All posts by Sofia

The Rise of the Swag Bag

As an event manager, party planner, or all-around brand genius, we know you have your event planned down to the most obscure points possible. But have you paid as much attention to this year’s swag bag? Sure it’s easy to throw a few pens and a plain journal into a basic  bag and call it a day, but your guests probably won’t bother to read the logo on yet another pen. How do you combat swag bag fatigue?

By learning from your viral predecessors, of course! This year there have been a few swag bags that have gone viral. Let’s look at the top 3 and see what makes so worthy.

1. HBO’s Behind the Candelabra lavishness- The Liberace biopic that HBO aired earlier this year already had a good amount of positive press surrounding it. HBO stepped up their game and took their protagonist’s taste for all things lavish one step further with the swag bags they sent out to the press.  Liberace is quoted as once  saying, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful!”, opulence was a big theme in his life and the film strived to capture that. The same sense of grandness was then applied to the swag bag sent out to the press. It included a bottle of champagne, an iPod, and sparkly jewelry along with a few other items Liberace himself would have been glad to wear. It not only reminded the press to watch and review the film, it provided extra marketing when recipients would write about the swag they had received. While you don’t have to send out bottle of Moët, make sure the promo items you choose serve to enhance your message instead of being a boring side note.

2. VidCon’s Mashup -VidCon is a convention that aims to bring together online video creators. If you’ve ever spent anytime at all on YouTube, you can image what a diverse crowd those video-makers must be. So at first glance, VidCon’s swag bag seems to be a jumble of things that don’t quite tie together: guitar picks, bingo cards and potpourri to name a few. But if you pan back, you’ll see that VidCon strives to include all genres, ages, and skill-level of online video fans. So, naturally, their swag bag would be an extension of that everyone-is-included mashup. If you are hosting or sponsoring an event that’s going to bring in a wide variety of people, choose items that both fit your brand and enhance the event theme. Your recipients will run a gamut of interests, likes, and dislikes, and even a small amount in variety will ensure that everyone goes home with something they enjoy.

3. ComicCon exclusiveness – Sometimes it seems that the brand managers at Comic-Con have a single mantra when it comes to their swag: if you make it exclusive, they will come. The term “swag” stands for “stuff we all get”. Comic-con turns the meaning on its head: not everyone will get it and you may have to pay dearly for it. Most people head to the San Diego Comic-Con fully realizing that they may not make it into the panel event of their choice, and instead choose to wander the convention hall picking up exclusive items you can only get during this time. Knowing that they will have the chance to receive things that other won’t can be a plus in your favor when people are deciding whether or not to attend. Best of all, people love to post to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram about all their exclusive new stuff and that amounts to free marketing and potential new customers for you.

We’ve all been to that one event where we received a swag bag of such amazing and relevant items that it set an impossibly high bar for all other promotional products, but what made it extra special for you? Let us know in the comments and keep those same principles in mind when it’s time for your next event!

5 Tips for Successfully Integrating QR Codes into Your Marketing Strategy

QR codes have been the great divider among marketers and product managers. For every rare instance that you see one successfully integrated into a marketing campaign, you are then bombarded with articles that declare the QR code dead. But when they do work it looks so easy and seamlessly executed that you can’t resist picking up your phone to see what the fuss is all about.

Earlier this week, home-decor site Apartment Therapy, shared how a reader had created a QR code for guests to scan. It took them to a page with the home’s updated Wi-Fi passwords that they could copy and paste to easily connect to the internet with. No more trying to remember a long, complicated password haphazardly scribbled on a sticky note! It’s a brilliant idea if your wi-fi password is long and easy to forget, or if you often change your password (looking at you, hotel and restaurant industries!).

From this, and a few other successful QR code campaigns, I’ve put together  5 easy tips that will help you successfully integrate QR codes into your marketing strategy.

1. Take Users Somewhere Special – There is nothing more frustrating for a user that to take the time to scan a QR code, only to arrive at the company homepage, even worse if it’s not mobile friendly. Help foster a sense of exclusiveness by taking them to a special landing page, and you positively reinforce and reward your customer. Brands that are associated with VIP events and services would benefit the most from making their QR code landing pages extra special, adding to the allure. Consider instead of handing out physical tickets, sending a QR code that users will need to show at the door to get into your event.

2. Be Mobile Friendly - This seems like a very obvious tip until you come across a QR code that leads to a great desktop site that looks terrible on an iPhone. People will be using a smartphone to access your QR code so don’t serve them up a special landing page that hasn’t been configured for popular smartphone sizing. Using a QR code correctly will make your brand seem like it’s on the cutting edge of technology, make sure your mobile site is ready for the challenge!

3. Your QR Code Needs to Be Perfect- Granted if you’re imprinting on an item from Pinnacle, this is a null point. But, regardless, it is important to test your QR code for any imperfections that could mean to a waste of your customer’s time. As I am sure you know by now, you don’t want to be known as a brand that wastes customers’ time.

4. Get Creative  - Emart, a Korean company, needed a way to increase business during lunch hour- usually when their stories would go dead for the afternoon. So they launched a campaign and put up QR code statues around the city and between 12- 1 PM, the shadows of the statue would line up into a perfect QR code that took users to a special offer page. The results were incredible for the company who saw a sustained increase in purchases around lunch time soon after the campaign launched. I’m not suggesting their approach should be copied exactly as is, but creative QR codes entice customers to try it out.

5. Offer Incentives - It’s definitely a good idea to offer an incentive after your customers scan a QR code, but what about enticing them to scan the code in the first place? Consider what Ballatine’s Scotch Whiskey did when they commissioned a Parisian tattoo artist and client into creating the world’s first animated tattoo. The tattoo was done in real time with online users chiming  with suggestions for the artist. The finished tattoo included a QR code that led to a youtube video that animated the tattoo onscreen. Your brand will not need to go to such extremes but make sure to mention the rewards of scanning your QR code.

So what has been the best use of a QR code that you’ve seen or do you think they are just a passing fad that marketers will soon be embarrassed to you?

You Only Get Once Chance to Make a Good Imprint

We all know the feeling… a typo escapes all of the checks and balances and ends up in 500 printed pieces that have to be reprinted. But, what happens when you’re Nike and you print an “undisclosed” number of t-shirts that proudly display the Carolina Panthers logo embedded in a beautiful cutout of South Carolina? (The big deal is that the Carolina Panthers play in Charlotte, North Carolina.)

Nike is a company that usually brings to mind cutting edge technology and extreme precision. So, how could this have been prevented? We’re confident that if Nike had used Pinnacle Promotions, this wouldn’t have happened. That’s because we have live, breathing human beings (we call them Account Managers & Coordinators) working on your projects, guiding you through the process, and checking the integrity of your brand at every step of the way.

Reasons why having a human element makes a difference when purchasing promotional products:

  1. You have extra sets of eyes scouring your order to make sure each and every little detail is right.
  2. They can let you know when if your logo will be lost against the contrast of a t-shirt.
  3. The will suggest tweaks that will make your chosen promotional product stand out.
  4. We make sure there’s ample time and opportunity to spot any dreaded typos or mistakes, even if your order is a rush one.

It’s why we at Pinnacle are left scratching our heads in confusion when we hear about massive imprint orders  that go so terribly wrong that they end up as viral news stories.

Here’s another story…
Nike’s mistake seems near trivial when compared to Missouri State University’s gaffe earlier this year. The University misspelled its own name on around 17,800 bags. These bags were given to students when they were purchasing new books for the semester. I wonder how many students rethought their enrollment after this mistake.

Considering the size and enormity of the order, we would have expected their vendor to have raked over the logo with the same attention that a watchmaker devotes to his prize clock. At Pinnacle Promotions, all orders get this level of detail regardless of order size, but one would think that at $70,844 order that someone would have caught the error.

We know you have seen misprints out there. What is your favorite brand oopsie that made it’s way to production and distribution?

Superman: Man of… Product Placement?

What are your thoughts on product placement in film and television? I’m talking about those scenes where our dashing hero jumps into a sleek sports car, but not before the camera dedicates a long moment to pan over the car model and ending on the company logo. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sitcom star taking a long drink from a soda can with the name pointed directly at viewers. Occasionally we notice them and let out a groan at how obvious and forced the product is, while other times it’s so subtly integrated that we accept it without further thought. Then there are cases so extreme that we must simply pause to gape at the sheer magnitude of it all.

With the release of Man of Steel, the newest Superman movie, we’ve been given such an occasion. Before the movie even hit theaters, it already counted with $160 million in product placement alone. Over 100 companies managed to get their brand associated with Superman. Did you like the glasses Clark Kent wears as he prepares to take on Metropolis and his new journalism job? Warby Parker provided them as one of two limited edition options that quickly sold out. If you ever wondered how Superman shaves (spoiler alert: we see a very scruffy Superman at the beginning of the film), Gillette sponsored a contest where users submitted videos with theories. They even got an entry from everyone’s favorite scientist, Bill Nye, to make a video. But the focus wasn’t just on products Superman uses, viewers were treated to a very clear shot of the  Nikon camera gear Lois Lane carries. Even the National Guard threw their hat into the promotional ring with commercials, theater spots, and recruiting posters.

As a Superman fan I definitely enjoyed the film, but readily admit that I cringed when a well choreographed fight scene barreled through an IHOP or panned by a Sears store. The question remains, can product placement be done correctly? I think so. I did enjoy the modern take on Kent’s glasses that Warby Parker designed, as the placement felt natural. And even as a die-hard Canon camera fan, I did get a kick out of seeing Lois Lane tote around her Nikon as she tried to get the latest scoop.If product placement is ever something you’d consider, strive to have the placement feel natural. Product placement works best if the audience doesn’t feel as if they are being force-fed an advertisement.

It’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to placing your product or brand. Will the audience understand and is the placement appropriate? Last year The Lorax was released and the movie was harshly criticized for partnering with Mazda despite the film’s environmentally-friendly message. It’s the perfect example of the product not fitting the film. Even though I was slightly annoyed by Gillete partnering with Man of Steel, I understood it. The question of how Superman shaves has been a hotly debated topic among fans. Placements like these both sold a product and fit the storyline.

Movies like Man of Steel require a suspension of disbelief but it’s best to assume that the suspension does not extend to advertising. Viewers are savvy and have the power to turn your product placement into a sold-out commodity or a mocked embarrassment. Do your research and if your product doesn’t fit, it’s best to wait for a chance where it will.

5 Tips for Businesses Using Pinterest

Are you looking to take your brand to Pinterest and start pinning with the masses? Here at Pinnacle we are big fans of Pinterest. Whereas with other social media outlets it can be hard to appreciate anything visual, Pinterest is all about aesthetics. Whether you need wardrobe inspiration, a new cooking recipe, or simply wish to fawn over amazing pictures of distant places, there is a good chance someone has created a board for that.

So how does a company stand out on Pinterest for the right reasons or avoid being a company that’s followed but never repined? I’ve put together 5 tips that will help you get started and help you avoid commonly made mistakes.

1. Create a complete profile and and get your account verified. – As a consumer there is nothing worse than finding a pin featuring something you love, tracking it all the way back to a company Pinterest page, and then realizing there is no information about said company anywhere. The more ways you offer your customers to connect with you the better. For our own profile, we have our logo, a quick blurb on the company, where we’re located, a link to our website, and additional links to our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Also, make sure you get your account verified. Pinterest has made the process relatively easy and it’s an extra step in ensuring users that you are a trustworthy source.

2. Don’t make it all about you – It’s hard to gain a following if all your pins are your own products. Get creative about how you present yourself on Pinterest. We like to mostly choose themes that aren’t completely promotional product centric, and create mood boards that incorporate our products. This seems a more honest approach to reach potential customers than attempting to pretend we’re the only company in the world.

When we do have boards that are filled with mostly our own promotional products, they have a distinct and clear purpose. For example, we are currently featuring 6 boards where our Account Managers are pinning their favorite promotional products and we’ve made the fact clear in both the title and description of each board. I think it’s these little touches that add authenticity to what we’re doing on Pinterest.

3. Be creative as possible – Pinterest is where people go to get ideas that they would have never thought of on their own. DIY reigns on this site as does humor. A company that is highly praised for their ceativity on Pinterest is General Electric. They have established a presence that is both witty and informative, and always on top of trends. Their “Hey Girl” board put them on the map where they took to a meme that originally started with an actor and catapulted it into hilarious historically-themed stardom. Don’t be afraid to push outside your comfort zone and if you want to  upload as many of your own images as GE has, make sure you work with your  art department to make things looked as polished as possible. (Have we mentioned we love our art department? Really guys, we do.)

4. Keep it current – Make sure that you keep current of the latest Pinterest trends, like what has been named the perfect Pinterest picture or the analytics tool Pinterest rolled out for business. Pin current events or like GE, give your own unique spin on a current meme. We like to do season-centric boards as well, creating boards that capture the chill of winter or the carefree vibe of summer.

5. Have guest pinners – I know it’s scary handing the reigns over to someone else. So many things could go wrong, but when done correctly, having guest pinners can have great results. Social Media Examiner has an informative post about the benefits of contributor boards and how it worked for Etsy. The e-commerce site focused on vintage and handmade items partnered with artist like Lori Langille, and companies like Random House, Whole Foods, and Martha Stewart Living. By partnering with these carefully selected brands Etsy has reinforced their artistic image. So identify users and companies that could help make your brand shine online.

These 5 tips are simple things you can do to make sure your company Pinterest page isn’t lost among millions of pins. While none of the suggestions are particularly revolutionary, they are steps that companies often forget to take and quickly lose followers as a result. As long as you keep these tips in mind and follow basic Pinterest etiquette. If you’d like a more in-depth look at Pinterst, HubSpot published The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Pinterest that takes you into the nitty-gritty of Pinterest.

While you’re on Pinterest, make sure to take a look at the boards our Account Managers are currently pinning to: Ashley, Jasmine, Katie, Jessie-Kate, Shelley, and Sarah.

 

5 Promotional Products for National Small Business Week

We’re now in the middle of National Small Business Week! Today I thought we’d feature some products that make a great giveaway to your customers.

1. Stress Ball – With the increased influx of customers coming into your store, there may be more of a wait for help or to check out than usual. Why not offer a cute or relevant stress ball to your customers as they are walking in? It’s a fun giveaway that lets your customers know that you realize things are moving slowly and that you appreciate their patience.

2. Tote bag – Promote recycling by handing your customers their purchase in a resuable tote bag rather than a disposable plastic bag. I’ve seen stores that offer small discounts if you bring in your tote bag again when you make another purchase. Best of all, your customer could use the tote bag on a daily basis giving your brand exposure each time they do.

3. Electronics – Your customers are sure to own tablets and smartphones, why not have a big giveaway where you give them an item that’s sure to be put to use everyday. You could hold a raffle to win a pair of custom headphones, or a promotional tablet sleeve. By giving away something that ties to an item that people use everyday, it’s sure to stick around for much longer.

4. Snacks – People tend to lineup if they know there’s food involved. Consider giving away custom labeled bottles of water or custom chocolate squares. If you’re looking for an edible item with a little more impact, check out the giant fortune cookies on our site or the oreo cookies with full color logos.

5. T-Shirt - We’ve all seen people do crazy things for a t-shirt. Turn your customers into walking billboards with a promotional t-shirt. Make sure to chose something with a flattering cut or a comfortable material to ensure that it makes it into your customers’ clothing rotation.

What are you favorite promotional items for a small business to give away during an event such as this?

5 Tips for Small Business Owners during National Small Business Week

It’s National Small Business Week and we’re celebrating with a series of blog posts. You can read yesterday’s here. Today’s list will be for the small business owners out there. Think we missed a vital tip? Let us know in the comment section!

1. Get on Social Media – Like it or not, social media is here to stay. You may not need to go as far as hiring a Social Media Manager or spending big bucks on online advertising but make sure you cover some basic channels. A Facebook Page is great start because as of January Facebook had at least 1.06 billion monthly active users so a few of those billion are bound to be your customers. Setting up a Facebook Page is easy and it can be fun for your customers to check-in at your location or tag your business in photos of their meal/product/etc.

2. Reward Loyalty – In yesterday’s blog post, we urged small business customers to become loyal regulars and today we urge small business owners to reward said loyalty.While you can offer things like reward cards and other gimmicks, you can reward loyalty by simply creating an environment that people are more than happy to come back to.

3. Get creative about  showrooming: Mashable had a great article on how business are combating showrooming. While you may not be able to beat online competitors in price, outshine them in service. Hire sales people who are passionate about their work and love working with customers so that your customers will notice the difference between a helpful sales associate and a non-responsive computer screen.

4. Think Outside the Box – As a small business owner there’s a good chance you do this already, after all it takes vision and some creative planning/thinking to start a business from scratch. Bit Rebel recently posted this great infograph breaking down how startup entrepreneurs think differently and I think it’s important that small business owners never lose that sense of MacGyver-like creativity.

5. Join small business associations – Sometimes it’s easy for a small business owner to feel alone surrounded by big box stores and national chains. Make sure the feeling doesn’t last by finding groups of small business owners to join. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a great website to help you navigate the sometimes tricky waters of being an owner. The National Federation of Independent Business has a great site so you can find events to attend and continue learning about small business. Don’t forget about Meetup.com as well. These peer-led groups are a great way to network, get advice, and swap horror stories and success. Check them out here.

In closing, I’d like to say thanks to all the small business owners who decided to take the plunge and follow their dream. Without you, the world would  have less cake pops, speciality comic books, and European wines!

5 Tips for Celebrating National Small Business Week as a Customer

Today marks the beginning of National Small Business Week, a weeklong celebration now in its 50th year. It’s a great opportunity for customers to stop by their local small businesses and express their thanks while doing some shopping. It’s also a great time for small business owners to remind us that they are still here and still doing great work for our communities.

Since it has been 5 decades since the first National Small Business Week was celebrated, I can only imagine how different both the companies and consumers have become. Consumer taste and marketing tactics have certainly changed over the years. To celebrate, we’ll be doing a series of blog posts this week for both small business owners and customers to enjoy.

Today I’m giving you 5 tips for celebrating National Small Business Week. Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions for having a great small business week!

1. Be Polite – This is a good rule for general living but as a one-time retail employee and avid people watcher, I can tell you it’s a characteristic that people tend to leave as soon as they come through the store’s door. Remember the owner and those working there are actual people with actual feelings. Take time to appreciate what an assest the business is to your community before you say something rude about prices or having to wait in line to pay. How many people would think to open a speciality cheese store? Not many, so please appreciate that.

2. Tell you friends – Word of mouth is an important thing to a small business owner. The best way of saying thanks for a positive shopping experience is to let others know about it. Check into the business on Facebook or Foursquare, upload pictures, or just tell a friend what a great small boutique you found.

3. Don’t Showroom – Showrooming is the practice of physically checking out an item in a store with the sole purpose of seeing it for yourself before you go home and buy it online. Online stores can offer you lower prices because they don’t have rent, employees, and utilities to pay beyond the bare basics of selling online. But the one thing they can’t offer you is actually holding a product in your hands and testing it out for yourself. So before you showroom, remember that you could be losing out on vital input and interaction with a salesperson. If you shop at a boutique, a sales assistant could let you know that a dress’ cut runs small or offer a more flattering color and accompanying accessories. At an electronics store, you can learn tips and tricks for your newest device before it’s out of the box, saving you hours of frustrated internet searches. For example, when I bought my DSLR I did my research, as I was certain that I’d be getting the latest model Canon had to offer, even though there weren’t many reviews out yet. When I went to purchase my camera, the sales person and I struck up a conversation that concluded in him politely suggesting I get the previous model instead of the new one as the only noticeable difference was the fact that the screen popped out. His suggestion saved me hundreds and I love my camera.

4. Become a regular – Much like the theme song to the popular television show, Cheers, taught us: sometimes the only place you want to go is”where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came”.  Whether it’s the one restaurant you chose for a Friday date night or the comic book store you visit once a month to pick up the latest releases, try to become a regular. There is an indescribably nice feeling about walking into a store and having the sales associate recognize you and call you by name. Being a regular can have some perks as well: sales people can save you a bottle of your favorite wine for your weekly visit when supplies start running low, and can give you the inside scoop on upcoming sales.

5. Seriously, tell you friends – Love that tiny Italian bakery with the best tiramisu you’ve ever had? Tell all of your friends, take them if you have to; sing its praises on every social media outlet you have. Small businesses offer communities a variety of choice and exposure to things we may miss in big box stores and retail chains.

Now a question, what’s your favorite small business? Mine happens to be our local comic book shop and the resident camera store. Have you ever become a regular at any small business?

The Meeting Survival Kit Giveaway

We’ve all been there: that 4:30 in the afternoon meeting where your caffeine-rush has tapered off, you’re either too hot or too cold, and you can literally hear the wall clock slowly ticking away each second. Remember those meetings when you feel like you’re in the danger zone of napping off into sleepy oblivion instead of paying attention to reports and charts? For those meetings and all others, we’ve got you covered with a Meeting Survival Kit. See below for how you can win one of the great kits!

First off, congrats on being the Bear Grylls of the board room, the Lewis and Clark of unexplored Excel spreadsheets, the Davy Crocket of… well you get the gist of where we’re going with this. Our Meeting Survival Kit has all the latest and greatest in helping you survive even the lengthiest of meetings. It features our former deal of the month, the thirst quenching 24 oz. Gulp. This promotional tumbler perfect either for  your favorite caffeinated soda or your triple espresso shot coffee, the Gulp should always be at your side in any meeting. It’s available in 9 colors so if you’re looking for a tumbler that’s either a neutral or a stand-out bright, you’ll be sure to find your perfect match.

The next essential in your kit is the Ambassador Bound Journal. This bound journal is the perfect size for jotting down meeting notes or producing some of the world’s best meeting doodles (want some inspiration? Check out Buzzfeed’s list of best meeting doodles here or the aptly named notes from meetings). Best of all, this journal is sturdy enough to endure being thrown into briefcases and tote bags all while keeping your notes safe and at hand.

The Meeting Survival Kit is rounded off by two can’t-live-without items: The ColorReveal Click Ballpoint and the Preston Dual Ballpoint Stylus. Ever had that moment of blind panic when you sit down in a meeting and realize you’ve brought everything but a pen? I imagine it’s akin to traveling in the desert and noticing you’ve forgotten to bring a water bottle. Now you can clip this comfortable ballpoint pen to the Ambassador Bound Journal elastic closure and you’ll always have a pen nearby. Looking for a little more multi-function in your pen? Every surivior man is always extolling the virtues of items with multiple functions and it’s a mentality that translates perfectly into meetings. So if you’re using a tablet to take your notes, check out the Preston Dual Ballpoint Stylus. Looks and function combine perfectly in this ballpoint stylus, and it has you covered whether you’re taking notes on your iPad or your jotter.

Now that we’ve enticed you with the sheer awesomeness of the Meeting Survival Kit, we want to help arm you for your next meeting. We’re hosting a giveaway that ends on June 28th. Follow the Rafflecopter instructions in the widget below and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 2 Meeting Survival Kits or one of our Deluxe Meeting Kits (filled with a few surprise tech goodies). Leave us a comment with what your meeting essential item is or tell us what meeting you didn’t survive for extra entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

E3 and Lessons in Competitive Marketing

E3, the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, started this Monday in sunny Los Angeles. Even if you aren’t big into knowing the latest and greatest in the gaming industry, perhaps you’ve heard about the biggest rivalry going into the event: both Microsoft and Sony were there to show off their new consoles. While the actual products themselves have been amazing to get glimpses of, another thing on display this year is the level of competitive marketing the vendors have brought t his year. So what can you gain from examining this anti-wallflower mentality? Read on!

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Ariel Zambelich
As I mentioned above, all eyes have been on Microsoft and Sony and their respective new consoles. Microsoft revealed their Xbox One before E3, and it may have proven a dire mistake. Sony waited until E3 and was able to highlight their system by flaunting in a not so subtle manner the main differences between it and the Xbox One. For example, after the uproar that followed the announcement that the Xbox One would have costly requirements for playing used games, Playstation released this playful jab of a video demonstrating just how easy sharing used games on their console is. Waiting to unveil the Playstation 4, a move that was once criticized, gave  the marketing team the time to develop content that would be timely, relevant to the release, and successful in making in their console look like the superior choice.

Xbox One sounding a little too pricy? Well the Playstation 4 will be $100 less. If you think the Xbox One looks like an ugly VCR,  Sony will be quick to mention the slightly asymmetrical looks of the Playstation 4. For every complaint that has been lodged at the Xbox One, Sony has not so quietly offered a viable alternative. So far, it’s been tastefully funny mockery that has been fun to enjoy as a consumer. Sony has shown that it’s okay to be a fierce competitor, point out flaws, and offer your solutions without slipping into a mess of ugly marketing tactics. And it seems the gamble paid off, Fast Company mentioned that Sony seems to be “winning the event” at this point.

The mentaility at these expos seems to entail forgetting that the competition exists, never mentioned unless the word “exclusive” comes up. Sony has broken through these barriers by throwing convention to the wind. They played coy by waiting to show the world what the console would actually look like; teaching us that shouting “FIRST!” doesn’t necessarily mean your product will win the title of best. We now see that we can poke fun at a competitor without being rude. They’ve stayed on top of the news and the world’s reaction to the new consoles, releasing new content and details about the Playstation 4 to keep themselves in the spotlight as the expo has carried on. It’s a model that is easily applied to every day marketing where occasionally old rules can stifle new creativity; break free of your competitor’s or industry’s  mold

Now in case you’re thinking that Xbox and Playstation only reached these levels of competitive marketing is because Sony and Microsoft are willing to spend thousands in marketing, let me mention the Ouya console. Ouya is the little gaming console that could, and it raised $8.6 million in funding last summer. Not wanting to spend all that hard earned money of the staggeringly high fees of presenting at E3 and with the idea of attending “on its own terms“, they came up with a clever alternative. Ouya rented, will the necessary permits and permissions, parking spaces oppsite the Expo and invited people over to come check out the new console. The company behind E3 retaliated by renting parking spaces in the same lot and blocking Ouya’s stand with trucks. Ouya responded by simply renting more spots in front of the trucks and setting up banners. And that’s when the police were called. However since Ouya had obtained all the right permits, there was nothing amiss going on legally and Ouya still has their stand. The story has made cemented Ouya’s image as the scrapping-indie company to watch for, and given it a firm place amongst the console news coming from E3. The lesson here? Even if you’re considered the broke underdog use everything in your power to create an impression. It may require some extremely creative thinking but as we were all taught in school, “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

What do you think of the friendly (and in Ouya’s case not so friendly) competition that surrounds product unveilings? Would you prefer to be the one who unveils first or sits back and waits?

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