Tag Archives: Backpacks

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.

18Feb/20

2020 PPAI Expo Recap & PPAI Pyramid Award

2020 PPAI Expo Recap

As always is the case, the 2020 PPAI Expo was filled with outstanding education, exciting promotional products, industry networking, education, and a lot of fun!  We had the entire Connect the Dots Promotions team there for the Expo and we had the opportunity to experience a lot.

The CTD team learned about the Power of Sustainability and giving back within the promotional products industry.  The promotional products industry must look at sustainable and valuable ways to strategically use promotional products because, when done the right way, promotional products are an extremely valuable advertising medium that is better than many others.  One great example of a company doing promotional products in a sustainable way with social responsibility in mind is Sandmar.  We love their products and their drive to be a part of the solution rather than the problem by reducing waste and implementing better corporate sustainability efforts.

We also had the opportunity to hear from Ben Nemtin, author and co-founder of The Buried Life movement. He had an incredible and inspiring story that we highly recommend you look into if you have the opportunity to do so.  The big takeaway: Don’t live a buried life, don’t bury your passions and dreams.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we can confidently say that we are passionate about what we do and we want to help you live an unburied life too!

PPAI Pyramid Award

We at Connect the Dots are still on a high from our very own Karie Cowden receiving the PPAI Pyramid Award at the 2020 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.  The PPAI Pyramid Award honors creative excellence in the promotional products industry.  It also recognizes dependable suppliers, outstanding promotions, creative campaigns, and exceptional craftsmanship.  The entire expo was a great experience but it was an incredible honor to be recognized for our hard work and dedication to excellence.

PPAI Pyramid Award Recognition from PPAI:

“In an effort to create sizzle and increase funds for UMOM New Day Centers, Connect the Dots Promotions pitched a rebrand of the current End Homelessness Walk to feature a Guinness World Record attempt.  Refreshing the logo from a tennis shoe to a pair of flip-flops and updating the event name to “Walk the Walk to End Homelessness,” along with providing attendees with branded flip-flops and t-shirts, allowed the event to take on a new life. The flip-flop 1K world record attempt helped UMOM New Day Centers in attracting new donors and raising awareness by connecting all advertising mediums.”

The PPAI Pyramid Award Demonstrates Why You Should Work with Connect the Dots

This award beautifully demonstrates what can happen when you allow Connect the Dots Promotions to coach and help you with your business, brand, event, or marketing and promotional efforts.  For UMOM, giving and donations had plateaued and by implementing our marketing and promotional strategy, they experienced a 60% increase in giving!  

We work closely with our clients and put a substantial effort into creating dynamic partnerships that, when clients fully buy-in, facilitates creativity and growth!  If you are ready to grow your business, brand, or event, Connect the Dots Promotions has the team, creativity, and network to produce exceptional results!

04Feb/20

2020 PPAI Expo – Trends Recap

Attending the PPAI Expo is something that our team at Connect the Dots looks forward to every year.  And, the 2020 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas did not disappoint! One of the reasons we look so forward to the PPAI Expo is learning about the latest trends in promotional products (trust us, this is only one, stay tuned, there will be more blogs soon about the other things we enjoyed while attending!).  

What we really loved about the trends we saw this year is that the trends weren’t simply feature or style-related, there were some trends in the core essence and intention of promotional products.  This is so important because promotional products are not just basic marketing tools, they can be used as powerful and complex tools that are both useful and impactful which further raises brand awareness.

2020 PPAI Expo Trend #1:  Connection & Protection

It is no wonder that we at Connect the Dots loves this trend – it is at the core of what we as s company strive to achieve – connection.  Fleeting moments and flashy trends are fun and can be useful but when it comes to lasting impact that develops true brand-awareness and loyalty, connection is the name of the game.  Promotional products that foster connection include things that make you feel good and/or give back to a specific cause.

When you know better, you do better – or at least that is the hope and trend we are seeing in promotional products for 2020.  Generation Z cares more about protecting the earth more than any generation ever before. Fortunately for our clients, we have special search tools to make it simple to search product lines that give back to specific charities or causes.

2020 PPAI Expo Trend #2: Homeward-Thinking

So often, promotional products are for a specific task or purpose that is work-related (mouse-pad, calendar, pens, etc.), fitness or activity-related (water bottle, gym bag, stress ball, etc.) but now the focus is turning homeward.  By this, we mean that promotional products are much more personal and focused on well-being and quality of life.  For example, sleep is the hottest new luxury – yes, we said sleep.  More and more people know how important sleep is and are making self-care goals to get more sleep – why miss the marketing bandwagon here?  Perhaps a promotional product focused on improving the quality of sleep experience is something that would not only be deeply appreciated but would make a lasting, positive marketing impact.  

Additionally, much more focus is on quality experiences a part of a marketing moment including immersive experiences and other activities that encourage experiential play such as escape rooms or other experiences like Meowolf.  These types of promotional products and experiences encourage people to be present and in the moment and that is certainly a hot trend for 2020!

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!

20Oct/19

Use Unique Promotional Products to Stand Out This Holiday Season (and Beyond!)

Use Promotional Products to Stand Out This Holiday Season (and Beyond!)

Example: Give out a yoga mat for “International Day of Yoga”

The holiday season is upon us and for most businesses, that means giving gifts to thank customers and employees for the year of loyalty, hard work, and continued patronage.  Giving a thoughtful gift is a great opportunity for a business to make a memorable impact and showcase appreciation while also extending a business’ brand awareness.  If you have been in business for some time, you have likely been on the receiving end of a holiday or end-of-year promotional product gift.  And, while we are not here to hate on a delicious holiday-themed food basket, we want to encourage you to get a little more outside the box.  

Why Blend in When You Can Stand Out?

Sure, you could give s traditional holiday gift and it will be appreciated.  But, how memorable will another tin of popcorn really be for your customers or employees?  Delicious? Obviously. Memorable? Maybe not.  You are utilizing a portion of your marketing budget to promotional products so why not take the opportunity to stand out and get the best return on investment with your holiday gifts!!

Who Said You Can Only Give a ‘Christmas’ or ‘Holiday’ Gift?!

The answer? Nobody!  Showing your appreciation to employees or clients is always a welcome gift, no matter the time of year or occasion.  And, in fact, it is probably far more memorable to give a fun, themed gift that is creative rather than getting lost in a sea of other similar promotional products during the holidays.  When it comes to optional holidays or occasions for promotional product gifting, there are endless possibilities.  

Example: You could give Bluetooth speakers for National Compliment Day and the message/compliment could be “You Rock!”

 

There are, of course, traditional holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, and more!  But, what about something even more unique and memorable, such as World Kindness Day (November 13th), America Recycles Day (November 15th), Small Business Saturday (November 30th, National Hat Day (January 15th), National Compliment Day (January 24th), Love Your Pet Day (February 20th), National Napping Day (March 11th), International Day of Yoga (June 21st), and more!  Imagine the fun and creativity you could have choosing fun and useful promotional products for such holidays.  And, by getting outside the box and standing out from the pack, your gift will be more appreciated and memorable. 

Show Your Brand Personality with Strategically-Timed Promotional Products

Example: Give out a branded blanket for “National Napping Day”

Interact with your clients and employees in a unique and fun way by showcasing your brand’s fun and creative spirit.  Custom promotional products that display your branding are an ideal way to extend brand awareness.  Further, every time those products are used, it keeps your brand in your customers’ minds, making them far more likely to turn to you when they need services or products that you offer.  Holiday promotional products, and food products, in particular, are a heavily saturated market. Maximize your marketing dollars and get the best ROI by choosing a creative gift or unique holiday to make your mark!  Not sure where to start?  At Connect the Dots, we LOVE to get creative and help our clients think outside the box so that their promotional products make the biggest impact possible!

20Aug/19

If You Don’t Have a Company Online Store Yet – You Need One!

Should You Be Using a Company Online Store?

If you do not yet have a company online store, you probably should get one! Company online stores have become a popular, efficient, and effective way to offer employees (and even customers) a place to buy unique branded items.  Whether you just want to provide your employees with some fun items to show their pride in their workplace or you want to provide your managers and employees a one-stop-shop for employees to choose your branded promotional products and apparel as a requirement of their job, a company online store is an ideal solution.  

Curate a Strategic Company Online Store

One significant advantage of creating your own company online store is that you get control over controlling your brand’s identity and style.  You can control things like style, color, finish, etc.  Additionally, you can further a message about your brand.  For example, if you are a gym, you can offer promotional gym bags, towels, yoga mats, and hoodies that uniquely exemplify your brand’s style.  This is important because people are bombarded with marketing messages thousands of times a day so you want to create a unified, cohesive branding strategy and an online store will provide the ideal platform on which to do so.  

Let Employees (and Customers!) Show Their Company Pride

What is better than using custom apparel and swag to proudly represent something that you are a part of or support?  There are so many ways, large and small, to show others you are proud to be an employee of a great company, or that you love a great company with branded promotional products and apparel.  Every time someone wears or uses a promotional item in front of someone else at work, in a store, in a restaurant, or anywhere else – they see your branding and it reinforces your brand identity.  

Start a Company Online Store with Connect the Dots Promotions

At Connect the Dots Promotions, we are continually looking for unique and diverse ways to assist you with strategic marketing solutions.  We can help you choose items for your company store, design the style, and help you offer your employees and clients a modern and convenient way to source branded promotional products.  Once complete, your company online store can live on its own website or you can embed it into your website for enhanced functionality.  Starting other forms of online stores can be expensive, complicated, and frustrating which is why we love how effective, efficient, and convenient it is to establish your own company online store.

20May/19

Proposed China Tariff Will Have Major Impact on Promotional Products Industry (and Customers)

Forget Winter, the Tariff is Coming and it is Far More Ominous!

Proposed China TariffUsually, it is a hot new product making the buzz in the promotional products industry but right now the buzz is all about the proposed China tariff.  The proposed tariff will have a widespread impact on various industries, including a significant impact on the promotional products industry.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we love to share our latest projects or interesting products with our clients and industry peers, but we also believe it is important to have a conversation about how important this proposed tariff is and examine just how wide-reaching the impact will be.

Trump Administration Proposed 25% Tariff Will Impact Everyone

If you have not yet heard the news, the Trump administration proposed 25% tariff on products imported from China.  Make no mistake, this is a HUGE tariff.  Not only is this tariff threatening businesses but, unfortunately, it is threatening widespread impact on our customers because it will lead to an increase in prices. 

USA Today explains what is at stake with the proposed China tariff increase, “The trade war with China could cause prices to rise on everything from toys to clothing, but it also could lead to ‘widespread store closures,’ according to a report by UBS.  The investment bank’s analysis said tariffs on Chinese imports could put $40 billion of sales and 12,000 stores at risk…’We think potential 25% tariffs on Chinese imports could accelerate pressure on these company’s profit margins to the point where major store closures become a real possibility.” Earlier this month, the Trump administration increased U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. The president has also threatened to add a 25% tariff on almost all the remaining $325 billion in goods shipped in from China… ‘We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low,’ said Brett Biggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, during a call with reporters Thursday. ‘However, increased tariffs will lead to increased prices we believe for our customers.’”

Proposed China Tariff Will Have a Big Impact on All Businesses & Their Clients

Proposed China TariffThe proposed increase will certainly impact large retailers like Walmart, but it will be an even larger strain on small businesses.  While we still have not seen exactly how this proposed China tariff will play out exactly, if it does go into effect as planned, it will most likely lead to increased prices. 

Because of this, and because we love our clients so much and don’t want to see their marketing impacted by this, we highly encourage our customers to consider looking ahead at the next 6 months – 1 year and consider what they have planned for marketing and promotional products.  If you have not yet, start planning your marketing calendar out and considering if now is a good time to order for fall, back-to-school, holidays, end-of-year, or other occasions for which you might want promotional products.  By ordering sooner rather than later (before a new tariff is implemented), you will take advantage of lower prices that will no longer be around if the tariff goes into effect.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Paying Higher Prices If Higher Tariff is Enacted

At Connect the Dots Promotions, you can always count on our dedication to you, our client.  We have been well aware of the proposed tariff for some time and are anticipating the potential increase by researching American made products and other sources to keep costs low but, unfortunately, if the tariff does go into place, it will likely mean increased pricing.  If you are interested in discussing your marketing plan, alternative marketing strategies, or investing in promotional products now to avoid

20Mar/19

Client Spotlight: Corporate Air Mechanical Services

Connect the Dots Client Spotlight: Corporate Air Mechanical Services

promotional productsBuilding connections, fostering relationships, and supporting businesses in which we believe are some of the most fundamental priorities at Connect the Dots Promotions.  From time to time, we enjoy shining the light on some of our most recent projects and customers.  We recently had the opportunity to work with Cherri Marrese, President of Corporate Air Mechanical Services on a spring marketing campaign including some unique promotional products!  

Choosing a Perfect Promotional Product

Because Corporate Air Mechanical Services is in the industrial/commercial cooling industry, they presented the idea of a desk fan to give as a thank you to customers.  They knew they wanted one that could have a message on it to remind customers of the upcoming Arizona summer heat.

How Connect the Dots Helped Select the Perfect Promotional Product!
promotional products

Desk Fan with LED Customizable Display

We just happened to be speaking to Cherri about this project right before we attended the 2019 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas. The timing could not have been more perfect because we were able to take their directives and go to the PPAI Expo where we could look at products from over 3,000 supplier booths.  It was like they were all just waiting for us to find the perfect item for our customers!  Because the PPAI Expo is so large, we combed through aisle after aisle looking for the perfect fan.  Despite there being such a selection, it seemed to be like finding a needle in a haystack and we were starting to worry the perfect fan was not out there.  But, we never lost hope and continued the dedicated hunt for our customer.  

The last day of the PPAI Expo is always the best when looking for a specific promotional product because many attendees have already begun to leave.  This means it is less crowded and suppliers have additional time to talk to you.  As we were walking on the last day, Karie spotted someone she knew personally operating a vendor’s booth.  While we were standing there, low and behold, Kim looked up and it was like you could hear angels singing!  There it was!  The perfect fan with an LED lighted programmable message capability sitting right in front of us!  Kim shouted, “OMG, there it is I’ve been here for 4 days and now I find it!.”  The supplier/vendor thought Kim lost her marbles!

Dedication to Creative Promotional Products & Unique Marketing Campaigns

We returned home the next day from PPAI Expo and ordered a sample for Cherri to view.  We then met to discuss Corporate Air Mechanical Services’ 2019 marketing campaign and share the sample fan with Cherri and her sale’s executive, Tanner.  Needless to say, it was a big hit!  They started programming it with their phones (an option we love!) and then immediately placed an order.  We have already begun to work on several other items in which they are interested. Also, we always execute a ‘nudge plan’ to help our customers stay organized and ahead of their marketing plans for the holidays, corporate events corporate wearables, and other items. At Connect the Dots, we couldn’t be more happy to have connected our client with the perfect promotional products and we look forward to working more with Corporate Air Mechanical Services!