Thursday, April 2, 2015

If it's good enough for Presidents

The AT Cross Townsend pen...choice of Presidents and Queens...and you too!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you don't sign a lot of treaties or legislation. I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume that you weren't present when Queen Elizabeth signed The Commonwealth Charter.

Had you been to either of these events you might have come away with a very nice souvenir.

Both the President and the Queen used the Townsend pen from AT Cross. 

AT Cross is America's oldest manufacturer of fine writing instruments. Founded by Richard Cross in 1846 their first factory was in Providence RI. They introduced the Townsend line in 1991. 

The Townsend is available as a ballpoint, roller ball or fountain pen.

You have a choice of finishes:
  • Black lacquer
  • Quartz blue lacquer
  • Platinum plated
  • 10k gold plated
  • Lustrous chrome
As the ultimate finishing touch, the pen can be decorated with the recipient's signature. (See the image of President Obama)

I don't have to tell you that this is not going to be your trade show giveaway pen.

However, if you want to recognize significant business partners or stellar performers in your company - this is the way to do it.

So, give me a call and let's discuss how you can incorporate this iconic writing instrument into your recognition campaign.

And, of course, AT Cross offers a range of other pens that reflect their world-renowned quality and carry their lifetime warranty.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Buying corporate jackets…what’s the difference between “heavyweight” and” thermal”?

 So, you’ve been tasked with buying cold weather jackets for your staff. You’ve seen the terms “heavyweight” and “thermal” and you’re wondering, “What’s the difference,” “how do I pick between the two?”
Today’s cold weather corporate apparel isn’t just about the type of fabric it’s made from. The real difference and what really matters is performance.
Thermal depends upon the weave used to make the fabric. A thermal weave creates small pockets that trap warm air (from your body) and keep it close to your body.
“Heavyweight” refers to the weight of the fabric; you’ll see terms like 12 oz. or “gms /sq. in” The higher the number the heavier the fabric.

Can the two be combined? Yes, they often are. Here’s an example.

This is the Carhartt Yukon Fleece Jacket. It’s a heavyweight fleece on the outside with a thermal lining. It has polyester taffeta sleeve lining with quilt insulation.

The heavyweight fleece will prevent the warm air from escaping quickly.

However, you don’t necessarily need a heavyweight fabric to get a cold weather performance jacket. Here’s an example.

This is the Trailway Soft Shell jacket from Tri-Mountain. It has 2 layers of polyester bonded together with a breathable windproof/water resistant membrane in between. Inside there are thermal panels to trap and hold body warmth. It is a fairly light weight but extremely warm jacket.

You might select something like the Trailway if you want a light weight 
and more fashion oriented jacket         
Carhartt and Dri Duck make jackets that are more work oriented.
Any of these jackets can be decorated with your company logo. Any of them will keep your staff warm and comfy in chilly weather.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It’s Flu Season – What you need to know before you buy hand sanitizers…

Flu season is upon us. Although it is hard to predict when the flu will be most active, the CDC says that it can start as early as October and last as late as May. The usual peak season for the flu is December through February.

The single most effective way to protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot. They’re pretty easy to come by. Outlets such as Walmart, CVS and Walgreen all provide the shots. Certainly you can get a flu shot at your doctor’s office.

The CDC recommends that we all get our shots but especially recommends them for folks at higher risk:
·         Children under 2
·         Adults 65 and older
·         Pregnant women
·         Certain medical conditions,
…Heart Disease

There are some common sense steps you can take on an everyday basis to protect yourself.

The easiest step is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If you don’t have access to soap and water use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Hand sanitizers are an effective and appreciated promotional product. They work well as a trade show giveaway, at job fairs, at recruitment sessions. They’re small and lightweight so you could use them in a mail campaign.

The most important thing to look for is an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Look for an alcohol content of at least 60% The CDC recommends sanitizers with an alcohol content of between 60% to 95%.

After that you’ll have all sorts of choices on size, colors, etc. Just make sure you get an alcohol based sanitizer with a content of between 60% to 95%

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

7 things you need to know about buying food gifts

Seven things you need to know about buying food gifts.

The upcoming holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukah are traditional opportunities for saying “Thank You” to your customers and your staff.

Food gifts are a popular way to say “Thanks” because they are fun, you don’t have to worry about sizes and they’re perfect for shared consumption.

But, before you buy food gifts here are 7 things you should know:

1)      Convenience. Instead of sending a staff person off to the local Costco, Sam’s Club or other retail outlet,or having them slog through endless websites, you can purchase food gifts from the same company that provides your promotional products and other business gifts. Plus, you’ll benefit from your ongoing relationship with that vendor.

2)      Promote your brand. Many gifts purchased from on-line sources arrive with their promotional literature and catalogs. They’re promoting their business and not yours. Food gifts purchased through your promo products person will have your logo on them. Who do you want to promote?

3)      Value Pricing. Food gifts from your logoed products vendor don’t go through all the middle men that are involved in distributing “big box” gifts. This can get you better quality for the same or less money.

4)      Fresher. If you’ve been to a Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s Club recently you’ve probably noticed that the food gifts have been on the shelves since late September. How fresh can that stuff be? When was it made in order to be on the shelves in September? Food gifts sourced through your vendor will be packed-to-order and not made months in advance.

5)      Contents. Food gifts from your supplier are crammed full of, well, food. You won’t find a lot of fluff and inexpensive food items.

6)      Shipping direct to your customer. The big box stores won’t ship your gifts. Many of the on-line retailers don’t have that ability either. All of our vendors can ship your order directly to your customer.

7)      Customization. If you’ve been to the big box stores and seen their food gifts it’s a pretty good chance that your customer’s have seen them too. What you see is what you’ll get. Our vendors have the capability to customize your gift.

So, now you know that you can go to your promotional products vendor for holiday food gifts. They are well positioned to help you put together the right gift to say “Thank You” to your customers, future customers and staff.

Bon App├ętit! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What you should know about promo products (before you buy)

Promotional products, (also called swag, giveaways, tchotchkes, bling, premiums,) can be a very effective and cost efficient way to advertise and promote your business.

Here’s what makes them so effective:

1.       80% of consumers own between 1 and 10 promotional products.
2.       60% keep them for up to 2 years.
3.       53% use a promotional product at least once a week or more often
4.       88% of people who have received a promo item recalled the advertiser for up to 12 months after        receiving the item
5.        62% of these people recalled the advertiser’s message
  Only 71% of people can recall an ad they saw in a newspaper or magazine from the week before!

OK, enough with the statistics. Here’s the point I want you to take away: this stuff works, people hang onto it, and they use it.

A promotional item does not have to be expensive to be effective. It does need to be useful.
Useful items are retained, and that’s what you want as an advertiser.

But, what’s useful? Well that depends on where you want to be remembered.

Do you want to be remembered in the office? Then think about items like notebooks, sticky pads, pens, desk accessories, wall calendars.

Do you want to be remembered in the home? Then you would consider things like kitchen utensils, magnetic memo boards for the fridge, tote bags, coasters, BBQ tools.

Here are some items that work anywhere: cell phone chargers, USB drives, water bottles, umbrellas, caps and T-shirts. Notebooks and sticky notes work everywhere.

So, think about who you are going to give this stuff to and what they would find useful.

Alright, you’ve thought about all of the above. You’ve decided you can use promotional products to advertise your business. Here’s what you need to know about buying these items.

  •          All items will have a minimum purchase quantity. On less expensive items that minimum might be 100 to 250 pieces. Sometimes you can buy less than the minimum but you’ll be surcharged.

  •          All items will have a maximum imprint area. That’s the largest available area for imprinting your logo. The point is don’t try to print everything about your company on the side of a pen. It won’t work.

  •       Artwork, (that’s what the industry calls your logo or whatever design you’re going to put on your promo item), needs to be in the proper format. The universal format for promo items is what’s called “vector art.” It’s too complicated to go into it here but vector art is a high resolution file that won’t distort and will print clearly. Jpeg, tiff and giff files won’t work. If your logo isn’t in “vector art,” spend the money to get it created in this format.

  • Colors. There are “spot” colors (think of one or two distinct colors on a T-shirt design), and there is “full color process” (think of a refrigerator magnet that looks like a full color photo.) When you see the catalog price for an item it includes the first color. Every color you add is going to cost extra

  • Set up is the charge to prepare your artwork for whatever process is being used to imprint your item.

  • Time. One of the problems with technology is that we’ve all become accustomed to instant everything.
The problem is that this is a manufacturing process and it takes time. Most products will take somewhere between 7 to 10 business days to produce. Add to that the shipping time. Many of the industry suppliers are located in California and that’s 5 days by ground to the East coast. Allow yourself a good 2 to 3 weeks to have your order produced and shipped.

  • Proof. A proof is a virtual representation of what your design is going to look like on your product. Always insist on a proof and always go over it with a fine toothed comb. The last thing you want is for your 1,000 pens to arrive with a typo!

The two areas where a project can go wrong are artwork and time. Have your logo (in several versions) in the proper format before you start your order. Give yourself enough time to deal with any glitches that might come up..

A quick word or two about pricing. You can get pretty much any promotional product through an on-line distributor. Their prices are often lower than what a local distributor might be able to show you. They work on huge volumes and small margins. If you know exactly what you want and don’t need any help, this might be the way to go. If you need advice and guidance you should go with a local distributor. As someone famous once said, “you get what you pay for.”

You now know:
  •          Promotional products work as a way to advertise and brand your company.
  •          Pick something that’ s useful to your target audience
  •         Have your logo (in several versions) prepared in the proper format well before you begin the      ordering process.      
  •         Give yourself enough time

If you stick to these guidelines you will have a successful promotional product campaign.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

mAh…what is it, and why you should care...what you need to know about buying logo'd power banks


This blog is about power, why it’s important, how to get it and how to keep it.

It’s not about political power or the personal power to influence and control people.

It’s even more important!

It’s about portable power for recharging all those devices we have and depend upon in our daily lives…smart phones, mp3 players, digital cameras, tablets, etc. Those devices that seem to run out of power at the absolute worst time.

Portable power banks, (also called external battery packs, external back-up battery, external battery charger or power bank charger), are a very popular and well received promotional product. It’s easy to see why.
They’re very useful and practical…that means they’ll be retained. They offer a fairly good sized imprint area, so your logo can stand out and get noticed. And, pretty much everyone can use one. This is an item that every company should have in their promo product cupboard.

Here’s what you need to know before you buy:

These are portable, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. They come in a range of capacities (with capacity being how much power they generate). The power capacity is measured in mAh, milli amps per hour.
Power banks range in capacities from around 1800 mAh on the low end up to 14000 mAh on the upper end.

Here is a 14000 mAh charger. It has 2 recharging ports and will power up pretty much any device. This one comes with multiple adapters to fit most every device. It will make your coffee in the morning. Expect to pay about $68 for a device like this.

Think of the charger as your gas tank. The higher the number the bigger your gas tank. And, like gas tanks, these batteries can be refilled, i.e. recharged. The typical power bank can be recharged about 500 times before it starts to lose its efficiency. (They come with a USB cable so you can recharge it from your computer.)

Think of your device as the gas pedal, the more you stomp on the pedal the faster your tank gets emptied. A smart phone will use less gas than a tablet.

So, how much charging will you get from a power bank? It depends upon the mAh capacity of the power bank and the size of the battery in the device. For instance, if your smart phone battery is 1500 mAh (which is pretty typical) a 2200 mAh power bank will charge it 1 time, (assuming your phone battery is at 0%). If your device has a 3000 mAh battery then the 2200 mAh charger won’t charge it completely.

Look at the output rating for the power bank you’re considering.  1A -1.5A is adequate for a smart phone while 1.5A -2A is recommended for a tablet. Although a tablet can be charged with a 1A charger, it will take longer and probably won’t charge the tablet completely.

This is a 4000 mAh dual port charger. This one offers 2 power output levels, 1A and 2A. It also features a charge indicator light.
Expect to pay about $25 for something like this.

Look for a charger with multiple ports (2 USB ports along with a micro is a nice feature.)

Look for a power bank that has fresh batteries…if the price is super cheap in comparison to other chargers of the same capacity it might mean that the battery has been used before and been refurbished.  It happens.

An indicator light is a useful feature and a “use” indicator is an even nicer feature.

After that you can add features such as an LED flashlight, probably less than useful.

And lastly, do you want a plastic housing or an aluminum case?

This is a 2200 mAh charger with a metal casing. This has a single port and an indicator light. This is about $13.

The cylinder shape is quite popular. This is also a 2200 mAh charger. This one has a plastic casing. These are about $10.

Look at the links; they have a lot of the technical stuff. But, even if you don’t, you are now a much smarter buyer of power banks.