Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun & Unkown Facts About Thanksgiving

Remember those Thanksgiving pageants you were in during your grade school years & the Pilgrims & Indians sat down to a meal of make-believe turkey, stuffing & yams? Today, in school, our children take part in Thanksgiving feasts with real food depicting the first Thanksgiving. Children across the United States are wearing the same black Pilgrim hats or colorful feathers, if they choose to be Indians--all made the week before from construction paper as an art project.

We were all raised thinking this was a fairly accurate picture of the meal the Indians shared with the Pilgrims & we passed this lore down to our children as it was told to us. But this isn't how it was at all. The only fact that is correct is the 1st Thanksgiving was celebrated in the fall of 1621. Did you know it lasted for three days?

Here are some other facts about the first Thanksgiving:

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

List of foods that were available to the colonists at the time of the 1621 harvest feast & were probably on their menu:
  • SEAFOOD: lobster, clams, eel & cod
  • WILD FOWL: wild turkey, geese, duck, swans, partridges & eagles
  • MEAT: venison & seal
  • GRAIN: wheat
  • VEGETABLES: pumpkin, corn, peas, beans, onions, lettuce, raddishes & carrots
  • FRUIT: plums, grapes
  • NUTS: walnuts, chestnuts & acorns
  • HERBS & SEASONINGS: olive oil, liverwort, leeks, dried currants & parsnips
These traditional foods did not exist at the first Thanksgiving:
  • YAMS OR SWEET POTATOES: Potatoes of any kind were not grown 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.
Comparing their menu to ours, I'm glad to be celebrating Thanksgiving in the 21st century--although I wouldn't mind lobster as an option.

This is the time of year that football is the #1 sport to watch or play. It's become associated with Thanksgiving whether professional teams are being watched on TV or family members play among themselves. The tradition of NFL football began in Detroit in 1934 when the Bears & Lions played......the Bears won 19 to 16. Football, obviously, was not around for the 1st Thanksgiving but sporting contests went on for the three day harvest festival in 1621. The Pilgrims displayed their shooting talents with guns while the Indians exhibited their skills with bows & arrows, racing, wrestling & other games.

 This is also the time of year when companies thank their loyal customers for their patronage by sending out holiday cards, inviting them to office parties or giving a gift to show their appreciation.

Keep in mind that even though you should have plenty of promotional imprinted products on hand, these should not be given out as holiday gifts. You 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. Customized promotional items should definitely be used as holiday gifts, but they need to be special & more unique than what is usually distributed among the public for company recognition.

It's not what you spend, it's what you give. Whether it's the $1 candy bar boldly displaying your logo or a $50 computer laptop case discreetly showing it, your customized promotional gift should be something you haven't handed out during the year. Choose a gift that will make your client feel his business means something to you.

Just as important, make sure that gift makes an impact with your company name.
Happy Thanksgiving. I hope this is your best ever!

Have a wonderful & safe holiday season.

Ronni Sherman

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adding Value To The Holiday Gifts You Give Your Clients

It's probably become routine for you to give your customers a gift during the holiday season. But this isn't a novel idea--every other company is giving gifts also. This means it's very competitive to get your customer's attention & to ensure your gift will be the one they remember & use. There are a few things you can do to add value to your gift so it will be the one that is acknowledged & appreciated. Most importantly, to make sure it's the one that is kept & not stashed away in the back of a closet......or worse, thrown out.

Before I tell you what to do to give your gift value, let me tell you what NOT to do........don't cut corners. Rummaging through your supply closet to find boxes of promotional custom products that didn't get distributed spells disaster, not thank you.

If you buy, as gift items, the run-of-the-mill promotional imprinted products that promote your company more than promote your appreciation of your client's loyalty & business, you'll be doing more harm than good. The .50 pen you've been handing out all year won't look like a gift just because you're giving it in December. Yes, definitely add your logo to the gift, but don't be so blatant about it as you would on a marketing item. A logo or your company name is sufficient--you don't need to add your website, other contact information or a sales pitch.

Now here's a few ideas how to go that extra step to really make your gift stand out among all the others that will be received.

Personalization: Whether the items cost a lot or are inexpensive, if it is imprinted with the recipient's own name, they will be more likely to use & cherish it. Personalization shows that you've put more thought into what you're giving & that it's not just a mass mail-out to your entire data base. The difference in cost may only be a few dollars but it will result in a big difference in the longevity of the item in your client's life.

Some ideas: 
  • An engraved pen that has your company name on one side & your customer's personal name on the other side.
  • A leather embossed portfolio with your client's initials on the outside cover & your logo embossed on the inside pocket. Remember, this is a gift so your logo doesn't need to be as prominent as it usually is on a promotional imprinted product.
  • A ceramic mug with your company name & logo on one side & personalized with your customer's name on the other. It'll make more of an impact if you give the mug filled with candy, cookies or imported bags of tea.
Picking an appropriate gift: This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind because if it's not useful to your customer, it won't be used. 

  • Someone who is a builder & is on site all day long can not use an executive desk pad; but an insulated coffee mug would most likely be a sure hit.
  • If your clients are in the health & fitness field a pedometer would probably be more appreciated than tins filled with cookies, candied popcorn or chocolates.
Attention to detail: How do you feel when you get a present? What do you reach for........the one that's beautifully wrapped or one that's in a plastic bag from the store where it was purchased? Think about your presentation when your customer receives your gift. That extra little detail will add a lot of extra pizzazz to your gift.

Some ideas:
  • Remember that mug filled with candy or tea bags that I mentioned earlier? Cello wrap it & then tie it together with ribbon curls that are your company's colors.
  • An engraved pen or flash drive can usually be purchased with a gift box. That little added expense will make a huge difference & add value to your gift.
  • Buy gift bags with your logo & company name imprinted on them & put your present in them surrounded by colorful tissue.
It's so important to think of ways to add value to your gift & ensure that it is used daily & not thrown out. Look at the items on your desk or look around you at many came from a company that appreciated your business. Is there a special mug, mouse pad or paper weight? Those items were probably carefully selected by someone to suit your needs & that's the reason why you still use them to this very day.

I hope this helps you pick the perfect gifts for your customers. Good luck!
Ronni Sherman

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blankets As Customized Promotional Gifts

This is the time of year that depicts warmth, contentment & comfort. Think about it......falling leaves in all shades of brilliant oranges & yellows, maybe the first dusting of snow, pumpkin patches, football games, Thanksgiving, holiday decorations & lights, cinnamon scented pinecones, celebrations, presents wrapped in bright colors & adorned with gold & silver ribbons, kitchens smelling of freshly baked cookies, hot cocoa with marshmellows, hot apple cidar............

Picture a frosty morning, a cool crisp afternoon or a night when the temperatures dip into the 30's. It's the perfect time to curl up with a good book or movie, a crackling fire in the fireplace, a glass of wine or a cup of herbal tea. And a cozy throw or blanket is just what is needed to round out this picture.

Fleece & chenille blankets, with your logo embroidered in a corner, come in an array of colors & are reasonably priced. This makes them the ideal gift for the holidays or later in the year when you want to show your appreciation to a special client.

Their uses are endless: 
  • car or boat--some come rolled in a self-contained pouch which makes them very compact.
  • air travel--others come folded in a separate bag with a handle & it includes an inflatable neck pillow.
  • football games--perfect since the weather can get very chilly......especially if you're sitting towards the top of the bleachers.
  • at home--they're very can save money & keep your heating bills down while reading or watching TV.
Remember your targeted audience & all the advise about giving a gift that is appropriate for that group of people? What if your audience covers a wide group of varied ages & interests? What kind of present can you give them that will be appreciated by everyone? A blanket given as a customized promotional gift is your answer. They'll be appreciated & used over & over......that means your logo will be seen over & over.

These promotional imprinted products, when offered as gifts, will definitely boost your company recognition. Your logo will be seen outside the office--maybe thousands of miles from your office if they're used when traveling. That's a quick & easy way to get your business name out among the public. An after all, that's what it's all about!

And when used at home........that's a good way to stay in your customer's mind. It's a subtle reminder of your service or product without a hard sales pitch.

Most important, they will "warm up" your relationship with your customers & clients.

Blankets, as promotional custom products or gifts, are creative, unique & effective. You'll stand out from your competition when you hand these out with your colorful embroidered logo.

Whatever you decide to distribute with your company name, I hope it does the trick. Good luck!
Ronni Sherman