One of the most popular and enduring promotional products has been the pen. And with good reason as pens are a ubiquitous front-line, high-use, readily visible tool in the business world and beyond.  For these and other reasons, including their affordable price point, pens are one of the most practical promotional products on the market and remain a highly effective strategy for getting a company’s name and brand seen in the marketplace.

Here we’ll cover a few current trends in the promotional pen marketplace.

 Pen Trends

Recent surveys illustrate just how much consumers appreciate promotional pens with 46% of all U.S. consumers noting they have at least one in a drawer or bag, according to ASI Ad Specialties Impressions Survey. These often come from hotel rooms, offices, beauty salons and service-based businesses.

And, with the fact that pens are such a low-cost promotional item, averaging a tenth of one cent per impression, it makes good business sense to select this as an investment that pays a significant return.

While pens certainly serve a function, there are some notable ways to make your promotional pen a standout amongst the competition’s promotional products:

  • Expensive-looking pens that cost less than they look is one of the biggest trends. Indeed, manufacturers are re-designing what had been mid-range pens but using lower cost materials in order to lower the price point for customers. These include sleek brass and stylish aluminum pens that can cost as little as those basic plastic stick pens that didn’t exude style per se. Even the ink in these modern pens has been upgraded as technology has improved, also allowing these promotional items to come down in price.
  • Savvy marketers will look to pop culture for inspiration to design appealing and eye-catching pens. These include everything from pens with neon colors or pearlescent shades to a wide range of cool and hot ink colors that reflect trends in clothing, automobiles, and interior design.
  • It’s always wise to add more, and today’s pens can offer multiple functions that serve this purpose. This includes features like a light on the pen, a stylus tip, or even a key chain. Provide consumers with more functionality, and they will be more likely to hang onto that pen rather than misplace it, providing a longer period of visibility for the brand detail imprinted on the instrument.
  • More people are looking to buy products made in America to support growth in the national economy rather, and are even willing to pay a higher price per unit for domestic manufactured goods over those produced in other countries.
  • There is an ongoing trend toward customization of products where customers have more options and versatility in the type of personalized information that can be imprinted on pen barrels, which can readily set their promotional endeavors apart from the competition. This could include photos, graphics, textures, grips, and more colors or specialized logos that stand out.

 In Summary

Here is a summary of the pen trends and their value as one of today’s most popular promotional products:

  • Pens are one of the cheapest promotional items but also one of the most popular ones for their practicality.
  • Everyone is looking for pen manufacturers to raise the bar on quality, performance, and functionality but maintain the same low price.
  • Pen designs recently have been inspired by consumer markets like clothes and interior design.
  • Customization remains an important trend in pen design to help businesses differentiate themselves among the competition that often uses the same type of promotional products.

 References

http://counselor-digital.com/publication/?i=127096&p=92

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With more concern and focus on health and wellness in the workplace, it makes sense to address the issue in your corporate logoed gifts strategy, whether the recipient be internal staff; current business partners, clients or customers; or would-be prospects. When customers and employees know you have their health at heart, it helps strengthen those bonds of loyalty and motivates them to continue working with you.

There is a wide array of health-minded corporate logoed gifts on the market today starting at extremely budget-friendly price points.  We’ve done the heavy lifting to gather this quick list of some popular health and fitness-minded merchandise that can be branded with your logo:

  • Pedometers track just how far a person can go with their exercising each day, including steps taken, distance walked, and calories burned. You may choose pedometers in different sizes – even those with wide screens for clearer viewing – and a wide range of colors to match your logo and company colors. Some pedometers even have extra features, such as BMI and body fat measurement functions to track progress on health goals.
  • Heart Rate/Pulse Rate Watches help ensure that you keep your heart rate and pulse rate at a safe level when exercising and even when at rest. This can help a person better understand how their body is working to ensure they are exercising effectively and generally staying on track.
  • Multi-function Exercise Sets provide a way to address many areas of the body that may need some attention with respect to physical fitness. As a gym-on-the-go, these sets make it easy to exercise anywhere, anytime plus it allows you to put your logo on more than one item! Typically, these sets include exercise items like a pedometer, jump rope, stretch exercise band, hand grip and sport towel. Other kits are also available for specific exercise or health interests like a walking enthusiast’s kit or a wellness kit.
  • Individual pieces of exercise equipment also make good corporate logoed gifts, including such items as an exercise ball, jump rope, yoga mat and stretch band. Each of these is a great portable exercise tool that will help a person stay in shape at home, at the office and even on the road.

In Review

In summarizing some of the best ideas for health-oriented corporate logoed gifts, consider these options:

  • Pedometers and heart rate/pulse rate watches all help a person track their progress on health and exercise goals, providing a way to celebrate any accomplishments and understand how much more needs to be done.
  • Multi-function exercise sets help take an exercise regimen on the road or to the office while offering a way to undertake multiple types of exercises to address all parts of the body.
  • Many types of individual exercise equipment are available to appeal to certain people’s preference for types of exercise, such as strength building, yoga, and cardiovascular exercise.

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Modern companies have realized the importance of presenting their corporate social responsibility vision–how they are taking care of the environment, their customers, and their employees in a way that respects diversity and well-being of all interests. While these policies are often found within the confines of corporate documents like annual reports and business plans, there are many ways where it can be communicated to relevant parties. Promotional products are one such method a company can employ as it relates to customers, business partners and staff.

Spreading the Good Word with Promotional Products

To duly position a brand and its image, it is wise to use promotional products that offer more customizable space to publicize social messages and philosophies. That means looking for items that have a large imprint area so as to include more than just the company name or logo, telephone number, and web address.  Some excellent products that may have a larger imprint area include:

  • Apparel, including hats and t-shirts;
  • Bags, backpacks, and totes;
  • Calendars and posters; and
  • Journals and notepads.

There may be other key socially-driven communication channels to promote on your branded promotional merchandise, including a blog address, Facebook fan page, LinkedIn profile or even a QR code. This provides a way to let others know the level of interaction and engagement you desire and have available.

Motivating Staff through Socially Responsible Promotional Products

Another way to look at spreading messages and a company culture of corporate social responsibility is to focus on motivating staff to live the company’s vision by providing them with products that foster this mindset.   Promotional items with short, poignant messages about social responsibility can help them keep these ideals top of mind. Some fitting products include:

  • Awards and recognition plaques for achievement of a certain socially responsible company ideal;
  • Badges, buttons, or magnets that they can post somewhere to remember what they should focus on when making key strategic decisions;
  • Gift baskets and drink bottle labels with key messages about social responsibility;
  • Clothing that combines the corporate brand and socially responsible messages; and
  • Jewelry, such as watches or cuff-links that symbolize the corporate commitment to social responsibility.

Today, the marketplace cares about companies who conduct business in a socially responsible manner. Strategic promotional products can ensure your efforts and ideals are visible and aptly considered when decisions are being made.

In Summary

Here are some key ideas about promotional products and corporate social responsibility:

  • These products are a great way to get messages about the corporate vision in this area out to clients, potential customers, and employees.
  • Select a product with a larger imprint area to list all the communication and engagement channels so clients know where they can hear more about these messages.
  • Employees can be motivated to live the corporate social responsibility strategy with products that are sure to motivate them.

References

Source: Premium Incentive Products, July/Aug 2012, p. 12

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The fall season is here and, with it, comes crisp mornings and chillier evenings—maybe even a rain drop or two. Yet, there are days where amid the cooler temperatures the sun is shining brightly. This distinctive climate calls for special fashions, and branded clothing ideas for fall abound.

Top Branded Clothing for Fall

When putting together promotional items for the fall season, consider some of these top branded clothing ideas sure to appeal to your prospects, customers or employees:

  • Fleece-Lined and Micro-Fleece Jackets: These jackets offer warmth while still being lightweight, making them ideal for fluctuating temperatures and windy conditions. These jackets can be screen printed or embroidered with your corporate logo or other brand imagery.
  • Cotton Mock Turtlenecks: The fall season is all about layering, and a mock turtleneck looks nice alone or paired with a shirt or sweater, so that there is added warmth and comfort.
  • Long Sleeve Wicking Tee: Fitness enthusiasts will really appreciate branded merchandise of this nature because of its ability to keep moisture away from the body. This shirt goes the distance by providing added comfort and warmth – especially on those chilly morning runs.
  • Soft Shell Vest: This branded clothing item is both water and wind-resistant, making it an ideal addition to any fall wardrobe. It’s warm without overheating, and it offers a convenient zippered side pocket to keep keys and other valuables.
  • Full-Zip Hoodie: A long-favored look for men, women, and children, these hoodies work well with casual clothes or as part of a sporty look. They are a great way to keep the chill and wind at bay. These fashion favorites are available in a wide range of colors to suit all types of branded options and come in cozy micro-fiber and cotton blends, adding greater warmth and comfort.
  • Fleece Scarf: These cold-weather accessories look great on men and women, keeping necks warm and adding a fashionable flair. There are a wide range of colors, lengths and ways to incorporate a brand to customize for every occasion and image, including patches and embroidery.
  • Custom Suede Boots: Men and women can enjoy this comfortable and warm footwear, which look great paired with jeans or other casual attire. The interior provides more warmth with faux sheepskin while the outside offers many places to embroider a brand and logo.
  • Wool Driver’s Hat: This cap makes a fashion statement plus helps with additional warmth as the weather changes. With colors like navy, black, camel and charcoal, this practical fashion accessory adds style and coordinates with everything from business attire to casual weekend wear.
  • Leather Shopping Bag: These extra large totes work well as an eco-friendly shopping bag, but they also make for a stylish handbag. Made of high-quality leather, these large  totes have long straps and interior and exterior pockets that provide ample storage space.
  • Shawl Collared Robe: What man or woman wouldn’t want a cozy robe to slip into after a long day?  Featuring luxurious cotton velour, these robes can be embroidered with a company, product or other brand name and offer the same comfort and luxury as robes found at the spa or a hotel.
  • Slippers: Comfy, cozy slippers are perfect for those cooler evenings and mornings. Having them embroidered with a brand name and logo is one way to keep the company at the top of a customer’s mind even if they are wearing it on their feet. From terry and velour to extra fuzzy, slippers are a perfect fall indulgence.

In Summary

When it comes to fall fashions, there are a lot of possibilities for adding a brand name and logo to practical and comfortable seasonal outerwear. Keep these ideas in mind:

  • Select items that work well with layered fall looks, such as turtlenecks, long-sleeve shirts, hoodies and vests.
  • Fleece jackets, vests and scarves work well for wide-ranging temperatures and inclement weather like rain and wind.
  • Fitness enthusiasts need practical, breathable, and comfortable athletic wear to keep them comfortable on cold fall mornings. Clothing made for wicking helps to fulfill all those needs.
  • Who says fall fashion is all about going out? Everyone loves to have a plush, great-looking robe and cozy slippers to come home to!

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Where branded merchandise is concerned, businesses and consumers have become accustomed to seeing a non-U.S. country on the label relative to where the item was manufactured. Producers of such branded merchandise have chosen to develop their goods outside of the USA due, in large part, to the economies of scale and cost controls of manufacturing outside of American borders.

However, in recent years there has been a surge in demand for American-made products, promotional and otherwise. Here we’ll spotlight a few product categories where more “Made in the USA” goods can now be found.

Go American!

Despite the labor cost challenges and other operational issues, the tide is turning as more consumers are taking a nationalist stand with their pocketbooks and selecting products made in the USA—even if they cost more.

According to a survey conducted by Perception Research Services International, 80% of U.S. consumers recognize the “Made in the USA” label and 76% say that this label positively influences their purchase decisions because they equate it with quality, patriotism, and the need to boost what has been a sagging economy. More consumers are moving away from the “consumption society” mentality, preferring a more traditional and environmentally sensitive view of the world. That is, if products are made better, then they last longer and do not have to be thrown away as often.

Branded Merchandise from America

Certain product categories are offering more American manufactured items amid growing demand for domestic goods:

  • Markers and pens are making their mark as a domestic product, including more unique, customized, and functional types of pens and markers in a wide range of colors with a range of pen features and functions.
  • Paper products like calendars, coloring books, diaries and decals are also growing in domestic production as printing technology has advanced to the point where manufacturers are able to lower their costs and become more price-competitive as well as provide a greater range, variety and value for customers.
  • Domestically manufactured hats, clothing, and bags are also on the rise as consumers associate an enhanced level of quality with such apparel items. The rise in using recycled materials for bags and clothing has enabled American manufacturers to save money on materials and fabrics, thereby passing on a lower cost price that is palpable to customers.

 In Summary

Here is a summary of the main points about branded merchandise and buying American:

  • Surveys show that more Americans now want to buy American regardless of whether it costs more or not because domestic merchandise represents quality, patriotism, and a boost to the economy.
  • Consumers would prefer better made merchandise so they do not create as much waste and overly consume, which puts stress on the environment.
  • More industries are increasing their domestic production of certain products, including markers, pens, paper and promotional goods, clothing, hats and bags.

References

http://counselor-digital.com/publication/?i=131646&p=32

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Branded merchandise doesn’t have to eat up your entire marketing budget, and one can look beyond pens and magnets for low-cost options. Check out these top ten low-cost promotional products that can effectively help you achieve strategic goals:

Brilliant Branded Merchandise Below $10

  • Apparel – While you may think apparel is off-limits at this price point, there is an array of wearable branding available like t-shirts, hats, and headbands
  • Golf accessories – Golf is the ultimate relationship sport, so branding some favorite accessories for current or prospective clients is a great way to keep your logo and messaging top-of-mind
  • Drinkware – Whether it is a wine or champagne glass, beer stein or coffee mug, you can satisfy your customers’ thirst for a great brand and fill their mind with your corporate messages.
  • Health and safety – Offering something practical and personal can equate your brand with customer care and concern.
  • Sporting goods and outdoor products – Appeal to your client’s leisure interests with bargain items like stadium cushions, Frisbees, grill covers or coolers.

Penny Promotional Items Under $1

Then there are those branded merchandise items that are well under $10, but still allow you to build your brand with clients and prospective customers:

  • Food and drink items – One of the best ways to a client’s business and loyalty can be through their stomach. From chocolate boasting your company name and logo to custom-labeled water bottles or refreshing breath mints, these items will leave clients and prospects “hungry” for what you offer them.
  • Pins and tattoos – These have the benefit of sticking to your customer, making them a walking billboard, or provide a way to have your logo in plain sight.
  • Stress balls – Help clients unwind with this fun, affordable, and practical item that can be kept on a desk. It’s a reminder that you are on their side to help them feel better.
  • Business supplies – From desk pads and address books to bookmarks and letter openers, branded business supplies will be put through the paces and remind clients you offer practical solutions.
  • Fun or silly products – Business marketing doesn’t have to be stuffy. Why not make your clients laugh or smile with a banner pin, blinking ball, or flying torpedo?

Takeaways

Consider these takeaways on how to build your brand through branded merchandise for less:

  • Be creative and find items that are memorable and practical for your clients and prospective customers.
  • Pick items that can be displayed somewhere so that others can see your company name, turning your merchandise into a mobile billboard.
  • Select a branded products company that can offer a wide range of items to choose from, especially with a large variety under $10 and even under $1.
  • Consider offering different seasonal items throughout the year, which clients and prospects will consider relevant.

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Marketing Spend ROI

by Woody Kaye on July 20, 2017

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Corporate gifts can be a highly effective means of strengthening the employer/employee relationship.  Indeed, such business gift programs can prove integral in increasing employee satisfaction, thereby enhancing staff productivity, retention, loyalty and goodwill toward the organization in kind. [click to continue reading…]

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It is important to always continue strategic marketing efforts that keep your brand name visible and top-of-mind with existing and prospective customers. One of the best ways to do this is with logoed promotional products, which do not have to be expensive to be an effective “billboard” for your company.

Focus on Smart Branded Products that Add Value

It doesn’t pay to simply pick the cheapest promotional item out there and slap your logo on it. Here’s why:

  • This item may not represent your company’s brand image or industry relevance.
  • Low cost doesn’t have to mean ‘cheap’ in terms of quality, making items impractical for long-term use and requiring a higher volume – and higher cost – purchase.
  • Spend your money on lower cost items more likely to stand the test of time – the less moving parts, the better.

Instead, purchase wisely:

  • Select an industry and/or demographic-relevant item that may be used over the long-term – optimally one that solves a problem or makes life or work easier.
  • Consider selecting an item that is out of the ordinary to help you stand out and build “buzz.” While pens or refrigerator magnets have their place, try to think outside of the proverbial box so customers will think of you more often and fondly.

Do Your Research

Take the time to do research before you select a budget-friendly promotional product rather than hastily picking items in that catalog that’s been sitting on your desk for a while, or just going with the first company that pops up in the search engine. Consider this strategy:

  • Ask customers what kind of promotional product would be useful to them by conducting a quick survey, however informal. This will tell you what’s hot and what’s not.
  • Check out newly introduced products in your low-end price point being offered across multiple companies.
  • Compare prices between companies; call various firms to see if they provide any special discounts for new customers, return customers, bulk orders, end of month/quarter/fiscal, etc.

Find a Trusted Partner

Lastly, you may want to consider finding a trusted partner from which to purchase all of your branded products.  Here’s why:

  • They value your business and can provide special incentives or value-added pricing.
  • They can advise on ways to determine which low cost products provide the best return on investment.
  • Your partner would have your best interests at heart and be ready with great quality product suggestions that meet your budget and marketing objectives.

In Summary

In highlighting the top points about economical promotional product procurement, remember this:

  • Be unique but practical.
  • Represent your brand and carry through your marketing theme.
  • Don’t just pick the cheapest item on price, alone, as there are other strategic factors to consider.
  • Do research on what’s available and what your customers want.
  • Compare prices, products, and companies.
  • Pick a partner for a long-term value-added relationship.

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When it is time each year to honor those hard-working and dedicated dads, it’s also a great time to identify those notable promotional products that guys gravitate toward. Here is a rundown of category-specific, Father’s Day-inspired promotional products that are particularly suited for men – those with children and without:

 

  •          Sports Fans: No matter what type of sports fanatic he is – from golf and tennis to basketball, football, and baseball, there are sports-themed promotional products that can represent his team and love of the game. These include everything from the tools of the trade to play that sport to sports gear to sports apparel. From actually playing the game to simply rooting the home team on, sporty dudes will love to receive something that shows their spirit.
  •          Exercise Buffs: For those guys who like to stay in shape, there are many branded products to choose from, including running gear, branded water bottles, MP3 holders, tachometers, and more. He can even enjoy his very own personalized towels, gear bags, or gear organizers so he can always be ready to go for a run, bike ride, or hike.
  •          Tech Heads: So many men are into gadgets and electronics, and with today’s ever-changing world of technology, there always seems to be something new to play with. Logoed products include MP3 players, digital cameras, computer accessories, USB drives, remote-controlled vehicles and more.
  •          Car Lovers: Guys typically love promotional products that’ll keep their car, truck, or van looking its best. Some great promotional auto accessories include air fresheners, floor mats, license plates and frames, vehicle covers, maps and map holders and travel mugs. Whether it is for his restored classic or his everyday commuter car, he will appreciate that you thought to make his trip more comfortable and stylish.
  •          The Head Chef: For those men who like to tap into their inner culinary master, gift some new tools of the trade: kitchen cutlery or appliances, an apron, or new recipe books that will inspire him to keep on dishing out those epicurean delights.

 

In Review

The main points from this blog post are:

  •          Guys enjoy a wide array of promotional products based on some favorite pastimes.
  •          From sports fans to exercise buffs, there are ways to enjoy and celebrate these hobbies with gear, clothing, and accessories.
  •          Most men are a gadget geek and techie at heart so give him something that will keep him busy for hours, especially if there are lots of bells and whistles to explore.
  •          Car nuts love anything that make his ride look better or that offers comfort and enjoyment while out for a spin.
  •          Men who love to cook love to be treated to anything that adds further enjoyment to this often passionate hobby.

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