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Technology: RFID Changing Promotional Products

Author’s note: When I originally wrote this blog post, it was purely informational. Currently, my daughter is on a spring break trip with her school to Peru. The idea of RFID-blocking gear just became VITALLY important to our family.

21st century technology is making a big impact on the promotional products industry. The need for RFID security is changing the internal workings of promotional products. RFID, Radio-frequency Identification, is the wireless use of radio frequency to access information and transfer data. If you have stayed in a hotel recently and used your card to “tap” into your room rather than sliding your card, you are using RFID technology.

RFID has launched a whole new type of crime in the form of hacking. Wired Magazine has covered the increase and ease of theft numerous times since this technology emerged into the market. “They can steal your smartcard, lift your passport, jack your car, even clone the chip in your arm. And you won’t feel a thing.” Now, RFID technology, and the ability to block the RFID signal, is making its way into customizable products as varied as wearables, gear and promotional bags.

Promotional product manufacturers and suppliers have worked together to provide marketing professionals with quality and RFID-safe products. Here are a few examples:

walletYou can customize the Travelpro Travelsmart Passport Wallet with your corporate logo. Developed with the airline travelers and professionals in mind, special RFID Technology encases belongings to protect them from ID theft. This deluxe Passport Wallet contains a flip up boarding pass holder, quick access passport pocket, three credit card slots, and a privacy mesh ID holder.

zebraNot only does the Zebra Convertible Computer Messenger Bag come with padded, scratch-resistant 10″ and 15″ tablet pockets for protecting your technology, but it also has a zippered pocket with RFID-blocking technology preventing unauthorized access to personal information.

Soon enough, RFID technology will be in wearables and gear. The ability to host a QR code on a branded tote bag has been around for a while. We’ll soon be able to insert an RFID patch into a customized reusable bag for a conference taking your swag bag to a whole new level by making it an entry ticket, attendance recorder, and participation tracker.

The possibilities are endless for the marriage of technology and promotional products!

Pinnacle Promotions

Pinnacle Promotions is dedicated to helping you Make the right impression.™

Make the right impression™ Tips
Pinnacle Promotions is dedicated to helping you Make the right impression.™ We are providing helpful tips, expert advice and quality product recommendations to make you look good.



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Pinnacle Promotions

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

Pinnacle Promotions Make the right impression™ Contest

A smile? A gift with purchase? A full refund on a defective product?

Or, a rude clerk? A non-responsive manager? A poor-quality product?

Each day companies go above and beyond, or fail miserably, to make the right impression. Have you had a company make a lasting impression on you one way or the other? Tell us what you think is the best way to Make the right impression.™

All I really need to know to Make the right impression™ I learned in Kindergarten

Based on Robert Fulghum’s wildly popular book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, we have added our own twist on the “things I learned in Kindergarten” for the promotional products industry.kinder

All I really need to know to Make the right impression™ I learned in Kindergarten.

1. Offer your attention and advice willingly.
2. Do what is right.
3. Praise in public, critique in private.
4. Leave a customer’s office the way you found it.
5. Try, and then try again.
6. Be kind. Apologize first.
7. Be on time.
8. Offer a clean, dry hand to shake.
9. Care more about people than they care about you.
10. Come bearing gifts, such as quality promotional products.
11. Confidently promise and over deliver.
12. Listen. Really listen.

Pinnacle Promotions

What does every cubicle need?

What does every cubicle need? When we posed that question to our team, we got some varied answers. Here are some of our top picks:

ballchairBall chair: We were surprised to see how many people thought this belonged in every cubicle.






3sockmonkeys1Sock Monkey: We thought to ourselves, “Sure, a playful toy.” Nope. People mentioned Sock Monkey by name. Is that a thing that we just aren’t aware of?




Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 3.33.37 PMStress Ball: Everyone needs one of these in their cube for the coworker who won’t read the entire email.




EDGE2LITEDual-Monitor arm: Who uses just one monitor these days?






migFavorite Coffee Mug: Duh.






Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 3.35.17 PMTech Toys: Our Social Media Manager is addicted to the Gwee™ Button touchscreen cleaning device.






mousepadMouse Pad: Most agreed that a wrist-rest on the mouse pad is a necessity.






iphonestandPhone rest: That way we can see each song change or text from our mom. This stand comes with a stylus pen!






We’ve made a Pinterest Board with some of our favorites. What would you add to this list?

Pinnacle Promotions

Promotional Products to Save Your Snowmageddonpocalypse

The Pinnacle Promotions office is located in the Atlanta area. We survived, along with our friends, family and colleagues, through one of the worst snowstorms in recent memory. Call it what you like: Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, or more accurately Snowmageddonpocalypse. People were stranded in their cars for anywhere from 1 – 20 hours. Children were stranded at schools, and worse on school buses and brave teachers and good Samaritans kept them safe and warm. There are many theories as to why this happened. And as there are many blame theories, there are that many stories or more of miraculous and random acts of kindness and selflessness.

Pinnacle Promotions was uniquely equipped to continue servicing our clients during the storm. Our account teams were able to address our customer’s needs through proprietary tools and resources, and make the necessary adjustments to make sure our clients weren’t left out in the cold.

In talking with many who were stuck or stranded, we heard over and over about the items that they really wished they had with them to weather the storm.

Some of the top comments we heard:

-“I wish I had a blanket in the car.” A customized throw or blanket would be the perfect winter item to have in the car at all times and be ready in the summer to host a picnic. Screen shot 2014-01-30 at 1.54.24 PM






-“Wish I had an external phone charger. I didn’t expect my phone to die and not be able to use my car charger.” A branded portable power source is a price-effective and compact way to come to the rescue of your clients and employees. charger






-“Can’t wait to get home and have a warm cup of coffee.” Many of those who spent hours on the roadways trying to get home were relieved to walk into their homes and grab their favorite mug to sit down for a drink to warm them through. mug






-And here at Pinnacle, we grabbed promotional ice scrapers on our way out the door to help us get the snow and ice off our windshields for the drive home. tlk1500






What items do you think would be most helpful in a snowstorm? Check out our Winter Gear section for some great ideas.

And lastly, a special thanks to all of the emergency service personnel, road crews and good Samaritans who helped those who were waylaid by the storm.

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

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

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