Tips to Help You Stay Busy This Summer

photo from thecampuscompanion.com

photo from thecampuscompanion.com

I try to write fresh content for the blog three times each week, but it’s been a busy one here at Gossett Marketing! So this week’s “Everyday Life Vignette,” take a look at some past posts that celebrate the summer. I hope you find them useful!

Take your branding to the beach with these great flip flops that leave your logo or message in the sand. They’re a great promotional giveaway that customers will love! Brand the sand.

Miami manages to keep business booming during these off-tourist-season months. Read how it’s done: How Miami Keeps Business Booming

Sure, people are in and out of town during the summertime, but don’t let your networking efforts take a vacation. Here are easy ways to stay on track: Keep on networking this summer

Protect your customers and employees from sun damage while marketing to the public with these smart promotional products: Sun safety (and some marketing)

Make those summer vacations easier for everyone by giving out (and using) TSA-approved carry-on bags like this one: TSA-approved promotional products

I hope that one or more of these oldies-but-goodies inspires you to keep up the good work – marketing and otherwise – this summer!

Google+: A Good Social Media Platform that I Don’t Want to Use

photo from orgspring.com

photo from orgspring.com

The Gossett Marketing team recently sat down with our social media coach Cynthia Seymour of Seymour Results to discuss Google+. As someone who writes a lot of blog posts and spends quite a bit of time on LinkedIn and Twitter, I actually groaned numerous times during the meeting. Another social media platform to learn? Who has the time? This online networking thing isn’t my real job, you know, I do have to sell promotional marketing products at some point during the day!

Cynthia was undeterred by my whining, though, and she powered through her explanation as to why we all need to be on Google+. And what she said made sense. G+ lets you connect with people in a unique way – when you follow people you actually put them in “Circles” of your own creation, and you can filter your content according to those Circles. For instance, both Baptist Health and Royal Caribbean are our customers, so they would be in my Customer Circle. But Baptist would also be in my Healthcare Circle, while Royal Caribbean would go in the one that I establish for Travel. So if I wanted to see what sort of content both of these customers have shared, I would elect to look at my Customer Circle, but if I wanted to share a neat post pertaining to healthcare just to the people with whom I am connected in that industry, then I could send it to my Healthcare Circle exclusively.

Other than filtering content in an easy way, Google+ also allows your personality to shine through differently than it can on other social media platforms. Posts can be longer than the 140 character limit imposed by Twitter, which makes it an easier way to share deeper and more complete thoughts. And Google’s social media platform isn’t as buttoned up and corporate as LinkedIn, so everyone is a bit more relaxed and carefree than they are on that site. I think that being more personal makes you more memorable when you’re networking, so I actually like the fact that Google+ lets you be yourself while making connections across the world.

Clearly I can tell that there are business and networking benefits to joining Google+, but I’m still reluctant to participate. As I said before, I only have so many hours in a day to get everything done – and social media is just one aspect of my job. I’m sure that I will ultimately begin to use the platform, but I can promise you that there will be much more whining before I do so. What do you think? Am I being stupid? Or are you also overwhelmed by the number of social media platforms that we now seem to need? Let me know in your comments below, please. I’d love some feedback.

A Truly Terrible Promotional Product

birdman
I know I talk about Miami sports a lot in our blog, and I apologize for being so focused on our local teams, but the Heat recently won the NBA Finals and we’re all still really excited about it around these parts. The city and I will get over it soon (we’re famously fickle fans), so you won’t have to read about Miami basketball for too much longer, I promise!

You may or may not know that the Heat picked up a new player during this past season. Chris Andersen became a team member in January and has been an excellent acquisition for my hometown team: in fact, he was one of only five Heat players to score in Game 7 of the Finals. Birdman, as he is known, is also one of the most colorful players in the NBA, and I mean that literally – he is absolutely covered in brightly-hued tattoos! According to this blog post from 2012, 45% of his upper body is tattooed.

Suffice it to say that Birdman is a notably-“tatted” person (who most fans might not even recognize if they didn’t see the stars on his ears or “Free Bird” across his neck). So when the NBA Store issued memorabilia to commemorate the 2013 Championship, wouldn’t it make sense that the bobblehead representing Chris Andersen would depict him with his body ink? Well, weirdly, the doll that they are selling features absolutely no tattoos!

Pro sports are littered with bad bobblehead likenesses, as you can see by clicking here. But Birdman’s missing tattoos are a pretty egregious error in my book, as their absence means that his toy is missing the signature part of his look. I don’t know if excluding his tattoos was a calculated move by the NBA or if it was a mistake, but either way it makes his celebratory bobblehead a truly terrible promotional marketing product. Take a look at the image below – what do you think?

photo from realgm.com

photo from realgm.com

What’s the Point of Celebrity Voice Overs?

tv
I recently had a conversation with one of my girlfriends about television commercials that use celebrity voices. It started because she pointed out that it sounds like John Krasinski on the Esurance commercials. I then mentioned to her that Julia Roberts is the voice of Nationwide Insurance. She said that the woman who pitches Olive Garden’s deals sounds quite a bit like “Claire” from Modern Family. And we both decided that it’s “Aiden” from Sex and the City that we hear hawking Walgreen’s and Applebee’s.

Once we sorted out who was shilling what we started talking about how it seems weird to pay more for a celebrity’s voice than to just have a regular voice over actor deliver lines in these companies’ commercials. People who watch less television than my friend and I probably wouldn’t be able to pick out these famous voices, after all, so what is the point of spending more for their services? It makes sense to have someone like Charlize Theron appear in Dior perfume ads because she is physically there, endorsing the products, but my friend wondered the purpose of utilizing a celebrity almost covertly by having them voice commercials anonymously?

The authoritative answer is because certain celebrities’ voices project certain feelings to consumers. For example, Morgan Freeman is considered to sound comforting, which is why he’s a great choice for Visa. Credit cards can trigger thoughts of debt and thus feelings of stress to the over-stretched public, so the strategic use of his soothing voice counteracts those sentiments. That makes a lot of sense to me!

Beyond that, I think that the use of a celebrity voice (minus that person’s image) in a television ad is smart precisely because people like my girlfriend and I discuss it. We had a long conversation about the stars’ voices and the companies that use them, proving that the celebrity voices help everyday people recall the brand names. So although it might cost more to use a celebrity’s voice in a commercial, it seems to me like it’s worth it.

Click on the YouTube video below – can you tell whose voice is in the Benjamin Moore commercial?

Be Yourself (to an extent)

be yourself In this portion of the blog, I post all of my cleverest (I think) networking tips. Show up early to be introduced to strangers! Do your networking outside of official networking events! Perfect your elevator speech! Follow up in the manner that your new contact prefers! I really do think that those are good tips, and I do practice what I preach. But when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, networking is just about making a connection with someone else and hopefully forming a relationship with him or her. And the best way to do that is to be yourself.

Have you ever met someone – at a networking event or otherwise – who just seems off? I have an acquaintance that I met back in high school who always seems like he’s trying to sell me something even though we’ve never done business together. And I recently encountered a woman at an event who was trying hard to sound smart by peppering her sentences with what sounded like SAT vocabulary words. In my opinion, most people aren’t naturally sales-y, nor do they utilize words that they don’t fully understand unless they want to impress others. And having a conversation with either of these two feels uncomfortable to me because it’s obvious that both are changing their personalities.

Unless you let your true colors shine through when you meet someone at a networking event, the other person can’t truly connect with you. And if that other person is anything like me, then chances are that they won’t want to connect with the fake version of you (I haven’t followed up with Ms. Vocab Words!). A better plan is to be yourself when you’re networking. Personally, I’m a little bit goofy, and while I behave professionally when I meet a prospective business contact, I can’t help but share my corny jokes and anecdotes on occasion. Fortunately for me, my goofiness makes me more approachable and hopefully more memorable after an event! In my mind when the people I meet need to order promotional products, they think to themselves, “I should call Lillian, the woman who told me that excellent joke!” That’s probably not the case, but perhaps they’ll just remember that I sell promo items all the same.

Now, don’t read this post and think that you can attend networking events and be the “self” that your closest friends know and love. That is not the case at all. I want your personality to shine through when you meet new people while networking, but it needs to be the business version, not the “warts and all” one! Be yourself so that you can charm the people you meet, don’t scare them away!

Promos for the Long Hot Summer

photo from gccohio.org

photo from gccohio.org

I’m sure that there are parts of the country that are still enjoying pleasant temperatures right now, but Miami sure isn’t one of them. As soon as June 1st rolled around we hit summer weather – it’s hot, it’s humid, it’s rainy, and it is going to stay this way until Thanksgiving. Although I complain about the climate every day during the summer (it’s true, ask anyone here at Gossett Marketing and they will tell you that I’m a summertime whiner), I know that I need to suck it up and accept it. One way that I’m doing so is by recommending fun summer-themed items to my customers who are looking for promotional products. Here are my favorite items for this sticky, steamy season.

  1. Beach Towels – Is there any better way to cool off than with a dip in the ocean? If you give your customers fluffy towels embroidered with your company’s logo, then everyone on the sand will have an opportunity to see your name.
  2. Coolers – It’s hot out, so make sure that your employees can keep their lunches chilled as they commute to work by distributing imprinted lunch coolers. Or reward a good customer with a hard-sided Igloo model that would be perfect to take to a concert. Either way, your logo will be made visible to tons of pairs of eyes.
  3. Summer Skin Care Items – During the summer people tend to spend a lot of time outdoors, which can wreak havoc on their skin. So at your next tradeshow or safety fair, give away imprinted tubes of sunblock, aloe, bug spray, and lip balm. That way your potential customers or business partners will carry your logo with them until they use the skin care product that you’ve given them.
  4. Insulated Tumblers – Living in Miami means dealing with lots of condensation. If I drink from anything but a double-wall piece of drinkware, then my ice melts seemingly instantly and the condensation spills over the top of my coasters. So I stick to Tervis Tumblers (or close copies) during the extra-humid summer months.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer but doesn’t mean that your marketing efforts have to suffer. It’s easy to tailor your promotional products to the season – making your customers’ and employees’ lives more comfortable while boosting your brand at the beach, at a concert, or even as they sip a condensation-free glass of water at their desks.

Is it Work or a Workout?

photo from thirdage.com

photo from thirdage.com

Today I was completely stumped as to what to write for our “Everyday Life Vignette” this week, so at my college friend’s suggestion I am pondering exercise at the office. Here goes…

I talk about my fitness routine a lot here on the blog. I run, I walk, I go to the gym, I attend Bar Method classes, I schedule my workouts and treat them as nonnegotiable events. So maybe I’m a little bit obsessive about it (you’d think I’d weigh a lot less!), but I really do believe that exercise is an important part of life. You might think that my workout routine is nutty – many of my friends do – but even I don’t sit on an exercise ball all day or walk on my treadmill at my desk!

Have you ever seen either of the aforementioned setups? There are actually pieces of equipment out there that are specifically designed to allow you to work out while you’re at your desk! People really do balance on those big exercise balls all day – it helps strengthen core muscles. And not only are there treadmill/desk combos available, there are also elliptical machines and stationary bikes that are office compatible. To me, pedaling a bike while writing an e-mail seems really challenging – like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. I’m not sure that I have the coordination to do it.

I understand that our sedentary lifestyles are problematic and that desk jobs offer very little in the way of exercise, but although I’m a fitness freak, I don’t think that exercising on the job is the way for me to go. But it could be yours! If you think that working out at work is a good way for you to get active, check out this YouTube video – you can learn how to build your own desk/treadmill.

Why Blogs Make Great Networking Tools

tools When I first started writing InterestingMarketingTidbits.com, my general idea as to its purpose was to tell people about cool promotional products, give networking tips, and just share other general thoughts. And that truly is still the main reason that I write it week in and week out. But when I became a blogger and started to meet other individuals who have created or who write for other blogs, I learned that this site has more value than as just a means to disseminate information. Blogs are really good networking tools!

The thing about a blog is that if you want anyone to read it you have to promote it. And adding its URL to your business card and e-mail signature is never going to get you huge amounts of traffic. Rather, as a blogger you have to use social media to introduce your content to the world while meeting your fellow bloggers. Here at Gossett Marketing we utilize Twitter and LinkedIn (and Google+…soon) to do so. We regularly utilize these platforms to send out our posts, and fortunately, other people think enough of them to share them with their followers too!

It sounds simple when you read the previous paragraph, but building up your social media network takes work. I said that I use LinkedIn and Twitter to share our posts, but I actually use those platforms to promote my social media friends’ posts three times more often than I use them to share mine. Social media is a give and take, but I think the giving is way more important. For example, if you want to connect to someone important on Twitter, a good strategy is to re-Tweet her posts regularly. That way you’re giving her great exposure and hopefully posing yourself as a helpful person who is also worth a follow, a conversation, and a re-Tweet of your own. And if this Twitter VIP does send out your blog post, it could potentially be read by millions of people – think of the business that could ultimately drive!

Another great way to utilize blogs for networking is by commenting on blog posts that you admire. Don’t be tempted to just write “wow, good post,” though. Read the blog a few times, form an opinion, and share your well-articulated thoughts with the author. Or if something is unclear to you, ask an intelligent question. Either of these tactics could lead to a conversation with the author in addition to giving you and your thoughts exposure on his blog. What a neat way to use his blogging success to increase traffic to your own blog site!

Take it from me, blogging takes time, effort, and frustrating periods of writer’s block. But not only does it position you as an expert in your field, it can also be a networking gold mine. So whatever you do, keep on blogging!

Neat Gadget: A Pen that Writes in Any Color

Color Picker Pen As I’ve mentioned before, my friends and family know that I blog at least three times per week, so when they see something interesting, relevant, or useful to the blog they are kind enough to send them my way. My husband recently saw an item on Twitter that he thought would be a neat promotional product, and I think he’s right. It’s called the “Color Picker Pen” by Jinsu Park and Nick learned about it from Geekologie, a blog that he follows.

The Color Picker Pen is a really neat concept (that is not actually in production) – you scan an object with its sensor and it automatically mixes ink to exactly match it. Think about how cool that could be from a branding standpoint! You could scan your logo color and sign checks in that color, or you could give a customer a thank you gift whose note is written in your company’s signature hue.

The Color Picker Pen would also be a neat giveaway in and of itself. I think that if you imprinted your logo upon it and gave it to your customer, the sheer novelty of the writing instrument would lead that customer to show it off – and in doing so, he’d show off your logo too.

Hopefully The Color Picker Pen will one day exist because I think that it would be a fabulous promotional marketing product. But until then, be sure to contact the gang here at Gossett Marketing for your traditional writing instrument needs.

The Internship: An Example of Excellent Cross-Brand Marketing

photo from venturebeat.com

photo from venturebeat.com

The Internship, a new movie starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, comes out this week. It’s about two men who are laid off from their sales jobs and decide to reinvent themselves as interns at Google. It looks like a typical goofball Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson buddy film (which I’m sure I’ll watch at some point – I’m a sucker for slapstick humor), but what I really like about it is how they’ve been promoting it.

To get the word out about The Internship, Fox Studios has teamed up with other major companies to run contests where the winner gets an “internship” of his or her own. For example, Miller Lite is offering its winner a cross-country road trip full of beer-themed activities for him and three of his friends. ESPN’s “intern” gets to interview the stars of the movie. Rockstar Energy Drink is offering a trip to the premier of The Internship. And lastly, Jay Z is offering an internship that seems the most legitimate – his winner will run his YouTube channel for a week.

This cross-brand promotion is a great idea for all of the organizations involved because it gives all of the companies excellent exposure. Most of us don’t have the power to ask, say, Jay Z, to help us with our marketing, so kudos to Fox Studios for having the power and the smarts to do just that.

If you could team up with another company or entertainer for marketing purposes who would you choose and why?

Click below to watch The Internship’s trailer:

FEATURED VIDEO


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