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!

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.

 

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.

 

 

Bespoke Promotional Merchandise

Original-Stamp-PNGWhen one thinks of the word bespoke, it’s a sure bet there are few who would associate promotional merchandise with that very-British term.  According to the Merriam-Webster definition, bespoke means “custom-made”.  And, although we generally associate that term with tailor-made suits for affluent gentlemen, it is also commonly used when referring to anything that is made-to-order … from furniture to a traveler’s hotel design experience.

In that light, for companies that want to create an unforgettable product giveaway that will be completely unique and built to represent their exclusive brand, a custom-made promotional product is the perfect solution.  The John Deere toy tractors, Aflac plush duck and the many different original-design Starbucks coffee cups are prime examples of companies growing and extending their brand visibility with original products that are used every day.

A few examples of common items that can be custom-designed:

  • Flash Drives:  Custom cases designed to duplicate a logo shape or company mascot
  • Sunglasses:  Frames using custom corporate PMS colors and/or custom graphics
  • Packing Cubes:  Custom color fabric and zipper; custom shape and size
  • Toys:  Small-scaled vehicles that duplicate the company truck, van or car
  • Socks, Hats, Headbands:  Full color, all-over print designs using custom colors and graphics

Higher minimum order quantities and longer overseas lead times are common – although there are a growing number of USA manufacturers that offer custom product production and shorter lead times.  On the positive side, the pricing is generally more attractive and the custom options are endless.

In many cases, promotional products ordered for a new product launch or the multiple trade shows during that busy time of year are purchased in quantities that meet those order minimums, and at prices that are at, or above, the cost of a custom-made item.  So the only remaining potential roadblock between you and a completely custom promotional product is timing.

With the new year approaching, it’s time to look ahead three to four months, and decide to incorporate at least one bespoke promotional product into your stash of brand swag.  It’s a proven way to showcase your company creativity and engage your target audience.

 

 

Social Media, Golf And The Millennials

6917-miniature-golfAccording to data cited by the Wall Street Journal, golf participation rates among the 18-to-34 crowd (defined as the millennials) were down 13% in 2013 from 2009, while rates for active sports like running jumped 29%.  In 2013 alone, some 400,000 people gave up the sport in the U.S., according to the National Golf Foundation.  But now, we have youthful champions like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.  Their high profile wins have brought welcome attention to a game that desperately needs a way to connect with the millennials populating and influencing corporate culture.

Millennials, also known as GenY, were born into a new era of technology and founded the social media movement.  How a company – golf market agents or any other company – markets to a demographic that thrives in this fast-paced, ever-changing technological fray is an ongoing uncertainty in the business world.  In order to draw them into a game that requires 4+ hours of time, expensive gear and and an income that can allow for greens fees that can easily exceed $40 for 18 holes, companies must incorporate tools that support and enhance their tech experience.  (I must add here that the snowsports industry, another expensive, time-consuming pastime, is facing the same challenges with millennials).

What marketing tools would drive excitement for a game struggling to stay relevant while increasing brand visibility for your firm?  Read on for a few ideas on how to integrate golf, social media and the millennials.

  • Selfie Snapper:  Wireless bluetooth remote for snapping pictures on a smartphone.  Great for post-round pics of the foursome.
  • Silicone Phone Backstrap:  Holds credit cards, license, cash on the back of a phone, giving the recipient a useful reminder of the giver every time he texts, tweets or talks.
  • GPS Rangefinder:  Handheld or on the wrist, a touchscreen, bluetooth-enabled tool for saving strokes will appeal to those players who don’t have time to walk off the yardage.
  • Microfiber Cell Phone Bag Pouch:  Holds the phone – cleans the phone.  Taking care of the millennial golfers most prized tool will be appreciated well after the last hole.

The game of golf is here to stay, but the new generation of golfers will expect to experience it in different ways.  Give them something in their gift bag they can relate to besides that sleeve of balls.  They will reward you with appreciation for your foresight and your brand.

Fore! The Love Of Golf

golf gloveAccording to the National Golf Foundation, there are over 29,000,000 golfers in the United States, with an average annual household income of $95,000.  In consideration of the popularity of the sport and the purchasing power of those individuals, corporate marketers continue to add their logo to everything from golf balls to golf gloves in an effort to increase brand awareness.

And why not?  The statistics give us a picture of a demographic that most companies, regardless of their product or service, would be pleased to attract.  The profile of the average golfer describes a mostly male demographic at an average age of 46, attended and/or graduated college and owns at least one home.  Insurance companies, financial institutions, automobile manufacturers and the travel industry are just a few of the corporate entities that would have a reason to distribute branded golf merchandise through an annual sponsored tournament or just as a leave-behind when visiting key customers.

Want to know more about the golf enthusiasts in your target audience?  Read on for a little more insight into where they may be spending their money in the next 12 months.

Golfer Purchase Plans:

  • 53% Golf equipment
  • 47% Automobile purchase/lease
  • 40% Financial planning
  • 59% Banking
  • 46% Computer Hardware
  • 46% Continuing education/training
  • 84% travel/vacation
  • 33% Furniture/home furnishings
  • 37% Legal/consulting services
  • 45% Health/auto/life insurance
  • 48% Office equipment

Golf is a year-round sport in the warmer climates, and goes into full swing for the rest of us in the next few months.  Those individuals who never have enough golf balls for the tall  grass in the rough and the watery graves of the water holes are the same people with purchasing power.  Start now with plans to consider some of the creative new golf products that can increase your brand’s visibility with the golfers in your target market.

(Image via Ball Pro)