Trends We’re Seeing: All Tech-ed Out!

Trends We’re Seeing: All Tech-ed Out!

Tech is everywhere lately, and it is no surprise that people are digging it! From Bluetooth speakers and portable power banks, to headphones and custom USB’s, tech is taking over. So, do yourself a favor, and catch the tech wave!

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#psCARES: Boise Pride!

PromoShop was pleased to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community this past weekend at Pridefest in downtown Boise, Idaho. Members of our Boise office attended both the parade and festival to spread positive vibes with attendees and hand out over 500 rainbow koozies touting a message of support and inclusion: Unity, Diversity, Equality and Pride.

Back to School

Back to School

Look beyond the usual and check out these fresh new ideas for schools and universities. 

Technology and competition have had a profound impact on the ways that schools and universities approach marketing. Business-as-usual is no longer a viable approach to reach and attract students. As a result, the promotional product needs in education are rapidly changing. Here are the latest trends you need to know as the back to school season heats up.

1. Tech-Equipped Backpacks

Here's the latest evolution in backpacks. These next-generation bags have built-in device charging capabilities—ideal for students who spend all day running around campus. With a built-in USB port and cable you are able to simply hook up a power bank and charge your devices inside your bag while sitting in class. Similarly, another backpack tech upgrade lets you enjoy the outdoors while charging your phone. These backpacks are equipped with a 5W solar panel so you can simply plug your device into the USB port and charge it—no outlet or power bank needed.

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2. Custom Labels

This is a big opportunity to add a special touch to your branded apparel. You can add your logo to create a custom collection for a school to recognize special occasions and commemorate milestones such as graduations and awards.

3. Drinkware

Walk across any campus and you'll see nearly every student carrying some type of reusable drinkware. Tumblers and sports bottles are the hottest accessories in education right now. Students (and staff) are looking for new and unique styles that let them express their personality.

In retail, high-performance copper vacuum insulated drinkware is king. From campus to the boardroom—it’s everywhere. What makes them so universally loved? First, they perform—keeping beverages hot for up to 12 hours and cold up to 48 hours. Second, they're practical and can be used every day.

Another campus drinkware trend is the incorporation of mixed materials. By adding cork, bamboo and silicone elements to tumblers and sports bottles, you will be creating pieces that demand attention and create excitement. It's the little unexpected details that create something special.

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The Bottom Line

Everyone wants the latest and greatest—the education market is no exception.

 

Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing: Spring It On

There’s something about the sunshine peeking through the clouds, pastel-colored flowers lining the sidewalks and finally cleaning out your closet for the first time in a year - it’s springtime! This year aim to create fun and memorable experiences for everyone with products will be on the hot-list all spring long.

What’s worse than lounging at the beach without a Bluetooth speaker? Well, not lounging at the beach at all (but that’s not the point). The Bluetooth Speaker is the perfect solution for your beachside jammin’ needs to the ocean and back.

 Thumpah Speaker

Thumpah Speaker

If you’re not one for hitting the beach, you can’t go wrong with a Portable Surround Sound system. Talk about a cool trend! Take them all around your house or office for seamless surround sound anywhere, any time.

 Hive Speakers

Hive Speakers

As the spring sunshine rolls in, you’ll want to protect your face from nasty sunburn. Why not add a new hat to your collection. They will keep you covered all springtime long—which is definitely cause for celebration.

 The Dad Hat

The Dad Hat

Where are you going to put all this awesome custom swag? In your new roll top backpack of course! The roll top backpack is a huge hit, and it’s the perfect companion for a sunny hike or sunset picnic.

 El Dorado Rolltop Backpack

El Dorado Rolltop Backpack

Content compliments of Origaudio. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing: Sustainability

Trends We're Seeing: Sustainability

In our day, something that has come to the forefront of people’s minds is the environment and keeping it as pristine as possible. You may be asking, “What does sustainability and the environment have to do with promotional marketing?” Well, the answer is simple—they care, and so should you.

When people see that a company cares about something that they hold dear, they are usually more likely to support the business efforts of that company and become loyal to them as a brand. Enter PromoShop™ and, the first ‘green’ promotional marketing company in the industry, ecopromos™!

So, what are we seeing in the realm of sustainability? One word: cork. This sustainable resource lends a sense of trendy modernism with its natural look, earthy tone and texture, and that special something it adds to products.

Mention cork and the first thing most people think of is a wine stopper. Lately, however, cork is being used for every purpose we can imagine like flooring, walls, furniture, tableware, clothing, and more. Cork is impermeable, buoyant, elastic and fire resistant waterproof and of course eco-friendly since its extraction doesn’t harm trees—all of which take cork to another level of importance for every kind of application.

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Trends We're Seeing:  React + Adapt

Trends We're Seeing: React + Adapt

Circumstances change – sometimes by chance, sometimes by choice. These products are designed to adapt to any conditions, whether it’s a surprise rainstorm, delay at the airport or travel adventure on the other side of the world.

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Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing: Revival

Trends We're Seeing: Revival

Old school styles inspire fond memories. But it’s not enough to recycle those classic looks from the ’70s and ’80s – they’ve got to be reinvented with function and performance for the modern world.

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Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing:  Imagination

Trends We're Seeing: Imagination

Creativity can be expressed in lots of ways – from colorful prints and bold patterns to high-tech innovations. No matter how that creativity comes to life, it all begins with the imagination to envision something different.

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CContent compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Case Study: Dreamworks Pillows

Dreamworks International department was hosting meetings in London, and was looking for a unique way to incorporate some of their most popular characters within the décor.

Trends We're Seeing:  Athleisure

Trends We're Seeing: Athleisure

The word “Athleisure” was officially added to the dictionary in 2016.  Athleisure has become a well known term and fashion trend in the retail market.  It’s a unique hybrid blend of everyday business casual wear with athletic inspiration and functionality.  Combining the durability of sportswear and versatility of business casual, it attracts a wide range of consumers.  Universal use for the office, gym, social engagements, and weekend activities are an important element to the athleisure movement.  There is a larger focus on health and wellness, which means more and more people are looking to “digitally unplug” and create an active lifestyle.  It’s important our product fits within our culture and trends. 

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Many believe athleisure is here to stay and is more of an evolution rather than a fad. In 2016 the U.S. market reported a 16% growth in the athleisure sector, increasing to $44 billion in sales.  Experts are predicting a 30% growth by 2020 in Asia & the U.S.  Analysts at Morgan Stanley believe global sales will rise over $350 billion by 2020.  While this evolution has had the biggest impact in the apparel market, we are seeing a heavy influence take shape in other product categories.  Here are some of the trends and products we see fitting into this growing need.

Content compliments of Sweda USA. Check out their athleisure products for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.swedausa.com/

Case Study: The Fashion Fund Mailer

The client, Ovation TV, wanted to create a mailer to send to cable owners across the US to entice them to add Ovation TV to their lineup, using the season premiere of the show Fashion Fund as the hook. 

Unique Decoration Techniques:  HXD Decoration

Unique Decoration Techniques: HXD Decoration

Introducing HXD, a unique branding method that creates a subtle pop from the product surface to give your logo a whole new dimension. If you’re looking for what’s trendy in retail, this is it.

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From Backpacks To Polos

Available on everything from coolers, totes and backpacks to most of our apparel, HXD combines the best attributes of two methods – the surface interest and high perceived value of embroidery, and the exceptional detail, unlimited color and location versatility of transfer.

And HXD is remarkably durable, as well. The adhesives have been tested to withstand everyday wear and tear, washing machines and dry cleaning.

A Lot Of Products. A Lot Of Locations.

HXD is versatile – it can be applied to a lot of products in a lot of locations. Along with high-visibility locations on bags, it’s particularly well-suited for both traditional and accent locations on wovens, baseball caps, softshell jackets, polos and journalbooks.

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Unique Finishes

With HXD, you can choose a standard finish, a metallic finish or even a combination of the two.

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Freestanding And Mounting

Some logos present challenges, like small icons with tight spacing or think lettering. Our HXD designers assess those details, then create a solution. Minimal thickness and sufficient spacing are essential for a freestanding reproduction of small elements.

If a solution can’t be achieved by upsizing or subtle modification, we can mount the logo in one of three ways – contouring it, defining it or cresting it.

Dimensioning

The dimensioning process prepares your art for reproduction in HXD. Combining artistic design expertise and high-tech mechanical processes, there are three steps. Dimensioning is done by skilled designers who've been trained in the process, and there is an associated fee.

Content compliments of PCNA. Check out this patented manufacturing process for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.pcna.com/pcnacontents/en-us/content/hxd#UniqueFinishes

Trends We're Seeing: #SquadGoals

Trends We're Seeing: #SquadGoals

Consumers today have shifted their priority from purchasing things to creating experiences and developing connections with their “squads.” Equally important to the #squadtime are the bragging rights earned by posting pics on social media of their squads in matching swag.

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More than half of Millennials now travel for destination pre-wedding parties, making the
fling-before-the-ring trip an important rite of passage. 

• Today’s wedding parties are willing to pay for elevated #squadgear.
• Travel-friendly swag is expected at destination events.

 

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Community outreach projects have become important social events for many squads, with animal adoption as a favorite.

• Squads proudly post pics in their personalized gear on their social networks.
• Graphics are key when making memories with your squad.

 

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The U.S. outdoor recreation economy is at an all-time high as people seek relief from digital fatigue.

• Kidult camps offer fun for nostalgic adults wanting to unplug.
• Cherished vintage styles and products are trending.

 

Content compliments of SanMar. Check out the Squad style for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.sanmar.com/resources/trends/stylenetwork/squadgoals

Building Your Brand: What Your Social Media Says About You

Building Your Brand: What Your Social Media Says About You

If you're branding and you know it clap your hands. If you're branding and you know it clap your hands. If you're branding and you know it then your words and actions should show it. If you're branding and you know it, clap your hands! 

Ok. So my song was pretty lame, but the topic is not. Personal branding. Whether you know it or not, and most people don't know it, you are always adding layers to your personal brand with the things you do and say both in person and online.  Don't believe me?  Get a piece of paper and pen, or use your phone.  I'm going to give you some words, and I want you to immediately write down the name of the first person to come to your mind. Ready?    

  • Dog lover

  • Loves wine

  • World traveler

  • Sunshine and positivity

  • Foodie

  • Would you just stop with the political posts already

  • Pumpkin Spice

  • Loves cars

  • Negative, whiny, downer

  • Craft beer drinker

  • When I think of anything related to music I think of

If you came up with at least one name for every one of these words or phrases. This is the essence of branding. 

According to Unmarketing, "A brand is not a logo. A brand is what you think and feel when you see a logo."  Therefore, what you think and feel is dictated by the story a brand tells. When it comes to people, everything we do, or sometimes don't do, and say, tells a story about us and plays a part in building our personal brand.  When people see us or our name, they immediately think and feel something about us based off of the interactions they have had with our "brand."

If you think about the exercise above, you realize you had a person for each one of those words.  If you think about it a little more you realize that because of the brand you have built for yourself, there is a group of words that people would also impulsively associate with you as well.  Have you ever given thought to what these words might be? 

As an example, at one point in time, I was a prolific coffee drinker. For my birthday people on Facebook very generously sent/messaged me $5.00 gift cards.  At the end of the day, I had quite a few trips to make to Starbucks. $500 worth in fact!  When people thought of me, they immediately thought coffee.  For the last two years, I've been drinking a specialty tea, and rarely post about coffee anymore, but guess what I still get for my birthday each year from people that know me on social media?  

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Content compliments of Peerless Umbrella. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Case Study: Custom Flavoured Lip Balm

The client wanted a “takeaway” for anyone purchasing Pabst Blue Ribbon in Canadian C-stores during a promotional period. Since it was a giveaway, we wanted to create an idea that created interest to motivate buyers to purchase Pabst Blue Ribbon, but stay under a $1 each. 

Trends We're Seeing:  Natural Serenity

Trends We're Seeing: Natural Serenity

Escape the noise with materials and silhouettes taken from nature. These products have a timeless quality that extends their utility, disrupting a cycle of disposing and replacing that can’t be sustained.

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Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

A Promo Without a Purpose?

A Promo Without a Purpose?

In a recent post online someone was asking for some sourcing ideas for a particular type of company. We had a dollar amount and industry type, so that was a start. In order to offer up the best suggestions possible I asked for the purpose of the campaign. This person replied, “There is no purpose. It’s just a giveaway.”

Wait.  There is no purpose?

If there is no purpose or desired effect, then why is this company even bothering to spend the money?  Answer: They aren’t.  Or at least they shouldn’t be. Forgive me for speaking boldly when I say the distributor failing to ask what the products would be used for is doing their client a huge disservice.  In fact, I would even be willing to say that this type of failure to assess purpose before sourcing product is the number one reason that many business owners say they see no value in using promotional products to promote their business. This is also a large part of the reason the race to the bottom on price exists. Distributors often times answer the phone and take an order from a client without bothering to find out the why behind the buy. The good news is, there’s a fix! Clients tend to think they know what they want, but don’t actually know what they need.  

As professionals, it’s our job to show them the difference!

As an industry we tout that branded goods are the number one way for a business to solicit to,  bring in,  and retain customers. When the right product is paired with the right marketing message, this is 100% true and the return on spend is easily quantifiable.  However, when little or no thought is given to the purpose behind the promo, it can be a monumental waste of an end-buyer’s time and money.

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So how do you find the right product and create the right marketing message? You do this by
first determining the purpose of the campaign. If your client doesn’t know what they want the product to do, don’t let them move fo­­rward until they figure it out. If they say,  “I want a pen with my logo on it” don’t be afraid to ask them why they want a pen and challenge them to think deeper about their purpose behind requesting that item. Asking these types of questions makes you far more valuable to your clients. They know you are here to truly take care of their needs and help their business grow. Remember my statement above? People are willing to pay more for goods and services that they feel are valuable! Take the time to help your client determine who they are trying to reach and what message they are trying to send. Whatever product(s) you choose, make sure your client has a well thought out purpose for doing so!

Remember:  Every promo needs to have a purpose and ever so valuable is the distributor that helps their client figure out what it is!

Content compliments of Peerless Umbrella. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing:  Breaking the Standard in Menswear

Trends We're Seeing: Breaking the Standard in Menswear

As office styles become more casual, there’s a shift in the way menswear is being worn. Core items and the looks you already love are taking on a new life and being elevated by the way they are styled.

Styling today is changing the way woven shirts are worn. Pair a grid check shirt with a sport blazer and a patterned or textured tie. For striped shirts, go casual and wear it under a denim jacket.

Knits are hitting the mark when it comes to modern styling. Minimalist polos are being worn buttoned up to the neck and tees are being worn underneath a blazer or a suitcoat. These uncommon pairings and updated performance features are bringing new life to these iconic wardrobe staples.

Workwear and utility looks are important trends that feel both urban and industrial at the same time. When styled with ties, dress shirts or suit jackets, core shirts evolve into completely new looks.

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Content compliments of SanMar. Check out the latest Menswear for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.sanmar.com/resources/trends/stylenetwork/newstandard

Pantone's Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

Pantone's Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

A dramatically provocative and thoughtful color that communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

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PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.

 

Content from Pantone website: https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2018

Trends We're Seeing:  Mixed Patterns

Trends We're Seeing: Mixed Patterns

Patterns, colors and styles are being mashed up in joyful, fun and creative ways. Match wardrobe building blocks like t-shirts and hoodies with a suit or skirt to create a look that’s surprisingly ageless, comfortable and of-the-moment. Mix floral, plaid and camo patterns for a fresh, fun, personalized look for her.

Don’t be afraid to mix patterns – keep one or two colors in common to create a look that is fun but not overwhelming. Add empowering embroidered messages or graphics to truly make the style your own.

Some unlikely style allies are being inspired by ‘90s sport and street looks. Oversized hoodies, unexpected graphic placements, surprising pops of color, do-it-yourself decoration “doodles” and high-shine metallics challenge the status quo in all the right ways.  

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Content compliments of SanMar. Check out the latest Active Wear for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.sanmar.com/resources/trends/stylenetwork