Why Gift Giving Should be a Year Round Habit for Your Business

As December approaches, I dread driving anywhere near a mall, restaurant or grocery store.  The mad dash I see as individuals and businesses scrambling around to find the perfect thank you for colleagues,  major clients, employees, and spouses makes my head spin. Though it’s certainly not the only time of year when businesses give gifts, the months of November and December are the most popular times for giving business-related gifts.  Most feel this is a great way to cap off the year and reaffirm how much these relationships mean.

However, I sometimes feel that so many business owners do not take advantage of other less celebrated occasions that would be ideal for gift-giving, making your brand stand out even more in the eyes of your customers and business associates.

Want to stand out more? Business gifts don’t have to just come in December. They can come at any time during the year.

Here are just a few approaches to business gift-giving and showing personal appreciation for your employees and clients at less hectic times of the year.

Throw a Thank You Event

Customer or employee appreciation lunches, dinners or breakfasts can go a long way in establishing a client friendship, trust and one-one-one dialog with you while offering an informal networking atmosphere for your other clients. Providing an unexpected branded promotional gift at that time always evokes a genuine smile of appreciation and gratitude.

Customer-Appreciation-Party-Fina-Promos

Giving gifts to employees is good business too because this is an extra way of telling them that you value the hard work they have put in. Something practical like a golf umbrella or something useful like a canvas laptop case can be a continual reminder that your employees really matter to you. Little morale boosters (like chocolates) can make a difference in the overall workplace attitude, and the occasional gift lets your team know you couldn’t do it without them.

Hand Written Thank You Note or Letter

How long has it been since you last wrote a handwritten letter or card to someone- perhaps a customer or employee? Go on. be honest. Very few people take the time to put pen to paper and express their feelings or appreciation. It’s time-consuming, requires vulnerability and in truth, well, seems a little old-fashioned. Yet, who doesn’t long to receive a handwritten letter or card in the mail? And if you receive one do you open it? Yes, you do.

Thank-You-Note-

Someone took the time to put a  pen in hand and express their personality and thoughts with you and for you. On a personal level, it is delightful. On a professional level, it is both delightful and powerful. Your customers don’t want to feel like you’re always trying to sell them something.

Send thanks by interacting in ways that don’t have a bottom line for your business.

Say Happy Anniversary

Celebrate customers who have been with you for a month…or a year. Pull from a classic and send flowers and chocolate. Try to note any significant anniversaries that their business may be celebrating, like a new office space, 10 years in business, a recent expansion or partnership and give them a shout out on social media.

There are so many bizarre and unique “days” too that you can acknowledge and stand out from the crowd (like National  Spaghetti Day and National Tea Month) These unique days can be accompanied by an appropriate matching branded gift to market your company in a fun and useful way. Check out the 2018 list HERE

Tulip gift

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Bagged Up-The Best Promo Product of 2016

A study from the Advertising Specialty Institute  found that in 2016 promotional bags generated more advertising impressions in the U.S. than any other promotional product. More than pens, calenders, mugs and even the beloved t-shirt.  Although women in the U.S. are much more likely to own a bag than men (57% of women vs. 42% of men)  promotional bags are an excellent way to showcase your business brand, logo or campaign/event message. A logoed branded bag generates over 5,700 impressions on average. That’s a pretty healthy number when considering the cost per impression compared to other advertising medium.

The age group among women most likely to own a logoed bag is 18-24 at 57% (Think college students and young professionals as a target market here.)  49% of senior women,  ages 65 and older are also a great demographic for targeting with a promotional bag. Woman carry things. For everyone it seems. If they consider your company’s logoed bag a good looking and useful item, you can count on residual marketing for a few years at least depending on the material quality and functionality. I remember bags from vendors for years. Estee’ Lauder’s promotional gift bags are some of my favorites. Always well-designed with great quality workmanship. Its interesting to me (and a great lesson) as a marketer that the logo is not always pronounced on the item itself-a blind embossed logo or zipper pull. Minimal real estate is used to create a classy look, yet I remember and even refer to it as my “Estee’ Bag.”

Men too are increasingly aware of the brand value of carrying handsome bags to and from the office, home and travel sites.

“One of the key pieces that any guy can own is a nice leather briefcase,” says Sabine. “A nicely made bag should last generations.”

All types of branded bags are making inroads to once female preferred gift wish lists-laptop bags, backpacks, duffels,  messenger, shopping and travel bags. Corporate Gifts that are most likely to be valued by men are name brand upscale leather bags. Many of our clients at Fina Promos are choosing handsome leather bags as executive gifts, service awards and client thank you gifts. One of the favorite golf outing gifts we provide for The Annual Arnold Palmer Golf outing for Latrobe Hospital is a black leather shoe bag.

According to a recent article on Forbes.com, a recent study found that half of the people working for large organizations in the U.S. would be proud to wear company gear outside of work.   Do not underestimate promoting your company brand to your own employees, as they can have a positive impact spreading goodwill about your organization and company culture.

Read MoneyCNN’s article about why men should own a man bag.

Here is a revealing infographic from the Advertising Specialty Institute

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Promotional Bags are the most popular Promotional Product Item in 2016. Need help creating an effective promotional strategy for 2017?  Sign up for our newsletter and get promo product ideas delivered to your inbox twice monthly.

2 Reasons You Should Use Emojis in Brand Marketing

When it comes to communication, I’m an impatient person. Voicemail takes too long and email often requires too much effort. Like most people I know between the ages of 12 and 70, text messaging is the go-to method for communicating- with co-workers, friends, family and (sadly) the person in the next room. Enter the EMOJI.

“Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication. Brands should think about what their audience cares about.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and emojis are just the next evolution of communicating, sometimes even complex thoughts or emotions, with simple pictures.  Brands are recognizing the usefulness of the Emoji in online marketing communication.  Here are 2 reasons you should be using the cute smiley faces as a marketing tool.

1. Emojis can transcend  language barriers. A smiley face is universal, (you know this if you have ever traveled overseas) and now there are literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. A smile. A wink to a heart. The simplicity of these images breakdown linguistic obstacles, in turn, enhancing brand recognition and generating positive impressions. Marketing experts say emojis allow recipients to fully comprehend the intentions of the brand, no matter the worldwide location of the consumer.

2. Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication.When I see a brand using an emoji, I can instantly relate on a personal level to the conveyed emotional message of that brand. Most marketers understand that emotion is more effective than promotion by more than 2 to 1. Let’s face it. They’re cute. Who doesn’t like cute? O.K. Maybe Scrooge. Or Archie Bunker. But you get my drift. Most people are jaded to perfect PhotoShop images and slick online lead generation tactics.

How can emojis  be used in brand marketing? They can be incorporated into instant messaging applications, text, email, promotional products and social media messages to convey brand emotions. Developing your own emoji image can be a great way to extend your marketing reach to millennials. HubSpot has an Emojis for Dummies Translation Guide to help you get started. Transport the online experience into tangible residual marketing. Check out these great specific examples of national brands using Emoji Marketing from Ad Age to get your creative ideas flowing.

These branded emoji “Flingers” fly through the air with a flick of their tongue! The cute guys  (we have girl emojis too) are a fun new item that is sure to grab attention at your next function. They are part of Fina Promos emoji based product line. Why not run an Emoji contest? Think about using these guys as part of your next tradeshow giveaway, meeting, Facebook or newsletter sign-up gift. Take simplistic messaging to a whole new level!

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

 

The Impact of The ” Joe-Cool Factor” On Your Brand Image

As a kid, I loved the Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schulz. In particular, my favorite cartoon character was Snoopy. He was the original cool and trendy dude. Joe Cool was my hero. His trademark round sunglasses and “Joe Cool” turtleneck sweater (imprinted with his name, no less!) continues to be a timeless fashion statement. With his little buddy Woodstock following in tow, he projected the silent (Literally, silent. He was a character that did not speak) message that if you were to be seen with him, you must project your own trendy coolness.

What does Snoopy teach us about building our brand image? – That it’s hard to overstate the power of cool! When a product has that cool factor, you appreciate it, tell your friends about it and want to associate yourself with it. Whether that comes from a killer feature, a unique design, or a striking aesthetic, branded products that wow the recipient will give your business a trendy brand image.

So, How can your business and brand be more like Joe Cool? How do you wow your audience? One easy way is to incorporate the latest retail product trends into your marketing programs and company events. When choosing premium customer or employee gifts, promotional items, or even apparel branded with your logo, pick (appropriate) branded products that say “trendy’ like a Bluetooth Activity Band. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of an already hot trend.. 

Fina Promos Bluetooth Activity Band

Wearable technology is huge right now in the consumer market. I was meeting with a client last week who was wearing one of these and I have to admit that I felt a bit left out of the cool factor. After all, I am in the branding business. I SHOULD have the latest trendy tech products items, right?! My point is to put the latest consumer trends to work for you and your marketing brand.  Whatever promotional item you decide to align your brand with, be sure it is associated with quality, popularity, and a positive emotion.

Visit our promotional products catalog pages for the latest trends in branded products or tap on image for more products that project the “Joe Cool” factor!

See 12 More Trending Promotional Product Ideas!

13 product ideas of what’s cool and trending right now.

2 Ways For Your Brand To Score Big On Game Day

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness.

Align your brand with game day to create community awareness. Click on image for ideas.

Can you smell autumn in the air? The evenings are becoming just a bit cooler. The trees are slowly changing color. Time to pull out the fuzzy winter sweaters, plan your fall day hike with the fam, and brew some fresh apple cider with cinnamon. And then there is the fall sports! As a self proclaimed sports diva, I must admit to getting a rush just hearing the words “fantasy football” and the Monday Night Football jingle,Are you ready for some football?” (I know you’re singing the jingle in your head right now.)

How can your company brand participate in the spirit of the fall sports scene? Primarily in two ways:

Associate your brand with having an amazing time. Start thinking of creative ways to get in on the team spirit in the air. Whether you focus on your city’s professional sports teams (We love our Steelers and Pirates in Pittsburgh), local colleges, or even high school sports, be sure to be an active participant in either the event planning, promoting, or volunteering associated with sporting events in your hometown region. Could you create a Game Day Photo Contest on your business Facebook account? Have “Steeler Day” at the office? Sponsor a team or fund raiser? If you are able, actually attend the event and network with other business leaders in the community. Associating your  marketing brand with  local influencers goes a long way to scoring points for your small business.

Create “Game Day” branded promotional products to get fans on their feet.  Ask yourself this       question: What is my ideal customer’s marketing persona? In other words, define your demographic     and choose sports related branded promotional items that would appeal to them. Could you give           away a game day chair as a prize or sweepstakes? Hand out those fun foam #1 hands, or foam         hats co-branded with the team logo and your company logo. Set up a booth so that potential clients     can sign up for your company newsletter in exchange for a free promotional football or baseball.

Watch our video for 13 product ideas. Click on the megaphone for mega-great ideas and give your brand the shout-out it deserves.

Regards,

Audrey Gotto

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS

CLICK ON THE MEGAPHONE FOR MEGA-GREAT MARKETING IDEAS VIDEO

3 Ways To Market Your Brand to Teens and College Students

According to the American Psychological Association, teens influence over $600 billion (with a “B”‘)  worth of spending annually. That’s a ton of crayons, folks! What is your small business doing to market to this growing group of purchasing giants? Back-To-School marketing for colleges, high schools, and even elementary grades can add significantly to your bottom line while showing goodwill as a local business.

Whether you want to reach students, teachers, professors, parents, or the community try these three tips to get your brand image out there before the bell rings in September.

  1. Follow Their Eyeballs.

Have a legit account on the social media sites that they visit. No, it’s not a waste of time. Instagram is now the most popular photo-sharing site among teens age 12-17. One million of them visited the site last July alone.

Add to that the 93% of social media–using teens who have a Facebook account (according to Pew Internet research), and the 16% who use Twitter (a figure that has doubled in recent years), and you’ve got a lot of teenage eyeballs.

But to connect with a teen target market, you must do more than simply have a presence on the sites they use. You must also pay attention to what motivates and inspires them. Pay attention to what they post and WHY they post.  Most teens (and adults) love to be associated with the latest cool gadget, piece of technology or brand fashion item that everyone else seems to be enjoying. (Remember carrying ginormous boom boxes to school?) They want to be recognized and validated for their unique contribution to the world around them. How can you help them do so? Think outside the box. Could you offer a social media contest that appeals to these needs?

2. Know where the parents hang out. 

Always, always, always try to associate your brand and logo with having a good time, being helpful, or educating the community (value). One of my favorite clients, Clearview Credit Union decided to give away a “college student laundry bag” to every parent who opened a college savings account or college loan with them. On one side of the bag, we printed the bank logo along with laundry instructions. The opposite side had the logo of the participating college. Talk about helpful, fun, and educational!! They were a huge hit.

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

Click for 13 Back To School Promo Items

3. Give them sweet promo items as a gift. 

Who doesn’t love cool FREE gifts? I still get excited when I see a great logo or graphic on a promotional product and I’ve been in the business for 25 years. (think…your favorite t-shirt, logo’d sports bag, athletic shoes, purse or pen) I continue to love my Pittsburgh Pirates logo’d baseball I received as a gift for signing up outside PNC Park for another credit card I didn’t need. I still have that Pirates baseball and yes, I still use the Mastercard.

Word of caution: Be sure your promotion has a purpose. In other words, what is it that you want the promotion to do, exactly? Perhaps you can capture email addresses to build up your newsletter readership by gifting an item in exchange for an email address. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website or add more followers to your social media sites? Use the promotional products to ensure your marketing goals are reached.

Feel free to contact me any time if you need specific suggestions for your next project. Any more ideas? Comment below in the reply section.

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

13 Ways For Your Biz To Think Pink in October

Social Responsibility is a big priority for many companies.  How about yours? Does your team participate in a local “Walk For The Cure” or other fundraiser to show your support for a special cause? Branded products are an important component of any awareness initiative. Why? because pairing your brand’s logo with the cause shows goodwill to your staff and the community. Not to mention the warm and fuzzy feeling we all experience when putting ourselves out there to help others. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Fina Promos have put together 13 of our favorite product ideas for showing support. Just click on the PINK SNEAKERS PHOTO to get great ideas.

Branded products help show your company's support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Branded products help show your company’s support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Please leave a comment below and share how your business has shown social responsibility for the causes that matter to you.

All My Best,

Audrey Gotto-Owner and lover of pink sneakers.

Click to see our Breast cancer Awareness Products Video

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