Call me boring—but I think that promotional calendars are a great marketing tool. When you buy a promotional product, more often than not your goals are to spread your brand with an item that will be used frequently and encourage users to buy from your company.
During a trip to New York City this weekend, I learned that Jaime could not be more right about the value of the traditional promotional business card magnet. I was in the Big Apple visiting my college roommate, Amanda, and on my first night in town we ran into a group of girls that we were friends with in school but with whom we had since lost touch completely. Now, Manhattan holds the title of the largest city in the United States (based on population) and if I had to guess, I’d say the city is home to the most bars and restaurants too. With such an assortment of options, what are the odds of randomly encountering old friends at a restaurant? The chances are a lot smaller than one would think, when taking the company’s effective use of promotional products into account.
Consider this scenario: Amanda was excited for my visit and, since our love of food has always been something over which we bond, she was looking for a fun, new restaurant to try. She narrowed down the various locales (she picked the slightly edgy Meatpacking District), but still seemed overwhelmed by the number of choices. After reading restaurant reviews online and coming up empty-handed, she needed a break and walked into the kitchen for a refreshing glass of water. And it was there, on the freezer, that she discovered the answer. Amanda’s roommate had enjoyed the fine fare of a French restaurant in Meatpacking District the previous month and had subsequently brought home the restaurant’s promotional business card magnet. As a personal recommendation from another foodie speaks highly about a restaurant, we decided to try to the French café.
The cuisine was delightful and so was the atmosphere, especially because we spotted our former friends as soon we walked into the quaint little restaurant. After the hugging and giggling subsided, I asked them how they picked the place. Their reply: “a business card magnet, of course!”
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The People’s Choice Awards last night inspired me to take a slightly different approach to today’s blog. Rather than writing a completely original post, I thought to myself, why not reflect on the musings thus far of my fellow Pinnacle bloggers? There have been some amazing topics raised since the inception of our blog last May so here are MY choices for the most fitting blog posts in a variety of categories:
The spoof we co-wrote based on television’s “What Not to Wear” was actually suggested by several of our coworkers, and we all laughed for days about this one! Brent was a trooper, although I’m sure he won’t be thrilled about me rehashing the details of our original post. ☺ This may be one blog idea that we have to recycle in the future- Pinnacle employees, make sure not to break any fashion rules, or the “Fashion Police Officers” may write about you next!
Acree’s clever take on classic scary movies sent shivers through my bones! Her suggested parody “The Hills Have Ice” gave me nightmares- deranged ice scrapers attacking an unsuspecting family of tourists? No, thank you! If Acree ever decides to produce any of these films, I may need to get away from the promotional products industry, as our office showroom would be an intimidating haunt after dark…
3. Most Delicious: “Promotional Products: Recipes for Successful Marketing Campaigns” (by Sarah) and “Toasting and Roasting: What to Do Post Pumpkin Carving” (by Kim)
Well, I can’t say that I have actually made Sarah’s zucchini bread recipe myself, but I have tasted it and can say that it is even more delicious than it looks in the photo! I highly suggest printing out a copy of the entire post and cooking up your own loaf of zucchini bread. And how could I forget Kim’s post featuring a recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds? I don’t think pumpkins are in season anymore, but this recipe is definitely one to keep in your kitchen to whip up this Fall!
4. Most Likely to Inspire Readers to Get Up and Sing: “Presenting Pinnacle’s Lyrics Lounge: Promotional Products Inspired by Music” (by Jaime)
Jaime’s series of “Pinnacle’s Lyrics Lounge” entries was certainly a well-loved one around our office. It was hard to pick just one post, as other great songs were referenced as well, but I thought the original should win the award, as it did start the series off with a bang. Hopefully 2010 will bring more “Pinnacle’s Lyrics Lounge” originality from Jaime!
5. Most Likely to Cause Readers to “Shake Their Groove Thangs”: “Pink Gloves Dance: Can You Spot the Promotional Products?” (by Guest Contributor, Eliza)
Eliza’s creative integration of the YouTube hit “Pink Gloves Dance” video into her guest blog post in December made me want to grab the nearest promotional product and bust a move. Nurses bopping their heads while wearing hot pink sunglasses should be inspiration enough for readers to introduce some fun and excitement into their next promotional giveaway campaign… or even to hold an impromptu dance party in their cubicles!
Re-reading this post from last June brought a wistful smile to my face, as I would much rather replace the snow in Atlanta today with warm rays of sunshine and pool-worthy temperatures. Her description of spending a leisurely weekend working on a tan makes me look forward to Summer already!
7. Best Business Advice: “Building Business Relationships with Promotional Products” (by Kim)
In my final category, I selected Kim’s heartfelt post about the importance of fostering lasting relationships with your customers. Her observations and recommendations rang true in my mind, especially upon a second reading. The suggestions that she shares about sending inexpensive giveaways and promotional products to clients are timeless and universal- there is no time like the present to begin making your customers feel appreciated and valued!
With the number of posts made to our blog nearing 200, it was tough for me to narrow down my selections- if you have a favorite post, leave a comment and let us know. And, of course, you can expect many more inventive entries from Pinnacle’s Marketing team and our awesome guest bloggers in 2010!
Team Lead – Social Media
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Today featuring: Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!, commonly referred to as just, Let it Snow, written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945 in Hollywood, California, ironically during one of the hottest days on record.
Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful (1), And since we’ve no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
It doesn’t show signs of stopping, And I’ve bought some corn for popping (2), The lights are turned way down low, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
When we finally kiss goodnight, How I’ll hate going out in the storm! But if you’ll really hold me tight, All the way home I’ll be warm.
The fire is slowly dying, And, my dear, we’re still good-bying, But as long as you love me so, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (3)
1 – A promotional lighter to get the fire started.
2 – A screenprinted gift box filed with caramel popcorn.
3 – A promotional ice scraper to remove the snow from the windshield.
Find these promotional products and more at Pinnacle Promotions!
And here’s a version of Let it Snow performed by Bob Lido in 1963:
Team Lead – Multimedia
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Over the Thanksgiving break, not only was my belly full of turkey, but I also decided to dive into something slightly sweeter. Chocolate. I cannot tell you how much I love the stuff. White, Dark, Milk, Milk with Peanut Butter… you name it and I’ll steal it from you! Over the past year I’ve spent working at Pinnacle, I have seen my coworkers’ eyes light up numerous times at the sight of free chocolate. One office favorite in particular is the chocolate covered cookie, which combines a piece of decadent chocolate with the satisfying crunch of a cookie. This rich snack is perfect for making your clients happy, not to mention its prominent advertisement of your logo. I can assure you that any box presented to our office containing these delicious treats is empty by lunchtime.
I tell my customers constantly to buy something that you know clients or employees will use frequently. Whether that purchase is comprised of clocks, stress balls or promotional pens, if end users can find lots of practical applications for the product, they will remember your company. However, sometimes a single application is able to effectively fulfill your marketing objectives- I don’t have to tell you my personal favorite gift option is anything edible. Devouring the item provides immediate satisfaction that leaves a lasting impression by appealing to my taste buds. For target audiences with sweet teeth, such as myself, chocolate goodies that disappear in a few bites may be more memorable than something I would otherwise use everyday. It’s chocolate that sometimes gives me the sugary boost to stay motivated during a long day at work and I keep stock in case it’s been an unusually stressful day. Make your customers’ bellies happy and your business may benefit as a result.
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There is a reason why Thanksgiving Day has been deemed “Turkey Day” throughout the country. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, approximately 250 million turkeys were raised in the U.S. in 2009 for slaughter, of which about 46 million ended up on U.S. dinner tables this past Thursday. But we all know that turkey is not all that is consumed. According to WebMD, a typical Thanksgiving meal can add up to 3,000 calories or more – with a single slice of pecan pie with whipped cream ranking in at about 800 calories alone!
Here’s an average breakdown of the rest of the meal:
* Roasted dark and white meat turkey with skin — 450 calories
* Homemade stuffing with gravy — 600 calories
* Cranberry relish — 200 calories
* Candied sweet potatoes — 400 calories
* Green bean casserole — 190 calories
* Pumpkin pie with whipped cream — 400 calories
* Cup of eggnog — 400 calories
You could always contribute to this Thanksgiving feast by sending out promotional Applewood Smoked Turkeys complete with cutting boards imprinted with your company’s name and logo. But maybe this year companies should think about giving away some promotional fitness accessories for post-Thanksgiving corporate holiday gifts…
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As a kid growing up with divorced parents, my holiday season was much like the lives of Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn in last year’s blockbuster “Four Christmases.” Witherspoon and Vaughn play an engaged couple that both have divorced parents and- due to some unfortunate weather- are forced to visit all four adults on Christmas. While this might be an extreme situation for the sake of comedy, spending copious amounts of time in the car during the holidays is no joke.
In fact, 91% of Americans will drive to their Thanksgiving destinations, according to studies by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) of the Department of Transportation. Whether they are planning a visit to all four parents or traveling across the country to visit friends, the average person drives 214 miles over Thanksgiving weekend. As a result, I’ve come up with a few ways to pass time in the car, as well as some great promotional products to take along for the ride.
To start with, consider listening to a podcast or a book on tape. This is a great way to stay alert during long drives (especially if you aren’t fortunate enough to have the companionship of Witherspoon or Vaughn). If you do have a friend or family member along for the ride, play geography word games or share your favorite holiday-themed memories to pass the time.
And, don’t forget to pack well because nothing spoils a good road trip quite like a cramped car. Consider filling sports bottles and coolers with food and drinks to eliminate the need for multiple snack stops and bring a promotional CD case to keep your music within easy reach. If you and your employees are like most Americans and planning to travel via car this holiday season, customizing and distributing these promotional products will put your brand on the road to success!
Be sure to check out the whole film to see Reese clutching her travel mug at many stops along the trip.
Creative Writing Intern
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One of my favorite things to do in Atlanta is attend the festivals and shows that come to town in the spring and summer. From art events, such as the Inman Park Festival, to music festivals, like Corndogorama where up-and-coming bands can be showcased (and of course – a corn dog eating contest!), I love getting out of the house and walking through these festivals. Regardless of the event, I enjoy the good food, great music, artistic talent and festivities that come along with these festivals.
Secretly, I also love checking out the promo items companies are giving away!
My friends tease me when I look at the bottom of a mug or the tag in a bag and recognize the product, but I also enjoy seeing what products people go crazy over. Whether recipients appreciate the brand – a popular beer or alcohol drink, an insurance company, or a small publication or radio station – or the item itself, it’s fun to see the products in action and to see people’s response to the items first hand.
I’ve seen everything from cardboard speakers to coconut shot glasses and retro slap-bracelets to full-size custom camping tents and sleeping bags (those were incredibly hot with everyone trying to win the items!) Recently, I attended a festival and actually stood in line to win a promotional item an airline was giving away; the item was so timely that I just couldn’t resist. It was a rainy day and a company was distributing nylon, water-resistant cowboy hats – perfect for people that forgot an umbrella.
I’m actually working on a project for a customer now where I’ve attended the event for the last three years. I have seen the items this customer gives away, as well as items from the other sponsors of the event. I am able to put my experience to good use while brainstorming unique items that I know people attending the event will love.
I think it’s official: I’m a promo-junkie and I love it.
Avett Brothers enjoying Corndogorama in Atlanta:
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On November 5, 2007, the Writers Guild of America went on strike. The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) are labor unions which serve to protect the rights of film, television, and radio writers. The 100 day strike, which ended on February 10, 2008, was aimed at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), and striking writers protested against inadequate compensation for their work when compared to the massive revenue earned by the production studios. Both parties reached a mutually agreeable settlement, and after months of subjecting the American public to re-runs, the writers returned to work.
The Late Show with David Letterman was one of the few shows to reach an “interim agreement” with the Writers Guild of America in December of 2007 prior to the end of the strike. This meant that despite otherwise limited television options, Dave’s jokes and banter were able to keep viewers laughing.
Just in case Dave’s writers should ever happen to go on strike, however, the Marketing Department here at Pinnacle is ready to come to his rescue with fresh comedic material! We have taken the liberty of coming up with a Top 5 List to take the place of his usual Top 10 List segment if he is ever in dire need of a script:
Top 5 Ways to Tell If You’ve Bought the Wrong Promotional Products
5) South Florida trade show attendees stare blankly at the promotional ice scrapers that you have given them, but have no idea what the items are or how they should be used.
4) Outraged hockey players throw the pink fashion tote bags that you have given them in the garbage.
3) Sneezing, sniffling, and allergic reactions ensue when you deliver scented hand lotion imprinted with your company logo to an allergy clinic.
2) Promotional picnic kits, complete with wine bottle openers and wine glasses, offend the audience at a meeting for recovering alcoholics.
1) A custom t-shirt in the wrong size and for the wrong gender may not be appreciated by all recipients…
ie for a Marketing Department comprised mostly of petite ladies, a 5XL Men’s t-shirt (that is actually large enough to accommodate 3 of us at once, as pictured above) is not a wise gift for one of the employees. (NOTE: this item was not given to us as an actual gift, and was merely found in our company showroom.)
In closing, I would just like to reiterate that while these examples are given because of their comedic value, there is an important lesson to be learned by recognizing the needs of your target audience. It is highly unlikely that a marketing manager would purchase such inappropriate gifts as women’s tote bags for a group of males, but there are plenty of minor oversights that can cause a brand to accidentally alienate, or even offend, its audience.
The experienced sales representatives at Pinnacle Promotions can provide a wealth of information if you are willing to reach out to them with your questions via phone, e-mail, or LiveChat. Also, Promotional Products – A Survival Guide is now available for purchase. This handy book is a compilation of background information, trends and advice related to the promotional products industry, and covers the ins and outs of the ordering process in great detail. There are numerous reliable sources to consult regarding promotional products, so make sure to take advantage of them to learn how to use these items in the most effective way possible!
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Last week I gave my list of fun fall activities to enjoy before the weather turns too cold. I realized, however, that I forgot to include my favorite follow-up to an evening of pumpkin carving. After sculpting, scraping and proudly displaying my carved masterpiece, I break out my cutlery, turn on my culinary prowess and turn the gooey leftover mess of pumpkin into delicious roasted pumpkin seeds!
So if you are wondering what to do now with the remnants of your pumpkins this Halloween and want to turn your pumpkin’s remains into a tasty treat, here is one of my all-time favorites!
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:
The Seeds of One Pumpkin
Butter Flavored Cooking Spray
Seasonings to Taste
1. Separate the seeds from the fibers and pieces of the pumpkin. You can do this one of two ways. The first is to rinse the seeds in water. This is an easy and effective way to remove the excess pumpkin fibers and juice. However, I prefer to separate my seeds by hand, simply removing the fibers and large pumpkin chunks while leaving the seeds unrinsed and retaining more natural pumpkin flavor.
2. Spread the seeds onto waxed paper lining a large cookie sheet and allow to dry overnight. (If you are in a rush, you can skip the drying process, or even use a hair dryer. But in my opinion, seeds that have been allowed to dry overnight will roast better the next day.)
3. After allowing to dry overnight, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
4. Remove the waxed paper holding the seeds from the tray and coat the cookie sheet with cooking spray.
5. Return seeds to pan and toss with cooking spray and salt to taste. (Add any optional seasonings now if you prefer.)
6. Spread lightly-coated seeds into a thin layer for even toasting.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring approximately every ten minutes to ensure even toasting.
For a bolder, more customized taste experience, add one of more of the following to your seeds before toasting:
*Cajun seasoning blend
*Just about any other blend of spices and seasonings of your choosing…
7. Enjoy this healthy, fun and inexpensive treat!
Handy in the kitchen and ready to experiment with festive food & drink ideas? Experiment with the different flavors of fall. Take it a step further and try to bake a pumpkin pie from scratch next! You’ll have fun reaping the tasty rewards!
Have a Happy Halloween!
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