A Cozy Promotional Product

Fleece Blankets As you might know, Gossett Marketing is based in Miami, Florida. Although it is currently snowing in other parts of the country, it’s still warm here. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t love a good blanket! They are wonderful promotional giveaways because the recipient can always use them – yes, even in toasty Miami in the dead of winter!

If you ask me, travel blankets are essential. Airplanes are freezing cold, and who knows who or what has touched the blanket that American Airlines lets you use for the duration of the flight – that is, if they give you a blanket! Personally, I always toss a small fleece blanket into my carryon bag and then I use it the entire time I’m on a plane. Even when I get up to use the ladies’ room, I drape it around my shoulders like a shawl. The fact that my blanket is imprinted with the University of Miami logo is great for their marketing – everyone who sees me walk past is exposed to the “U,” providing excellent brand building!

Most people probably do not go and picnic in a park, but that doesn’t make a picnic blanket a bad idea. I often see them at tailgates because they provide a lot of seating without hauling folding chairs to and from the stadium. The nice thing about them is that they usually have a waterproof backing, so you and your food can stay dry and comfortable. I think they’re ideal promotional marketing products for athletic-related entities like sports medicine institutes or even sporting goods stores, as they can potentially present their logo and even contact information to sports-minded people.

Another great promotional item is a receiving blanket for maternity wards. In pink or blue with a subtle hospital logo on one corner, these soft little pieces are wonderful for marketing. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook newsfeed is filled with pictures of babies wrapped in blankets, many of which are logoed. Babies are sure to be photographed and their pictures shared via facebook and e-mail, so adding that logo is a clever way to use social media to the hospitals’ advantages.

The next time you’re looking for a cozy promotional product, remember that blankets provide a wonderful marketing opportunity!

Calendars: Ideal Promotional Products

Calendars

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: calendars are excellent giveaways. They are items that most of us use on a daily basis, and even if the recipient already has one 2012 calendar, chances are he or she will keep an extra so that he or she can have one at home and in his/her office or even in multiple spots in their house. Personally, I have 4 calendars of various sizes at home and 2 in my office.

A calendar is meant to be looked at – how else would you keep track of important dates and events if you didn’t glance at the thing once in a while? So if your company’s logo or even just your name is somewhere on the piece, then your customer will definitely see it frequently. It’s an easy way to enhance your marketing because that repeated exposure will help your customer remember you when they need you.

There is also a calendar to fit every taste and budget. Last year I received one from Del Monte that displays three months at a time, and I check it constantly. It has images of pineapples and tropical fields and, well, it makes me want to reach for a piece of fruit! At home I have a calendar from Team FootWorks, my running group, on my refrigerator. I glance at it whenever I open the ‘fridge to see how far we’ll be running that week, and also to remind myself that I need to fuel myself properly for my training – better to have a glass of water than the Diet Coke I was thinking about! And Gossett Marketing is sending out a year-at-a-glance calendar to our customers this year. It is compact, cheerful, and great for reference so I know our customers will see it and remember us for 365 days!

It’s not too late – order your imprinted calendars today!

Networking with Coworkers

Holiday Party I’ve written a number of blog posts about how the holiday season can benefit your business. It enhances your branding because you can give away unique gifts that differentiate you from the competition and even your wrapping can give your logo extra exposure. Plus, this time of year gives you an excellent excuse to reach out to long-lost customers: holiday cards.

If you ask me, the business benefits don’t stop there. I think that company holiday parties are a wonderful opportunity for team building, which can certainly strengthen any firm. Now, I know that I’ve categorized this blog post under our “Networking” headline and that a company party might not fit that description for many companies, but for some it truly does. Let’s start with those.

Large corporations like the GE’s of the world certainly have departmental parties for the holidays, but they most likely also have a larger party – maybe for everyone who works in Rockefeller Center. What an excellent opportunity for someone in, say, the Marketing department to meet a producer from The Today Show. Sure, they might have seen each other in the elevator and nodded hello before, but by giving them an opportunity to really get to know one another in a more relaxed setting, they actually have a chance to form a bond. That bond could result in their exchanging e-mails and ideas, and ultimately coming up with a unique project that benefits the corporation. I know that this probably isn’t true “networking,” but if you ask me, it’s pretty darn close.

So what about companies where everyone actually does know all of their coworkers? Well, I know everyone on the Gossett Marketing team, but I still enjoy our holiday parties. It’s an opportunity for me to get to know everyone on a deeper level. One that does not involve logoed apparel and merchandise. We find common interests, laugh at bad jokes, and just generally have fun. No, we’re not really networking, but becoming better friends with the team sure does make work more fun.

I know that budgets are tight this year, but don’t cut out the office party – you’ll be doing a disservice to your business.

Celine Dion & Silicone Bracelets

Celine Dion This week, Celine Dion is performing a concert to benefit Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute. All proceeds from the sold out show, which is to be held at the Fillmore Miami Beach, will be donated to the Institute’s expansion campaign. The international superstar is doing this because her husband was successfully treated for a potentially life-threatening condition at the BCVI a few years ago – it’s a wonderful way for her to give back!

As you might know from reading this blog, we do a lot of work with all of the Baptist Health entities and the BCVI is no exception, so we were lucky enough to be able to produce various promotional marketing products for the Celine show. One of these items was a personal favorite – they ordered custom silicone awareness-type bracelets (you know the ones: they’re like Livestrong bracelets).

I like awareness bracelets for a bunch of reasons. First, they’re very inexpensive. They are also highly customizable – you can choose your exact Pantone color, produce them in multiple colors, or even design a glow-in-the dark version! I also like the fact that they last. Think about it – Baptist could put paper wristbands on volunteers and/or attendees to show that they are allowed to be at the concert, but those people would toss those shortly thereafter. However, silicone bracelets serve the same purpose as their paper counterparts during the event, but then they become a souvenir afterward. I’ll bet we’ll see people all over Miami wearing theirs to show that they got to spend an intimate evening with Celine!

So the next time you host an event that might require a wrist band, consider ordering silicone bracelets instead. Why wouldn’t you want some extra marketing?!

It’s the holidays, so check out this YouTube video of Celine singing “Oh Holy Night” – beautiful!

Consistently Marketing and Branding

Gossett Marketing Logo
To me, the most important ingredient for successful marketing is consistency. And I don’t mean simply repeating your message at regular intervals – although that’s part of it – but it’s also essential to focus on branding yourself consistently. Here’s what I mean:

  • Your logo should project your company’s image. Take ours for example: It is anchored by a strong “M” which reflects our stability (Gossett Marketing has, after all, been around for 20 years). But the rest of the text is whimsical, which suggests at our creativity and sense of fun. It is also mostly pink – we’re a woman-owned company, so that shows through there.
  • Base your marketing materials on your branding. If you have a sleek technology firm, you don’t want antiquated-looking promotional marketing products, you want to give out products that show you have an edge. And if your company is known for its colors (like Coca Cola), then stick with those colors in your printed materials.
  • Your online presence must be evocative of your corporate image. What I mean is, your website, Twitter home page, Facebook, and blog all need to work together to cement your brand. The colors, fonts, and logos that you include all need to be similar to show that all of the sites are your company’s. That way when you do, say, send a Tweet, your followers will have another chance to see your logo, which helps with your marketing and branding efforts. To use ourselves as an example again, take another gander at the logo above and then notice how this blog’s look is derivative of that image. Similarly, if you follow us on Twitter (@marketngtidbits) then you’ll see that our page is very closely related to the blog.
  • Finally, you definitely do need to be consistent with your marketing. Send e-mails and direct mail. Network and follow up with new contacts. Give promotional products at tradeshows. Sponsor events. Blog regularly. Tweet and update your Facebook frequently. Actively market yourself to stay top of mind.

When your both your branding strategy and your marketing efforts are consistent, they will work together to grant you the exposure that every business needs.

Networking Tip: Think Before You Drink

Cocktails When I was in high school, my mom always said “don’t do anything on a Saturday night that you’ll regret on a Sunday morning…because I will know about it before you wake up!” She put her own spin on an old saying because she knows that, even though it’s a big city, word travels fast here in Miami. She wanted me to mind my P’s and Q’s and, well, to try not to ruin our family name with my behavior.

Now, you might live in an even larger city than I do (in the Coconut Grove portion of my hometown – where Gossett Marketing is located – I literally bump into friends on the street on a daily basis). If so, then you probably don’t have to worry about your mom finding out what you did on South Beach last night, but chances are that gossip and rumors fly around you somehow anyway. Perhaps your company is steeped with politics. Or maybe you’re on the board of a chamber of commerce so you hear about others’ actions. Heck, your kids might bring salacious stories home from school about the other parents! No matter what, you’re going to hear rumors. The important thing is to make sure that they’re not about you!

I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m going with this one…. Well, I was at a party recently and one of the fellow guests really tied one on. This was a friend’s engagement party on a weeknight, and while it was fun and lovely, it was rather low-key. So the loud, obnoxious, drunk guy stood out like a sore thumb to those of us who nursed one cocktail all evening. Plus, he chose to vent to anyone who would listen about how he dislikes the hospital that employs him….yes, he’s a doctor. Now, I know that he was off the clock and that he wanted to have fun at a friend’s party, but, well, it was a terrible impression. One that would make me hesitant to seek his care if I needed it, and one that would cause me to think twice before ever referring him to anyone.

I guess the moral of the story here is to think before drink. This isn’t a public service announcement about the health risks (I’ve been known to have a cocktail or two!), but rather a public service announcement about the potential risks to your reputation. In this town where rumors abound, I know the drunk guest’s antics are a hot topic today. No matter where you are, but particularly at networking events, don’t let yourself be “that guy” – it can only damage your reputation and, ultimately, your business.

Imprinted Packaging Enhances Branding

Imprinted Ribbon

Once you’ve decided on the perfect imprinted product to give your employees or customers this holiday season, consider how to package that item. Sure, you can wrap your gifts in same-old, same-old paper or simply send your gifts unwrapped, but for just a little bit more money and effort I think it’s much more impressive to use some sort of custom gift wrapping item. Here are some of my favorites:

Logoed Satin Ribbon: It’s pretty and versatile because it doesn’t have to scream “holiday.” I prefer wide ribbon in neutral metallic colors like silver or gold with a step-and-repeat logo down the whole spool.

Imprinted Paper Gift Bag:  These can even be made out of kraft paper to cut down on costs. Have your company’s logo foil stamped on one side, and order extras because you can use these year-round for events and giveaways.

Foil Labels: Foil labels are embossed with a logo or symbol and can be placed on any type of packaging to give your logo a little bit more exposure. They also make plain wrapping or gift bags stand out a bit more.

Logoed Tote: Yes, I’ve already mentioned paper gift bags, but by spending a little bit more and packing your gift in an imprinted tote you stand to gain quite a bit more marketing exposure. Most customers will reuse those bags, so your brand will be seen all over town!

Custom Boxes: If you want to go all out, then you can have creative custom packaging made. Boxes can be printed inside and out and they can be made in specific, unusual shapes and sizes. Sending a gift in, say, a custom treasure chest is fun and memorable can be a great branding move because it helps you to reinforce your company’s message.

At Gossett Marketing we give gifts in silkscreened cinch bags and we get a compliment every time! It’s one more opportunity for our customers to see our logo, plus it’s a handy item that many people use time and again. So remember, along with the holiday gift that you give to your customers and employees, take the time to imprint your packaging somehow.

When Networking, Be Memorable

Stack of Business Cards Whenever I leave a networking event or trade show, I’m always amazed by the sheer number of business cards I’ve received. I often can’t even fit them all in my business card holder so they wind up lining the bottom of my handbag! To be perfectly honest, though, it isn’t just the quantity of cards that surprises me, it’s the fact that I can barely remember who gave them to me!

Now, like everyone here at Gossett Marketing, I’m pretty diligent about making notes on new contacts’ business cards so that I can remember a little bit more about our conversation. These run the gamut from “talked about running” to “send quote for 5,000 embroidered caps” to “went to high school with her niece” – just notes that will help me. But even when I do that, my mind still draws a blank when I stare at some individuals’ cards after they’ve walked away.

Why does this happen? Why do I forget people right after meeting them? Well, I’d say it’s because those are the people who are not engaging. They attend networking events with the idea that they’ll make connections simply by giving out and, in turn, receiving as many cards as possible. They’re the people who will send you what is obviously a form letter as a means of follow up after the event. I don’t know about you, but those are not the people with whom I want to do business – nor are they the kinds of people who get my referrals.

This post isn’t to say that I don’t want you to give out and receive lots of cards when you’re at chamber of commerce events or trade shows. Just be sure to have a meaningful exchange with someone before thrusting your contact information on them. It will help you build stronger relationships because, well, those with whom you are networking will actually remember you when you walk away – and hopefully you’ll remember them too!

Being Upbeat is Good Business

One thing that I will say about the Gossett Marketing team is that we are a very positive bunch. We’re happy people with upbeat personalities who work hard but also try to have a good time doing it. Our glass-half-full personalities are absolutely beneficial to our company and to our customers too because we never see any project as impossible.

For instance, Baptist Health South Florida had an event a few weeks ago and they realized at the last minute that they needed an imprinted party favor within 24 hours. Sure, that’s a tough situation but I was pretty confident that it was doable, so I found a pretty picture frame that I thought would fit the bill. They signed off on the order and the frames were delivered the next day. I got a great order and they had their favors in time for an event – it was a win-win because I did not automatically blow off their tough request, which I think many people probably would have done.

Danette has a customer whose brand identity standards are very stringent, so she has to have preproduction samples created for every item they order. It’s a time consuming process, particularly because they often want tweaks made to the samples – small things like changing the PMS color or font size – which then requires the creation of another pre-pro. I know it’s frustrating, but she never complains and always presents the new sample with a smile on her face, which the customer certainly appreciates (as demonstrated by their frequent orders)!

These are just a couple of examples, but you get the idea. Having a positive attitude makes everyone’s life a little bit easier, and it’s just plain good for business!

Check out this YouTube clip from Elf – we’re upbeat at Gossett Marketing, but maybe not quite as upbeat as Buddy!

Marketing Burger King’s New Fries

Burger King Fries

In an effort to keep Wendy’s from overtaking its position as the #2 fast food burger restaurant in the US, Burger King* is introducing new fries that are thicker and, according to a double-blind study, better than those served by McDonald’s. Apparently their fries were not up to snuff, and they felt that it was contributing to their customers looking elsewhere for a quick bite – if Five Guys makes a great burger and great French fries, then people were more likely to eat there than at Burger King.

I’ve never met a fry that I haven’t loved, so I’m looking forward to trying Burger King’s new recipe. I will get to do so for free on December 16th, as they are giving away value-sized samples in their restaurants that day. It’s a smart marketing move because I’m sure that most customers who partake of the free fries will buy a burger or Coke to go along with them. They’re luring people in and, while not forcing them to purchase anything, they sure are making it easy to do so!

The marketing efforts will also include an ad campaign featuring Mr. Potato Head, a national tour of the “Fry Mobile,” and – I would assume – new promotional products in restaurants. It’s an all-out effort to promote the new recipe and to prove to the competition and the consumer that BK’s fries are the best out there, so prepare yourself for a barrage of fried potatoes (and one talking one!).

We’ll be hearing plenty about the new fries, I just can’t wait to try them on the 16th!

 

*Full disclosure: Burger King Corporation is a loyal Gossett Marketing customer.

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