Posts Tagged ‘premiums’

Developing the “Right” Promotional Product – Who are you speaking to?

February 24th, 2012

As we move forward, the audience we promote to is ever-changing. What makes them tick is important to know when developing a successful promotional product, particularly with younger audiences.

The growth of mobile communications and application consumption is on the rise. Developing promotional products that address both online and offline marketing efforts is becoming more important as the population ages. Below is a brief overview of generational cohorts and behaviors that you may want to take into consideration when developing your next promotional product or premium.

Generational descriptions derived from Wikipedia.

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.

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. 

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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.

The Art of Competition: Are we hard-wired for engagement?

March 30th, 2011

There’s a plate of cookies on your kitchen table. Your son and daughter notice the cookies, and they both ask for one.

Your response . . . only one of them can have a cookie, and there will be a contest to determine who gets it.

Wait — you would never do that, right? Because you know what will happen. By turning the cookie into a potentially unattainable prize instead of a simple giveaway, you’ve created a dramatically increased demand for the cookie. Suddenly, that cookie is the hottest thing since molded silicone bandz.

In the world of sibling rivalry, this scenario is a nightmare. In the world of branding, advertising specialties, or promotional products, it’s a gold mine.

The desire to win and be rewarded with a prize: it’s part of human nature. We’re hard-wired for competition.

Contests don’t just create buzz; they facilitate engagement. Branded promotional products can make your logo and your brand part of that engagement.

According to a 2010 study by the Advertising Specialties Institute
- People in the U.S. own nearly 10 promotional products on average
- Promotional products are kept for an average of 5.6 months.
- 41% of those who have received a promotional product indicate their opinion of the advertiser was more favorable after receiving a promotional product.

Just think what happens to that favorable impression when there’s all the lasting buzz of a contest involved. The fun and spirit of competition combined with focused, engaged attention on your brand: now that’s even sweeter than a plate of cookies.

Reusable Bag Alternatives: A Growing Promotional Opportunity

March 23rd, 2011

So goes California, so usually goes the nation.

California has been a leading force in pushing forward environment-based legislation. The most recent  is a ban on plastic shopping bags that will be impacting supermarkets, convenience and liquor stores, and pharmacies by the city of Santa Monica beginning September 1, 2011. Fines for ignoring the new ban – $75 per violation, with criminal prosecution possible for repeat offenders. Ouch!

Why should marketers care? Three communities in California and one in Texas have passed plastic bag bans this year. Nationwide, 19 plastic bag bans have been enacted or approved overall, beginning with San Francisco in 2007.

What about paper? In some places they are still offered for free, with a discount going to those who reuse them. Some stores are now charging for them. As grocery prices soar, one can only think that saavy stores may even consider discontinuing them as well another way of preserving margin and keeping product cost low.

Some statistical tidbits from the 2010 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, conducted by the Advertising Specialties Institute are as follows:

-  Impression rate leader: Average of 1078 impressions per month
-  Kept for an average of 6.7 months
-  One of the lowest per impression costs at .001 cents per impression

Never has the reusable tote had such opportunity to gain in popularity. With a large live area for messaging, high impression rates, ability to spur favorable attitudes toward advertisers, the bag is a promotional item poised for growth.

The Not So Blank Page: Creativity and the Promotional Product

March 8th, 2011

You want all eyes on your brand.

You want dazzle consumers with a top-quality, on-trend promotional product.

Now if only you could figure out what that product should be…

It’s the curse of the blinking cursor: you have all the drive and none of the ideas, and you’re left with a blank page staring back at you.

We’ve been turning blinking cursors into celebrated promotional products for twenty years. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to stimulate creativity and help you start brainstorming ideas:

Dump out your bag
Chances are, you carry advertising specialty products around with you every day. What products were memorable or functional enough to make you incorporate them into your daily life? Why?

Get inspired
Think of a time when you’ve witnessed active demand for a promotional product. T-shirts tossed into the crowd at a baseball game? Branded glasses on a special night at the bar? What created that demand?

Be trend-savvy
Watch the people around you. What’s the must-have item this year? In our trend post we discussed how to capitalize on a hot pop culture trend. Which hot trend could connect with your brand?

Be your own market research subject
What grabs your attention when you’re out and about? Are you swayed by an on-pack promotion? Distracted by dealer loaders? Do you catch yourself reading the branded signs in bars or the display enhancers at stores? Imagine your logo on one of those items. What fits? What doesn’t? What would cause you to stop in your tracks?

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!

IMC Trend Report: From Pop Culture to Promotional Products

February 24th, 2011

You don’t need to be a professional trend spotter to notice when a pop culture phenomenon has taken hold of the public’s attention. Rather than watching the craze from afar, savvy marketers become active participants in these phenomena.

Infusing your logo into a pop culture powerhouse is like an instant facelift for the brand. What brand can’t benefit from a jolt of on-trend freshness?

It’s a marketing no-brainer: When the market experiences a hot new pop culture trend, the public’s demand for the product has already been demonstrated. All a company has to do is introduce a well-conceived promotional product at the right time, through the right avenues and aimed at the right customers.

83% of people in the U.S indicated they can identify the advertiser on a promotional product they own, and 41% say their opinon of an advertiser is more favorable after receiving a promotional product.

Translating popular trends into unique advertising specialties is far from a new idea. Pop culture products have been successfully permeating the promotional marketing space for decades, and the industry’s getting better at it with every new craze.

Here are just a few examples of items with pop culture presence and promotional power:

     1997 – Beanie Babies

    1999Mardi Gras Beads

    2009Molded Silicone Bandz

    2011Ionic Sports Accessories

The best pop culture/promotional product crossovers don’t just grab attention; they make an indelible impression. When it comes to consumer recall rate, research shows that promotional products tower over TV, print and online advertising.

Promotional products generate a 15-50% higher consumer recall rate than TV, print and online advertising.

The key to success lies in recognizing an up-and-coming trend and knowing how to infuse your brand to maximize potential and resonate with the public. Find a skilled partner who has been through the process before and knows how to capitalize on a trend.

Why shouldn’t your brand be part of the next big trend?

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[i] Visnevsky, Jennifer “Promo Products Rule ROI” Advantages February, 2011 [http://advantages-digital.com/publication/?i=58573&p=109]

[ii] PPAI research via http://www.ppai.org/research and http://www.youtube.com/user/PPAIHeadquarters#p/u/29/8yjZF0d1Wny

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.

From Performance Technology to Collectibles – New Promotional Trends in Silicone Bands

August 13th, 2010

The silicone wristband (remember Lance Armstrong) has split its evolutionary path.

From the serious to the silly – silicone wristbands are hot again. Check out these two new trends from opposite ends of the spectrum. Both are great promotional items and are an innovative twist on this popular ad specialties product.

YankeesTexasPerformance Technology

These bands tout the ability to give you better balance or increase strength and flexibility. Pro athletes are wearing them across a wide variety of sports disciplines. In terms of promotion, these are great tie-ins to promote organizational stability, flexibility, and strength. The novelty factor infuses an underlying message of innovation, out-of-the-box thinking and cutting-edge awareness.

One of our graphics team brought one out with him one night for some night life field testing. The wristband was designed to help with physical balance. Results showed that, indeed, it was harder to push someone off balance when wearing one. Fun and functional, this item is interactive and creates a lot of buzz.

Bands on WristSilly and Successful

Who would have thought that the molded silicone version of a rubber band would be an overnight collectible. Kids across the nation are colleting these and wearing them by the dozens. Numbers, letters, objects, animal and people sillhouetes in bright colors adorn the wrists like spongey gauntlets.

 

espBandzThis collectible craze is not only limited to children. The all important adult demographic has been spotted sporting these super cool wristbands. Once only available in stock shapes, the silicone wristband is now available to promotional marketers as a custom molded product. Custom packaging solutions are also offered to further underscore brand messaging.

Who knew such a silly idea would end up as a promotional powerhouse?