Archive for the ‘Industry News’ category

Choosing the perfect promotional product: Perception is everything!

August 14th, 2013

Choosing the right promotional product for your budgetPerception IS everything. When next you face the challenge of choosing a promotional product, keep this advertising specialty statistic in mind.

“Owners of promotional products remember the company they came from 87% of the time.”

Low cost might be attractive but it has its drawbacks. Poor quality items might meet your budgetary goals but fall far short in the promotion of your brand or company. With a rate of 87% recall, a cheap or poorly constructed item can have a negative impact that perpetuates itself forward.

Conversely, a promotional product of quality and good manufacture (albeit small) can say a lot about continuing engagement with your brand. Think of it like page ranking. The higher quality the link, the better the link. Well manufactured ad specialties speak well of your brand far into the future.

The changing shape of beverage promotion & POS

April 19th, 2013

Coca-Cola has long been known for its iconic contour bottle shape. The current trend in beverage marketing is to try to mimic that success. The creation of a unique bottle or can that increases recognition is becoming more important in today’s ever-crowded marketplace. Research shows that packaging as art is a lever that definitely drives consumer consideration. Ultimately the consumer will make a decision based on the experiential – the way a product sits on the shelf or how it feels in the hand.

Budweiser’s new center-crimped can (designed to reinforce their iconic bowtie image) is a great example of this trend. Craft brewing giant, Boston Beer Company, has rolled out a new flared lip, purported to better capture aroma and enhance the beer drinking experience. The standard beer/soda can has not seen such profound change since the pop top was invented in 1959.

Pepsi is rolling out a new swirl-handled bottle shape for its core product lines this April. Dainty, limited edition 7.5 ounce designer decorated cans will also grace store shelves.

With all this attention to detail, to put these functional masterpieces in mundane POS displays just seems – criminal. The opportunity to take in-store displays and develop something truly exceptional could be the only way for brands to stand out in a sea of iconic eye-candy.

Promotional needs for craft brew are changing with the return of THE CAN

March 12th, 2013

Promoting craft brew used to be as simple as a new release and a bunch of brand evangelists. No so much anymore.

According to a Mintel research report, sales of craft beer have more than doubled from 5.7 billion in 2007 to 12 billion in 2012. Expectations are that market for craft beer will be an 18 billion dollar market by 2017.

Why such growth? Perhaps it is the authenticity of the product tapping into the consumer search for “real” product. Could it be that craft has become synonymous with the consumer search for products perceived to be more organic and less highly produced? Regardless, craft brew has become a beer industry powerhouse.

Along with this growth, craft brewers have begun to adopt marketing tactics more in step with their macro brewing cousins.

All hail the return of The Can.  Marketer’s beware of cookie cutter complacency. This is not beer can as usual. Specialty shapes and sizes are showing up on shelves. Four packs versus six packs, slim versus wide – craftbrewers are seeking to differentiate themselves from the ordinary. Industry standard displays will have to be tweaked or fundamentally redesigned to serve the needs of this growing segment. Research shows that a brew’s personality is a major selling feature for target markets.

Our thoughts … Time to crack open a can of your favorite brew and hit the drawing board. Craft brew promotion needs a new flavor.

How promotional products can help you tap into growing consumer optimism

February 26th, 2013

How Americans perceive their financial situations is a fairly accurate predictor of consumer spending habits. According to a preliminary reading from the Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan (TR/UM) index of current conditions, Americans are feeling more positive. The index just jumped from 66.6 to 68.7 for February.

Consumers seem to be giving the signal that they are open to explore the possibility of spending again. The timing seems ripe for marketers to amp up efforts to capture mindshare. It takes multiple impressions to get a consumer to take an action. In a fast-paced world that lives on short-term content, you might want to consider adding a longer term delivery mechanism like promotional products to your campaign. Here a few good reasons why:

  1. Promotional products deliver more impressions for a longer period of time than other media. According to a recent industry study, advertising specialties are kept for an average of 5.8 months.
  2. 87% of recipients could identify the advertiser associated with the item and
  3. 31% reported a high likelihood of doing
    business with the advertiser after receiving a promotional product. With a strong ROI,
    promotional products are a great addition to a multi-faceted marketing approach.

 

If you are a fact geek like me, check out the ASI study below for more detailed information.

*ASI Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study V. 3

Top five ways to use promotional products as incentives

May 4th, 2012

The Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) has published their most recent study analyzing channel belief versus customer needs. In a world of massive changes in communications technology and how brands go to market, the promotional product is still an effective way to motivate and influence behavior in end-users.

In a previous post (about a year ago), I centered on the number of products and how long people hold on to thier advertising specialties. I challenged you to look in your purse, desk, closets to underscore the point. Today, I am happy to report that promotional products are alive and doing well in the marketplace. People will take action to acquire them. People covet them. People steal them (yep, that data is included in the study too!) End-users still love them.

The following is a list of the top five ways promotional products can, and do, influence the way end-users behave:

1. 82% will take a survey to gain a promotional product.

2. 70.6% of end-users will go to a booth at a tradeshow

3. 41.8% will “LIKE” a company on Facebook or post a Tweet on Twitter

4. 33.2% will buy the “gift” with purchase

5. 27.7% will make a positive post about the company on a social networking site

As a marketer in a sea of new technologies for engagement, it is comforting to know that some things never change.

Promotional Products Go Scantastic with QR Codes

July 13th, 2011

The Quick Response Phenomenon is here and promotional products just went interactive!

QR: It’s short for Quick Response, and these codes are taking the marketing world by storm. QR codes are a user-friendly alternative to bar codes. They’ve been around since the mid-1990s, but the surge in camera phone usage has thrust QR codes onto center stage.

Why? Because customers can use their camera phones to quickly scan a QR code that will lead them to more information about a product or company.

QR codes are being put on everything from magazine pages to billboards. One creative restaurant even made a scanable QR code waffle. Now that’s multi-tasking at breakfast.

 What does this have to do with the advertising specialties world? The short answer: everything. QR codes are incredibly versatile and can be placed on just about any imaginable promotional product. Just imagine the possibilities: your branded item could truly communicate with your customers via quick response. This capability bridges the all-important gap between brand visibility and brand interaction.

When we say that QR codes can be placed on just about anything, we mean it. In the apparel world, you could put QR codes on tees or jersey scarves. And why not consider QR codes on beach balls for summer? Other codeable items include: Bead Medallions, Leis, Booster Banners,  Drawstring Backpacks, Pint Glasses, Shot Glasses, Coasters, … and the list goes on and on.

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Get ready for a quick response from your customers.

IMC’s Shane Erickson on the art of translating popular trends into promotional products

April 19th, 2011

What can we say – we love pop culture.

In this exclusive interview, IMC CEO, Shane Erickson shares his thoughts on the role of trends in promotional product development and how it all got started.  ___________________________________________________________________________________

What would you say is the number one factor that has kept IMC ahead of the game when it comes to promotional products and advertising specialties?
For us, it’s been our ability to continually come up with fresh ideas. We never get complacent and we’re always looking for the next product and the next trend. We are always on the lookout for things we think are cool. We spend a lot of time just brainstorming around the office about how we could translate things into a usable promotional product.

 How have pop culture trends affected your business?
We’ve been involved with trends since the start. When we started it was baseball cards or Beanie Babies or Pokémon, and tomorrow it’ll be something else. We’ve become good at identifying unique trends and turning them into effective tools for the promotional products industry. For example: Someone on the team came in wearing a molded silicone band that their kid was crazy about.  I looked at it and thought to myself “Hey, this could be big if we take it promotional.” My whole team got involved. We wanted to do something more – make a product that our client could really own.  It evolved into the fully custom solution we offer today.

What has been the biggest surprise for IMC over the last 20 years?
I’d say the sports-shaped and customized Mardi Gras beads. We’ve really become known for them. When they first came out we thought the trend would last perhaps one or two years, but they have lasted over 12 years. Today, we’re still known as “The Bead Guys.” We are proud of that. It goes to show how important translating a trend can be in the advertising specialties industry. When you put the time and energy into truly capturing the spirit of a trend, you can end up with a product that stands up to the test of time. I think that is what differentiates IMC from its competitors.

 What’s the hot trend right now?
The newest item is the ionic necklace. The ionic trend has been around for a while, but the necklace is a fresh new twist. You see quite a few people wearing them these days, including professional athletes and college players. Staying true to our mission, we wanted to do more than bring team color to promotional. We offer a completely customized product – from the imprinted decorative knobs to the logo imprinted directly on the strand. It is not enough for us to hop on a trend in a superficial way. We want to create a promotional product that is true to the trend. It brings an authenticity to the process that clients and end users appreciate.

IMC’s Shane Erickson reflects on 20 years of developing great promotional products

April 14th, 2011

We have been unearthing cool stuff since 1991 and now we’ve hit 20 years – two decades in the business! Time flies, and we’re having fun. We’re celebrating this anniversary by spilling all our secrets to success. In this exclusive interview, IMC CEO Shane Erickson shares how we’ve come this far and what lies ahead. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

How has IMC established a place in the market?
We don’t try to be everything to everybody. We focus our energy and attention on the areas we know best (sports, beverage, and casino promotions,) and that concerted effort allows us to be exceptional in those areas.

What has been the biggest change in the industry?
Definitely importing. A lot of people in the promotional products and advertising specialties field are now going direct overseas. Some execute better than others. There is a definite learning curve. Experience counts when developing promotional products abroad. There are a lot of nuances in the process. Our sourcing team is well seasoned and has great relationships. We started importing ten years ago and have learned a lot in a decade. We will continue to help our clients by bringing them the best possible value.

What’s the key to staying relevant and competitive in the future?
For us it’s staying true to our markets and understanding our clients better and better. Our clients are who we talk to every day – the people in the sports, beverage, and casino industries. We talk to them about how and why they use the products.  It gives us better insight to develop the right promotional product for them. We want to see positive results for our clients. We are highly interested how the products worked (or didn’t work) so we can source more strategically. We strive to bring them something that they want with a twist that will deliver more. This can mean a lot of customized development – a strong point for us. It’s really about an exchange of ideas and constantly moving forward. We’re always asking our customers, “What’s new for you guys?” or bringing them new ideas we come across to the table.

 When it comes down to it, we stay true to our passion – unearthing cool stuff to create a better promotional product for our clients.

Advertising Specialities might be greener than you think

April 1st, 2011

The Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) and annual tradeshow Brew Expo, held in San Francisco this March, saw a significant increase in attendees over last year. A whopping 3900 folks came out to demonstrate their passion for beer and the craft of brewing. Attendance however, was not the only thing we noticed had grown in this segment. 

We noticed a real focus on sustainability across the board. Not surprisingly, brewers with a passion for handcrafting beverages have a high interest in recycled products and sustainable prodution for their promotional needs.

The ability to reuse existing materials or produce in a facility that generates its own solar power is quite a positive. Then I started thinking about products in our industry in general. There is a whole lot of reuse going on out there. Here is a short list of promotional products that you wouldn’t normally think of as “green”.

Mardi Gras Beads
Can be made from reground plastic or corn plastic.

Bags and Totes
Made from recycled bottles (PET), bamboo or post-consumer waste.

Coasters
Can be made from a variety of reclaimed materials including recycled circut boards, vinyl LP’s, street signs, and blue jeans.

Mugs
Made from recycled blue jeans, yellow pages, or old money.

Lapel Pins
Made from post consumer recycled iron.

Combine this with water or solar powered technology and fast-growing renewable resources like bamboo,  and the advertising specialties industry is a bit greener at heart than you might have imagined.

Six Reasons Promotional Products Build Brand Awareness

March 3rd, 2011

Looking for a cost effective way to get your brand or business out there? 

Here are some fun findings from the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study (released in 2010 by the Advertising Specialties Institute) that underscore the return on investment in promotional products.

 

#1  Affordable
At $0.005 in the United States and $0.004 in Canada, the cost per impression of promotional products was significantly less expensive than TV, National Magazines, and Spot Radio.

#2  Mindshare
83% of those surveyed indicated they could identify the advertiser on a promotional product they owned.

#3  Engagement
41% of respondents in the United States indicated that their opinion of the advertiser was more favorable after receiving a promotional product. 47% of Canadians thought more highly of the advertiser.

#4  Staying Power
The average length of time a respondent from the United States reported keeping an item was 5.4 months. Canadian respondents kept theirs slightly longer at 5.7 months.

#5  Usefulness
Respondents from the United States and Canada reported using their promotional products 18.2 times a month.

#6  Perceived Value
62%
of respondent in the United States indicated that they will pass along a promotional item they do not intend to keep for themselves to others.

Still don’t buy it? Test the theory. Check your bag, cupboard, desk, or closet. Bet you discover that you have more promotional products than you knew!