Archive for the ‘Team IMC Events’ category

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.

Adventures Over the Pond with British Airways

August 17th, 2009

IMC will be taking it on the road this year. We have just been selected as a winner in the British Airways Face-to-Face Contest!

Our application was submitted through our association with the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global network of more than 7,300 business owners in 42 countries. It is very satisfying, albeit humbling, to be selected by a panel of your peers. We thank them for their trust in our ability to represent and develop American business relationships overseas.

What was really cool about this concept is that it underscores the value of the human connection in business development. Accounts are not just names or numbers on a spreadsheet. True innovation comes from a meeting of the minds and an exploration of the needs of others. We are very excited to be part of this outreach initiative.

It hit me today that this is why social media has been embraced so quickly, by so many. Particularly in the B-to-B space. According to a recent poll of distributors, use of social networking has more than doubled over the last year. Sage software/AMI-Partners “North American Small Business Social Networking Study” revealed that use of social networking for customer service (answering customers questions) was the top activity at 61% of respondents polled, with networking activities coming in second. The promotional products industry is changing the way it conducts business as we speak.

People are reaching out and leveraging communications technology to simulate the face-to-face experience. The virtual social community may be the closest to a warm handshake we can get in an environment of tightening budgets and scarce resources.

Post written by Linda Whitteaker-Hanson






2009 IMC Big Stone Mini Golf Classic

July 8th, 2009

IMC held it’s annual mini golf tournament at Big Stone Mini Golf again this year. A good time was has by all! Check out one of Minnesota’s (and perhaps the country’s) most unusual mini golf course and Team IMC overcoming bizzare obstacles like the pumpkin patch and the dreaded Titanic holes.

Check out some video clips from the event!

 Shotgun Start


 One of the more challenging holes on the course . . .


A new perspective on boating . . .

It takes a professional . . .

Blog Author: Linda Whitteaker-Hanson (aka imcmarketer)