Tag Archives: popsocket

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!

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

31Jan/19

Why the 2019 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas Was a Must-Attend Event!

2019 PPAI Expo Recap

2019 PPAI Expo2019 PPAI ExpoWe are home from the PPAI Expo and wow – we saw so much, learned even more, and had a great time connecting with old and new friends!  It was great to attend the 2019 PPAI Expo with our whole team because there is so much to take in and we were able to have three sets of eyes.  Also, having three people let us be very organized about what we saw, learned, and visited!  Every year at the PPAI Expo is a great experience and 2019 certainly did not disappoint.

 

 

Preparing for Year Ahead with the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI ExpoWe love that the PPAI Expo is at the beginning of the year because it allows us to see the latest and greatest products while our clients are preparing marketing strategies for the year ahead.  We have projects on the horizon for clients and, knowing that, we were able to connect the right products with the coming projects.  

 

 

 

What We Saw at the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI Expo 2019 PPAI ExpoTech promotional products have been popular for a while and this year was no exception.  Wireless chargers for phones are all the rage.  They are easy to brand and everyone needs a phone charger.  The upside of a promotional wireless phone charger is that it will likely be used often so your brand will constantly be in front of whoever receives your promotional product.  Additionally, we saw some cool octopus-style charging cords that can charge multiple devices, of different kinds (smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.), at once.

 

 

Our Takeaways from the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI ExpoThe best part about the 2019 PPAI Expo is not necessarily the event itself, but all that we learn and take home to our clients.  We are most excited about a movement in our industry called PromoCares.  With PromoCares, all of our clients have access to supplies in our industry that give back to others in some way.  If you’ve read our blog before, you know that we believe strongly in not just connecting the dots for our clients but serving the community in which we live and leveraging the power of our clients to support organizations that give back. 

We cannot wait to share all that we learned at the conference with our clients.  If you are planning your 2019 marketing calendar or are ready to plan your next promotional products campaign, we at Connect the Dots would love to meet with you. We would be happy to share with you about the latest and greatest products in our industry and how you can utilize promotional products to promote your business and encourage brand loyalty.

05Nov/18

Holiday Promotional Products & Branded Year-End Gifts

holiday promotional productsIt has come to the time of year known as the ‘holiday season’ and with that, as well as the end of the calendar year, comes a lot of celebration.  Everyone enjoys being appreciated and rewarded for a year of hard work and customer loyalty.  First up on the holiday agenda is Thanksgiving and that reminds us that we have a lot to be thankful for.  Within the business world, we are thankful for our business, thankful for our employees, thankful for our customers, thankful for our friends and partners in our industry.  And, it is exactly that thankful spirit that we want to channel when we order holiday promotional products or year-end promotional products to give as gifts.

While there are promotional products for any budget, this is the time of year to really impress employees and customers with your thankfulness for the previous year and get them excited for the year to come.  Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, there is always something to celebrate this time of year, so we have broken down holiday promotional products into 3 primary categories to help you choose your end-of-year gifts.  The possibilities are endless so if you need help choosing or ordering your business holiday promotional products, Connect the Dots Promotions has the experience and knowledge you need to help you narrow down your choice and get your products ordered in time for the holiday season!

Holiday Promotional Products

Holiday Apparel Promotional Products
Promotional Jacket or Pullover
  • Everyone wants to be warm and cozy during the cold winter months and what better way to stay warm than with a cozy, branded jacket or pullover.  A custom branded jacket or pullover is not only functional and very useful but a great marketing tool because it will share your brand wherever the wearer goes.
Promotional Hat
      • Everyone needs a great hat and with a stylish branded hat, your employee or customer will be happy to represent your brand on their head!
Promotional T-Shirt
      • You can never have too many t-shirts and a branded t-shirt can be a handy promotional product.  You can encourage employees to wear their company shirt to work or company events and you can encourage customers to wear your shirt to your events or as part of a loyalty program.
Holiday Food Promotional Products
Promotional Chocolate, Popcorn, Nuts, Oh My!
      • It is pretty hard to go wrong giving someone a yummy treat! Whether you want to give a promotional food item to employees or customers, there is a myriad of options at a wide array of price points to accommodate any budget.  Food is always a crowd pleaser and they will remember who was so generous while they happily snack the day away!
Holiday Gadget Promotional Products
Promotional Tech
      • Everyone loves technology.  Anyone can always use a (or another!) PopSocket or portable Bluetooth speaker. You can print your brand right on it, a special message, a name or anything else you can think of and give the gift of technology this holiday season.
Promotional Water Bottle/Mug/Tumbler
      • Reusable water bottles, mugs, and tumblers are not only useful but eco-friendly.  They reduce waste and save money so they are already great, but once they are branded with your company logo, they will be even better because they will be a mobile marketing tool!
27Sep/18

8 Fun School Spirit Promotional Products to Show Your School Pride!

Get in the School Spirit with Promotional Products!

We all love to root for our favorite home team, represent our alma mater with pride, or show off our school colors!  Being a part of a school community is fun but the fun can be further enhanced with school spirit promotional items.  Whether you are preparing for ‘back-to-school,’ have a school spirit shop, a big homecoming game, athletic events, academic events, or just want to represent your school with pride every day, there are a wide array of promotional products that will excellently represent your school spirit.

Give Consumers What They Want & Foster School Loyalty with Promotional Products

School spirit promotional products never go out of style.  And, even if there are extras you can always give them away as a gesture of goodwill or reward for an achievement, or you could sell them in your school spirit shop! PPAI points out that smart young consumers (high school and college students, for example) are eager to be on trend while representing their school spirit during their school years and as alumni as well, “With more than 20 million students roaming U.S. college campuses this fall, building brand loyalty among them seems as easy as a course in underwater basketweaving. But the tastes and opinions of these savvy young consumers are as diverse as their backgrounds, so campaigns need to be thoughtful, targeted and on trend…Tote bags and backpacks, including inexpensive drawstring bags, are popular as well, she says. “Totes are used to carry stuff at events; backpacks are given out at orientation to carry books and laptops; drawstring bags are used to advertise events.” Rounding out the top three for Larick’s clients are portable drinkware options. “Disposable water bottles are being banned on many campuses we work with,” she says. “Students often carry water bottles and thermal coffee mugs around campus.” School spirit continues to live on for many alumni, particularly those who participated in campus organizations such as sports teams, fraternities and sororities.”  Custom school spirit promotional products will show off your school pride in style, provide traveling marketing opportunities for more people to learn about your school, serve many helpful purposes, and ultimately – they are a lot of fun!  

8 Fun School Spirit Promotional Products
  1. Drawstring Bag
      • Every kid can use a drawstring bag to tote their gym clothes, shoes, books, or other items!
  1. Cups or Tumblers
      • Everyone in the family will love having a custom school spirit cup or tumbler!
  1. Sports Ball
      • Whether you opt to customize a football, basketball, soccer ball, baseball or volleyball – custom school balls are great gifts! Give them to school athletic team members, students or families!
  1. Pens & Pencils
      • Pens and pencils are necessary school writing tools. They are also some of the most inexpensive promotional products! These budget-friendly school spirit promotional products are a great choice!
  1. Notebooks
      • Jot down class notes in style or just have a handy notebook at the ready with a custom logo notebook.
  1. Lanyards
      • Most schools today require student ID cards or badge.  A custom logo lanyard is not only spreading school spirit but a helpful accessory to promote school security!
  1. Hats
      • Hats are a staple in the promotional product industry, and for good reason – everybody loves a great hat!  It is the easiest and most convenient way to represent your favorite school while also keeping the sun out of your eyes!
  1. Stadium Seats or Cushions
      • Cheering on your school team can sometimes last hours but that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable!  Sit on a customized school spirit stadium seat or cushion!

Connect the Dots Can Customize Your School Spirit Promotional Products!

At Connect the Dots Promotions, we recently had the opportunity to work with Scottsdale Christian Academy on their school spirit promotional products and we can’t wait to see them in action at their 2018 Homecoming football game! Go team go!