Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun Facts About Thanksgiving

This is my favorite holiday & I think it's safe to say it's a majority of people's favorite. The fire in the fireplaces along with turtlenecks & sweaters, falling leaves & holiday decorations are signs fall has finally arrived in Southern California.

Most people claim they cherish Thanksgiving because of the food. I won't dispute that, but I love it for the warmth & gaiety it brings......being with family & friends starting in mid-afternoon & celebrating long into the night. Somehow we all feel a little closer to each other at this time as we treasure what is around us & how lucky we are to have one another.

Here are some fun facts about the holiday you may not know:

1. The first Thanksgiving day was celebrated in the fall of 1621 in Plymouth, MA & lasted for three days.

2. The state of New York officially made Thanksgiving an annual custom in 1817.

3. In 1863, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday of every November. Before that each president decided when the holiday should be celebrated; always in the fall, but at a different time each year.

4. In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed it to be the 4th Thursday of every November to lengthen the holiday retail season by a week. This was his way of stimulating the failing economy.

5. List of foods that were available to the colonists at the time of the 1621 feast & were probably on their menu:
SEAFOOD: lobster, clams, eel & cod
WILD FOWL: wild turkey, geese, ducks, swans, partridges & eagles
MEAT: venison & seal
GRAIN: wheat
VEGETABLES: pumpkin, corn, peas, beans, onions, lettuce, radishes & carrots
FRUIT: plums & grapes
NUTS: walnuts, chestnuts & acorns
HERBS & SEASONINGS: olive oil, liverwort, leeks, dried currants & parsnips

6. These traditional holiday foods did not exist at the first Thanksgiving:
POTATOES: potatoes of any kind were not growing in North America during this period.
CRANBERRY SAUCE: the colonists had cranberries but no sugar. Cranberries were mainly used by the Indians for medicinal purposes.
PUMPKIN PIE: the recipes did not exist at this time--they stewed the pumpkins.

7. Pilgrims are shown wearing only black & white clothing, but actually that was only worn on Sunday & formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet & gray; while men wore clothing in white, beige, earthy green & brown.

8. Minnesota is the top turkey producing state in America & Illinois grows the most pumpkins.

With Thanksgiving, the holiday season is officially here. Remember to order holiday gifts for your loyal customers. There's still time. This isn't the place to budget--you don't want to be part of the cuts your clients make in their own budget next year.

My last posts have detailed how to choose the appropriate gift plus ideas for the individual client & for the entire office. Please read them to help you choose the gift to wow your customer & make an impact with your company name. Customized promotional items are perfect business gifts--your logo should be visible, but discreet.

Keep in mind that even though you should have plenty of promotional imprinted products on hand to give out, these should not be given out as holiday gifts. Your client won't jump up & down with the .50 pen they've been writing with all year or the letter opener they've used everyday. Promotional custom products should definitely be used as appreciation gifts, but they need to be special & more unique than what is usually distributed among the public for company recognition.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  I hope this is your best ever!

Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your Logo Can Taste As Good As It Looks

Every year, just before the holiday season, I have customers ask what can they give out as a food gift to their clients that will make an impact. Many times it has to be shared by numerous people in the office. It should also show off your logo in some way. It's very simple to use food as promotional custom products.

If you're thinking of giving out food for the holidays, don't think along the lines of cutting back on cost......you'll only compromise on the quality & your gift will be the same as everyone else's. Once it's gone, you'll be forgotten--it may happen before it's gone, if you're giving the same old boring food items everybody else is.

You should plan on purchasing the very best tasting food products that are made when ordered & have not been sitting on the shelf for months at a time. What many people don't realize is the gift food items that you find at the membership clubs or discount stores have been sitting in a warehouse for 6 -7 months before you purchase them. If this is how you have done holiday shopping over the past years, your customers will be surprised when you present them with fresh made-when-ordered food gifts.

Whatever it is that you give out, it should have your logo clearly displayed somewhere on the gift. This is not where you should forget about your company identity. Your options for customized promotional items in this area are endless.

Here are three ideas for shared office gifts:

1. tin of popcorn: the idea is about as ordinary as the 6:00 news, but you don't have to buy the popcorn off the shelves of your local grocery or discount store. If you're giving the popcorn as a gift, then customize the tin with your name & logo on the lid or the sides & make sure it's filled with fresh popcorn that is grown by the same people that pack & ship it. It is freshly popped--probably within a day or two of your order. And you can taste the difference! You'll never go back to that old stale stuff again.  Many gourmet flavors available, as well as combinations with nuts & pretzels. In fact, forget the popcorn & fill it with hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels, an assortment of nuts or freshly baked cookies (again, baked by the people who are packing & shipping your order).

2. chocolate: chocolate bars in all sizes are available--from miniature squares to 2 lb bars. You can add your own logo to the bar, itself, as well as the wrapper. In many cases you can add industry themed designs to the chocolate assortments in a box. Imagine a 1 - 5 lb box of chocolates......the box has your logo on it as well as the large bar in the center & around it are the special die cast chocolates related to your field. The custom chocolate rivals that in European markets. The recipients are wowed by the intricacy & the level of detail & often exclaim, "this is too beautiful to eat!" Eventually they do & appreciate the difference in taste from the boxes of mass produced chocolates your competitor gave them.

3. gourmet food baskets: here you can let your imagination run wild from muffins & coffee or tea for a delicious breakfast for the entire office to an assortment of appetizers or mini lunches for everyone to enjoy throughout the day. Word of caution......whatever you fill the basket with make sure it doesn't have to be refrigerated & it's not something easily found on neighborhood grocery stores' shelves. Don't forget to add your company name & logo. Ribbon that ties the gift together can have your name, but it's also good to add something inside with your identity. Small candy bars or mini snack packs both with your name on the wrapper will be a hit. If it's a small office, a lasting impression would be to include drinkware with your logo on it--enough for the everyone. These could be ceramic mugs, insulated tumblers that keep drinks hot or cold or stainless steel water bottles. Wouldn't it be fun to walk into the office later in the year to see your logo on everybody's desk!

Keep in mind, don't give the lackluster gift your customers are used to getting. Wow them with a creative & fun gift that they'll remember. I hope this gave you some good ideas.

Ronni Sherman


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gift Cards Aren't Good Appreciation Or Holiday Gifts

Gift cards have many advantages but when you're giving them as business appreciation gifts, the disadvantages outweigh all the positive factors. Do you really want your customers or clients to know what you spent? Here are a few other reasons why it's not a good idea not give them:

1. Your customer will know what you spent on him so you're showing his value to you with a thin plastic card. Nothing can be more disastrous when building a relationship. I guarantee you that he thinks he's worth more to you than the amount of the card.

2. This is the most common gift given now mainly because it's easy to give. It takes no effort. Is that what you want your client to think when he receives it? That he's not worth your time or effort?

3. Your imagination equals that of a plastic lawn chair. You're not the only one giving out cards this year. You'll be one of many & the recipient won't remember what you gave him or that you gave him anything once the card is stashed in his wallet with all the others. He may remember only if the value of the gift was worth no more than a few cups of coffee. And he may take that memory with him to your competitor if that business made him feel his value as a loyal customer is worth more.

I've stressed in other articles about gift giving that to stand out from competition your gift has to be unique. It also needs to be useful so the recipient will use it day after day all year long. And your company name should be on it so he's reminded of you.

Now with that being said & you still like the idea of gift cards, here are some ways to give them where you can disguise their monetary value & still give a gift of value with your logo on it:

1. Include a gift card to Starbucks or another coffee house inside a ceramic coffee mug or an insulated tumbler that's good for hot or cold drinks. Drinkware is available in any price range so you've covered up the cost of the gift with a customized promotional item that has your name & logo on it & will be used on a daily basis.

2. Give a note pad holder with your note pads or adhesive pads & tape the gift card to the top sheet. The note pad holder can also have your company name, if you wish. They're available in a wide assortment of styles......stainless steel, wood, acrylic or a combination of chrome & glass.

3. Plants are popular & give warmth & personality to any office. Ceramic or plastic planters imprinted with your name are unique. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind gift that will be remembered all year. Add a gift card inside the planter along with a package of seeds for indoor plants, like a money tree, & you should have a customer who's one happy camper.

4. Many cities, like San Francisco, are banning the use of plastic bags & soon some states will follow. This is the time to show you care about the environment. Cotton & non-woven tote bags are becoming more & more popular. They don't have to look like grocery or commercial bags. Many have an abundance of pockets & come in multi-color combinations. Tape a gift card to a book store, department store or even a gourmet/specialty food store to the bottom of one of these totes & you're giving a handy & thoughtful gift.

These are just a few ideas of how to give a gift card without showing the actual value of the gift & at the same time giving something that will display your company name & logo. They can be included with almost any promotional imprinted product to make a creative & lasting impression.

Remember, in giving a gift to a loyal customer, it's important to give something that makes him feel special & appreciated. Don't show any signs you're giving it because you feel you have to do it. With this in mind, think twice before giving a gift card by itself & calling it a day.

Incorporate gift cards with promotional custom products & make them fun to get. Be ingenious, be unique & above all--stand out from everyone else. You can do it! Good luck!
Ronni Sherman

Monday, November 1, 2010

Put Your Name In Lights With Customized Promotional Items

The holiday season is upon us. If the advertisements on TV haven't grabbed your attention, then I'm sure the brightly lit displays in the stores have. Lights are powerful & all the retailers are aware of it as they compete for your business.

Promotional imprinted products that light up are seen & remembered above any other marketing items. Think of the signs that you notice immediately--they're lit in some way. Whether it's a sign in a store window, on an office building or a billboard......they're all brightly lit, screaming to be noticed. The same goes for promotional items. There's no denying it, lights attract attention so light up your logo & make a statement with the gift you give this year.

If you want that extra impact, that special pizazz, when you hand out your promotional custom product or gift to a loyal customer, this will do it like no other: put your name in lights!

The one time not to blend in is when you purchase promotional items, especially if your product or service is in a highly competitive field. Let these promotional wholesale products display your name in a fun & creative way. Your logo will be in the spotlight & your company will be remembered long after you've met with the client or prospective customer. If you gave it as a gift, it will surely be a favorite & used even when the holidays are all but a faded memory.

Here are a few ideas that will be welcomed & useful to the recipient:
1. pens--the barrel lights up to show off your logo.
2. mouse--it lights up every time you move it.
3. mouse pad--a blue mood light frames the pad when it's being used.
4. flash drives--a soft glow keeps your logo lit.
5. luggage tags--lights blink while coming down the luggage ramp.
6. folding picture frame--when opened a soft light surrounds the photo--good for traveling.     
7. tumblers & drinkware--some have a steady light while others a blinking light.
8. yo-yo's & high-bouncer balls--if your business is youth-oriented, this will be a hit.

When you opt for customized promotional items to give out as appreciation gifts or as promotions to boost your identity during the year, take the ordinary out of the items you choose & add lights to your name. Wow your customers with your ingenuity & creativity. They'll think of you the next time they need your service or product.

Good luck & remember to make it fun & bright!
Ronni Sherman