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.


Seeing Red

img_pantone_color_of_the_year_2015_press_releaseNew Jersey-based color systems firm Pantone has announced that Marsala – an earthy shade of red – is its color of the year for 2015.  “Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability … it’s red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness,” said Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of Pantone.   Where that may be breaking news for the fashion world, a corporate marketer may want to know how it could, or should, affect branding strategy.

Consider the upcoming trade show season.  The team apparel for the associates managing the booth doesn’t always need to reflect the corporate logo color, as much as it does the spirit of the team.  The logo decoration on the shirt or jacket will take care of the branding.  The color and style of the clothing should demonstrate how you want the brand ambassadors, and thus the brand itself, to be perceived.  The new color is likely to be used in fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.  Since your customers are seeing it in the retail marketplace, they will recognize that your team, and your company, understand today’s trends and consumer preferences.  When discussing your own products and services, that subtle message can be helpful.

In addition to shirts and jackets, other accessory items could be used to add a contemporary flair to corporate giveaways.  Hats, bags and wearable technology items are products that should be considered in this popular color choice.

One thing to consider, however, when looking for promotional merchandise in colors other than the standard corporate blues, blacks, reds and greens, is the ability of product suppliers to match a PMS color for an all-over or accent-color imprint.  Not all product suppliers have this capability, and not all products lend themselves to this type of decoration, but sometimes “close” is good enough to give you the up-to-date effect you’re looking for.

It is undisputed that your customers expect to see familiar colors with your logo branding.  But when there’s an opportunity to add a little “punch” to the branding message, consider the color that your audience will be seeing in retail, and likely bringing to their own homes.  Marsala – like the wine!



Designed To Stand Out

BackStrap-Black-PhoneEvery brand should have a twist in order to be heard over all the other brand noise in the marketplace.  Whether it’s with a catchy advertising jingle that you can’t get out of your head; a fun-loving quirky spokesperson, like Progressive’s hugely popular “Flo”; or high-design merchandise like the Apple products, companies looking to appeal to their audience on an emotional level should always be looking for that edge.

Fortunately, when it comes to distributing branded giveaways, stand-out designs don’t always mean expensive price tags.  Furthermore, product designs that get noticed for one company aren’t necessarily the same types of products that a different audience would appreciate.  As always, when choosing a great item for your next promotional gift, consider the audience and the brand message you want to convey, with a design that is fresh and a cost that makes sense for your budget.

I’ve provided a few examples of practical products that also offer creative design elements.   And, of course, all items have room for a logo imprint.

  • Phone or tablet backstrap:  Provides protection from surface scratches while giving you a place to hold cards or documents.
  • Silicone speaker amplifier:  Boosts sound on a smart phone up to 200% without external power source while holding the phone for easy media viewing.
  • Wireless activity tracker:  Count steps, calories, nutrition and sleep with a wrist device or less-expensive clip-on unit.
  • Custom notebooks:  Build a notebook with a custom cutout shape, insert pages, clip-in bookmark, usb pocket or dozens of other custom options.
  • Performance fabric t-shirt:  Moisture wicking, anti-odor technology changes the game for the next tee giveaway.

Great product design comes in all shapes, colors and sizes.  Those products stand out because the designs are fresh while their intended use still makes sense for the recipient.  It takes a little more time to be creative, but it’s worth the effort when your customers takes notice!