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.

Are You Ready For Trade Show Season?

21531952January brings cold weather, another chance to make a New Year’s resolution that may last beyond February, and two of the most high profile trade shows in the country – The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and The International Auto Show in Detroit.  Besides giving us nerd-worthy gadgets and the newest trends in car design, those two shows remind us that trade show season is in full swing!  Are you ready?

One of the first things to consider when planning for an upcoming trade show is the signage.  Printed handouts and creative booth giveaways are normally front of mind, but banners, table covers and flags should also be refreshed occasionally for attention-grabbing exposure.  Consistent branding is crucial, but the vehicle for that branding should be crafted in a way that stands out, making it hard to ignore.

Whether your trade show is inside a convention center, or you are hosting a community event outside on the town square, there are several different options for promoting your brand and driving event attendees to your booth.

  • Retractable Banner Stands
  • Custom Inflatables
  • Event Tents
  • Stands and Displays
  • Advertising Flags
  • Promotional Seating
  • Custom Games
  • Indoor and Outdoor Displays
  • Table Covers and Runners

In 2016, start early and resolve to take a new approach to driving traffic to your trade show booth with creative banners, flags and tents.

Social Media, Golf And The Millennials

6917-miniature-golfAccording to data cited by the Wall Street Journal, golf participation rates among the 18-to-34 crowd (defined as the millennials) were down 13% in 2013 from 2009, while rates for active sports like running jumped 29%.  In 2013 alone, some 400,000 people gave up the sport in the U.S., according to the National Golf Foundation.  But now, we have youthful champions like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.  Their high profile wins have brought welcome attention to a game that desperately needs a way to connect with the millennials populating and influencing corporate culture.

Millennials, also known as GenY, were born into a new era of technology and founded the social media movement.  How a company – golf market agents or any other company – markets to a demographic that thrives in this fast-paced, ever-changing technological fray is an ongoing uncertainty in the business world.  In order to draw them into a game that requires 4+ hours of time, expensive gear and and an income that can allow for greens fees that can easily exceed $40 for 18 holes, companies must incorporate tools that support and enhance their tech experience.  (I must add here that the snowsports industry, another expensive, time-consuming pastime, is facing the same challenges with millennials).

What marketing tools would drive excitement for a game struggling to stay relevant while increasing brand visibility for your firm?  Read on for a few ideas on how to integrate golf, social media and the millennials.

  • Selfie Snapper:  Wireless bluetooth remote for snapping pictures on a smartphone.  Great for post-round pics of the foursome.
  • Silicone Phone Backstrap:  Holds credit cards, license, cash on the back of a phone, giving the recipient a useful reminder of the giver every time he texts, tweets or talks.
  • GPS Rangefinder:  Handheld or on the wrist, a touchscreen, bluetooth-enabled tool for saving strokes will appeal to those players who don’t have time to walk off the yardage.
  • Microfiber Cell Phone Bag Pouch:  Holds the phone – cleans the phone.  Taking care of the millennial golfers most prized tool will be appreciated well after the last hole.

The game of golf is here to stay, but the new generation of golfers will expect to experience it in different ways.  Give them something in their gift bag they can relate to besides that sleeve of balls.  They will reward you with appreciation for your foresight and your brand.

Embrace The Rain

622-MMRain might be a nuisance if you’re planning a picnic or attending the opening day of baseball season, but, as a vital part of our existence, everyone agrees rain is a good thing. Humans, animals, vegetation, lakes, oceans and farmlands all need the water that comes from rain. And at this time of year it’s particularly plentiful, so why not embrace the rain and all the opportunities it brings for increased brand awareness.

Rainy-day gear may not be the first thing companies think about when planning for a marketing giveaway, but many times it’s the just the thing that everyone needs, and don’t think to buy until they get caught in a rainstorm.  Be the brand that protects your customers and consider some of these popular gifts for staying dry.

  • Umbrellas:  From purse-size models to double-canopy golf umbrellas, there is a style and price for every audience.
  • Rain Jacket:  Available in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes, and offered in several different colors to support any corporate or school identity.
  • Rain Pants:  For serious golfers, rain paints are a must!
  • Poncho:  These handy rain protectors come in single-use, disposable material for a one-time event, or in durable PVC for a lifetime of use.
  • Rain Hat:  Bucket or cap style hats for men and women come in water resistant fabrics that work well for any outdoor sporting event.

At your next corporate outing, team-building event or community outreach, give branded rain gear so everyone can embrace the rain!

(Image via AAA Innovations)

Continuity Programs Grow Business

contin progContinuity programs are often associated with the marketing model of automatic billing for receiving monthly shipments of popular products like the lifestyle beauty and grooming samples offered by Birchbox; paid subscriptions to informative on-line newsletters; or annual renewal services like Amazon Prime’s free shipping program.  In the corporate world, successful continuity programs are built with a combination of targeted communication tools and well-considered promotional products in order to attract, engage and retain loyal customers.

Marketing 101 taught us that consistent communication helps build brand equity, so the communication should be ongoing.  Create branded marketing materials, or touchpoints, that are unique to your program and client base.  Design a carefully timed calendar for sending that communication and follow it up with a personal call or visit.

To compliment the marketing materials, select a few creative promotional products that can be easily mailed and will provide a merchandising message that builds on the program goals.

A few examples:

  • Message:  We care about your health
  • Product options:  stretching bands; pedometer; water bottle holder; stress reliever; hand sanitizer; foil pack pill opener
  • Message:  We want to be your financial institution
  • Product options:  credit card shape flash drive; identity protector card holders; pocket pro brochure for managing finances; magnifier ruler with mutual fund/stock listing financial guide markings
  • Message:  Let us care for your pet
  • Product options:  dog food lid; poopy pet bag dispenser; foldable pet travel bowl; reflector id tag; paw luggage tag

Continuity programs grow business by keeping your company front-of-mind with your prospects and customers.  The hardest part is getting started – call your promotional products partner today to talk about the possibilities!






Branding In A Brave New Tech World

techModern technology, driven by perpetual innovation, can boost the visibility of your brand.  Not just for the tech-savvy consumer, even the simplest of products can inspire excitement through smart design and practical application. From smart pedometers for the health conscious consumer of any age, to high capacity power banks that appeal to the techies that never have enough battery life to get through their day, there are tech products that will appeal to every audience. Today’s corporate buyers have as many price point options as style options, so there’s a tech product solution for every marketing budget.   Consider the newest offerings in this trending category of promotional merchandise: $3.00 – $5.00:

  • Slim slider stylus attaches directly to back of phone or tablet
  • 2″ sphere shape silicone speaker
  • Water resistant phone protector

$5.00 – $10.00:

  • Custom shape PVC ear buds
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Neoprene sports armband to hold mobile phone

$10.00 – $15.00:

  • Bluetooth speaker/amplifier
  • Calibration pulse reader pedometer
  • Laser pointer flash drive

$15.00 – $20.00:

  • Remote photo snap for mobile phones
  • Compact aluminum tablet stand
  • Wireless webcam

Branding in a tech-savvy world isn’t difficult, and can be as cost effective as your budget demands.  Next time you need a new idea for a discriminating audience, think tech!

Pack Your Bags!

toteLos Angeles instituted a ban on single-use plastic bags in January and New York City Council recently proposed a bill that would impose a 10-cent fee on all plastic and paper grocery bags.  In addition to the two largest US cities who have taken a stand against disposable plastic bags, several cities throughout America in states like Texas, Colorado, Washington and Hawaii, to name a few, have all imposed bans or nominal bag fees on retail plastic and/or paper bags.  In view of the facts around the disposal of plastic bags – namely, they are not biodegradable; the littered bags are a threat to sea life and animals; and over time they release toxic chemicals into the soil – the number of cities adopting these bans is likely to increase.  So if your company has not yet jumped on the opportunity to attach your brand to a fairly inexpensive item that will likely be used all over town, the time has never been better to consider the many reusable bag options for your next marketing campaign.

It’s not a new concept for companies to distribute reusable tote bags with the company logo to recipients at community events, trade shows, recruiting functions and student career fairs.  Large retail grocery store chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joes sell their branded bags for less than $1.00, and have enjoyed growing brand awareness as those bags are used many times over for lots of reasons besides grocery shopping.  But what marketing teams may not be aware of is the vast number of choices that are now available in this bag category.  The options vary from the simple one-color, non-woven grocery tote that started appearing on the scene in the 1990’s to the laminated, insulated versions with pockets, zippers and different handle lengths.  These bags are designed to be used as lunch bags, grocery totes, soft side coolers, bottle totes, garment bags and backpacks.  They are targeted at parents shopping for groceries, the college kids hanging on campus, and virtually anyone with a need to carry something in a lightweight, yet durable, reusable bag.  Price points vary, but start as low as $1.00 and don’t run much more than about $3.00 or $4.00 for the bag options with all the extra features.

According to Nick Sterling, research director at Natural Capitalism Solutions, “If used once per week, four or five reusable bags will replace 520 plastic bags a year”.  With the growing movement to take positive steps towards helping the environment, why not include branded reusable bags in your marketing strategies and enjoy the benefit of spreading your branding message by turning your customers into a mobile marketing force of useful, sustainable items.

The Power Of The Paw

paw printThere’s an emotional bond between pets and their owners, and it’s that bond that drives over $55 billion in sales of pet-related products.  Nine in ten pet owners see their pet as part of the family, and according to the American Pet Products Association today more than 62% of Americans own pets.  Companies within the pet industry as well as those in non-pet industries are paying attention to this data and are seeing a big opportunity for their brands.  Charitable walks, hotels and resorts, car brands and car rental companies, and even software developers are some of the industries that purchase pet-related branded products to enhance their marketing efforts.

Today’s pets travel and exercise with us, have their own social-media accounts, require stimulating day care, eat organic food, and nap on luxury fabrics.  To reach those pampering pet owners, marketers need to connect their brand to activities people do with their pets.  There are many ways to do this and lots of products to support those efforts. Below are a few ideas:

  1. Sponsor a community event that is aimed at animal welfare, such as the popular Bark in the Park and Yappy Hour events.
  2. Distribute branded giveaways aimed at pets:  dog treats at a drive-up window; dog-safe flyers at the company picnic; light-up waste bag dispenser in a safety program; or pet emergency decals as part of the wellness program packet.
  3. Companies that cater to the travel industry (hotels, car rental agencies, airlines), and want to connect with the people who travel with their pets, should pay attention to the pet amenities with gift bags that include useful animal care items like a collapsible water bowl or pet-paw soft wipes.

It may be the unquestioning loyalty owners get from their pets, or possibly the health benefits of lower stress and anxiety that come with pet ownership, but whatever the reason, trends show that pets are one of the most meaningful ways to engage consumers.  So consider the power of the paw when your team is brainstorming the next new marketing approach.