An umbrella makes a great promotional gift because everyone needs one, but who really wants to go out and buy one? You can also never have too many umbrellas – keep one in the car, one at the house, one at the office, and more!
A few weeks ago Peerless Umbrella, our go-to production partner for umbrellas, stopped by our office to tell us about what’s new and trending in umbrellas.
Read on to learn more about our favorite umbrellas!
What’s New – The Rebel
The newest addition to Peerless’ line is the most unique umbrella we’ve ever seen – the Rebel.
We’ve all been in the situation where it’s pouring rain as you’re running to your car, and you have to make a quick decision. Do I try to get my umbrella closed as I’m in the car and risk getting my car wet, or do I just get soaked and close it before I get in? The Rebel is the solution to your problem.
With an inverted design the Rebel closes away from you, keeping you dry as you get into your car or walk into a building.
Click the image to the right to see exactly how it works!
What’s Trending – Unique Use of Color
We all have seen the basic black umbrella or the standard two-tone umbrella, but are you looking for something that can make you stand out from the crowd?
We can help you do that! From a new twist on the two-tone umbrella to a black umbrella with full-color clouds on the interior, we have just what you need to make a unique statement for your brand.
Check out our favorite to the left – the Mojo comes in black or navy blue with accented internal hardware in a variety of colors.
What’s Trending – Full Color
Do you have a logo that’s too unique for a standard single-color print? How about a picture of a new building or location that you want to show off? We’ve got the solution – a full color umbrella!
Pick from folding, fashion or golf for the handle and frame, and an interior or exterior full color print. An added bonus? On some sizes and designs we’re able to print domestically, cutting almost two full months off of production time.
It is sure to make your stand out from the crowd on a rainy day!
For More Information
Would an umbrella be the perfect fit for a project you’re working on, or would you just like more information? Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we can present some options that will be the perfect accent for your next marketing campaign. We’re here to make your brand stand out from the crowd, rain or shine!
I bet many (if not all) of your incoming freshmen applied to your school through your website – most likely sitting at a computer. During the next four years of their lives, your students will spend countless hours on their computers – writing and researching papers, completing homework assignments and more. And that’s just the incoming class of 2020. Think about all the ways that your constituents use their computers – students writing papers, alumni making donations and faculty advising their students, just to name a few.
Since computers and technology are such an integral part of life today for your current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and more, what better way to keep your brand right in front of them than by using their own computers as a promotional item?
Our exclusively designed keyboard sticker is an inexpensive, engaging and unique way to do just that. You can customize any computer key with a ½” sticker, quickly making a keyboard the hard-to-miss advertisement for your institution.
These keyboard stickers have been a hit with many of our clients and they are the perfect way for you to reach out to current and perspective students, donors, alumni and more.
Many schools have used the same template, but do you want to switch it up? We can do that! Add more keys, make a bigger card, or even turn the keyboard sticker into a postcard. If you can design it, we can do it.
Email your Account Manager to discuss how the keyboard sticker could be the next great addition to your marketing platform.
First on our list is the PopSocket. We’re seeing a lot of in-hand phone holders pop up (no pun intended) and knew the PopSocket had to be on our list. Just stick it to the back of almost any mobile device to transform your phone. PopSockets “pop” whenever you need a grip, a stand, or an earbud-management system. We love these so much, Katie our Account Manager and Danielle our Marketing Manager currently have them on the back of their phones!
With a large imprint area and many color combinations, PopSockets makes the perfect gift for students, admitted events, welcome packs, and more!
It’s time to upgrade your poncho’s! We know you’ve seen poncho’s before, but never ones like these. Tough, heavy-duty, adult PVC Poncho with roomy hood is exactly what we’ve been waiting for!
The quality and retail-like appearance makes these poncho’s a go-to for games, event outings, welcome packs, and alumni! 11 rich color options, front and back imprint areas, and snap closures creates a unique poncho that will be kept and reused for many events and years to come!
3. Custom Packaging
With the New Year comes a great way to customize your items even further. Now you can combine the power of promotional products with personalized packaging! Imagine taking a pair of promotional sunglasses and putting them in an individualized custom box. Custom packaging turns a gift into a true brand advocate, strengthening brand recognition, and adding perceived value! It’s also a great way to include more information to a promotional gift!
Add organization to admitted events, alumni gatherings, and recognition ceremonies with custom boxes, sleeves, bindings, and more! With a retail-look, low prices, and low quantities custom packaging helps take your gifts to the next level.
This 100% ring spun cotton tee is a softer, lighter, and more high end style of cotton that gives this a perfectly relaxed feel. Coming in sizes S-6XL the Fan Favorite Tee features that heathered appearance that’s on our Top Trends list of 2016. Not to mention, this tee already comes in 31 genuine Collegiate and Professional Sports Team colors!
These tees are the premiere choice for volunteer days, admissions, and alumni events! The Fan Favorite is the perfect lived-in tee that’s sure to be worn again and again.
Time to liven up your direct mailers by adding a custom tattoo or scratch-off! Choose from their hundreds of stock designs or create your own. Available in the classic temporary, PrismFoil Metallic, Glow-in-the-Dark, Glitter, or Tear-Off.
Temporary tattoos and scratch off’s are an interactive way for students to show their support at admitted events, sports outings, welcome week, and more!
Nothing’s more relevant than emoji’s right now. Emoji’s are so popular 2015’s Word of the Year was “ ” We’re staying on trend with these new Emoji stress balls! All of our
favorite emoji’s made the cut: Yikes, ILY, Wink Wink, Happy Face, and LOL.
Emoji stress balls delight at admitted events, in Finals Survival Kits, and at departmental giveaways. If you’re looking for
something on trend that student’s will not only recognize, appreciate, and keep then these are the ones for you!
Bring brand recognition to students and faculties everyday lives with the all new Micro-USB to USB Cables. Phones aren’t leaving our hands anytime soon and unfortunately in 2016 our phones still need to be charged. Why not add your brand to an everyday much needed item? One of a kind, full-color, photo-quality imprinted cables highlights their precision, color, and high-definition detail on both sides. Compatible with all micro-USB ports including Apple®.
This charging cord will stand out from the crowd and be the ultra-modern promotional gift that you’ll be thanked for! Great for admitted events, welcome gifts, alumni events, and more!
Being eco-friendly is always a positive that’s why we added plantable paper to our top 10 list! Good old fashion paper can be replaced with all-natural seed paper to create endless promotional products!
Bookmarks, coasters, coupons, postcards, greeting cards, letters, business cards , event invitations, and more! Adding eco-friendly materials to an everyday item creates memorability and helps our planet stay green!
This is the perfect way for your students to show their support and school colors! The vinyl ultra-removable keyboard sticker offers brilliant digital color and durable material.
These are a fun and interactive item that we’re excited to feature this year! Individualize your departments by adding a custom keyboard sticker to computers or hand them out at admitted events!
Did you ever think a published book could be a promotional product? Well now it can be! This unique product actually allows you to customize published books on the market. Everything from the Giving Tree to The College Dorm Survival Guide is available for customization. Modifications like a cover imprint, a page insert, a full color wrap, and custom book jacket are all possible with The Book Company.
First of all, this is just cool! Have you ever seen anything like it? Books make incredible promotional items because books are kept, read, shared, and even displayed; never thrown away! We love the idea of books for welcome packs, scholarship events, recognition events, and even giveaways.
1. EOS Lip Balm
What is it?:
EOS has come to the promotional products world and we couldn’t be more excited! These uniquely spherical lip balms made their explosive start in the retail world and their growth has only accelerated. Not only do we love the duo packaging option pictured above, we love EOS’s quality. Containing an antioxidant-rich formula featuring vitamin E and soothing shea butter, EOS keeps lips soft and moisturized throughout the work day.
Why we love it?:
Nothing says thank you like an EOS Lip Balm. Consider these for employee appreciation, administrative professionals, or even health focused events. With 8 color and flavor options EOS’ take on the classic Lip Balm makes a great promotional gift with a large imprint area!
2. Phone Port
What is it?:
This all new phone port is exactly what we’ve all been waiting for. With a simplistic and clean design it not only charges one phone, it can charge 4 at once. The twist on the modern phone port upgrades the use-ability, imprint area, and memorability of this great gift!
Why we love it?:
Phone ports are great simply because everyone has a phone! They’re forever useful; but this port takes it to the next level. These are the perfect gifts to welcome new employees, staff giveaways, and even incentive programs.
3. The Tile
What is it?:
The Tile is a new product perfect for forgetful minds. This device fits perfectly on your key ring and works to track your most needed daily items. Simply attach a Tile to an item, use The Tile App on your phone to locate it, and within seconds the Tile is chirping with sound to help you on your quest! Need to find your phone? Press the Tile to loudly ring your lost phone; it’ll even switch it off of silent mode in order to ring!
The best part of the product is the app works to create a network of all Tile users across the world. That means if you’ve lost your phone at an airport or even another county, The Tile App will connect with other users Tile’s to help search for yours!
Why we love it?:
Amazing right? We think so! Imagine a promotional gift like this one. Not only is this just extremely helpful, but it’s something that will be kept and used every day. When you include a company logo the value simply increases with more use. We think these are perfect gifts for administrative professional’s day, incentive programs, and giveaways!
4. Tech Trap
What is it?:
Let’s face it, we love our gadgets. Phones, laptops, tablets, headphones, speakers, etc. and not to mention all of the cords to go with them! Well that’s where the Gird-It steps in. Organizing tech becomes a breeze with Grid-It’s unique weave of rubberized elastic bands perfect for holding personal objects firmly in place. This “tech trap” is designed to provide an endless configuration of objects, digital devices, and personal effects; making this a universally useful item.
Why we love it?:
Our gadgets aren’t going away any time soon which makes this the perfect promotional gift! Your staff, engineers, designers, and everyone else will thank you for the added organization in their lives! Useful, modern, trending, personal, and a daily use item makes the Grid-It a true top 10!
What is it?:
Did you ever think a published book could be a promotional product? Well now it can be! This unique product actually allows you to customize published books on the market. Everything from the Giving Tree to The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is available for customization. Modifications like a cover imprint, a page insert, a full color wrap, and custom book jacket are all possible with The Book Company.
Why we love it?:
First of all, this is just cool! Have you ever seen anything like it? Books make incredible promotional items because books are kept, read, shared, and even displayed; never thrown away! We love books for recognition, business outreach, employee appreciate, and even giveaways. When you give the gift of reading; your clients won’t be disappointed!
6. Kitted Sets
What is it?:
An easy way to bring your promotional gifts to the next level would be to “kit” them. To “kit” is an industry term we use to describe more than one item being bundled together in one gift.
Why we love it?:
This is your one stop shop for a promotional gift. Everything from hats & t-shirts, water bottles, bags and water bottles, tech gear, and more can be kitted together! Kitted items make the perfect gifts for office incentive programs, health days, acknowledgement gifts, and more!
What is it?:
Being eco-friendly is always a positive that’s why we added plantable paper to our top 10 list! Good old fashion paper can be replaced with all-natural seed paper to create memorability and helps our planet stay green!
Why we love it?:
Greeting cards, letters, business cards, coasters, event invitations, and more! The possibilities are endless!
8. The Gala
What is it?:
Haven’t we all been to an event where we’re trying to hold an appetizer plate, a drink, and still have a free hand to golf, shake hands, or converse?
Well The Gala puts us all to shame with its simple yet effective design. No more balancing cheese and crackers on top of your drink as you make introductions. This single-finger plate allows the beverage to easily nestle alongside it as it’s held in place by the user’s index finger.
Why we love it?:
This is truly the ultimate cocktail plate to make the attendees of your next event mingle with ease! With a large imprint area and high quality heavyweight plastic there’s no doubt these will be a hit and make a lasting impression!
What is it?
No wood grain isn’t coming back (at least we hope not) but what is coming back is wood. That’s why we’ve included a few of the brand new wooden desk items of 2016. Wood has a high perceived value and is a relatively inexpensive material making these gifts a unique and affordable option.
Why we love it?:
Wooden desk gifts are a great way to welcome new employees, recognize years of service, and ensure your brand is always top of mind!
10. The Force
What is it?
Do these look familiar? If they do you’re probably familiar with the brand Swell that’s taking the retail world by storm! We’re staying on trend with our industries version, The Force! Double walled, stainless steel, thermal, with copper vacuum insulation available in sizes 34, 26, and 17 ounces.
Why we love it?:
We are seeing these bottles everywhere! They’re trendy, extremely useful and features a huge customizable imprint area. Perfect for health focused events/days, employee incentive programs, and holiday gifts!
We LOVE discovering new and creative ideas for our clients. In some cases, we even create a custom item to fit client’s needs.
This was the case for one recent project for the College of Engineering Alumni Office at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. This definitely was a unique application for a tiny, keyboard key sized sticker. It is an affordable, fun, and one “key” way to promote school spirit and overall love for your alma mater at a workplace or home office.
We think this item will really catch on and have since created another one for the University of Minnesota Law School.
Suggested uses: handout at alumni events, direct mail, admitted student mailings
What do you think of the custom keyboard sticker? Let us know in the comments below or contact us for more information!
View product details and pricing HERE.
For more sticker options, check out the posts below:
In an increasingly digital world, many traditional brochures and multi-page books are being adapted for an online format. Many colleges are following this trend and taking their viewbooks online. There are many benefits to digital viewbooks, including:
- Reduce overall print costs
- Cost savings on postage for both domestic and international students
- Easier to correct online publications with updates
Cost reduction and ease of updates are certainly appealing to many schools. However, one question often remains before schools make the transition to digital viewbooks:
How will students find the online viewbook?
Beyond simple links throughout the website, many schools are looking for a tangible item that can replace a hard copy viewbook or large printed catalog. One promotional product solution that is ideal for driving web traffic to a specific URL is an item called the webkey.
Similar to the look of a USB drive, a webkey is pre-programmed with a URL that automatically takes users to your viewbook (or whatever site you specify) when plugged into a USB port. While a USB drive could also store many e-publications, a webkey is a more affordable solution with a longer shelf-life than a USB port because the programmed URL can simply be updated with the latest viewbook. To make it easier to handout or mail, a webkey can come pre-attached to a full color postcard, which can provide instructions on how to use it.
More Tracking Options
Want to track opens, and add in survey questions? There’s an upgraded webkey called the iCue that can do that. Since it’s often difficult to track the effectiveness of a printed viewbook, a webkey powered viewbook can provide detailed tracking through an administrators page.
Here are a few highlights of the iCue:
- Better Tracking – when the webkey is plugged into a computer, data will be sent to the administrator’s page. This will provide data on the number of impressions or view rate as a result of your webkey.
- Optional one-time registration allows for collecting additional data about your target audience. From the admin page, you can easily add and customize the desired questions. The collected data will show up in the admin page, giving information on which recipients used the product, making it very easy to schedule follow-up calls or emails with these contacts.
- Easy Contest Administration – using the admin panel, you can track who opened and registered on your site, which makes it easy to hold a drawing for a prize incentive. Promote the drawing on an included 5×7 postcard to encourage visits. Incentives for students include: coupon to your university book store, waive or reduce the application fee, voucher for athletic events, or branded promotional items.
Webkey Case Study
One case study describes how Milwaukee School of Engineering used web keys to successfully promote and drive traffic to a new admissions website. Web keys were the ideal solution for MSOE – seamlessly directing users their new Bridge site. Read more about how MSOE Admissions used the webkey here.
If you’re interested in a trackable, engaging promotional item for directing your target audience to an online viewbook, a webkey is THE ideal solution. View the links below for more product information, or contact us to further discuss your online marketing strategies.
Links for More Information
- Webkeys and Direct Mail Premiums – See the two webkeys listed in the top line.
- Enhancing International Student Recruitment with Promotional Marketing
A community event is an opportunity to connect with an audience in a fun and exciting way. Having staff wear branded apparel and handing out a promotional item is a way to make your school memorable both during AND after the event.
At events promotional item can:
- Help drive people to your display and activities
- Serve as a reminder of the experience with your school after the event ends
- Promote word of mouth marketing, whenever anyone sees your swag
- Increase brand recall and recognition to support your school
- Tie-in with social media accounts to increase your brand’s reach beyond the event
For these reasons, we highly recommend using your brand colors and logo across multiple items. As in the photo collage above, a tote bag is a visible canvas for your logo throughout the event. While we created that bag for the Tosa Farmer’s Market, a similar idea could be applied to any school’s presence. Whenever you’re giving people handouts, a tote bag, drawstring bag, or plastic bag with your logo on it provides a convenient, useful take-away.
Another example of a school that we support for community events is the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. The sunglasses and paw print fans pictured in the collage above were used for the Wisconsin State Fair. Temporary tattoos, visors in school colors, and yellow t-shirts were also used for their presence.
Social Media Tie-In Ideas
One strategy to bring the event to a wider audience is imprinting a hashtag or Twitter handle onto promotional items, just as UWM did one their t-shirt imprint last year.
To create buzz and excitement on Twitter, The University of Wisconsin – Madison used the custom #FutureBadger frame at campus visit days and UW-Homecoming. Such frames, school mascots or fun backdrops create an eye-catching photo-opp for event attendees. Photos are then often shared on social media to increase your exposure. Photo-opp attractions are an excellent way to create an interactive display and draw a crowd!
More Event Ideas
For more inspiration and ideas, see UWM’s promotional items in use at the fair the links below:
- 2014 UWM Day at State Fair Pictures
- UWM Paw Print Fan Case Study
- General Event Product Ideas
- How to Integrate Promotional Items into Events for Colleges features this UWM video:
Since promotional items serve as a reminder of a brand experience, it’s important to select items that reflect your brand identity. We recommend advance planning with an experienced promotional consultant, who can discover the right ideas and share examples from other colleges and universities. We are here to support your summer event planning needs – simply contact us to get started. Happy event planning and have a great summer!
For direct mail that really stands out in the mail pile and grabs attention consider adding dimension, eye-catching colors, and a promotional item. According to industry research, investing in direct mail will help deliver a bigger bang for your buck. Consider the following stats:
- 4.4% is the average response rate of standard mail (Direct Marketing Association).
- 3D mailings receive a 250% better response rate than standard mail (Direct Marketing Association)
- A direct mail piece that includes a promotional item can increase response rates by 50% (Silver Marketing Group Study).
While a color imprint, unique shape or bright sticker may help draw more eyeballs to standard flat mail, 3D packaging provides a larger canvas for imprinting artwork and messaging. Here are a few 3D direct mail ideas that can enhance your next mail campaign:
Imprinted Mailing Pack
One sample that exemplifies this is the Poly Pak.
Imprint in full color on both sides of the packaging to showcase your company. This would be one way to spruce up mailing envelopes used for sending literature.
The Greeting Cube
For smaller packages with more durability, the Greeting Cube is an ideal option. Saint Louis University used this packaging to mail USB drives to prospective students for the John Cook School of Business. Imagine what your school, business or organization could create for each of the panels by looking at the Saint Louis University images below:
Pricing includes the cube assembly, product insertion, and shrink-wrapping. Additional personalization is available through variable printing, so individual names could be imprinted for an additional charge.
Another 3D packaging mailing option is BookWear, a shrink wrapped book-shaped package that contains a promotional item. As indicated in the recruiting college students information, BookWear has a high open rate and conversion rate due to its novel appeal. Here is one collegiate sample of a compressed t-shirt inside of BookWear:
The standard print area for BookWear is 9 inches wide by 4.5 inches high, though custom sizes are available. See our BookWear Showroom for more details. You can also view this YouTube video to see other samples of BookWear items.
3D Direct Mail Case Study
Last but not least, we recently helped law firm DeWitt Ross & Stevens with a 3D mailing that included an imprinted phone stand promotional item and informational insert. This was a very creative and successful branding initiative for the firm. Learn more about how we helped recommend the right promotional item and more specific details of their prospecting mail campaign in our 3D Direct Mail Case Study.
3D or lumpy mail is a worthwhile investment for helping increase response rates and overall effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns. For more ideas, peruse our direct mail showroom, or contact us for more information.
One thing that is true of the promotional products industry is there are literally THOUSANDS of products! It’s easy to search and search for the perfect idea with so many choices, which can get a bit overwhelming.
That’s where we come in. We sort through the latest ideas for 2015 and organize them into categories to make it easier for you to find what applies to your school and organization. We did just this with our notes and pictures from the PPAI Expo to highlight several trends and top promotional ideas for admissions departments.
New Ideas for Admissions
Starting at the top left, we’ll discuss how each promotional idea relates to admissions marketing.
- Custom Imprinted Box – 3D direct mail really makes a statement. We’ve seen some creative admissions acceptance mailings, and we think a custom imprinted box would be a fun way to say, “You’re IN!” For a smaller sized mailing, we especially like the Greeting Cube, which can be imprinted on both the inside and outside of the box. A higher value mailing could also be used to target specific student populations at various stages of the enrollment funnel. According to the Direct Marketing Association, 3D mailings receive a 250% better response rate than standard mail, so it’s a great way to keep prospective students engaged with your school. For more direct mail ideas, see our Direct Mail Showroom.
- Mini Polaroid Camera – as we talked about in Help Students Picture Their Future at your School, a Polaroid camera would be a fun way to instantly provide a picture to a prospective student visiting campus.
- Tech Tattoos – These ultra removable decals are an inexpensive, safe and easy way to personalize electronic gadgets. The stickers are designed for laptops, tablets, e-readers, cell phones, music players, game consoles, and more. People love to show school spirit on their devices, making these tech tattoos ideal for prospective students (either in a direct mail piece with information or an event handout). We also would recommend custom sticker sheets, such as the ones Wartburg College created with us.
- Luggage Tag – These high quality, embroidered luggage tags are a favorite idea for admitted students. It could easily be used in a get ready to “pack your bags” and come to our school themed event or mailing.
- Custom Pen Holder – Do you have a landmark on campus that would make a fun, custom pen holder? This is a unique idea for high school couselors. There are so many options – check out the catalog here. Desk items are a gold standard among promotional products, meaning your brand gains more exposure when its displayed on a desk.
- DigiClean Mailer – We’ve written about the DigiClean many times (NACAC Top Products, DigiClean Testimonials, as one of our most popular tech screen cleaning promotional items. DigiClean products come affixed to a direct mail card, so additional school information can be promoted on a larger space than the DigiClean itself. DigiClean and DigiGrip are items that literally “stick around” and resonate with tech-savvy prospective students. Click here for a link to the DigiClean Showroom.
Which items are you most interested in for your school or college? Let us know if you’ve seen any unique promotional products that colleges are using in the comments below.
Looking for more product ideas? See our Top New Promotional Products for Colleges blog post.