight and get fit, which suggests just how difficult it is to commit to.

However, since most of us know that increasing physical activity is one of the most effective ways to improve physical fitness, corporations have an opportunity to help their customers reach their goals with promotional products that are useful in all levels of exercise.  Focusing on the need to move more and eat less provides these companies with many excellent product options.

  • Pedometers:  This doesn’t have to be an expensive activity tracker – to record daily movement, a simple step counter will do.
  • Cooling Towels:  Towels, bandanas and buffs, made from high tech fabrics, instantly cool with water or perspiration.
  • Misting sport bottles:  Quench a thirst, then spritz a cooling spray.
  • Sunglass Lanyards:  Perfect for a short walk or long distance run – no more searching for a place to put sunglasses when they aren’t being worn.
  • Cell Phone Armband Pouch:  Strap to the arm or leg for a hands-free way to listen to music or answer a call.

At this time of year, when nearly one third of Americans are getting ready to sweat off those extra holiday pounds, one of the best ways to increase brand awareness would be to put a branded fitness product in their gift bag.  Then, even if their motivation slips a bit, the brand will remain on that sunglass lanyard even when sitting by the pool.

 

Embracing And Improving Brand Equity

5864p_groupIn order to embrace brand equity, we should have a good handle on what it means.  Simply stated, brand equity refers to the value of a brand.
That value and its power are derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time – which in turn translates into higher profits.  According to an overview of brand equity in Investopedia, “Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable, and superior in quality and reliability. Mass marketing campaigns also help to create brand equity.”
It is within the framework of these mass marketing campaigns that promotional products can be most effective.  Rather than just giving away more stuff with logos on it, products and packaging that reinforce brand equity can contribute to the long-term goal of increasing brand awareness and improving customer loyalty.  Custom packaging, in particular, adds a higher level of strategic awareness to the brand, elevating it beyond just the value of the promotional product inside.  It becomes part of a strategy to boost the integrity of a brand, rather than being just another giveaway that goes into the trade show bag.
First impressions are important.  What consumers take in during those few seconds before choosing a product helps shape subsequent judgements about the brand.  Companies that sell their products in retail environments have always known this, and have been designing better packaging solutions for years.   They fight for shelf space and are consistently changing and improving their packaging in an effort to catch the consumers’ eye in a crowded market.
Although it takes a little more time to design – and adds a little more cost to the product – custom packaging for promotional products will catch the eye, and attention, of your audience.  Try it the next time you have a high profile marketing campaign with a customer you want to impress – it works!