Category Archives: Current Events News

Where Will We Wear Next?

Wearables! This is all anyone in both the tech and retail arenas are talking about. Mashable says, “Wearable technology is perhaps the most prolific trend in the tech industry today.”

Click to see full image from Mashable

Click to see full image from Mashable


This infographic from Mashable highlights the life of the wearable. It all started with MIT Professor Edward Thorp attempting to invent a wearable computer that would allow him to cheat at Roulette. He wasn’t too far off the mark with a 44% success rate. From there, we’ve moved through the calculator wristwatch, the wireless webcam, and all the way up to Google Glass.

Google wanted to create a hands-free smartphone. Their idea grew into what we know today as Google Glass. Glass is an optical-mounted, voice-controlled, augmented reality wearable computer. In the beginning, it looked like the headgear you might have worn overnight attached to your braces in 8th grade. Currently, Google Glass comes in any number of fashionable eyewear pieces. And as with any trend, Google Glass wearers have already earned their own trendy nickname and have news stories dedicated to Glass use in public areas and private businesses. Here is a link to Google’s own etiquette list of Dos and Don’ts.

In the promotional products industry, as retail goes so do we. We can expect to see the wearables tech trend encroach on the promotional products industry. How long before we see custom promotional Google Glass-ready sunglasses? How about promotional watches equipped with Bluetooth for music and phone access? When will we see personalized t-shirts be RFID-equipped for event staff or VIP access?

What do you think will be the next big thing in promotional wearables? What will be next to make Mashable’s list? Tell us what you think!

Pinnacle Promotions

It’s Not Just Orchid, it’s Radiant Orchid: Pantone 2014 Color of the Year

If you work as a graphic designer or with graphic designers in any capacity, no doubt you are familiar with the Pantone Matching System, which is the standard color matching system across pretty much all industries.

Each year, Pantone chooses a “Color of the Year.” The color is decided upon at a secret Pantone meeting held in a European capital each year. The color is reportedly chosen in conjunction with many of the cultural influences that Pantone believes are relevant in our present lives. The color is meant to capture the spirit of the year.

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2014 is Radiant Orchid.
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Last year’s color was green. Lots of things are green. Not all that many things are “radiant orchid.” Our team worked very hard to find promotional or customized marketing products around the office that are orchid. We found these two things that are close.

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To help our designers, idea-makers and customers get into the color of the year we created a Pinterest board.

What promotional items do you think will look best in radiant orchid?

Pinnacle Promotions

ING Marathon and Swag Redemption

NYCING Internet-banking giant ING and their sponsorship of perhaps one of the largest sporting events took a big blow in 2012.

“Superstorm Sandy” landed on the upper east coast starting on October 22 through October 31st, 2012. Hurricane Sandy would become the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history. The ING New York City Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on November 4, went through a painful decision-making process that resulted in the full cancellation of the marathon only two days before the event.

With the cancellation, ING and the New York Road Runners club faced a hailstorm of criticism. Runners were upset the marathon was cancelled. Runners were upset the marathon was not cancelled sooner. Participants took to blogs and social sites to express their feelings. Race organizers faced a daunting PR challenge, but one not completely unique to events of this nature. What to do with all the race swag?

From t-shirts and clappers to the actual finishers medal, race organizers faced a difficult problem. In an effort to create goodwill among racers who couldn’t race and wanting to encourage people to sign-up for next year’s race they made an unprecedented decision. They would take every opportunity to get the gear to the 2012 registrants. When race entrants showed up to the 2013 expo to get their race bibs and promotional items, the 2012 registrants were directed to a location within the Javitz Center to receive the 2012 race shirt and their 2012 finisher’s medal.

Image byRobert Reese

Image by Robert Reese

The icing on the PR cake for ING and the NYRR came in the form of a poncho. In light of the events in Boston last year, race entrants were strongly discouraged from checking a bag at the race start for security reasons. Following the completion of the race, if a runner had not checked a bag they were directed to a special area of the race route. Upon exiting the official race area, runners were given a customized fleece-lined poncho.

The ING Marathon is not the first event to face a swag problem. Each year teams produce promotional items to acknowledge a sporting event that hasn’t happened yet. In the event that your team is playing in the big game, chances are the celebratory shirts and hats have already been printed. When the team loses, what to do with the promotional or marketing materials? Because of licensing agreements, most items are donated overseas.

The ING NYC Marathon organizers were able to heal some old wounds by giving 2012 runners their gear and medals. And, they were able to build good will with the 2013 by rewarding them for choosing the less convenient bag option. In this case, the ponchos went a long way towards swag redemption.

Pinnacle Promotions

Top 10 Uniforms as Halloween Costumes

We here at Pinnacle Promotions are in the branding business. We sell promotional items with your logo on them, branded marketing materials, and corporate gear and uniforms. So, when it comes to Halloween we can’t help but look at it through our “business” glasses. We have polled our team and developed the definitive “Top 10 Uniforms as Halloween Costumes” list. See if you agree!

10. Police Officer – Regular or S.W.A.T style.
9. Doctor – Regular or Zombified.
8. Nurse – Regular or Sultry. Nurses

7. Football player – Extra points for the consistent team branding throughout.
6. Football referee – Last year’s referee uniforms were made extra-special by the addition of black glasses and Hoover canes to represent the blind referee take on the replacement refs used by the NFL during the 2012 strike. The Immaculate Deception still ranks as the #1 Blown Call by a Ref (Replacement Ref) in the history of the NFL.
5. Sons of Anarchy patched-jacket – You want to be in the club, you gotta wear the cut. Is there a better-branded show on TV right now? Everything on that show has a SOA logo on it! Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 9.19.45 AM
4. Harry Potter school uniform – We particularly love the Hogwarts logo on the chest. Hogwarts
3. Super Mario Brothers – Always a party favorite and branded with the classic “M.”
2. NASCAR Driver – This ranks pretty high because the excessive branding on NASCAR driver uniforms just speaks to us!

And the #1 “Uniform as Halloween Costume” is…(drumroll please)

1. Superman – Is there better branding in Halloween costumes than the simple, chest-sized “S” on Clark Kent’s uniform for his “other” job?!?!?! “This is a job for Superman!”

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 9.27.22 AM

Tell us, did we miss anything? What is your favorite uniform as Halloween costume?

Pinnacle Promotions

Pinnacle Promotions Goes Mobile

Buyers Can Now Shop For Branded Merchandise On-The-Go

Pinnacle Promotions, a top 50 ASI distributor of branded merchandise, logo apparel and giveaways, announced the launch of its much-anticipated mobile website today. The launch complements an award-winning website used by some of the most recognizable brands and organizations in the world by enabling its clients to search for products even when not in the office.

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 1.23.24 PM“The way our clients are shopping for promotional products is changing at an exciting and unprecedented rate,” says Mitch Weintraub, founder and CEO of Pinnacle Promotions. “We wanted to be one of the first to support that trend.”

Being at the head of the pack has been a hallmark of Pinnacle Promotions throughout its 20-year history and what has propelled it to the top. Its ecommerce website was the first of its kind. It also pioneered the 24-hour turnaround through its RocketShip 24-Hour Express Service™ and originated the idea-generating service through its IdeaKit™, both of which have been emulated throughout the industry.

More than 30% of promotional product web searches take place on mobile devices. In an industry where customizing apparel, drinkware, gifts and other promotional items is more than a one-step transaction, designing an experience around a small screen was no easy task.

“Our clients come to us because they know we’ll get it right,” says Rob Nelms, Vice President of Marketing. “That kind of thinking permeated every decision we made with regards to how to design our mobile site. With an approval rating that is through the roof, we had a high bar to reach.”

The same, convenient features that set the Pinnacle Promotions website apart from the rest are integrated into its mobile site. Customers can easily find a product they are interested in, request a quote, request a sample or share an item via email or various social media channels.

About Pinnacle Promotions, Inc. (www.pinnaclepromotions.com)
Since 1994, the world’s leading companies and organizations have trusted Pinnacle Promotions to provide them with customized solutions for their marketing and branding needs. The company’s agency approach to promotional marketing makes consumers’ jobs easier and provides them with an unprecedented array of exclusive services. With dedicated Account Teams and innovative technology, Pinnacle Promotions delivers new and unique promotional products quickly, and with the quality expected from an industry leader. Make the Right Impression ™ with Pinnacle Promotions. Please call 800.351.4226 or follow us at facebook.com/pinnaclepromotions for additional information.

Pinnacle Promotions

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?

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?

Stepping outside your product comfort zone

Have you ever been suprised by a company’s promotional product offerings? I found myself pleasantly shocked yesterday when I saw the Public Radio Tattoos offered by the This American Life online store. When you think of National Public Radio and it’s offerings, I rarely think of tattoos but instead except something like the fundraiser-drives that offer CDs and tote bags. I would have never thought to offer Sailor Jerry-inspired temporary tattoos, but then again, I’m not This American Life host, Ira Glass.

According to their website, Glass suggested the idea of temporary tattoos only to have colleagues think it was a crazy idea. 70,000 temporary tattoos later, his far-fetched idea has proven a success.

So why did these custom temporary tattoos cause such a stir? Perhaps it has something to do with a survey Harris Interactive did that last year that found 1 in 5 U.S. adults sports a tattoo; being inked is now considered in vogue. With reports that radio is struggling to stay relevant, I can only imagine the drive to connect with a younger audience that may only know to tune into Top 40 stations. These promotional tattoos may seem silly but just take a look on their page to see the spectrum of age groups that have happily applied their temporary tattoo. It’s a fresh, fun idea that gives the recipients instant gratification, and even if the tattoos is left unapplied it can easily hang around a desk monitor as a constant reminder of public radio offerings. If you’d like to know more about the temporary tats, This American Life did their blog post on them here.

What do you think about stepping outside of your product comfort zone: do the rewards outweigh the risks?

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