Rumors Of The Death Of Golf Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

golf gloveIn recent years there has been a lot of press around the shrinking popularity of golf.  Many reasons have been given, but a few of the most common are the cost of equipment, the lack of time in a busy schedule, the difficulty of the sport and the well-publicized fall of the game’s most popular superstar, Tiger Woods.

However, according to the National Golf Foundation, golf’s participation base remains stable.  The number of people who played golf on a course in 2017 remained unchanged since the year before (23.8 million), and an additional 8.3 million played at off-course facilities like Topgolf, driving ranges or indoor simulators.  In addition, the number of U.S. non-golfers who said they are “very interested” in playing at a golf course hit a new measured high, and helped boost the number of golf newcomers for the fourth year in a row.

All of this is good news for companies that want to reach a wide variety of potential customers.  Golf isn’t limited to middle-age executives, as some may imagine.  Consider the statistics:

  • Juniors (6-17) and young adults (18-34) comprise more than 37% of all on-course golfers.  These groups make up 69% of the off-course only participant pool.
  •  There are 5.8 million women who played golf on a course in 2017. Women account for 24% of the on-course golfer base and 41% of off-course only play.
  • Newcomers to golf are increasingly diverse: 35% are female, 26% are non-Caucasian and 70% are under the age of 35.

The variety of branded merchandise that is available for these groups is as diverse as the players themselves.  The classic golf staples are always good – branded golf balls, towels, hats and divot tools.  But for today’s eco conscious younger players, it’s good to consider more earth-friendly options.

  • Reusable water bottles for those that have eschewed disposable one-time-use plastic bottles
  • Dissolvable corn starch tees
  • Organic cotton polos and hats
  • Recycled golf balls
  • Recyclable golf pad & pen combo

Spring is around the corner, and the game of golf is going strong.  It’s time to start planning for your next golf giveaway.

 

 

 

Top Brands Transform Promotions

north faceWhile retail is going through difficult times – store closures, declining mall traffic, e-commerce competition – the promotional products industry is enjoying tremendous growth in the offerings of brand-name items for corporate branding.  Those retail brands are looking for different ways to market themselves, and co-branding through the promo channel is another way for them to advertise.

As for the corporate buyers, they have always wanted access to the quality and name recognition of the retail brands.  Even as recently as ten years ago, there were few options for companies that wanted to add their logo to a brand-name item.  But today there are retail brands offered in nearly every promotional product category.  Apparel brands like The North Face and Under Armour; drinkware brands like CamelBak, Contigo and YETI; and even tech brands like Bose and Beats have jumped on the promo bandwagon.

However, not every customer has the marketing budget for a brand-name giveaway. In that case, retail-inspired products are available at a lower price point and with the same quality.  The look and function are similar, and the stock is often more reliable.     After all, not every marketing initiative calls for upscale retail products – but if a customer can relate to the style of the product because it looks like something they have seen on social media or in the stores, then it’s unlikely it will end up in the back of their closet.

The interaction between the retail industry and the promotional products industry has changed.  The gap between them is closing, and the corporate customers are benefitting from the new opportunities created for creative, impactful promotions.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Books Are Freaking Great!

freakingMy best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” –Abraham Lincoln

Companies, like friends, can demonstrate how much they care about customers and employees by giving the right book.  For every individual, departmental team, or entire associate base, there is a book that can carry your message.

From bestsellers to cookbooks – adult coloring books to travel books – this gift category offers far-reaching options for any audience.  Books can be given to inspire, reduce stress, motivate top performance, make the next generation smarter, promote health & wellness, or even to just get the party started!

And if giving books is so smart, adding your brand and message is even smarter.  Customization options include:

  • Cover Imprint:  Reinforce your brand by adding a logo and message to the front cover
  • Promo-Page Inserts:  Custom design an information page that is glued-in to the book – personal letter, photographs, advertisement or contact information are all excellent content for this insert
  • Belly-Band Wrap:  Make a bold statement by wrapping your logo & message around the outside of the book
  • Custom Book Jacket:  Create your own custom book jacket featuring your unique full-color artwork

For nearly the same price as a t-shirt, water bottle or duffle bag, you can give a customized book.  Do it!  your company may find the recipients to be as grateful as a new best friend.