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Promotional Products Defined
Benefits of Promotional Items
Hard Facts & Data
Top 10 Questions about Logo Creation
7 Ways to Make Your Company Larger than Life
Promotional Items often Outlive the Company
Decorating Methods & Types
Fun Promotional Ideas
Customer Loyalty Awards
Employee Recognition
Tradeshow Giveaway Tips & Tricks
Driving into Auto Promos

 

Promotional Products Defined

 

Q: What Are Promotional Products?
A: Promotional products—usually imprinted with a company's name, logo or message—include useful or decorative articles of merchandise that are utilized in marketing and communication programs. Imprinted products that are distributed free are called advertising specialties. Imprinted items given as an incentive for a specific action are known as premiums. Business gifts, awards and commemoratives are also considered promotional products.

Q: How Are Promotional Products Used In Marketing?
A: Since promotional products can be used alone, or integrated with other media, there are virtually limitless ways to use them. Popular programs cited most often by industry counselors (called distributors) are business gifts, employee relations, orientation programs, corporate communications, and, at tradeshows to generate booth traffic. They're also effective for dealer/distribution programs, co-op programs, company stores, generating new customers or new accounts, nonprofit fundraising, public awareness campaigns and for promotion of brand awareness and brand loyalty. Other uses include employee incentive programs, new product or service introduction and marketing research for survey and focus group participants. Click here to view promotional products case studies.

Q: What Kinds Of Promotional Products Are Available?
A: There are literally tens of thousands of different types and styles of promotional products. In many cases, it's even possible to obtain custom items that aren't found in any catalog. Examples of common items include: pens, calendars, t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, calculators, key chains, desk accessories and bumper stickers.

Q: What Products Are The Most Popular?
A: Of the $17.3 billion that was spent in 2004 on promotional products, the most popular were drinkware, writing instruments and wearables/apparel.

Q: How Can I Use Promotional Products For My Marketing Campaign?
A: Visit our website, www.promosonline.com. It will provide you with effective keys to planning a successful promotions campaign. Hard-pressed for ideas? The award-winning case studies can help generate ideas for your next promotion.

Q: Where Can I Find Someone In My Area To Help Me With My Promotional Campaign?
A: Visit our website, www.promosonline.com.

Q: How Effective Are Promotional Products?
A: Research Shows...
Promotional Products: Impact, Exposure & Influence
A survey conducted in 2004 for PPAI by LJ Market Research reveals the power of promotional products by measuring how end users respond to organizations that use promotional products as part of their marketing mix. This survey was conducted by interviewing business travelers at DFW Airport. More than 71 percent of travelers indicated they had received at least one promotional product in the last 12 months. The study also showed that respondents' ability to recall the name of an advertiser on a promotional product they had received (76 percent) was much better than their ability to recall the name of an advertiser from a print publication they had read in the past week (53.5 percent).

Promotional Products' Impact On Brand/Company Image
An experiment conducted by Georgia Southern University shows that recipients of promotional products have a significantly more positive image of a company than consumers who do not receive promotional products.

Promotional Product Incentives Produce Valuable Referrals From Satisfied Customers
A survey conducted exclusively for PPAI by the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University indicated that among other findings, accompanying a request for referrals, an offer of an promotional product incentive, or an offer of a promotional product incentive plus eligibility in a sweepstakes drew as many as 500% more referrals than an appeal letter alone.


 
Benefits of Promotional Items

 

Imprinted promotional merchandise can be an enormous source of revenue and advertising. Imprinted merchandise can be sold to loyal customers who are proud to promote your brand. Also, a visitor in a new town is likely to purchase imprinted promotional merchandise to commemorate his or her trip. Take advantage of every sales opportunity by selling quality merchandise imprinted by promosonline.com.



Customers who receive promotional products, on average, return sooner and more frequently, and spend more money than customers who receive coupons. In two separate studies, SMU researchers tested whether promotional products would outperform coupons in the area of repeat business and sales.

FINDINGS

Study One - Food Delivery Service - 1993

* Customers who received promotional products reordered up to 18% sooner than those who received coupons and up to 13% sooner than those who received no promotion.
* Customers who received promotional products also averaged up to 18% more orders than those receiving coupons and up to 13% more than those who received nothing.
* In summary, customers who received promotional products reordered more quickly and ordered more often that those who received no promotional products.

Study Two - Dry Cleaner - 1994

* Over an eight-month period, new customers that received promotional products spent 27% more than those who received coupons, and 139% more than those who received only a welcome letter.
* Promotional products recipients were also 49% more likely than coupon recipients and 75% more likely than letter recipients to patronize the dry cleaner in each of the eight months studied.
* In summary, new customers who received promotional products spent more and were more regular customers than those who did not receive promotional products.

Study details: Study one was conducted in 1993 by Southern Methodist University, and consisted of approximately 900 people that were divided equally into nine groups. These nine groups were broken down by type of customer (existing residential, new residential, and business customer) and what they received (promotional product, coupon, or nothing). Products and coupons were valued at $2. Study two, also by SMU, was conducted in 1994, and tracked the activity of 300 new customers at two locations of a dry cleaner. These customers were randomly assigned to one of three groups, all of whom received a welcome letter. Two of these groups received, in addition to the letter, a promotional product or a coupon (each valued at $5).

So you want to outlast and outperform? Let's start with marketing. If marketing can be defined as your overall brand strategy, you're way to transform suspects into motivated prospects, think of the ways you can raise your brand awareness and tempt prospects to come into your client fold with a branded product bearing your targeted message.

The way you recruit and train your employees, quite frankly, is a contest. A contest between you and every other company on the planet to find, acquire and motivate the smartest, hardest working employees. The way you build a team of dedicated, loyal employees is to reward and thank your people. With promotional products this can range from an item as informal as T-shirts for the company picnic to esteemed awards recognizing years of loyal service.

In sales, the never-ending questions are: "How do I encourage top performance?" "How do I turn salespeople who 'reach their quota' into superstars who outsell and outperform all of their competitors?"

As with all employees, recognition plays a vital role, but salespeople typically need more. Usually, they're competitive and driven to succeed by many stimuli. The promotional products world abounds with highly creative, compelling items that can drive a salesperson to succeed and exceed previous goals.

Client retention: How do you transform fickle customers who are always looking for the best price into loyal clients who rely on you as their business partner? By differentiating yourself from your competitors. Not by saying you care, but by showing it. A promotional product's flexibility to accommodate any budget makes them great solutions to positively amplify every step of prospect, customer and client contact.

If you're ready to look at all aspects of your business and examine real ways you can reach your goals, you're ready for promotional products. America's smartest companies, after all, use promotional products to propel and keep their companies at the top.
Using promotional products can be difficult without a plan. Work with your promotional consultant to plan an effective campaign that employs creative imprinted products designed to elicit a phenomenal response.

If you sell machinery, you visit the manufacturing department. If you sell copiers, you go to the office manager. But try to figure out who should use promotional products. Well, show me someone who is growing, hiring, celebrating, changing, moving, building, opening or launching nearly anything and I'll show you great potential for hard-working promotional products.

Even if you're not in a highly competitive field, promotional products give you the ability to quickly raise your products and service awareness at many levels.

You hold in your hands a publication that can continually help you build your business. Through a detailed analysis of usage and products available, you have been blessed with a plethora of business-building strategies. While relatively low in circulation compared to a Fortune or Business 2.0, this publication can be your secret weapon in fighting the ever-growing war for new customers, dedicated employees, motivated sales people and loyal clients.

Use it wisely and thank the person who gave it to you. What a magical gift it is.

There are several attractive methods for imprinting products with your logo. The appropriate imprinting method depends upon the type of product. Fabrics are generally customized by screen printing (or silk-screening) , sublimation or embroidery . Other objects can be engraved , embossed or etched with an insignia. Your choice of imprinting style can greatly affect the appearance of a product by giving it a more formal or casual look.

Imprinted promotional merchandise requires artwork that is camera-ready. promosonline.com accepts artwork in several formats including PDF, JPG, EPS, AI and TIFF files. Colors should be in CMYK mode, meaning that each color is produced by a four-color process using a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. If you do not have a graphic artist to prepare your artwork, we can provide you with the services of a talented professional.

Promotional merchandise serves as a reminder of your brand identity and a lucrative source of revenue. T-shirts, hats, mugs and tote bags are all popular souvenirs items to sell. Promosonline.com can add your logo to these and many more items that will appeal to your target customers and increase demand for your promotional merchandise.

 
Hard Facts and Data

 

When marketers fall into a blue funk over missed sales goals, maybe the doctor should be prescribing promotional products instead of Wellbutrin. Sure, the link between the industry's products and mental health may be a stretch, but PPAI's latest research indicates there's nothing tenuous about how promotional items influence customers.

Last summer, LJ Market Research, based in Irving, Texas, orchestrated an extensive series of interviews of passengers and other visitors at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Engaging an audience primarily of businesspeople, the researchers elicited the attitudes and behavior of consumers toward promotional products and distributors' end-users who gave them the items. The study reprises earlier investigations (some also executed at airports) and is the latest attempt by the PPAI Marketing Information & Research Committee to solidify the evidence that promotional products work.

Interviewers asked more than 500 airport visitors-travelers and others-a series of questions to determine how and why they received promotional products, how often they used them, how long they kept the items and what impact the items had in establishing a positive connection with the advertisers. Interviewees participating in the study were those who had one or more promotional products in their possession (meaning on their persons, at home, at their workplace or in their vehicles) that they had received in the previous 12 months. Naturally, almost all adults approached were able to identify at least one item meeting these criteria.

Many questions related to the promotional products that respondents mentioned first, which most frequently was a wearable. This is not surprising since this product category accounts for almost a third of all distributor sales. The second and third-most-mentioned items, respectively, were writing instruments and office/desk/business accessories. This sequence also coincides with the industry's product category rankings.

TOP SIX CATEGORIES OF ITEMS RECEIVED:
First Items Mentioned Frequency Percentage
Apparel 93 17.4 %
Writing Instruments 77 14.4 %
Desk/Office/Business Accessories 62 11.6 %
Sporting Goods/Leisure Products/Travel Accessories 43 8.0 %
Housewares/Tools 42 7.8 %
Calendars 38 7.1 %

Categories aside, the single item most frequently mentioned by respondents was a pen; next in order were calendars and headwear. Some popular promotional items such as pocketknives, letter openers, box cutters and pipe reamers were conspicuous by their absence. Blame it on those picky-picky TSA airport screeners charged with keeping the friendly skies friendly.

The DFW Airport Study produced two major accomplishments. First, the data obtained bolstered the findings of earlier research, most of which was secured from much smaller population samples. Second, it affirmed distributors' claims about the effectiveness of promotional products, which can now be based on fact rather than wishful thinking.

For example, one of the touted strengths of imprinted promotional merchandise is the ability to install the advertiser in the customer's memory bank. The report of the DFW Study states, "Consider the paradox that gives advertisers fits: Viewers, listeners and readers rave about the ad presentation-but when asked, they can't remember the sponsor's name."

This issue is minimized when promotional products are the medium of choice. When asked, slightly more than three-fourths (76.1 percent) of the respondents in the DFW Study correctly recalled the advertiser's name or message on the promotional item they mentioned first as having in their possession. (The advertiser enjoying the best recall was State Farm Insurance-with all imprints appearing on calendars.)

Particularly impressive is that 76.1-percent stat when compared to other print media. The airport subjects were also asked if they had read a newspaper or magazine in the previous week. Sure, said 80 percent of the respondents. But when asked to identify two advertisers appearing in the publication they remembered best, only 25.3 percent could do it, and 53.5 percent could recall only a single advertiser. You have to admit, the 76.1 percent-within-a-year versus 53.5 percent-within-a-week statistic is downright annoying if you're paying $103,000 for a non-bleed, four-color full page in Business Week.

The remarkable recall findings for promotional products are most likely attributable to another set of industry assumptions involving exposure-that recipients tend to keep promotional items for a long time and use them frequently.

As the researchers stated, "More often than not, end users try to pick promotional products that are likely to be kept and used a long time. None of this blink-and-it's-gone exposure that so limits the advertising effectiveness of some other media." Six out of 10 respondents at DFW (see Table 2) said they generally keep promotional products up to two years. And the main reason they keep them-so said 75.4 percent of the airport subjects-is they find the items useful.

LENGTH OF TIME PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS ARE GENERALLY KEPT:
Retention Period Frequency Percentage
Up to two years 322 60.5 %
Depends on the item 205 38.5 %
Until item wears out 5 1.0%
Total 532 100%

The absence of utilitarian value is the most likely reason that 19 percent of the respondents said they never use the first-mentioned item they had received. But the four-fifths majority that did use the item tended to do so frequently. More than a third said they used the item at least once a day!

The study also explored the ability of promotional products to influence buyer attitudes and willingness to do business with the advertiser. People prefer to do business with people they know and like-now that's an axiom fundamental to the concept of promotional products. So, the research findings pointing to the effectiveness of promotional products as a change agent of opinion do not come as much of a surprise.

• Nearly three-fourths of the respondents said they were familiar with the advertiser before they received their first-mentioned item. Most were already customers.
• Almost half of the respondents claimed their impression of the advertiser was either "somewhat" or "significantly" more favorable after they had received the item (see Table 3).

IMPRESSION OF THE ADVERTISER AFTER RECEIVING THE ITEM:
Impression Number Percent
Significantly more favorable 116 21.9 %
Somewhat more favorable 160 30.2 %
Neutral 250 47.3 %
DK/NA 3 0.6 %
Total 529 100.0 %

• Of the respondents who had never done business with the advertiser, about half claimed they were either "somewhat more likely" or "significantly more likely" to do business with the organization in the future (see Table 4).

LIKELIHOOD OF FUTURE BUSINESS WITH THE ADVERTISER:
Prospects For Future Business Frequency Percentage
Significantly more likely 36 16.4 %
Somewhat more likely 67 30.6 %
Neutral 102 46.6 %
Somewhat less likely 2 0.9 %
DK/NA 12 5.5 %
Total 219 100.0 %

Unlike previous exposure-driven attitude/behavior studies, the DFW research measured the attributes of promotional items in the industry's top three product sales categories: wearables, writing instruments and desk/office/business accessories. These categories account for almost half of distributors' dollar volume as reported in the PPAI Annual Estimate of Distributor Sales.

Product category data secured at DFW helps shed light on questions such as these:
• Which products are most likely to produce the highest recall of advertisers' identity? If you answered wearables, you'd be consistent with what was learned from DFW respondents. Some of those walking billboards are hard to forget.
• Which items do consumers keep the longest? That would be wearables, too.
• Which products are likely to be used most frequently? No contest-writing instruments. Nearly six out of 10 respondents claimed they write with their pens, pencils and markers at least once a day.

Data such as these can help distributors make judgments keyed to product strengths.

For the enterprising distributor, the DFW data amasses some major throw weight to explode prospect skepticism about the merits of using promotional products to achieve marketing and motivational objectives.

Jo Wagner, who has reviewed the DFW data, agrees. "Yes," says the team manager for Dallas distributor Cal-Joy Concepts Inc. (UPIC: CALJOY), "clients want to know their return on investment, and in marketing it can often be a challenge. Stating high recall percentages for name and brand lets my clients know their messages are being heard and are top of mind with their target audience."

It's time, then, to marshal some application tools:

• Brochures and envelope stuffers
• PowerPoint presentations to local business audiences emphasizing that integrated marketing campaigns are only half measures if integration doesn't include promotional products
• Presentation folders coupling research highlights with a plan to address a specific client's needs

"I think customers would respond well to statistics in a table format that's easily readable, concentrating on the highlights," opines Wagner. "Our industry needs to present these statistics to our clients whose budgets have tightened in recent years."

Methodology
Data for the research reported in Promotional Products: Impact, Exposure And Influence was obtained by LJ Market Research, based in Irving, Texas, through intercepts of travelers and visitors at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. PPAI-sponsored research tends to favor airport settings because they offer desired geographical representation of the U.S. population.

Interviewers administered a 22-question survey to subjects after qualifying them as having at least one promotional product in their possession (on their persons, at home, at work or in their vehicles) that they had received in the past 12 months. Respondents were given a verbal definition and shown a photo of representative promotional products. Although they were asked to list up to four promotional products they had in their possession, respondents were told most of their answers would relate to the first item they mentioned.

The report of this study is based on 536 completed surveys secured by interviewers.

Reprinted with permission of Promotional Products Association International

 
Top 10 Questions About Logo Creation

 
1. Do I need a logo?
A logotype -- popularly known as a logo -- is a company's name or initials printed in a certain style and/or a symbol. A logo serves as a visual identity for a firm. Remember that more than half of all people process information primarily visually, while auditory and kinesthetic processing come in second and third, respectively. Visual identity has a big impact.

Coca-Cola's red-and-white script style enables you to identify the company at a glance even if the name itself is written in Arabic, Chinese or Cyrillic characters. Nike's wordless "swish" symbol reminds you of the company instantly when you see it on sneakers, T-shirts, gear bags or billboards.

Even a small company can create this promotional payoff with appropriate use of an effective logo. Since every company of any significance has a logo, you mark yourself as professional and credible when you too have one.

A distinctive logo used proudly and extensively gives your company a recognizable look, so that envelopes bearing it get properly sorted by customers and mugs imprinted with it reinforce customers' relationship with your company during their morning coffee ritual. In addition, the stylistic flavor of your logo -- bold, nostalgic, warm or technological, for instance -- allows you to communicate nonverbally some subtle characteristics of your company.

2. Should I create my own logo?
Preferably, no. Hire a professional. Even if you have a good idea for a logo, you'll find that a pro can take it to a level of execution that can stand the test of time. An inept logo gets tiresome quickly. In the worst case, it confuses customers and fails to create the trustworthy, positive impression you want.

3. How much does a logo cost?
Designers hate this question. It's like asking, "How much does a vacation cost?" That depends on whether you jet to Paris on the Concorde or go camping at the local state park.

At one extreme, a multinational corporation merging with another one might spend upwards of a million dollars for a logo aptly representing both companies. At the other extreme, you might be able to find a design student to create a logo for you for free in exchange for being able to use it in his or her portfolio. In the typical case, be prepared to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand for an effective logo.

4. How can I best work with a designer on a logo?
First, collect examples of logos you like and dislike, not necessarily in your industry. Second, compile a list of adjectives representing qualities you'd like to convey about your company. Third, tell the designer about any color preferences and taboos. Fourth, describe the ways you intend to use the logo.

Ask to see at least three rough ideas to choose from, and expect to go through several more iterations with minor adjustments after you choose which direction you like best. Before you finalize anything, use the checklist below to assess the appropriateness of what you've ended up with.

5. Are there logo clichés to stay away from?
In the Middle Ages, when most people couldn't read, shopkeepers used standard symbols on their signage that told passersby that their establishment was a brewery, a pawn shop or a tannery. Today we have a vestige of that tradition in certain images being conventionally associated with specific industries and professions. For instance, scales indicate a lawyer (scales of justice), the outline of a roof over two walls suggests real estate and a curl of smoke coming out of a mug signifies coffee.

A skilled designer can incorporate these conventional associations into a logo in a subtle manner, but as a rule try for fresher ideas than such stock symbols.

6. What about logo colors?
Good question, since colors often have a profound impact on viewers. Psychologists agree that red and orange produce excitation, dark blue comfort and relaxation, and so on. To choose appropriate colors, think about the personality you want to convey for your business. Primary colors are wrong for most high-priced professionals, while silver and black wouldn't fit the fun image you want for a kids' gym.

In addition, consider how you might extend the color scheme of the logo beyond the original context (usually, at first, stationery and business cards). Might you want to use the logo on clothing, stenciled on a van or stamped onto calculators or clocks? Certain colors (yellow, pink) a lot of people don't wear well, while other colors (light blue, gray) don't stand out well from a distance. Bright neon hues might not match the black/silver/beige of technology objects.

Selecting familiar colors and no more than two of them (including black as one color) will keep costs down wherever you use the logo.

7. How should I choose the best logo candidate?
Get opinions from people in your target market instead of merely relying on your own intuition and taste. Also, use this checklist to avoid common problems with logos:

- Does it communicate in black and white as well as in color? Some logos become incomprehensible when reproduced in newspaper ads or when sent through a fax machine. Keep in mind too that something like 10 million American men and a few women are at least partially color blind.

- Does it resize well? Try blowing it up and reducing the logo to determine its readability at different sizes.

- If the logo uses words or letters, are they recognizable? You shouldn't have to explain or decipher the logo for people.

- Is the design consistent with the personality and tone you wish to convey about your business? A high-tech enterprise should look futuristic and speedy rather than fuzzy or flowery.

- Is it distinctive? A logo that looks like someone else's isn't worth your investment in it.

- Does it arouse any unwanted associations? What you intended as stepping stones might come across to others as looking like animal droppings. If you get this kind of honest feedback, pay attention.

- Do you and others in your company like it enough to use it enthusiastically? If not, return to the drawing board.

8. How often should I change my logo?
Jay Conrad Levinson, author of the "Guerrilla Marketing" books, says you should plan to use a logo for at least twenty years. If that seems excessively long, note that you'll probably get tired of your company look much more quickly than anyone else.

Drastic change of a logo can wipe out brand equity built up at great cost over the years. This is a decision to make only with strong reasons, such as when the current logo no longer fits the business (for instance, the image of a slide rule when everyone now uses calculators and computers), when you want to emphasize new directions or when the logo was ill-chosen to begin with and you can now afford to remedy the problem.

In many cases, a designer can update a logo without producing a complete break from the current version. The continuity then maintains the recognizability you've had in the past.

9. Can I legally protect my logo?
Certainly. Talk to an intellectual property attorney about protecting your logo through a trademark. Such an attorney can also help you make sure your logo doesn't unwittingly infringe on someone else's trademark, which could produce a situation where you had to change your logo after using it.

10. What should I do with my logo?
Use it like crazy! Don't merely put it on stationery and business cards -- put it on T-shirts, mouse pads, self-stick notes, umbrellas, tote bags, pens and more. Did you know you can even get your logo onto chocolate bars and private-label bottled water? Any time one of those items gets used, it's increasing the credibility, visibility and mind share of your company.

Boston-based marketing and publicity consultant Marcia Yudkin helps business owners around the world creatively spread the word about their offerings. She's also a syndicated columnist through ParadigmTSA, a public radio commentator and the author of nine books, including Six Steps to Free Publicity and Persuading on Paper. In addition, Marcia Yudkin delivers eye-opening, content-rich, motivating seminars on publicity and marketing to business and professional groups nationwide.
 
 
 
7 Ways to Make Your Company Logo Larger than Life

 
Alan Weiss isn't a household name, but you can't argue with his success. President of the Summit Consulting Group in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, he consults for Fortune 500 companies, speaks around the world, publishes books like Million Dollar Consulting and isn't shy about letting you know he drives a Ferrari. Having interviewed him several times and seen him spinning stories on the platform, I assumed he must have a large, well-oiled office operation backing him up. I was shocked to learn that his office consists of just him and his wife. No employed staff!

Whether or not you've achieved Weiss's material success, you can create the impression of a large establishment by positioning the light so that it casts an enormous shadow. If you have a five-truck delivery business, people will assume you have hundreds, and that in turn positions your company to grow. Or, like Weiss, you can simply enjoy the extra profits derived from keeping overhead low but your image large.

You'll seem bigger and more important than you really are if you follow at least several of the following guidelines.

1. Company name. Make sure the name of your business suggests solidity and size, and get opinions on this from people you can trust to be honest. Many naive entrepreneurs try to get this effect by calling themselves "___ Enterprises" or using their initials in a company name. Perhaps because these tactics are too obvious, they don't do the job. Trust the intuitions of seasoned business folks on this, because prospective customers make snap judgments from factors like the name of your business.

2. Phone numbers. Did you know that you can get local phone numbers in a city where you have no physical presence at all? One Boston entrepreneur I know created the impression of a bicoastal operation because her business card also listed a Los Angeles phone number (which rang into voice mail). Look in the Yellow Pages under "voice mail services" for companies that will make these kinds of arrangements for you.

If the Yellow Pages represent a prime source of business for you, people deciding who to call sometimes make judgments from the telephone exchange. You can seem to have a slew of branches by establishing phone numbers linked to several different towns and having them all actually ring at your one office. Bell Atlantic calls this "remote call forwarding" and charges less than $20 a month per line plus a few cents per call.

Likewise people assume you're a more settled, larger business if you have an 800-number.

3. Telephone answering. If you have a home-based business, how you answer the phone is especially crucial. Don't allow crying babies, whining kids or barking dogs within earshot of the phone, and get into the habit of answering with your company name and/or your own instead of just a "Hello." Other no-no's: busy signals (what, you can't afford voice mail?), no way to leave a message or send a fax after office hours.

You'll know that your telephone setup is sending the right signals when callers act surprised that they've really gotten you on the phone.

4. Location. During the 1990 recession, my business partner and I rented a small office in a very well-known building for next to nothing. Most long-time Boston residents recognized the building's name or address and didn't know one floor had been turned into an "incubator" arrangement, where small companies shared one receptionist. We had access to a beautifully appointed conference room whenever clients wanted to meet with us. In the Yellow Pages, you can find similar incubator offices listed under "Office & Desk Space Rental Services."

I know others who've created the impression of a larger company through office sharing -- renting one small room and secretarial services within a bustling office. Similarly, I was impressed when two kids barely out of college who were starting a new company handed me a business card with a Rowe's Wharf (Boston harbor, expensive, mostly law firms) address. "My mother's apartment," one of them confessed.

5. Visibility. Consider why radio stations perennially run contests where they give away prizes to cars sporting their bumper sticker. When people see evidence of you everywhere, they think you rank up there with big-name organizations. Depending on your business, visibility might take any form from brightly painted, can't-miss trucks to your ads appearing month after month in a certain spot of a newspaper or magazine. Speaking engagements around town, articles by or about you in the local business paper all add weight to your business identity.

6. Generosity. When I received unannounced bonuses of note pads and an insulated mug with shipments from the online bookseller Amazon.com, I thought, "Boy, they're doing so well they're giving away free stuff." In fact it works the other way around: exceeding expectations by giving away useful objects helps cement customer loyalty. The imprinting of these useful objects with the company name and logo powerfully reinforces the customer's appreciation of your unexpected gift.

7. Reliability. I think one reason I assumed Alan Weiss had to have a big organization was that in all my contacts with him, he did as he promised. His voice-mail message said someone would get back to me within two hours, and he did. I told him what kind of information I needed, and he promptly delivered it. Similarly I've reaped thanks when I've returned calls promptly and sent out material right away. In many people's minds, reliable implies reputable and well-established.

Now if you're thinking that large companies don't necessarily deliver as promised any more, you're right. And if you seize it, there lies a competitive advantage for your small company with a powerfully huge image.

Boston-based marketing and publicity consultant Marcia Yudkin helps business owners around the world creatively spread the word about their offerings. She's also a syndicated columnist through ParadigmTSA, a public radio commentator and the author of nine books, including Six Steps to Free Publicity and Persuading on Paper. In addition, Marcia Yudkin delivers eye-opening, content-rich, motivating seminars on publicity and marketing to business and professional groups nationwide.

Promotional Items often Outlive the Company

 
When Gwen Davis, of Fair Hill, Md., sits down for breakfast with her husband, Jim, her Delaware Trust coffee mug is filled as much with meaning as with café au lait.

The venerable institution -- whose name vanished in 1996 -- was where the couple met in 1968. Jim Davis spent his career with the bank and several of its successors.

"I was going to save the mug for my children," Gwen Davis said. "And then I decided to use it because it won't have the same meaning for anybody else."

The name of MBNA Corp., Delaware's largest private employer, has already begun to fade in the wake of its takeover by Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America. Davis urged MBNA employees to preserve some keepsake of their time with the company. Bank founder Charles M. Cawley said he's looking for an original MBNA sign.

You don't have to be a former CEO to be nostalgic when your company's name disappears. Delawareans report cherishing all sorts of trinkets emblazoned with the name of a former employer.

Some treasured items were given out only to insiders, such as lapel pins for employees. Others items -- like golf balls -- were created as promotional items in an effort to build brand loyalty. Yet, such trinkets, originally handed out for a strictly business purpose, can become imbued with priceless memories.

"I have my old uniform in the blue and peach colors," said Robin Chew of the Howard Johnson Restaurant and Ice Cream Shop work clothes she wore until it became the Hollywood Grill in 2003. "I'll keep it forever for the memories."

Roger Bellamy, who joined the Strawbridge & Clothier company in 1960 as a 21-year-old shoe salesman at the Merchandise Mart (now Merchants Square) in Fox Point, still has his pin recognizing 25 years of service. The company name was changed to Strawbridge's in 1996 when the retailer was sold to May Department Stores Co. Bellamy, who met his wife at the store, also has a company anniversary mug he doesn't use.

"I want to save it," said Bellamy, an area sales manager with Strawbridge's.

Those who treasure momentos from their vanished companies actually are engaging in a form of self-therapy, psychologists said.

"The items evoke warm and fuzzy memories -- and that's important to people's equilibrium. Analysts charge $100 an hour to help you feel better. For less than $100, you can look around your living room and see the glass with the decal on it and feel better," said Arthur B. Shostak, a professor emeritus of sociology at Drexel University.

Alice D. Domar, a psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said the need to hang on to a tangible item is a byproduct of the rapidly changing business world.

"In the past, a blacksmith was a blacksmith his whole life," she said. Even in the post-World War II period, many people expected to join a company out of high school or college -- and stay there until retirement.

Contrast that with the experience of those at the tail end of the baby boom. The group born from 1957 to 1964 held an average of 10 jobs from age 18 to 38, according to a 2004 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Change is stressful. Even stuff that's good is hard to adapt to," Domar said. "We tend to want to keep things around us that remind us of things that are familiar and comfortable."

Workers also tend to idealize their employment at a company once it disappears, Shostak said. That too, is a healthy response because 90 percent of the success in moving on is in positively framing your past, he said. "A memory glow is a way of bolstering one's own mental health," he said.

Unique rewards from investment:
Though corporate souvenirs were created for a commercial purpose, they take on almost a magical quality once a company disappears, Shostak said.

Kurt M. Landgraf, former CEO of the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. in Wilmington, said he still drinks coffee out of a DuPont Merck mug daily because it makes him feel good. The DuPont Merck name died in 1998 when it became DuPont Pharmaceuticals. That name was jettisoned after the pharmaceutical company sold in 2001.

"Almost 10 years later, why do I still drink my coffee out of a DuPont Merck mug? I've moved on in my life," said Landgraf, CEO of Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J. "It's because it brings back great memories. There are actually times I just sit and stare at that logo."

Pat Williams of New Castle, a waitress with Hollywood Grill who spent about 20 years with Howard Johnson Restaurant, said it always makes her happy to see her name badge in her jewelry box. "Once in a while I take it out and look at it. It does make you feel good," she said.

Calvert A. Morgan Jr., who was chairman and CEO of Bank of Delaware, an institution whose name changed to PNC Bank Delaware in 1994, still has a piggy bank given out in 1970, the same year he joined the bank as a management trainee. It's is in the shape of the company's headquarters building.

Harold L. Slatcher, CEO of County Bank in Rehoboth Beach, saved all his service awards -- pins, tie clips and rings -- from his 26 years at Sussex Trust Co. He started at the bank in 1963 as a head teller in the Laurel branch. The Sussex Trust name vanished in 1992 when it was acquired by Wilmington Trust Co. "It was a fun place to be," Slatcher said.

Creating camaraderie:
Memorabilia can also unite people in a shared, feel-good moment, experts said.

Fred C. Sears II, CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation in Wilmington, kept an umbrella decorated with Beneficial National Bank, the name of the institution he worked at until it was acquired in 1998. The umbrellas were given out at the Beneficial tent at the Point-to-Point event at Winterthur.

"When I see people on the street carrying the umbrella, they give me the 'hi' sign by pumping them up and down. They yell: I'm still carrying it," Sears said.

Frank "Skip" Pennella, director of external affairs with CAI, an information technology company in Wilmington, keeps a crystal jar on his desk from the days when he headed Marine Midland Bank Delaware. Marine Midland's name was dissolved in the late 1990s.

"It's a cool logo with a ship on it. People ask: What's that? For me, it's a conversation piece," Pennella said.

Elizabeth A. Browning, CEO of LLuminari Inc., a media company in Wilmington, said her husband gave his son a DuPont Merck pen he found in the house as a Christmas present. Browning's stepson had worked for DuPont Merck.

"It brought a big smile to his face," said Browning, who also worked for DuPont Merck.

Sign of success:
Heidelore Rowan, corporate brand manager with the DuPont Co., calls the promotional items "leave-behinds." The purpose is strictly to keep the brand fresh in people's minds, she said.

The fact that people want to save something shows the brand was "successful beyond their wildest dreams," Pretell said. "In a sense, people don't want it to die."

This could explain why some people regret not picking up a souvenir when a company changes names. Others find themselves buying mementos at yard sales or in resale shops.

"I wish I had saved something from Howard Johnson. I worked there for 30 years," said Margit Dawson of Wilmington, a cashier at Hollywood Grill.

MBNA items have already taken on collectible value, said Linda Marvel, owner of Grandmas' Treasures in Holly Oak. As soon at the news hit that the name would be changed, dealers went on the hunt to find MBNA items at low prices, she said.

Some MBNA items, primarily NASCAR-related goods, are available on eBay, as are items related to former state companies, such as Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware.

"Very rarely do people want to buy them until a company name disappears. It doesn't have the memory value until it's gone," Marvel said.

By Maureen Milford, The News Journal, 01/08/2006
Reprinted with permission from The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware.
 
Decorating Methods & Types

 
Screen Printing / Silk-Screening:
An image is transferred to the printed surface by ink, which is pressed through a stenciled screen and treated with a light-sensitive emulsion. Film positives are put in contact with the screens and exposed to light, hardening the emulsion not covered by film and leaving a soft area on the screen for the squeegee to press ink through. You must create a different screen for every color you are going to print and screen each color separately allowing drying time in between.
Embroidery

A design is stitched into fabric through the use of high-speed, computer-controlled sewing machines. Artwork must first be "digitized;" the specialized process of converting two-dimensional artwork into stitches or thread. Certain formats of art, such as a jpeg, tif, eps or bmp cannot be converted into an embroidery tape. The digitizer must actually recreate the artwork using stitches. It then programs the sewing machine to sew a specific design in a specific color with a specific type of stitch. This is the process known as digitizing.

Debossing:
The depression of an image into a material's surface so causing the image to sit below the product surface is a deboss.

Embossing:
We Impress an image in relief to achieve a raised surface.

Hot Stamping:
Setting a design on a metal relief die or plate, which is then heated and pressed onto the printing surface to achieve a deboss.

Etching:
A process in which an item is covered with a protective coating that resists acid to create the artwork. This leaves a bare surface and a protected surface. It is then exposed to acid. The acid attacks only the exposed surface leaving the image etched onto the surface.

Laser or Foil Stamp:
Applying metallic or colored foil imprints to vinyl, leather or paper surfaces. Usually used on a deboss.

Die-casting:
Injecting molten metal into the cavity of a carved die (or a mold).

Die-striking:
Production of emblems and other flat promotional products by striking a blank metal sheet with a hammer that holds the die.

Colorfill:
Screen printing an image and debossing it onto a surface.

Pad Printing:
A recessed surface is covered with ink. The plate is wiped clean, leaving ink in the recessed areas. A silicone pad is then pressed against the plate, pulling the ink out of the recesses and pressing it directly onto the product.

4-color Process/Full Color:
A color image is separated into 4 different color values using filters and screens (usually digital). The result is a color separation of 4 images. When transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press with the colored inks, cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black, reproduces the original color image. These four colors can be combined to create thousands of colors just as your computer printer does.

Laser (Engraving):
Art or lettering is cut into a material by a laser beam that vaporizes the portion exposed through openings in a template.

Sublimation:
Dye transfer process where the image consists of a colored dye permanently embedded into the pores of the material surface. Used to imprint messages, graphics and photographs on a variety of items, primarily mouse pads, mugs, T-shirts, caps and trophy medals.
Decal:
Artwork is produced on a transparent decal and applied to the product.

Offset Printing:
The transfer of ink from a metal printing plate to a rubber-covered cylinder is used on more complex artwork and for higher quantity runs.
Fun Promotional Ideas

 

Promotional items can really boost your company's profile. High-quality products that proudly display your company name and logo can make hundreds of potential customers aware of your business--especially if the items are novelties or games . At promosonline.com, we have dozens of fun promotional ideas that can help brand your business with entertainment and creativity!

Take, for example, the humble deck of playing cards . Poker has shot to the forefront of popular culture. There are shows about it on TV, and online poker is increasingly popular. Still, internet gambling cannot equal the fun and camaraderie of a "poker night" with close friends. Promosonline.com has a selection of playing cards that can be customized with your business's logo and catch phrase. Every time your potential customer hosts a game, each player in the group will be exposed to your brand.

We have fun promotional ideas for your employees, too. Your workers may be stressed out and over worked. How about putting up a customized dart board in the employee lunch room? After all, the team that plays together stays together! Your employees can blow off steam and engage in a little healthy competition. For those with little hand-eye coordination, our online catalog offers chess boards , as well as cribbage and tic tac toe .

Creating a recognizable brand name for your company doesn't have to be all work and no play. After all, people like to have a good time and associating your name with fun is a good thing!

Customer Loyalty Awards

 

Loyal customers keep every successful business afloat. Repeat business provides a valuable base flow of revenue. Keep this revenue stream flowing strong by establishing a loyalty awards program. Customized products from promosonline.com are an excellent motivator to promote customer loyalty.

A good loyalty reward program begins with the customer. First, identify the type of customer that qualifies as exceptional. Perhaps this customer has been loyal for a number of years. This customer may not visit as frequently as some, but he or she is always reliable. On the other hand, you may qualify a customer who devotes a good deal of resources to the company on a regular basis. Whatever the qualifications, it's important to identify and recognize loyal customers to encourage this type of business.

Once loyal customers are identified, reward these customers with a free promotional item and public recognition. Even a small promotional product can be rewarding. Let others know of your giveaways by announcing the loyalty program. The positive public recognition may increase sales. Meanwhile, the customer who is acknowledged will feel special for being recognized as exceptionally loyal.

Customer loyalty awards can translate into long-term stability for the company. It doesn't take an enormous amount of resources to maintain the continued loyalty of a customer. What is does require is a little extra effort to set you apart from your competition. Just a small gesture to show the customer that loyalty is truly appreciated.

The loyalty business is booming, garnering almost as much attention and excitement as it did in the heydays of S&H trading stamps, when housewives feverishly collected and traded Green Stamps for matching casserole dishes and umbrella stands.

Loyalty has become the mantra of marketers, moving strategies far beyond the one-time purchase, the sample or the sweeps. It's all about getting to know that customer, earning and keeping their business and staying in touch.

In one of the most compelling examples, Coca-Cola North America launched My Coke Rewards earlier this year, a consumer rewards program covering its entire brand portfolio. The program includes 4 billion unique redemption codes worth a cumulative $50 million, making it the company's largest reward program ever. A Spanish-language version marks the company's first fully bilingual, Internet-based initiative. The program plays on a tactic Coke uses in some of its most successful promotions, hiding a code under-the-cap. Players then register online to redeem rewards.

Truly understanding the loyal consumer is a top priority. To get at these often elusive characteristics, marketers are surveying a cross section of consumers — both loyal and new — and then drilling down to get a clearer profile of what makes their most loyal customers loyal. The data is then used to generate look-a-like acquisition programs to bring other great customers into the fold.

“You can get a better picture of the consumer and then be able to communicate with them in a more relevant way,” says Carlos Dunlap, VP-strategic consulting with Maritz Loyalty Marketing, St. Louis, MO.

Loyalty has also taken hold in the sports world.

In February 2005, NASCAR debuted its first-ever loyalty club, The Official NASCAR Members Club, in an effort to target and unite the sport's 75 million fans. NASCAR hoped to attract the 40 million people it considers its die-hard fans. And last March, Major League Baseball launched its first loyalty club. Platinum Club members get access to city-by-city, year round special events where they can interact directly with players. Members get invites to player parties, meet and greets, cruises and camps and lots of other benefits.

And loyal customers are certain to add to a company's bottom line.

Harrah's Entertainment saw its 2005 revenues rise 56.3% to $7.1 billion, due in part to increased gambling activity by members of its Total Rewards loyalty club. A nationwide “Winning Will Find You” campaign last year sparked growth in the program. Under the program, consumers who enrolled on-site got a 12-pack of Coca-Cola and a free movie rental from Blockbuster. One of 38 cans got the enrollee a trip to Atlantic City and an entry in a drawing for $1 million.

Loyalty “programs” have even begun to creep into the corporate world as employee incentives. Just like a frequent flyer can build points to redeem for merchandise or an airline flight, employees can now earn points based on a variety of job performance criteria to redeem for life-style experiences, gift cards or merchandise. The programs keep employees engaged, focused on performance and dedicated, hopefully for the long haul, says Karen Renk, the executive director of the Incentive Marketing Association.

“This is just one application of an incentive program to meet an ever widening series of corporate goals,” she says.

 

Employee Recognition

 

Employee recognition translates into increased productivity and a more pleasant working environment. Promotional products make great awards for hardworking employees. They show that quality work and productivity is greatly appreciated. A little extra effort from your most productive employees can make a huge difference to the overall performance of your company.

Healthy competition in the workplace can be highly productive. Establish a reasonable goal for your employees and offer a promotional product as a reward for achieving that goal. High-end luxury items are great motivators. Promosonline.com can customize products like leather jackets , briefcases , Ipod’s, CD players and more. In addition to the customized product, an employee who earns a sought-after performance reward earns priceless bragging rights.

If your team falls short of a goal, it can still be worthwhile to reward employee efforts. Sometimes a desired outcome is not achieved for reasons that are uncontrollable. This does not make the effort to succeed less significant. Show your appreciation to a hardworking staff for making a valiant effort. A token of appreciation from the company will motivate employees to improve performance.

Recognizing employees is about giving back to the company. Even a very simple gesture can mean a lot, particularly for employees who hold low-profile positions in a company. Any person who feels appreciated for his or her talents and drive is likely to work even harder to achieve. Invest in your employees and you invest in the long-term success of the company.

Internal branding is driving the creation of major budgets earmarked to market the company's benefits, products and services to its employees just as vigorously as it does to its customers. The effort helps ensure that employees are engaged and happy. Recent studies have found a direct link between employee satisfaction — including those that have no direct contact with customers — customer satisfaction and improved financial performance.

“Companies are realizing that their bottom line is impacted by how satisfied and productive their employees are,” says Karen Renk, executive director of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA). “Though organizations have said that our most important asset is our people, that isn't necessarily the way they responded to budget demands. Now we see corporations really investing in their employees. So, rather than being seen as cost centers, there is a paradigm shift where employees are being seen as the profit centers. If an employee is engaged and productive and invested in the company's success, they are going to in turn ensure customer satisfaction.”

That focus is bolstered by a 2005 study by Fortune magazine that found that the stocks of companies on its annual list of the “100 best places to work” collectively beat the broader market by more than 300%. Those companies earned 176% compared with the Russell 3000's 42% return and the S&P 500's 39%, the study found.

Internal branding has become a major component in employee incentive and recognition programs, rewarding employees for a job well done and enticing top talent to stay on board.

The IMA projected that spending on products and services used for incentive programs reached $28 billion last year, up from $26 billion in 2000.


 

Tradeshow Giveaway Tips & Tricks

 

Trade shows are your best opportunity to meet face to face with your industry - your prospects, customers and competition. Although they are costly, you can make sure they pay off with the right combination of promotional products and logo apparel. While everyone is familiar with trade show giveaways, We’ve worked with thousands of trade show exhibitors and our proven strategy goes beyond the simple giveaway item. When www.promosonline.com works on your trade show promotion, we think BIG: Bait, Image and Gifts:

Bait: At trade shows, time is limited and you're competing for people's attention. A great tool for driving traffic to your booth is what we call "bait" - inexpensive branded giveaways. The right bait will create a commotion around your booth, and get everyone at the show talking about you. Bait can bring crowds to less than ideal booth locations and ensure passing traffic steps into your booth

Great Bait ideas are, Buttons and Lanyards, Walking Winders, Tote Bags, Stress Balls.

Image: You've paid for the chance to meet face to face with your industry, so project the best image possible. The right logo apparel reinforces your brand, underscores your professionalism and helps interested prospects identify your staff. From polo shirts to button-downs, we can make sure your team looks great and feels comfortable. With minimums as low as twelve pieces, there's no excuse not to. Perfect Image ideas are Logo Apparel, Golf and Polo Shirts, Button Down Shirts, T-shirts and Caps & Hats.


Gifts: Use gifts to make sure the prospects you meet remember you after the show. Having a higher value gift for qualified prospects sets the stage for your post-show follow-up. These also make a great "thank you" gift for existing customers. Some companies also use these more desirable items as incentives to attend product presentations or schedule a sales visit. Great gift ideas are Executive Pens, Keychains, Golf and Cigar Accessories and Dress Watches.

Now you're on your way to more successful trade shows. In this section we have included top items from our BIG categories, as well as links to product collections that may be applicable to your industry or the location of your trade show. Take a look around, but remember, the best way to find the perfect product for your needs is to call one of our promotions specialists: 1-800-789-4340.

Also, keep in mind the idea is to attract a range of good quality conference attendees to your trade show booth? Don't just hand out promotional products to the masses without asking them some questions in return. If you take this strategic approach to promotional product giveaways you'll find a far better reception awaits you and a far better return on your marketing investment.

First up, why not go to the next trade show or conference and do some basic research? Once you're there this is what you'll most likely see: trade show tote bags and screenprinted T-shirts, key rings, keychains and branded promotional pens, coffee mugs and lapel pins. Don't forget beer-can stubby coolers, USB flash drives, fridge magnets, sports drink bottles, visors and a wide rage of conference bags. Of course there are also promotional stress balls by the thousand. Don’t forget to mention mousepads.

Unfortunately, this is what you'll also see at most trade shows: hordes of attendees with glints in their eyes, shoveling your carefully considered promotional products into very large bags to take them home of the kids and the dog to play with. Often overlooked in the feeding frenzy is the marketing rationale behind those items, the most efficient use of the products and how you ultimately make your investment in conference giveaways pay off.

Too often we see a lazy approach to the use of promotional products at trade shows. Sometimes promotional products - when used in the wrong way - tend to attract the wrong person to your stand at a conference - people more interested in scamming you for a cheap novelty than having any genuine interest in your product range. Everything you do at a promotional trade show or sales conference should be focused on qualifying attendees, and having conversations with people you hope will eventually do business with you.

The traditional use of promotional products at trade shows is to boost traffic to your stand or booth. In addition to offering attention grabbing objects as colorful lures, conference promotional gifts also are integral to booth-located games and involving events, where an activity like spinning a wheel to win a prize is an interactive way to attract visitors and reinforce your sales or corporate message.

Make sure you match the promotional product you're using with the marketing message as much as possible given the restrictions of budget and space you are faced with. If your product is power tools, a possible prize might be a good quality tool box. The promotional item doesn't necessarily have to be something directly connected to the product you're selling, but if at all possible it should be tied to the overall message you're promoting.

Experts stress that products should be useful, that recipients are more apt to hang on to the items and therefore obviously view the logo and marketing message on the item as often as possible. This sort of consistent message in front of a prospect is a proven method of building awareness of your band and message.

Products given out at industry trade shows will ideally have long-term impact after the event is finished. Rule of thumb research over the years suggests that 75% of trade show attendees remembered the company that gave them a worthwhile promotional product while retaining a more favorable impression of that company than of other competitors who didn't come through with the goods. Sending out invitations to attend to your clients or prospects packaged with a pre-show gift is statistically a better traffic draw than sending an invitation alone. And an invitation that also offers a promotional gift at the booth draws a crowd best of all. Clever promotional conference gifts and giveaways tend not only to draw traffic, but also to hang about for years to come.

What about the hoarders, curious time wasters and bag fillers who have no desire to do business with you? Trade show giveaways have a role in converting them to prospects. By keeping a supply of cheap promotional products on hand at your next trade show or conference you will be able to quickly pay off an annoying visitor and therefore move on to spend your time profitably with a better class of attendee.

Some regular users of promotional conference and trade show items advise always keeping the promotional products hidden from view. A cheaper product can be retrieved as a disengagement technique, while the upscale, impressive gift of genuine value can be handed over following a productive conversation with a senior-level decision-maker.

 

Driving into Auto Promos

 

Nothing defines our image as much as the car we drive. Since image is so important to the automotive customer, it's crucial to your business. Whether you're a dealership, repair shop, or auto parts store, a professional image will maximize your appeal and your sales. In a competitive marketplace, promotional products can give you the edge by improving your image, increasing brand recognition, and creating a lasting bond with your customers.

Whether you have a marketing department or not, promosonline.com can help you implement comprehensive plan to make the most of your brand. You business depends on it!

Look Sharp - Be Professional: When your customer or prospect walks through your door, what do they see? The right combination of branded products and logo apparel tells your customer you're professional, successful, and reputable. From the business card holder on your salesman's desk to the individually branded mints in your reception area, little things do make a difference.

Your customers are making a major purchase or trusting you with one of their prized possessions, and a consistent, well-branded image inspires confidence. Think about the great impression you'll make with matching logo shirts and jackets for your staff and branded clipboards for your technicians. You can't buy professionalism, but you can buy a professional image, and that's an expense that always pays for itself

Get Your Message Out: No prospect or customer should ever leave your place of business empty handed. If they do you missing an opportunity to build goodwill and advertise. There are tons of great, inexpensive promotional items that can boost your brand, put your phone number where it needs to be, and introduce your services to potential customers. Let promosonline.com help you find a product that is ideal for your particular business, like a message pen with a window that displays a different message each time it is clicked - a perfect promotion for a multi-line dealership. Patriotic items add an extra punch to a Fourth of July sales event, and beach balls, water bottles, and sunglasses make great giveaways all summer long.

A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way: Your customer should leave with more than just their car. Never underestimate the power of last impressions: show them you appreciate their business and they'll be back. Auto accessories make great customer gifts. An emergency kit can remind a customer that your dealership also offers auto service. Travel mugs, ice scrapers, and other car accessories keep your phone number in the right place when they need parts or service. And, of course, never hand back their keys without adding your shiny new logo'd keychain.