Thursday, August 28, 2014

Custom Promotional Items Help Differentiate Your Brand

You need a promotional item to hand out at your next trade show or event. You want an item that advertises your company name, product or service but that people will remember and keep. You are flipping through catalogs or looking at promotional products on Pinterest and aren't inspired. Nothing you look at really helps to tell your brand story or showcase your product or service. Sound familiar?

Try looking at it a different way. Instead of looking at what is available and trying to make it fit, why not design EXACTLY what you need instead?

If you are tired of the "same old" items or don't want to use promotional items that really don't relate to your products or services, then you may want to consider creating a custom promotional item. With all of the new production techniques available, there are more options for customization than ever.

Now, custom designed items don't work for everyone as they often require new tooling and extended lead times to get them created, produced and delivered. However, they are worth investigating to see if they will support your marketing objectives. For the biggest conference of the year or to support your most important new product launch, a custom designed promotional item might be just want your company needs to stand out and get noticed. It's worth the investment.

Here are some examples of companies that created custom promotional items to help them build their brand.

Mini Manufacturing Robots

FANUC USA builds manufacturing robots. As you can imagine, it is not easy bringing a full size robot to a trade show for demonstrations nor is it always practical to bring a customer to one of its facilities to see one close up.  But what about a miniature version that moves and pivots the way the full version does?

That is exactly what was created from FANUC's original CAD drawings. This 6" miniature version of their manufacturing robot can serve as either a demonstration piece or as a fun commemorative item to gift to a customer to remind them of their visit to the facility or after a sales demonstration. (Plus, customers' kids love them, so they get saved.)

This was a very complex custom item.The lead time and molding charges will not work for everyone's budget, but perhaps this may be good way to show your equipment in action.

Historical Homes

If you think manufacturing robots are too large to carry around, what about a whole house?  The Rolling Meadows Historical Society in Illinois wanted something different to help visitors remember their tour and the town's important contribution to local architecture. The Society decided to  recreate their 1950's house museum in miniature to sell in their museum shop. Created from photos of several different existing houses that retained the original 1950's design, this miniature is a 3-D replica of the style of houses built in their city, including the landscaping!

Is your company located in a historic building or do you want to promote the unique style of buildings in your community? Then creating  miniature promotional models could be a great way to show them off and even earn a little money if you decide to sell them.

Unique Product Design

Do you produce a very uniquely designed product that you want to replicate in a giveaway? Create a mini version then. Or, do you just want to create a unique promotional product that your customers and prospects will love and actually use for maximum brand exposure? Go custom!

Another example of a custom promotional item is this miniature 3-D tow truck sculpture from D & R Towing.  Given to key clients and referral sources, this makes for an unusual desk or credenza display item that will be kept for years, reminding the recipient of the advertiser. 

So, to recap, if you have a product that is large, uniquely designed, or you really want a marketing item that stands out and gets remembered, a custom promotional product could be exactly what your business needs.

To learn more about custom promotional products or start brainstroming ideas, give me a call at 847-398-5500 or shoot me an email at

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Promotional Product Ideas from ASI Show Chicago

A few weeks ago, I attended the ASI Chicago Show, a trade-only promotional products show where new promotional products for the mid-year were introduced. I always find these shows inspirational for thinking up new, unique ways to help my clients promote their business at trade shows, events, grand openings, or through promotions. I wanted to share some of the more unusual ideas to inspire you with some out-of-the-box promotional thinking.

Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
A great perk to going to one of these large trade shows is getting to sample a variety of delicious treats, so it won't surprise you when I start off talking about food.  The first promotional product idea is Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips.

The manufacturer describes it as a "sensational marriage of sweet and salty, with a kick of crunch" and I can't improve on that description.  Best of all, there are two sizes an eight ounce or a 16 ounce box, both at affordable prices that even include a four-color imprinted label for you to promote your brand. These would be a great item to have out on a snack table if you were sponsoring lunch or snack time at a large conference.

Cookie Dipper
Staying with the food theme, it's time to go retro and think fondly on the days when you dunked chocolate cookies into milk for a tasty treat. (Maybe you still do!) Now you can look like a professional cookie dipper with this dipping utensil that takes away the messiness, yet leaves all the fun in cookie dunking!  

The dipper can be purchased on its own or in sets with a mug and even a packet of cookies to get you started--yum! This would be a unique promotional idea to leave in your guests' hotel rooms at night for corporate retreats, company-wide conferences, or VIP customer travel trips. 

Beach Towel Clip
Two unique summer items are worth mentioning.  One is a plastic clip that slips right over your beach towel and clips it on to the frame of a chair, boat rails, or balcony railings to keep it in place. This handy clip can also hold a sign, a tote bag or even to prevent a trash bag from blowing away at a sponsored event to give you one more logo placement.  At 6" long, the clip features a large imprint area. 

Floating Beverage Holder
The second summer item is another revolutionary outdoor leisure product, the BevBoy.  This item is a floating cup holder that allows your beverage of choice to float in a body of water without spilling. The patented "tail" prevents the holder from tipping over, yet keeps the beverage floating nearby.  If you have ever wanted to relax in the pool enjoying your favorite drink without having to hold it, then this product is for you!  The cup holder can be printed so that your corporate brand will be seen above the waterline when floating. How fun and impactful would it be to walk into a poolside event and have these custom logoed cup holders floating all around the pool?

Golf Club Cleaner
The game of golf just got a little easier with this new product. Although it doesn't actually improve your game, the ShoeToothe does make playing a little more convenient. The handy ShoeToothe clips onto your shoe and allows you to remove debris from your golf club with one swipe. You don't need to bend down and use your glove or have to wipe dirt onto your pants or shorts.  You don't have swing with a dirty club or get your hand wet or dirty.  It comes in a variety of colors to tie in with most corporate brands. 

Team Spirit Clips
A great way to show spirit to a sports team or corporate team is to wear that team's logo and the new FanFlair logo makes it easy to do that.  The logo is attached to a patented clip that allows the embroidered logo to be easily attached (and detached) from shirts, hats, bags and even as a hair barrette! It's a fun item that gives you endless ways to show who you are rooting for. But more importantly for marketers, you don't have to worry about ordering the right sizes for people. Just give them the clip with your logo or sports team logo and let them clip it to their own apparel. 

Fingernail Tattoos
If you are looking for a more subtle way to show your team spirit or promote your logo, what about tattoos for your fingernails? Nail art has become all the rage so why not give people an easy way to show their love for your team or even company? These peel-and-stick, hypoallergenic tattoos can be applied without water for instant nail art. 
Cold Weather Touch Screen Gloves
Speaking of fingers, another new promotional item addresses a big cold-weather dilemma for business people and teens alike--how can you keep your hands warm but still use your touch screen device?  Thumb Dogs were created so that users can stay in touch, get directions, and access the internet with their gloves on while its cold outside. Thumb Dogs are an add-on that stretches and grips the users' own gloves; you no longer have to own special texting gloves. There is even a "leash" to keep the item on securely. ThumbDogs are made of medical-grade conductive fabric for ease of using a touch screen. This unique item can be printed with a one-color corporate logo and comes with a stock card and instructions. 

Which item inspired you most? If you need help with a unique promotional product for an upcoming trade show, travel trip, event, or even an impactful direct mail promotion, give me a call. I'd be happy to brainstorm ideas on how to promote your brand most effectively. You can reach me at 847-398-5500 or 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dona Blunt Winner of Promotional Professionals Association of Chicago's President's Award

I was honored to win the Promotional Products Association of Chicago's President award. PPAChicago is a trade association comprised of distributors and suppliers of promotional products.  I have been involved with the association since I founded Newport Promotional Services back in 1985 and was thus thrilled to be recognized for my involvement and contributions to the organization.

I served on the PPAChicago board for a total of six years, two as a director, two as vice president and was than elected as PPAChicago’s 19th president in 1990. I was also the assistant to the End User Show Director for four years in the 1990′s and I continue to volunteer for the current End User Show at Arlington Park Racetrack. I am a past winner of a PPAChicago Education Scholarship.

I have committed time to this organization because it's important to support your peers and your industry. I hope to continue to be involved for years to come.

Do you belong to an industry association? How do you stay involved?