“That’s a Tier 2 problem.” Ummmm…what?

“That’s a Tier 2 problem.” Ummmm…what?

My laptop was not working. I had no idea what was wrong with it. So, I took my computer to a store that sells that computer, and that computer only. Upon further inspection, the technician kindly let me know that I have a “Tier 2” problem. I asked, “What is a Tier 2 problem?” He answered, “About $250.” Ummmm…what?

Many industries have their own terms that are proprietary to the market or industry. The promotional products industry is no different. We have assembled a few of our favorite terms here that some customers may know, but these terms might not necessarily be household names. Not only will we define them for you, but we’ll do it in less than #sixwords!

Four-color process
: Your full-color-logo on something
Stock the closet: Your corporate stash of promo items
Setup charge: Charge to setup the imprinting machine
Imprint: Your logo or design for production
Vector: Points and lines that make shapes
Raster: Squares of pixels that make shapes
Pad print: Stamp your imprint on your item
Deboss: Elegant concave imprint on squishable item
Digitizing: Embroidered image becomes digital sewing file
PMS Color: Color number matching your brand guidelines (PMS LINK)
Run Charge: Charge per color for color printing
Flash Charge: White base for dark printing wearables

Any other terms you want us to explain in #sixwords? We’re here for you! Check out our FAQs for more information.

Pinnacle Promotions

Are You a Promo Hoarder?

According to the European Promotional Products Association, a whopping 91% of consumers keep a promotional product in their kitchen. This was surprising to me, until I realized that the EPPA was talking about me. Not only do I do this, but also I might be a promotional product hoarder.promfi infographic_11f1ec510dbe285b39baca0385b3afef

The best burger place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is called Scotty P’s. There are six locations. The menu items are the same at each location, but are named specific to that location. For example, the BBQ burger is called the Watson Burger at the Allen location, and the Warren Burger at the Frisco location based on prominent members of those communities.

It’s not just the food that draws you to Scotty P’s. For years, they gave a plastic cup with each drink purchase. scottypsThere was no upsell attached to the cup. You bought a drink; you got a cup with their logo imprinted on it. As loyal customers, we have more than one Scotty P’s cup. The Pink cup during October was especially sought after.  Some restaurants maintain arrangements with their drink brand to provide promotional cups. These cups are usually co-branded with the restaurant logo and the drink brand logo. The Scotty P’s cups are just branded with their corporate logo.

Inspired by the EPPA statistics, I decided to take a look around the kitchen. After further review, I decided I might be a promo hoarder. I own more than 30+ Scotty P’s cups. And, I don’t even live in Texas any longer.

Are you one of the 55% of people who keep a promotional product in your bedroom? Are you one of the 25% of people who use a promotional pen in the home or office?  Tell us: Are you a promotional products hoarder?

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

Show Your True Colors: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There may be no more recognizable promotional theme than the Awareness Ribbon. And, there may be no more recognizable monthly awareness campaign than October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The contemporary version of the Awareness Ribbon was first displayed by Penney Laingen in 1979. Penney’s husband was one of the 52 Americans held during the Iran Hostage crisis. Penney used yellow ribbons to decorate trees, and mailboxes, jacket lapels and shirts to encourage support and bring awareness to the American hostages.

Today, there are more than 50 recognized awareness ribbons. One of the most identifiable is the pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon. Since the Pink Ribbon Campaign began in 1992, the ribbon has appeared on countless merchandise items and promotional products. Through market saturation and awareness, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for breast cancer research.

Companies and organizations have joined the fight against breast cancer by adding the pink ribbon to their marketing items, corporate logo items and promotional products.

 

Delta Airlines Pink Plane to support Breast Cancer Awareness. Photo courtesy of Delta Airlines.

Photo courtesy of Delta Airlines.

Delta Airlines flies to the top of the category of companies supporting breast cancer awareness from the inside out. From the Delta Airlines “pink plane” to special awareness uniform pieces to special in-flight promotional food and amenities, Delta invites both employees and customers to experience and participate in the corporate campaign. http://onforb.es/17GcZXZ

 

No matter the size, here are just a few ways your company can make an impact for awareness:

• As a company, participate in a community event such as Relay for Life or Race for the Cure.
• Host a service day for an employee or family member dealing with breast cancer to do yard work, make meals, or complete tasks around their home.
• Hang a wreath in the office and allow team members to wrap a ribbon or hang a tag on it to represent a loved one or friend who has been affected by breast cancer.
• Have a T-Shirt day in the office. Provide company-logoed shirts or simply ask team members to wear pink shirts.
All of these simple activities can be the perfect opportunity to share important health tips, recommend other opportunities to help, or to raise money for a person or organization affected by this terrible disease.


 

Pinnacle Promotions

Fall Trends: Metallic and Leather

Though it may take a little longer, what’s hot in retail always makes it over into the promotional products world.  And why wouldn’t it?  People want what’s in style, and if you provide something that’s trendy and has your logo on it, it’s a win-win for the customer and for the brand.

We recently attended the GAPPP (Georgia Association of Promotional Product Professionals) expo here in Atlanta and were not surprised to see lots of new products that fell right in line with retail trends.  We saw a lot of two trends that are super hot in fashion right now: metallics and leather.

Tons of fashion magazines from Elle to Glamour are calling metallic the it look for summer and fall.

Metallic Trend

Metallic Trend 2

The Huffington Post calls leather one of the top fall fashion trends of 2013 and it was very well represented (along with faux leather) at the GAPPP Expo as well.

Leather Backpack

Leather pouch

Leather wristlet

One of the most tricky things about finding the perfect promotional product is figuring out what product your customers will want to keep (and see your logo each time they use) and at the same time, what products align with your brand’s message.  If you want to communicate an up-to-date, fashion-forward message, take note from what’s going on in retail. No doubt there’s a version that is customizable with your logo.

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?

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Daily musings on promotional products in our world and media.