Archive for the ‘Production and Quality Control’ category

Top 5 Pitfalls of Promotional Product Development

June 2nd, 2011

We’ve been talking a lot about how to achieve success in the advertising specialties industry using top-notch, attention-grabbing promotional products.

But for every way to get it right, there are certainly a handful of ways to get it wrong. Let’s take a look at five of the most common mistakes:

1) Getting late to market with a trend
In the advertising specialties world, showing up late is almost as bad as never showing up at all – and in some cases, it can be worse. Trends are fickle, and while some have incredible staying power (Mardi Gras beads, anyone?), others pass the peak and are quickly regulated to the dreaded ‘out of style’ status. Only two outcomes can come from arriving to market post-peak: 1) the market is over-saturated and your product isn’t new or exciting, and 2) You risk being overtly un-cool if the trend has passed. 

2) Refusing to innovate/refresh your approach
So how do you avoid getting late to market with a trend?  You pay attention. You remain always willing to mix it up and get on board with the hot new thing as it’s heating up. Doing the same old thing will yield the same old results, so watch for those trends – or partner with people who will watch on your behalf.

3) Failing to differentiate your brand identity
I have no fewer than fifteen branded pens in my drawer. Why should I grab yours to carry around use in public, exposing both myself and others to your brand? What makes yours special? Figure it out, or risk being an also-ran.

4) Sacrificing quality
We’ve talked about quality before, but the importance it simply can’t be overstated. You’re putting your logo – your brand identity – on a promotional product and allowing that product to speak to your consumers. What do you want the message to be?

5) Not targeting your key audience
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s shocking how frequently companies miss the mark. Who gets excited about your brand? Who gets excited about the promotional product under consideration? Make sure those two consumer segments match up. Nobody wants to be company handing out branded beer glasses to pre-teens or offering Silly Bandz to retirees.

The High Cost of Low Price Promotional Products

February 8th, 2011

If there’s a more ubiquitous buzzword than branding, we don’t know it. There’s a good reason for this: Customers know you through your promotional products.

Visibility is a key component of a brand. But what about when a brand is being represented on the glasses at a bar in Austin, or the backpacks at a baseball game in Boston? Brand integrity hinges not just on exposure, but also on quality and consistency.

You can’t be everywhere your brand is, nor should you be. What can you do? You can take steps to ensure that your company’s brand integrity is both protected and enhanced by each impression from Boston to Austin — and everywhere in between.

Simply put, best price does not always equate to best choice. Here are some drawbacks of cut-rate deals when it comes to promotional products:

Quality Issues

Poor design. Cheap construction. Ineffective placement. Promotional products with any of those drawbacks have less staying power and therefore are less visible. Instead of a positive impression, you may create a negative impression, and those have notorious staying power.

On the production side, cut-rate equates to materials substitution, assembly shortcuts, and production delays. Profitability is a concern for everyone – including the factories. Increases in materials and labor continue to drive up cost and negatively impact margin. Something has to give in the equation. Quality at some level is sacrificed.

Production Issues

The reality is that manufacturing is based on a repeatable process. Substitution or short-cuts outside of the normal process can create a variety of issues. These include things like skipping quality control steps, use of untried and proven materials or delays and errors in retraining the line.

The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. This old adage proves itself true when it comes to cutting price to the bone. Attempting to get a “deal” can lead to the worst of outcomes when price is king. Watch your assets. Protect yourself and your brand’s bottom-line. In the end, if your brand is represented on an inferior product, it doesn’t matter if you scored a cheap deal. You will end up holding the bill for damages which is far greater than what you may have saved up front.

Vector Art: What the heck is it and why does everyone ask for it?

February 2nd, 2011

This just in: Size does matter. How many times have you tried to “blow up” an image file, only to find that the end result is grainy and blurry?

Non-Vector

Vector

It’s a problem that has plagued the marketing and promotional industry for ages. If you suffer from BIS (Blurry Image Syndrome), it’s high time you met vector. With vector art, you never have to decide between the ideal size of an image and the ideal clarity of the image.

Why can vector offer the best of both worlds? First, you have to understand why vector is different. Standard image compositions are composed using pixels. When a pixilated image is expanded, the individual pixels become more visually prominent. The result? Blurry images and frustrated customers.

Non-Vector

Vector

Vector art, on the other hand, is composed of continuous lines and shapes. It’s made using mathematical equations – but don’t worry, you don’t need to be a math whiz to see the clear difference.

Vector images remain sharp and clear regardless of the image scale. This means that one image file can be incredibly flexible in its application, from beverage holders to billboards.

A vector image is different right down to its core. That’s why you cannot simply convert a non-vector image into vector. So when you’re counting on your logo to look its best regardless of size, start with a vector image file. Once you’re armed with vector, size no longer matters.