Archive for November, 2010

Nov 27 2010

The true colors of successful branding strategies!

When you see an apple, do you recognize it by its shape or by its color? Never thought so profoundly before gobbling up the fruit, did you! According to an ingenious team of researchers from Vanderbilt University, apparently an area in our brain is divided in such a manner that it responds differently to different colors. This in turn defines how you discern a particular object.

Go a step further and think branding strategies as you read this and you’ll have one of those ‘Oh why didn’t I think of it before’ moments like I did. Visualize Coca Cola and doesn’t ‘red’ flood your thoughts or ‘blue’ when you imagine Facebook? (This is apart from the shape, font etc.)

Take color seriously like the above brands did, and you’ll find brand identity and recall baby steps away. Find out why some colors work and how can you use them:

Blue – It represents calmness, integrity and stability. No wonder then its the most popular color preferred by businesses. Use it in your business cards, office décor, brochures to convey the ‘you can trust us’ message.
Red – It represents the color of danger, excitement, and passion. Use this color to imprint your logo on the promotional items and rest assured, it will keep drawing attention to your brand.
Orange – It represents enthusiasm and its vibrancy is guaranteed to enhance your brand identity. Use it for your banners and your marketing message will be communicated loud and clear.
Green – It represents prosperity or money. Sending mailers about how your low prices facilitate savings, write it in green. Want to portray your company as eco-friendly? Give your office, office stationery, promotional items a green tone.
White – It represents peace and simplicity. Pick this color while gifting promotional shirts or assigning uniforms to your employees, and not only will they use it as formal wear, your logo will look the brightest too.
Black – It represents seriousness and no-nonsense boldness and is the preferred color while stating facts. Use it while writing your website or brochure content and the readers will believe in you and your services. If in white, they convey simplicity, promotional shirts in black convey style.

So there! Why stick to drabness when you can add a dash of color to your branding strategies, right?

To view a large variety of branding products for business promotion, please visit our website at www.promodirect.com

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Nov 26 2010

Engraving vs Printing: Imprinting that offers long-term brand identity?

Published by under Branding,Promotional Products

Tell me, when you choose promotional items to give as corporate gifts you also give an extra inch of thought about how you will customize them, right? What guides your choice of imprinting process; its cost, the effect it generates or the effect’s durability?For instance an embroidered logo gives an ethnic touch to promotional shirts, an engraved logo lends a classy look to metallic/glass surfaces making seemingly simple-looking promotional products like metal promotional pensor wine glasses seem elegant. Printing is one of the easiest and least expensive methods of imprinting and is perfect if you have a larger quantity of promotional items to customize.The last time we spoke about printing types and their features in Characteristics of Printing: Screen VS Digital Printing, many of you conveyed that you really found it useful (Thanks for that!) So I figured that this time around instead it may be more helpful to compare two processes instead of types of a process! I personally love engraving my logo, it gives a sophisticated look to my promotional products, but my loyalty lies with the printing process too, as its my budget buddy. Know what makes engraving and printing so popular? Read on…

Engraving
Printing
Engraving is one of the oldest and most elegant processes for printing, dating back to beginning of 1st Millennium BC and progressed through the European Middle Ages.
Printing first originated in China as a method of printing on textiles and later on paper. Earliest examples of printing on cloth date back to 220 AD.
(Sourced from Wikipedia)
(Sourced from Wikipedia)
It involves etching letters or designs on glass, metal, wood, etc that leaves a permanent imprint on the surface. Its perfect if you want your logo on promotional items to stay longer.
It involves imprinting with the use of ink on fabric, ceramics, plastic, glass, metal, paper. Depending on the type of printing you opt for, durability differs. Not just apparel, promotional bags made of cloth can be easily printed too.
There are three main types of engraving namely; hand-engraving, hand-tracing, and computerized laser engraving.
There are three types of printing namely; screen printing, digital printing and pad printing.
Engraving should be your preferred option if you have simple images in one/two colors
Printing is a better choice if have complex images with multiple colors.
Works best on metal or glass surfaces. Your metallic promotional pens, promotional flashlights look classier if engraved with your logo.
Works best on fabric, paper, ceramics, plastic and most other materials. You can imprint colorful logos on products like promotional shirts, promotional mugs, promotional bags
Costly compared to printing but gives a sharper, long-lasting imprint
Cost-effective compared to engraving but imprint will wear out eventually.

Let’s keep a discussion on imprinting using embroidery or etching for another post, shall we?

To view a large variety of customized products for business promotion, please visit our website at www.promodirect.com

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Nov 24 2010

What and How of Brand Essence in small business advertising

Published by under Business & Marketing

‘Have skin as soft as a baby’s’… No images need to accompany this slogan; the power of imagination has already won over the women. Not surprising then that many Chinese women have begun taking a collagen drink – the product this ad campaign endorses – which promises women youthful ‘super smooth’ skin with every sip!

Small business advertising like this, which immediately leads you to imagine the caress of an infant’s cheek against your own, works because it achieves instant connect with the target group. In business jargon, this connectivity facilitator is called Brand Essence.

For those of you who hate jargon, the simplest definition I can rake up is this. Brand Essence is that aspect/s in a brand which causes the audience to sit up and take notice, to believe that it is him/her whom the brand is meant for.

So what makes a brand tick? Why do loyalists swear by it? What about a brand convinces them that ‘this is it’ before they agree to buy a product or a service? Too many questions? Let me simplify.
In a nutshell: What makes up ‘brand essence’ and how to spread it?

I know what you are thinking and No – the slogan is just one of the aspects that conveys the story of your brand. In short, it’s a tool for brand recall. For me brand essence is about these:

  • Whether your brand is relevant for diverse categories of your target group.
  • Whether it fulfills their need and is affordable.
  • Whether your brand wins the competition race.
  • Whether the products you offer and the ideals you uphold appeal to your target audience.
  • Whether the affinity for your brand surpasses beyond individual products or services you offer and the audience likes what you represent as a whole. For example, promotional giveaways that are useful instead of mere promotional show pieces are ideal ways to express the value every business upholds, that of keeping customers happy.
  • Whether what your brand invokes strong enough for your employees to believe in it and promote it. Business promotional products can be good ways of showing the ‘you care’ aspect to your clients and employees.

Ensure all the aspects of your brand embody the essence of your brand. Sloganeering is not enough; ensure that every aspect of your small business advertising activity embodies what your brand symbolizes.

Event promotions like tradeshows, seminars, and exhibitions are hotspots to get new clients. Simple things like the demeanor of your staff, promotional giveaways you distribute can convey your brand essence.

Brand essence is the core of your brand’s existence. Can’t be captured and can’t not be communicated. What are you waiting for? Give your clients a whiff of it and win them over. Now!

To view a large variety of branding products for promotion, please visit our website at www.promodirect.com

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Nov 20 2010

Social Media – for friendship or business marketing?

Those of you who start, spend and end their day on social networks, use it for online business opportunities and take pride in their rapidly widening virtual friend/follower-circle, am sure you haven’t missed two ‘gasp, choke and splutter’ events related to social media, that each of the past two weeks brought.

First, popular TV host Jimmy Kimmel berated Facebook for ‘cheapening Friendship’ and called for a National Unfriend Day to be observed on November 17, to cut out the FB ‘friend fat’. Then earlier this week, ‘Path’ a ‘Personal Network’ that ‘allows you to be yourself’ launched as a photo sharing application on Apple I Phone and placed a boundary on the number of virtual friends one can have, and limits it to 50.

After a few mental garbled arguments on the proposed ‘unfriending’ and Path’s and came up with six ‘I agree’ and ‘I disagree’ aspects of social networks.

  • ‘Friends’ for friends sake?

I agree with Kimmel when he says why be friends with someone whom you wouldn’t loan $50? Facebook may give you a chance to connect with friends, family, colleagues and others from across the world, but if you sit back and think after clicking ‘Accept’ to a friend request, how many of those accepted friends do you interact with on a weekly or monthly if not on a daily basis?

  • What ‘end’ is FB a means to?

What started out as a social networking website has now become an avenue for brand promotion and a preferred avenue for small business advertising. ‘Friends’ or ‘Followers’ have become FB/Twitter synonyms for ‘clients’ or ‘customers’. When social networks blur the line between professional and personal, where do you go for that sacred ‘personal space’? Path, answers that question.

I hope am not being overly critical of social networks as I have used them to find both; long-lost friends as well as online business opportunities.

  • A steadily increasing, relevant database

No more ‘headless chicken’ panic when you need to contact your clients or employees. You have all your contacts on your social profile and all you need to do for communicating a message is post it on your wall or tweet about it. Social networks are ideal small business resources that can help you keep in touch with existing clients and even trace and contact potential clients through them. Brand promotion has never been easier.

  • A rich Information base

You may not interact with each of your ‘friends’ on a daily basis and can also filter out seemingly irrelevant info about their personal lives when it doesn’t matter. However you never know when a ‘friend’ you haven’t kept in touch with, (except through FB for example) may post an important bit of information useful to you. Forewarned is forearmed isn’t it?

  • Cheapens friendship or strengthens communication?

What Kimmel says is true – you can only really have, know more than a dozen real friends at one time. In real life you have different sets of friends that don’t fit into the ‘real’ category – there office friends, travel buddies, friends who are the parents of your children’s friends, friends made on a cruise or a seminar, friends from the neighborhood you grew up in and friends in the neighborhood you got married into. So why should you have only ‘real’ – ‘I can loan $50 to’ friends on social networks when you can keep in touch with them in addition to all those friends from all the other categories?

So here’s what I feel. Social networks are successful especially because of the freedom they offer. So, if you have the right reasons, you can guiltlessly boast about having 1000 ‘friends’ regardless of what Kimmel says.

For tip on business & brand promotion, please visit our Promo Ideas section at www.promodirect.com

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Nov 17 2010

Online business opportunities on Social Media – The Facebook Marketplace

As a teenager I loved the garage sales in my neighborhood primarily because they stimulated and satiated my curiosity. I have purchased some really amazing stuff from these sales over the years and some of them still stay with me, as fond collectibles. As an adult I got to experience the teenage rush of visiting garage sales yet again – at the Facebook Marketplace.

Just imagine. A lane filled with garage sales, a variety of used products being offered at really low price and buyers and sellers who know each other because they are all a part of a common network. Facebook’s Marketplace is a treasure trove of online business opportunities as one can find the exact product you are looking for and also sell the exact product that someone out there is scouting!

Though FB’s Marketplace allows you to place classifieds without any charge, don’t be under the impression that:

Step 1 – I post a classified ad & Step 2 – I get many responses. There are a lot of intermediary factors that have to be considered if Step 1 has to lead to Step 2. Like…
  • Facebook Ads – for effective and inexpensive small business advertising

FB offers you space to post your ads in the Marketplace at costs that you can define according to your budget. Once you have placed your bid for that ad space, FB tells you how many advertisers trying to reach out to an audience similar to yours, are vying for that space. That way you get to know how much more you should bid to win that space and that amount will be the one that you shell out for every click or per 1000 impressions on your ad. Want to know more about small business advertising on Marketplace – Getting Started Guide.

  • Buy/Sell as an Individual user rather than as a company:

The Marketplace encourages individual Facebookers to market their wares rather than company profiles. However, you can include the link to your official Facebook page in your classified ad.

  • Show what you want to sell:

First define the category your product/ service falls under and then show the prospective buyer what they are getting to buy. Upload a clear photograph of the product, a color snapshot would be ideal and post it alongside your classified ad.

  • Give away stuff

Everybody likes free stuff and promotional giveaways are one of the best ways to win over potential clients. The Give It Away section can be used to give away samples of your product, free catalogs and inexpensive promotional items.

  • Avoid choking

Advertise one or at the most two products at a time. Your company may be dealing in a host of items but in the Marketplace you will be able to advertise better if you put up only a couple of items up for sale. You can always include your contact details and a brief line about ‘we also deal in…’ at the end of your classified ad whereby interested buyers can contact you.

  • Keep Looking

Its all about brand positioning. Monitor the pages where your products or services are listed. A ready-made database of potential consumers is ready for your use and it will only be a matter of time before you get responses.

And for those of you who are still wondering about what happens to sites like Ebay or Craiglist in the face of such virtual garage sales like the Marketplace which offers a simplified process of buy and sell, a latest bit of news defines my answer.

According to news reports, Facebook Inc has raced ahead of eBay, and become the third largest US Internet business!

To view a large variety of promotional products on the Universal Children’s Day occasion, please visit our website at www.promodirect.com

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