Archive | promotional pieces

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.

United States Postal Service’s Every Door Direct Mail® Program Makes it Easy to Reach Local Customers

Every Door Direct Mail®

Every Door Direct Mail®



Direct mail is proven to be effective. It cuts through the white noise of online or email advertisements, and a tangible piece creates a more personal, emotional connection to your audience. The United States Postal Service has introduced a new program that is making it easier to reach more potential customers in your area! It’s called Every Door Direct Mail®, or EDDM, and boasts all the great aspects of direct mail and more…


Features:


*Reduced postage costs – EDDM is as low as 14.5 cents per postcard, which is nearly half of regular postage costs

*You’ll reach every household and business within your exact specifications

*You don’t have to buy mailing lists or postage permits


How Every Door Direct Mail® works for you:


  1. Tell us where you want your postcards delivered… you can choose to reach an audience within a certain radius of your business or in specific zip codes. Select residential or business locations… or both!

  2. Our graphic design team will work with you to create the perfect postcard for your promotion

  3. We will print and package your postcards according to USPS specifications

  4. We will drop your postcards off at the correct Post Office, and they’ll be on their way

Tips for your Printed Pieces

We’ve been in the business for over 25 years, so we’ve been able to see what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to graphic design. Here are some tips to make it easier for you to end up with a printed piece you love:

1. Pay attention to resolution.

If you’re a graphic designer, you know that PPI means image resolution that you see on a computer monitor, and DPI is resolution that shows up when you print something. So what does it mean for the rest of us?

Make sure any images you use in printed pieces are at least 300 DPI (if you pull an image off of Google, for example, it could have a DPI as low as 72… which won’t show up looking sharp).

You can check the DPI of an image by right-clicking on an online image file > select “Properties” > click the “Summary” tab > click “Advanced Properties” > check out the “Horizontal Resolution” and “Vertical Resolution,” which will tell you the DPI.



A low resolution can make even a great picture seem dull.

A low resolution can make even a great picture seem dull.



2. Optimize your file format.

If you want to scan an image, save it as a TIF (.tif) or EPS (.eps). File formats like GIF or JPG can make your image look blurry and off-color.

3. Convert to CMYK.

Computer monitors use RGB (Red, Green, Blue), while printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). So, your piece will look a little different printed than it did on the screen. Make sure to order a hard copy proof if matching colors is absolutely critical.



Always convert images to CMYK using programs like PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint for printing

Always convert images to CMYK using programs like PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint for printing



4. Work with a Graphic Designer.

To make sure you’re getting the highest quality and best price, bring your work to a graphic designer, who can produce creative work that meets all the requirements we described above.

How to Make an Attractive, Affordable Event T-Shirt

 Spring is just around the corner, which means warm weather, blooming flowers…and company t-shirts!

Spring is just around the corner, which means warm weather,
blooming flowers…and company t-shirts!



This time every year, we get a huge wave of requests to make logo t-shirts and other apparel items for events such as benefit walks. This process often includes securing sponsorships, and including those companies’ logos on your customized items. We’ve put together a list of quick tips to help you make ordering those shirts just a little easier:

  1. Select a blank shirt that you would like to decorate. Decide between long sleeves or short sleeves, and then pick a color.

  2. Get an idea of what quantity you’d like to order.

  3. Decide on your imprint:  will you have design on the front only? Back only? Both front and back?  How large do you want the imprint be?

  4. Ask your sponsors to send their logos:

    1. In high-resolution – a resolution of at least 300 DPI will allow the image to look crisp on screen printed items

    2. Using spot color – Spot colors are a specific custom ink color, and they need to be included in the original logo artwork.

    3. In an EPS or PDF file type – These types of file formats are vector, which means the image will look very crisp on the finished product.

  5. Decide on screen print or embroidery: Generally speaking, event shirts, especially those with sponsors listed on the back, are screen printed.  Embroidery works well for decorating a shirt with one or two logos, but if your message needs to be fairly large in size, screen print will be the most attractive and cost-effective way to decorate.
Get someone else’s opinion, and rely on your supplier for help! If you don’t have the time to create a design yourself, just send us the elements you want on your item and any vision you have, and we can take it from there. Our graphic design team can create a great design, and our product specialists can help you find shirts, banners, or various other promotional items to fit any event or budget.

Super Bowl Commercial Success

This past Sunday, Go Daddy, the domain registrar company known just as well for its suggestive celebrity spokeswomen as its innovative services, went down in history as the first to use a QR code in a Super Bowl commercial. In our last blog post, we talked about the many opportunities made possible by using QR codes to reach the 111.3 million captive viewers that tuned into the big game… so, did this “mobile marketing experiment” live up to the hype?

On one hand, yes. Go Daddy’s campaign saw tremendous success… on-screen QR codes led to videos featuring their spokesmodels and coupons for one of their services, created a buzz about the company, and set an all-time sales record for the mobile site during the game. See the whole video here.

On the other hand, some QR codes used by advertisers in the Super Bowl’s official game program left consumers unimpressed. While users did scan the codes, many complained that they were led to boring and impersonalized online content that wasn’t optimized for viewing on a mobile phone.

The take-away from this “experiment” is that misusing a QR code is like spending all of your time creating fancy invitations for an exclusive party, but forgetting to book a venue for the big day. When your customers show up to something you invited them to, shouldn’t you make their stay worthwhile?

To capture the power of QR codes like Go Daddy did, focus on how you can personalize content or collect results about the customers’ preference to tailor your material to them next time. pURLS and customer surveys give your customer another reason to care what’s on the other end of the QR code.

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!

Coming Soon!

Our new website was launched October 12, 2011. Please check back here within the next few days for our first blog posts. We hope that this will become a helpful resource for you!