OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis month New York City decided to give you a FREE OPPORTUNITY to brand your business! They passed a bill to mitigate single use bags with a five cent fee on paper and plastic bags, hoping the entire city will start to bring their own. The fee goes into effect in October so that means you have a few months to order your branded reusable bags with your logo and message, and provide these to your customers in October with a kick-off party.

While some residents and business owners disagree with the new charge, I want to take a moment to brag on reusable, branded bags.

1.) They are HIGHLY visible. This is why so much money is spent on branded disposable bags – think of those iconic Macy’s bags at Christmas time.

2.) They are extremely durable! Ever had a heavy item make a hole in a paper bag, or a plastic bag’s handle break just before you reach the door with your groceries?

3.) It’s time to start seriously caring about our environmental impact. 9 million disposable bags pass through New York City every year, and this change will hopefully be the start of new legislation in many more US cities.

4.) Memorable promotional items are useful items. Now that your customers need their own collection of reusable bags, you can be the first to address their immediate need and stay in front of them every time they shop.

To be clear, this isn’t just an opportunity for a shop owner. Yes, storefronts will want to provide customers with reusable bags, either as incentives to purchase or for sale at a discounted cost. This is also an opportunity for every single service brand. Whose brand will your customers be carrying? In a competitive business market where referral business is so integral, especially when your business is an intangible service business, your customers aren’t just walking advertisement boards, they are physically endorsing the brand they display on their bags by displaying their relationship with you. The labels we wear make a statement about our status & style, and the brands we carry say something about who we hire, buy from, and rely on in our daily lives.

Enough with my bragging on branded bags, now it’s time to let your customers brag on YOU.  Click here to visit a link to some of our most popular reusable totes and start shopping now! 

keep-calm-and-swag-on-180As business owners, we can be short sighted when it comes to promos with a purpose. When we think about takeways, giveaways, promos, and SWAG, we often think of ways of getting a message or brand to our consumers. We forget how impressions and memories are built on the experiences of the receiving party, and often our goals are missed when we forget to consider the second half of our branding equation – the person receiving the item.

Care

Items that connect with our customers are promotional products that convey a sense of caring. From stress reducers for your vendors to travel kits for convention attendees, we find that the most memorable items are not those that we feel connect our brand to a message, but those items that connect our brand to a corporate culture of caring about our associates. Even when our brands are focused on products and services that aren’t affiliated with a traditional sense of caring, our promo swag can be the one way we connect our corporate cultures to our consumers.

9350_groupAsk yourself: What is something I would need if I were receiving this swag? What is something that would instantly convey a sense of caring if I received it? We can help you brainstorm, too.

I’m a firm believer in providing promotional products that convey a sense of “giving back” through either partnerships with nonprofit organizations or providing products that are a necessity item for your receivers. This holiday season especially, try to focus your swag energy into a business relationship built on care.

 

 

Customer AppreciationAppreciate

What’s more important than conveying a sense of gratitude during the holidays! Now is the time to award your employees and gift your network with something that says “I appreciate you”. If you do nothing else this holiday season, take a day before the year closes and let each and every person know how much they are appreciated in your business network. Have a large network? Small tokens of appreciation can be branded swag items that reach out and help say a simple “thank you” on your behalf before the year is through. Always appreciate your customers, too. Without them, you don’t have a business. They are your #1 priority. Customer appreciation days during the holidays can be themed to reduce the stress of holiday gifting with giveaways that help, such as branded notepads for shopping lists.

400_Promotional_items_19828_GroupSwag On!

Now that you’re thinking in the right direction, here are a few more quick tips to help you Swag On!

  1. If you are at a convention or trade show, items that are small and easily fit in carry-ons are ideal. Avoid liquid items, heavy items, and anything that easily breaks. Most people have enough liquid to juggle when they travel and don’t want the extra burden of additional weight on their shoulders or want to make arrangements for fragile items.
  2. If you’re stumped, go for FUN. Items that make someone laugh are quick wins that create a memory.
  3. Contact local nonprofit organizations and see about partnerships. This is the time of year that most nonprofits begin organizing auctions and need giveaways at their events. Co-branding items like event t-shirts are a great way to help and brand at the same time!

 

seedling

Spring is here, and it’s time to cultivate our seedlings and prepare them for our gardens, remembering to care for them without overdoing any one element. Spring is a time for balance and renewal as we wait for our seeds to sprout. What seeds are you planting this year, and how are these seeds cared for to ensure growth?

Plant a diversified “garden” of marketing

Print, radio, social media, promotional events & products should all be in your garden this year. Inactive advertising such as print and radio mean you are putting out the word with little understanding of your return potential beyond forecasts. Active advertising such as events and products provide you an opportunity to reach clients one-on-one. Both forms are necessary for your garden’s success.

Balance your care of promotional efforts

Too much or too little water can ruin your gardening efforts, and your business relationships are exactly the same. If you ignore your network, it will become thirsty and seek your competition. If you overdo your efforts, you are likely to fatigue your network. Find the perfect balance to create a lasting relationship without over-saturating your network and watering down your efforts. Social media is a good way to keep your network informed in a non-evasive manner, saving your important messages (such as special events or sales) for visits and phone calls. Visit with a promotional item and balance a one time visit with a lasting brand impression.

Build on a good foundation

If you business is new, you will need to build your garden where the soil is most fertile through existing networks. Trade shows, grand openings, and other special events are a way to use existing resources for a perfect foundation. If you want to refresh your existing soil, stir things up! Till your garden by creating buzz through press releases and promotional giveaways. Host a special event or fundraiser to bring together an existing network and keep things fresh. Fundraising also creates a positive atmosphere of giving and love, furthering your foundation towards success. Create an active consciousness within your staff so that you not only work to build your business, but you work to build it in a healthy and sustainable manner.

When your seedlings sprout…

It’s exciting to see your efforts turn to seedlings and our initial instinct is that we have successfully accomplished our goal. Not so fast! We need to transplant those seedlings. We need to time new seedlings for later growing months. This means that we need to actively continue to not just diversify, care, and cultivate – we need to make an active effort throughout the year.

Happy growing season to all of you!

ribbon1. READY: Start Planning in Advance – With the many details important to your new business or location , the one thing many business owners consistently do is wait until the very last minute to plan a grand opening. Don’t wait! Your grand opening celebration is your introduction to your customers. Would you want to patronize a business that doesn’t adequately plan its opening and seems disorganized on its very first day? Neither would your customers.

2.) READY: Hire a planner – At Star Promoz, our business is special events. We have the assets at our fingertips to print the materials, spread the word, and plan your grand opening activities. We also know that you have your new business on your mind, so we don’t mind making it our business to make your day spectacular. We have a giant, ready network of businesses to help spread the word, too!

3.) SET: Prepare to Follow Up – Have your social media sites and your newsletter sign ups in place before you open! You want your grand opening to not only introduce yourself to your customers, but become a platform to continue your relationship. If you offer a service, offer a complimentary consultation and schedule it at your event.  If you offer a product, provide samples if possible and request a follow up after using the product. As another example, a restaurant opening would want to contact attendees after the event with a quick survey for invaluable feedback. At this time, it would request to add attendees to a promotional newsletter to keep them informed of future events.

4.) SET: Invite the Unexpected - Yes, you will invite potential customers, local business chambers, and members of the press. Don’t forget to invite the unexpected – your location neighbors, your previous location neighbors, and your previous business affiliations. Invite a representative from your charitable cause, and raise awareness with your event attendees. Invite people to a sorry I missed it event in case of schedule conflicts. Be certain your invitation is engaging and about more than your business. Make your opening everyone’s business by creating a spectacular networking opportunity. Create a lasting memory through the unexpected, and boost your attendance.

5.) OPEN! On opening day, anything can, and will, happen.  Have a schedule and a list of goals for the day. Keep it fun and entertaining, short and sweet, and the buzz will be positive despite the rain you didn’t plan on or an early WiFi connection issue. Know that everyone might be needed on this busy day, from your plumber (you don’t have a plumber yet, I know) to members of your own family. The schedule will keep you on task. When the opening is complete, the goals will help you quantify your results. Both of these items allow for you to have fun and be with people on your opening day, instead of worrying about what’s next and what’s to come.

Good luck to you in your new endeavor!

happystarWho is your CHARITABLE CHAMPION?

We know from recent business research that creating a successful brand that also fosters community giving and charitable pursuits will strengthen your core values (such as customer service, excellence in customer satisfaction, pride in craftsmanship and quality, etc) and encourage active listening and regard for clients and community. Where do you start? Some businesses have found that charitable giving of as little as 1% – and that’s 1% of time, 1% of profits, or 1% of labor – is enough to make a dramatic community difference. The best way to organize your charitable pursuits is to assign a Charitable Champion within your organization. Your Champion should engage employees and businesses within your network in discussions that lead to actual results, then report these results to everyone.

Why is reporting an essential task of the Champion?

We hear about “ROI” and how measuring and managing your returns is essential to understanding your internal investments, but we rarely hear about ROA – Return on Action. An action-based culture helps employees realize that each and every activity they pursue really does effect the overall success of your brand. The more we focus on positive activities with immediate personal and community fulfillment, the more our brands focus on IMPACT.  Your Charitable Champion’s organization efforts need to include reporting on the impact of your efforts to everyone – internal employees, press, customer outreach, and networking – to align your brand with the activities it pursues.

This holiday season is a true GIVING season

Yes, you will be giving gifts to friends and family. It’s also important to find a way to give that 1% gift this holiday season to those in need, and end the year on a note of compassion rather than stress. We hear frequently how stressful the holiday season can be, and we reinforce this stress through constant reiteration. This season, let’s GIVE. Star Promoz is helping The Inn this season in teams for ELF-INN MAGIC, an endeavor to collect necessary supplies in ELF groups to lend a fun atmosphere & contest format to the giving season. You can follow this link to learn more and join/create a team.

7 punch list items for seasonal giving

I love to help everyone within my network organize and exceed their goals. Here’s a short punch list for you to begin planning this season’s giving:

  1. Assign your Charitable Champion
  2. Select a charity or other community cause with all employees’ input
  3. Set dates and deadlines with your chosen organization
  4. Meet with a representative of the organization and your entire team to kick-off your campaign
  5. Gather necessary supplies (awareness items, team spirit wear and tokens, prizes)
  6. Tell everyone and HAVE FUN!
  7. Create a final report on your efforts to distribute after the event

October is BREAST CANCER AWARENESS month.ShowroomPic

We have your walk giveaways, awareness items for the office, and team shirts now, and we are running out of order time! 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The survival rate is high in women if it’s discovered early and treated. The great news is that a mammogram can determine if a woman has breast cancer, and it can find it early. So why have a month dedicated to breast cancer? Awareness is important because it educates everyone on the absolute necessity for tests and early detection. October provides an excellent opportunity to open the discussion in communities and businesses, and maximize our shared health education efforts. 

Branded “pink” items can both raise awareness and place your company at the forefront of the effort. We have it all from the cute to the necessary, bringing fun AND utility to your awareness efforts.

Find ways to enjoy autumn.

abby-ink-blog-custom-halloween-products

Harvest festivals, hayrides, Halloween, and autumnal-themed parties give us an opportunity to enjoy the end of the year and the beauty of autumn. Whether you’re providing invaluable safety tips to tiny ghosts & goblins, or celebrating the fourth quarter with pumpkin-flavored client gifts, the shift from summer to fall provides an excellent time for seasonal promotional products.

Gatekeepers are tough regardless of the season.

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Sweeten-up your sour gatekeepers with branded items specifically for them. Instead of bemoaning the complications of overcoming a gatekeeper, show your appreciation for their work and soften your approach with a gift or takeaway to place your brand front & center. We like refillable jars with candy in bright colors, desk items like calendars or mouse pads, and vivid stress relievers or decor to create lively desks with your logo. Think big, bright, and useful when tackling a gatekeeper. Always ask yourself “What will start a conversation?” and go with the best answer. We can help you brainstorm particular gatekeepers, too. 

Holidays are the time to celebrate EVERYONE!

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Remember to recognize your team, your clients, and your network with small tokens of appreciation. Never forget to celebrate the successes and achievements of the year.It’s true that the winter blues can get most people down, so brighten the fourth quarter by brightening everyone’s spirits with holiday gifts early in December. Order your gifts now for HUGE savings – and less stress – as the holidays near. Some of the trends this year will be traditional baskets with a variety of flavor profiles, useful gadgets for the office, and creative items that inspire laughter. Catalogs are available shortly to help you choose from an array of gift types.

 

36Happy July! We are in full swing for the season, and today I hope to motivate you to make the most out of summer 2014. We have been running a 3 Ways to Save campaign featuring low prices, free samples, and shipping discounts. In this post, I extend our 3 Ways into a networking message that includes three easy ways for you to expand your network today.

1.) Be Involved (something new)

Your community needs you. There are so many wonderful non-profits on Long Island doing amazing work, and they need professionals like you to participate and motivate the remainder of your community. Find something that has meaning for you. I recently learned of the need of children without access to food during the summer through my involvement with The INN on Long Island, and decided to transform my monthly networking lunch into an opportunity to help partner businesses become involved in this summer fundraiser. For more information on our efforts, visit http://promotions.li/blog/help-fight-childrens-hunger

I always suggest reaching out to your local charities since you have the best chance of maximizing your impact by organizing your neighbors.  You shop and eat at local businesses, so there is always an opportunity to frequently reach out to people who can make a difference without an increased time commitment. It only takes YOU spreading the message. Here’s a list of charities and non-profits on Long Island: http://www.longisland.com/charities.

2.) Get Ready (something planned)

Preparation is key to growing your client list. Who will you be targeting in quarters 3 and 4 to ensure your brand is efficiently promoted, and your product or service reaches new, potential customers? It’s time to quickly jot down your plans for the second half of the 2014.  Once you have a list of your targets, get together with three or four business partners for an intimate lunch where you each share the list you have created. Keeping it small (3-4 attendees) means you have the time and space to really share your prospecting needs, and brainstorm together. You will be surprised how quickly this leads to sharing ideas, contacts, and resources! Your time commitment is low; you only need thirty minutes to sketch out your loose plans, and one lunch (an hour) to meet and discuss your plans together.  Your hour and thirty minutes of preparation creates a clear vision for the next six months.

Also, purchasing your promotional items will be easy once we know who you want to reach. You won’t need to spend hours in catalogs or looking for that perfect item online. Once we know your targets, we will find the items you need to make an impression on them.

3.) Go! (something YOU)

It takes YOU being motivated enough to Go! Go to your local chamber meetings, those business informational speaking events, and visit your clients. That’s right – visit your clients. We can call, text, email, and connect via social media, but nothing replaces the power of YOU. The more you go, the more you grow.  I would love you for you to visit with me this summer and many of you will be seeing me soon as I make it a point to come to you with a simple hello. 

It’s time to plan your golf outings, and whether the purpose of your event is fundraising or team building, we have some fantastic ideas to make your golf outing a success.

QPic1FUNDRAISING

  1. You need sponsors! One great way is co-brand items to promote your sponsors business in appreciation of their participation. The giveaways have a large payoff potential. Work with your promotional product consultant to create a small flyer that lists different types of sponsorship and how each type effects your sponsor’s brands inclusion on these items. For example, platinum sponsorship provides for a logo included on the awards and the t-shirts, while gold sponsorship provides for a logo included on the tees. Don’t disregard the opportunity for single sponsorship; many people in sales fields will participate in small sponsorship tiers to be included in your event!
  2. Donations are huge, but be sure you are directing traffic. Creating tiers and selecting branded items in advance ensures that the quality of your event stays within your desired standards.
  3. There are many items that you can customize to make your event a success. Don’t forget that every item – from flags to announcements – give you an opportunity to increase the value of your event sponsorship.
  4. Follow up with everyone who attended your event with an email and a nice “thank you” card, promoting your fundraising message and allowing an opportunity for continued support of your cause.

TEAM BUILDING

  1. Successful team building events are memorable, creating a lasting team spirit that will motivate employees throughout the year. Be sure to create incentives, prizes, and awards with this in mind. Yes, you can giveaway a television. A better option? You can giveaway a custom award that an employee can display at his or her desk for continued celebration of the event.
  2. Cohesive items will inspire team spirit. High quality team shirts and custom “participation” items – that is, items that are only available to attendees – bonds participants.
  3. Other prizes and door prizes have an opportunity to be branded with your logo – reminding participants the why behind the event.
  4. Make sure you emphasize the importance of participation in the event, especially post-participation. Celebrate your employees who make a difference in the promotion of team building with an email announcement or a bullet on your next company meeting agenda. 

Golf events, like any event, should be planned in advance. Book your dates and order your promotional items now for your event, and you can include photographs of giveaways and trophies in the promotional materials you distribute to boost attendance. Courses will be filling rapidly as the snow melts and people because excited to celebrate warmer weather and work on their golf games, so booking in advance allows you first pick of key days. 

Hope you have been using these snow days and slow days to your advantage by planning and finalizing your marketing strategy for 2014.   Spring will be here soon, and that means that your business will be gaining rapid momentum as everyone emerges from hibernation. You have an opportunity now to steer new clients to your business while your competition is focusing on the melting snow.

So, what exactly is a HOT CALL? It’s the best kind of prospecting, and we are devoted to making it happen for you. It takes away the hesitation and anxiety that can be apparent in your sales pipeline. HOT CALLS are great because they provide a purpose and an incentive for your customers to speak with you. You’re not soliciting: you are inviting friends to a party, giving away chocolate, and helping people reach their goals. Here are a few ways to make these happen:

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Warm up greetings & meetings with a party.

Forget traditional prospecting! Throw a party for St. Patrick’s day – a daytime networking lunch or an evening mixer keeps cost and time committed low – and use the party as an opportunity to reconnect with your prospects. Brand fun themed giveaways with your logo and make your prospects smile. Remember, attendance lists and prizes will assist you in collecting attendees data in a non-evasive way.

 

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Laughter is a great way to fight the chill of prospecting.

Don’t have time for a party? Celebrate tax season with a punchline!  A 1040 chocolate bar with the tagline “Bite back at the IRS” is the perfect way to drop by, say hi, and leave something sweet and memorable with your prospects.

 

imprint4Personal warmth: caring about their concerns.

In the first quarter, many people join gyms to work on New Year resolutions. Speak with a sales & marketing rep at your gym to see if there are any workshops upcoming that you can sponsor with giveaways for the participants. Brand fitness-focused items with your logo and contact information.

 

 

 

Let us warm up your prospects this year! This month I will be discussing the details on trade show exhibitor needs. The season is fast approaching! Start considering your budget to make your booth a success this year, and next time I will show you how to stretch that budget.

QPic (2)When I was brainstorming the perfect test for my readers, I was somewhat concerned at the negative feelings some people have towards tests.

“Can I fail?” No, the test should provide you only with ways to improve.

The goal of this test is to get you thinking about your brand’s direction while engaging you in that thought development.  I can say that the majority of my successful customers always follow a few key steps to branding and promotions, but never has a one-size-fits-all approach been as valuable as a customized strategy. The test should help you efficiently and effectively think about how your brand is fitting into a bigger picture.

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