Category Archives: Tradeshow Giveaways & Swag

Don’t Underestimate the Value of a Good Bag!

LizPPAI By Elizabeth Fenlon
Merchandising Specialist

The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas is the trade show of trade shows. Literally. It is the biggest trade show in the promotional products industry, spanning two full floors at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. With close to 3,250 booths and 11,500 industry attendees, you can imagine that this might be a tad overwhelming if you were a tradeshow newbie, like myself.

As a Merchandising Specialist for Pinnacle Promotions, it is my job to stay on top of industry trends and be ahead of the curve as new products launch into the market. Attending the PPAI Expo is a must. So, I packed my comfortable shoes and headed to Las Vegas for 4 days of nothing but talking about promo products.

Our team met at the airport at 6AM the day of the trip. I’d been packed for days, terrified of being late or of being the one to hold us up with my lack of business travel experience. Luckily, I’d recently gotten a Zebra Convertible Computer Messenger Bag and it turned out to be my most prized possession on the trip. Seriously, this bag has it all.

zebrabag

My Zebra Bag has both a padded laptop compartment and a padded tablet pocket. Which made getting my chunky, old, Toshiba laptop through security a breeze. It also converts easily from backpack to messenger bag, and not in that cheap 2-in-1 kind of way that you might expect from a ‘promotional bag.’ But, when it was a backpack it was a backpack, with padded durable straps. It also features a zippered pocket with RFID protection. Which if you travel for work, especially out of the country, becomes a necessity. Unless, of course, you like the idea of getting your identity stolen or your bank accounts hacked.

Upon arriving we were able to check in, get a feel of the layout, view the exhibitor list and map and come up with a game plan to tackle all those booths over the next few days. If you’ve never been to a trade show, especially one of this magnitude, there are a few essentials you HAVE to have on you at all times:

• Comfortable Shoes – 8-10 hour days of walking and standing
• Refillable Water Bottle– Las Vegas is a dry climate. It is important to stay hydrated. They’ll price gouge you for bottled water at the show. So, being able to refill from the water fountain is a must. water






• Pen/Notebook – Because you will NEVER remember everything.journal






• Camera Phone – There is no way you will get 2 floors and 3,250 booths of samples on the plane. Take pictures.

• Business Cards/ Business Card Holder – Again, you will never remember everyone’s name. case






• Snacks – ok, maybe this is just me? Avoid getting cranky when it’s 5 o’clock and you realize you still haven’t eaten lunch.

For the show, I converted my Zebra Bag into a messenger bag since I had less to lug around than the airport. The main compartment has a removable file organizer, which turned out to be essential in keeping all the literature I was collecting in the booths organized. Everything on my tradeshow essential list had a perfect spot in this bag, allowing me to be hands free and focus on the real reason I was there, to scout out the newest and most effective products to help your brand Make the right impression™.

Pinnacle Promotions

Promotional Product Hacks to Save Your Tradeshow

Promotional Product Hacks to Save Your Tradeshow

We know how difficult it is to plan, prepare, and execute a trade show and that you’re looking for tips and tricks to make it easier. Storage is in short supply at trade shows. So, how can you make the most of it? We suggest doubling up the uses of your promotional items so that you don’t have to remember quite so many things. Some people call these hacks. We call them “imaginative repurposing.”

1. W-DS_500
Silicone wristbands make handy rubber bands when you’re overwhelmed with loose pens or pencils and short on bundling methods. Not only are these handy customized wristbands going to be utilized over and over by tradeshow attendees (because you just gave them a new idea) but will also allow you to be organized at the same time.

2.note
Reduce the number of office supplies that you need to take by leveraging your promotional items for your booth staff. These will be handy for your staff to jot down notes to hand to attendees. Branding and personal contact reminder all rolled up in one.

3.Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 3.52.52 PM
Got a tablet or iPad to display but can’t get a new case or stand? Order the Leeds Windsor Reflections Promotional Jotters (Item 0550-66) and use it to double as a display stand.

4.cup
Cups are a great tradeshow promotional item because they are likely to be used again; they have a long “shelf life.” However, cups use up a lot of space, but really most of it is just air. So, how do you take advantage of this?
If you will be shipping your giveaway cups, use the cups for storage or stuff them full with other essentials that need to go to your trade show. This will reduce the number of boxes that you would need to ship and reduces clutter at the actual booth.

5. hack
Many booths will use music to create the ambiance within the booth. Think you need to take along extra speakers to be heard? Think again. If playing music from your phone, place your phone’s speaker inside one of those snazzy promotional cups to amplify the sound.

6.Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 3.50.47 PM
Traveling with fragile tradeshow items and need cushioning to pack your valuables in? Have you ever thought of using a 1/4’ mouse pad, imprinted with your logo to cushion your precious delivery? Mouse pads come in all shapes, sizes, and thicknesses and can be used not only to ensure your mouse works correctly, but can be used to take up extra space in the box and absorb any shock that your shipping boxes may incur.

So, when you get ready to pack up your trade show tables, displays, and promotional items, recall these tips to save space, time, energy, and keep you organized. Well, at least make you look smart by knowing the hacks.

Got any good hacks of your own? Let us know!

Pinnacle Promotions

Tradeshow season is coming!

Tradeshow season is coming!

When the holidays come to a close, most businesses can count on one thing: the start of tradeshow season. January brings with it some of the largest and innovative tradeshows of the year. Starting with CES and PPAI in Las Vegas and rolling into car shows, boat shows, and wedding shows that will eventually dominate the spring. There are almost 1,000 tradeshows in January alone across the United States.

Ido Leffler recently wrote a stellar blog post on tradeshows, “How to Dominate Any Tradeshow, and Why Even Solo Entrepreneurs Should Try.” Leffler focuses on two main points:
…People want two things:
• They want to be entertained.
• They want free stuff.

Leffler explains that you can entertain people in a number of ways. First, by exhibiting a creative booth space. Something more than just a folding table. And then, it is imperative that you give people your time. Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 9.52.29 AM

As for the free stuff, Leffler states that this is “Manifesto Rule Numero Uno.”

“Turn the convention hall into a walking billboard about you and your brand. Conventioneers love tote bags. Why? Because there are tons and tons of free stuff to be had, and after about two hours they are going to need something to carry the swag in. We always order thousands of great tote bags. No cheap paper or thin cotton for us. Our bags are big, bright, and unique, and by day two we try to make sure that every single person in the hall is carrying one. Be shameless and be fun. Slap your logo on the bag, add some bright colors, and make sure that people instinctively smile when they see it. Have tons of product to give away at the booth, and give it away freely. Don’t be one of those guys withholding the good stuff for the “big guys.” Instead, be the guy with the product that everyone is using and talking about. Freely distributing swag (even if it costs you) is in your best interests; you want those walking adverts wandering the convention.”

Last year, promotional reusable bags and customized cinch bags were top-sellers for Pinnacle Promotions. They are great surfaces for your corporate logo, and you can guarantee that all the other items that people collect at the tradeshow will then be stuffed inside YOUR bag. As Leffler states, they are going to need a place to keep all the other swag!Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 9.34.45 AM

Humor is another way to get people to remember your name. The Learning Revolution, by Gordon Dryden and Dr. Jeannette Vos explains that one of the keys to memory is emotion. Make them laugh, make them smile, and they will remember you. The blah blah blah is always popular for every type of tradeshow because it makes people smile, and could possibly help to spark a conversation.
PL4140hiresThis is a stress ball AND a device holder!

Are you headed to a tradeshow this January? What’s the best promo item you ever received at a tradeshow?

Pinnacle Promotions

It’s SXSW Time!

SXSW (South by Southwest) is a conference and festival in Austin, Texas that is being held March 8-17th.  It’s huge conference filled emerging talent and new products, in the fields of technology, music and films.

People from all over the country who are involved in these industries flock to Austin each spring to check it all out.  There are over 5,000 separate events going on during the nine day period.  From all sorts of live music to film screenings to technology, marketing and social media sessions, SXSW clearly is the place to be for those in the know (or those who aspire to be).

There are informative sessions in entrepreneurialism and business, culture and entertainment, design and development, community and activism, work and career, gaming and game development, science and space exploration, content and distribution and more.

Aside from all the awesome opportunities that SXSW-goers have, they also receive A LOT of promotional products.

SXSW Swag

[image source: mashsocialmedia on twitter]

Mashable asked it’s followers to tweet pictures of the best SXSW swag they received with the hashtag #mashSXSW.

I encourage you to do a twitter search for that hashtag and check out some of the cool promotional products that other companies are using to promote their brand at this huge event. Maybe you’ll see something that you can use for your next event.

Lee
Marketing Coordinator

Top 5 Essentials When Attending a Tradeshow

Last week was my first PPAI Expo in Vegas.  I had been to other regional tradeshows, but this is the largest, longest-running tradeshow in our industry.  Every year marketers from all over the country come to see, touch, and feel the newest and most unique promotional products and apparel.  The Mandalay Bay convention center has 2 floors filled with rows and rows of booths with products to see.  I knew I needed a game plan before I stepped on the show floor.  Speaking with co-workers that had been to the Expo before, I was given the 5 Essentials When Attending a Tradeshow.  Bonus, I also figured out 1 additional product we’ll be bringing with us next year!

1) Comfortable Shoes - with so much walking you need comfortable shoes to make it through a full show day.  If you can find a mix of comfort and style that is ideal.  I chose my grey, corduroy TOMS and they proved to be an excellent choice.

2) Tote Bag - You need a tote bag to carry your notebook or padfolio, business cards, phone, and other supplies, preferable with lots of pockets.  Pockets and dividers make finding your things quick and easy when time is of the essence.  Megan and I brought our new Pinnacle tote bags that had 4 separate outside pockets and internal pockets for your phone and business cards.

Megan and me with our new Pinnacle tote bags.

3) WATER – walking and talking can make you thirsty… I recommend you bring a bottle of water because a small soda is $5 at the convention center!

4)  Smartphone/Camera – When you are busy going booth to booth, you’ll want to take lots of pictures of the cool, unique products you find.  Tip: Take a picture of the company sign or business card so you remember where you saw that cool product.  Keep everything digital to avoid having sore arms and shoulders from catalogs and product samples. (Obviously there are some things just too cute not to pick up, hence the tote bag)

5) Hand Sanitizer – shaking hands and touching products that thousands of other people are touching is less than sanitary.  Make sure you bring hand sanitizer or snag a promotional hand sanitizer that someone is giving away.


BONUS Essential for tradeshows – Energy Bar (no not a protein bar, but that’s not a bad idea either) an Energy Bar or Emergency Mobile Device Battery, as they are being called is a small compact battery device that once charged will recharge your smartphone or other mobile device.  I know my phone died on me every day around 4pm when I still had more pictures to take and people to communicate with.  I will definitely bring something like this with me next year!

Hope you enjoyed my list of essential products when attending a tradeshow.  Many of these products that are valuable at a tradeshow can be imprinted with your logo and are great giveaway items for those attendees that didn’t come prepared (custom bottled water, tote bags, hand sanitizer, etc).  My personal tip would be to have a “recharging station” at one end of your booth with chairs, custom bottled water, and a place to recharge your phone.  While your potential clients are resting their feet and recharging, you can be building relationships and provide marketing collateral or a promotional video for them to watch.

Are there any other products I left out?  Let me know if there are other products you feel are essential when attending a tradeshow in the comments below.

 

Heather

Merchandising Manager

Unique Tradeshow Giveaway – Time’s Up Sticky Notes

This time of year everyone starts to think about what inexpensive, yet unique tradeshow giveaway they are going to use for their upcoming shows.  Sometimes just a twist on an existing product does the trick.  Take your normal sticky note that everyone uses and turn it into a creative marketing message.

The Time’s Up Sticky Notes is a watch shaped sticky memo that wraps around your wrist to ensure you don’t forget your important tasks.  This tradeshow giveaway is perfect for a “we’ll save you time” marketing message. It includes 50 sheets and comes in a recyclable case with a large imprint area on the front.  Consider handwriting a unique message on the first watch shaped sheet to give your potential customers information about your company or product.

 

Heather

Merchandising Manager

Hand Sanitizers – The Promotional Product That Protected Me

Cold, flu, “that stomach bug”… it’s been all too familiar around my house lately.  My kids have had one thing after another this fall and my PTO (personal time off) has not been for me, personally.  Thankfully, (knock on wood) I have not been sick!  Do in large part to all the logo hand sanitizers I have acquired over the years.

Hand sanitizers are one of those promotional items that are very useful, especially this time of year.  You can never have enough in my opinion.  I like to have one in my purse, my diaper bag, my car, my desk and in various rooms in my house.  There are many different options available from different shapes and sized bottles to foaming, alcohol-free, tinted, and even some with those fun colored moisture beads inside.  Choose a unique hand sanitizer that suits your target market and matches your brand. Here are some new, fun options…

This circular-shaped hand sanitizer is available in 6 colors and has the option of a full color imprint on the front decal.

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