Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Science Behind Premiums


I just returned from the ASI-Advertising Specialties Institute's annual educational conference and trade show in Orlando.  The Promotional Premiums Industry now exceeds $21B in annual sales in addition to the related $90B in sales of its collaborative partner known as Corporate Incentives and Gifts business. I always look forward to reconnecting with friends and colleagues and meeting new ones, learning something from one of the educational seminars, ASI leaders, a valued supplier or keynote speaker, and this year's event did not disappoint. I engaged in the fun of sharing conversations, successes, and plans for reaching goals in 2017 with fellow KB dealers from across the US and with other colleagues alike.  

Technology and packaging continue to provide inventive sales and marketing tools to enhance our go to market strategies and these will be exciting to share with existing and new clients. Virtual reality (VR) glasses introduced in the past year or so along with video greeting cards/presentation tools have expanded and improved in many ways. We will share more about these in upcoming blog articles.

After meeting the founders Origaudio, a recommended ASI supplier, I wanted to share some of "the science behind promotional products." Origaudio's founders are two young men, former co-workers at Jansport and were featured on TV's well known, entrepreneurial contestant show "Shark Tank," where they garnered a deal and partnership with Robert Herjavec. Product design and development is the primary job of Jason Lucash with whom we spoke and learned about some of the Origaudio products. Their products are all designed to be useful and provide utility along with one or more technological and/or lifestyle perks.  


From product engineering to design, colorization and chemistry, these and most other promotional products/premium ad specialties products involve many scientific aspects. Technology is involved from the use of computers in graphic design and product development to app design and implementation to operate products. The science of chemistry in mixing and creating custom colors we refer to as PMS or the Pantone Matching System provide unique colors that companies, organizations and educational institutions around the world use to uniquely identify and promote their brands. Whether it's Coca Cola's or Verizon's red, Facebook or Walmart's blue, Steeler's or Saint's gold or your own company's brand color, it is important to capture a brand standard.  Science and math are also involved in developing shapes, molds, dyes, inks, textiles, and sizes for each and every product in the promotional product world. Some also include external measurement references for added end-user utility. 

So, next time you are "inking a deal", wearing your favorite fun-run/spirit tee, scraping ice off of your window with a branded ice scraperopening a restaurant or bar/enjoying a craft beer or specialty wine from an custom etched or printed glass, locating your car keys with a TILE or like device, measuring, calculating, wearing, listening to, or demonstrating a new product with the help of our industry's products...consider the science that makes these valuable marketing tools and how they so successfully increase exposure for businesses around the globe!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

REALTORS® are making a real difference in the Charlotte community!

The Charlotte residential real estate market is booming at the moment!  Houses in my community are barely on the market before seller-homeowners receive not just one but multiple offers within days!  It’s exciting and keeps home values strong.  While times like this make selling real estate look like an easy way to make money, smart and savvy REALTORS® are working just as hard as ever to continue building client rapport and make connections in their communities.  

Today I want to recognize three of our clients! These women are professionals in Real Estate and all work under the corporate brand, Keller Williams®.  They are Alyson Keller, dba Keller Carolina Realty, Jessica Pegg, dba Pegg Properties, and Kristen Bernard with The Beth Smith-Shuey Team.  All three are making an impact in the Charlotte community!  As they work hard to market their own businesses and build strong client relationships, they also help fellow agents, other professionals, neighbors, and friends better connect too.  

Alyson Keller is a successful and hardworking Realtor with Keller Williams® Ballantyne office.  Along with helping to increase property values with her solid home listings, she is now certified to sell farm, ranch, acreage and equestrian properties!  Over the past few years, she has been a key sponsor for her neighborhood swim team the Sharks, providing sponsor dollars, team giveaways, and breakfast for the season kick-off event. Her support and that of other sponsors has allowed the team to purchase new equipment and provide each swimmer with a team towels, end of season parties, and other awards!  Alyson can be found poolside at home meets cheering the kids on and enjoying a sport that she once competed in as a youth swimmer.  Alyson participates in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and is involved with Habitat for Humanity and Sustain Charlotte.  Thanks for making a difference in the community Alyson!  

Jessica Pegg also works at Keller Williams® Ballantyne office and is a rising star in the KW family!  Jessica is a “go-getter” in every sense.  She is starting year three as a REALTOR® and her networking strengths, leadership, and entrepreneurial drive are all on fire!  Jessica is and avid networker and in that vein started "Pegg Board" Networking Group nearly two years ago. Working with her as a member of this group has been refreshing because she has a strong desire is to help members connect, build relationships, and grow their businesses as well and make connections for her business! She is a strong advocate of the Keller Williams® Ballantyne Preferred Vendor Program and encourages eligible businesses to become suppliers. Jessica regularly looks for opportunities to volunteer and help fellow REALTORS®, and is a leader in KW Cares which is the official KW charity.  She also sponsors other community and non-profit events like "Brews for Babies" which was held at Heist Brewery in October to raise funds for The March of Dimes. Her advertising and marketing strategies help keep her brand in front of clients and prospects and her positive attitude and smile are both contagious. 

Kristen Bernard is Lead Buyer Specialist for the Beth Smith-Shuey Team at Keller Williams® South Park office.  Her team was recently recognized at the KW Family Reunion conference as #1 in team closed business for KW in the Carolinas.  Kristen’s community building includes volunteering with PTA, organizing an annual coat drive, helping organize neighborhood events and hosting pool-side grill service during the summer for neighbors.  Kristen loves socializing and connecting with others and is at the ready to lend a helping hand. 

Doing business with people who become long-term clients and sometimes even friends is rewarding.  These REALTORS® and others work hard and smart every day, whether the market is soaring or slow. It’s about making connections, keeping your skills sharp, and partnering with others to build relationships that will strengthen your business and enrich your life and the community in which you work and live! Congrats and thanks ladies! 

Many of our clients are busy helping others and enhancing their communities. Goodwill is rewarding!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Camera Ready Artwork

Have you ever been asked for “camera ready artwork”?  Chances are if you plan to produce any quality marketing, then quality design and camera ready art will be necessary.

Just as movie producers may run through many takes and storyline attempts and leave some ideas on the cutting room floor, effective marketing may also require a number of attempts, scrapped concepts or works-in-progress, before reaching the best graphic design results. The best works are produced with the best quality art files! Printing or producing the final product with draft quality art will not produce professional looking results. In order to share your images and ideas, pay close attention to the quality and type of files you use!

Between the conception of an image and its final form, there are many steps in developing the best and most versatile digital image. The higher the quality, the more ways it can be shared!

Over many years of experience in print marketing, we have seen and received a variety of artwork including hand-drawn sketches, MS Word, Publisher documents, clipart from websites, phone pictures of ideas, scanned images, Photoshop designs, Corel Draw, Adobe, Illustrator and others.  Some of these sources are true graphic design tools by which final, camera ready or vector artwork that is ready can be produced. Others of these may be used as a starting point but may later require professional graphic design work.

In our business, we use Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw to produce a majority of our vector line art.  These files are used for print collateral, forms, screen print, displays, signage, and promotional products!  For digital, full color designs, we may also utilize Photoshop for full-color image editing but not for text. 
We have several graphic designers and artists on our team who can help take basic concepts and make them picture perfect for our production processes, whatever the project may be.

Common Image & Design File Types

Here are some quick references for graphic design file types you may own or come across and their most effective marketing usability.  

Low Resolution vs. High Resolution. – Low Res images may be viewed and used on screen, via email and in multi-media presentations like Power Point, MS Publisher and other desktop publishing tools. You may also achieve acceptable printed outcomes on home printers using low res clipart.  High Res normally refers to 300+ dpi (dots per inch) art files. Many quick print shops produce at 1200 dpi, which requires hi-res files, or the art will appear fuzzy when reproduced.

Jpg, Png, or Gif: Generally speaking these are all low res file types.  They are useful for screen viewing, website use and email.  Hi res Jpegs may also work well for digitally printed paper products like color copies.

Tif:  CMYK color format. Hi res photo/graphic format without text. A scanned image or drawing that is saved as a tiff could be printed out for distribution but would not be usable for screen print or graphic design without being converted to vector art.

Psd: CMYK color Photoshop created file which may produce well if graphic or photographic in nature but would not be best suited to incorporate text.

Pdf:  Invented by Adobe Systems and perfected over 20 years, Portable Document Format (PDF) is now an open standard for electronic document exchange maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). When you convert documents, forms, graphics, and web pages to PDF, they look just like they would if printed. But unlike printed documents, PDF files can contain clickable links and buttons, form fields, video, and audio — as well as logic to help automate routine business processes. When you share a PDF file, virtually anyone can read it using free Adobe Reader® software or the Adobe Reader mobile app. A pdf created for graphic design often originates as a Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator design file. In order to be camera ready, fonts need to first be converted to curves or outlines.

Eps: This is a file produced using one of the professional graphics programs mentioned. It is often used as print ready for marketing purposes and is not able to be edited without the original design file. Unless you have graphic design software loaded on your computer, you will not be able to open and view an eps file but you could easily pass it along as an email attachment to your production team if you’ve received this file type from your graphics team.

Ai: Ai is the acronym for Adobe Illustrator. Files that have the .ai extension are drawing files that the Adobe Illustrator application has created. The files created by this application are composed of paths that are connected by points and are saved in vector format. The technology used to create these files allows the user to re-size the AI image without losing any of the image's quality. Ai files are camera ready if all fonts have been saved as “outlines”. The average computer user will not have the software required to open the file but you could attach it to an email and forward to your production team if provided by your graphics team.

Graphic design comes at a cost because of the skill, experience, software, collaboration, and creativity that goes into creating quality images, company brand initiatives, and marketing strategies. Retail rates may range from $20-$80 per hour depending on the detail required for company logos or more extensive marketing projects. Other graphic design for screen print, website design, video production, or general typesetting may be offered at a higher or lower rate depending on details.  We are always happy to consult with clients about their design ideas and needs. Our goal is to produce the best quality images and brand messages possible so that you and your organization shines and you will keep coming back to us for more great results!






Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Brand: A Sense of Belonging

For some, a freebie T-shirt is perfect to wear when mowing the lawn, completing a honey-do list, or sleeping in.  But for many others, that same T-shirt can mean so much more. 

Sporting a brand or team logo offers a sense of belonging and pride!  Whether its a shirt, mug, blanket, sunglasses or jersey, branding provides a sense of belonging and unity.
For hundreds of years, dedicated fans have associated themselves with brands through apparel and other logo goodies. Little league players and parents alike wear team and spirit gear with pride to support their teammates and promote sportsmanship.  From the playground to the playing field, athletes of all ages use promotional marketing without even realizing the impact it has on their sense of self.

Consumers feel the same sense of community when wearing branded apparel.  Whether the message is, Have a Coke and a Smile, Just Do It, Keep Calm and...On, or your own organizations logo, wearing it with pride shows others what you stand for!


As a marketer, it gives me great pleasure to help schools, companies, and non-profit organizations to design and produce logos, customized products, and brand messages that will promote them with their best foot forward.  Kids in school love to receive class T-shirts and wear them proudly showing to whom they belong!  Charities thrive on event, race, and show your support gear, which makes a true difference in individual and family lives.  Clubs and teams eagerly await the first practice, gathering, game, or competition to gear up and display their pride, accomplishments, and membership.

Promotional marketing sparks an excitement and sense of belonging like no other advertising medium.  Like a Christmas morning experience, its exhilarating to open a box of items with your own logo, brand, or marketing message! You immediately want to share that excitement by distributing the items to teammates, staff, clients, and friends.  Its personal, made for you, and stands for something you support! 




At the heart of the human spirit, we all want to belong; personalized marketing affords us that opportunity!



So, what is your brand?  Who have you shared it with lately? 

A New Logo for CSB Promo

We are excited to announce a change in corporate identity as we promote a new company logo for CSB Promo!

Last fall, we began engaging with a few of our graphic designers to provide ideas and options for a fresh new logo look.  After much collaboration and review of several designs, we selected this custom image designed by Aimée Abel, an accomplished artist and recent graduate of Appalachian State University. 

CSB Promos Pantone pallet

 


For a number of years, we used our original company name, Charlottes Social Butterfly, LLC.  As we directed our focus on promotional product sales, we established the dba CSB Promo for easier industry recognition.  Aimées design incorporates the initials CSB into the wings of a butterfly! The butterfly symbol has been part of our brand identity from the start as it symbolizes hope and new life. We feel this image also represents our goal of bringing new ideas to our clients whether project or corporately focused.  Our logo colors have also been refreshed. Purple has been a core brand color from the start but we've added brighter hues of green and blue with orange as an accent option.

In conjunction with our new logo launch, we are expanding our social media marketing. We plan to communicate with you on a more regular basis through email, our new blog  www.brandnewsandviews.blogspot.com, and other social media platforms.

As part of this social media goal, we are happy to introduce our custom marketing mascots, Joe, Buzz, and Belle shown here.



These mascots represent three lifestyle aspects that have become the center of customized living today. They will be the face of much of our social media and e-communication efforts moving forward. 

Customization...It's Everywhere!



Whether it’s the arrangement of your smart phone apps, iTunes music selection, the temperature of your house, the name on your coffee cup, or anything in between, there are countless opportunities for customization in this day and age!  Modern lifestyles revolve around convenience and personal satisfaction, so your business must cater to these values in order to succeed! A business, campaign, or event can become a thriving household name if it is marketed with the contemporary necessity of customization.

 Small and mid-size businesses are on the rise! That means that we are spending more of our own money on marketing. Since every dollar counts, strategy is key! Newspaper, TV and Radio advertising can get expensive quickly. The reach of these outlets is often wide and generic, so creating a lasting impact is neither affordable nor effective for smaller businesses. If you want to personally connect with prospects and clients to introduce your brand and meet their needs, then stand out! It takes customization!

Larger companies like Coke, Apple, and Disney have paved the way with customized promotional and branded retail products. Delivery, sales, and crew teams are instructed to wear their company logo while on the job. Staff members are awarded with logo products, and packaging is thoughtfully designed and branded as to create the highest impact. Branding with advertising specialty products is a great way to build recognition in the marketplace and has proven to provide great growth for companies who use them. These branded marketing tools have leveled the playing field by putting the same branding power into the hands of every business owner. Reach your clients in a memorable way and integrate yourself into their everyday lives! It’s time to get started with your next campaign.

At CSB Promo, we specialize in customized marketing. Through personal client conversation we construct our strategy by answering the following questions…
  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What message are you hoping to send about your company, brand, event, or services?

Our sales & marketing strategies are custom, creative, and cost effective! Our tools include graphic design, print, promotional programs, videos, social media promotions, banners, and event/campaign marketing tools.

Call us at 704-708-5088. We’d love to become your integrated marketing team or an extension of your internal marketing department!

Charlotte’s Social Butterfly – Angela Pope
Angela is a Marketing Strategist, Business Owner, and Musician based in Charlotte, NC