Social Media + Promo = Brand Fans

Socialmedia-pmSocial media marketing is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals.  Promotional merchandise is products branded with a logo or slogan and distributed in marketing and sales promotions.  When you put them both together you have a powerful marketing strategy that can help your company stay ahead of trends and better target specific audiences, resulting in a new generation of brand fans.

Since social media is basically free and available anywhere for consumers, many companies already use it to find potential clients.  The next-level step would be to design a clever social media campaign that is tied to a unique audience or experience.  Consider these ideas to better connect with, and ignite, your followers:

  • Offer a Gift for Super-Fans:  Choose a few devotees engaged with your brand and reward them for their loyalty with a gift that would appeal to them.
  • Ask for a Shout-Out:  Send a message like, “Be one of the first 50 people to retweet our big news and receive XXX”.  Be sure to specify what they will receive and make it creative.
  • Drive Demand with Limited-Edition Items:  Create a custom item that represents something unique to your brand.  Offer it to your followers as part of a contest to sign up for a new service, buy a product, donate to your charity or book a trip.

There’s no doubt that clever promotional merchandise – of good quality distributed in a creative way to a specific target audience – can do big things for any company, large or small.  But you have to be ahead of trends and engage your brand fans where they spend their time – on social media.  So go ahead and surprise them with cool stuff – it will help you break through all the other marketing noise.

Your Brand And 3 Ways To Say Thanks

thankyouThanking customers and employees for their loyalty and support can be tricky business.  Showing appreciation in a way that is meaningful to the recipient takes thoughtful consideration of the appropriate gift, as well as the time to present it with a personal approach that makes practical sense.  After all, delivery of an appreciation gift will be much different for the employees of a national company than it will be for the customer base of a small graphics firm.  But in either case, the item and the distribution can be crafted, at any budget level, with a more personal approach that will be remembered long after the year-end festivities give way to the New Year.

Gift-giving can be approached three different ways:

  1.   Merchandise:  This category of gift is a long-lasting reminder of the giver and is considered by industry experts as the most effective gift for increasing brand awareness.  The product choice depends on the corporate budget as much as the personality of the recipients, and the number of product choices can be overwhelming.  But with the help of your merchandise provider, the right gift at the right price is waiting.  And don’t forget to ask about special wrapping and creative delivery options!
  2. Cash:  This option is reserved for employee appreciation, rather than for the customer base (of course!), and is always welcomed at the time of year when most people will be doing holiday shopping for food and gifts that are outside of their normal household budgets.  While it may not improve brand identity in the marketplace, it will certainly help to increase morale with your most important brand ambassadors.  Just be sure to send a personal holiday note with the official notice of the cash award – everybody likes to know there are honest feelings of appreciation behind the gesture.
  3. Charitable Donation:  While giving to a non-profit organization in the name of an individual or organization is not often considered as a way to show employee/customer appreciation, it is a worthwhile option.   Especially for those firms that have a strong commitment to social causes and work with a customer base that understands and respects that, giving to a charitable organization that either you or the recipient chooses will help to avoid the dilemma of a “no gifts” policy while demonstrating your company’s pledge to support those causes.  A short note on quality paper stock is all you will need to deliver the good news!

Your brand is associated with those positive qualities that your corporate leadership deems important.  Say thanks to the employees and customers that support your brand with a gift that represents those qualities as well as the personality of the recipient.  Now is the time to decide!

A Case Of The Blues

blue-peacock-keiser_1338_600x450This summer, the world’s top designers have rolled out fashions in every shade of blue, from icy blues to deep denim blues, and everything in between.  The color is often associated with health, loyalty and wisdom, so it is also a natural fit for many corporate logos and promotional apparel choices.

According to Karen Haller, an internationally renowned business color and branding expert, brands use blue to seem calm and logical.  Blue relates to the mind, so consumers associate it with logic and  communication.  It’s also serene, like the ocean, and calming to look at.  However, the wrong tone of blue “can make a brand appear cold, aloof and unapproachable”.  She goes on to say that companies can double their branding message by seriously considering color choices.  The results are seen in 3 key areas of the business:

  • Makes your brand instantly recognizable
  • Stand out from the competition
  • Increases sales and profits

Considering all the choices in the various shades of blue for hats, shirts, and jackets that are offered by promotional industry suppliers, there are no shortage of options to capture exactly the right hue for every corporate purchase.  The next time you ask your branded merchandise provider for product samples, be sure to request a variety of colors, as well as different styles, so your color message is clear!

Photograph by Anne Keiser for National Geographic