Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top 12 Customized Promotional Gifts Under $10

'Tis the season for giving, but it doesn't have to be the season for empty wallets.  There are plenty of corporate gifts that your clients will enjoy but won't break the bank. So here is my pick of the top twelve customized promotional gifts under $10:

1. Drinkware:  All kinds--ceramic mugs, insulated travel tumblers, sports bottles--but make them different.  Since these are one of the most popular promotional imprinted products to give as gifts, be unusual so you stand out. Let yours be the one that's used throughout the coming year.

2. Stylus Pens: The perfect accessory for the number one wish list item.  Whether it's a smart phone or tablet, the round tip won't scratch the screens as their older counterparts did. The stylus also makes it easier to type on those tiny keyboards.

3. Flash Drives: Advertise in a flash with this much needed device. Save, store & share. You can download your own company information--personal greetings from your staff, 2013 product line, show property or merchandise--or give blank for your customers' storage.

4. Umbrellas: How many times are you left without an umbrella when all of a sudden there's that unexpected shower? Give one with a splash of color that your customer will want to use, but will also show off your logo. They're available in all sizes, shapes, colors & fun patterns.

5. Food In Personalized Containers: Nuts, candy, cookies can be given in containers that will be kept long after the food has been eaten. Save the generic boxes of candy or tins of popcorn for your competition to hand out. Yet, there's something about the holidays & sweets that just go together. Once the goodies are gone, make sure they still have something with your logo on it that will last into the new year.

6. USB Warmer For Hot Drinks: Nor more cold coffee or tea while working. This plugs into your computer & drinks will stay hot. What a treat, especially when you bring that cup of gourmet coffee you bought on your way to work. Think how excited your customers will be to get one of these!

7. Duffel Bags: Whether for sports or overnight travel, these have always been a favorite. Going to the gym, playing racket ball or taking a quick overnight car trip......these brightly colored bags will be used over & over.

8. Cell Phone Holder: Have you ever reached for a stack of papers on your crowded desk & your phone went flying? Or heard it ring but couldn't find it? This desk top phone holder keeps your cell out of harm's way & makes it convenient for you to reach for when needed.  Many styles are available but I like this one because it takes up little room & folds flat when not in use.

9. Media Sleeves: These are great for protecting IPads, Kindles & other tablets. This neoprene case is a favorite because it securely shuts & has a pen holder & an adjustable strap that's also removable. This is perfect for home, at the office, carting to a wi-fi coffee shop or traveling.

10. Reusable Tote & Shopping Bags: These have become the number 1 promotional custom product this year. Besides being eco-friendly, these give you the most bang for your buck......there's a large space for your logo to stand out & an average of 1038 people will see it a month.  Do it with flare......high gloss or metallic bags......these will make an impact & you can show off your company with style.

11. Soup Bowls With Attached Spoons: Because of simple economics or for healthy options, more people are bringing their lunch to work. Many times it's soup or pasta that can be heated in the microwave. The cold, dull sandwich is no longer a lunch staple.

12. Stuffed Animals: These are companions that can sit on an office shelf or near the computer if your customers are in a child oriented field. Children have always loved stuffed animals--& some "big" children too. All kinds of animals & sizes to choose from with personalized t-shirts.

These are not in the order of what I favor most. I think they are all good ideas that will make a hit with your clients. Think carefully of who your customers are & what industry your business is in, for these may not all fit in your field or be appropriate to your target audience.

The main thing is that whatever you give should not be the promotional imprinted products you've been giving out all year. Giving your customers the same pen or note pad as a gift will not earn you points or his business next year. You don't have to go over your budget, but his is not where you should cut corners.

This is the season of giving & please remember those who need a hot meal or a toy for their child. No, it won't have your company name or logo, but these gifts, too, go a long way.

Happy Holidays!
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Much Do You Know About Thanksgiving

I can't believe how fast this year flew by--in two days it will be Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday & I think it's safe to say it's a majority of American's favorite. Most people claim they cherish it 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-afternooon & celebrating long into the night. Somehow we all feel a little closer to each other on this day as we treasure what is around us & how lucky we are to have one another.

This week in schools across the United States, children 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. They will sit down to a feast of turkey, stuffing, cranberries & pumpkin pie believing they are recreating the original Plymouth, MA Thanksgiving.

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. The only fact that is correct is the 1st Thanksgiving was celebrated in the fall of 1621. This rest is all myth......read on for some interesting truths about their holiday.

First, how many of these questions about Thanksgiving can you answer correctly (scroll down to the bottom for the answers):
1. How long have turkeys been in North America?
2. What character has been in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade the most often?
3. What president thought Thanksgiving was a "ridiculous holiday"?
4. What two teams played the first football game in 1934 on Thanksgiving?
5. What famous person wanted the turkey to be our national bird?
6. What state has the most wild turkeys than any other?
7. What state consumes the most turkeys?

As we all know, the Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving a year after sailing across the Atlantic on the Mayflower. But here are some facts that are not known or have been misconceived about the early Thanksgivings:

1. The average age of a Mayflower passenger was 32 & the oldest was 64. There were 102 people who originally boarded the ship along with 2 dogs. Two women were pregnant & one gave birth on the voyage to America. The most popular man's name was John.

2. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast which lasted three days.
3. The Indian men & the Pilgrim men competed against each other in various sporting games. The Pilgrim women who survived the year & their teenage daughters prepared the meal--some historians say it was 4 women & 2 girls.

4. The native Americans wore deerskins & furs, not blankets.

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

6. Potatoes, pumpkin pies, milk & cranberries were not foods present on the 1st Thanksgiving feast table. There was no sugar to make pies & cranberry sauce. Pumpkins were stewed & cranberries were used to dye fabrics & for medicinal purposes by the Indians. No potatoes were grown in North America at that time.

7. Lobster, eel, cod, wild turkey, duck, rabbit, chicken, squash, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, walnuts, onions, leeks, parsnips, currants, dried fruit, maple syrup & honey, radishes, corn, cabbage, carrots & eggs are thought to make up the Pilgrim's feast. The wild fowl they ate was very lean with little meat, not at all like the plump poultry we have today. It's been recorded the Indians arrived bringing five deer as their contribution to the meal.

8. The Pilgrims didn't use forks. They ate with spoons, knives & their fingers. The main beverage was beer that they had brought with them on the Mayflower.

9. Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, campaigned for 20 years to get Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. Her campaign spanned five presidents. It was Abraham Lincoln who was finally convinced & in 1863, he declared Thanksgiving to be celebrated the last Thursday in November as a national holiday.  She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme, "Mary Had A Little Lamb".

10. In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to a week earlier than usual so the Christmas holiday shopping season would last longer. There was a tremendous outpouring of public disapproval over the next two years so, in 1941, he admitted his mistake & officially declared the fourth Thursday in November a national holiday for Thanksgiving.

As President Roosevelt had the foresight to see--this is the season of shopping. Not just for family & friends, but for your loyal customers as well.

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

Now, for the answers to the questions in the beginning:
1. 2000 years
2. Snoopy
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. Detroit Lions & the Chicago Bears
5. Benjamin Franklin
6. Minnesota
7. California
How many did you correctly answer?

Comparing the Pilgrim's menu to ours, I'm glad to be celebrating Thanksgiving in the 21st century--although I wouldn't mind lobster as an option.  Wishing you all a very

Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Power Of Promotional Imprinted Products

Promotional custom products work!!! When someone tells me he can't afford them, I tell him he can't afford not to invest in them. They are effective & reach out to a vast audience. They are also the most economical way to gain company recognition.  Sometimes it's the missing piece between you & your future customer. Customized promotional items are definitely a bridge between your business & the public.

Customer retention is one of the most important aspects of business. Making sure clients are happy with a brand is a key part to succeeding in a very competitive marketplace. The likelihood of business retention increases by 18 percent through the use of promotional imprinted products. Give out something with your name boldly displayed & your company will be visible day in & day out.

People want to feel appreciated & may be likely to return if they feel that the business cares. Using customized promotional items as an incentive is a great way to build relationships. The public appreciates a personal touch instead of being treated like faceless consumers on one end of transactions. Businesses can go the extra mile with these products & create a lasting bond with the people that come through their doors.

Here are the results of a survey conducted by the Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) on the effectiveness of promotional imprinted products:
  • 92% of the people questioned believe branded promotional merchandise increases company identity.
  • 76% say they can name a brand or company/organization featured on a promotional product that's on their desk without having to look for confirmation.
  • 52% purchased from companies that gave them branded promotional merchandise--that's over half.
  • 83% would keep an item they were given rather than give it away.
Within the 92% of respondents who said promotional merchandise increases awareness:
  • 83% would keep the items for themselves.
  • 14% would pass it on to a collegue.
  • 3% would give it to a family member.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

Interestingly, the survey also shows that more women than men are able to recall company names of promotional custom products that were given to them.

Top 3 reasons why people keep promotional items:
  • Usefulness
  • Value of the product--how valuable it is to them.
  • Need for reference.
The survey also listed the top 10 items that people keep (in order of importance):
  1. Apparel
  2. Pens
  3. Coffee Mugs
  4. Post-It Notes
  5. Note Pads
  6. Drinkware (other than coffee mugs)
  7. Shopping Bags
  8. Mouse Pads
  9. Calendar Desk Pads/ Calendars
  10. Key Tags
With a few slight adjustments, this follows pretty close to what my customer ask for & purchase. I find pens are #1 while apparel is further down on the list. Insulated drinkware & sport bottles are more popular with my customers than coffee mugs. The key tags--that's surprising........those are not on my top 10 & haven't been for several years.

The top 10 that my customers want the most:
  1. Pens
  2. Note Pads/ Sticky Notes
  3. Shopping & Tote Bags (all sizes & styles)
  4. Drinkware (other than mugs)
  5. Hand Sanitizers 
  6. Lip Balm
  7. Ceramic Coffee Mugs
  8. Stress Items
  9. Mouse Pads
And there's a tie for 10th:
          Desk Top Cell Phone Holders & Apparel

So the main question shouldn't be "why?", but "what". What promotional items should you buy that will benefit your customers & your company as well?  Good luck!

Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Electronic Accessories As Customized Promotional Gifts

Today electronics & accessories for the products are number 1 on people's wish lists. These are the gifts that are the most sought after. Looking for a gift that will make an impact......something that will make you stand out? If you choose an item for electronics then that's exactly what you'll do. Forget the gift card (do you really want your customer to know what you spent on him?), box of candy or the paper weight--leave those for your competition.

Wow your customers with one of these suggestions below. There's something for every budget & yet you can bet these won't be stashed away & forgotten by the new year.

Stylus pens are designed to be used on touch screens & paper. The delicate round, rubber tip will not scratch or harm the screen. The tips are different than the old stylus pens that were too sharp for today's touch screen devices. And, good news, the cost has come down.

The pens are activated by twist-action or cap-action & all stylus tips are safe to use with a smart phone, tablets & other touch screen devices.

Sleeves for laptops, iPads, Kindle Fires & other tablets are vital. It seems everyone has a laptop or a tablet, but not everybody has a cover to protect them. After the major investment, a lot of people overlook the alll-important sleeves thinking it's not necessary or it can wait until a later date.

It's so important to protect & store these investments.  What a perfect gift for the holidays & what an ideal way to show off your company name & logo at the same time.

USB car chargers with dual ports are my new favorite promotional imprinted product. Stay in touch while you're on the go. You no longer will have to decide which devices gets charged first.

It's compatible with all USB charging cables including cell phones, MP players, tablets, GPS & digital cameras. A red, blue or forest green LED ring illuminates your logo in the dark.

Flash drives area as much a necessity as computers yet so many people don't have them. You can advertise in a flash by adding your logo to one of these.  It's up to you if you want to store your corporate information (a personal greeting from your staff, showing next years catalog, giving a virtual tour of your company's services) or if you want to leave it blank for your clients' data.

Save, store or share files on this easy to use device. It's a must for everyone. And if they already have one......it's one of those things where you can always use a second.

A portable mouse is something that most people won't buy for themselves but would like to receive. Are you unhappy with the mouse on your laptop? You're not the only one--a lot of people are. This fun mouse lights up when in use......your logo & outside trim will glow.

The mouse comes with a retractable cord that extends up to 30". It's slim profile & pouch make it easy to transport & store. Also great for travel.

Cell phone holders will make it easier to find your phone. Have you ever picked up a stack of papers from your desk, not realizing your mobile phone was right there & it goes flying across the room? Or you hear it ring, but can't find it? This desk top cell phone holder is the perfect solution.

This colorful phone holder has a gripper surface & if folds for easy storage or shipping. If you have customers out of your area, then this is an easy gift to get to them.

A travel case for cords & chargers is perfect for anyone who has plans for business trips or family vacations......whether they're going just a short distance or traveling abroad. This neoprene, lightweight case keeps all cords & chargers in one place & organized. It's compact & will fit in a carry-on or computer case.

Make it easier for your customer to stay connected while away with this ideal gift.

These customized promotional gifts are great in themselves & soemting that will be appreciated & used well after the holiday season. Want to make even a bigger impact? A mouse, flashdrives, USB car chargers, pens with a stylus or flashdrives & mouse pads are all available with LED lights that light up when the item is in use.  Your company name & logo will literally glow.

So whether you put your business name in lights or your logo on a gift that will last months--years, do it with style this season.  Good luck to you.

Ronni Sherman