Power Up! This Year’s Most Powerful Gift!

Power was the name of the game for 2015. And boy, did we see a lot!

Power banks were this year’s hottest tech item and we saw them in every shape, size, and style! I knew it when I saw (and just had to pick up for myself) at the ASI show in Orlando a power bank in the shape of a lip stick tube and one in the shape of a blush compact with mirror. From there, we saw ones that were super powered at 20,000 mAh all the way to ones at just 2000 mAh. Depending upon your needs, power banks were made this year for the business traveler to the minimalist user just needing an extra boost while on the road running errands.

Creative power banks to catch everyone's eye this holiday season!

Creative power banks to catch everyone’s eye this holiday season!

What I love most about power banks (outside of the convenience factor) is that it is bringing people away from the walls, and keeping people moving and mingling. Soon, the days of wall hugging will be long gone, because we will have our handy-dandy power bank to keep us connected and going. And also, the more eye-catching your power bank, the more likely it will spark up a conversation and become the apple of everyone’s eye. (Seriously, people are amazed by these things!)

For those that don’t have a power bank and are considering one, there are a few key points to ask yourself and keep in mind. What are you looking for? Style? Endless power? Something lightweight and small? Power banks typically range from 1800 mAh and up. 1800 mAh will give you just enough (almost a full) battery on an iPhone. It will take a bit longer to charge but typically anything under 4,000 mAh will be small, compact and easy to stick in your back pocket or purse. Also, keep in mind, if you have an iPhone, you will probably have to use the cord your phone comes with as most power banks come with cords to charge the actually power bank itself, which also happens to work with android phones. The larger ones will charge you up much faster and provide you with multiple full charges. For example, a 2,220 mAh power bank will charge you up almost twice if powering up an iPhone. Power banks larger than that, you ca count on getting many uses out of it before having to charge the actual power bank in a wall outlet.

Find the right power bank to match your needs!

Find the right power bank to match your needs!

Speaking of battery power, it is important you make sure the item you are using features a U.L certified battery. This means the item was tested and is up to par with the nationally recognized standards for safety. When it comes to electronics, you want to be sure you are chasing quality. Yes, that other power bank may be more inexpensive, but the battery may leak or it wasn’t tested and you will probably only get a couple charges out of it. Because the batteries in this particular item is being used to power  your personal smart phone devices, and sometimes will be charging up to two items of yours at a time, it is important that these batteries are functioning to their maximum capacity and have been tested thoroughly.

So if you are in the market for one of this year’s hottest tech gadgets, or looking to gift one this holiday season, be sure to research and identify exactly what it is that you are looking for. It can be a bit overwhelming if you do not know what battery power or style will work best for you. May the force be with you!

 

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!

 

“Sweatworking” – are you in?

photo from spectrum.ieee.org

photo from spectrum.ieee.org

I had the radio on in the car today. Everyone always makes fun of me because I listen to it at such a low volume that it’s barely audible, which is probably why I’m never really hip to the newest music and whatnot! I guess I had turned it up a notch because when the DJ came on he mentioned something called “Sweatworking” and explained that it’s a way for professionals to get to know each other while exercising – kind of the opposite of a normal networking event where rather than burn calories you consume them in the form of snacks and alcohol.

As I drove I was thinking about the “Sweatworking” concept. I have written blogs here in the past about how I have had excellent networking luck within my running group – we got together based on our pace and are a motley crew but somehow we get along well and are even able to help one another in a professional capacity. However, when we met our intention was not to sweat and network: it was all about running. For some reason, that makes me feel like “Sweatworking” is somewhat awkward.

I love the idea of non-traditional networking, but I think that I like it when it happens organically like it has within my running group. “Sweatworking” is non-traditional but to me it feels somewhat forced. Maybe it’s because I’m a drippy-sweaty worker-outer, or maybe it’s due to the fact that many exercises are terribly unflattering, but I do not really want to meet potential business partners when I’m exercising. I’d really rather them see me at my best first, then later on they can witness me doing my thing in possibly-sheer Lululemon pants!

Now, just because “Sweatworking” isn’t my thing does not mean that it’s not a perfect fit for you. Maybe (hopefully) you look better than I do mid-workout – perhaps you glow instead of sweating like I do. Perhaps you’re shy in normal networking situations but the gym brings out the best in you. If you like it, then go for it. “Sweatworking” is a real thing, in Chicago at least. Visit their website by clicking here. Me? I’ll stick to huffing and puffing with my already-established running buddies and hopefully we can continue to expand our business relationships.

Networking with Friends

photo from www.videoinspiration.net

photo from www.videoinspiration.net

In this blog I ramble on a lot about the importance of networking, how to go about networking, what to do if you hate networking, etc. Yeah, I’m kind of a networking know-it-all, but I very often forget to mention the most obvious resource: friends.

A good friend recently had a birthday and we celebrated with a big brunch. 15 of us sat outside for hours enjoying a water view, mimosas, and each other’s’ company. A delightful afternoon was had by all, and during our leisurely brunch we realized that we should all be doing business together! Our group involved a finance guy, a doctor, a couple of lawyers, a PR person, a pharmacist, a promotional marketing products distributor (me!), and a medical equipment guy, just to name a few. Between the 15 of us, there were definitely some opportunities to work together now or later, referrals were mentioned, and introduction meetings were planned. Funnily enough, though, it had never really dawned on any of us to connect on a professional level! These are, after all, the people who have seen me at my worst – and vice versa.

Anyhow, I have been remiss in my networking with friends; therefore, I have never really mentioned doing so on this blog. So go out and have a nice long meal with your oldest buddies. You will have a great time, and you might just realize that your friends could be an excellent business resource.

Want to Grab Your Customers’ Attention?

photo from earthintegrate.com

photo from earthintegrate.com

We live in a fast-paced world and sometimes it feels impossible to grab – and to keep – your customers’ attention. And if you can’t do that, well, how are you going to earn and keep their business? Danette wrote an article on her other website, SalesPromotions.org, that can help! It explains how contests and sweepstakes are an excellent way to engage new and existing customers. It also explains the difference between these two marketing techniques, as well as how to protect yourself and your business from any pitfalls encountered while utilizing these methods.

So if you want to learn how to easily engage your target audience with contests and sweepstakes, click here!

Use Valentine’s Day for Networking

photo from www.crafthubs.com

photo from www.crafthubs.com

People have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. There are romantics out there who adore the opportunity to celebrate their love. Then there are those who decry it as a “Hallmark Holiday” designed to pad the bottom line of card stores, jewelers, florists, and candy makers. Wherever you stand on Valentine’s Day, I’m here to tell you that it has its upside – it is an excellent excuse to do a little bit of networking.

If Valentine’s Day is all about romance, how can you make it about business, you ask? Well, think back to when you were a little kid – didn’t you hand out Valentines to everyone in your class? I sure did, whether I liked them or not (full disclosure, my little Episcopal preschool had an all-or-nothing rule when it came to passing things out in class – I did not distribute candy to my 4-year-old self’s enemies out of the kindness of my heart). I say you do the same thing with your list of contacts. Send everyone a little Valentine’s email. It is an unexpected thing for a professional to do, so recipients are likely to open your message, making it a great reminder that you are around, you can do business with them, that you merit a referral – whatever!

I’m always looking for a reason to reach out to my list of contacts, so you’d better believe that if you’re on it, you will be receiving an e-Valentine this year! I hope that a few pop up in my in-box as well.

3 Networking Articles Worth a Read

photo from www.hercampus.com

photo from www.hercampus.com

We are busy bees over here at Gossett Marketing – promotional items are in high demand after the holidays! Because our networking has been paying off lately in the form of orders, I don’t have too much time to write a new post on the subject. Therefore, I’m going to link you to three articles that are worth taking the time to read. We can all brush up on our networking skills now and again and these well-written pieces are sure to help you to do just that.

The first piece, via Inc.com and written by Christina Desmarais, covers networking for everyone from introverts, extroverts, and the socially awkward. Read it for great tips like setting a time limit to take pressure off of yourself at events.  Click here to check it out.

Whether you always hate it or just occasionally loathe the thought of immersing yourself in a room full of strangers, the tips in this post from Careerealism.com can get you through it.  Read it here.

Lastly, Careerbuilder.com has excellent suggestions for young professionals who are just beginning their networking journey. In my opinion they saved the best piece of advice for last – “recalibrate now and again.”  Decide which tidbit you enjoy the most when you hit this link.

Read these, absorb their wisdom, and go out there and network!

Show Some Personality when Networking

photo from socialmediaimpact.com

photo from socialmediaimpact.com

Going to networking events, to me, does not feel like a normal, natural thing to do. It’s not in my wheelhouse to want to walk into a roomful of strangers and start chatting with the first person I see. Nor am I so gregarious as to be the person who spots the obvious group of “cool kids” and marches up to them to join their clique. But in order to expand my business I force myself to behave as if I was a born extrovert when I’m in a networking situation.

Forcing myself to behave like someone I’m not seems a little disingenuous, though: like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. So in order to combat that feeling at a networking event, I am also sure to let my personality shine through. But how? Well, if you’ve read this blog then over the years you’ve come to know a bit about me. I love to travel, live for good food, I’m on the goofy side, I attend too many weddings to count, I’m a big Miami sports fan, etc. So much like I do in this format, when I’m at a networking event I think it’s totally OK to talk about those aspects of my life as well as the business side.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk up to the first businessman I see at a chamber of commerce luncheon and immediately tell him about my friends getting married in Amelia Island. But once we’ve exchanged elevator speeches and learned a little bit about each other’s businesses, what’s the harm in asking someone if he likes the fact that the Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton? I actually find that that type of casual, less business-y conversation breaks the ice a lot better than something more professional. It also makes our interaction more memorable, I think, so hopefully when he or I calls or emails to follow up, we will know who the person on the other end of the phone actually is (rather than trying to picture a random person in a suit).

Networking events are unnatural to begin with, but if you let your personality peek through your business persona, they might just feel a little bit more normal. Plus showing your true colors might ultimately increase the amount of business that these meetings bring.

Networking Results in Party Time!

questgarden.com

questgarden.com

When I need inspiration for a new blog post, I very often turn to the Internet to see what I can drum up. Usually I can read other people’s words, something in my brain clicks, and I can rattle out a post of my own in no time flat. Today I had planned to seek inspiration from another writer and roll with what I came up with, but the article I found was just too good not to share. It’s about networking and one of the first lines involves drug kingpins – how can I compete with that?! Rather than try to come up with an equally entertaining blog piece about business networking, I thought I’d share what I found.

From the website The Week, I give you Eric Barker’s article, “Barking Up The Wrong Tree.” Click here and learn how networking results in party time!!

Play Santa and Promote Your Biz

photo from poohadventures.wikia.com

photo from poohadventures.wikia.com

Can you believe that the holidays are just around the corner? How will you and your company celebrate? Will you reach out to your customers and give them a gift? You should because whether they are large or small, a holiday gift will make a good impression on your customers! And if you choose to give them some type of logoed promotional marketing product, then it will do even more than that – it will help you market your business to them during and after the holiday season. So what do I recommend you give? Here are some options.

Mobile Charging Items – Everyone has some type of personal electronics device and those things end up losing power. Help your customers combat that problem by giving them some type of mobile charger. There are inexpensive ones that plug into car outlets or if you have a bigger budget, then you can give away power banks – these battery packs hold the “juice” that electronics need and can be plugged in on the go. Plus if your customer carries around a charger with your company’s name on it, then he or she will see so whenever they use it, which is probably going to be pretty often.

Edible Gifts – You might think that items that your customers consume wouldn’t have a chance to make a lasting impression on them. However, that’s not necessarily the case. You can give them a giant chocolate bar that is molded into the shape of your logo. If it weighs numerous pounds, then hopefully it will last for a while and your imprint will get multiple looks. Smoked salmon delivered in an elegant package with your name branded on the top is a very high-end holiday present. Most people will probably wait for an occasion to serve it, so it – and your name/logo – will spend some time in their refrigerators. That will give customers a chance to see your branding, then when they do decide to enjoy the salmon hopefully they will reflect on who gave it to them.

Spa Gifts – Personally, I love spa gifts and I know that they hang around in my house for a while because, and this might be a weird thing that’s unique to me, I use them but I hate to finish them. So if you give me a branded candle or some pretty bath salts with your logo on them, I will utilize them until I have just a bit left, then hang onto them for a time when I really need to pamper myself. That could be months, and if I see your logo each time I take a bath, well, that’s a good return on your investment.

Business Gifts – “Business Gifts” is a pretty broad category. It can include anything from desktop items to stationery pieces to coffee tumblers. These are the types of gifts that tend to be seen regularly because they sit on a desk or they get pulled out for meetings or they make the daily commute and caffeinate the recipient.

Whatever you choose, giving your customers holiday gifts is always a nice gesture. And the fact that doing so helps you build your brand is just an added bonus. So start ordering your promotional holiday gifts now!

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