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$10.00 Januar y 2005 TM Brilliant

www.brilliantpublishing.com

Results January 2005 Vo l . 2 , N o . 1

Up Close & Personal with David Larkin RFID Technology The Brave New World

Trade Show Strategy‌ a Recipe for Success

Phantom Brands

David Larkin President tsnn.com


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TM

Vo l . 2 , N o. 1

8

Contents

46

58

22

Cover Story

This month Brilliant Results is bringing you face-to-face with one of the tradeshow industry’s top power brokers, David Larkin, from tsnn.com.

Features

8

Up Close and Personal!

Trade Shows & Promotional Products:A Recipe for Success

22

An easy step-by-step recipe designed to make all your trade shows deliver results.

Measure the R.O.I. at Trade Shows

38

The right mix of creative and promotional products makes it easy. By Cliff Quicksell, MAS

46

PhantomBrands

Identifying phantom brands and understanding why they fall into disrepair. By Bill Nissim

RFID Brave New World or RealWorld?

58

An interesting look at the future using RFID technology.

Departments 6 Publisher's Letter 74 Advertising Index Get FREE Information from this month's advertisers 76 Calendar

Columns 52 Hot Products‌Things We Love A showcase of some hot products to keep your creatively warm this winter 44 Technology: How to Increase your Web Site Traffic with Offline Promotion By Randall P. Whatley

78 The Last Word Part I 68 What Works: Brilliant Results talks to Mary Upton, Case Studies that Delivered Brilliant ASI Show VP of Operations for her Results insight on trade show success. 80 The Last Word Part II Brilliant Results talks to Darel Cook, Director of Expositions & Meetings for Promotional Products Association International about trade shows and the part promotional products play in exhibitor success. 82 OFF THE CUFF Interesting bits of information to get you thinking

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Publisher’s Letter Relationships, Resources, Results

A

TM

Brilliant Publishing LLC 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown, PA 17036 Ph: 717.608.5869 Fax: 717.566.5431

t the beginning of each New Year’s

Eve there is always a feeling of anticiPUBLISHER / ADVERTISING Maureen Williams..... maureen@brilliantpublishing.com 717-608-5869

pation in the air. What will this year bring…Will I be happy? Will I be healthy? Will I be prosperous? Then the ball drops, the noisemakers stop

EDITORIAL Editor in Chief MaryAnne Morrill

blaring, the revelers return home to awaken to a New Year and to find out what lies ahead.

Senior Editor Michelle Donofrey

This year I have decided that my

Style Editor Charity Plata

motto will be simple; "Giddy Up!" I know when my New Year begins it

Asst. Editor Mildred Landis

will start like a horse racing out of the gate as we prepare for Brilliant

As you are reading, our team will

Results to become a monthly publica-

be attending 2005's first onslaught of

tion. While I too am both unsure and

trade shows having to do with mar-

excited about what the future will

keting, packaging, promotional prod-

bring, I do know that we will continue

ucts and more. We will be out there

to provide our readers with cutting

visiting every booth to find exciting

edge ideas and access to the right

new ideas and products to bring back

relationships and resources to ensure

for your review in our Things We Love

that their promotions actually achieve

feature. Our team will also be talking

Brilliant Results.

with the movers and shakers to report

With that in mind we kick off the

about compelling and successful case

year with an issue devoted to any-

studies regarding "what works" to

thing and everything about trade

get your creative juices flowing.

shows. This issue has been designed

So here we go…2005 is upon us,

and perfectly timed to help our read-

the show floors are rockin' and while I

ers be well informed about the do’s

could say something common like

and don'ts of trade show success. It

"wishing you much success", I think

is packed full of interviews and

I'll simply say "Giddy up!" Let the

insight from power brokers like David

Games begin!

Larkin of tsnn.com and promotional products insiders like Mary Upton

Have a Brilliant Day!

from ASI and Darel Cook from PPAI. We have even provided a step by step recipe for trade show success! All this has been done with one thing in mind…to provide you, our readers with thought provoking ideas and useful information as you roll into the trade show season. So if your organization is involved in exhibiting at or attending trade shows this year, this is the issue you need to read from cover to cover!

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Maureen

Contributing Writers... John Amsterdam, Robert Berman, David Goldfarb, Bill Nissim, Cliff Quicksell, Chris Smith, Randall P. Whatley PRODUCTION / DESIGN Art Director Percy Zamora Contributing Designer Chuck Moser Photographer David Larkin Images- Gen Nishino Brilliant Results is published monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown PA 17036 (717) 608-5869; Fax# (717) 566-5431. Postage paid at Mechanicsburg PA and additional offices. POSTMASTER please send address changes to Brilliant Results, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown PA 17036. Volume 2. Number 1. Brilliant Results subscription rates: one-year $120; Canadian $160 USD; one-year foreign $225 USD. All subscriptions are non-refundable. Copyright © 2004 Brilliant Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising or editorial material. Advertisers, and/or their agents, assume the responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on the advertisement. Editorial contributors assume responsibility for their published works and assume responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on published work. No part of this publication can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher. All items submitted to Brilliant Results become the sole property of Brilliant Publishing LLC. Editorial content does not reflect the views of the publisher. The imprints, logos, trademarks or trade names (Collectively the “Marks”) displayed on the products featured in Brilliant Results are for illustrative purposes only and are not available for sale. The marks do not represent the implied or actual endorsement by the owners of the Marks of the product on which they appear. All of the Marks are the property of the respective owners and are not the property of either the advertisers using the Marks or Brilliant Results.

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Introducing

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INFORMATION They say information is power. If that is the case, this month Brilliant Results is bringing you face-to-face with one of the tradeshow industry’s top power brokers, David Larkin, from tsnn.com. With 120,000 TSNN-registered users, 270,000 unique users per month on TSNN and 80,000 unique users per month on TSNN.CO.UK adding up to a 600,000 page impressions per month average and newsletter/e-mail marketing sent to 50,000 (per release) e-mail addresses eight times each month, it is easy to see why tsnn.com is a trade show industry powerhouse. An invigorating visit with the man behind trade show news network will bring you unique insight into the trade show business and how to ensure that your show efforts pay off.

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IS POWER BR: Who is David Larkin? DL: I grew up in this industry. My family’s business was the Larkin Group, a trade show company that produced as many as 15 shows per year, including the International Kids Fashion Show and the International Fashion Boutique show that had over 1,500 exhibitors. In fact, at one point, the Larkin Group was the biggest tenant of the Javitz Center in New York. As for me, I grew up in the business. I started in junior high working in the mailroom. Then, worked my way up to selling booths and did just about everything in between. I ultimately left home to attend Syracuse University, where I got my degree in Film and Drama. After graduating it was back to New York where I got my first job in the movie industry. It was awesome! I worked literally 18 hours a day, six days a week for a $100 bucks a week. My first film was the now infa-

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photo by Gen Nishino

mous C.H.U.D. If you missed it, it’s a must see “B” flick. The film company rented a loft in Soho, and my job was to turn it into a movie set. You know, put wet towels on the wood floor to stop the squeaking, soundproof the walls, etc. Then I got my big break to move to Hollywood. I was going to make it big; I just knew it! I got a gig as the production manager for a small production company. We did cable movies like Hollywood Hot Tubs and other big name stuff like that. I had a blast, but began to realize this wasn’t going to be my long-term calling. In 1986, the Javitz Center opened up in New York. My dad called and said the family business was booming, and they were going to open an office in Los Angeles. I thought to myself, what the heck? I’ll do it for six months to help out my family and make a few bucks. Well, 15 years later, I was still there until we eventually sold the business.

Brilliant Results | January

2005 9


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Probably the best thing that ever happened to tsnn.com was my inability to raise capital. It sounds strange, but since we didn’t have angel or VC money, I was forced to run a responsible Internet company – a rarity in the ’90s. I have been a trade show organizer for many years. I have been an attendee at the best trade shows throughout the world. I have owned businesses that have exhibited at a variety of shows, and now I run the world’s largest portal for information about trade shows. I think, or at least hope, that my unique experience will be of interest to your readers. BR: Where did the idea for tsnn.com come from? DL: In the late 90’s it became fairly obvious that our family was going to sell the Larkin Group. The industry was changing, and the relatively easy growth we had experienced for many years was beginning to wane. In 1999, we sold to Advanstar, a company that is still one of the largest trade show promoters in the United States. That sale occurred right about the time that the Internet was starting to boom. I saw this golden opportunity that could bring benefit to the industry, not be a threat. I remember hearing feedback that my concept was too radical. The industry wasn’t ready for it. How would it work? Who would use it? Then again, didn’t every Internet company field comments like that back in the late ’90s? In essence I saw an opportunity, a void if you will, where information having anything and everything to do with trade shows could be easily found, updated tracked and used in laser-focused direct marketing efforts. I figured I’d been in the industry all my life, know a lot of people and was fascinated with the Internet. So, why not give it a shot? BR: What is tsnn today? DL: Simply stated, we are the nation’s No. 1 online portal for anything and everything having to do with trade shows globally. We are an online directory about essentially every major trade

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show, in every industry, in the world. We also use our data in an opt-in format to assist businesses in marketing to their show-related audiences. You know, supplier of show equipment to show promoters, show exhibitors to show organizers, show attendees to show exhibitors, etc. BR: Why did you pick the trade show industry as your profession of choice? DL: Well, it’s what I learned growing up. I have to say; it was very fun being a kid in his early 20s running fashion trade shows in New York. To me, the lure of the Internet was that sex appeal of today. It is still so exciting - the boundless opportunities. I figured that I knew the trade show industry and all the movers and shakers in it, so, if the Internet was my future, it was a no-brainer to make my entrance on to the World Wide Web via the trade show business. I am still totally fascinated by it and am passionate about what the future holds. BR: Tell us a bit about the merger with Tarsus? DL: Probably the best thing that ever happened to tsnn.com was my inability to raise capital. It sounds strange, but since we didn’t have angel or VC money, I was forced to run a responsible Internet company – a rarity in the ’90s. However, in my quest for capital, I met Doug Emslie, the managing director for Tarsus, a trade show producer based in the UK. I was looking for investors, and he was looking for an online solution like tsnn.com for Europe. He and I clicked, and, in 1999, Tarsus bought 15% of our company. By 2000, we had struck a deal to have them acquire 100% of the stock. Doug wanted me to run it for them, so our agreement called for me to stay on as the president of tsnn. In 2003, the Internet bubble burst, and Tarsus decided to spin off tsnn. I put a deal together to have the American employees buy it back, and that is where we are today. BR: What is tsnn.com’s strongest values/benefits to its users? DL: We are the trade shows industry’s online yellow pages. Our audience is made up of trade show exhibitors and attendees. Furthermore, show promoters need access to our database to find the best suppliers and inform attendees and exhibitors about their shows. Our platform is set up to place the onus on the show organizer to update the data about their own shows. This ensures they get the exposure, and it keeps inforwww.brilliantpublishing.com


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mation absolutely current and accurate. We do provide the basic information free of charge. We also sell adverting on the site. However, our strongest value seems to be the direct marketing products and services we offer our clientele. Our technology is solid, and the site is fully automated. As a viewer uses the site, they can opt-in to enter their information. We track their trends and history, which allows us to offer the exact direct marketing products and services they want. Our online solution can target leads far more competitively than any off-line resource. BR: Let’s talk a bit about the trade show industry as a whole. What are the most significant changes you have seen in the trade show industry over the last 5-10 years? DL: Two words: the Internet! Like many industries, the Internet has changed the trade show industry in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. For example, when we first started collecting e-mail addresses to put businesses in contact with each other and offer a cost-effective way to promote shows, no one had them. Today it would seem unfathomable to put on a show without things like online registration to streamline the sign-up process and e-mail marketing to promote the show. When the Internet bubble crashed and post 9/11, the industry was dramatically impacted. There has been a giant culling of trade shows. Even COMDEX,

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once the biggest show in the U.S., is not even running anymore. Why? Everyone started looking for ROI on trade show and no one could prove it. People (exhibitors and attendees) were not as interested in traveling to see a show. And, the truth is, there was way too much partying, a.k.a. “T&E,” for you accountants out there. On the other hand, the consumer electronics show is bigger than ever. Consumer-tech is sexy. People are interested, and the show is thriving. BR: What do you see as the most significant changes coming in the next 5-10 years? DL: One of the problems, until the last recession, is that the trade show industry was basically recession-proof. The industry really hadn’t changed forever, and, the bottom line is, they were lazy. It seemed as though no one in the business knew how to handle the new world. I see people like the Gartner Group doing interesting things that I believe will be trends in the future. They really have made a mantra of “small and focused is beautiful.” They accommodate the buyers first. As simple as it sounds, that is new for the industry. They are building their shows from the buyer’s perspective rather than just throw them in the middle of the show floor with a bunch of booths. As I look back at it now, it seems in the old days we went out of our way to not help buyers. And, why not? Our focus was on our customers – the exhibitors. As if that wasn’t bad enough, in survey after survey, buy-

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Today, trade shows should take on the role of being the centerpiece of a year-round campaign. Target, target, target.

truly focus their efforts. However, I don’t think any one tool will get the job done in today’s fiercely competitive market. A trade show can no longer be a three-day event. Today, trade shows should take on the role of being the centerpiece of a yearround campaign. Target, target, target. You can certainly target the 20 buyers that showed up, but with pre-show and post-show direct marketing campaigns, now you can get to the 80 that didn’t make it to the show, too. That is exciting!

A few examples from Larkin:

ers would tell us they wanted to see new exhibitors with new ideas. So what did we do? We buried them in the back at the show under the pretense that the older exhibitors had seniority with premium positions. I completely understand it, yet it seems kind of crazy as I look back on it. Going forward, show producers need to do a better job of matching buyers, exhibitors and shows. For example, when a buyer visits an exhibitor’s booth, they swipe your badge. When the buyer gets home, they are typically overwhelmed with all the stuff they saw and carted home. You know the drill. The bag of stuff sits in the corner of your office for months until you finally decide to file it, or, more commonly, toss it. You can hardly remember why you grabbed what you grabbed. At tsnn.com, we helped show organizers reverse the norm. We developed an application to send the buyers a list of the booths they visited instead of just sending the exhibitors a list of who visited them. From there, we directed the buyers to a Web page where they could check off the buyers they really wanted to talk to after the frenzy of the show. BR: We know you’re not an exhibitor, but you have worked around enough of them in your life, and we need you to think like one for a few moments. Talk a little about the importance of pre-show marketing. What should exhibitors do, or not do, to drive traffic to their booths pre-show and to maximize the value of leads post-show? DL: If you are an exhibitor, pre-show marketing is crucial to maximize the ROI from a show. Since my interest lies in the Internet, let me start there. The Internet allows for greater matching and database management to enable show attendees to

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• Tarsus has a great program with ebay to use their platform to keep business going after the show. • My friend Patrick Buchen, the general manager at BELO Expo, recalled a company doing a direct mail campaign that sent prospective attendees clues in advance of a show. The clues could only be found at various places on the show floor, and on the company’s Web site. If you solved the mystery, you were entered to win a BMW sports car. This not only raised attendance to the company’s booth, but also drove traffic to their Web site. Brilliant! Pardon the pun. • Heidi Genoist from Trade Show Week Magazine recalled a cooking theme that was done at HSMAI. One of the destinations got all of its venues together and had each one come up with some sort of cooking-related theme or tag line with a tie-in to specific food. They combined them all into a recipe they sent out. If you went to each booth that was participating, you could get all the ingredients for the recipe. That was pretty cool. • Lauren Barkan from Advanstar said one of the coolest promos she ever saw was a long stick with a dog made out of foam on the end. Everyone wanted one, and people were walking around the show looking like they were walking their dogs. At another show, we saw adults clambering for these little, custom wee-puls (cotton balls with eyes, feet and a tag message). Sometimes, the strangest promotional products can catch on like wildfire, causing attendees to take these items back home, put them in their office, show them to friends and essentially remember the exhibitor forever. These are just a few ideas from some of my associates. The possibilities are endless. I think the point is this: businesses today have to do fully integrated marketing campaigns in order to be successful. Trade shows can be a powerful part of www.brilliantpublishing.com


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that overall campaign. However, pre-show marketing and post-show follow up using unique, dimensional components are critical. BR: The promotional merchandise industry does more than $16 billion dollars in annual gross revenue. A good chunk of that is done in and around the trade show industry. What was once considered “trinkets and trash” is now an enormously powerful industry. How important do you think promotional merchandise, and more importantly good strategic use of that product, is in the trade show world? DL: Actually, I see a lot less stuff at the shows these days. Don’t misunderstand; I think that’s a good thing. It means exhibitors are putting more thought into well designed promotions and using promotional merchandise the “right” way instead of just giving away “stuff.” I used to attend shows where exhibitors gave away T-shirts and drew a huge crowd doing it. But, where was the value? Where was the ROI? Where was the measurement?

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Again, I think the good companies in the promotional product industry are working with their clients to develop results-oriented integrated marketing campaigns. This would include something that’s sent out in advance, needs to be processed at the show, and has a follow-up component after the show. Another critical factor when using promotional items at a show: training your booth personnel. You can’t just take field reps, shove them in a booth and tell them to go. If the sales people working the booth don’t clearly understand the full breadth of the campaign, you are doomed to fail. If the people staffing your booth treat your promotional items like trinkets and trash, that’s how your investment in these marketing tools will be perceived. In fact, I’ve seen many instances over the years where the people working the booth just don’t want to be “hassled” with taking the remaining materials home, so they just give it out by the handful. If you saw any other company asset treated this way it would be grounds www.brilliantpublishing.com


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for termination. Think about that. At one point, I had developed calendar software for the promotional product industry, and I actually exhibited in the shows where all the promotional products are shown. I’ll never forget the first time we did the show in New York. We had a spectacular show. All of the other vendors came over because they were jealous of our crowds. Their problem was that they were all selling the same stuff – water bottles, pens, mugs, etc. You see, the psychology in the promotional product industry is the problem. They need to stop thinking like toy salespeople and start thinking like strategic marketers. Everyone needs to remember that a flashlight company introducing a new flashlight has nothing to do with Pfizer. The successful promotional products sales partner will focus on what his or her clients are trying to achieve in their business goals. The product expert then will provide solutions to those clients’ objectives, not just try to sell the latest flashlight because it’s new and cool. The bottom line, everyone involved in the value chain has to work harder at making the integrated campaign – the show, the promo merchandise, the distribution strategy, the online presence, etc. – more valuable to their target audience. BR: Again, you’ve been around a lot of exhibitors in your life. How do the most successful exhibiting companies measure their ROI? DL: I know there are actual measurements available by professional organizations. The truth is, I’m not aware that anyone actually does it. The Microsoft’s and Pfizer’s of the world make it their business to figure out the value of shows. In small companies, the problem is no one manages it full time. In fact, even I’m guilty. When we would do shows as an exhibitor, I can remember having these bursts of activity a week before the show. Everyone on his or her knees putting packages together. Until you have someone who takes all the leads and really manages them, you realistically cannot measure your ROI from a show or anything else for that matter. For new companies, trade shows remain the best possible venue to get their message out. Bill Bellisimo of Crunch Time provides software that tracks food inventory for

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restaurants and cruise ships. In a recent conversation, I noted he did many trade shows last year and asked about next. His response was: “I hope none. Doing trade shows [stinks].” I asked him where he got most of his new business last year. His answer: “The shows.” In fact, he had a Russian guy walk into his booth at one show and signed up 500 new restaurants in Russia. The moral to the story? Shows are good, but with Bill’s Internet presence and integrated marketing approach, he walks away a winner. BR: What’s the best show you’ve ever been to? DL: I’d like to say the best shows are the ones where you have the least headaches. The interesting thing is exhibitors and buyers see a successful trade show from very different perspectives. All parties need to remember that when coordinating their plans. If you want me to be serious, I’d say Premier Vizion, the leading global show for textiles is the best I’ve seen. It is in Europe, and, let me tell you, the Europeans know how to put on a trade show. They are not so obsessed with every last nickel being tied to ROI. Their shows are built around buyer comfort. The food is genuinely good. The atmosphere is buyer-focused. Think about it, at Premier Vizion, their client base is made up of the fussiest people in the world: European fashion designers. I can tell you for sure that if those buyers weren’t wowed by the show, they just flat out wouldn’t go. In the U.S., I think it has to be the Consumer Electronics Show. They have done the best job of anyone. It is a place you can go to learn the industry. It is well concentrated, and the sections are well thought out. That can be tough for big shows. They have done a good job managing their growth and making sure people have a good time. In some ways you are a captive to your industry, and some industries just aren’t sexy. You want to go to shows to learn and be inspired. BR: What’s the best venue you’ve ever been to? DL: One thing is for sure, The U.S. doesn’t have

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a shortage of venues. One does not particularly stick out for me, but, I have to say, Las Vegas is the best. They want their buyers to have fun. I have found that shows typically are a creature of the city in which they’re held. Anyway, Las Vegas definitely is the 600-lbs. gorilla for trade shows. I mean, every cab driver in the entire town knows the schedule of shows. It sure isn’t that way in New York. BR: Any final thoughts or advice for our readers? DL: It is all about execution and attention to detail. Recently, there was a great article in The New Yorker about treating cystic fibrosis in children. The question was posed: “What is the difference between the average and the excellent hospitals?” In the average hospitals, the parents thought the doctors were doing a great job. They cared, and they did their jobs well. However, in the excellent hospitals, the difference was the attention to details. They asked more probing questions. They went from 99% to 99.99% every day. Excellence matters. Whether you are in the medical field or in any other industry, a commitment to excellence is the difference in those who survive and those who thrive. • www.brilliantpublishing.com


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W

ith the inevitability of time, the calendar again has come full circle: trade show season has begun! Dates get circled in red, and trade show divisions everywhere are hopeful that this time next year, when results are measured, they will not come up short. Each time, someone also promises to do better next year and find that elusive recipe for trade show success. With that thought in mind, the following is an easy recipe designed to mix a little promotional product during each step of your trade show process. Step One: Don’t Forget Key Ingredients With more than 10,000 trade shows held in the United States annually, picking the one that will net you the greatest ROI can be challenging. Various directories are available and the Trade Show News Network, www.tsnn.com, offers a significant amount of show data. Checking with your industry groups also can provide quality show and convention information. A recent article from American Express spotlighted several tips on choosing the right shows:

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• Do not choose by the “numbers” – Big crowds of people who do not fit your customer profile will not help your ROI. Show managers should be able to provide you with historical data on past attendees. • Ask your customers for help – Check with customers and see which shows they attend since your potential prospects probably attend the same shows. • Check it out in advance – While it is time-consuming, the best way to evaluate a show is as an attendee. Is the show active and exciting? Are your potential customers walking the show

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Experienced exhibitors generally expect that a show’s total cost will be roughly four times the amount spent on space rental. Because space rental represents approximately 25% of show cost, it is important to sign up early, particularly for popular shows. This will help increase the available booth location choices so that you secure a prime location and not one in the exhibitor’s no-man’s land.

floor? Does your product/service fit the show mix? • Evaluate it carefully – Is it big enough, but not so large that your company will be lost? Is it in the right geographic location to attract your customers? Does the schedule fit your schedule? Are the promoters reliable? Exhibiting at the right shows will give your organization a unique sales opportunity that can also help generate new leads, find suppliers, check the competition, do some networking and get publicity. Now that you have chosen the right shows for your organization, it is time to ensure you do not forget any key ingredients for success. As with most business endeavors, the first step is creating a workable budget. When setting a show budget, keep in mind that, according to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, it costs 62% less to close a lead generated from a trade show than one originated in the field. Therefore, while the budget will help keep costs from spiraling out of control and deflating your ROI, it is important not to be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

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Selecting The Best Booth Location, by Cathleen Curchin of Laarhoven Design, offers the following suggestions for this most important task: 1. Traffic patterns. Study how traffic might move through the exhibit hall and select your location accordingly. Note on the floor plan where high traffic volumes are, e.g. near entrances or exits, restrooms, break-out rooms and food areas. Also, do not forget potential traffic flow problem areas such as columns, empty booth spaces and loading docks. 2. Next to competition? Some exhibitors debate whether or not to put their booth space near or next to their competition at a trade show. One suggestion: Use a close location to your advantage. This is your chance to show what your product has over the competition. Your product may be less expensive, more reliable, require less production time, etc. 3. High identity. If you have an exhibit with hanging signs, bridges or tall canopies, choose a space without overhead impediments that might block your visibility. Also, make sure you abide by show regulations, as it may vary from hall to hall. Do not forget to get any height variance in writing from show management. www.brilliantpublishing.com


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An effective exhibitor must blend all of the company’s ideas into a cohesive marketing plan that delivers a clear, focused and easily understood message. Once the budget is set and the best available booth selected, the real planning begins. One key element to a successful trade show is to define the project, ensuring that everyone understands project goals as well as potential problems. Once the desired outcomes have been determined, it is time to make a list and assign the project tasks involved with a timeline for their completion. Task responsibilities should be specific with regular check-ups to determine if all assignments are being completed in a timely manner. This process should be started early, at least three months before show time. Simultaneously, you need to conduct your first consult with a promotional products professional to develop a plan to enhance and make the trade show experience memorable for both potential booth visitors and your staff. Because they help reinforce your company message, promotional products are an important aspect of trade show success. However, before any promotion can be successful, your company’s message must be focused. Because every department in the company probably will have an idea about what the message should be and how an exhibit should look, a brainstorming session that lead to two or three key ideas is in order. By beginning this process early, the odds of having an ineffective hodgepodge of messages, confusing your audience and limiting your trade show ROI, is greatly reduced. It is important to note that attendees will remember, at most, only one or two messages from your exhibit. An effective exhibitor must blend all of the company’s ideas into a cohesive marketing plan that delivers a clear, focused and easily understood message. Answering the following questions may help to

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Make your name and number always handy! Over 83% of businesses purchase products and services from the advertisers who supplied them with a calendar

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With the message decided and upper management signed on to the idea, you now can begin developing the advanced marketing plan that will help assure visitors at the booth.

determine the effectiveness of your show message: 1. Why do attendees visit the show and what are their expectations? 2. Why does our company want to exhibit at this show? Are we introducing a new corporate image, a new product, or trying to capture qualified sales leads? 3. What do we want prospects to see and do when they enter our booth? 5. What do we want the audience to remember about our company? 6. What results do we want from the show and what information do we need to collect for timely, accurate post-show reports and follow-up? With the message decided and upper management signed on to the idea, you now can begin developing the advanced marketing plan that will help assure visitors at the booth.

Step Two: Stir In Customer Anticipation If you want a crowd of qualified prospects at the booth, advance public relations must be stirred into the mix. Since CEIR estimates that as many as three-quarters of show attendees know what exhibits they want to see before they get to a show, strong pre-show promotion is an essential ingredient for success. The following are some suggested methods to assure that show attendees, who are ready, willing and able to buy, seek out your booth: • At least three months before the show, push to have at least one feature article run in a major industry publication. Send reprints of the article to your entire customer and prospect list with a letter indicating that this technology/product will be

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exhibited at your booth. If available, consider including free show guest passes personalized with your company name and booth number or custom invitations to an après show reception, seminar, party, etc. Include the information of a promotional product CD business card that includes show graphics, music, etc., and give these contacts a taste of what to expect. Nothing whets interest like a good teaser. • Six weeks before the show start calling your top customers and prospects to set up meetings so that you are on their schedule. Do not forget to confirm those meetings again prior to the show. • Lists of a show’s pre-registered attendees often are available and provide another source for potential prospects. When addressing mailings to this group, use promotional products to make your company mailer stand out from the others this group will inevitably receive. For example, include a single flip-flop shoe with a notice that the mate is available at your show booth or even a watchband sans watch that follows the same premise. Your promotional products consultant should be able to provide some innovative, twopart products. Whatever you choose to mail, make it original with promotional products and make sure it prominently includes your company name and booth number. • As show time approaches, go back to the media. Issue press releases to trade publications and local newspapers that will be covering the show. Make sure your release highlights something newsworthy about your exhibit to assure its publication and do not neglect to prepare a press kit for the show. Make your company memorable by including an unusual, exhibit-related promotional product in your kit. Again, your promotional products consultant should be able to suggest a myriad of options. • Approach official show hotels with the possibility of distributing a newsletter or flier under guests’ doors between midnight and 6 AM on the day the show opens. Whether arranged directly with hotels or through show management, hotel keycards imprinted with your logo or sales slogan and booth location are another interesting hotel promotional tie-in. Every time an attendee enters or exits the room, your information makes an impression. Some hotels also offer in-room video service, allowing your company the opportunity, for a set price, to showcase a short video presentation highlighting your product/service (three minutes is considered an ideal run time). Do not forget to add a tagline with your booth number to the www.brilliantpublishing.com


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video so that attendees can stop by and get the rest of your story. Because permission from hotels and/or show management is often required for these promotions, remember to add time to your schedule for approvals. • In most cases, it is wise to limit the amount of advertising in publications distributed at the show because those ads often are lost in the paper blizzard that rains down on show attendees. However, many show sponsors now offer free links from the show sponsor’s home page to the exhibitors’ Web sites. Be sure to take advantage of this promotional opportunity by posting a photo of your exhibit and/or graphics theme on the home page and, if applicable, consider designing a computer demo to introduce your product to show attendees. • Finally, whatever advance marketing approach you select, make sure to follow these points: • Know your audience – Ensure your audience cares about your bright ideas and that they will relate positively to them. • Focus your message – Humans only retain 50% of what they hear and 90% of that is forgotten in one minute or less, so focus the message. • Set specific objectives – Make sure everyone understands the show goals and all marketing efforts are geared to the realization of those goals. • Create an experience – Use presentations, promotions and multimedia to interact with and create an experience your audience will remember long after the show.

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Step Three: Pre-Show Recipe Review The pre-show meetings are essential parts of trade show success since they provide an opportunity for the booth staff to meet and review strategies and tactics. At these meetings, promotional products can help remove the stigma of just another meeting and make mandatory attendance less onerous. Serve beverages in stainless steel travel mugs emblazoned with the company logo, a good take along to the show. Attach buttons, light-up pins or other baubles to handouts. Let your imagination run wild with a creative promotional products consultant and connect these items to your booth or company theme. Consider working the theme into apparel so staff at the show can wear your message as well. High quality promotional wearables, such as shirts, jackets, blazers and hats, along with a variety of other items are available in varied styles and price points to fit most themes and budgets. Because the pre-show meetings are an important part of show success, Dave Heyliger of Rocky Mountain Multimedia Inc. offered the following tips in his recent article, Trade Show Rehearsal: • Involve management in the meeting. • Have a formal meeting structure. • Use visual aids. • Have high expectations. • Include a booth tour or review. • Spice up the presentation with humor (Light up buttons). • Serve light refreshments, but skip the alcohol (Travel mugs). Most important of all, remember that overall presentation and unique promotional products can make these meetings memorable, exciting and upbeat, setting the stage for an enthusiastic staff and a successful show.

Step Four: Cook Up A Winner With excellent planning, the physical booth set up should proceed smoothly. If your staff is responsible for set up, consider providing special T-shirts or other incentives that bring a bit of humor to a generally thankless job. Also, to ensure that you maintain the established feelings of success and avoid last-minute hassles during booth setup, consider a booth field kit. Depending on the size and complexity of your exhibit, it may be a full crate complete with tools and spare parts or a just a lint brush and roll of tape. Think about what you would kick yourself for not bringing and stock your www.brilliantpublishing.com


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kit accordingly. That way, you will be prepared for most booth set up emergencies and avoid the frustration and expense of purchasing booth set up or maintenance items on the show floor. When designing and setting up a booth, keep these construction tips in mind: Use lighting – Some industry research indicates that lighting can increase awareness of your exhibit by 30% to 50%. • Bold colors attract – Avoid neutral colors that make your exhibit blend in to the background. • Use graphics sparingly – Remember this is an exhibit to get the attendees’ attention; it is not a test to see how much information can fit in one booth. • Place graphics above the sightline – If they are lower than 36 inches on a back wall, graphics will not be seen when people are standing in front of them. • Avoid draped tables – They tend to look cheap and fail to give an exhibit the “finished’” look that can be achieved with a manufactured modular system. • Size matters – Make sure that, unless you use large-scale props as a draw, everything fits the booth otherwise access becomes difficult, and you risk presenting a hodgepodge rather than a custom booth appearance. • Change positions – Plan your booth layout so that your product demonstrations are located away from the clogged aisles to allow serious customers the opportunity to view them uninterrupted. • Raise it – If the show regulations permit, consider raising the floor of your exhibit a couple of inches and covering it with brightly colored carpet to set your exhibit apart from others. • Do not spread it – Placing literature, product samples and giveaways on a table for attendees to “grab-and-go” defeat your purpose at a show, which is to have the staff interact with visitors. • Names count – Display the product or company name most recognized by attendees. If you build it and they do not know who you are, it is doubtful they will come. Once the booth is set up, plan a walk-through with the booth staff to familiarize those who will be working the show with the layout flow, operation of any equipment and location of any literature. After the walk-through, consider a group lunch or dinner where staffers can relax and discuss final details before show day.

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Step Five: Presentation Counts It is show time! Now, it is time to make all that work pay off by remembering that the difference between success and failure usually is in the presentation. This is the time for show visitors to see, feel, smell, hear or taste your product. If the product is tactile, have samples that potential buyers can touch. If it is a new software package, create an exhibit area that has multiple computer terminals available for attendees to try the package. If you have an enclosed theater presentation, consider an electronic “peephole,” a small monitor that transmits an inside view of the theater via video camera. This will permit staffers to monitor the presentation without opening the entrance doors. Every good presentation requires an adequate staff. No matter what your goal, you need at least one person to “spot” you when you leave the booth to take a break or check out the competition. Experienced trade show exhibiters plan to have two staffers for every 100 square feet of exhibit space. Because you have assembled and trained the best possible team, you should be assured of fielding a full-service, not self- service, booth. Your staff knows and understands the show’s goals and their role in reaching them. They are keenly aware of the show’s focus, and they are trained to “stay www.brilliantpublishing.com


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Every exhibit needs a little froth to get attendees foaming at the mouth. After the presentation, it is time for dessert, and, at trade shows, this generally means it is time to break out the gimmicks and giveaways.

on message.” They know presentation is important, so they are well groomed, friendly and knowledgeable. If you are launching a product, all members of the staff must be completely and utterly familiar with every aspect of the product. There is nothing more annoying to a potential buyer than having to wait until “the guy who knows everything about this product,” is available to discuss details. In many situations, this show-day snafu is the deal killer for an already overburdened buyer. Finally, if you are offering a show special, your booth and staff should flaunt it. Serious shoppers always look for a bargain. If you are offering one, guarantee that show attendees know about it and that every staff member can explain all of the details. Remember, if you discount it, more often then not they will come, even if it is just out of curiosity.

Step Six: Enjoy the Dessert Every exhibit needs a little froth to get attendees foaming at the mouth. After the presentation, it is time for dessert, and, at trade shows, this generally means it is time to break out the gimmicks and giveaways. All too often, these “dessert” items receive the least amount of thought, and they can leave your potential customer with a bad taste for your company. As such, any gimmick or giveaways that you employ must fit your company’s image and the sensibilities of your clients. This is one area where a savvy professional promotional products consultant can be so essential.

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Unless you are using giveaways to increase your name awareness, you should make qualification for giveaways selective and keep them out of sight. You can increase this selective process by using a lead card type of entry form. However, it is important to remember that the more hoops an attendee has to jump through to get a giveaway, the more memorable and unique it becomes. Even if the giveaway is available to all visitors, it should be theme-related and unique in someway to increase your company’s exposure and ensure a lasting impression. After all, the expense of forgettable copycat giveaways that end up in hotel wastebaskets hurts your trade show ROI. In addition, if you want potential clients to regard your company as an innovative leader in its field, it makes sense to consult a promotional products professional to guarantee that your giveaways always project that image. Often, the most expensive giveaway is all that trade show literature. Corporate literature is an important component in trade show marketing, but it needs to be used wisely to avoid needless waste. Otherwise, that four-color brochure your staff spent a month creating ends up as filler in trash bins. Many companies avoid the headaches and costs of shipping or hauling around heavy boxes of brochures by gathering contact information from interested attendees and sending the literature after the show. Smart companies that distribute literature are using it as a disengaging tool after they have qualified the prospect, rather than distributing it to every random passerby. Often, these are one- or twocolor pieces that offer more information or brochures for those attendees making a second, post-show contact. Some innovative companies have started using a shirt pocket-sized CD-ROM filled with their company’s information as a show handout since these tend to catch the plane home with attendees and not linger in hotel rooms waiting for housekeeping.

Step Seven: Bring Them Back for Seconds The lights have been dimmed, and the show is over. Yet, for those companies that want to maximize their trade show ROI, the work is just beginning because the true measure of success is decided

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before and after the main event. In sports, it is in the hours of practice before the game and the videotape review after the final whistle. In trade shows, it is the planning before and the follow-up after the show. If your trade show ROI is not up to par, consider this: According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 80% of show leads do not receive any follow-up. Incredibly, as much as 80% of the people you worked so hard to get to your booth never hear from you again! Consider a few of these tips for keeping show contacts part of your overall recipe for trade show success: Make follow-up job No. 1 – When you return from a trade show, do your lead follow-up before everything else, including catching up on what you missed while you were out of the office. Keep your promises – Do not forget or forgo any promises that you made in the booth. Write them down in a “trade show notebook” that also contains other relevant show observations. Keep enough brochures and product information sheets on hand so that you can promptly send out any requested information. Qualify leads at the show – Rank any leads by level of importance and interest as you speak with them at the show. After the show, telephone your hottest ranked prospects within a week so they do not become cold. Send a prompt follow-up mailing to all of the other leads. KISS them Hello – Remember the old K-I-S-S adage, even something as simple as a thank-you note can be used for follow-up, especially if it is sent immediately after the show. However, to make that KISS last longer, consider including a promotional product in your follow-up mailing that will help the prospect recall your company and its trade show exhibit theme. This also may increase the likelihood that they say hello or return your voice mail message. Unless you want to kiss away all of the time, money and effort put into a trade show, do not allow you or your staff to forget about follow-up. After all, when you follow the right recipe to the letter, you usually end up with a meal that no one can stop talking about. And, your recipe for trade show success is no exception. • www.brilliantpublishing.com


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Measure the R.O.I.

The right mix of creative and promotional products makes it easy By: Cliff Quicksell, MAS President & CEO, CQ Education, Training & Consulting

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I

It is trade show season, and you decided that your

company needs some personalized promotional merchandise for giveaways. So, what’s new, cute or the hot novelty this year? “Well there’s this,” says your promotional products

sales counselor.

What if it is a product that you already have tried or,

even worse, something the competition used last year? Does this dilemma sound familiar? First, if your promotional products sales professional is doing his or her job, that person should be asking some very direct questions prior to making a presentation of product, packaging and methods of distribution. With more than 300,000 items to choose from, simply selecting the right “thing” on your own would be nothing more than a crapshoot. For a truly personalized piece, the person in charge of your trade show events should be prepared to answers questions such as:

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• What is the purpose of this show? • What is your objective by attending? • What do you hope to accomplish with the promotional products you select? • Have you ever evaluated your return on investment (ROI) from your shows? • How many people will be attending the trade show? • Are they all your buyers or clients? Every year, more and more products are introduced into the market, and after a while, it all tends to look the same. This year, what if you instituted a program that helped you generate and measure the true ROI on your trade show investment? During my tenure as a promotional products consultant, I was absolutely amazed by how ineffective most marketing managers were at effectively managing the results of their trade shows. Did you know that, if done correctly, promotional products easily can be used as a vehicle to measure your success or failure at a trade show? Several years ago while attending an apparel show, I stood and watched two attractive women as they stood in a trade show booth stuffing shirts into bags and handing them out to the long line of ogling men. I stood there in amazement because their sales pitch was nothing more than a smile and “See ya” as people came and left their booth. Not one recipient heard a sales pitch; they never stepped foot into the booth. They did not even ask

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for a business card in exchange for the shirt sample. Still, when their shirt stock was depleted, I heard one of the young women say to the other: “Wow, that was a great show! We gave out over 1,000 T-shirts.” Did I miss something? Perhaps, a few more questions might help. • What was the purpose of the shirt? • Was the recipient the key buyer/decision maker? • Do they even sell shirts? • Were they an embroiderer or screenprinter? • Who were their clients? • What was their sales volume? • What products have they used in the past? • Did they know anything about the quality difference? Availability? Cost? • Were the recipients simply “shopping” for their kids or grandkids? Don’t laugh. I had a gentleman tell me this at a show once: “I’m shopping for my grandkids. I don’t sell this stuff – my son does. Can I get another free one?” Each year, companies spend thousands of dollars on promotional items to use as giveaways at a trade show, but to what end? Does your promotional products consultant ask thorough questions? Most do not, so it is incumbent that you www.brilliantpublishing.com


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find the right distributor who knows what questions to ask in order to build the very best program to maximize the success of your show. Promotional products programs developed for trade shows that have a form of measurement built in have a far greater chance of tracking ROI then just mindlessly handing out products. Here are some excellent qualifying questions that will help you determine a baseline from which to start: • Does the show management have an overall theme? • Do you have a theme that coincides with the overall show theme? • What are your specific objectives for doing the show? • Just need to be there because the competition is there? • Launching a new product? • Increase sales? • Develop leads?

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• Who is “your” target audience specifically? • What is the demographic profile of your ideal client? • How many people within your target audience will be there? Case in point, not everyone who attends a trade show is your client. Trade show statistics state that roughly 12% of show attendees are your potential buyer, and this is true for various reasons: • Do they want what you offer? • Do they need your products or services? • Can they use what you offer? • Can they afford and pay for your products or services? Review the following scenario: Assume your company sells electronic scissor lifts to the construction trade, and you are attending a show and require a giveaway. You believe that you have been asked all of the right questions, and, with that, show management has informed you that the projected attendance for the trade show will be approximately 2,000 buyers. That said, you budget $2,000 for trade show promotional merchandise to hand out, which means you need a product that costs around $1 per item. Do you honestly think that you will attract your key buyers with a $1 item? To get the most bang for that buck, you must define the purpose of the gift you plan on handing out. Your promotional products professional might search for the new, hot thing, but is it the correct product to gain the results that you are looking for? Several years ago, a client came to me and wanted $700 dollars worth of $0.39 pens. The purpose was to flood the show and give pens to everyone who attended. After discussing show particulars and the challenges that the company faced in the past, we discovered a pattern. In the past, the company had given away large amounts of product and received little-to-no response. They noticed that people often came by the booth to pick up the show freebie. They were not able to qualify the individual, but instead spent the majority of the time handing out their giveaway items and not focusing on the real task at hand, which was getting information about potential clients. We agreed to try a different approach the next year. We decided that if they felt that something must be given out to everyone, i.e. www.brilliantpublishing.com


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Sample process:

Remember that you actually can determine the cost per recipient and/or cost per response met if you know your market and track the success.

satisfy the “scoopers,” then make it inexpensive. We opted for imprinted wrapped mints, and the client ordered 3,000 pieces. In addition, the client selected leather business card cases that only were given as a token of appreciation to someone who spent the time to hear the sales pitch. The cases also were gift wrapped to give them a more personal appeal. If anyone else requested one, the salespeople invited that person to hear the pitch. After this show, the client determined that they managed to spend only 75% of their budget, but noted that the company experienced a 60% greater success rate, reporting their follow-up was more succinct and effective. Additionally, with less time devoted to giveaways and more to streamlined sales pitches, they were able to cut their trade show staff. Now, will a person who is buying a $20,000 scissor lift need, want or care about a $1 giveaway item? Who knows? However, we can review another scenario using the 12% statistic. For example, assume that there will be 2,000 buyers attending a trade show. If 12% of those buyers, or 240 “real” buyers, want, need, can afford and have the ability to pay for that scissor lift, can you get the majority of those buyers to come and visit your booth? Can you make it more cost effective? If you factor 240 into your original $2,000 budget (12% of those 2,000 attendees) that gives you roughly $8.33 per recipient to work with. You can do more with that budget than you can with a dollar. That $8.33 can be used for pre-show invitations, a more impressive gift at the show and a follow-up mailer. By remaining consistent and theme driven, you can evaluate set criteria and measure results.

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• Send out 240 pieces/invitations. • At the show, 120 buyers visit/set appointments as a result of the invitation, a 50% response rate. • Collect leads and proceed with follow-up. • Of the 120 buyers, 60, or 25% of the 240 actual buying audience, purchase your products. • If you divide your initial $2,000 by 60 actual purchases, the cost to reach, or cost per objectives met, and sell each buyer was $33.33 each. In this case, the average cost of your scissor-lift product is $20,000. Multiply that by 60 and your company just reached upwards of $1.2 million in sales with a minimal promotional investment. Would you spend $33.33 to gain a buyer for a $20,000 piece of equipment? To get a firm number on the total trade show costs and the true ROI, you need to include all of the associated trade costs, including drayage, booth rental, electric, shipping, meals, lodging, etc. Divide that number by the total number of purchasers, and there is the true ROI of your trade show experience. An Internet service provider attending the Las Vegas COMDEX show required a more involved program. They wanted to make a serious splash with the show attendees and were interested in getting their name on everything possible to create a mystique about the company. The company hired the famous comedy team Penn and Teller and created a mock auditorium on the show floor. Specific show attendees (their 12%) were invited to the ISP’s booth via a personalized laminated press pass that also featured custom lanyards. These were mailed to the recipients prior to the show with the specific date and time to stop by and see a 30-minute show. Each invited guest was instructed to be at the booth 20 minutes before show time, or they would lose their seat. The ISP used this time to make their presentation prior to the Penn and Teller show. Since this ISP also knew their target audience enjoyed Chinese food, they also had 5,000 chopsticks branded with their name and booth number and gave them to every Chinese restaurant in the area for free to use during the week of the show. In addition, thousands of taxi receipts were printed with the ISP’s name and booth information. These were also given free to all of the taxi companies to use during show week. The chopsticks www.brilliantpublishing.com


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and receipts attracted multiple prospects, while the Penn and Teller show posters, press passes and custom T-shirts were a tremendous draw to their booth. The client reported that almost 92% of the 500 invited guests visited the booth and, more importantly, were wearing their special press pass. The whole program created such a buzz and some envy among other show attendees. Many even came by to see if they could get in. Of course, several seats were left available for qualified walk-ups. Remember that you actually can determine the cost per recipient and/or cost per response met if you know your market and track the success. The measurement at the Penn and Teller ISP show was the fact that the attendee had to wear the press release. As a side note, the badge also received a special hole punch to indicate that the wearer had attended the ISP event. By not managing your show thoroughly, you risk costing your company money. Lack of adequate followup only compounds that loss. Take the 2,000 leads, or whatever amount that you receive, and collate, post, send out literature and other information. Provide follow-up to all of those people. Sometimes, it takes asking, “what does all of that cost?” Sadly, in most cases, most clients do not measure the extent of their trade show experience. Imagine if you could drive a more profitable and productive show. The next time that you set out to promote a trade show, find a promotional products consultant who asks poignant, relevant questions. Insist that your trade show manager track the overall cost per recipient and cost per objective met by building in a form of measurement that determines the real ROI from your trade show. Go beyond the giveaway, think outside the box and experience your best trade show ever. Cliff Quicksell Jr. has been involved in the promotional products and sportswear industries for the past 22 years. He has achieved the www.brilliantpublishing.com

Master Advertising Specialist professional designation and is actively involved in Promotional Products Association International. For more that 17 years, Quicksell has also been speaking, training and consulting associations and business groups on more effective ways to market themselves, their products and services. •

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I

Bill Nissim, 2004

f you search the term “branding” on the Internet, you’ll be inundated by a plethora of theories, assumptions, and case studies, which implicate the quintessential approach to this elusive topic. This mystification leads most organizations to relegate brand management to lower level functionaries and relies on tangibles, such as revenues and EBITDA, as a measure of market viability. The strategic use of branding surfaces when the organization experiences a turbulent period in time and applies

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brand principles as a life preserver. The fundamental problem with the application of branding lies in its strategic importance and execution throughout the organization. If top management views branding as a “marketing function,” their cursory involvement implicates a tactical view and permeation throughout the organization will not congeal. What arises is a PHANTOM BRAND – one that exists in the murky shadows and becomes a vague reminder of an organization’s true self. Conversely, an organization that embraces their

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Many specialists have defined branding over the years. Michael Dunn, CEO of Prophet Consulting, states, “…the brand acts as a sort of shorthand that consumers use to decide between competing products. In the broadest sense, the brand is a combination of a product or service’s public image.”

brand as the strategic cornerstone of the business and obtains cultural acceptance will emerge with a strong identity and market position. The intent of this article is to identify phantom brands and understand why they fall into disrepair. Published authors’ who have investigated various facets of this topic will be cited and their findings summarized. The by-product of this exercise will alert management to patterns and red flags that signify brand dilution. Branding Defined: Many specialists have defined branding over the years. Michael Dunn, CEO of Prophet Consulting, states, “…the brand acts as a sort of shorthand that consumers use to decide between competing products. In the broadest sense, the brand is a combination of a product or service’s public image.” Another branding expert of 31 years broke the concept down into 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (Al & Laura Ries, 2002) in which law number five deals with brand ownership. They assert that “if you want to build a brand, you must focus your branding efforts on establishing a word in the prospect’s mind - a word that nobody else owns.” Finally, David Aaker, noted expert on brand strategy states, “a company’s brand is the primary source of its competitive advantage and a valuable strategic asset (Building Strong Brands, 1996).” Now that branding has been defined, let’s examine common foibles of brand management. Common Branding Traps: David Aaker has identified four brand identity traps, which can lead to ineffective www.brilliantpublishing.com

and dysfunctional brand strategies. These “traps” include image, position, external perspective, and product-attribute fixation traps. Aaker contends that a brand image reflects the past and is passive in nature, whereas the brand identity is active and focuses on the future. Let’s briefly review the essence of each trap. 1. Brand Image Trap: The essence of this first trap is how customers perceive your brand image. If left un-checked, the brand image slowly becomes the brand identity. The problem here is that both the customer and the marketplace are defining your identity verses the company creating a more accurate portrayal of your future brand promise. 2. Brand Position Trap: A brand position utilizes the value proposition to actively communicate and demonstrate its brand advantage in the marketplace. The trap occurs when the focus is on product attributes rather than brand building activities (personality, associations, symbols, etc.). As a result, the brand lacks depth and significance and could be equated to a movie with a weak plot – dull and uneventful! 3. External Perspective Trap The common viewpoint of organizations is to maintain an external focus – how customers perceive the brand. Most organizations fail to internally communicate the vision and values of their brand. Test this concept yourself: Ask anyone within your organization what your brand stands for – if you get a blank stare or a numerical Brilliant Results | January

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companies make when launching new products (or brands) in the marketplace. The first common mistake is to spend big during the initial rollout. The reasoning is – if they don’t know you’re there, they won’t buy! According to Ries, new products (brands) take off slowly and advertising inherently lacks credibility. Successful organizations have built their brand solely by utilizing public relations (such as The Body Shop, Swatch, and Red Bull). The second mistake is using a research-driven name. The biggest brand name in online book sales is Amazon.Com, not “Bookfinder.com.” Why? History has demonstrated that consumers seek differentiated identities online and organizations such as pets.com and etoys.com (generic) have also failed. The third mistake is broad distribution. Whether the placement of products or advertising to launch a new name/product, Ries suggests you start small. When you narrow your focus and concentrate on one method (market, distribution point, etc.), your brand has a better chance of being recognized verses being lost amongst the giants in the same environment.

response (like sales goal), then you’ve got issues. How can your employees execute the brand promise to your customers if they lack passion, inspiration, and understanding? 4. Product-Attribute Fixation Trap The failure to distinguish between a product and a brand is the essence of a product-attribute trap. Most companies view product attributes as the basis for purchasing decisions and competitive strength in the marketplace. Although Nike produces professional quality running shoes (as does others), the identity-association of owning the product has greater meaning to the owner than the product itself. Ask someone what they drive? If they possess a sense of pride, they’ll quickly respond with the brand name – not horsepower or torque ratios! New Brand or Position: Al Ries recently discussed three mistakes

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Phantom Brands: Author Matt Haig suggests that “consumers make buying decisions based around the perception of the brand rather than the reality of the product (Brand Failures, 2003).” He goes on to say that the value extends beyond the physical assets of the organization and that perception is fragile at best. (His work exemplifies those entities that discarded the immutable laws of branding and suffered the inevitable consequences). Snapple: Beverages Quaker Oats Company bought Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1994 and decided to change the brand formula. They shifted its distribution and advertising campaign to reflect something that it wasn’t, and within three years, sold the floundering company for $300 million. The lesson learned? Quaker Oats didn’t understand the brand’s value, both in place and presentation, and diminished the value in the consumer’s mind. Planet Hollywood: Restaurant Most of us have “tried” Planet Hollywood and enjoyed the novelty of the experience. This organization was launched in 1991 with the premise of celebrity hype and movie memorabilia, with food being a sideline. By 1999, the company went bankrupt and its fortunes invested lost. What hapwww.brilliantpublishing.com


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pened? Since the “food” wasn’t the reason to visit Planet Hollywood, once you’ve seen the sights, there was no compelling reason to return. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe: International Chain The tag line for this product was “Burger with a grown-up taste” it was McDonald’s biggest flop. The value proposition for this organization is friendliness, cleanliness, consistency, and convenience. The product concept was well researched and the consensus was positive. Why did Arch Deluxe fail? McDonald’s ignored their values and offered a more affluent product that didn’t match their brand identity. Market research should be considered as input, but if it denies your brand, put little trust into it! Phantom brands arrive at our doorstep in many forms. For some, a serious lack of brand management allows the organization’s most valuable asset (the brand identity) to erode over time and become less valuable to their customers. For others, a deliberate act (Snapple) for profit’s sake quickly destroys the point of differentiation in the consumer’s minds. Phantom brands become remnants of an organization’s true value/inspiration and quickly drive the organization into disrepair. Why does this occur? In my experience, the problem lies squarely with sen-

ior management and their incomprehension of the brand concept. The spotlight shines on revenues and relationships, which is the fuel of business, but the engine remains the brand. As a result, they miss the warning signals and unconsciously make decisions that ultimately diminish the organization’s value. Since the CEO is typically the chief marketing officer, it is his or her responsibility to care and nurture their brand identity. Without such awareness, the dark shadows of mediocrity slowly engulf the brand and tarnish its very soul. Summary: This discussion briefly covers what brands are, traps that organizations fall into, and common mistakes made when launching or re-branding products or services. Several companies were identified in addition to brand dilution errors that each made. In most cases, brand management takes a back seat to top-line revenue and financial metrics. In the three examples provided above, management ignored the basics of branding and paid an exorbitant price for doing so. • Bill Nissim consults with nonprofit organizations on brand management issues. His website contains reference materials, links, and helpful articles on the many facets of branding at www.ibranz.com.


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By Randall P. Whatley, President, Cypress Media Group

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Offline promotion is marketing, advertising, or public relations exposure that does not occur on the Internet. This includes traditional advertising like TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail, and billboards, but it can also include non-traditional advertising methods and public relations. As Internet household penetration continues to rise and the Internet becomes more integrated into daily work and home life, your Web site can provide information, reinforce traditional advertising messages, and increase your company’s sales.

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The following are 10 simple ways to inexpensively promote your Web site offline: 1. Put your Web site address (URL) on all of your printed material. Your Web site address is now as important as your phone number or street address. Make sure to add your URL on all of the following: Business cards, letterhead, envelopes, mailing labels, signage, vehicles, product packaging, brochures, invoices, statements, advertising, press releases, shopping bags, t-shirts, caps, bumper stickers, and pens. If your company’s name is printed on it, make sure the Web site address is also there. 2. Drive traffic to your Web site by including your Web address prominently in every piece of broadcast advertising. Even a radio ad has room for a line that says, “Visit our Web site at www dot blah blah blah.” 3. Publicize the existence of your Web site and its content to the media. A well written, “press announcement” could generate a mention of your company in the media, or mention your products and services. 4. Submit articles for publication in newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. You are an expert in your field. Share your knowledge; just be sure to include your email and Web site addresses in your bio. Consider starting a newsletter to publicize your products and services. 5. Think of each e-mail sent from your company as an advertising postcard. It’s one more reminder of your Web address. Create a “signature” line to include your name, title, company name, phone number and Web address in all e-mails that you or your staff sends. 6. Write letters to the editor of newspapers, magazines, and especially your trade publications. Comment on “news of the day” or suggest ideas for future articles. Include your Web address and e-mail address in every letter and in your bio. 7. Write your own news/feature stories for the same industry/trade publications mentioned above. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Contact editors individually and

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tell them your story idea. Highlight your e-mail and Web site in the author credits. 8. Promote yourself or your company as a media resource. Start locally and contact the producers of every radio and TV talk/news show in the area. They will welcome you as a guest expert, when your expertise is the subject of the day’s show. Make sure they know how to find you. As a talk show guest, you can mention your company’s Web address clearly and prominently in the interview. 9. Announce your new or updated Web site to every past and present customer or prospect. A Web site debut or revision is a perfect excuse to contact your customers and prospects. 10. Don’t forget to announce the debut of your Web site to family, friends, vendors, and suppliers. They know of your company already, but this is a perfect opportunity to ask them to forward your e-mail to their contacts so that they can learn more about your company. All of these relatively inexpensive promotions will increase your Web site traffic, raise the awareness of your company, and most likely increase your sales. Don’t wait. Implement these suggestions now! Randall P. Whatley is a 26-year media veteran and president of Cypress Media Group, Inc., www.cypressmedia.net, an Atlantabased advertising, public relations, and training firm. He has extensive experience advising government officials, political candidates, public officials, and corporate executives on media relations and presentation skills. His presentation skills have been honed as a lobbyist and political consultant on over 50 campaigns in four states. He has produced hundreds of TV and radio ads and taught a myriad of seminars ranging from Public Relations Writing to Media Relations. He can be reached by e-mail at randy@cypressmedia.net.

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Things We Love

Y

You can run but you can’t hide. Again this month Brilliant Results looked in all the nooks and crannies to find those innovative promotional products that shine so brightly they are bound to add the winning touch to a successful marketing campaign. So sit back, feel the love and let your creative juices burn hot enough to warm up the coldest winter day!

2 Sip in Style… Hot or cold these mugs will add a touch of class to your favorite beverage. BULLET LINE

Too Cool For School… This new MP3 Player Watch from Express Time Source is guaranteed to generate attention and of course, an instruction manual is included to insure your coolness! EXPRESS TIME SOURCE

1

A MOUSE WITH STYLE & A PAD WITH ADD..ITUDE… Every Executive that watches the bottom line will want these desk mates. TECH STYLE

3

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Things We Love

4

Need Some Trade Show Attention… This Jellyfish Yo Yo with its eerily undulating tentacles and rubbery tether that extends several feet for true ‘yo yo’ action is a show stopper. PROINNOVATIVE

5

Winter Isn’t the Only Season These breezy tops from Bella remind us that summer is just around the corner. BELLA

Now That You’re Thinking Summer . . . This latest version of the world’s most popular sandal is the Coco Zorrie, featuring an insole of genuine coconut fibers. This amazing surface allows air to circulate under the foot for cool comfort. NEET FEET

6

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Things We Love

7

On Time and In Style . . . For her it’s fashionably pink and sooo sleek. For him it’s time with a contemporary touch. SKAGEN

8 Go Fish... The Best way to mix business with pleasure DAIWA

9 When You Just Can’t Decide Don’t let decisions weigh you down, just spin the wheel on this executive paperweight and the answer will appear. PROMOBIZ

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Anti-Fatigue/ Anti-Microbial Embossed

MATS

First Impressions Happen Only Once Designed for ergonomic comfort mats are a great way to spread your message or identify your company name. Application / Recommendation: Medical facilites, dental offices, pharmacies, laboratories, workstations, service counters, cashiers and packaging areas

800-628-5463 Fax: 800-544-2806 e-mail: aminnich@crown-mats.com Website: www.crown-mats.com


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Things We Love

10

11

B

A. If you Don't Have a Fire To Keep You Warm . . . The Westmont raglan sleeve jacket with its full zip front, zippered pockets, “insidepockets-plus,� and open bottom with spring loaded cord locks will keep you cozy with a touch of panache. B. Upscale Camping... This Islander camp shirt will assure you show up in style.

C

C. Sometimes a Vest will do The Tahoe micropolar fleece zip vest will keep you warm and looking fancy. KING LOUIE

A

12

11 And the Winners Are Let everyone in your organization know who the outstanding performers are when you present them with this elegantly engraved crystal award. AITG

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A picture says a thousand words...frame it in style. AITG

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RFID Brave New W orld or Real W orld?

A

s I enter the club, a bartender I’ve never met begins to pour my favorite drink. When I reach the bar he hands me the drink without the exchange of a word, coin or plastic. Is this a line from some science fiction novel set in the distant future? No, at a certain bar in New Zealand this scene will be repeated any number of times this evening. Patrons of this establishment have opted for the implantation of an RFID chip under their skin. The chip, the size of a grain of rice, is encoded with drink preference, identification and credit information. As a patron enters the club, the chip is automatically read, and the information appears on a computer screen at the bar.

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For years, tens of thousands of tiny radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) have been implanted in animals, but the leap to humans, while anticipated by some, definitely is part of the “brave new world.” Mexico’s Attorney General, Rafael Macedo de la Concha, recently reported that he had a chip implanted in his arm for security reasons. He went on to say that 160 of his employees had been implanted with the rice grain-sized chips, manufactured by the VeriChip Corp. The chips and the scanning technologies that work with them are developed and manufactured in the United States. Although they are blocked for most human use in this country, that ruling could change overnight if the FDA approves the devices for health care and medical use. VeriChip’s representatives indicate that the final destinations of their chips are unknown because they are marketed through distributors, but the company suspects that at least 1,000 had been implanted in humans. While security uses for the chips, particularly for humans in government and military intelligence applications, are being tested, the potential use of the chips for identification of credit card users is currently under discussion with credit card companies. Presently, the application with the most potential for use in humans is in the health care field; however, if security concerns continue to increase, the potential identification application offered by RFID chips may become just as prominent. An RFID chip implanted in a human can be read easily by a scanner and then referenced back to a central medical and/or security database – think human EZ-Pass. Because implantation is relatively simple – often described as being similar to getting a shot – FDA approval could unleash a flurry of human applications. However, it is reasonable to believe that at least 10 or 15 years will pass before human implantation of RFID chips becomes common practice. In the meantime, other less invasive methods, such as RFID-based bracelets that could hold patient information, are being developed and introduced to the market.

The Real World While human applications of RFID technologies have a certain brave new world feel, the use of this technology in the real world supply chain was kick-started by Wal-Mart with live RFID trials earlier this year, marking the end of a 12-month process that changed how businesses think about RFID. Last year, Wal-Mart’s top 100 suppliers were given the goal of

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This spring, Wal-Mart announced plans to get 200 more suppliers into the RFID effort this summer and to keep the pressure on suppliers, tech companies and even rivals to make RFID a reality. delivering cases and pallets with RFID tags by January 2005. This spring, Wal-Mart announced plans to get 200 more suppliers into the RFID effort this summer and to keep the pressure on suppliers, tech companies and even rivals to make RFID a reality. Following Wal-Mart’s lead, the Department of Defense, International Paper, Target and Albertsons issued similar mandates. Because more accurate tracking could help combat a huge counterfeit problem (as much as 7% of prescription drugs are counterfeit), industry insiders predict that the pharmaceutical industry will move faster than others to adopt RFID.

What is RFID? RFID tags are un-powered microchips with antennas that wirelessly transmit information encoded on the tag. This is done over RF waves that are activated when placed in the transmission field of a reader. One variation of RFID tags, called Auto-ID tags, is encoded with electronic product codes, a standard which has been designed to track products in the supply chain. Each Auto-ID tag can hold up to 96 bits of information. While 96 bits of information sounds limited, consider this: 23 bits could tag every car in the world, 33 bits could tag every person and 54 bits could tag every grain of rice. These 96 bits of information are known as the Electronic Product Code (EPC), which can be viewed as an upgrade from the Universal Product Code (UPC) that has become the dominant product-tracking standard across all industries over the past of 15 years. The EPC’s 96 bits comprise a unique naming scheme for objects containing the following parts:

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• Header (8-bits) – Defines the number, type and length of all subsequent data. • EPC Manager (28-bits) – Identifies the entity (most often the manufacturer) responsible for tracking and maintaining the object class and serial number codes. • Object Class (24-bits) – Acts as the tracking mechanism for specific groups, e.g. SKU, lot number, etc. • Object Identification Number (36-bits) – Serves as the unique identification number of the item. At present, EPCglobal is scheduled to select the method that will be put to a ratification vote as EPCglobal’s Generation 2 Air Interface protocol. If the selected methodology is the proposed method that is based on an evolutionary enhanced version of the existing International Standard Organization (ISO) 18000-6 Standard, it is within the realm of possibility that EPCglobal’s Generation 2 Standard can be adopted as the ISO 18000-6c Standard as early as summer 2005. Ubiquity is especially important in the case of RFID tags. In order for RFID to fulfill its promise, tags must be as ubiquitous as commercial radio broadcasts While every tag contains an EPC, they differ in function. They can be active, battery-run tags that constantly emit RF signals, or passive, tags activated by electromagnetic waves of RFID readers. They also can be read-only tags with information that can never be changed or read-write tags that can constantly have information added to them. As such, an RFID tag’s degree of functionality determines its price.

How Does RFID Work? Regardless of which type of RFID tag is used, the operation basically is the same. Once transmitted signals from a reader antenna are received, passive and active RFID tags transmit hundreds of radio signals every second. A computer application provides a liaison between the reader and the host system, discerning duplicate information and relaying only the useful information to the host system. Even if a reader is receiving 500,000 EPC transmissions, only those EPCs that are unique will be sent to the host system, which then can, depending on the level of tagging, determine the form and function of received inventory.

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Why RFID? Despite much promise, RFID is still a leap of financial faith. Bar codes have been the primary means of identifying products for the past 25 years, and they have served their purpose well. However, bar codes have one big shortcoming: they are line-of-sight technology, meaning a scanner has to ‘see’ the bar code to read it. RFID, by contrast, does not require line of sight, its tags can be read as long as they are within range of a scanner. Bar codes also have other shortcomings, i.e., if a label is ripped, soiled or falls off, there is no way to scan the item. And, standard bar codes only identify the manufacturer and product, not the unique item. The bar code on one milk carton is the same as every other, making it impossible to identify which one might pass its expiration date first. RFID technology, which has existed since World War II, solves many of the problems associat-

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ed with bar codes, but its expense has limited its commercial applications. For example, Avery Dennison Corp., an office-products manufacturer, has been exploring RFID since 2000 and will spend more than $12 million this year on it. Still, the technology will not improve its supply-chain processes in the short term. At one point, this was true at the dawning application of bar codes as well, acknowledged one Avery Dennison spokesperson. Perhaps the single most important driver for the increased interest and development of the RFID industry is due to Wal-Mart and the Department of Defense. By their mandates to suppliers to use RFID technology, pallets and cartons of merchandise can be tracked throughout the supply chain. Ultimately, implementing RFID tracking into the supply chain should reduce labor costs while simultaneously improving productivity and efficiency, allowing businesses to cut costs in tough economic times. Another adoption driver is the expansion of consumer and regulatory demands that require companies to more accurately track product-handling information. As threats to security continue to loom, regulatory bodies are becoming increasingly stringent. In order to ensure the tightest security and highest standards, companies must know where products are at all times and where they have been throughout the supply chain. This allows for date and lot tracking and simplifies the process in the event of recalls. Further, declining chip and reader prices, along with simplification of connection and distribution, are making RFID economically feasible for companies of all sizes. From a business standpoint, the four principal drivers of RFID adoption are: • Lower Cost: According to the National Retail Security Survey, published by the University of Florida, approximately $5.8 billion worth of inventory was lost in 2001 due to administrative errors alone. RFID offers the advantage of reducing labor costs that comprise some 30% of supply chain cost as it limits the amount of error-prone human interaction that is required. With www.brilliantpublishing.com


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RFID allows companies to better manage fixed capital by tracking assets and reduces the need for replacement due to lost items.

• The technology is difficult to counterfeit, providing high security. • Unlike bar codes, it can eliminate double counting. • It has a long life with minimum maintenance. In this era of high security, the most secure systems are proactive, not reactive. In this area, RFID shows a great deal of promise. The average Fortune 500 company spends between $2 and $4 million annually to fight product counterfeiting. Yet, according to a number of studies, an estimated 8% of all trademarked goods are counterfeit. Combine that with 1.75% inventory shrinkage

information that is accurate and updated in real-time, RFID can further reduce costs by allowing companies to decrease shrinkage. • Increase Revenue: RFID tags provide companies the ability to capture and track a variety of information providing greater control and increasingly accurate inventory forecasts. This should help reduce the approximate 3.8% of sales lost by U.S. retailers due to out-of-stock inventory. • Decrease Working Capital/Stock Levels: Because of the speed and accuracy of RFID, orders can be filled more efficiently to provide quick product availability. Reducing order cycle time decreases the amount of capital that must be allocated to maintain an over abundance of stock. • Reduce Fixed Capital: RFID allows companies to better manage fixed capital by tracking assets and reduces the need for replacement due to lost items. Furthermore, the possibility that RFID will increase the speed at which a forklift can perform a certain task will allow a company to operate with fewer vehicles, increasing the cost reduction.

RFID Advantages Before corporations consider a major technological change, the technology has to offer advantages not otherwise available. By connecting computers to objects, RFID has advantages and efficiencies not currently available with other identification technologies: • It can be supplied as read-only or read/write. • It can be repeatedly read or written to over the life of the asset. • It does not require contact or line-of-sight technology to operate. • It can function under a variety of environmental conditions. • It provides a high level of data integrity and accuracy.

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Unfortunately, there are challenges to RFID technology that must be overcome before the world of possibilities is open for business. from employee theft and shoplifting and approximately $1 billion dollars lost to fraudulent returns and the value of an effective identification and tracking system is apparent. Another significant application, which is also environmentally friendly, is the use of plastic pallets and reusable plastic containers. These materials can be used an estimated 15 cycles or more per year for 5 to 20 years. This application is made more viable because RFID allows these distribution items to be tracked throughout the entire cycle – from origin to delivery point and back again. With its potential to one day allow companies to track goods from raw materials to landfills and simultaneously address issues including counterfeiting, theft, recalls and perishability, RFID opens a world of possibilities.

RFID Challenges Unfortunately, there are challenges to RFID technology that must be overcome before the world of possibilities is open for business. The most apparent challenge is the need to create one open global network, which means that companies can invest in systems and have confidence that the tags they put on their products can be read by retailers and other business partners. Currently, standards to define RFID systems are varied in their levels of acceptance globally and there still is a great deal of maneuvering to establish what eventually will become the standard among companies worldwide. For maximum benefit from RFID technology, it is critical that an international standard be established that is comprehensive enough to assure ubiquity among the products of all complaint international suppliers. With the creation of a global standard, RFID equipment manufacturers can make equipment in vast quantities because it will work on across platforms. This will help bring down the cost of both tags and readers, which is another challenge in adapting this technology. On a more basic level, developing an infrastructure that can uniquely iden-

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tify every item manufactured everywhere in the world is a huge and complex undertaking. Software developers currently are working to create programs that help computers find and understand information about a product once the product’s serial number has entered a company’s system. Finally, as with any ‘new’ thing education is key to the success of RFID technology and to overcoming the “wait-and-see” mentality of organizations and individuals.

RFID Applications While this discussion of RFID technology focuses on supply-chain management, there are a number of other current and contemplated uses for this technology (aside from letting the bartender know what you want to drink). Other fast-growing RFID application segments include: • Baggage handling. • Rental Item Tracking. • Real-Time Location Systems. • Patient Accounting within the Healthcare System. • Library Information Systems (to accelerate checkout and control theft). • Animal Tracking and Identification (wildlife, cattle and pets). • Point-of-Sale Payment Systems (toll roads, gasoline and parking garage payments). • Security and Access Control (embedded in credit card-size security badges). • Utility Companies (identifying the location of buried cables and pipes). As with all developing technology, its uses will expand and further concerns about those uses will materialize. Currently, when RFID technology is applied to human interaction, privacy issues and related ethics are the utmost concern. However, like the Internet, whose potential uses constantly are being expanded despite glitches or concerns such as spam, spyware and individual privacy issues, RFID technology holds that same “brave new world” possibility. And, even more like the Internet, RFID continues to expand its reach into the business world – and beyond. • www.brilliantpublishing.com


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Case Studies in Success

Industry: Trade Shows Challenge:

Getting prospective clients to visit a trade show exhibit is always a challenge. Getting them to return so that the booth staff has additional one on one time with them is almost impossible.

Solution:

A creative promotion was designed using Neet Feet to provide a rewarding reason for trade show attendees to return to the Sun Microsystems trade show booth. On the first day of their show, Sun Microsystems gave away the right foot, so that attendees would return the next day to receive the left foot.

Result:

Traffic at the Sun Microsystems booth was very high. So many people asked to be included in the program on the first day that an extra 4,000 pairs of flip flops were ordered in addition to the original order of 7,000 pairs. The specialists at Neet Feet also suggested a variation to promotion in which one flip flop is sent out in a mailing to prospective clients with a note indicating that the second flip flop will be waiting for them when they visit the company’s trade show booth. Case study provided by: John Amsterdam, President Neet Feet – john@neetfeet.com

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Case Studies in Success

INDUSTRY

Film & Entertainment

CHALLENGE

The spark factory is the name of a company that makes pay-per-view commercials, pilot presentations and film trailers” for television stations and major Hollywood studios. Their objective… to stand out above the crowd at a trade show. Anyone ever had that desire before?

SOLUTION

The Spark Factory decided to enlist a retro theme. They cut a deal with one of the largest trade show promoters in their industry to have a special gift given to every show attendee as they registered. The gift? A toy spark gun, right out of the 1950’s… with their logo printed on it of course. Get it… Spark gun… Spark Factory… Brilliant, if we don’t say so ourselves. The bounce back card that was packaged with the toy gun highlighted that their company could “spark” creative ideas and deliver them at oldfashioned prices. After all, we’re all just a bunch of big kids at heart… especially those in Hollywood.

RESULT

Forget about it! These toy guns were so popular, the company wound up taking people’s names and having to promise to send them one after the show! During the show, there were fake “spark fights” on the show floor and in the lounges after hours. After the show, they re-ordered the guns twice more, AND used them for the next three years in a row. The gun was so popular that it is now a part of the company’s brand and a permanent look on their website.

Film and Entertainment www.brilliantpublishing.com

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Case Studies in Success

Industry: Non-Profit – School Challenge:

To provide a ‘thank-you’ promotional product that was fun and at the same time makes a useful keepsake.

Solution:

A high school in Middleburg, VA needed a promotional item to distribute at their annual Sports Boosters Banquet. The banquet was held to honor all of the parents who had worked so hard fundraising and cheerleading for the school’s various athletic teams. A parent of one of the students at the school was a promotional products distributor and suggested the #425 Paw Keepit Clip‘. The school appreciated the clever shape and vast color selection and was sold on the large imprint area. An order was placed for 500, with the optional magnetic backing.

Result:

The proud parents of Middleburg Tigers loved the items, and the clip was the perfect size to hold all of their children’s sport schedules and release forms. Case study provided by: David Goldfarb, Marketing Manager, Evans Manufacturing, Inc. – david@evans-mfg.com

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Case Studies in Success

INDUSTRY

Real Estate

CHALLENGE

As the holiday season approached, First American Title was looking for a new way to say “thank you” to the customers who had been giving them business all year. Many of the reps had heard comments like “we need something new,” or “we’ve already done that.” Sound familiar??

SOLUTION

Instead of just giving their clients a gift, they gave a gift that continued to give… to a needy child in the hospital in the name of that client! Too often companies settle for giving their clients “just more stuff”, and unfortunately that’s how it’s typically received on the other end. On the other hand, First American Title got creative and distributed a travel mug to their clients (realtors are so frequently in their cars), then selected a beautifully crafted vellum paper and had a poem custom printed on it. The poem read: We prepared to give gifts to our favorite clients, Not just anyone, but only our “real life” giants. An idea was born, one of beauty and scope, To give gifts not only to you, but to children with hope. Please accept our gesture of this simple cup “Starbucks” style, Have pride when you use it, knowing you made a child smile. Our concept was simple, well meaning and true, For this holiday season our gift is actually from you! A cuddly warm bear has been given to a tike, Who sits at Mary Bridge Hospital wishing they were out riding their bike. So this holiday season, when deciding what to do, We thought the best gift we could give would be one from you. Your friends at First American donated this bear in your name, Your cute bear made a kids day special, not just the same. Thank you for making our year, and special kid’s day.

RESULT

The gifts were so popular that we ran out. Reps were clambering for them, and clients were calling wanting to know where theirs was. The company received hundreds of “thank you” notes, not only from their clients, but from the recipients of the bears as well. The local media found out about the gift idea and covered it, giving First American even more exposure.

Real Estate www.brilliantpublishing.com

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Case Studies in Success

Industry: Hotel Industry Employee Recognition Challenge:

A major hotel was looking for awards and gifts for employees who were routinely performing ahead of their peers.

Solution:

Their promotional products professional thought that either the new star shaped acrylic frame or the new star slider frame he had seen at a recent trade show would be a good fit. The hotel client agreed. As an acrylic manufacturer, the promotional products professional knew TimeZone“ offered stock star designs and also had the capability to shape frames in any design, if the client opted for something just a bit different. After seeing samples the client immediately decided on the star slider frame. A silver imprint to match the metal bands was chosen (in addition to silver, TimeZone“ also offers bands in gold, blue and red). An initial order of 500 frames was shipped to the hotel network to test recipient reactions and see if the recipients used the frames.

Result:

The results exceeded expectations and a reorder was placed. The hotel client was pleasantly surprised to learn what both the promotional products professional and TimeZone“ already knew – a personal photograph will make your imprinted frame or award a permanent fixture on the desk at work or shelf at home. Case study provided by: Chris Smith, Vice President Calconix, Inc. – TimeZone“ – chris@timezoneus.com

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Free Product Information. January Issue.

For free product information from these suppliers, complete and mail this page to: Brilliant Results Magazine 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown, PA 17036.Or fax to (717) 566-5431.

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February 2 – 4

The ASI Show – Dallas – Advertising Specialty Institute Dallas Convention Center, Dallas Information at: www.asishow.com or Call: 800-546-3300

February 6 – 8

Excellence in Finance: Corporate Performance Management Conference Plaza Hotel, New York Information at: www.cfoenterprises.com/cpm2005/index.shtml or Call: 888-767-5924

February 7 – 10

VoiceCon 2005 Walt Disney World Dolphin, Lake Buena Vista Information at: www.bcr.com/voicecon or Call 800-227-1234

February 14 – 17

Comptel/ASCENT Alliance Spring 2005 Convention & EXPO Ernest Morial Convention Centre, New Orleans, LA Information at: www.comptelascent.org or Call: 202-296-6650

February 21-22

Collaborative Conferencing Summit Waldorf-Astoria & the Waldorf Towers, New York, NY Information at: www.ccsexpo.com or Call: 917-665-0818

February 21-23

The 2005 Outsourcing World Summit Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado, CA Information at: www.outsourcingworldsummit.com or Call: 845-452-0600

February 21-23

AVIOS~SpeechTEK Spring Conference & EXPO San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco Information at: www.speechtek.com or Call 877-993-9767

February 22 –25

Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO Spring Hyatt Regency Miami, Miami, FL Information at: www.tmcnet.com/itexpo/m05/ or Call: 203-852-6800 x 142

February 28 – March 1

The DMA Financial Services Council 29th Annual Conference Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Information at: www.the-dma.org/events

February 28 - March 2

Training 2005 Conference & EXPO Ernest Morial Convention Centre, New Orleans, LA Information at: www.vnulearning.com or Call: 888-578-7371

February 28 – March 3

Search Engine Strategies Conference & EXPO Hilton Times Square, New York Information at: www.jupiterevents.com/sew/winter05/index.html or Call: 203-662-2857

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March 1 – 2

Association for Convention Marketing Executives (ACME) Annual Conference Washington DC Convention Center, Washington, DC Information at: www.acmenet.org or Call: 202-547-6340

March 1 – 3

RFID World 2005 – Radio Frequency Identification Gaylord Opryland Texas‘ Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, TX Information at: www.RFID-world.com or Call: 800-608-9641 x 210

March 7 – 9

PrintMedia Conference & Expo New York Hilton & Towers, New York, NY Information at: www.printmediaexpo.com or Call: 800-627-2689

March 11 – 13

Imprinted Sportswear Show Atlantic City Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, NJ Information at: www.issshows.com or Call: 800-933-8735

March 13 – 16

12th Annual CFO Rising Omni Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, FL Information at: www.cforising.com or Call: 888-767-5924

March 19 – 22

NEXPO 2005 Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX Information at: www.naa.org/newspapers05/ or Call: 703-902-1777

March 20 – 23

COE Your Way: 2005 Annual Conference & TechniFair Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ Information at: www.coe.org of Call: 800-COE-CALL

March 21 – 22

Direct Marketing to Business (DMB) Conference Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL Information at: www.the-dma.org/events

March 30 – April 1

The ASI Show – Las Vegas – Advertising Specialty Institute Location to be determined, Las Vegas, NV Information at: www.asishow.com or Call: 800-546-3300

March 31 – April 2

The 59th Annual International Sign EXPO Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV Information at: www.signs.org/events/index.htm or Call 703-836-4012

* To have your show listed in our Calendar please send your information to Brilliant Results magazine. *

www.brilliantpublishing.com

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Part 1

This month we are bringing you a very special "The Last Word" column. We were fortunate enough to get interviews with the two people who head up the largest trade shows for the promotional merchandise industry. Mary Upton, VP of Operations for the ASI Show! (Advertising Specialty Institute), and Darel Cook, Director of Expositions and Meetings for the PPAI (Promotional Products Association International). ASI is the largest, for-profit, member based organization in the promotional merchandise business. PPAI is the industry's non-profit trade association. Both entities play vital roles in the logo'ed product business, and both speak out on their views in this month's "The Last Word." ASI is the largest member organization serving the ad specialty/promotional products industry with over 20,000 members. ASI also maintains the world’s largest database of corporate gifts, imprinted merchandise and premiums from more than 3,000 companies. ASI’s flagship products ESP and Promomart (www.promomart.com) are searched 1,000,000 times each month by professionals seeking ideal promotional items. In 1998, ASI launched its first tradeshow in Las Vegas which was recognized by Tradeshow Week magazine as one of the 10 best tradeshow launches of the decade. It also immediately became one of North America’s Top 200 tradeshows. ASI received two awards for fastest-growing tradeshows. The four ASI Shows attract more exhibitors and attendees than any other organization in the industry.

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How long have you been involved in the trade show business (with ASI or in other industries)? I was born with an imprinted spoon in my mouth and have participated in industry tradeshows since the 70’s. What critical success factors are necessary for your exhibitors to have a successful trade show experience? While pre-show marketing and an active presence on site are important, most exhibitors do these things. What really makes the difference is post-show follow up and tracking the results of the experience. What critical success factors are necessary for your attendees to have a successful trade show experience? Attendees should plan their overall show experience making sure to include time for education, networking and special events. www.brilliantpublishing.com


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In addition to a comprehensive show floor, The ASI Shows have nearly 100 free education workshops and memorable events they can share with colleagues, clients and family members including Elton John, Cirque du Soleil, Steven Covey as keynote and more. You can learn as much off the show floor in talking to other attendees and exhibitors as you do in the exhibit hall.

message that you want distributors to see and remember.

Do you assist your exhibitors in the use of promotional products to increase their trade show traffic/success? We provide logos specifically designed for imprinting on promotional products so our exhibitors can use them in advance of the show. We also do a pre-show mailing to pre-registered attendees that What are the biggest mistakes an Mary Upton, ASI Show VP of Operations includes imprinted samples from exhibitor should avoid? exhibitors to increase booth traffic. Not having a strategy for attracting The show entrance also features a highly-trafattendees to the booth. Exhibitors should know ficked Advantages New Product Showcase where what message to deliver in the booth and how exhibitors can include their samples. they’re going to follow up to deliver a specific result. Know your goal and plan everything to achieve it. What was your best trade show experience…your worst? How does ASI market their trade shows? Tradeshows are amazing. Four days before the event opens, the hall is completely empty. Then, Of course we are big believers in promotional at opening, there are hundreds of eager attendees products and we do a variety of marketing includclamoring to get on the show floor. The best ing direct mail, e-mail, fax, ads, PR and personal sales calls. Carefully designed promotional products tradeshow experience is every time the show opens and we deliver a great experience for campaigns have helped differentiate our shows exhibitors and attendees. from the competition. If I had to pick a worst experience, it would be a year when we were in a new convention center How does ASI use promotional products where we thought the building provided seating to increase awareness awareness about for their concessions in the hall; they thought we your trade shows? were providing the seating. We had a maxed out We use promotional products for everything from “lumpy” mail that stands out from the clutter, floor plan and when we arrived on-site, there was nowhere for 10,000 participants to sit at lunch special packages to attract senior executives and time. We were edge-to-edge booths so there gifts for sponsors, speakers and vendors. Every was nowhere to add seats as much as we tried attendee is also given an imprinted pen, bag to find a solution. lanyard and even lip balm to make an imprinted impression throughout the entire show experience. What is the best trade show you have ever been to, and why? What has been your most successful marketing tactic and/or campaign to increase the numAs corny as it sounds, I really believe The ASI ber of attendees (or exhibitors)? Shows are the best. I think it’s because we started as exhibitors and understand the unique needs of On tactics, our most important group is the ASI exhibitors, attendees and end user. We work hard Member network who represent 97% of industry sales and are qualified, active distributors. We also every day to make sure we are delivering every possible benefit to make our shows easy, producfocus on past attendees. We have built and tive and positive experiences. We still exhibit at improved The ASI Shows based on feedback from over 100 shows per year and think of new ideas all attendees, and in fact have doubled attendance the time that are integrated into our future show over the past five years. plans. They are sometimes big ideas related to the overall show design and sometimes little touches What is your opinion regarding the most like a piano player in registration or fresh flowers important aspect(s) in designing a successful in the restrooms. We look for every opportunity to trade show exhibit? The display should draw attention to your prod- make the experience special and memorable for our guests. • uct and not distract from it. Also have one clear www.brilliantpublishing.com

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Part 2

Founded in 1903 by leaders from nine promotional products manufacturers (then called novelty and specialty goods), the Promotional Products Association International is now comprised of some 6,700 members located throughout the world. With a vision to be the leader for growth, innovation, information and success in the evolving promotional products market, the member-driven PPAI is devoted to meeting the needs of its members and the market. In 1914 trade shows became a part of the Association’s conventions, with 32 exhibitors at the first show, today the PPAI EXPO held each year in January is the oldest and largest trade show in the industry. That commitment to advancing the industry has lead the PPAI to deliver world-class education, expositions and forums to enhance its members professionalism and success. Recently Brilliant Results spoke with Darel Cook, Director of Expositions and Meetings, about trade shows and the part promotional products play in exhibitor success. BR: How long have you been involved in the trade show business (with PPAI or in other industries)? DC: Fifteen years.

BR: What critical success factors are necessary for your attendees to have a successful trade show experience? DC: Prepare for the show – know who is exhibiting. Map out a floor plan of exhibitors to see for each day of the show and make appointments.

BR: What critical success factors are necessary for your exhibitors to have a successful trade show experience? DC: Pre-show marketing and engaging, enthusiastic booth personnel.

BR: How does PPAI market their trade shows? DC: Direct mail, email and viral marketing (relying on members to market to other members).

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BR: What are the biggest mistakes an exhibitor should avoid? DC: Expecting that attendees will stop at their booth simply because you are exhibiting in the show. It is the show’s responsibility to bring the attendees to the show. It is the exhibitor’s job to make sure they stop at their booth.

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Darel Cook, Director of Expositions and Meetings

BR: How does PPAI use promotional products to increase trade show awareness? DC: We build campaigns and use promotional products that deliver a message regarding the benefits of the show. BR: What has been your most successful marketing and/or campaign tactic to increase the number of attendees (or exhibitors)? DC: We developed a competitive campaign for the exhibitors. PPAI provided show invitations for exhibitors to mail to their customers. The exhibitor that had the most attendees register for the show using their invitation won a free booth. We built our attendance 25% over three years. BR: What is your opinion regarding the most important aspect(s) in designing a successful trade show exhibit? DC: Simplicity in design, yet obviously oriented to what products you have and the significant benefits of your products. BR: Do you assist your exhibitors in the use of promotional products to increase their trade show traffic/success? DC: We do so on a case-by-case basis – but have nothing formalized. BR: What was your best trade show experience… your worst? DC: The best was The PPAI Expo 2003. We moved the show, #53 in the Top 200 Trade Shows, from Dallas to Las Vegas in 9 months to a building that wasn’t built yet with a staff that had virtually no experience with moving shows www.brilliantpublishing.com

to new venues. We increased the attendance 35% and had no major logistical challenges…quite an accomplishment for the staff. The worst was managing an international leather show that had sales offices in Hong Kong, Paris, and New York. Each offered promises to their exhibitors without letting me or the other sales offices know what was promised. I had to re-design the trade show floor about 10 times within 30 days of the show. We arrived on site still not sure what was promised – and sure enough faced significant challenges. I had exhibitors yelling at me in three different languages. BR: What is the best trade show you have ever been to, and why? DC: I’ve been too many. The best trade shows are the ones that understand their customer’s needs and offer the best service to the participants. The exhibitors are informed and prepared for set up and tear down of the show. The attendees are welcomed and acquire their badges easily and efficiently. The show creates excitement – a buzz – that vitalizes the event. It is easy to say – difficult to do. • Additional information about the Promotional Products Association International is available on their website at www.ppai.org. Brilliant Results | January

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Off The Cuff ~ A Bit of This & That Quote To Live By:

“They can because they think they can.” —Virgil (70BC-19BC) Roman Poet

Did You Know?

º The average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000. º What is the only food that doesn’t spoil? Honey º Money isn’t made out of paper; it’s made out of cotton. company on the New York Stock Exchange: º Longest-listed Con Edison – listed in 1824 as the New York Gas Light Company º Every person has a unique tongue print. º Ketchup was sold in the 1830’s as medicine. º The dot over the letter “i” is called a tittle. Scotland, a new game was invented. It was entitled Gentlemen Only Ladies º InForbidden…and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language. is an activity performed by 40% of all people at a party? Snoop in your º What medicine cabinet. in a park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the perº Ifsona statue died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Everyday Actions Can Make A Difference: Buy recycled paper rather than non-recycled paper. This not only saves 17 trees per ton of paper used, but requires 7,000 fewer gallons of water during manufacturing.

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