Re-Branding Miami’s Tennis Tournament

Miami Tennis The Sony Open is currently happening on Key Biscayne, just across the bridge from Gossett Marketing’s headquarters. It’s a great event that brings nearly all of the world’s top-ranked tennis players to town, so it also draws a tremendous crowd of tourists and locals alike. If you have been around these parts for some time (like I have), though, then chances are that even if you attend the Sony Open, you call it by the wrong name!

Dreamed up in the 60’s by then-player Butch Bucholz, the tennis tournament now known as the Sony Open was originally sponsored by the Lipton Tea Company, so when the established in the 80’s it was known as The Lipton International Players Championships. The Lipton took place from 1985 until 1999, the year that Bucholz sold the tournament to IMG. The following year, Miami hosted the first Ericsson Open, which just took place in 2000 and 2001. The Ericsson was replaced by the NASDAQ-100 Open and that name stuck around from 2002-2006, then we reached the Sony Ericsson Open as the event was known until 2012. And this year, the tournament is known simply as the Sony Open. So the 28-year-old event was known for 14 of its years as The Lipton and has subsequently changed names 4 times. That means that most everyone who lived Miami during The Lipton years still refers to the tournament as such – it’s easier to remember and everyone knows what we’re talking about!

Native Miamians of a certain age grew up calling our city’s tennis tournament The Lipton and we’ve never bothered to learn otherwise, but that’s not to say that the tournament is doing a bad job of re-branding itself. They run ads everywhere with the new name (drive down US1 right now and you can’t escape the Sony Open), they give logoed promotional products at every festival, and all of their press stresses the new name. But because the tournament’s title sponsor seems to change so frequently, no one down here bothers committing any new name to memory. However, I know that the re-branding is taking root elsewhere because when I mention The Lipton to people who live elsewhere they look at me like I have three heads and correct me! I guess the tournament knows that there’s no helping Miamians and focus the brunt of their branding elsewhere – and that’s fine by me, as it brings tourists (and their money) to my hometown.

Be Careful of Who You Let Into Your Network

the walking dead If you’ve read this blog with any sort of frequency, then you know a little bit about me. You know that I’m an Account Director at Gossett Marketing, that I live in Miami, that I run, and even the name of my church (you have to have really paid attention to know that). But there is something that I’ve hidden from you until now: I am a zombie freak. One of my favorite books is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Zombieland is a preferred film, and, in my humble opinion, AMC’s The Walking Dead is hands down the best TV show ever. I’m actually surprised that I’ve kept this zombie obsession from you, my dear readers, as I honestly discuss zombies (The Walking Dead in particular) at least once a day – often with total strangers. So, without further ado, it’s time to take my passion for the undead to the blog!

The Walking Dead’s premise is this: the majority of the population has been infected with some sort of virus and turned to zombies and the show follows a group of survivors who are trying to make their way after the zombie apocalypse. It is a motley and ever-changing group whose dynamics can actually pertain to the business world, just hear me out.

You see in the world in which TWD takes place (post-zombie-apocalypse Georgia), survival is the name of the game. In order to survive the show’s characters need to trust each and every member of their group with their lives, which means that accepting new people can be tricky. You might think that there is safety in numbers, but if a member of the group proves corrupt, then he can single-handedly destroy the mini-society that they are creating. In that case, it’s much better to have one less mouth to feed than to have another pair of hands to fight the “walkers” (zombies).

As businesspeople, we spend time at networking events hoping to meet new people who we can add to our professional networks, and it can be tempting to go for quantity over quality. If you are connected to more people, then you’ll get more business, right? Wrong. Like the characters in TWD, it’s important to build a group that you trust – people who you know pay on time, people who give good referrals, and people to whom you are comfortable giving referrals. If your network contains one or more bad apples, then you will waste valuable time and resources on deals that don’t go anywhere, unpaid invoices, and the like. Unlike the characters in the TV show, these problems won’t kill you and probably won’t destroy your business, but they won’t help it either. So, like the survivors featured in my favorite zombie show, be careful with who you let into your group – make sure that your network is comprised of people that you can trust.

If you are unfamiliar with my favorite show, watch this YouTube clip – it’s the Season 2 trailer. And if you’re hooked already, be sure to leave a comment below!

Start Surprising & Spoiling Your Customers

As an Account Director at a promotional marketing products distributor, I always practice what I preach. That is, I give out promotional products to my customers and potential business contacts because I know that having an imprinted item that they can touch and feel on their desk will keep Gossett Marketing’s name top of mind, meaning that they will call me when they need more giveaways. Generally, the items I give my customers are small but useful – lately I’ve made the rounds with a ruler filled with paperclips, a gel highlighter, cinch bags, and notebooks – and I think that my customers look forward to these little leave-behinds.

While I love to give little promotional items to the majority of my customers, sometimes it’s nice to up the ante with those who order the most or who give the best referrals. That’s why the crew here at Gossett Marketing recently ordered leather-wrapped travel tumblers with our logo debossed upon them that are wrapped beautifully and come with a bag of M&M’s. The plan is to stop by their offices when we know that our most exceptional customers will be there and surprise them with an unexpected, nicer-than-usual gift. I can’t think of anyone who dislikes getting a present out of the blue and by hand-delivering these treats, we will have another reason to interact face-to-face with these special customers.

Some of you are probably thinking, “but my customers are all over the country!” So mail them their gifts with a hand-written note. If they have any sort of common courtesy, they will either pick up the phone to thank you or at least send you an e-mail. Either of these responses by your clients will open a dialogue between you and hopefully spark some business.

Give promotional products whenever the opportunity arises because it will greatly enhance your marketing. Then when you build a special relationship with a customer, surprise him or her with a promo item that is a step or two nicer than your usual giveaway. It will make him or her feel recognized, it will give you another excuse to communicate, and hopefully it will lead to even more business in the long run. So start surprising and spoiling your customers with promotional marketing products!

And because I like surprising and spoiling you, my readers, allow me to share the following YouTube video – a cute kitten acting surprised!

Careful…Even Small Choices can Haunt You

ultra music fest miami

ultra music fest miami

Growing up and now living in Miami has probably been a much different experience than growing up and living in other parts of the world. I snuck into bars at age 15. Our senior prom was held at Mansion nightclub. I was flashed by a transvestite while running the ING Miami Half Marathon. It’s a town that has a pretty raucous party scene, so I’m pretty nonplussed when I see people behaving wildly. Or at least that’s what I thought before Saturday.

Before I get to what shocked me this past weekend, let me give you a brief bit of background. I live in South Miami, it’s a very pedestrian part of town close to the University of Miami. While there are plenty of college kids around, it’s still a very family-friendly area with parks, schools, my favorite ice cream shop, and even a Disney Store all within a few blocks. The sidewalks are usually filled with strollers and kids; however, Saturday was different. On Saturday, the sidewalks of South Miami were full of girls in lingerie and guys in body paint. I was scandalized so I secretly took a picture to show to the friends that I was headed to meet. They told me that I shouldn’t have been quite so shocked, as these college-age kids were headed to the Metrorail, which took them to Ultra Music Festival, the world’s first electronic dance music festival to be held over two weekends. It’s basically a rave for tens of thousands of revelers who use the opportunity to dress quite…er…differently – a thong bathing suit and tiger stripe body paint? Yeah, I saw that walking through my idyllic neighborhood.

While I’ve been to Ultra, it really isn’t my scene – I was scandalized when I saw a few dozen crazily-dressed people, so clearly being surrounded by 20,000 similarly-clad individuals puts me over the edge. But seeing them traipsing through South Miami got me thinking: you just know that they’re going to post pictures of themselves on Facebook and Instagram, what are employers, family members and the like going to make of that? And even if they don’t post pictures themselves, they might wind up in photos on the Miami Herald or the Miami New Times. Now, I know that I have several unflattering photos of myself posted on my Facebook account, and that a less than beautiful picture of me was once posted in the paper. But you’re not going to find a picture that makes me look like I’m strung out on drugs or like I look as though I dress like, well, a prostitute. I honestly wonder if any of these festival goers have considered the possible repercussions of their sartorial choices in the age of social media?

I’ve lived in Miami for the bulk of my life, so I’ve seen a lot of people make a lot of unfortunate choices when it comes to partying, but none have been as visible as the way Ultra Music Fest attendees dress. Call me a prude, but I think that traipsing around town (and – ewww – riding public transportation) in lingerie is a bad idea not only during the festival, but because pictures of these outfits could truly haunt their subjects forever.

[Author’s Note: I want to keep this blog PG/PG13, so I didn’t post pictures of the girls I saw walking through South Miami or of the truly scantily-clad attendees.]

Be Interested When Networking

interestedI just read a great post about by Nancy Matthews on called “Business Networking Tips For Women Entrereneurs.” My favorite line in the piece was the last one, “Remember, it’s better to be INTERESTED than INTERESTING when you do business networking.” What a great way to express the truth about networking – people like talking about themselves, so if you let them then they’ll probably like you!

I don’t want to say that networking is a popularity contest, but in a way it is. It’s all about going out, meeting new people, and starting a relationship with them. Now, it’s easy to meet people – it’s the latter half of the previous sentence that is tricky. You might meet and give your card to 100 people at a networking event, but if you want to business with or get referrals from them, it’s important that they actually see some value in getting to know you. The easiest way to do that is to have a conversation with them, about them – people think that they are interesting and they want you to be interested in them. By giving your new acquaintance your undivided attention for 5 minutes at a networking event and actually listening to what he has to say, you’re making him feel good and like you; thus, when you call him later in the week, he’s actually going to pick up the phone to further the relationship.

Networking events can be overwhelming – you are surrounded by people who can potentially help you grow your business, so it is tempting to just throw your cards at people and walk away. But that’s not the way to create a lasting relationship with a potential new customer. A better plan is to find someone with whom you really think you can do business (or to whom you can refer business or who can do so for you) and actually pat attention to what he is saying. Resist the urge to lose focus (put down that cell phone!) and be INTERESTED!

To read the post by Ms. Matthews, click here. It’s short, sweet, to the point, and definitely worth perusing.

How to Give Promos that Stand Out

Virgin Atlantic Mug, University of Miami Stress Reliever, Sunglasses

Virgin Atlantic Mug, University of Miami Stress Reliever, Sunglasses

When you hear the term “promotional marketing products,” you probably envision imprinted pens, paperweights, t-shirts, and the like. It’s that old “trinkets and trash” mentality – people think that promo products can only be X,Y, or Z and that those categories have been beaten to death. Well, I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong (which is fortunate for me – I would be bored to death if I had to talk about pens all day). The options for promotional products are endless, and given enough time, the Gossett Marketing team can have pretty much anything you want or need imprinted with your company’s logo. Here are just a few examples of custom promos to get your creative juices flowing:

UHealth Stress Reliever

U-Shaped Stress Reliever – we did these for the University of Miami Health System in the shape of their logo. Trust me, the “U” is ubiquitous down here, so they are immediately recognizable and they’re a great reminder that UM has a hospital.




Children's Sunglasses

Children’s Sunglasses – these specially-sized Wayfarer-knockoffs were distributed at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival this year. The allover pineapple imprint was a huge hit with recipients and we saw thousands of little kids protecting their eyes with these fun, lime-green shades.


Virgin Atlantic Teacup


Jumbo Jet Tea Cups – the tea cups that we produced for Virgin Atlantic combined the British passion for tea with the shape of the jets that the UK-based airline operates. These whimsical promos were adored by their recipients, many of whom begged for more!



Sure, you can get plain old promotional stress relievers, sunglasses, or tea cups, but those are not nearly as memorable as the three custom pieces that I just mentioned. So be sure to stand out in your customers’ minds by getting creative with your promotional marketing.

This Kid’s Got Nerve – And We Should Too

billy joel As I’ve previously mentioned on the blog, I attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While Vandy is not an unknown school, it’s not an entity that makes the national news on a terribly-regular basis, so when it does I am inundated with articles, videos, and links. So when a video of Billy Joel being accompanied by a Vanderbilt student on the piano recently went viral, you can rest assured that I saw it more than once!

I happen to love Billy Joel and his song “New York State of Mind,” which Vanderbilt Freshman Michael Pollack played with the singer, so I loved watching the video and listening to the pair making great music together. While the Pollack hit every note perfectly, what really impressed me about his performance was not his musical talent; rather, it was his nerve.

I’m not one to be overly impressed by celebrities, but even I must admit that Billy Joel is an icon. He has been famous for longer than the 18-some-odd-year-old Michael Pollack has been alive. Plus he is a proud Long Islander, which is where Pollack grew up. So I think it’s safe to surmise that the student has been aware of – and probably a fan of – the singer for as long as he can remember. When they interviewed him recently on the Today Show, Michael admitted that he was quite nervous to talk to Mr. Joel and mentioned that when you watch the video, you can hear a quaver in his voice, which is why I am duly impressed that he had the nerve to ask to play with his idol.

Aside from admiring his skill on a keyboard, I think we can all learn from Michael Pollack’s attitude. Although he was nervous to do so, he really put himself out there by asking to accompany Billy Joel on the piano. That was a pretty darn brave thing to do, and it’s something that we should all emulate. In business and in life we should put ourselves out there like my now-favorite Vanderbilt Freshman did. It’s scary because we might get rejected, but we might also end up fulfilling a dream, just like Michael Pollack did.

In case you haven’t been bombarded with links to the aforementioned video, click here to watch it on Youtube. Enjoy!

How to Make Networking Work for You

networking I go to a lot of networking events, and I must admit that it can be a struggle. I’ve often regretted signing up (and prepaying) for a luncheon on a Tuesday that finds me swamped with phone calls and e-mails because I know that my voicemail and inbox with both be even fuller when I return. I’ve cursed the cocktail hours that interfere with my workouts at The Bar Method. I’ve lamented the extra-early wakeup on mornings when I’m attending a “Bagels with the Boss” breakfast. While I might find attending networking events challenging at times, I know that they are a necessary evil, so I just grin and bear it – and vow to plan better next time.

Over the years I’ve found that the people towards whom I gravitate at networking functions are those who seem genuinely happy – not the ones who are clearly grinning and bearing it like me. Therefore, I have made it a priority to go to networking events that work for me, not those that I feel like I’m forcing myself to attend. For instance, I love to run with Team Footworks. It’s something that makes me feel good, and as an added bonus, it has connected me with a huge number of businesspeople that I might not have met otherwise (for instance, the man who distributes Corn Flakes in Haiti). Spending time pounding the pavement with my fellow runners has allowed us to form lasting bonds, and I would never hesitate to refer business to my running buddies, or them to me. I know that running isn’t a traditional networking event, but it works for me so I roll with it.

I know that not everyone runs or feels like atypical networking is right for them, but everyone can figure out their own networking preferences and make them work for them. For instance, a morning person might really enjoy the aforementioned “Bagels with the Boss” event. Or someone who likes to unwind with a martini at the end of the day might relish the chance to do so while meeting fellow businessmen. In most cities there are abundant networking opportunities, so choose the ones that you will enjoy (whether or not they are traditional) and go. You’ll be a happier networker and make an even better impression than you would if you were faking it!

I Googled “grin and bear it” and the following YouTube video came up. Click to enjoy the antics of none other than Donald Duck:

Promos to Recharge Your Marketing

In this video blog post, Danette Gossett, fearless leader of Gossett Marketing and, sits down with Eric from Spector & Co., our preferred supplier of executive promotional products. Spector launched a line of technology accessories, so Eric stopped by to show us his favorites – power banks designed to re-charge personal electronics.

The first item that Eric shows Danette has 3000 mA of current, which is enough to charge not one but two iPads. They are also FCCC certified, easy to carry, gender neutral, have a large imprint area (perfect for displaying your company’s logo), and come elegantly gift boxed. All of these attributes make them wonderful promotional marketing products. The second power bank that Eric displays for Danette is slightly smaller than the first, making it easier to carry in a handbag, pocket, or briefcase. Although smaller, it will also charge an iPhone 5 or a tablet computer.

Everyone – even my grandmother! – carries some sort of personal electronics with us on a regular basis, meaning that at some point we all need to re-charge them. So why not give away useful promotional products that do just that? They’re useful and give your logo great marketing exposure. Give Gossett Marketing a call or leave a comment on this blog post and we’ll help you recharge your branding efforts! (ha – see what I did there?!)

iphone charger

4 Great Spring Break Promos

beach balls
The old idiom “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” has proven true this year, even in Miami. This month has started with temperatures in the 40’s here in Gossett Marketing’s hometown, but I know that a few weeks from now we’ll be enjoying temperatures in the high 70’s – quite the change. While I know that the rest of the country doesn’t experience quite the warm-up that we spoiled Miamians do, at least the really frigid temperatures will (hopefully!) be a thing of the past by Easter Sunday. Aside from the fact that March brings warmer weather, it also provides relief to winter-weary folks in the form of Spring Break – an annual break that many people use as an opportunity to take a vacation. It’s also a great opportunity for many companies to distribute promotional marketing products. Here are a few ideas that tie in with the theme:

  • Luggage Tags. Let’s face it: everyone’s suitcases look the same. Sure, you’ll occasionally spot a polka-dotted Diane von Furstenberg rolling bag on the luggage carousel, but it’s generally filled with boring old black bags. To make their suitcases easier to spot, I recommend that resorts and travel agents alike give out brightly-colored luggage tags with their logo imprinted upon them. We have options that are under $1, pieces that light up, colorful leather pieces, and they can always be custom molded. These are great promotional items because people who might not necessarily wear your logo on a t-shirt will affix it to their luggage and roll it around airports – fabulous exposure!
  • First Aid Kits. I don’t know about you, but I always like to at least have a small pack of bandages with me when I go on vacation (I am the queen of blisters). But it’s also nice to have antiseptic ointment, hand sanitizer, and even a little bit of extra sunscreen on-hand. That’s why I think it’s smart when our customers like Baptist Health South Florida and the University of Miami Hospital give out these little kits at this time of year. They’re easy to toss into a carryon bag, and I know that people (like me) use the heck out of them on vacation – and see their healthcare provider’s logo the whole time.
  • Foldable Tote Bags. For some reason, even if I don’t buy a lot of souvenirs, I always have a harder time packing my clothes at the end of a vacation. I try to keep the dirty separated from the clean, I have wet bathing suits to tote around, and I think I’m a lot lazier when I have to pack up to leave than I am prior to my trip. Anyhow, this frequently leads to me swiping a plastic laundry bag from the stateroom on my cruise ship and traipsing it around a port. It’s a very sophisticated way to pack! If ships gave out foldable tote bags it would certainly help bad end-of-vacation packers like me. Plus, other people in the port (and beyond) would see the ships’ names when people toted the bags around after their trip. (By the way, this is a great idea for hotels too, I am just going on a cruise in the near future so I have them on the brain.)
  • Beach Balls. I don’t care how old you are, it’s fun to play with a beach ball! They’re great at the pool or at the beach, making them perfect imprinted items for resorts to include in every room. Guests will use them at the property, but many will also take them for later use – meaning that people will see, say, the Little Dix Bay logo at beaches and pools beyond the Caribbean. They also might make an appearance at the next Jimmy Buffett concert and entice Parrotheads to check out the hotel’s website. After all, that’s a group that is known to enjoy a beach vacation!

I could go on and on because Spring Break offers seemingly endless promotional marketing opportunities, but I’ll spare you my rambling. Whatever you choose, be sure to give your customers imprinted promotional items this time of year – they’ll take your marketing effort from lamb-like to lion-esque in no time!

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