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How the promotional products industry can avoid bad press in social media

promotional products social mediaCoca-Cola’s fan page on Facebook

I’d like to continue the discussion that my coworker Sarah Fell began , about the role that social media can play in delivering bad press.

Sarah mentioned two PR disasters that occurred because of negative reviews on social media sites. In one, a manager at Honda failed to disclose his position when positively reviewing a Honda product and was called out by users. In the other, a YouTube video showed rats scampering around a New York Taco Bell.

Sarah is right in her conclusion that social media can be “a potentially risky and destructive tool.” But only if you have something to be afraid of.

In both of the disasters mentioned above, social media only exposed existing problems in the companies; it didn’t create them.

If the Honda manager had been transparent in his use of social media — making it clear that he was an employee of Honda, as bloggers are now required to do by the FTC — the social media community would not have responded in outrage when they discovered his true identity. In this case, the manager tried to manipulate a tool that he didn’t understand.

If Taco Bell had been more diligent in its efforts to keep franchises clean, they wouldn’t have had rats running around their stores in the first place. The person who posted the YouTube video didn’t libel the chain; he or she only spread the truth about it.

Any medium that can provide better and more accurate information about a company to consumers is a good thing. And it’s not just consumers who can benefit from it; companies can as well. Take, for example, Coca-Cola, who embraced its user-created Facebook page. Rather than shut down the page for copyright infringement, Coca-Cola purchased it, and left its creators in charge. What better way to make a statement that you are confident in your fan base?

At Pinnacle, we WANT people to post reviews on our Facebook page because we are confident about the quality of our service to promotional products buyers. If we were afraid of what our customers would say about us, wouldn’t that fear speak to deeper issues at our company? We would need to consider reorganizing and improving our customer service instead of trying to suppress the free flow of information about it.

Social media will always belong to your customers. Facebook has already taken steps to ensure that the site remains in the hands of people, not businesses. That means you are a guest on social media sites. So loosen the reins, because you don’t have control of them anyway. You need to be asking not how you can keep customers from controlling your online identity, but how you can make sure what they say about you is good.

Acree
Creative Writing Intern
View my bio.

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Promotional Products “Write It Down”

promotional jottersI’m sorry, but I’m not finished talking about Mad Men yet. This week, Paul and Peggy — it doesn’t matter that you don’t know them — are trying to come up with an ad campaign for Western Union. Paul feels outshone by Peggy, and is determined to impress Don. All night before the big meeting he stays in his office, drinking and brainstorming to little success until suddenly, while grabbing some leftovers from the break room refrigerator, it comes to him: the perfect idea. Satisfied, he returns to his office, pours himself another glass, and passes out on the couch.

The next morning Paul is awakened by his secretary (the same one who drove the lawn mower over someone’s foot last month), and after searching his office up and down for last night’s light bulb moment he realizes the terrible truth: He didn’t write it down. Somebody at Sterling Cooper should have ordered some promotional jotters. Paul could have slipped one in his jacket pocket on the way to the break room and saved his idea.

Fortunately, when Don hears the news he commiserates with Paul — “I hate when that happens” — and inspires Peggy to wax that “the faintest ink is better than the best memory.” Hey, couldn’t that apply to Western Union too? Then Don produces the perfect tagline for selling telegrams: “You can’t frame a phone call.”

So take a lesson from Mad Men, and make sure your company’s next big idea doesn’t fall by the wayside. Write it down with promotional jotters.

Acree
Creative Writing Intern
View my bio.

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Win a trip to the fabulous Playa del Carmen with Pinnacle Promotions’ Mexican Getaway Contest!

Dreaming of hot, sunny weather as the winds of fall are starting to blow? Well that dream can become a reality with a trip to fabulous Playa del Carmen with Pinnacle Promotions’ Mexican Getaway Contest! We are offering a 6-day/5-night vacation package to one lucky winner that includes flight and accommodations for two along with a Pinnacle Gift Pack complete with towels, sunscreen, and all of your beach essentials – a $5000 value! The winner and his/her guest will stay at the exclusive Magia Playa resort, located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, and just steps away from sandy, white beaches. Register online for Pinnacle’s Mexican Getaway and with each order your place in 2009, you will be entered to win*. The more orders you place…the more chances you have to win! The contest will continue to run through the remainder of 2009, and the winner will be drawn in January of 2010.

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Congratulations to the Winner of Our Promotional Products IQ Test!

drcorneilusThe odds were in her favor to win, as she happened to be the only entrant, but all joking aside, this contestant did happen to score 100% on yesterday’s Promotional Products IQ Test! Congratulations, Cameron; you will receive your goodie bag shortly.

As for the answers:

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS IQ TEST:
1. Which former president of the United States is often associated with the start of the promotional products industry?
Answer: That would be George Washington, the first ever president of our country.

2. What item affiliated with (1) is credited with being the first promotional product?
Answer: The promotional products industry in the United States is said to date back to 1789, when George Washington incorporated commemorative promotional buttons into his political campaign.

3. Name three imprint methods that can be used to customize promotional products.
Answer: Any number of answers would be considered correct for this one, but to name a few promotional products imprint methods: screenprint, laser engraving, deboss, emboss, and embroidered.

4. What does the acronym “EQP” stand for?

Answer: End quantity pricing. When purchasing promotional products, some items are offered at special pricing plans. EQP is one such offering, where customers can buy a given product at the price given for quantities of the largest denomination, even when they may in fact be purchasing the lowest available quantity. ie for t-shirt A, the price for 50-99 items may be $4.00 each, but for quantities of 1000+, the price may be $2.50 each. If t-shirt A is being sold on EQP, a customer is able to pay $2.50 even when they may only be buying 75 shirts. Many products sold by Pinnacle Promotions are offered at EQP pricing so be on the lookout for these great deals!


5. What is the approximate estimated annual value of the promotional products industry?
a. $15 million
b. $150 million
c. $25 billion
d. $18 billion
Answer: According to the 2008 PPAI Estimate of Promotional Products Consultants Sales, the answer is closest to d. $18 billion.

6. What was the top-selling category of promotional products in 2008?
a. Writing instruments
b. Wearables
c. Tote bags
d. Padfolios
Answer: That would be b. Wearables. In 2008, this category comprised a whopping 30.68% of total promotional product sales!

For those of you who ran out of time before you had the chance to enter, I hope you learned something about promotional products by reading this answer guide, and next time we hold a contest make sure to submit your entry before time runs out! :)

Dana
Team Lead – Social Media
view my bio!

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Test Your Promotional Products IQ and Win Cool Prizes!

Mensa is the most well known, oldest, and largest high-IQ society in existence. The elite club was established in England by Roland Berrill and Lancelot Lionel Ware on October 1, 1945. The name “Mensa” stems from the Latin term meaning “table,” which is symbolized in the organization’s official logo. People who rank in the 98th percentile or above on a standardized, proctored intelligence exam are granted the right to join this prestigious non-profit organization.

In honor of the 64th anniversary of Mensa’s creation, today’s post entails a quiz designed to test your promotional products IQ.

Leave a comment below and be entered for a chance to win a Pinnacle Promotions goodie bag, filled with a few of our favorite promotional writing instruments, jotters, and much more! To protect your answers, comments will not be displayed publicly until after winners have been announced.

Hint: some of these answers may be referenced in past blog posts, but others are drawn from a variety of reliable sources and websites. Use any references you would like, as winners will be randomly selected (meaning your number of correct answers will not be taken into account) from qualified entrants. Deadline for entries is 1 pm EST 4 pm EST on October 2nd, and winners (and an answer guide!) will be announced right here on our blog before 6 pm EST on October 2nd.

See below for complete contest rules and restrictions.

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS IQ TEST:
1. Which former president of the United States is often associated with the start of the promotional products industry?
2. What item affiliated with (1) is credited with being the first promotional product?
3. Name three imprint methods that can be used to customize promotional products.
4. What does the acronym “EQP” stand for?
5. What is the approximate estimated annual value of the promotional products industry?
a. $15 million
b. $150 million
c. $25 billion
d. $18 billion
6. What was the top-selling category of promotional products in 2008?
a. Writing instruments
b. Wearables
c. Tote bags
d. Padfolios
7. Please copy and paste the complete url (ie link/web address) for your favorite Pinnacle Promotions product or category page (our website is http://www.pinnaclepromotions.com).

Thank you for playing and good luck!

Dana
Team Lead – Social Media
view my bio!

Contest Details:

You must provide an e-mail address where requested in the comment form. The address will not be visible to site visitors and will only be used for the purposes of this specific contest.

Employees and families of Pinnacle Promotions are not eligible. Void where prohibited by law.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Purchase will not improve chance of winning. Open to residents of the United States and the District of Columbia only, must be 13 years of age or older at the time of entry. Contest ends at 4:00 p.m. (EST) on 10/02/09.

Pinnacle Promotions is not responsible for: incomplete, lost, late, damaged, scrambled or misdirected entries or other errors of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic, which may limit a user’s ability to participate in the contest. Limit one attempt per person.

Winners will be selected by a completely random integer generator at Random.org. Winners will be notified by e-mail and have 72 hours to respond. If there is no response, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be chosen.

Prizes will be assigned to those who have been identified as winners. Players will be informed before 6 p.m. (EST) on 10/02/09 if they are a winner. Winners will receive their prizes via mail after the contest has been closed and winners have been verified. Pinnacle Promotions and its agencies assume no responsibility or liability for any damages, losses, or injury resulting from the acceptance or use of any prize.

Acceptance of prize offered constitutes permission to use winner’s name and/or likeness for purposes of advertising and trade, worldwide in perpetuity, without future compensation, unless prohibited by law. Prize winners will be required to verify mailing address prior to awarding of the prize. Entering the contest is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

All programs and guarantees are subject to terms and conditions.

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Pinnacle Poem: An Ode to Promotional Products

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Since its creation in 1994,
Pinnacle Promotions has been a promotional company that offers more.
Providing customized solutions for any marketing or branding need,
With all exclusive services designed around one overriding goal – speed.
From processing orders with our service of 24-Hour Rocketship Express,
To saving you time with custom IdeaKits that are sure to impress.
Let our dedicated Account Teams help you find unique products of quality,
And know that your order will arrive on time, and as approved, with our Platinum Guarantee!

From apparel, to drinkware, to stress balls galore,
Check out everything we have to offer in our online store!
We have journals, pens, backpacks, candles, candy jars and toys,
We have magnets, spa kits, golf balls, lanyards, and shirts for girls and boys!
We have accessories for travel and fitness, for your computer, your cell phone, and your car,
We have gifts that tell time, display photos, play games, and even stock your bar!
Whether for man or woman, young or old, business or pleasure, or all,
We have thousands of products for everyone in our virtual product mall!

Too many products to choose one on your own?
Just e-mail us, live chat or pick up the phone.
With account managers who know the industry like the back of their hand,
Their insight and knowledge can help find the perfect item for your brand.
What about custom artwork and logo designs?
Our graphics team can produce amazing samples that go beyond basic lines.
Let us help you along each step of your promotional products decision,
And help us enhance your overall marketing vision!

Jaime
Team Lead – Multimedia
view my bio!

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PINNACLE Spells Promotional Products

I received an e-mail chain this week entitled “Random Thoughts of the Day” that basically outlined miscellaneous thoughts and situations that occur in our daily lives. Here was one of my favorites, a situation that used to happen to me more often than I’d like to admit when having to spell Conaway, Strickler & Margolis at the law firm where I used to work:

“Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using ‘as in’ examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss’s last name to an attorney and said “Yes that’s G as in…(10 second lapse)…ummm…Goonies.”

Inspired by this concern, today’s blog will consist of ‘as in’ examples for Pinnacle using promotional products!

P – as in Promotional Pens.

I – as in ID Badges & Holders.

N – as in Notepads.

N(2) – as in Non Woven Polypropylene Bags.

A – as in Automotive Accessories.

C – as in Coolers.

L – as in Laser Pointers.

And finally E – as in Executive Gifts.

What does that spell? PINNACLE! (As in Pinnacle Promotions)

Jaime
Creative Writing Intern
view my bio!

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What Not to Wear: Pinnacle Promotions Edition

davidsonscott15TLC created an entire show based on it. Glamour magazine has a monthly column dedicated to it. Now, Pinnacle Promotions is entering the scene: fashion rule-breakers beware! Celebrities are often criticized because of unsightly wardrobe faux pas, but the press is becoming more and more mindful of crimes of fashion committed by ordinary people. Pinnacle employees are typically trendy, well-groomed young professionals, but sometimes (and I mean VERY rarely!), one of us will slip up and fall prey to a capital offense.

This fashion victim, who shall remain nameless, should have thought more carefully about leaving his house on the weekend in this outfit. If only he had taken advantage of the stylish apparel offered by his own employer! Here is a brief breakdown of this offender’s criminal actions:

GUILTY: Cutoff Jean Shorts. I mean, this look may have been en vogue in the early ‘90s… but it is now 2009! Yes, the heat in Atlanta tends to be unbearable, but I cannot think of any occasion that would justify a twenty-something year old male in an urban setting rocking this style in public (except maybe Halloween!). There are an enormous variety of alternatives that could provide equal or greater comfort while keeping this individual out of the limelight because of outdated clothing decisions. For example, why not turn to lightweight and sport tek® mesh shorts as lounge-wear? A daytime look that alludes to athleticism is a great way to clue nearby members of the opposite sex into the fact that you enjoy working out and flexing your muscles!

Fashion Police Officer: Dana

GUILTY: Styrofoam Cup. I may have let this one slide if he happened to be sporting the “look you can’t tell if what I am drinking contains alcohol or not because it is in a concealed red plastic cup” college-style solo cup; however, he has chosen to indulge in his liquid concoction in a non-biodegradable, earth-polluting polystyrene foam container! As anyone who has been paying attention to the latest trends in “green” fashion knows, there are plenty of fashionable eco-friendly alternatives to such environmentally harmful products, as can be found on Pinnacle Promotions website under the category of recycled promotional products. For example, Mr. Fashion Victim, should have traded in his disposable cup for a biodegradable, reusable and recyclable Stadium Cup made from recycled materials. As they say: “Green” is the new black!

GUILTY: Trendy Sneakers Gone Wrong. Lately we’ve been seeing celebrities like Justin Timberlake conveying a ton of attitude by dressing down an Armani black suit with plain white sneakers on the red carpet. Sneakers seem to be running off the courts and onto the social scenes around the country, but the secret to pulling off this look is how you wear them. You may think that sneakers are the one fashion trend that doesn’t warrant much thought and consideration, but it is clean, crisp white sneakers that complement any outfit. Our fashion victim should have used a shoe polish kit to keep his footwear out of a fashion victim blog!

Fashion Police Officer: Jaime

And finally, one trend that this mysterious walking fashion disaster is guilty of actually following: flashing a peace sign… Supporting the goal of world peace is always, without question a fashion DO! He definitely redeems himself in part because of this stylish hand gesture!

*Please note: the opinions stated in the above column are in no way representative of Pinnacle Promotions or its employees as a whole (just most of us!). The fashion victim selected for the purposes of this blog consented in advance to its creation and knows that this post is all in good fun. ☺

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Welcome!

Welcome to the new Pinnacle Promotions Blog!

We are excited to launch our newest forum for industry tips, trends and discussion. We are committed to providing you – our loyal customers – with new & unique products and the best service out there. We look forward to sharing our fun product finds and promotional marketing expertise with you.

Please check back often for new product announcements, industry news, and the hottest tips & trends!
For more information about our company and services, please visit our website at www.pinnaclepromotions.com/aboutus/story/.

pinnacle-holiday-group-pic1

Kim
Marketing Coordinator
view my bio!

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