Custom Promos for any Budget

Pineapple Postit In this section of the blog I share unique promotional marketing ideas – new products that our suppliers show us, interesting imprinting methods, and custom products that we have created. I like to keep you up to date on the latest, greatest, and most intriguing ideas out there because I believe that when you give a customer an uncommon promo item imprinted with your logo, he or she will be more likely to both remember your company and to use the item, thereby giving your company additional exposure. Generally when I give my spiel about creative promotional products at, say, a networking event, people are really excited to go that route and order something totally one of a kind! Then I send them the nitty gritty details like the time involved in custom sourcing products (3+ months is pretty standard), and they become less thrilled. Well, the good news is, there are custom products that can be produced inexpensively and fairly quickly!

If your company is looking for custom promotional products that are extremely affordable with short lead times, I always look to paper products. For example, spiral bound notebooks can be made with unique covers – think cutouts shaped like your logo or sleek metals – tip-in sheets full of info and images can be added, and you can even put your corporation’s name/main contact information as a phantom image on each page. That adds up to hundreds of branding opportunities in each 100-page notebook!

Another great custom idea is die-cut adhesive notepads. We do these for Baptist Health South Florida in the shape of their pineapple logo, and they are a hit! Not only are the pineapple shaped, but they are also printed with the logo’s finer details, the full logo, and any particular department’s phone number or web address. Because they can stick on someone’s wall for years (yes, years), they offer the organization as a whole, and the department in particular, excellent exposure that lasts.

While these custom promotional products aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel, they are affordable and can be produced much more quickly than a completely unique promo item. Plus, they give you a great amount of flexibility and tons of opportunities to make an impression. And who wouldn’t want a pineapple-shaped notepad as opposed to standard Post-Its?

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.

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.

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.

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!

Why Proofing Promotional Products Matters

missouri state university
Usually when someone orders promotional products from Gossett Marketing, they want a rather large quantity. That could mean 100 bags for the University of Miami, 6,500 duffel bags for Baptist Health South Florida, or 12,000 silicone basting brushes for Celebrity Cruise Line. The whole purpose of promotional products is to get your logo in front of as many potential customers as possible as often as possible in order to imprint your name/logo/message on their brains! Well, when you are giving out hundreds, if not thousands, of products that are designed to represent your brand, you had better make sure that you dot your I’s and cross your T’s – and that you spell your own name correctly.

I mention this because in an embarrassing incident that went public nationally, Missouri State University distributed 6,000 bags to students on which “University” was spelled “Univeristy.” That’s not good for an institution of higher learning! But I feel bad for the University itself and the supplier that sold them the bags because I get it – you place an order in a hurry and if the art was provided by the customer (which it was in this case), then it’s easy to assume that it’s correct. The customer created the art – certainly he or she knows how to spell the company’s name! Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, which is why, no matter what, I think getting a proof is important. Yes, it might add a day or two your promotional product’s production time, but if that day is the difference between destroying thousands of incorrectly-imprinted bags or proudly giving out the correct finished product, then isn’t it worth it? I think so.

When you are giving away a product that represents your company be sure to do it right. If you work with Gossett Marketing then I know you’ll see a proof prior to production, but if you use a different promotional products supplier (silly you!), be sure to ask to see a paper proof. Don’t waste your marketing budget on an item that you can’t use and face national embarrassment like Missouri State University – take the time to get a proof!

How to Enhance Networking & Marketing During the Holidays

holiday card
About this time every year, I think to myself “wow – I can’t believe it’s December!” For some reason this month always sneaks up on me and finds me unprepared for the holidays ahead. Fortunately, I am obviously not the only one who feels this way, as many companies offer rush services that allow procrastinators like me spread the holiday cheer to my family, friends, and even my customers.

The quickest and least expensive way to send good tidings is with personalized holiday cards – that is why I find them to be a particularly good business tool around this time. I can order my cards today, receive them in a week or so, and then whenever I have a moment of down time I can sign and send a few to my customers and other business contacts. It’s such a simple way to reach out to individuals with whom I work regularly, and I really like holiday cards as another means of post-networking follow up. If I’ve met someone at an event and subsequently called and e-mailed them, then a holiday card is another great way to remind them that we should work together!

Other than the fact that they are inexpensive and convenient to mail out, I also like to send cards because I find that customers hold onto them, which they do not do with an e-mail or a telephone message. This is particularly true if the card in question is interesting looking or useful. For example, a couple of years back Baptist Health South Florida sent out a beautiful card that included a pineapple-shaped seed paper ornament. Although recipients were supposed to hang the pineapple on their tree that year then plant it, I’ve held onto mine because I find it to be so pretty hanging from an evergreen bough. And last year our company, Gossett Marketing, sent 2012 calendars to our customers during the holiday season – I still see them on people’s desks and cork boards! That’s a great reminder to our customers to keep working with us through the New Year!

Whenever you can touch base with your customers or potential customers – be it on the phone, via the internet, or even by “snail mail” – do so. The holiday season is a great excuse to send a card that will enhance your networking and put your company’s logo in front of your customers, possibly for a full year. That’s not bad for the price of a card and a stamp!

Boring Promotional Products: A Necessary Evil

promotional products
Oftentimes this blog finds me harping on the benefits of custom promotional marketing products, praising their effectiveness, and swearing that they don’t have to cost a bundle. That is all true and it’s why we here at Gossett Marketing specialize in customizing promos for our customers; however, I do recognize that due to time or budgetary constraints, it’s not always possible to make your own unique giveaways. So what do I recommend in those situations? Here are my favorites:

  • Bags – As I’ve said before, imprinted bags are arguably the best promotional product out there. Why? Because people use them, and when they do, many of the other people who cross their paths see your logo. And you really don’t have to spend very much – imprinted grocery totes are a very hot seller for us because they’re budget friendly and they get used until they fall apart, thus providing our customers with months’ worth of marketing. In fact, we recently delivered three significant grocery tote orders to Baptist Health South Florida and I’ve already seen all three styles around town.
  • Pens – I carry a pen in every one of my day-to-day handbags and to be perfectly honest with you, I have no idea where I got the majority of them (which makes the fact that I often find myself chewing them particularly gross). I really never go out and buy writing instruments, I guess I just filch them from waiters and stores. The neat thing is, they usually have a logo that I glance at when I use them, which will then bring certain hotels and restaurants to mind on a regular basis. And because my pens are occasionally taken from me (karma…), the individuals who take them are marketed to as well!
  • First Aid Kits – When someone hands you a pouch that contains bandages and topical ointments? Surely you don’t toss it because those items really do come in handy and never seem to be around when you need them. I’ve received two first aid kit giveaways in recent years, and one lives in my car while the other is in my hurricane preparedness kit. While I don’t see the imprint on these items every single day, I am exposed to the companies’ logos whenever I use the kits. And because I find them convenient, I refill them whenever necessary, meaning that I’ll see those logos for years to come.

Now I know I didn’t blow your mind with these ideas, but they really are useful giveaways that people, well, use! And every time they do so, you’re getting marketing exposure. So don’t make a habit of it, but sometimes giving away boring promotional products is a necessary evil.

Why Brand Name Apparel Benefits Your Brand

In this video, Danette Gossett of Gossett Marketing and InterestingMarketingTidbits.com talks to Rob from SanMar, our preferred apparel style about name brand corporate clothing. Lately, sales of name brand items have outpaced any other sales because it allows the companies to co-brand themselves with some of the world’s most recognized companies. Rob shows Danette three different brands that SanMar sells: Nike, Eddie Bauer, and Red House. Here are my suggestions as to how to utilize these name brands.

NikeNike is known for its upscale technical fabrics, and in the promotional marketing industry we find that the company’s golf polos are our biggest sellers. The unique thing about the Nike shirts that we sell is that the “Swoosh” logo is on the right side or on the sleeve, leaving room on the left chest to have another company’s logo embroidered on the pieces as well. That creates a distinct link between, say, the Baptist Health South Florida logo and Nike’s – making the wearer and anyone who sees the shirt associate the two companies with one another. These shirts are great giveaways at golf tournaments or really any sporting event. They are also nice gifts for board members, valuable customers, and even prospective clients, as they have a high perceived value.

Eddie BauerEddie Bauer is recognized as an outdoor gear authority, and the Eddie Bauer items that SanMar offers uphold that reputation, particularly the warm parkas and layering pieces. I’d recommend those cold-weather items to corporations located in potentially-frigid areas. Target, based in Minneapolis, jumps to mind. They could give all of their corporate employees toasty Eddie Bauer parkas imprinted with their very recognizable logo, and those people would give that logo extra exposure as they commuted to work. Plus, Target’s sterling brand would be linked to Eddie Bauer’s equally-impressive one – benefitting both companies.

Red HouseRed House is the least-recognized of the three brands that Rob mentions in the video, but its quality is second-to-none. The non-iron woven shirts that the line offers rival those made by Brooks Brothers, but like Nike, the brand leaves the left chest portion of every shirt blank so that another company’s logo may be embroidered there. These shirts are ideal for anyone who works in an office or who represents your brand on a tradeshow floor because they stay crisp and wrinkle-free all day. So in this instance it’s more that the brand name item’s quality enhances your own brand by allowing you and your employees to present a well-tailored image with little effort.

Sure, brand name apparel might cost a bit more than its generic counterpart, but it allows your company to piggyback on another brand’s success. It’s no wonder that these are currently our apparel supplier’s strongest seller!

 

Promotional Products to Increase Awareness

pink ribbon
I run with a group very early on Saturday mornings, and we are lucky enough to have Baptist Health South Florida as one of our sponsors. There are a good number of us, so parking would be an issue if we weren’t able to park in one of their hospitals’ garages. Well, as I drove up to South Miami Hospital on Saturday, I was surprised to find it bathed in pink light. Of course I realized that it was for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it caught me off guard that we’re there!

Because breast cancer is a disease that has touched most people in some way, shape, or form, many companies – not just those in the medical field – give out promotional products to promote awareness. It’s a great cause to support, and giving out these types of items also grants the givers a benevolent air. If your company wants to get in on this positive marketing vibe, there’s still time! Here are some items that I’d suggest:

  • Breast Self-Exam Card – This informational card instructs women on how to give themselves their monthly self-exams. It’s designed to hang in the shower, meaning that the company who gave it away will have its logo viewed daily by anyone using that shower.
  • Awareness Bracelets – The great thing about silicone awareness bracelets is that recipients generally put them on. And once they do, they often forget that they’re on, so they wear them around town until they realize that they want to take them off. That means that everyone who encounters them could potentially see your company’s name, which is excellent logo exposure (if you don’t believe me, ask Livestrong – they are doing OK with their bracelets!).
  • Apparel – Giving away a pink technical shirt or pink cap is a terrific idea because of the abundance of breast cancer runs and walks during October. Most participants try to wear pink when they walk for the cure, but not everyone has appropriate pink attire. Make it easier for them by giving out logoed apparel in this month’s most popular hue, that way all of their fellow participants will see your company as supportive to their cause.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an important observance that raises money and awareness to fight the disease. It can also enhance your marketing because it gives companies ample opportunity to give promotional products that champion the cause.

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