Backpacks Give Your Back A Break

backpackAccording to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, as many as 75-85 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives.  Back pain is caused by many different things, but one of the main culprits for adults is our habit of over-stuffing purses, briefcases and tote bags – and those bags are carried on one side, causing muscle imbalances and pain.

On the other hand, backpacks evenly distribute the weight of what we are carrying to work, the gym or through the airport.  Granted, most of us carry far more than we need – and this is something everyone should address by being  more selective about what goes into our bags.  But for everything that we can’t leave behind, backpacks are by far the better choice for reducing back pain.

In regard to style, today’s backpacks are designed to look good while offering features that match your lifestyle.  Lightweight drawstring backpacks are perfect for students and young adults looking for a stylish bag to carry a few essentials.  Structured backpacks with padded interiors for computers and tech accessories; various organizing compartments for files, tickets and wallet; and side pockets for water bottles and smaller essentials are the best travel bags, second only to the rolling suitcase.

In regard to size, smaller is typically better since we are always tempted to fill whatever space we have available.  But regardless of the size, a backpack that sits close to the body is best for reducing discomfort, and choosing a style with a smaller shoulder strap will help minimize the strain on the neck and shoulders.

And, of course, companies looking to increase brand awareness can’t go wrong with giving a bag that carries a logo on the backs of students, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers.  Greater brand visibility and reduced back pain for the recipient – Win-Win!

Branded Blankets Have You Covered

hood blanketStay engaged with important clients or show appreciation to valued employees with the gift of warmth that they will cherish for years to come.  Blankets are offered in a variety of fabric options and style choices that work well for women and men of every age group.

My favorites are always those styles that can go from home to car to picnic on the grass – but that’s just me!  See below for some of the other styles customers are looking for.

  1. Sweatshirt Blanket:  With or without a hood, stay warm at the game or at an outdoor concert.
  2. Cableknit Lambswool Throw:  Knit like a favorite sweater on one side, soft faux lambswool on the other.
  3. Faux Leather Throw:  For an elegant gift, combines faux leather with soft faux fur.
  4. Oversize Light Down Blanket:  Water resistant nylon with faux down, micro fleece lining and removable carry pouch makes this perfect for outdoor activities.
  5. Heathered Fleece Sherpa Blanket:  Combines classic look with the modern style of heathered velour with sherpa backing.
  6. Soft Wool Blanket:  Brushed wool and polyester blend provides softness and durability.

Sweatshirt blankets or cashmere throws – blankets are a useful gift that will remind the recipient of your brand identity and corporate values.  Add a retail-style box for the perfect presentation, and you can be certain the impression will last.

 

 

 

Practical Vs Eye-Catching

VX_8135_misty-mint_34591Why settle for just practical, when always-reliable items like tote bags, coffee mugs, water bottles and jackets are available in eye-catching styles and colors that will appeal to even the most fashion-forward audience.  While there is always a market for the understated and subtle, striking colors and unique product designs will generally appeal to a younger audience.

Today’s consumers want products that stand out – unique items that make the other guy stop and say “where did you get that?”.  And if that item has a corporate logo, all the better for the company that wants to improve brand visibility – which would include all companies that spend money on branded giveaways.

Some of my favorites:

  • Silicone Collapsible Water Bottle:  Safe for both cold and hot beverages, the bottle fully collapses from 8.4″ tall to 4.8″
  • Metallic Tote Bag:  Vinyl tote bag available in silver, gold or rose gold and features a large main opening with soft interior
  • Packable Insulated Jacket:  Trendy retail look with features like LED zipper pull, this jacket is warm and water repellent, and packs into a stuff sack for travel
  • Blue Jean or Bling Coffee Mug:  Ceramic mugs uniquely styled to make a statement without saying a word
  • Custom Socks:  Athletic, business, ankle or knee high – every sock style is available with completely customized designs and colors
  • Aluminum Pop Sockets:  The ultra popular mobile phone grip/stand is now available in bold, classy metallic colors like ruby red, sapphire blue and rose gold

It’s not difficult to create an eye-catching promotional product that will also serve as a practical reminder of your company’s brand.  Step out from your comfort zone, and ask about this year’s new colors or the most recent interpretation of a classic product.  Being noticed = increased brand awareness!

 

 

 

The Last (Plastic) Straw

strawLast year the world population used over 500,000 million straws, 480 billion plastic bottles and one trillion single use plastic bags.  The impact to the oceans and our planet’s health has been devastating.  Over the last few years there has been a resounding public outcry against the use of these types of disposable plastics, and the corporate world is responding.

Hotels and airlines are instituting bans on plastic straws, and cities around the country are doing the same for disposable plastic bags.  Tour companies and cruise lines are joining in the fight, while corporations in every industry with brand marketing budgets are supporting the cause with more eco-conscious giveaways.  And as the following examples demonstrate, it’s not only good for the environment, it’s also good for business.

  • Drinkware – Third Most Influential Promotional Item:  Acrylic, stainless and ceramic drinkware products can easily replace disposable plastic bottles and cups.   As with every corporate giveaway, consider the style of the product to be sure it matches the lifestyle of the recipient.  Ceramic mugs are fine for office workers, but those who spend a lot of time in a car or outdoors need plastic or stainless.
  • Stainless Steel or Copper Straws – 53% Of U.S. Consumers Use Promotional Drinkware:  The same consumers giving up plastic bottles for reusable drinkware are anxious to receive their first truly reusable straw.  Dishwasher friendly and engraved with a company logo and/or personal name, these unique promotional items truly reflect the fast-growing demand for alternatives to plastic straws.
  • Reusable Bags – Create More Impressions Than Any Other Promotional Product:  For grocery shopping, travel, and outdoor excursions, a reusable canvas or non-woven bag, backpack or duffel are smart giveaway choices that are used at home and in the office.  Not just for carrying groceries, sturdy bags of every style increase brand identity and improve brand loyalty.

For corporations that want to appeal to this generation’s sensitivity to the health of our planet, it makes good business sense to promote your brand while encouraging more eco-friendly habits.  Give the corporate gift that keeps on giving!

Retro With Modern Twist

wood speakerIn the era of #ThrowbackThursdays and #FlashbackFridays, retro-inspired products are more popular than ever.  The nostalgic emotion of times past triggers the happy feelings that retro products inflame.

In response, corporate marketing departments are capitalizing on this trend with branded products that resonate with that audience – and those products are created with the modern consumer in mind.  Check out a few of the more popular merchandise trends below.

  • Classic radio styles equipped with bluetooth capability
  • Metal coolers with retro design and modern stay-cold features
  • Full color metal lunchboxes
  • Playing cards with custom fronts and backs
  • Customized board games like Scrabble and Monopoly featuring corporate graphics and messages
  • Coffee mugs; bottle openers; and coasters that look like vinyl records
  • Hoodie sweatshirts, sweatpants and skater-style sneakers are even making a resurgence

There is a wide range of products that reflect the retro craze without sacrificing the present-day features we have all come to expect.  Consider retro with a modern twist for your next promotion – those items are having a moment.

Respect The Brand

2461_Carolina_Blue_lifeThe way that you dress can earn you, and your brand, respect.  At corporate events like trade shows and industry conferences – or even in the office on a Friday afternoon – it’s important to dress professionally so others know you mean business.

Business casual attire is well-accepted but it can be tempting to take the idea of “casual” too far.  It should be less formal than traditional business-wear, but still provide a professional appearance.  Keeping that in mind, disheveled t-shirts, cargo shorts and flip-flops should be left at home for the weekend hang-time.

Depending on the industry and age of the employees, appropriate business attire can mean polos or button-downs, paired with pants for men, and pants or skirts for women.  On occasion well-constructed jeans are acceptable, but not the ones with holes and fraying hems.  Even though in today’s fashion world consumers pay a premium for a pair of designer ripped jeans, it’s still not the right image for someone representing most corporate brands.

Consistent brand identity, which in turn increases brand loyalty, relies on maintaining a dependable dress code for every corporate event.  Consumers come to depend on a recognizable corporate image that commands their respect.  That respect becomes trust – and trust grows into loyalty.

If you respect your brand with appropriate attire, so will your customers.

Sun Protection Can Be Stylish

rash guardThere are lots of opportunities for corporate outings in the summer – ball games, charity runs, community events and employee picnics to name a few.  And in addition to the company affairs, employees and customers are spending time at the beach or pool; enjoying golf, tennis or fishing; and just hanging in the yard or at the park with the family.  All of this time in the sun gives every company the perfect opportunity to increase brand visibility with stylish gear meant to protect their audience from those harmful rays.

Consider a few of the most popular items on the market today.

  • Rash Guards:  Originally designed for surfers, these fast-drying lightweight shirts offer UV protection and warmth, and are available in both long sleeve and short sleeve styles in a wide variety of colors.
  • Sun Hats:  Move beyond the standard ball cap, and embrace sun hats in any of the many fashion-forward styles like booney hats, bucket hats and fedoras.
  • Board Shorts:  Offered with or without side pockets, board shorts come in different lengths and colors, and are constructed of moisture wicking, fast drying fabric.
  • Hiking/Boating/Fishing Shirts:  Vented backs, long or short sleeves and multiple pockets offer necessary features on a shirt that is also made with fabric that packs light, dries fast and provides UV sun protection.
  • Sunglasses:  There are classically cool styles and modern fashionable designs, but everyone needs a pair of sunglasses for protection from the sun, wind and dust … not to mention the fun of having different eyewear for different activities and outfits.
  • Cooling Towels:  Simply soak the towel in water, wring it out, snap it a few times, and voila!  a cool refreshing towel to get reinvigorated on a hot day.

All of these items can be branded with corporate logos, which means there are multiple opportunities to increase brand awareness this summer.  Give a stylish stay-cool item as your next giveaway to keep those rays at bay.