Corporate social responsibility is all the rage – even when it comes to branded merchandise. After all, environmentally conscious “green” promotional products are a great way to convey specific brand messages and enhance logo visibility while simultaneously showcasing the company’s care and concern for planet Earth.

Recycled, Reclaimed, Renewed Items

Green promotional products come in many forms, and can include those manufactured from materials that have been recycled or reclaimed, created without the use of natural resources, or harvested from sustainable areas. Green logo items also include those that foster the user’s ability to conserve natural resources and reduce their own environmental footprint.

Here are some great ideas on how to incorporate a social consciousness into promotional marketing efforts while staying on budget:

  • Recycled totes, bags, and backpacks: These carry-alls are effective for exposing a company logo and/or message to a wide audience while giving the recipient a practical way to go green. The bags, totes, and backpacks can be continually reused during shopping excursions, reducing the need to use plastic and paper retail bags.
  • Sports and entertainment products: Marketers are often amazed with the wide range of eco-smart sports and entertainment promotional items now available, such as golf balls and poker chips made from recycled materials and apparel and accessories made from fast-growing renewable bamboo.  Branded water bottles can go a long way to keep plastic out of our landfills.
  • Office supplies: Much is possible when it comes to recycled or eco-conscious logo gear for the workplace. Green promotional office supplies now include everything from pens and pencils, to mouse pads, presentation folders, calculators, paper products, calendars, and corporate clothing. Green technology and electronics also abound for yet more socially-smart branded merchandise options.
  • Pamper products: Although many promotional products are made to benefit the recipient in some way, there is an entire category of Earth-friendly promotional items dedicated to making the client “feel” good – physically or emotionally. Imagine a client’s delight as he or she dons a plush bamboo robe or an organic cotton shirt brandishing your logo. Scented soaps, sachets, lotions and a bevy of corporate-branded beauty products abound.

Green Reminders

Here are some important green reminders about what is possible for companies when it comes to green promotional products:

  • Going eco-friendly with promotional strategies is a cost-effective way to enhance brand image with target audiences relative to the company’s value system.
  • Just about every type of promotional item is now available in a green-inspired option, including those what contain recycled or manufactured materials that help conserve the planet’s diminishing natural resources.
  • Green promotional items are a great way to help customers be environmentally conscious by supplying them with solutions that reduce waste or use of non eco-friendly materials or products.

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With the New Year upon us, it is time to revisit those resolutions to get in shape and take better care of the body, mind, and spirit– and encourage your customers, employees and business partners in kind. To help those within your network achieve their wellness goals in the New Year while also increasing your company’s visibility, it’s wise to structure your upcoming branded merchandise campaigns around health, fitness, and beatify products.

Here we detail some of the top trends in health-related branded merchandise that’ll make the recipient feel good on the inside and out while concurrently achieving strategic promotional objectives:

  • Yoga mats are very popular as the practice has rapidly increased in popularity for its ability to trim and strengthen the body while calm the mind and alleviate stress. As a branded product that you can give your clients and staff, there is considerable room to advertise your company thanks to the various mat styles and print customization options now available. Even better is when you can supply your clients and employees with a yoga mat that can be rolled into a convenient carrying bag with a handle, which provides a second place to get your company mark and message noticed with an imprint.
  • Sports armbands for electronics have become more important as runners, walkers, and exercise enthusiasts rely on music or audio books to motivate them through their routine.  Your clients and staff will love this convenient accessory where they can safely store their iPod or MP3 player while they exercise, keeping it clear of harsh weather elements as well as ensuring it doesn’t drop or get damaged.
  • Fitness journals are being used more often to track progress, especially as more walkers and runners and weight lifters want to keep on top of what they have accomplished and set new goals to go farther or faster. Tracking your fitness accomplishments is certainly a great motivator to stay on track with those resolutions.
  • Calorie/Fat/Carb counter guides are also a good way to stay on top of health goals in the New Year. It’s become so popular that even restaurants in some states must now publish their calorie and nutrition information, which makes it easier to track this information and manage dietary intake as a key factor for losing weight.
  • Hand sanitizer continues to grow in popularity as more people seek to avoid germs in order to stay healthy. These branded merchandise bottles now come in all sizes, including those that go on a key chain or clip up to larger bottles for the desk or counter.

In Review

To summarize some of the popular trends in health, fitness, and beauty branded merchandise, here are some products to consider to help staff, clients and others achieve their New Year self-improvement goals:

  • Yoga is hot for helping both the body and mind, so yoga mats and yoga mat bags are a well-loved promotional item.
  • Sports armbands help exercise enthusiasts protect their electronics while they run, walk, and workout so they can remain motivated while they sweat it out.
  • Fitness journals and food counter guides help to track progress on goals and stay on target with specific health and fitness goals or resolutions plus serve as motivators when it’s easy to see just how far a person has come!

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A corporate gift does not have to be serious or stuffy in nature. Instead, it should be reflective of a company’s brand and philosophy, and meaningful to the recipient so that it resonates and deepens the relationship–whether the recipient is a customer, vendor, or employee. And, corporate gifting need not be complicated or expensive. Here are some key corporate gift guidelines that can help a business select the most appropriate items to give at holidays, as ‘thank you’ gifts, or in recognition of a job well done.

  • Be creative: There is nothing wrong with stepping outside of the traditional corporate gift box and opt for an item that will surprise and delight the recipient on a personal level, including sports-related items like golf accessories, a personalized wine bottle, a game, or even some type of fitness product.
  • Consider demographics: It is important to consider a person’s gender and age group to get the most bang for your promotional product buck. You do not want to give a younger client some type of house wares item when they would likely prefer a cell phone accessory or electronic device. Corporate gifts are meant to provide you with intangible ROI such as appreciation and allegiance as much as they benefit the recipient.
  • Represent the company’s values: Select items that reflect what the company believes in. For example, if the company is environmentally aware, be sure to select an item that has been manufactured from recycled materials and is produced in a way that’s safe for the environment.
  • Stick to a budget: Always be aware of how much the items cost, including any customization, to ensure that the budget is not overshot and increase the likelihood you can continue to offer the gift program each year or quarter. There are plenty of high quality, utility and perceived value items, including jewelry, barware, clothing and electronics, which will illustrate the level of appreciation you feel for the recipient.
  • Make it relevant: It is important to select those items that are relevant and of interest to the recipients rather than picking up a bunch of pens or diaries because they were specially priced. Take the time to select the types of items that illustrate you know what the recipient likes and is interested in. This small amount of effort will make a significant impact and go a long way toward building loyalty.
  • Go electronic: With so much of our collective professional and personal lives becoming digitized, electronic promotional products and gadget accessories are downright revered–from music and entertainment to travel and productivity, there is a myriad of digital options perfectly suited for corporate gifting.
  • Plan ahead: The best thing you can do with any corporate gift giving initiative is to plan ahead to ensure you can procure the right gift at the right price. This will save you from making rushed purchases that often reveal themselves as just that, which, in turn, may make the recipient not feel as special as intended. Take the time to get it right and you will be rewarded in turn.

In Review

Here is a quick wrap-up on the guidelines for corporate gifts:

  • Think beyond the traditional type of company gifts and go with something fun, practical, or memorable.
  • Make sure the gifts fit the individual based on their demographics, what you know about them, and what is relevant for today’s recipients.
  • Keep the gift in line with your brand, philosophy, and messaging.
  • Plan ahead and you will be able to pick the right item at the right price, staying on budget and delivering something special to the recipient.

References
Source: Premium Incentive Products, July/Aug 2012, p. 18

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Marketing Spend ROI

by Woody Kaye on December 15, 2016

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Promo Products Rule ROI

by Woody Kaye on December 15, 2016

With an often limited budget to put toward marketing and advertising, companies are regularly challenged with deciding which channels or vehicles will deliver the most ROI. For their part, promo products are often compared against traditional forms of marketing such as television, radio, print advertising. It has been found that promo products actually deliver the best return for investment—one that extends beyond just reaching existing clients.

The Return from Promo Products

Findings published in Advantages magazine indicate that the majority (60%) of people who receive promotional merchandise then decide that they will do business with the granting company, and experience an overall increase in their favorable impression toward that company.

Also of benefit is the fact that promotional products often commonly get passed on to others if not used by the original person rather than being thrown away. This actually provides a viral way for the company to reach more of its target audience and beyond without having to do the work or pay for additional impressions.

Even better is the fact that this strategy is so much cheaper than traditional marketing and advertising mediums, offering a considerable payoff for what can be as little as half a cent per impression than, say, a few dollars or more per impression utilizing the traditional route.

In order to get the best return, however, it is recommended that a company does its homework and get an idea of the individual preferences among various demographic groups that may be targeted as part of such as promo product campaign. Some promotional items are more attractive to certain groups than others and it’s imperative to strategize accordingly.

Promo Products that Fare Well

In listing those items that appeal to the largest audience and deliver an attractive return among the many choices of promotional and branded products, the most ROI was gained from:

  • Bags, backpacks, and totes
  • Caps and headwear
  • Writing instruments like pens and pencils
  • Shirts of all different styles
  • Calendars, diaries, and planners

These are practical items that most anyone can use so the recipient is likely to hold onto the item and even wear it if it’s apparel-related. In turn, become walking billboards for the company whose logo and information are on them, which enhances the potential ROI. These items also have considerable room to put critical contact information, including name, address, phone, email and website address.

In Review

Here is a summary of the key ideas about promo products and why and how they deliver a significant return on investment:

  • They cost less per impression than traditional marketing channels like television, radio, and magazines, which immediately drives up the return.
  • Those that receive them either keep them or pass them on both of which have been found to leave the recipient with a positive impression of the company and a greater likelihood of buying from them.
  • Promo products should be suited to certain demographics but the overall products that do best are bags, headgear, writing instruments, shirts and calendars.

References

Source: Advantages Magazine, Feb 2011, p. 107

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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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Urban Line Apparel Trends

by Woody Kaye on December 15, 2016

Source: Urban Line Apparel Trends.

Urban clothing lines are trending throughout the apparel industry. Every major brand now has a line that is featuring items influenced by the fashion world outside of the workplace. People’s lives are becoming more transient, travel has become easier and more efficient, and technology has made everything and everyone more accessible. We are also seeing a cultural movement within our professional relationships where people are connecting on a casual and personal level more often. We no longer have a separation of work and life, and with that, people are dressing in such a way that adheres to this new lifestyle. Professionals want to be comfortable yet well-dressed and these new lines of apparel are making that easier. We need our clothing to perform in all aspects of our lives. Active wear and specific fabrics are making this possible. These apparel trends started to pop up about six years ago in the apparel industry and with each season continue to evolve and become more refined.

Major brands are responding. We are striving to have less “stuff” and consumers are expecting the items we purchase to last longer and fit better. Fabric in these lines are more comfortable, well-made and customers are willing to pay the price for these luxuries. You’ll also notice patterns such as camouflage and regional trends such as pigment dyed are making a major statement. It is a very exciting time in the apparel industry as technology is making it possible for today’s clothing to wear better, look better and be more functional than ever before.

In the words of Nike, There’s Always Better!

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