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Fred Blanton blanton@colonnademarketing.com 832-526-7979


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Client: Electronics Manufacturer Project: Making Sure Trade Show Attendees Get Info After the Show

In order to be the provider of lanyards at a trade show you have to generally have some big bucks because the costs are high. Normally you have to pay a fee to the owner of the trade show in addition to the cost of the lanyards. But it can really be worth it if you want almost EVERYONE who

attends the show to go home with your info. How was this accomplished? A USB lanyard was a great fit for them. Not only did they get the impressions at the show because everyone at the show was wearing their logo, but in addition the USB drive contained a presentation about the sponsoring electronics company. So while was expensive it was also extremely effective. They got a huge number of impressions but also a great “take away” featuring their products and services. As soon as the USB drive was plugged into the show attendees computer a presentation popped up on the screen.

Target Audience: Tradeshow attendees

Objective: Get optimum exposure by sponsoring lanyards which will provide “after show” marketing material about the company. Retain company awareness to prospects and clients after the event. Provide company capabilities presentation that would be easily accessible and memorable after the show.

Solution: Client distributed 3,000 1G USB Drives with custom lanyard to show attendees who are current and potential customers. Wearing the drive around their neck made them a walking billboard for the company throughout the trade show. The incentive to wear it? Recipients were allowed free, unlimited access to the relaxation booth at the trade show, they were placed in a drawing for a free gift inside the booth, and they took home the unique USB drive with pre-loaded with information about the company and its services at their fingertips.


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Community

Service

PromoPrograms

Score Bigger People are inundated with hundreds of marketing messages every day. An old marketing adage says it takes someone atPromo leastPrograms seven to times to Local hear& or see Programs Associate Your Support National your message before they begin to remember it and consider contacting your business. Branding is not instantaneous. It takes time to cultivate and being consistent is crucial to your success. Whether you have a giant budget or an itty bitty one, supporting your local community is a priceless way to build your brand. Here are some ways to be successful.

Support Local Events Community outreach is a unique discipline combined with some public relations skills that is best bolstered by a solid promotional products campaign. For companies trying to win more business the challenge is to influence the community as an outsider. Along with posing additional communication challenges, the major difficulty for community outreach—is that your target audience is typically not interested in what you’re trying to say. Think about it. People seek products or service to solve immediate pain points. If there’s no perceived problem, there’s no need to seek a solution. Community members

going about their daily lives typically aren’t: --Proactively looking to change their behavior --Hoping to become informed about something they aren’t aware of --Picking up another cause to support In short, the people yo’re trying to communicate with don’t know about your project and don’t care. Clearly, the main goal of community outreach is to make the target audience care, but the how is where some organizations miss the mark. As with all sound promo products communication plans, there is no silver bullet to achieve program objectives. Instead, organizations must develop a strategy that leverages the right content, across the right channels, at the right time. It’s easier said than done, but to ease the process, here are five crucial elements to developing an effective and efficient community outreach plan.

1. A good understanding of the target audience Rule #1, know thy audience. What this really means is to know what unifies the community and what’s important to them so that you can effectively build your outreach. Once you know what the community finds important, you’ll be able to communicate how your project aligns with those values.


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2. Be proactive Since you know the community is going to question the information you’re trying to convey, be proactive in explaining what’s in it for them. Seize the opportunity to control messages that will make a first impression. If you don’t, the door is open for detractors and the ill-informed to steal your thunder or create turbulence that will compete against accurate information. The right promotional product can do a lot to convey that message. For example, if you are a health related company, providing something as simple as a stress ball shaped like your product can be enough.

priority in your strategy. People are sometimes skeptical. The quickest way to subdue that skeptical nature is through face-to-face meetings. And when you do that you create personal relationships and that is a fabulous way to build business. Even better, get influencers involved in creating a solution early on so that they become ambassadors for the project and its goals. Always remember that communities want to be a part of that process, not have something thrust on them.

5. Be responsive

3. Community partnerships Find creative, mutually beneficial ways to partner with organizations already serving the audience you want to connect with--these groups have built trust with their members and those they influence --so a partnership serves as third-party validation of your organization, the project and its mission. The best partnerships are with groups whose purpose aligns with the goals of your project. Determine how your project is complementary to their mission because you don’t want to compete for the same attention

4. Engage in-person The old saying, “advertisements don’t sell products, people sell products” is true for community outreach. Make creating face time with the community a

Being part of the process also means dialogue should flow two ways. Some community input should find its way into the plan. Too often, agencies bring a 95% developed solution to a community and don’t leave room for responsiveness. The engagement must be early enough in the process to allow for stakeholder input. If you know a component of a project is a perfect fit for the community, engage them in a way that allows them to “discover” that component as a solution. People always love to support their own ideas. Of course, the most important part is presenting a project that is valuable to the target community. Once you’ve identified the value, there are many different techniques and strategies to communicate it effectively. However, you only get one shot at a first impression, which is why it’s always best to call on the promotional products experts for support.


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A great 3rd & 4th quarter holiday promotion can lift your company’s sales to new heights. An average promotion – not so much. Because so much of many company’s sales and profits come during the 3rd & 4th quarter, it’s vital to plan your promotions in advance. First of all, think carefully about your overall strategy. While everyone uses the word “sale” during the holidays, pricing isn’t the only way to promote your company. If you have an unusual product line for example, you may want to highlight the special qualities of your merchandise and do so using promotional products instead of spending on TV, radio or the net. Here are some ideas to consider when planning your end-of-year promotions. (You can get more tips from us--your Promotional Products Distributor--just ask us!) Decide on whatthose you want to promote this year. • Promote featured items/services on a Do you want to put your best-selling products “seasonal savings” or “holiday specials” section of on sale? Is there new service you’d like to your store, site oracompany newsletter. announce? Or…would it make more sense to • Make sure you have the right visual impact. Ask promote those “hard-to-move” products that your graphic designer to come up with eye-catching have been inattracts your inventory forto several months? signage that prospects your promotion. In case, should know your and • anyPlan anyou unusual one-day sale.costs Hype it up! Everymargins, so you don’t wind up losing money one pays attention to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, on discounted item. days of the year. But why not theatwo biggest retail pick another day for your own holiday promotion? How about a “Wild Wednesday” a special “TGIF” promotion? This strategy can bring in extra dollars without jeopardizing your traditional Cyber Monday sales promotion. • Promote your holiday specials through email. This is a great way to tell your loyal customers and

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GREAT! 3rd & 4th Quarter Promos

interested prospects about your promotions. You can include a discount code, include appealing photos, send a testimonial video or use an illustration to promote your company or store’s products. • Offer a special promotion to your social media followers. How about a “Facebook Friends and Family” special or a four-hour mark-down code tweeted to your Twitter followers? Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and you should use those channels as often as possible during the holiday season. • Promote add-on purchases. There are a variety of ways to encourage your clients to add buy into your promotion now. You could “recommend” items related to the initial purchase and offer a special package price. Another approach is to give shoppers a discount for purchases over a certain amount. Finally, use your creativity to make your promotion stand out from the crowd. If you sell nautical products, for instance, invite customers to take part in a “holiday sail.” If you contribute to a charitable organization, offer a “buy one, give one” promotion (“you buy an item and we give $1”). The possibilities for promoting your company are endless, but make your plans NOW to insure the highest probability of success. Remember, all of your competitors are gearing up to do the same thing at the same time. Having the best and brightest promotion will enable you to secure more market-share… after all it’s all about the number of impressions you get for your company and its products.


Credit Union’s

on-Campus

marketing success

A credit union needed a promotion to hand out at a college campus to offer student loans. The Credit Union’s management decided that product had to have several functions. First, it was something that would be useful to students. Second it would stay with them wherever they went. Third, it had to be relatively upscale looking and durable. They chose a Rubberized

How Was It Distribted? The lights were handed out on campus during the credit union’s

visit. Students were invited to come

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Over 1,000 flashlites were distributed which resulted in about 150 loans being generated.


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Finding For the Right Product Exercise Chain a National A nationwide gym chain was looking for 1,000’s of items to give away with the purchase of annual memberships. They had promoted their business with gym towels and drawstring backpacks in the past and were interested in a fresh idea. They chose the running belt as it provided their members with a lightweight, stylish option to hold essentials like phones, earbuds, locker keys, etc. while working out.

Running Belt Fanny Pack

The gym handed out the Fanny Pack with each new premium membership sold. Due to the popularity, they also made them available for purchase to current members at the front counter of each branch. ROI: The new gym members appreciated the extra perk given to them and the belts are spotted being used around the club daily and in public.


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Case Study By Joining Forces

ALL Gained

Great Exposure

A Community Bank in a small town of 45,000 people wanted to do a product that would give them good exposure, have some good shelf-life and be distributed in a very efficient way throughout the community. The bank had run many promotional campaigns from its office in the past and found that “inside counter traffic" distribution was slow and not very efficient. Often times the promotion would be over before they had used all of their product. The Promotional Products Distributor working on idea for the community bank suggested sunglasses, which seem like a pretty mundane product but here’s where the rest of the idea hit a home run. If the bank would agree to put their name on one arm of the glasses and the school name and mascot on the other, the high school's Booster Club would hand out the glasses at the Home Coming Game. Since the Booster Club has a merchandise table at all the high school football games, they would be able to give just about everyone a pair of the sunglasses. The bank lost on this part, the glasses would be in the school color which was not a big tradeoff and ultimately made perfect sense. The attendance at games was around 5,000 people, with the students comprising at least 1,500 of the attendees. The bank was pretty happy with the prospect of getting almost everybody to wear their logo at the Home Coming Game. With thousands of people wearing them in the stands they got their advertising money’s worth. Plus the Booster Club had an intense amount of foot traffic. In the end, everybody involved won! Fans got a free product, the bank got their wish and the Booster Club sold a lot more than they normally would.

Connect

with your community


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Wellness The Hamilton Elementary Staff Get Active

Works

School staff and teachers at Hamilton Elementary School in Chicago get active together by setting up circuits, yoga classes, and more, Led by the school’s wellness team. Faculty members on the school’s wellness team, including preschool teacher Nichole Moos, physical education teacher Steve Skweres and 1st grade teacher Liz Busch, launched an event: “Hustle Up Hamilton”, to motivate their colleagues to get active and set an example for the students. Hustle Up Hamilton is an event where staff members come together to walk or run a set course throughout the facilities, up the stairs, around the gym, and back down the stairs. Staff members complete as many circuits as they desire in a half-hour time limit with a fun, energetic playlist to pump them up. Everyone agreed that the first Hustle Up Hamilton event was a success. Staff members at all levels of fitness participated in the event and many students chose to come out and watch, too. T-shirts were given out to support the event. Courtesy: Kaiser Permenente

Call to Action Establish school physical activity opportunities with staff input as a routine part of school practices. Invite students, parents, and community members to join in. Hold short physical activity breaks during long staff meetings and during class. Provide incentives for staff that walk, bike, or use public transportation to get to work


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MANY YEARS AGO a realtor wanted a calendar magnet that would be considered more than just a calendar. The idea was to get a very inexpensive promotional product that would stick around for an entire year. Placing a calendar in the middle of the magnet got that “annual appeal� but adding a four color process print of the realtors face really did the job. Magnet programs like this are used by thousands of realtors. Inexpensive, easily distributed, this promotional product has the right answer for electrical contractors, HVAC sellers, Home Care Service Providers, Child Care Agencies, housing associations or any company that services homes.


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Planning Your Year End Promo C Let’s Think Out Loud Will you create a year-end campaign that rewards your loyal customers? Will you work hard to create a campaign that gets chins wagging and people talking? Whatever you decide to do, the festive season is a time for sharing and giving, and creating social campaigns that bundle all this up in a warm, fuzzy way. It’s how brands connect with their audiences at this time of year.

These special days give marketers something to gear their campaigns towards and gives them the chance to experiment with things like using really targeted promotional products to achieve results and win more customers. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are all places to find inspiration for gifts, decor, and party ideas; but we, your Promotional Products Distributors—have a ton of tried and true ideas with over 700,000 products to offer ranging in all sizes, shapes and costs. Usually, there’s a heavy dose of light-heartedness associated with the holidays and social promotion during this time.

We’re not just talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh no. From September through the end of the year you can brand your company and its products making use of festivities to create a common connection with your customers. From Labor Day, to Halloween, Thanksgiving

DIY events really promote your company…because you are bringing the customer into you facility and having hands-on interactions. People and their kids are eager to learn something new and that usually results in purchasing your products/services at DIY events

End the session with a really cool promotional product and the word of mouth combined with the bragging rights that cool promo product has will win you a lot of customers. When customers make persona recommendations about your company/product, it’s the best free advertising in the world

Connect with the holiday spirit and Christmas, there are tons of suggestions beginning in September, but fo for successful year end promotional products a truly successful holiday marketing campaigns. season, focus on finding a way to connect with your clients all Monthly Promotions year long. Use Constant Every company should host a monthly promo- Contact’s ListBuilder app to tion from September to December. Why? It’s encourage holiday shoppers to a particularly keen time to do so and it doesn’t sign up for your email list while have to cost a fortune. People are back from they’re in your store or using Summer vacations and they are entrenched one of your services. And mak in school or work. Your customers are still sure your company is decked thirsty for fun things to do. Consider those out with signs…last, encourage factors carefully as those are big in deciding your clients to connect with yo what promotions to host. on social media.


Campaigns

r

ur

Edge .PROMO

Crazy Promos Produce High Results

Many organizations like banks or insurance companies won’t go for this but the crazier the promotion the more people will pay attention to it and that gets your more impressions…and increased impressions yield more business. Halloween is one of those holidays where crazy is encouraged and allowed--even though its really not a holiday--but we take it as one.

s.

al

t or

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o e

e

e ou

• • • • • •

• •

If you are a hotel, promote your facility as a haunted hotel. Sponsor a photo contest for the customer that comes into your facility with the best costume. Restaurants can host “Dressed to Kill” promotions. Realtors can gain interest by sending their clients haunted house listings—fake ones. Pizza companies can feature promotions where they deliver and “un-haunt” your house. Zombie are hot! They will keep any party screaming. Sponsor an event at your business where people can come in and get zombified. Sponsor a Home Delivered Thanksgiving Dinner. Food is always a great promotional item. Host a User-Generated Recipe Contest. Every person submitting an entry gets a food related promotional product.

• •

Host a Thanksgiving Day Cooking Demo at your office or company. Have some unusual food ideas…and send them home with a promo product that reinforces their visit. Give away Thanksgiving food baskets. Small, medium or large, food baskets are great impression builders and people will talk you up to other customers because of your generosity. Give away Grocery Store Gift Cards, with your logo on them. Sponsor a fitness challenge because when the holidays come around, people step up their exercise programs to combat the weight gain. The fitness challenge can be co-oped with other companies and that reduces your overall cost, while at the same time, increases your brand exposure. Thanksgiving is also a time for giving…so figure out a program that your clients can participate in to enable donations or align with a charity. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE


Planning Your Year End Promo Campaigns

Edge .PROMO

Christmas—actually the entire month of December —offers many different promotional opportunities. Way too many for us to discuss on these pages, but we—your Promotional Products Distributor—can provide a ton of them. Just call us, we’re never too busy to find the next great promo for you.

MEASURE MEASURE MEASURE... We saved the best for last and would like to share this with you. In order to judge the success of your promotions, we suggest that you use data-backed execution. Measure, measure, measure. That is the only way your brand can achieve the its marketing goals. Make sure you keep detailed spreadsheets and compare them from year to year.

Questions you should be able to answer are things like: How many more people attended the event this year versus last year? What were the monetary gains? Paying attention to what type of promotion performed the best for you will give you a better foundation to make the following year’s event even more successful.


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Co-Op Your Promo Campaigns with Local & National Events

ig B n i W

Look at your community...take a real close look. Think About who they are, what they want and how they go about their daily lives. Then narrow down those thoughts to encompass just one subject:

SPORTS

There’s not one school or university that doesn’t have some sort of sporting program. From football to squash there’s a ton of sporting events your company can support both locally and nationally (if you can afford a national program). And when you do support these events the recipients are mighty gracious. Think About the high school that needs financial assistance because they don’t have jerseys for their basketball team. Your company can sponsor those shirts and be the talk of the town. Your “constituents” will be more than happy to pay you back by buying from you and then recommending your company to others. Think About the small college that has two players that can go to the Olympics and your company arranges a community event to help them raise the funds they need. Your “constituents” become devout supporters.

There are a ton of “Think About’s” to consider. In fact there are so many your head might spin thinking about the best sport to associate with…but in order to find out, here’s what we suggest. Make a call to the head cheese at the school/university where you want to co-host your event and ask them what sporting division is in the most need. That sets a wonderful tone. From there you’ll hear all about the sporting event promotions available and can make a choice that will have the biggest benefit. What’s so powerful about sports is the fever that that incite. Fan fever is high at almost any sporting event. From Peewee League Baseball where the tikes can barely hold a bat, to a high school state play-off championship, sporting events are a great place to catch that fan fever for your products too.


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Social Styles Wearables...Hot & New Styles for 2019 Warm is wise...and the looks are cool.

Better Safe than Sorry...

Measuring Success in Promotions is Possible

Prop 65--What You DON’T Know Can Hurt Recent legal changes creates a nighmare

Forecasts for 2019...it’s Just Around the Corner Promo Campaigns Report Great Success when coupled with Athletic Programs Our follow-up article on co-oping with athletic programs

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Coming Attractions

Colonnade September 2018  
Colonnade September 2018