Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Umbrellas Make Good Promotional Custom Products--All Year Long

Humans, on foot, have one common defense for defending themselves against the scourge of water falling from the sky: umbrellas. Age, sex, ethnic background or the country they're from makes no difference......umbrellas have been around for centuries & aside from a few improvements or modern revisions, they haven't changed nor have they been passed over for a better product.

Here are a few interesting facts about umbrellas:
  • They are one of the oldest artifacts in history--so old that no one knows the origin or if it was first used to protect against the rain or the sun.
  • The annual market for umbrellas in the United States, alone, is around $350 million.
  • The superstition that it's bad luck to open an umbrella indoors originated in ancient Africa. When umbrellas were first introduced on that continent, they were used as protection from the sun. If they were opened in the shade, the Africans thought it would insult the sun god & bring wrath to the offender.
  • John Wilkes Booth asked President Lincoln for a few dollars to buy a new umbrella in 1864.
  • 75,000 umbrellas are lost on London's bus or subway systems each year.
I live in Southern CA where it rains only a few months out of the year; but when it does, it pours & umbrellas are visible everywhere. People clad in only shorts & flip-flops are seen toting them in all sizes & colors. I, personally, find them cumbersome because I can't seem to fold it & at the same time get into the car without getting soaked. But I'm in the minority.

As soon as the skies turn dark & rain is in the forecast, stores in LA bring out their umbrella displays. These are usually sold out within a few hours with desperate customers trying to persuade sales people to look in the back room in hopes there are still some sitting in unopened boxes.

In many parts of the country, umbrellas are used all year & are always within arms' reach, whether in a car, office or home. It's not unusual for people to have more than one, so if there's an unexpected downpour an umbrella will always be close by & they won't be caught off guard.

With all this in mind, umbrellas make useful & appreciative promotional imprinted products. Logos can be boldly displayed in one or several panels. These become traveling billboards for your business.

This is the time to be more creative than ever. You want your logo to show & be recognized, but at the same time not be too commercial looking. Now, more than ever, you need to think about making your company name fun, fashionable & striking. A logo needs to be more design-oriented than it is on a pad of paper or a pen if you want your customers to use it. A distinctive image & eye-catching color will make these an absolute hit!

They are not only seen on city streets on overcast, rainy days. Golf courses, beaches & parks become crowded with umbrellas when the weather is warm & sunny. That's why they make successful customized promotional items.

Umbrellas are always in season......all year long!

Why not customize umbrellas to promote your business? The holidays are quickly creeping up on us & these promotional custom products make great gifts.

Ronni Sherman

Monday, September 19, 2011

Join The Green Parade With Customized Promotional Items

In mid-march of this year, Pepsi announced an end to using the standard petroleum based plastic bottle. In 2012 they'll introduce their PET plastic bottles made entirely from plant material: grass, pine bark, corn husks, orange peels, oat hulls, potato scraps & other left-overs from their food businesses. The company claims these new bottles will look & feel exactly as the current bottles.

Coca-Cola now uses a bottle made with 30% plant materials.

This is huge! What an impact these bottles will have on our environment! But other well-known companies have also taken strides to show they care about our planet.

Bank of America offers employees a $3000 cash back reward for buying hybrid vehicles.

Target has collaborated with eco-fashion designer Rogan Gregory & has launched their own eco-clothing line that will soon be available in their stores.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car has the world's largest fleet of fuel-efficient cars & 5,000 of those are gas/electric hybrids. In addition, they have promised to plant 50 million trees across America's forests.

Both Toyota & Honda were the first of car manufacturers to offer hybrids as an option in many of their models. Toyota is famous for the Prius, the world's first mass-market hybrid vehicle.

Other companies that have shown concern for our planet & have jumped on the "green bandwagon" are Verizon, Ikea, The Discovery Channel, Chipotle, L'Oreal, Aveda, Whole Foods, The Gap, Kohls, Draft, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, HP, UPS, Continental Airlines & British Airlines.

Ok, so now you're telling yourself these are big companies known all over the world & they have money & resources to make a difference, but what can you do.  You can do a lot whether your business has one employee or over 100.  I'm not going into how you can save paper or find better ways to use energy......there's so much more we can all do to make a difference.

One area you can show you care about our planet as you market your company is with promotional imprinted products. This is such a natural & easy transition to make if you're already using advertising specialties.

U.S. Corn Plastic is a revolutionary new material made entirely from corn syrup & is on the verge of replacing conventional polymers as we know them.  It's cheap to manufacture & the best part is: it's biodegradable! Many products can be made out of this material & new uses are being devised everyday. Items made from this are 100% environmentally friendly.

It makes great ballpoint pens, stress balls, name tags, letter openers & novelty products. Show the public you care about the environment by choosing customized promotional items made from corn syrup. Those in the know will appreciate the gesture & the moves your company is making to be more eco-friendly.

Retailers are encouraging customers to use & reuse recyclable tote & shopping bags instead of filling up landfills with plastic bags. These are one of my favorites of all promotional items because they are so useful & they allow a large space for your logo & advertising message.

Creating customized promotional tote bags accomplishes two objectives:
  1. they reduce the need for plastic shopping bags which can't be recycled & end up in landfills - that leads to global warming.
  2. they create an economical vehicle for advertising & promoting your business & they have a large imprint area to really make your logo stand out.
Remember when your customers use these while they shop, they're taking your company name right along with them.

All paper goods you buy that have your logo imprinted on them can be made from recycled paper. This includes note pads, sticky notes, note cubes, spiral notebooks & journals.

Mouse pads & apparel now can be made from recyclable materials while at the same time showing off your company name as vividly as on the same items you used before. Promotional custom products that promote environmental awareness & your brand at the same time are becoming easier to find with a broader spectrum of products to choose from.

To show the public that you care about the environment doesn't require a large budget or a conservation foundation. All you need to do is take care in what promotional gifts you choose to distribute. You can easily achieve all of the results of promotional imprinted products, but you'll add an environmental edge to your marketing & you'll benefit from having a reputation for caring about the planet. A large section of the public will respond very favorably to this image.

Think about this the next time you order promotional items.  Good luck!
Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Promotional Custom Products Help Political Campaigns

I just found this article written by Brad White last February.  Even though it's been six months since this was posted, I feel Brad's statements regarding promotional products & his response to Jerry Brown's weak attempts to cut the state's spending are so significant, I'm reposting his letter now.

The original article that was written on Brad's blog has many comments stating the importance of customized promotional items & their effectiveness over other forms of advertising.

Open Letter to Gov. Jerry Brown
28 02 2011

Dear Governor Brown,

Last week, in an attempt to ease California’s budget deficit, you ordered state agencies to stop using promotional products to as a means to market their programs and services.  I was born in California and lived there for 25 years – I certainly understand the mess the state is in.  What I don’t understand is why you chose to ban one form of marketing but not others.  I don’t understand why you specifically went after promotional products:

“Not a cent of taxpayer money should be spent on flashlights, ashtrays or other unnecessary items, most of which likely end up in landfills.”

Pardon my tone, but are you really qualified to determine what kind of marketing is effective?  Speaking of things ending up in landfills, did you know that 99% of all direct mail is thrown away?  Why didn’t you ban direct mail?  I know why – because that mail is delivered by government employees.  Why didn’t you ban TV ads?  Well, we all know that it’s not smart for politicians to upset folks in entertainment.  And why not get rid of billboard advertising?  Oh that’s right, billboard company CBS Outdoor donates money to your art school charity – not to public schools, but to your hand-chosen art schools – so you better not upset the billboard guys.

And what about the products you are banning?  The “plastic gewgaws” as you call them.  Things like buttons, mugs, bags, bumper stickers, and t-shirts.

If using logoed merchandise is not a good way to promote your message, then why did you use so much of it in your election campaign?  You remember the election, the one where you and Meg Whitman fought tooth and nail to see who could spend the most money?

Governor Brown, I have no problem with you cutting spending – it must be done.  But why are you picking on promotional products instead of all forms of marketing?  Clearly you believe this is an effective form of marketing or you would not have used it.  If you want to cut marketing spending then cut it all – TV, radio, mail, billboards – ban all of it, or LEGALIZE PROMO!!!

I welcome your comment.

All I can say is pictures speak 1000 words. These are some of the promotional custom products Jerry Brown used in his campaign for governor of California.

Bumper sticker seen on cars all over the state while Jerry Brown was campaigning.

Maybe Governor Brown should look at promotional imprinted products from a different angle........since they  obviously worked for him, he should stress their validity to other businesses.  Think about economic growth, Governor, rather than inadequate ways of cutting spending.

Ronni Sherman