Comfort From The Cold With Branded Apparel

Winter portrait. Young, beautiful woman blowing snowThe business benefits that can be accrued from corporate gift-giving are many, from increased productivity to employee satisfaction to longevity in customer relationships.  The gifts you give represent your company, and should express the value you place in your relationship with the recipient.  And what better way to show your respect for your employees and customers than to give them the gift of warmth.

Name brand clothing lines with fashion-forward styles, better fabric options and more choices for women, in particular, offer the corporate world an opportunity to give a gift that will build loyalty and brand awareness with every recipient.  Rather than the standard polo or button-down shirt that is a necessary choice for trade shows and office attire, cold weather clothing essentials are items that will be worn at home, on the weekends, and on the job.

Consider the following apparel categories and the new ways to give the gift of warmth to your customers and employees in the coming winter months.

  • Hats:  Beanies with leather patch, bluetooth headphones, or LED light; fleece lined tassel hat; or polar fleece headband
  • Fleece Jackets:  Lightweight microfleece full zip jacket; super warm brushed fleece pullover; or sophisticated quarter zip rib knit fleece
  • Hoodies:  Vintage french terry hoodie; women’s poncho hoodie; or hooded hockey sweatshirt
  • Puffer Jacket:  Packable down vest or jacket; water resistant finish polyfill jacket; or ecologically sound lightweight layering jacket

There is a cold-weather clothing item that will work for nearly every recipient.  Take the time to consider the age and lifestyle of those people you want to thank, and give them something that will give them comfort from the cold in the coming months.  They’ll thank you!

Advertisements

The Age Of Environmentalism

eco-pencil-1000We have a new generation of buyers.  Buyers that are concerned about the environment; buyers that care about human rights; and buyers that look for the same in the companies they work with.  And those companies that demonstrate an overarching message of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are winning the affection and trust of those consumers.

According to an industry study, in the age group 18-35, 58% of end-users are more likely to have a favorable opinion of companies buying and distributing eco promotional products – more than any other age bracket.  And it’s not just what the product is made of that this generation cares about.  You can’t just say your stuff is eco-friendly because it’s a mug and not a one-time use paper cup.  Most people of the millennial generation are smarter than that.  They want to know about the product materials; the ability to recycle the item when it’s outlived its use; energy usage; and even fair labor practices.

Their concern with the environment is part of their culture, and as they enter into the upper echelons of the workforce, millennials are poised to stoke the growth of the eco category as buyers of all types of products and services.  So what types of promotional products would appeal to this audience without killing the corporate marketing budget?  See below for a few of the many eco product ideas that work in the office or at home.

  • Reusable, recyclable tote bags
  • Bamboo flash drive
  • Reusable, recyclable travel mug
  • Recycled organic cotton t-shirt
  • Corn plastic letter opener
  • Recycled microfiber cell phone stand
  • Recycled polycarbonate sunglasses

The values shared between customer and company are the building blocks of long-term partnerships.  If your company wants to win over this growing customer segment, consider eco friendly promotional products as one more tool to help support your branding message.

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!

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!