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.


The Coolest Can Coolers

metallic-kan-tastic-koozies-x20203Neoprene beverage coolers have come out of the dark ages.  Though they have been around for decades, until the last few years the colors and style options of branded can coolers have been dull and predictable.  But times have changed.  Those can coolers at the bottom of the kitchen drawer or stuffed in the back of the car glove box don’t look anything like many of today’s styles.

Metallics are a new twist on this classic giveaway, but that’s just the beginning.  How about a cooler shaped like a cowboy boot, construction boot, sneaker or fish?  or one made out of genuine leather, burlap, denim  or t-shirt jersey material?

There are can coolers equipped with bottle openers and styles that are designed to look like any number of sports balls … golf balls, basketballs, footballs, etc.  Slap can coolers are a take-off on the popular slap bracelets, and are easily wrapped around a can in the same way.  Can coolers can be decorated in full color imprints, and there are styles with handles that make it easier to hang on to that drink!

You have a beverage in a container other than a 12 oz can?  No problem!  There are sizes to accommodate 16 oz and 24 oz cans; bottles of varying sizes; plastic stadium cups; and even growlers.

Summer is here, and with hot days come cold drinks.  It’s time to take another look at can coolers for your next corporate giveaway.


Stay Stylish And Carry On

life save bagDuffel bags are no longer just an accessory to carry your gear to and from the gym.  Not just a tube that you stuff your clothes, towel and water bottle into, the style and function of today’s duffel bags make them a must-have piece of your travel bag collection.

Let’s start with style.  There are various sizes, but all duffels have the same basic shape and features.  So, the first thing that will set your branded duffel apart from all the other bags in your customers’ closets will be the outward appearance.  A bright bag with an all-over custom decoration will stand out and be noticed.  A collage of company product images; nature scenes promoting eco-conscious initiatives; or a picture of a person, animal or thing that serves as the company mascot would stand out and grab the attention of anyone who sees it.  Brand visibility being one of the main objectives of any marketing team means style is key.

Regarding function, duffel bags can be as simple or complex as your budget allows.   Zippered pockets, shoe pockets, padded shoulder pads, laptop sleeves and rolling wheels are all available for a price.  And for business travelers, these types of functional options are a must.  However, for the average recipient, who will likely use this bag for road trips, pool or beach days, and gym gear, a simple, lightweight design with a zip top opening, carry handles and a shoulder strap are all that’s needed.

Duffel bags remain a practical carryall for most people.  If you take the time to consider a custom decoration that will stand out in the crowd, your brand will get carried on.



The End Of The Boring Hat

cap242% of U.S. consumers who keep promotional hats do so because they are attractive.  Although it seems to be stating the obvious, hats need to look good to be worn.  And if there is a choice to be made between a unique, well-designed hat and one that is boring in its color and logo decoration, then it’s likely the well-designed cap will win the day.

Front embroidery has always been the classic decoration method for caps.  But in response to retail fashion trends,  cap suppliers have developed more sophisticated techniques that can enhance, or replace, standard embroidery.  These techniques add style and value to the cap, and give your customers a unique look that will be worth wearing.

Consider a few of the following decoration options:

  • Hat Tattoo:  Embellish without limits!  Ink imprint can be applied to the visor, over embroidery, on felt appliqué or on the mesh back of a trucker cap –  imprint available almost anywhere on the cap!
  • Heat Transfers:   Logo can be applied in glitter flake, flocking, full color and camo transfers for a unique effect.
  • 3D Embroidery:  This technique has been around for several years, but now we can add a full-color sublimated overlay to make that logo pop!
  • Merrowed Edge Patch:  Either embroidered for a vintage look, or full color sublimated ink for colorful, detailed designs, patches are perfect for adding the interest of texture.

A cap provides 3,136 logo impressions over their lifetime – but only if the customer wears it.  The next time your company is considering a hat giveaway, ask about ideas for a different way to showcase your logo.  Increasing brand awareness is worth the extra effort.

Trend Alert For Promoting Brands

clear toteHigh fashion labels have embraced the clear tote, and your corporate customers have noticed.  Originally a utilitarian accessory meant to make passage into sports stadiums, schools and airport security lines easier, clear totes are showing up on fashion runways, and in stores from Urban Outfitters to Nordstrom.

Messenger bags, open-top totes, cross-body purses and cinch backpacks are all offered in see-through styles.  The design encourages the user to consider more carefully what they carry, and still provides plenty of room for all the necessities.  They are a great way to pack up for a day at the beach, or to put in some extra clothes for the gym.  Clear totes are easy to clean, and extremely durable, which makes it perfect for any age group.

Considering the rising popularity in fashion, not to mention all the obvious advantages of being prepared for the new law enforcement policies at many of the large-crowd events, the clear tote has become a great vehicle for promoting corporate brands.