Being Late to a Networking Event Isn’t Fashionable

fashionably late When I first started attending business networking events, I was inclined to show up on the later side. If it was a luncheon with open networking from 11:30-12:00, then I liked to saunter in at, oh, say 11:50. I figured that if there was already a roomful of conversations in full swing, I could just look for stragglers and talk to them for a few minutes while waiting for the program to start. Well, guess what? The stragglers were excluded from the other conversations for a reason: they made networking all about them, they were painfully shy, or they just didn’t want to connect. Basically, they were the dregs of the event, and after a while that became quite obvious to me!

Although I don’t think of myself as a particularly introverted person, I think the reason that my initial networking strategy was to, well, avoid the whole networking part of it, was because it’s sort of an awkward situation. While I will sometimes have lengthy conversations with total strangers at the bank, networking can sometimes feel forced, which is why I didn’t want to be in the middle of it for all that much time.

Anyhow, at the outset I was networking, but I really wasn’t doing it right. That is until I had an event that I knew I would have to leave a bit early, so I decided to get there right when it began (I had to get my money’s worth). Walking in, I was one of only about a dozen people there, many of whom were our chamber of commerce’s “ambassadors,” one of whom immediately greeted me and introduced me to everyone else in the room. It made starting conversations so easy! And because the room wasn’t packed, it was also easier to continue those chats – I could actually hear what my new contact was saying.

Ever since that event, I’ve found that my networking efforts are much more successful if I show up promptly. Being late to a networking event isn’t fashionable, it’s a waste of time!

Showcasing the Power of Promotional Products

buy yours at shop.corona.com

buy yours at shop.corona.com

I’ve seen the same commercial for Corona several times lately, and I think that it does an excellent job of showcasing the power of promotional products. It starts with a man putting away a battered cooler, upon which is imprinted the beer brand’s logo. Then it shows how the cooler got so beat up – it’s at the beach, at baseball games, at concerts, camping, and at outdoor parties. I know that this commercial is fictional, but think about how many pairs of eyes would have seen the Corona logo if the cooler really did attend all of those events! It’s tremendous brand exposure. Plus, the end of the commercial shows that the cooler was bought by its owner (as opposed to it being a free giveaway), so Corona would have profited on his purchase even as he did their marketing for them. That, my friends, is the power of logoed promotional products!

Click on this YouTube clip if you haven’t seen the Corona cooler commercial, and take a cue from the company by giving or selling your own powerful promo items.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day
Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the US. It’s a day that we set aside to remember the service men and women who have fallen in the line of duty, and it is marked by somber ceremonies and the addition of American Flags to gravesites. The holiday is a time to reflect on the sacrifices that these brave troops have made to keep our country free.

In addition to the service men and women to whom the day is dedicated, I found myself thinking a lot about the people whose lives have been lost in recent tragedies: the Oklahoma tornado, Boston Marathon bombings, Newtown shootings, and SuperStorm Sandy. The victims of these awful situations did not sacrifice themselves for our freedom, but, like those killed in combat, their lives were lost too soon.

There has been some horrible news lately and this Memorial Day was an opportunity to reflect upon deceased members of the armed forces and victims of violence or catastrophic events. It made me appreciate the sacrifices that people have made for me – someone they did not know – and it was just a good reminder that life is short, so we should all live it to the fullest.

I’ll be back to regular blog posts tomorrow, but until then take a minute to reflect upon those whose lives were lost too soon.

Remember to Lend a Helping Hand

helping hand
I know that nothing positive came out of the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Men, women, and children lost their lives too soon, the property damage will top $1 billion, it’s just, not to sound too hyperbolic, but it is truly a tragic situation. If there is a glimmer of good to be seen, though, it is that that the community – as well as relief organizations and even celebrities – has truly come together to help with the relief process. I firmly believe that the worst situations bring out the best in people and Oklahoma is a testament to that. The tornado’s victims have been through one of the worst tragedies in recent history and yet they are joining together to help their neighbors.

We should all draw inspiration from the community of Moore by helping one another when we face difficult circumstances. And by that I don’t just mean billion-dollar disasters, but also everyday situations. Your neighbor has a flat tire? Offer him a lift. A homeless person tells you he’s hungry? Buy him a value meal at McDonald’s. These little gestures don’t take a lot of time or cost too much money, but they might genuinely help someone in need.

We can also lend a helping hand in our business endeavors. For example, if your coworker has a lot on her plate and you’ve just wrapped up a project, offer your assistance – maybe that will allow her to leave work by 8:00 so she can tuck her kids in bed. Another great way to be helpful in the business world is by referring business to members of your network. Make it a point to make one referral a week, which your business contacts will appreciate and probably repay in the future.

If there is any good to come out of the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma it has got to be the community’s response. We should all honor the people of that city by remembering to lend a helping hand in our neighborhoods, at work, or anywhere on a regular basis.

How to Help Oklahoma

Photo from heavy.com

Photo from heavy.com

Everyone here at Gossett Marketing has the people impacted by Monday’s deadly tornado in our hearts and prayers. And having been through horrible storms ourselves, we know that in addition to prayers, the people in Oklahoma need our support – in the form of donations – to rebuild. Sadly, I’m sure that people will run set up fraudulent charities to steal others’ contributions, so if you do donate, please be sure to do so through a reputable organization. Here are some options:

The Salvation Army is collecting money through its website, by phone (800-725-2769), and when individuals text the word “STORM” to 80888.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations much like The Salvation Army. Go to their website, call them at 800-733-2767, or text “REDCROSS” to 90999.

Another option is to give to Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief. Visit their website here.

For other ways to donate, check out this comprehensive list from NBC News. Big or small, every bit of charity will help the victims of Monday’s tornado.

And to see something good after such a terrible storm, click on the YouTube video below – just be sure to have a tissue handy!

People go Crazy for Promotional Products

free tshirts My husband and I love to travel, so, fittingly, we often tune in to the Travel Channel for ideas and tips. One show that we always seem to catch is less of a travel program and more of a competition: it’s called Man vs. Food and it features the host taking on eating challenges across the country. The challenges vary – sometimes he has to consume something ultra-spicy, other times he has to down copious amounts of food in a set period of time. While they are different in nature, the vast majority of these eating tests have one thing in common – the winner gets a free t-shirt to mark the feat!

Watching people eat isn’t the only thing that entertains my husband and me on a regular basis – we are also avid sports fans who follow all of the Miami teams. Whether we watch at our favorite sports bar, at home, or at the ballpark, one thing that I always notice is how very excited fans are when they get a t-shirt. Take the Miami Heat as an example: during the playoffs they leave a Heat shirt on each and every chair so that everyone in the arena is wearing white. Well, not only do they wear them during the games, but fans proudly wear them all over town after the games. And what about those t-shirt guns that fire them into the stands at a baseball game? Who hasn’t seen grown men snatch those flying shirts away before a hopeful kid can grab them? If these recipients are that excited to catch a t-shirt, you can bet that they will wear it after the event.

People will do absolutely crazy things to get free t-shirts commemorating an eating challenge, a playoff run, or even a Marlins loss. Fortunately for those giving them away, these promotional products are inexpensive and people who make an effort to get them will wear them time and again – that is great logo exposure for any brand. So come up with a reason to give these items to excited recipients and let them do your marketing for you!

If you’ve never seen Man vs. Food, watch this YouTube clip – would you eat this much steak for a t-shirt?

Would You Drive an Ad-Wrapped Car?

photo from wrapvehicles.com

photo from wrapvehicles.com

Knowing that I write three blog posts per week about promotional products, marketing, networking, etc. (and that figuring out a topic is often much more difficult for me than the actual writing process), my friends and family are constantly sending me stories that they think might be pertinent. I file these emails in an Outlook folder called “Blog Ideas” and generally only reach for them when my creativity hits rock bottom – like today! This afternoon almost found me writing a blog post about bubble gum, which is when I realized that it was time for me to visit the Ideas folder, where I discovered a great article from Wired.com, which you can read by clicking here.

The Wired article is about a California company* that pays drivers up to $400 per month to have their car wrapped with advertisements, and commuters are clamoring to sign up. You see, this type of company doesn’t just select anyone’s cars to wrap, they prefer high-mileage drivers with a safe record – and they track the cars once they are wrapped in order to ensure that the ads get enough exposure. What a smart way to advertise to fellow commuters who see the wrapped cars in traffic or even to individuals who walk by the parked vehicles! It’s like a bumper sticker on steroids!

I am a terrible candidate for a car wrap because I drive for approximately 15 minutes per day, and all on backstreets. But if I had to, say, regularly drive from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale, I would absolutely apply – $400 per month just to go about my business would be a great way to pay for auto insurance, gas, and a car payment. What about you? Would you be willing to drive around with someone’s ad on your car? I’m genuinely curious, so please let me know in the comments below. And if you happen upon an idea that might make excellent blog fodder, I beg you to send that my way too! Save yourself from the potential bubble gum post!

*Author’s Note: I went to the website of the auto-wrapping company that Wired.com had listed in its article and that very company is no longer offering to pay drivers who wrap their cars. However, there are other companies out there that still do. So if you are interested, just Google it to find one in your area.

Is Your Logo Up to Standards (on everything)?

Logo Standards As a brand, you should take your logo standards seriously to create a cohesive image across all visual mediums, from websites to promotional products. That means utilizing the proper fonts, determining an encroachment area so that the logo is never placed too close to other images or text, setting size parameters, and utilizing the proper colors. Once these logo rules are created, they need to be used consistently, whether your logo is on a t-shirt or a billboard. The whole of the Gossett Marketing team is acutely aware of corporate logo standards, to the point where we consider ourselves to be their “logo police” who do not submit their proofs to them until we think they are up to standards.

That said, I/we analyze a lot of logos – those for various departments within Baptist Health, different University of Miami entities, cruise lines and their individual ships, tech companies… the list goes on and on. In all of that analysis, I’ve come to think that one logo standard is the most important of all (other than choosing the correct logo!) and that is utilizing approved corporate colors. When you think about Home Depot, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it’s the orange logo: the same bright shade of orange remains consistent whether it is in a print ad or on a business card, plus employees wear aprons in the same hue. But how does Home Depot keep its orange the same on every type of material upon which it’s applied? Easy – they utilize the Pantone Matching System and submit their color’s number (PMS 165) each and every time they use it.

As a rule here, when we order our customer’s promotional products from our suppliers we always supply the proper PMS color for the given logo. That way, the supplier will prepare his ink so that it will imprint according to logo standards – so whether the Baptist Health logo is going on a white non-woven bag, a tan jotter, or a silver pen, it will always be the same PMS 336 green. To the average customer, that logo color is much more easily identifiable than the font in which a department’s name is printed, so, in my opinion, keeping it uniform is the most important of any company’s logo standards.

Branding is all about consistency, so make sure that your logo is up to standards every time you use it. And if you have to choose just one rule to follow, make sure that your PMS colors are utilized each and every time you imprint anything.

This YouTube clip gives you a more complete definition of the Pantone Matching System (and it’s under a minute long) – give it a watch if you’re interested.

The Power of Positive Feedback

gold star We’ve all heard the old adage “no news is good news,” and it’s definitely a true sentiment. When we deliver an order of promotional marketing products to a customer and don’t hear back from them, we know that the recipient must be satisfied with her purchase. But when we get 4 emails and 3 phone calls in a row, we know that there is bad news pertaining to the delivery – and we work our hardest to rectify the situation. I understand only getting “news” when there is a problem because I’m just like our customers. I expect that orders will be completed properly and in a timely manner, meaning that very often the only time I reach out to our suppliers is when there is a glitch.

Well, recently several of our customers have actually been sending us news that’s good. For example, we produced bags for the CREW Miami Fishing Tournament and the organizer sent me an e-mail to let me know that although she got a few for free, she went ahead and bought another because they are so beautiful. And not too long ago, Susan got a phone call from a customer just to tell her what a pleasure it was to work with her. There have been other kind bits of news coming our way this year, but I won’t toot the Gossett Marketing horn too much by listing more! I have to say, though, that every time we hear something nice about the promotional products that we supply or about our good customer service, it makes our whole team smile. In fact, we like it so much that we’ve dedicated a portion of our company bulletin board to what we call our “gold stars.” On a bad day, it’s a great board to peruse – it gives us all the warm fuzzies knowing that people like us, they really like us!

Because we like getting good news, the Gossett Marketing gang is now making a conscious effort to pay it forward. When our suppliers deliver promotional items that our customers love, they don’t know about it unless we tell them. So now whenever we get a “gold star,” we pass that praise along to the corresponding vendor. And guess what? They love it too! Who wouldn’t love an unexpected bit of praise?!

Another old saying is “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” and that’s true too. When my customers treat me nicely, I’m much happier to work with them than I am to work with unkind people. Similarly, I know that the vendors to whom I am nice are more apt to extend good deals, special offers, and are just generally more helpful than those who only hear from me when the news is bad.

No matter what industry you are in, be sure to tell people that they’ve done a good job. It will make them feel good, might compel them to pay it forward, and, if nothing else, it’s another reason to reach out to them – which keeps you on their radar in a positive way.

Cooking for a Cure

Embrace Tomorrow Powered by Baptist Health Breast Center

Embrace Tomorrow
Powered by Baptist Health Breast Center

I know we all get asked as part of our businesses to support our clients and their causes. Gossett Marketing recently had the privilege to support not only a cause I hold dear but also our client Baptist Health.

This past Saturday we were the Apron Sponsor for a unique and fun event – the Pineapple Saute & Sip! This was an interactive dinner that benefited Baptist Health Breast Center’s CareCoach and Genetic Testing programs. Like many of you, I have both close friends and family that have been touched by breast cancer and so I was more than happy to help.
The theme of the evening was Key West Casual and our celebratory chef was none other than Miami’s own Norman Van Aken and highlighting his new book My Key West Kitchen.

If you are unfamiliar with an interactive meal, it’s where each of the tables prepares their own meal. Our celebrity chef guided us through the courses and our sous chef at the table from the Miami Culinary Institute made sure we didn’t miss any necessary steps.

I do believe though, while the food was fabulous, we all loved that the attire was truly Key West Casual – shorts were allowed!! When was the last time you went to an event at the JW Marriott Marquis on a Saturday night in shorts?

The event also introduced their new initiative and logo – Embrace Tomorrow. So at each table setting there were frames with stories of survivors for us to take with us as a reminder. The aprons of course were hot pink and included the embroidered logo and all were worn (with pride at our table) as dinner was prepared.

It made for a unique event and the more than 500 people seemed to be enjoying the fun and casual atmosphere. I was able to chat with many clients and friends, some that I had not seen in quite some time. Susan from the office also joined me so she was able to put faces with voices!

I do believe the event was a huge success and I am proud we at Gossett Marketing were able to be a part of that success. We all have to do our parts these days to help out so many worthy causes, so if you can, the next time you are asked, maybe you too can say yes.

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