Selling and distributing corporate branded merchandise to company employees and loyal fans was once an expensive and cumbersome process, reserved for large companies with big marketing budgets. Product was selected once a year by a few people making their best guess about what their audience would want in the coming year. Paper catalogs were designed, printed and distributed. Product inventory was purchased, stored and shipped from a main warehouse. And at the end of the year the corporate buyers and their promotional product partners worked hard to find a home for any leftover inventory so the process could start all over again.
Happily for everyone, technology came on the scene and offered e-commerce solutions for company stores that eliminated the need for print catalogs, deep inventories or even the staff tech specialists we all relied on to build and maintain the early on-line stores. Suddenly, company stores became accessible to not only the largest corporate players, but also the smallest local merchants. Offering everything from an embroidered fleece vest to a coffee mug with the company logo, on-line company stores can be customized to accommodate just-in-time inventory for 1-piece purchases that can ship out immediately – or on-demand merchandise options with no inventory exposure, but longer lead times and minimum quantity purchases.
A simple e-commerce store can offer a custom product selection and shopping cart, without the bells and whistles of more sophisticated sites. And that is all the functionality most small companies would need or want. More intricate sites with multiple payment options, multiple pricing levels, currency & language requirements, and/or site integration with a client’s internal tech platform are available for any company with the size and sales volume to support it. But, point in fact, those companies have always been well-served by company store providers.
Today’s e-commerce solutions finally include solid, sophisticated options for small businesses. Do you have a dozen logoed items that you want to make available to your customers and brand fans? do you want a temporary shopping site to offer employees a choice of end-of-year appreciation gifts that can be shipped directly to them? or do you simply want one place to go to view and order product from pre-selected vendors that reflect the quality standards you set for your company? Then consider an on-line company store – it’s easier and less complicated than you may think.
Social 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.
Rain slickers are back! Originally this classic outdoor rain jacket was offered only in the traditional maritime yellow. Heavy, but functional, it was created for those brave souls who worked outside.
No longer the stalwart of fisherman, sailors and toddlers, today’s rain slicker is fashionable. The fabrics are improved, and the styling is up-to-date with slimmer cuts, vent holes and slant pockets. Unlike the predictable windbreakers that offer a generic, gender-neutral style in two or three basic colors, rain slickers are offered in a variety of colors that are on-trend and ready to be noticed.
Rain slickers sporting your company logo are the perfect choice for many corporate marketing efforts. Company outings and outdoor community events; wellness initiatives promoting walking; appreciation gesture to valued clients; or gearing up for a spring team-building event. Try one on, and you’ll agree – the right slicker will help your brand stand out in the rain!
Effective marketing efforts should bring the brand message to customers through many different channels. Social media, event sponsorships, and experiential marketing are all proven promotional methods that help build the brand equity. To support these efforts, the company logo must be visible, the promotional materials creative, and the logo treatment consistent.
While building an effective marketing plan, it would also be worthwhile to add a little fun into the mix. According to a global Nielsen Survey of Trust in Advertising, almost half (47%) of the respondents said that humor resonates with them more than any other content approach. Injecting fun into your marketing strategy could be just the thing you need to stand out from your competitors.
Show booths with flashing bounce balls, fidget spinners, games and exciting display visuals are much more likely to capture the attention of the crowd. Lobbies, booth spaces and work areas with a few Boost Ball chairs covered in custom graphics offer comfort and improved posture while bringing a truly modern approach to seating, with a brand billboard that is hard to miss. Sponsor a charity fun-run with bright shirts sporting creative graphics or launch a social media campaign that offers all-day passes to the nearest amusement park for the winners of your next enter-to-win contest.
There are many ways to add fun to your next marketing campaign, and everyone has a different idea of what they consider to be amusing. But the important thing is to start the conversation with your team, and get the fun-ball rolling.
The mobile accessory market is still relatively young, and getting better all the time. The demand for these portable phone accessories is growing due to the continual rise in the smartphone market along with the preference for comfort and simplicity. Items like portable speakers, headphones and battery chargers have become standard “must-have” items for even the most casual consumer.
That’s good news for the corporate marketing teams looking for a home run with their customer base. The variety of products in this category available for logo branding is growing, and the quality of those products is improving.
A few examples:
- Micro Bluetooth Speaker: Small size unit (1″x1.25″) with maximum sound
- Solar Panel Phone Charger: Produces a high-powered solar charge with a single USB hub
- PopSocket: Media stand for your device; a photo or texting grip; lower it for video chat
- WiFi Smart Plug: Connect the plug to wifi network and control your devices from your smartphone or tablet via an App
- Power Bank: Digital display of charge level on UL-listed dual USB output power bank
The price points vary, which makes portable phone accessories the perfect choice for all budgets, in most marketing campaigns. Give a few of these items a test drive – you will have a difficult time deciding, but your customers will thank you for the effort.
We have a new generation of buyers. Buyers that are concerned about the environment; buyers that care about human rights; and buyers that look for the same in the companies they work with. And those companies that demonstrate an overarching message of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are winning the affection and trust of those consumers.
According to an industry study, in the age group 18-35, 58% of end-users are more likely to have a favorable opinion of companies buying and distributing eco promotional products – more than any other age bracket. And it’s not just what the product is made of that this generation cares about. You can’t just say your stuff is eco-friendly because it’s a mug and not a one-time use paper cup. Most people of the millennial generation are smarter than that. They want to know about the product materials; the ability to recycle the item when it’s outlived its use; energy usage; and even fair labor practices.
Their concern with the environment is part of their culture, and as they enter into the upper echelons of the workforce, millennials are poised to stoke the growth of the eco category as buyers of all types of products and services. So what types of promotional products would appeal to this audience without killing the corporate marketing budget? See below for a few of the many eco product ideas that work in the office or at home.
- Reusable, recyclable tote bags
- Bamboo flash drive
- Reusable, recyclable travel mug
- Recycled organic cotton t-shirt
- Corn plastic letter opener
- Recycled microfiber cell phone stand
- Recycled polycarbonate sunglasses
The values shared between customer and company are the building blocks of long-term partnerships. If your company wants to win over this growing customer segment, consider eco friendly promotional products as one more tool to help support your branding message.
Customers 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.
There are 93 million millennials – otherwise known as Generation Y – in the US. That group now represents the largest segment of the American workforce. With the oldest members being in their mid-30’s, they will be a dominant force for a long time. But right behind them is Gen Z – with 70 million members in the college and high school scene – which will soon be a factor for any company looking to promote and sell to that market as well.
As with any customer demographic, there is a unique dynamic to these young buyers. Marketing through emails and videos; giving youthful products that appeal to this tech- savvy group; and keeping the retail styles in mind when picking out headwear and apparel are all solid guidelines for appealing to the under-40 crowd. It’s a matter of giving something that is “cool enough”- the latest and greatest – and not something that they have received multiple times in the past (swap the white cotton tee for a bella+canvas black heather tee).
The stats – courtesy of Pew Research Center – that support the theory:
- By 2020 40% of all consumers will be from Gen Z
- About 40% of Gen Zers say corporate offices are their preferred workplace
- The average GenZer has the attention span of about 8 seconds
- By 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce
- 90% of millennials check their emails, texts and social media accounts before getting out of bed
- More than 60% of millennials stay updated on brands through social media
- 77% of millennials participate in loyalty reward programs
- Millennials consistently spend more than other generations on fitness-related products
Young buyers are the future – prepare to understand what they want, and avoid what they don’t – if you don’t, someone else will!
In order to embrace brand equity, we should have a good handle on what it means. Simply stated, brand equity refers to the value of a brand.
That value and its power are derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time – which in turn translates into higher profits. According to an overview of brand equity in Investopedia
, “Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable, and superior in quality and reliability. Mass marketing campaigns also help to create brand equity.”
It is within the framework of these mass marketing campaigns that promotional products can be most effective. Rather than just giving away more stuff with logos on it, products and packaging that reinforce brand equity can contribute to the long-term goal of increasing brand awareness and improving customer loyalty. Custom packaging, in particular, adds a higher level of strategic awareness to the brand, elevating it beyond just the value of the promotional product inside. It becomes part of a strategy to boost the integrity of a brand, rather than being just another giveaway that goes into the trade show bag.
First impressions are important. What consumers take in during those few seconds before choosing a product helps shape subsequent judgements about the brand. Companies that sell their products in retail environments have always known this, and have been designing better packaging solutions for years. They fight for shelf space and are consistently changing and improving their packaging in an effort to catch the consumers’ eye in a crowded market.
Although it takes a little more time to design – and adds a little more cost to the product – custom packaging for promotional products will catch the eye, and attention, of your audience. Try it the next time you have a high profile marketing campaign with a customer you want to impress – it works!
The months between September and December are a time of change for consumers. Back-to-school tasks for children and young adults hit frenzy mode by late summer; parents and caregivers have once again re-shuffled their schedules to accommodate the school calendar; and professionals in every industry are planning for the end-of-year push to meet their revenue goals.
With all this activity, fall becomes an opportune time for brands to initiate a new approach to increasing brand awareness and hitting the target audience with products that make the most of the changing season. A few ideas to jumpstart your fall campaign are listed below.
- Academic TabbedQuarterly PageSaver: Students can plan the year ahead with a calendar and handy bookmarks
- Custom Eye Black: Reduce glare and show support for local sports teams, charity events or company sponsorships
- Tailgate Kit: Drawstring bag, beverage cooler, stadium cup and moistened towelettes provide all the pre-game essentials
- Financial Tool: 7-in-1 multi tool can be a wrench, ruler, screwdriver, or bottle opener while securely holding cash and credit cards
- Adult Coloring Book: They are flying off the shelves at retail! Give your customers a way to relieve stress by ditching technology for a brief return to their childhood
- Fleece Beanie: With a subtle logo decoration on the side, this one-size-fits-all classic head warmer will appeal to every age group
Now that we are moving into the last half of summer, it’s time to plan for the fall marketing push. Get ahead of competing brands and show your customers you support the changes that come with the season.