Does Money Make the World of Promotional Products Go Around?


Original Artwork By Jodi Spong, Production Manager/Graphic Designer

They all say “money makes the world go around.” But in the contemplative words of Tim McGraw, “who are they?” Well, I guess the overwhelming majority of society has adopted this mentality, but that does not mean that this statement should be interpreted as law. Children are taught at a young age through the use of allowances to value money and spend it wisely, but too often kids grow up to become jaded and materialistic, losing sight of what is really important in life.

Promotional products can serve as valuable marketing tools to attract business, but they need to be properly integrated into a cohesive marketing mix to return optimal results. Relationship management is a critical aspect of running a company, and you want to take necessary steps to ensure that your brand is perceived positively among current and potential customers. You need not shell out big bucks to impress end users of your promotional products with expensive gifts; sometimes it really is the thought that counts.

In college I took a marketing course entirely based on the concept that the best companies, the ones which make the greatest impact on the world around them and therefore stand the test of time, are those that have a soul. Soulfulness is an admirable quality that comes from within a brand: it is the intrinsic principles and values that guide the company every single day, and it cannot be communicated adequately in a mission statement or companywide memo. Ultimately, every organization needs money in order to remain in existence, but there are many other important factors that must be present to create a strong brand identity.

I am not trying to discourage you from investing in costly customized executive gifts or gift baskets. These items promote your brand’s professionalism and appreciation for valued clientele. However, you can achieve comparable success by employing less expensive promotional products and coupling them with articulate, compelling imprint messages or underlying marketing sentiments.

One of my favorite examples of inexpensive, yet highly effective, marketing with promotional products is LiveStrong bracelets. These cheap bracelets started a movement across the country in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Consumers can buy their own custom imprinted bracelets, featuring the word “LiveStrong,” to publicize their support for the charitable cause, while also helping fundraising efforts for the foundation.

The popularity of LiveStrong bracelets demonstrates how simple it is to use promotional products for good, and the potential benefits that can be reaped by associating your brand with meaningful causes. Show the public that your company has a soul by distributing items like EarthSmart™ pens and jotters with your logo. You can also give these products out in your office or workplace to set a precedent for environmentally conscious actions.

Another way to get the word out about your company’s unique culture is by customizing inexpensive promotional products with phrases (not slogans!) that your employees live by every day. Some examples may be “Do good to do well” for a bank or financial institution, or “Mindful matters” for an educational foundation or think tank. Any way that you can think of to illustrate your company’s mantras in a genuine way to your target audience can boost brand loyalty and recognition. Check out our Sales and Closeouts category to take advantage of our current deals.

The answer to the question posed in the title of this blog post is yet to be determined. Look within your company or organization to reach your own conclusion, as every business operates differently and has its own set of objectives. Whether you decide to shell out big bucks or just small change, I wish you the best of luck with whatever direction you choose to take with your promotional products purchases!

Marketing Coordinator
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Promotional Products to Fit Your Brand to a “Tee”!

promotional gold merchandiseAhhh the feel of the short blades of the green, the momentum of the swing of the club and the satisfaction you get when you sink the ball in the hole…well, for me, its more like the momentum of the golf cart as it speeds down the cart path and the satisfaction I get when I swing the club and it actually makes contact with the ball. But what girl wouldn’t like a game where the men are required to wear slacks and a collared shirt while following etiquette guidelines and skillfully swinging a big club?! What game am I talking about? That’s right – the game of golf, of course! And the month of August just happens to be National Golf Month!

Now I’m not sure about the origins of National Golf Month, but the origins of the game of golf can be traced back to the 15th century off the eastern coast of Scotland. Players would hit a pebble instead of a ball around the sand dunes using a stick or primitive sort of club. Today, golf has developed into a very civilized game with sophisticated equipment such as the dimpled golf ball and portable golf tees. And while golf most likely began as a sport of leisure, today the golf course is considered a venue for business. Many companies take advantage of the relaxed and fun environment while they do some serious negotiating.  If you plan on using this strategy, remember to come prepared with promotional golf merchandise customized with your company name and logo.  Offer your golfing partner promotional gifts such as imprinted golf balls or even an engraved metal ball marker before you tee off!

Creative Writing Intern
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“Saved by the Bell”: The Pinnacle Years (Continued)

vauvau-high-school-lockersAnd now for Part Two of Friday’s blog tribute to “Saved by the Bell”… What better way to discuss promotional products than by relating them to a television series that impacted so many lives throughout its time on the air?

Kelly: Kelly Kapowski’s peppy personality, natural beauty, and adoration for her large family quickly made her America’s Sweetheart. When her father lost his job, she insisted on giving back the money he had given her to buy her dream prom dress to help with family expenses. For employees or clients who, like Kelly, possess the admirable qualities of selflessness and generosity, why not encourage them to pamper themselves for once, instead of only looking out for the well-being of others? Products featured in our “Pamper Yourself (Spa)” category can provide valued customers and staff with the necessary tools to relax and treat themselves to some “me” time.

Lisa: Lisa Turtle was always sassy, strong-willed, and most of all, stylish! For fashionistas like Lisa, our selection of Fashion Totes or Women’s Apparel will help them set the trends, as well as promoting your brand as hip and cutting-edge. In multiple episodes, Lisa’s friends often walked into her bedroom unannounced to find her doing aerobics along with a videotape. The popularity of Aerobics is undeniable, and items related to the fitness craze are great options to promote healthy exercise habits. Some of the newest (and in my opinion, coolest!) workout accessories to hit the market are balance boards. These pieces of equipment challenge the user’s coordination, core strength, and flexibility. And now, you can customize them with your brand logo and marketing message! Both men and women can utilize this innovative fitness tool, as it can definitely spice up an otherwise repetitive workout regimen.

Jessie: Jessie Spano’s determination, intellect, and competitive nature were admirable qualities that made her successful in any endeavor she undertook at Bayside. Whether she was advocating for women’s rights by criticizing Slater’s chauvinistic ways or attending protests related to preserving the environment, Jessie certainly spoke up for what she believed in. If you are looking for promotional gifts to please recipients dedicated to protecting the environment, consider items from our EarthSmart™ category. These selections are made from recycled materials, recyclable, and/or help conserve energy. In addition, Pinnacle donates a portion of the proceeds from sales of these items to 1% for the Planet so that the money can be put to good use by non-profit environmental groups. If the audience you intend to target with your promotional products is associated with philanthropic organizations, take a look at our Non-Profit/Associations category to find the perfect gifts or giveaways.

I hope you enjoyed these blast-from-the-past blog posts inspired by one of TV’s most memorable sitcoms as much as I enjoyed writing them! Next time you purchase promotional products, draw from the world around you (including the fictional world housed in your television screen!) for ideas, and take the characteristics of your intended recipient(s) into account when selecting ideal custom imprinted gifts.

Marketing Coordinator
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“Saved by the Bell”: The Pinnacle Years

Custom SunglassesWhile going about my morning routine before work, I typically roll out of bed, grab breakfast from the kitchen, and switch on the TV to get my daily dose of “Saved by the Bell.” Growing up, 5:05-5:35 PM was a very important time of day, dedicated exclusively to watching SBTB. Starting my workdays with Zack Morris, A.C. Slater, and the rest of the Bayside posse has inspired me to write a SBTB-themed blog entry about a few of the fictional characters, which real-life market segments they most resemble, and suggestions for promotional products that would best fit with their hobbies and interests.

Zack Morris: I think “Preppy” would most appreciate items that would enhance his fun-loving, laidback California attitude. Promotional Beach Items like coolers, sunscreen, and sports balls are great options, but Zack’s social butterfly persona could also make use of networking tools like business card cases or daily planners. His entrepreneurial spirit often landed him in trouble with authority, such as when he attempted to sell Lisa’s clothes for a profit so she could pay off her credit card debt. When Mr. Belding inquired as to what was going on, Zack accidentally offered to donate Lisa’s clothes to Bayside’s charity clothing drive! The moral of the story is that entrepreneurs, like Zack, who engage in frequent client meetings or are constantly on the road can benefit from promotional products that can help them stay organized on-the-go. Travel Accessories or office accessories may be ideal gifts for associates or customers similar to Zack.

A.C. Slater: Slater’s athleticism, sense of humor, and willingness to take part in his friends’ crazy schemes made him an unforgettable character. Whether your intended recipients are already fitness-conscious or you are trying to encourage them to become more physically active, promotional fitness accessories are the right promotional products for you! Slater would have appreciated any sports-related giveaways to accompany his healthy lifestyle.
His love of sports occasionally made him come across to the show’s audience as a “dumb jock,” but in actuality he often displayed a sensitive side, too. In one episode, his touching class presentation about his best friend, his pet lizard Artie, portrayed him as a caring animal-lover. For clients that demonstrate an affinity for four-legged friends, opt for promotional products from our pets category. Your company’s thoughtful, considerate gifts will make a positive impression and show leads or existing clientele that you pay close attention to their needs.

Screech Powers: Where can I even begin to discuss this goofy guy? Screech’s klutzy, awkward presence played a key role in making SBTB a success. One of my favorite episodes was when he was competing in a chess tournament against Valley’s Russian exchange student. For clients who love board games like Chess or Checkers, consider promotional items from our “Puzzles and Games” section. They will be able to perfect their strategies, while viewing your company’s name and logo every time they play the game.

Get ready for more “Saved by the Bell” fun in Monday’s blog post, this time with an emphasis on Bayside’s leading ladies. Goooo Tigers!

Marketing Coordinator
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Clip It to It!

When searching for the next big thing, sometimes it’s easy to forget about the tried and true.

I’m always on the lookout for new & unique promotional ideas. Fun and funky promos are a great way to pique interest in your company. Whether you choose a trendy cap or a digital photo frame, high-tech and fashionable items are always a hit with recipients. Sometimes, though, you just need a simple reminder of your company. A staple item will give your logo tons of advertising at a low price-point that fits your budget.

I was paying a few bills last night and realized that the most functional, and frequently used, supply on my desk (after my computer, of course) is an ordinary Crocodile Clip that prominently displays the name of my car insurance company. The strong magnet on the back attaches to my metal desk organizer and clips my unpaid bills right where I can see them.

The little promotional clip gets my attention daily, giving my insurance company’s logo tons of exposure. While not everyone will stick the clip on their desk, whether it’s on a fridge, computer, filing cabinet or bag of chips, the logoed clip is going to be used somehow: and it will get exposure.

In addition to the classic Crocodile Clip, there are hundreds of innovative clip designs out there. The brightly colored acrylic Keep-It Clip™ is just one of many options – you can be sure there’s a clip to fit your needs.

Next time you’re looking for a practical giveaway that won’t break the bank, remember tried and true promotional clips and make the most out of a tight budget.

Marketing Coordinator
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Are You Ready For Some Football?

That time of year is steadily approaching and I can hardly contain my excitement. Of all sports, my favorite is College Football. The sound of the marching bands, the cheering fans, the scents of sweat and grass filling the air; you can’t beat it. I have to say growing up in the Southeast the rivalries are brutal and I don’t know many other parts of the country that take their loyalty as seriously as those fans in the SEC.

Anderson ManciniEven if you aren’t a hardcore sports fanatic, it is always fun to be in the outdoors supporting student athletes in any venue. I have fond memories of my High School days with the cheerleaders and pep rallies giving us the chance to leave school early and gear up for the main event. I still have promotional products like mini footballs and pom-poms from those rallies.

In the spirit of the upcoming season, we at Pinnacle are gearing up, as well. Not only do we have an extensive product line of team gear, we have some of the coolest rally items, too. From Mini Plastic Footballs to Klicker Pom-Poms, we can get the spirit going. So no matter what sport or event you may be a fan of, we can help you spread the cheer!

Go Vols!

Sales and Marketing Production Assistant
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National Night Out and Related Safety Promotional Products

promotional emergency productsEvery year on the first Tuesday in August between the hours of 7pm and 10pm, millions of people in thousands of communities across the United States participate in the National Night Out event to recognize crime and drug prevention. This year marks the 26th annual awareness evening, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored by various companies and organizations in observing communities.

The goals of this event include increasing awareness in crime and drug prevention, garnering support for local programs against criminal activity, fostering cooperation among police and neighborhood watch groups, and alerting criminals that neighborhoods will not tolerate deviants and unlawful activity.

Your company can emphasize the importance of safety to employees and customers throughout the year by giving away promotional products that will ensure their well-being. Automotive emergency kits featuring your imprinted logo are a great way to make recipients aware of your organizations’ concern for their protection, and they will appreciate the provision of such useful (and necessary!) items, courtesy of your brand.

One especially valuable promotional product is the Roadside Emergency Car Kit, which includes a siren and flashing emergency light. Even inside the home, this item has the potential to save lives when used correctly, because of its ability to inform passersby that the user is in need of assistance.

It isn’t too late to take part in this year’s National Night Out- research activities in and around your community and encourage your company to volunteer tonight as a sponsor. At the very least, encourage your neighbors to meet you outside to recognize this unique annual occurrence. Lock all of your front doors, switch on outside lights, and spend a few hours socializing in the fresh air!

Marketing Coordinator
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So You Think You Can Sponsor?

ikrichter-so-you-think-you-can-danceThis week the finale for the Emmy-nominated reality hit show So You Think You Can Dance airs on Fox television, but if you’re one of the 8.9 million viewers that tune in weekly you’ve already cleared your schedule for this Wednesday and Thursday nights at 8/7c to find out who America chooses as its favorite dancer. SYTYCD is one of my absolute favorite television shows (if you didn’t already know that from reading my bio and the answer to question 3 – What is the TV show you have to set your Tivo for?) and it is also a favorite among the other employees here at Pinnacle. And it is no surprise as since its debut with Season 1 in 2005, it has consistently been among the top in the ratings, generating spin off versions of the show in New Zealand, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Germany, Greece, Poland, Malaysia, Norway, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Australia (whew!) with more countries in the works. The major triumph of the show, however, – while offering a unique opportunity for contestants ranging from national competition winners, to unknown street dancers – is that it has brought dance to the forefront of American culture and shown how this creative outlet can have such a positive impact on the nation’s youth.

Riding on the tails of this success are the sponsors of SYTYCD. Product placement and brand integration have become a huge part of the television industry, extending to the realm of reality TV, and their advertising strategies have become a lot more cultivated than just putting a company name or logo on the judges’ platform. One of the sponsors for season four of SYTYCD was Unilever’s Snuggle fabric softener. They used the show to market their new Snuggle with Fresh Release fabric softener. With its tagline, “Simply make a move and feel the freshness,” they tied the product into the dancing theme and furthered this connection with segments featuring contestants and viewers showing off their “Happy Dances.” Snuggle even had viewers submit their happy dance videos and sponsored a sweepstakes with a top prize of a trip to the show’s finale.

Although your company may not have a budget large enough to sponsor a television series like So You Think You Can Dance, there are sure to be tons of other organizations in your community that are looking for local corporations to aid in their causes, and in turn, provide exposure to your brand. Sponsoring a team or event is one of the most effective ways to get your brand noticed. Sponsor a local youth sports team and have your company name and logo imprinted on the sleeve of their athletic and teamwear, giving you tons of brand visibility. You can even customize a schedule magnet to give out to fans, displaying the team’s game schedule, and your company’s name and logo. Parents and fans will be sure to support your company, as you have supported their team.

Be sure to tune in to the So You Think You Can Dance finale this week to find out whom America votes as its favorite dancer (I’m rooting for Kayla!) and don’t forget to pay attention to all of the corporate sponsors!

Creative Writing Intern
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A Promotional Product Idea That Is Worth Betting On…

Let me preface this post by saying that I consider myself to be extremely unlucky. Aside from the watergun I won playing Bingo when I was 8, I can’t remember the last time I won a contest or drawing. My sister, on the other hand, continues to win countless freebies: tickets to sporting events from furniture store raffles, numerous movie premiere tickets from radio stations, and even a weekend getaway courtesy of a large hotel chain. My losing streak, however, does not discourage me from trying my luck every so often with scratch-off lottery tickets. 9 times out of 10, I wind up empty-handed, but the mere prospect of scratching off prizewinning boxes is enough to keep me coming back for more. “Not a winner” this time? I guess that means I have to buy another ticket!

One of my favorite giveaway ideas involves the aforementioned scratch-off cards. At a tradeshow booth or even in a direct mailing to valued customers, distribute custom imprinted scratch-off cards to promote your brand. If you are feeling generous, make every card redeemable for an inexpensive gift so that everybody feels like a winner, or vary the price points of your prizes to add to the excitement and suspense. Premium giveaways featuring your company’s logo and contact information can generate buzz and create brand awareness, and you can minimize costs by only giving out a handful of winning cards.

Scratch-off cards, unlike most promotional products, provide an experience instead of just a giveaway item. When people are engaged in a memorable activity related to your company, they are much more likely to think of your brand first and foremost when they have a need for your services in the future. Also, the originality involved with scratch-off card promotions can be helpful in terms of referrals, lead generation, and client retention.

You don’t need luck to ensure the success of your next promotional giveaway- customized scratch cards are destined to do the trick!

Marketing Coordinator
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101 Uses for Promotional Hacky Sacks

kick-bagOkay, so maybe just 6 uses so far, but I got your attention, didn’t I?

Did you know that July 27 – August 2 is World Footbag (Hacky Sack) Week? John Stalberger and Mike Marshall invented the footbag in 1972. Today, the footbag is more commonly known in the United States as the “Hacky Sack,” which is the trademarked name of one particular type of footbag. The name “Hacky Sack” is actually a genericized trademark used to refer not only to the footbag itself, but also to the game of footbag. In the traditional hacky sack circle, two or more players compete to keep the footbag from hitting the ground without the ball touching their hands.

Aside from facilitating a fun and competitive sport, footbags can be used for many other purposes. Keep reading for a few of my suggestions:

1. To promote your brand. Well, I work for a promotional products company, so of course this is going to be my first idea! Our promotional hacky sack can be custom imprinted with your brand’s logo or marketing message to become a unique, enjoyable promotional product. Any item that encourages employees or clients to let loose and engage in a friendly athletic competition is bound to maximize exposure for your company. Pens and office accessories always make for practical branded giveaways, but products that people can enjoy in their leisure time with their families and friends also have potential to turn into favorite possessions. Imagine one of your clients gathering his or her family for a weekend at the beach and being asked by their children, “Did we pack that hacki bag that you got from _____ (fill in your brand name here!)?” Your company can become a household name as a result of a distinctive promotional giveaway like the hacki bag.

2. As a stress reliever. While this should not be the primary purpose of a hacki bag, if a true stress ball is not available, a hacki bag can be a suitable substitute to let out some aggression. It is slightly less squeezable than a stress ball, but can definitely provide a wrist workout in a pinch!

3. Doubles as a paperweight. Heavy, eye-catching, compact. All qualities that are desirable in a paperweight. When customers or employees are not using your hacki bag in one of the other ways outlined on my handy list, why not encourage them to set it on top of their important papers?

4. Portable fitness accessory. Playing hacky sack burns an estimated 281 calories per hour! Healthcare or medical companies can incorporate this product into an informational campaign about the importance of exercise and wellness. We offer hacki bags shaped like footballs or basketballs, which are likely to be broken out for impromptu games at the office because they are probably going to be kept on desktops as paperweights (see Use #3).

5. As a weapon. Well, a playful “weapon,” that is. If a coworker is getting on your last nerves, toss a hacki bag their way. It is lightweight enough not to hurt them, and you can work on your pitching arm at the same time.

6. To prevent clients/employees from resorting to using their cell phones as kick bags… Watch this really cool Vodafone footbag commercial to see what I mean!

Any item that can fill this many unique needs in a person’s life is certain to be a successful promotional tool.

Can you think of any other creative uses for a hacki bag? Leave us a comment with your ideas and maybe we can eventually reach 101 uses!

Marketing Coordinator
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Daily musings on promotional products in our world and media.