Understanding Branding Solutions!

Many years ago, just about the only option for branding items was with a simple, one color imprint, one location.

Today, with the help of new technology and machines, the options for branding have expanded is almost hard to keep up with! Below are some of the newest and most popular branding methods that will truly help your band stand out!

Deboss:

Debossing is a popular technique that we see used often for items such as journals, luggage tags and even a few Bluetooth speakers. The process is fairly simple which consists of using a metal plate that is pressed down on to the desired surface, leaving a grooved impression of the logo or name being used.  T802_2_v1445626182.1467035559

Epoxy Dome:

One of my favorite branding methods is the epoxy dome. The logo is rendered on a base. Depending on the size of the logo, the base can vary in size. Then it is overlaid with a bubble of clear acrylic epoxy. The dome is then affixed to the promotional product using an adhesive. Epoxy domes are being used on virtually everything. From pens to speakers and headphones to even bags and drink wear, it can turn an item that would normally get a standard one color silkscreen to an item now showcasing a beautiful, full color decoration that stands out from the rest.

4-color Process:

Showcasing items to clients with complex logos can be daunting. It can be hard to explain to those with four color logos why that alone will skyrocket the price of certain items. This is where items with a standard 4-color process imprint come in handy. I always try and take advantage of these items and showcase them to clients that I know will want to take advantage of an item that looks and feels more in line with the complexity of their brand. With this process, you can beautifully on pens, journals, speakers and tablet/phone sleeves, just to name a few. So, keep an eye out for those items where this is standard decoration. You will look like the genius that you are!

360 degree & Enlarged laser:

This new technology has allowed our clients to maximize the space allowed on the pens that hold their brand. We like to say that pens are like walking advertisements. They get stolen, dropped, forgotten and reused by many people over the course of their lifetime. Why just settle for a one location laser engraving or imprint? 360 degree laser allows you to maximize the entire surface of the pen barrel with step and repeats throughout the surface. 2

Liner Pages/Inserts:

When a client approaches us telling us they are looking for a journal to give as a gift or at an event or perhaps a back to school item, we try to always encourage them to take advantage of the inside of the journal. That is valuable space that is often forgotten about. That is why we love liner pages. Whether it be a school map for new students, or an outline of speakers at an event, or your client just wants to take advantage of 4-Color Process on the interior pages of the journal, this option really takes a simple item to the next level.

Full Coverage Deboss/Indented Dome: 3

Finally, this has to be my favorite branding method of all. Combining the technology of debossing with epoxy domes, you will be left with an item that truly stands out. Only for journals at the moment, this will certainly step up your creativity level and earn you genius points. A metal plate will deboss the entire front cover of the journal, leaving a recessed portion that features a precisely cut area for including an epoxy dome shape of any size. Now being done on power banks, this has to be the most head turning decoration method at the moment, always catching the eye of our clients at showcases and meetings.

Pricing for each of the above techniques varies of course, but depending on your client and what their brand represents, adding the extra few cents for an additional location or liner inside of a journal maybe worth it!

How are you using these branding solutions to help your brand and your clients brands stand out? Let us know below!

Revealing Your True Brand

We are all unique in our own way.

But what are we doing to stand out from the rest, and develop our own brand? One’s brand should reflect that uniqueness. We must capitalize on what makes us stand out from the rest. But let’s face it: we live in a world where we are constantly being exposed to new brands and advertisements on a daily basis. It can be tremendously challenging to be the one that stands out. Below are a few tips you may find helpful in making the most of any given platform to stand out and shine!

Brand Board

Brand Board: Put those old magazines to use!

The most popular, recognizable brands on earth have been cultivated and nurtured through endless hours of carefully crafted marketing campaigns and advertisements. For you and/or company, the simplest way to begin this cultivation is to put your envisions for yourself on a board. A brand board. The simplicity of this is what I love. Clip letters, images, any goals from magazines, newspapers, online, that you deem fit your board. I have personally always found making these a couple times a year help you with reorganizing and staying on track to reach the final goal. Whether its personal branding or company branding, this creative tactic can provide an edge over your peers by putting things into perspective and helping with maintaining focus.

Explore

To dive fully into creating your own brand, you must explore. SWOT analysis helps tremendously with this. If you are unfamiliar with SWOT, this funky acronym is a great tool (like the brand board) for finding your own purpose and place in this world full of all different kinds of brands! Here is what SWOT stands for:

 

Strengths Weaknesses
Opportunities Threats

 

  • Strengths are the characteristics that help you stand out from the rest, and the advantage they give you over the others.
  • Weaknesses are the characteristics that place you at a disadvantage to the others.
  • Opportunities are the areas in which you can capitalize on creating a niche for yourself and your brand.
  • Threats are internal and/or external factors that can possibly be harmful to developing your brand and achieving your goals.

Laying this out in a table format will help you not only see where you stand out and the strengths that make you unique, but it also focuses on areas you need to develop more and which weaknesses can be fixed. Apart of being your unique you is what sets you apart, and seeing where you are ahead and also areas you may be behind in can bring all issues to the forefront.

Identify

We all know of brands such as Coca-Cola, UPS, Nike and Mercedes-Benz and so forth, but what is it about these brands that appeals to the masses? How can YOU appeal to the masses of people you deal with and encounter on an everyday basis and beyond? Using your SWOT analysis and brand board, you need to ask yourself questions bases on your skills, functionality, and emotional connection to the people around you. Why you? What skillset do you offer? What do you do that makes you stand out from the rest? Are you connecting with those around you on an emotional level? If not, how come? What external factors are prohibiting you from truly expanding your connections and branding? Using the SWOT table in compound with the brand board can truly help you find the missing puzzle pieces to a whole brand.

How many brands can you spot?

Make a Statement!

Now that you have this overabundance of analysis on your personal brand and what brands you aspire to emulate, it’s time to put it all together into one. Using all your research, the final step is creating a brand mantra that thoroughly defines and communicates to all who you are and why YOU. This mantra should speak to you and inspire those around you to want to follow your brand.

These tips and tools help you narrow down the ever-broadening concept of branding to a simple statement that can be used and redeveloped as the foundation of your own brand. Now is the time to go out there and reveal your brand for the world to see!

 

Do you Stylus?

Most people seem to know what a stylus is, but just in case you are unaware, a stylus is a small instrument that looks like a pen (and many times is also a pen) that is used on touchscreen devices instead of say, your finger.

With the constant addition of new applications and mobile devices a stylus is becoming a more and more commonly used item. You place the stylus on the surface of the screen to either scroll or tap to make selections or draw.

I don’t know about you, but I do have issues at time with getting the “right” keys on my smartphone with my finger (I thought I had small fingers, guess not). And of course, I have friends that refuse to use the ATM or debit machines with their fingers (you don’t know the germs on them they say – and I am sure that’s true) and they have a stylus they use for those.

Stylus Pen is a Useful Tool with Today's Technology

Stylus Pen is a Useful Tool with Today’s Technology

A stylus can be just a rounded plastic tip or a rubber tip on the end of a pen or it could be a metallic fiber capacitive stylus. Why the difference? Well, most resistive screens just need a small precise touch so it can be made of just about any material. But some of the more advance touchscreens are capacitive in nature – they have a charge in it. So you screen may not be able to read the touch of a simple plastic tip. With a capacitive touchscreen the stylus is designed to conduct electricity and for the touchscreen to be able to “react” as you would like. Most of your higher end stylus will be capacitive in nature.

Advantages of using a stylus:

  • Can touch the keyboard more accurately
  • Use the touch screen more quickly
  • Draw on the touch screen more accurately
  • Using a stylus keeps the screen cleaner
  • Mostly makes it easier to interact with some applications
  • Projects a more professional appearance when using a tablet in meetings

Many of the top pen manufacturers have stylus’s and stylus pens in their lines and are introducing new styles on a regular basis. They are available at almost every price point from very inexpensive to your high-end gift pens.

If you are looking for something this holiday season that would be used regularly, think about a stylus pen. They can be easily branded so that as they are used time and time again your company message is reinforced.

Are you a master at FACE and CRAP?

Are you a master at FACE and CRAP?

What, you say? Well, it’s probably not what you think. But if you want to have that amazing customer and employee experience they are acronyms worth remembering.

For customer service we have FACE

Always be striving for Awesome!

Always be striving for Awesome!

FREAKING

AWESOME

CUSTOMER

EXPERIENCE

This is not mine, obviously. I’m not sure who originated it, but a friend of mine mentioned it a while back and I was sold. It really does speak to the heart of how I want our team to work with clients and each other. We do want each experience to be freaking awesome. It’s part of our brand image.

I know everyone talks about how great their customer service is. But I really do believe we are above most of our competitors. Especially given some of the comments we hear from clients. “Wow, you guys are so fast to get me answers” or “You really came through for us”.

I’m not trying to tout our horn (well, maybe a little) but I’m just trying to illustrate that if you do bring the idea of FACE to your whole company customer service training you will see a difference.

Then we have CRAP.

CONTINUOUS

REPETITIVE

ANOMALOUS

PROBLEMS

Basically, it’s those issues that keep coming up over and over again. I have a friend that works in a company that has one person that just loves to “stir the pot” and cause problems every week. It seems they aren’t happy unless there is some crisis going on. Yes, “crap” is going to happen no matter how many processes you have in place. But if you work with your team to have them understand how disruptive the repetitive issues and problems are then you can start moving closer and closer to always have a great FACE experience even for your internal customers.

I have been going through some unusual personnel issues lately. We are a small firm that really produces an amazing amount of work on a daily basis. And I admit I was spoiled for many years with a great team in place. And when one long-term employee left, I filled that position with what turned out to be another long-term employee.

Well, recently my streak ended. I had an employee replace a long term employee (they had been here 7 ½ years) and unfortunately her tenure ended after just 4 short months (she moved to one of my clients).  And before that employee left, we kept having lots of CRAP. Maybe it was a bad hire decision on my part or I hadn’t trained her properly as how we keep all our balls in the air. But we started to have other employee issues.

And, then another employee left after 3 ½ years and I went against my gut and hired an individual I wasn’t totally sold one.  And, BIG lesson – Always follow your gut because this person lasted just a week!

I’ve been in business 23 years and I have to admit I may have stepped too far away from the day to day, but I’m back with a vengeance. I’ve hired another new employee that starts on Monday and the team is excited about the addition. So that’s definitely a good start. And we’re going to get out of the CRAP and get back to being the best company for FACE I know.

Up for the challenge?

To Exhibit or Not at a Trade Show

As most of you know, I am very involved in the community and am a member of a number of organizations. For me, it’s a great way to stay connected.

I had two different groups recently host a combination type trade show and networking event. I exhibited at one and attended the other.

It really got me to thinking, what’s the best way to “work” one of these events.

At the event we exhibited I feel we got some great traffic and we met some quality people and we are already working with a few of them. So, definitely a win-win situation.

At the second event, I just walked the aisles and networked. Now, granted I feel I met more people and probably handed out more business cards but are these people ever going to do business with me? I am following up on those prospects that I met, but will I get the business?

It’s a dilemma I am sure we all face. What’s the best use of our time and money?

Have a Plan for Exhibiting or Networking a Show

Have a Plan for Exhibiting or Networking a Show

This year not exhibiting at the second event was due mostly to the timing. It was held on a day that was a busy one for me and I just knew I would be too tired to effectively work the booth.  But on the other hand having people come to me versus the other way around might have been better.

I think no matter if you exhibit or not you need to have a plan to get the most out of your investment (time and money). So many people forget about scheduling time after the event to follow up. Are you marketing materials up to date so it’s a quick and easy follow up. Also, don’t wait weeks to touch base – the lead is cold by then.

I don’t know about you, but I hate getting that email – so good to meet you at the event last month. Obviously wasn’t that great or I didn’t make much of an impression for it to take so long to get in touch. And, besides, by then I don’t remember who you were.

Also, if you have a plan and know who is going to be attending the event you can make a list so you make sure you get to everyone you need to. The worst is to find out that a key prospect was there after the fact. But it’s not a total loss, you can always send a note stating – “sorry we didn’t get to meet at the event but I wanted to introduce myself”. It’s worked for me.

So, I think it’s safe to say, there is no right or wrong in exhibiting or just attending. However, in both cases, follow up is key.

Why Does Digitizing Matter for Apparel?

Why Does Digitizing Matter?

I am pretty sure that each of us has a shirt, jacket or hat that is embroidered with a logo. It may not be for your current company or even anyone you’ve ever worked for, but you have it. I am a golfer and play in a lot of tournaments and always look forward to getting a shirt (if it’s a good one that is… please don’t skimp here!).

I am also sure you have seen some logo’s that look absolutely fabulous embroidered and others that just don’t look right.

The difference may be how the logo was digitized. What does that mean? Well, you take the logo and turn it into a stitch file that tells an embroidery machine how to sew onto a garment. If it’s not done correctly the end result could be a disaster!

It’s not as simple as scanning the logo into a program and off you go. No, it takes someone with skill that can determine the best path for the logo to run (think of the machine picking up the

Eastern Logo is Clean

Eastern Logo is Clean

various threads). The sequence is very important as it affects how the design will “lie” when complete. If it’s not done correctly, you could have unwanted gaps in the fabric or uneven text.

The designer also determines the type of stitches and how many. We have many complicated logo’s that we embroider regularly. Others have tried to undercut us and steal the business by “skimping” on the number of stitches, however, you can always tell. The logo just doesn’t look as complete.

If you have decided to embroider apparel you need to make sure to always get a swatch for approval. This is not a virtual of your logo as it might appear stitched on a shirt, this is a true sew-out of your logo on fabric that is similar to what you plan to use. If you don’t think it looks quite right – speak up! The swatch is typically the best it’s going to be. And, don’t be shy about asking for a swatch until you are happy with the result. Just because they say they can “fix” it doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the case.

So what happens if you approve a swatch and then the shirts look different. How did that happen? If you the digitizer and embroidery machines are in the same company, it shouldn’t. If they aren’t there are a few possibilities.

First it may be the fabric of your garment is totally different than the swatch fabric (a good embroiderer will typically ask what type of fabric so they can use that for the swatch). Another reason may be the speed in which the machines are run. If the file is not set up for that type of speed (typically faster) it can impact the quality of the finished embroidery.

Digitizing is a very specialized process that takes time and experience to produce a quality result – in this case, less expensive is definitely not necessarily better.

Time to Update Your Trade Show Materials

As we all get back to work and get the kids back to school, it’s time to get organized for a successful fall trade show season. Most companies exhibit at a number of different trade shows every fall to boost sales for the end of the year and set-up their new-year business development pipelines.

We do the same at Gossett Marketing. And this year our first show is in early September and after reviewing our current materials we realized it was time for some updates. We have designed a whole new table top display. While our previous one was only about 5 years old we felt it was looking dated. Plus with improved technology our new display is going to be much lighter and easier to “pop-up” on the table. We also got a new table throw so our whole “look” will be coordinated.

If you are promoting your business and your display is outdated or looks a bit ragged and over-used, it’s probably something you should invest in this year. As you know, it’s always better to put your best foot (or booth in this instance) forward!

Of course, the booth gets your prospects attention, but you want to give them something that will remind them of you after they get back to the office. So as you can imagine we are always looking for inexpensive but effective and useful items that will do just that. Yes, everyone can use a pen and there are some great ones out there, especially some of the newer pens with a stylus, but there are other great items that might grab your prospects attention.

Some of our hot recommendations currently include these lower cost suggestions: Cleaning cloths for digital devices, a smartphone card holder (adheres to the back of phones and holds business cards or credit cards), new customized convention tote bags, earbuds, car charger, rally towels, new round lip balm, funky sunglasses (with your logo on the lenses) and special shaped stress relievers.

And of course you don’t want to forget about your brochures and fliers so that everything works together!!

Remember, most trade shows are a great introduction of your business to new prospects so be sure and stand out!!

Happy Halloween!

I have to admit that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Everyone is in a festive mood. But I really like Halloween the most because it’s my birthday! Yep, I was born on October 31. A great day too because as a child I used to pretend that everyone was celebrating my birthday! Now I’m just happy that everyone is in a good mood on my birthday.

Pumpkin Bag

Pumpkin Bag

Halloween is also a time of year that many companies are participating in many community events. And of course they want to

give something to children and of course it should have the company logo on it. We work with many large companies that celebrate the holiday every year with bags or candy or other scary items. Of course, we all want the kids to have a safe time out there playing a ghost or gobblin.

So, there are many option that can help you light up the night, literally, for instance; glow in the dark bags, reflector stickers

Reflector BOO Zipper Pull

Reflector BOO Zipper Pull

orzipper pulls, light up sticks, flashlights and even light up ice cubes (in orange of course!). I particularly like these for the adults attending those night time trick or treating community events. Think about all the glowing cups!

Of course there are also many different types of bags for all the candy collected: paper, plastic, pumpkin shaped, even Jack-o-Lantern cinch bags!

Now, it is Halloween so the kids are really looking for candy. We want it to be safe too so you can have just about any type individually wrapped with your logo (think chocolate bar) or in a cellophane baggy (think candy corn), even popcorn in your company colors!

All are a great way to keep your company name in front of the community and show that you are a good neighbor.

So, let us know if we can help now before the date is upon us. Boo!

Giving Back

I don’t know about you but I think most everyone should give back to their community in one way shape or form. As most of you know, I’m very involved in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, on the Board, a Trustee, head of a committee that has three task forces and more. When I first started my business I was involved with even more organizations and I have to admit I burned myself out. Not that I didn’t find it all gratifying, I just found that I was exhausting myself. So I finally learned to say no.

That is until last week. A very dear friend asked me to chair an upcoming fundraising event. I didn’t say yes immediately. She saw the major hesitation in my eyes and maybe my hand tremble at the thought of letting her and the organization down if I accepted. But I did accept. Why?

If you’re in Florida, you may have heard of them, PACE Center for Girls. And they truly do save girls lives. I was the person thatPACE Logodid the “ask” last year at her fundraiser. Before I got up to the microphone two of the girls in program read their stories. They talked about how they had learned to have courage, patience and respect for themselves. They talked about how they now might have a future. Because you see these girls (ages 11-17) have had difficult starts to their lives, abuse, trafficking and may have had brushes with the juvenile justice system.

Their stories brought tears to my eyes literally. And as I got up to speak I realized I was all choked up. So, I stood in front of these 200 people and told them that there was nothing more I could say if those two girls stories hadn’t touched their hearts enough to maybe pull out their check books.

Amazingly I had people come up to me afterwards and said they were always planning to give but after I got all choked up they felt they should give more. So, when I was asked to actually chair the event this year, I thought back to those stories and realized the only answer I could give was yes.

I hope that everyone has found that organization that touches their heart, because you get back so much more than you give.

Are you Ready for Football?

This past weekend my boyfriend and I reviewed the fall calendar to mark all the days we’ll be hosting a tailgating party at University of Miami Football games. Yes, the season is right around the corner. And I admit we like to be “fan” decorated. We have the tent, a flag, table, cooler, tumblers and chairs all with the University logo.

But with all that, we still aren’t considered to be that logo’d!  There are those that have logo’d grills, bars, tailgates, hitches, signs

Tailgate in Style!

Tailgate in Style!

on their cars, games and so much more . There are so many ways you can show your team spirit (yes, I have a special cap I wear with my team color attire). We do many items for clients that are sponsoring a game, having an event at a game or just enhancing team spirit for their employees.

One of my favorite’s at the early games are the hand fans (remember, we are in Miami and while the north may be enjoying some fall cool weather – it’s still hot here in September). I try and grab a couple that first game so I have them for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, it does rain sometimes so many companies are ready with rain poncho’s with the company logo and the teams so you can still be the “hardy” fan and stay for the game. Seat cushions are great as well because those seats can be hard after a while or hot!

Now of course one of the biggest items is the clear tote bags. We talked about them last year and if you’ve been to a sporting event in the last 12 months then you know you can only take in a clear tote of a certain size. Many companies last year were scrambling trying to get them and most of the manufacturers were caught off guard and were out of stock. There are plenty now, but don’t wait too long to order yours!

Of course, there are also the really extreme fans with inflatable mascot’s, pools, cooler chairs and of course temporary tattoos and beads. So, no matter your team or your spirit, we can help you make sure your brand stands out for this season!

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