Category Archives: Promotional Items

05Jan/21

Virtual Event Swag – A Hot Promotional Product Trend in 2021

virtual event swagEveryone enjoys getting something for free – no matter what happens in the world, that is simply a truth that will never change. When it comes to swag and promotional products, you want to turn your clients and employees into brand ambassadors while rewarding their loyalty with something they can actually use and enjoy.  Rather than simply sending out swag, why not incorporate it into a virtual event of some kind?  This is a fun way to foster employee goodwill or increase brand awareness and loyalty.  There are many ways to send fun swag out in advance so that everyone involved in an event has everything they need to participate in the activities.  

Creating themed baskets and swag for your virtual event enables you to better engage attendees, humanize the virtual experience, and extend the positive experience far beyond the event! You can customize themed boxes or baskets with any traditional swag items just as though they were attending a trade show or other event.  And, you can think beyond the daytime events to the breaks and social events where fun networking and bonding happens.

virtual event swagA fun way to better humanize a virtual event is with a virtual coffee break or happy hour. Included in their box that you send in advance, you could include a branded coffee mug and coffee, a bottle of wine with branded wine glasses.  Throw a virtual bingo night and send out bingo cards, a marker, and some delicious snacks!  The possibilities are endless and can be tailored to your unique brand identity and event type.  Let the creative and fun team at Connect the Dots help you design an event with a swag box or basket that will enhance the experience and create a lasting positive impact for your business. Want to start looking for some fun product inspiration?  We’ve made it easy for you to search ideas right on our website – CLICK HERE to start your search!

15Dec/20

How to Maximize Your 2021 Marketing Budget

To say everyone is looking forward to a new year is an understatement. And, while we would all like to say goodbye to the challenges we faced in 2020, we must learn from the challenges to be in a better and more strategic position in 2021. Many businesses saw major budget cuts this year and many marketing departments will be working with a smaller budget than they may be used to next year. With that in mind, it is wise to start strategic marketing planning now so that you can optimize your budget while getting the highest return on your investment.

It is a good idea to look back at 2020 and 2019’s marketing spend and which marketing initiatives were most successful. This will help you narrow down how you want to funnel your budget efficiently. Determining what your budgeting priorities are will help you be more prepared for unforeseen shifts in lifestyle, community, corporate culture, world culture, and consumer attitudes – something we have seen a lot of in 2020.

When looking specifically at things like promotional products and swag, now is the perfect time to be creative and intentional with your branding and marketing message. To do this while optimally using your marketing budget, it is important to start early and order early. This will allow you to be certain you will be able to get what you want, in the timeframe that you need it, for the best price. When you wait until the last minute you risk there being low or no stock of something you need, increased prices for rush orders, and other obstacles that are best avoided if possible.

To build brand loyalty with your customers, acquire new customers, and foster positive relationships with your employees, it is time to learn from this year and think outside the box. While social distancing and staying at home is still heavily encouraged, now is the time to consider how you can enhance your digital presence through employee and customer online experiences. For example, there are many ways to support digital events both digitally and physically – themed swag, baskets, kits, or other items can be delivered prior to digital events to ensure everyone has what they need for the event. Your 2021 marketing budget, whether large or small, can be focused and maximized to achieve your marketing objectives and hav4e a successful 2021 with strategic planning in advance.

13Oct/20

Strategic Corporate Marketing During a Pandemic

While we all try to figure out what a new “normal” looks like during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, business still goes on.  Many businesses have struggled to rapidly switch to remote work, quarantines, and pivoting their business models to meet customer needs.  With the majority of large gatherings, expos, and other events being canceled, virtual conferences and events have become popular.  Virtual happy hours are all the rage to stay connected with co-workers.  And marketing tactics have had to adjust to being able to reach clients in a saturated online market.  Companies that have found strategic ways to market their business through these trying times are poising themselves to be successful through the pandemic and long after it ends.

Anyone that manages corporate marketing for their business is probably experiencing a common trend right now – dwindled staff and support, along with a limited marketing budget.  Determining the right way to spend your marketing budget is more important than ever before.  Working with a creative marketing strategist can help you determine the right types of marketing experiences and/or products that will best suit your marketing objectives and budget.  Strategic budget allocation does not mean that you have to waste money on a branded product that someone will throw away.  Fundraisers, creative customer promotional products, and custom products for staff to show appreciation all foster a sense of community that most people are longing for in this time of social distancing.

Remind customers that you are surviving and thriving through the pandemic as a business, and remind your employees that you know how hard they are working in a unique environment with a thoughtful and unique marketing campaign.  When you work with an experienced marketing professional that is filled with endless creative ideas, it is easy to find a way to craft a strategic marketing campaign, market your virtual or in-person (when possible) event, and show loyalty and support which all ultimately does something so important during this time – creates a positive community experience centered on your brand.

26Aug/20

Boost Workplace Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic With These Products

As we continue to adjust to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are beginning to see a return to the workplace or many people.  While people return to on-site work, workplaces need to maximize safety to protect their employees and clients through a variety of infection mitigation strategies.  In addition to a robust cleaning and disinfection protocol, there are many ways to enhance workplace safety that are both effective and branded.  Branded COVID-19 promotional products or the workplace serve a very important purpose while keeping branding consistent and familiar, even during unique times. Below, we have compiled a list of just a few of the examples of branded products that will improve workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social distancing is one of the best ways to reduce transmission of disease which is why it is particularly important in business offices, retail environments, and schools.  But, as we all know, it can be hard to know how far exactly is enough for proper social distancing. With floor stickers, wall signs, and partitions, you can make it easy to socially distance.

Face coverings are widely required in public spaces or any areas in which social distancing cannot be maintained.  These invisible face shields are effective and will look even better when customized with your business or school’s branding.

Employee wellness is of the utmost importance because in addition to not wanting your employees’ health and safety compromised when employees get sick they miss work which can impact business operations.  There are a number of branded promotional products that support your employee wellness efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Connect the Dots, we have worked hard to research and determine the best safety promotional products for use during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.  Let us help you continue to promote your brand while protecting the safety of your employees and customers.

13Aug/20

How Your Business Can Show Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic


We’ve all heard it be said about the COVID-19 pandemic by now – ‘We’re all in this together.”  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we have truly taken this to heart and are here to support our clients in any way possible.  We know that businesses are looking for cost-effective ways to show their employees and customers some support during these challenging and unprecedented times. Many businesses have struggled just to stay alive through quarantine or are working with dramatically-reduced workforces but, nevertheless, marketing is still important because the world cannot come to a complete standstill.  There is a multitude of ways you can market your business while showing support to your employees and customers with promotional products.  You can still generate a positive customer experience and foster employee goodwill with a thoughtful gesture.  The team at Connect the Dots is here to help you develop strategic and creative ways to reach customers and employees while marketing your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Your Business Can Show Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Support Home-Based Hobbies During the Pandemic with Promotional Products

    • Gardening:  Seed and grow kits, gardening tools, buckets, kneeler cushions, chimes, and more make home-bound hobbies a bit more fun.  Recipients will be thankful that healthy and fun hobbies are being encouraged when they receive their branded gardening items.
    • Cooking & Grilling:  With the hustle and bustle of life slowed down a bit by staying home more, many are taking the extra time to cook at home more.  What better way to support someone that has recently taken up cooking than with a branded apron, oven mitt, wine opener, cutting board, or other kitchen tools such as spatulas and measuring cups?

Support Health & Safety During the Pandemic with Promotional Products

    • Unique Masks & PPE: Branded masks, branded gaiters, branded antibacterial wipes, branded touchless safe key, branded sanitizer, branded face shields, and more will show recipients that you care about their health and wellness during this time.
    • Home Fitness Equipment: Resistance bands, yoga mats, jump ropes, massage balls, exercise balls and more can be personalized with your branding to provide a positive way to stay physically and mentally healthy while home.

Provide Some Luxury During the Pandemic with Promotional Products

    • Food:  What is better than receiving some delicious food and snacks?  Make someone’s day a little more fun with a delicious branded food delivery.
    • Bath Products:  Bath products such as bath salts or bubble bath, as well as body wash and body lotion are a nice gift to receive any time but particularly thoughtful during this stressful time.  Branded bath products make it clear to your employees and clients that you care about their wellbeing.
    • Candles:  Candles are a source of relaxation and improve the ambiance of any room.  Branded candles make time spent at home a little more luxurious.
11Mar/20

2 Creative Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day with Promotional Products

Teachers are molding the minds of the next generation and often doing so with little pay or recognition.  With Teacher Appreciation Day quickly approaching (May 5th, 2020), we wanted to give you plenty of time to consider the way in which you would like to show your appreciation to the teachers in your school in a thoughtful, sustainable, and economic way.  

The job is not easy and yet, teachers persist, and at Connect the Dots, we believe it is important to recognize that kind of dedication.  Who doesn’t want to show a little extra appreciation for the hard-working teachers in our lives?  And, while we are sure that the majority of teachers are running on a heavy dose of caffeine daily, they have probably received their fair share of mugs as a thank you gift.  While the gesture is still thoughtful, your teachers probably do not need another ceramic mug to add to the collection. Fortunately, there are many creative, thoughtful, and economical ways to show the teachers in your life that you appreciate them that they will actually use and love!  Recognizing the hard work of teachers is also an excellent way to foster goodwill and school spirit while reinforcing and encouraging continued hard work.

2 Creative Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day with Promotional Products

1.  Music Accessories: Bluetooth Speakers & Wireless Earbuds

Spending all day in a classroom full of kids means listening to A LOT of noise.  Show your teachers you see that being a teacher isn’t always easy and let them unplug with a little music.  Bluetooth speakers are a great option because teachers can take them with them wherever they go and they are also handy in the classroom!  And, wireless earbuds will come in handy for teachers when they just need a little break from the noise.  They are a great option because they are so versatile and useful while still being economical and fun!

2.  Tech/Sports Accessories:  Backpacks & Duffle Bags

Today’s technology-driven world means that most teachers are transporting a laptop, tablet, and/or other technology in their bag on a daily basis.  Make it easy, convenient, and a fun way to show school spirit with logo backpacks or logo duffle bags in a modern and stylish design that teachers will happily carry with them!  Customizing the bags with your logo or school color makes it both stylish and an excellent marketing tool.

19Nov/19

Connect the Dots Invests in Continuing Education and Certifications 

Connect the Dots Invests in Continuing Education and Certifications 

At Connect the Dots Promotions, we believe strongly that the best service can only be provided to clients when we are continually striving to learn and improve.  Continuing education and certifications keep us well-informed of industry standards, new technology, creative marketing strategies, and help us develop valuable skills and knowledge that we can pass on to our clients.  The entire Connect the Dots team is invested in our industry and we have recently had the opportunity to do just that through continuing education and certifications.

Marcie Becomes TAS Certified with PPAI

Marcie is a valued member of the Connect the Dots team and recently became TAS certified through PPAI (Promotional Products Association International).  PPAI explains what it means to get your Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS) certificate, “The PPAI Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS) Certificate is an initiative of PPAI Professional Development aimed at providing promotional products professionals—who are new to the industry—with a source for finding answers to their questions and a plethora of information about the industry.”  We are very proud of Marcie as she keeps working to provide outstanding service to our clients and keeps working towards the next level certification – CAS (Certified Advertising Specialist).  Karie is also proud to be a certified MAS (Master Advertising Specialist) through PPAI.

Karie Participates in the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative

The Small Business Administration or SBA is dedicated to helping Americans start, build, and grow businesses.  Recently, Karie took the opportunity to participate in SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative in which she participated in a series of intensive executive-level educational and training opportunities with the intention of accelerating the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved cities.  For this training, experiences from advisors and business leaders in urban communities across the country were used to inform the curriculum.  Specialized areas of training include growth strategy planning, financing and access to capital, government contracting, and CEO mentoring.  Karie is constantly learning and staying on the cutting edge of all things business, marketing, and promotional products and this Emerging Leaders Initiative e was certainly in line with that.  The initiative prepares and encourages small businesses to move to a new level and emerge as a self-sustaining business that creates jobs and builds communities – something Connect the Dots Promotions is all about!

 

30Oct/19

5 Holiday Promotional Products for Employees (That They Really Want!)

The holidays are a great time to show employees how much you appreciate their loyalty and dedicated service to your company.  But, we’ve all been on the receiving end of some terrible holiday promotional products and unwanted holiday gifts from an employer.  They go in the desk drawer and never see the light of day again until it is time for spring cleaning, during which they often end up in the trash.  Gasp!  What a waste!   Don’t waste your precious marketing dollars or employee budget on tired, unwanted promotional products.  Not only are promotional products a great way to say ‘thank you,’ but when used correctly, they can also be an excellent marketing tool!  Get a little creative with your employee gifts and keep them motivated with these fun and highly useful employee holiday promotional products!

1.  Power Bank

We have all experienced the dread of our technology running out of battery.  Whether it is your phone, tablet, or laptop – when you are on-the-go, you need power!  But, power may not always be readily available or you may have forgotten that trusty cord to connect your device at home.  Fear not!  A wireless power bank to the rescue!  Whether you are in a theme park, airport, in the car, hiking, or anywhere else, a ready power supply can be right at your fingertips with a power bank.  

2.  Bluetooth Speaker

Employee Promotional Products A portable Bluetooth speaker keeps the music playing wherever you are!  While Bluetooth speakers are not necessarily new (they’ve been a trend the last few years), they are one of those promotional products that never go out of style.  Can anyone have too many Bluetooth speakers?  We think not!  And, anywhere your employees use that Bluetooth speaker, they will see your branding and be reminded of your generous gift and they will also show off your brand wherever they go and use the speaker.

3.  Backpack

Employee Promotional ProductsA backpack is a hot gift right now because there are so many cool ways to brand a unique backpack that is useful for storing a laptop, taking to the gym, taking on a hike, or toting your things on a flight.  Gone are the days of basic, boring backpacks!  There are many cool new styles, including canvas bags that look like they came straight off the racks at a trendy local shop.

4.  Fitness Ball or Athletic Bands

One of the hottest themes in promotional products in 2019 (and we think this will not change anytime soon), is gifts that promote health and wellness.  Something like an inflatable fitness ball, massaging balls for sore muscles, or athletic bands for stretching or exercising at home or on-the-go.

5.  USB Adapter 

Employee Promotional ProductsWe live in a digital era and we all need to charge all of the technology we use every single day.  Not only does that leave us with a lot of cords but it leaves us trying to find adequate outlets and chargers available for all our devices.  A USB adapter can make your charging life much easier by multiplying the number of available ports and removing the complication of finding the right chargers for devices because you can simply use the USB end of your charging cord and plug it right in!  Your employees will be thanking you when they start enjoying the convenience of a USB adapter with your logo on it!