Archive | branding

SWAG

Gadget Grips® DOT™



A simple Google search will tell us that swag is “An ornamental festoon of flowers, fruit, and greenery.” For those of us in the industry, we’ve heard SWAG to stand for a few different things:

“Stuff We All Get”

“Souvenirs, Wearables, Awards and Gifts”

“Stuff We Acquired Gratis”

No matter what variation of words you use to define it, SWAG does wonders for promoting business. A small, free promotional item can draw potential customers to your booth at a trade show, serve as a “thank you” to a valuable client, or make your company top-of-mind when a business considers securing a new vendor.

Ultimately, promotional products can help differentiate your company, generate demand, and raise awareness of what your company can offer… but does it work?

“The Surprising Power of Promotional Products,” a New York Times article by MP Mueller, suggests that it does.

“American businesses spend $20 billion a year giving away stuff with logos,” Mueller cites. He even suggests there is deep psychological connection involved in promotional products… humans are hardwired to believe that if you give, you should receive, and vice versa.

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So, you’ve decided to use the power of promo products, but which products? Lanyards and imprinted cups are tried and true. But if you want to think outside the box-set of pens, we have some ideas that will leave a lasting impression.

  1. i-Accessories. Reach into your pocket or your purse, and you’ll likely find your cell phone, if it’s not already in your hand. Nearly everyone carries a phone or a tablet around on their daily activities, which offers ample opportunity for your company logo to be just as visible and accessible. There are a range of products available, from tablet cases and stands to chargers and stylus pens. One of the newest and most attention-grabbing products is called “Gadget Grips® DOT™,” which is a logo that adheres to the home button of a smart phone or tablet. It’s great for universities, alumni organizations, and restaurants, as you can offer incentives, like a discount for customers having a DOT™ on their device.

  2. Customizable sports schedules. If you work at a local business that concentrates on nearby customers, consider printing a magnet or calendar that highlights upcoming local sports teams’ games and features your logo. It’ll start conversation when you give them out, and people can keep to refer to throughout the season.

  3. Golf equipment. Since many decisions are made between shots on the golf course, your company’s name should be where the action takes place. Items such as poker chip ball markers, golf umbrellas or divot tools can all be customized to fit your needs.

  4. It’s all in a name. Consider creating smaller quantities of promo items with your customers name on it. This may not be a practical route for a trade show environment, but is a viable and unique choice for other situations in which SWAG arises.


The SWAG we’re talking about today isn’t the type of “flowers and fruit,” that Google defines, but it certainly could bring your business some more green.

Seven Ways Your Company Can Use QR Codes

Phone/QR Code

QR codes are gaining popularity quickly; according to a recent study by Baltimore advertising agency MGH, about 72% of smart phone users say they would be likely to recall an advertisement that contained a QR code.

A variety of businesses are taking advantage of this edgy technology… we’ve seen QR codes on Macy’s television commercials, Disney’s billboards, and a university’s admissions materials, just to name a few. We recently came across a unique example of QR usage in the healthcare industry. Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro, TN launched a campaign with QR codes in the corner of their print advertisements. The code invited people to “experience” the hospitals new facilities and led them to a video of the new TV campaign. See the ad for yourself here.

We brainstormed a list of some other specific ways QR codes can be used in your industry:



  1. Place QR codes at different locations in the building that guide visitors around the campus with a web-based map.

  2. Print codes on laminated lobby cards and link them to an online customer satisfaction survey.

  3. Host redirected URL’s posted on different publication ads to measure which ads get the highest response rates.

  4. Print codes on brochures with links to “how to” videos or instructions.

  5. Put QR codes on “dated” pieces so customers can stay up-to-date about info that changes frequently.

  6. Include QR codes on your business cards and link them to your LinkedIn account, or your company’s “about us” website page.

  7. Use a personalized QR code, or a PURL, to track a fundraising mailing or survey responses.


Does Your Company Need @OneOfThese ?

Social Media Icons

Social Media Icons



The vast amount of social media platforms that exist today, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, means that you can connect with your customers more often and quicker than ever before. It seems like businesses from barber shops to pharmaceutical companies have some kind of online presence beyond the traditional website. Here are some things to keep in mind when you consider jumping on the social bandwagon:

Do you have enough to update about? The quickest way to lose Twitter followers is to update them on today’s lunch choice and the fact that your electrician was late to your appointment this morning. But there are also great ways to connect with your followers – check out how these companies are taking advantage of Twitter and these companies are using Facebook… and seeing results!

Do you have time to maintain your online presence? On the flip side, once you gain an audience, whether it be a group of end-users or other people in your industry, be sure to provide them with somewhat consistent updates. A balance of promotional pieces and resource posts will keep them interested.

How far is too far? In 2009, a Los Angeles woman started receiving a string of messages via her MySpace from a man she did not know, named Sebastian Bowler, who said he was from England and was coming to her home to hide from the police. Bowler continued sending pictures of himself travelling across the country, getting closer and closer to LA. The woman finally reported the incident to the police, only to find out that “Bowler” was actually… Toyota Motors! Toyota launched a marketing plan that was supposed to mimic a popular prank TV show, and was intended to make customers think an English bandit was travelling to their houses, to start buzz about a new car model. The woman sued Toyota, and needless to say, the campaign does not exist anymore. We know you wouldn’t go this far, but it sure makes a good story!

We want to hear from you! Do you think all companies need to use social media? What’re some of the best/worst ways you’ve seen?

Remember the 80’s?

So do we… that’s why we rebranded! Since 1984, Professional Systems has been dedicated to providing the most modern business solutions to our local and nationwide clients. But just like the days of cropped shirts and leg warmers have passed, we noticed that our own brand was in need of an update, including our logo and website.

We’d like to share our story, as well as some tricks and tips on how you can take advantage of brand messaging to refresh your success. Ask yourself these questions when you consider whether rebranding could help your business:

  1. Has your list of products or services expanded over the years?

    When Professional Systems opened its doors over 25 years ago, our most popular products were pegboard business forms (which most of you don’t even remember) and manila file folders. Today, our range of products includes beautiful full-color print for marketing, electronic document management, furniture, and a wide range of promo products, and our new logo needed to reflect this dynamic range of business solutions. We chose upbeat colors to reflect creativity that we put into every project, and simple shapes that represent comprehensive collection of product that help to organize and optimize your business.
  2. Has it been awhile since you’ve branded?

    Even five or ten years can pass and make a brand outdated.   Trends change.  Technology makes advances.  When we first created our logo in the 80’s, it was impractical and extremely expensive to consider a full-color imprint.  Today, with the advancement of printing processes, there is no reason for a logo and a brand not to be just as colorful as you wish for it to be.  Our first logo was teal  (remember when that was popular?)  and pretty rudimentary by today’s standards.  Modifications made a few years ago brought us more up to date, but we decided that our dated logo might carry the message that we were not keeping up with the times.

  3. Could some simple changes make a difference to your brand?


    We tweaked our logo several years ago with good result.  Large companies do this all the time.  Take a look at logos like the Pepsi® “globe” and the CBS “eye” to see how they have evolved over the years.

  4. Do you have an active, useful online presence?


    While most of our communication with our clients is either in person or in print, we realized that it was time for an update on the web, where it is even more important to give clients a contemporary, up-to-date user-friendly experience.  Clients should be able to easily find you, learn about you and connect with you online.

    So, the next chapter to this story should be, “so how do I get there?”  Check back in at our blog next week for more details!