It’s Not Techy, And That Is The Point

moleskine-evernote-planner_243x284We use our smart phones for everything.  Talking, shopping, making dinner reservations, following navigation directions, getting stock updates – the list is endless. However, bouncing between apps, and trying to stay on top of everything through multiple functions can be time-consuming and unproductive.  The phone alerts that need to be silenced during meetings; the constant search for the perfect list-making app; and the need for many of us to still use sticky notes for the things that we absolutely, positively cannot forget has brought us full circle to the time-tested journal as the perfect tool for getting organized.

The journal works on the premise that nothing is forgotten if it’s written down.  An idea for the next blog, an appointment, sales goals, client information – it can all be recorded with a personally designed organizing system, or with the help of popular new systems like those employed by the designer of the Bullet Journal.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, another popular journal brand, Moleskine, revived the popularity of journals in 1997 with a traditional leather-bound notebook and has seen revenues double over the last 5 years.  And many of those users are millennials who embrace the digital lifestyle. Why?  According to Moleskine co-founder Maria Sebregondi, “… even the most plugged in people find it comforting to create their own designs”.

Companies who recognize this trend take advantage of the branding opportunities and  apply their logo to journals in every style and price point.  The choices range from simple styles that offer chip board covers, 70 sheets of paper and wire binding – to the more sophisticated versions with features like die-cut covers, custom tip-in pages with graphics and event details,  business card pockets, and pen ports.  These journals are used every day at home and in the office by the scores of customers who welcome an opportunity to write it down instead of logging it in – what better way to keep your brand front-of-mind?

Consider the classic journal for your next promotional gift – it’s not techy, and for many of us, that’s the point.



June Is National Safety Month

safety_largeAccording to  injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages – and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.  In an effort to prevent and control workplace hazards, and stem the growing workers’ compensation costs, many companies have launched injury prevention programs. In fact, currently 34 states have established laws or regulations designed to require or encourage injury and illness prevention programs.

While ongoing safety programs are proven to increase loyalty and decrease illness and injury, there are many companies that supplement a formal program with spot incentives and reminders to increase awareness of preventive safety measures in the workplace and in the community.  Since safety at home, on the roads and in our communities is equally as important as safe practices at work, using the month of June as an opportunity to provide reminders of the power we all have to prevent accidents is a corporate initiative worth implementing.

Product ideas for branded merchandise that will help with that call to action can be guided by the weekly safety topics that will be highlighted in June through the National Safety Council. 

  • Week 1: Stand Ready to Respond 
    • first aid kit; emergency contact information magnets; survival tool
  • Week 2: Be Healthy
    • pedometer; pocket calorie counter; jump rope
  • Week 3: Watch Out for Dangers
    • flashlight; bright colored duct tape; hard hat key chain
  • Week 4: Share Roads Safely
    • bicycle safety light; helmet reflectors; reflective armband/sneaker stickers

Individual safety awareness is a choice to stay healthy and active.  Show your employees, customers and community neighbors that your company cares about their well-being – they will thank you with increased brand loyalty.




Healthy Snacking And Wellness Programs

almonds_0Approximately half of U.S. employers offer wellness program initiatives.  These initiatives are aimed at reducing health care costs, absenteeism, and health-related productivity losses.  The programs often offer a combination of wellness screenings and intervention efforts through promotion of healthy lifestyle choices.  And, of all the lifestyle intervention options, 79% of the programs focus on good nutrition and weight management.

Considering the importance of improved nutrition through healthy snacking at home and at work, it’s no wonder that the demand for tasty, healthy treats in easy-to-distribute branded packaging has increased steadily over the years.  This trend has seen the ever-popular cookie towers being replaced with nutritious goodies like nuts, trail mix, chocolate covered raisins and sunflower seeds.

When selecting which sensible snack will compliment your program, it’s also important to consider the packaging that will hold it.   It should be practical, easy to open & close, and convenient for distribution at an event or in-house. The best packaging options for your audience will depend on who is receiving it and where it will be given away.  Some of the most popular choices are:

  • Stand-up resealable clear plastic pouch
  • Large cello bag with full color header
  • Metal tins in varying sizes with full color imprint
  • Cellophane bag inside customized gabled, chest or snack box
  • Custom printed envelope sleeve with dispenser insert

Incorporating nutritious snacks into a corporate wellness program helps to support and enhance the message of healthy eating and weight management.  Whether it’s a simple bag of almonds provided in the employee break room, or a monthly wellness theme that incorporates an appropriate healthy snack with another perk like game tickets or a free cooking session with a local chef, creative wellness programs are proven winners for improved employee health and productivity.


Conferences Are Not Old Fashioned

ConferenceIn our media-crazy world, sometimes we forget the importance of a face-to-face setting with others in our industry, or even in our same company.  But emails, the internet and the occasional video chat cannot entirely replace a well-run business conference where people can come together to discuss new trends and opportunities pertaining to the business.

Coming together doesn’t have to mean leaving your phones at the door.  In fact, today many conference attendees are sharing their experience in real-time on their favorite social media channel.  The event may even have a designated hashtag for sharing updates.  But regardless of the added bonus of today’s media sharing, the attendees are traveling from different cities, or even countries, for person-to-person educational opportunities, networking and (gasp!) a little bit of fun.  So, optimize your next business conference by planning well ahead.

Without going into the specifics of a complete checklist, there are certain important details that should be considered first  – namely, the location, the experience and the materials.  The venue should align with your brand, target market and event goals, while fitting within your budget demands.  The experience – speakers, product demonstrations, games, workshops, & dining – should be planned to address what the people will do, learn and take away from the event.  To enhance and expand on that experience, the marketing materials are designed and the promotional products are sourced.

Regarding promotional products, there are quite literally tens of thousands of product ideas for every event, and they range from the practical to zany.  Journals and pens for small indoor meetings are a must; tote bags, lanyards, badges and bottled water are perfect for larger trade shows and conferences; sport bottles, caps and tees work well with outdoor events; and any item that can be useful for travel events (beach towels in Florida or backpacks in Colorado) are always welcome.  Some items, like personalized robes or a laser engraved bottle of wine for the hotel room are just icing on the conference “cake”.

Conferences are not old fashioned – they are one of the best ways for like-minded professionals to stay in touch.  When planning your next conference, be creative.  In addition to the educational goals, add an element of fun, and take the time to consider which logo gift item will best keep the brand awareness alive after they return home.








T-Shirts! We Love Them, We Wear Them

Classic-T-shirt-Design-I-love-NYIt would not be much of a stretch to say that t-shirts have become the most popular outer garment in the world.  The fit and style options of today’s t-shirts can accommodate a conservative audience with classic taste, or can appeal to the younger crowd looking for body-hugging shirts that are longer in length and softer to the touch.  The fabric choices range from 100% cotton to varying degrees of cotton blends, color choices are endless, and with the right graphics, this apparel staple can become a wardrobe statement piece.

Originally worn as an undershirt, the popularity of the t-shirt as an outer garment started at the end of WWII when soldiers began incorporating them into their casual wardrobes.  The demand further surged thanks to Marlon Brando and his 1951 role as Stanley Kowalski in A Street Car Named Desire which featured Brando wearing a tight fitting tee.  Not long after, businesses like Walt Disney recognized the marketing appeal of these shirts and began putting designs on them to boost their brand.  That idea turned out to be genius!

Branded t-shirts are everywhere.  According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) Global Study, 48% of U.S .consumers own logo shirts, with men being more likely to own promotional tees than women.  57% of U.S. consumers feel more favorable about the company that gave them the shirt and the vast majority of them, especially in the Midwest (95%), know who gave it to them.

Depending on the quantity of shirts and intricacy of the design, a branded tee can cost anywhere from $5.00 to $10.00 – possibly less with large quantities sporting single color imprints.  And just because the imprint is 1-color, doesn’t mean it has to be boring.  The right graphic designer can incorporate a logo into a cool, single color design, printed in one creative location that would generate interest from anyone who sees it.  Up the arm, at the hem, on the back collar bone, or vertically up the front side – creative placement of a single color logo can be as dynamic as any multi-color design.  It just takes some imagination and an open mind.

The average number of impressions for a promotional shirt is 2,450.  Considering the mileage you get from such a small investment, choosing to give a well-designed branded tee as part of your corporate marketing strategy – especially with the warmer weather upon us – would be a simple choice to make.



Good Things Come In Custom Packages

pkg picOK, the classic quote actually talks about good things that come in small packages, but the same concept applies when considering the impact creative packaging brings to a branded product.

Packaging can vary as much as the product itself, but particularly when the item is part of a larger marketing campaign, it should mirror the graphics and message of that campaign. It should complete the brand picture.

Consider the happy effect the Tiffany blue box has on the lucky recipient – or think how the anticipation rises before opening one of the subscription gift boxes like Birchbox or Mantry.  The packaging is all part of the gift experience, and when it’s done right, increases the value of the gift to the recipient.  And, the best part is, custom packaging doesn’t need to break the budget.  Examples of custom packaging ideas, from modest to spectacular, should get your creative juices flowing.    All options can be printed with your logo and/or custom full color graphics.

  • Cardboard box:  holds everything from lip balm & pens to coffee mugs & clothing –  $1.00 to $10.00
  • Corrugated mailer box:  sturdy enough to ship even the most fragile items – $5.00 – $20.00
  • Metal tin:  shapes like cars, movie reels, pill boxes and lunch boxes – $3.00 – $10.00
  • Poly pouch:  holds coupons, pens, notes – $1.00 – $2.00
  • Fabric bag:  if it’s an odd shape and lightweight, this is a good choice – $5.00 – $25.00
  • Wood wine presentation box:  $20 – $25

When launching a new product, introducing a new campaign, or thanking a good customer, when first impressions are important, the memory of creative packaging will keep your brand alive for longer.  Next time you are looking for that “wow” factor, ask about custom packaging for the next promotional giveaway.