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Summer Event Ideas

Summertime is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the many community events!
Many colleges participate in state or county fairs to promote their schools to the greater community. We commonly support schools in such efforts. Here is a photo collage of summer event ideas that we’ve created for clients:

promotional ideas for events

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.

UWM State Fair shirt design

UWM State Fair t-shirt Imprint tied in with social media.

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:

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!

 

How to Find the Right Promotional Item

One of first questions that comes to mind when selecting promotional items is:

What are we going to give our target audience?

With over 24,000+ items available, this can be a daunting question.

As promotional Idea Explorers, we love to investigate options to help you answer this question.  With a little background information on the your audience and desired distribution, we go to work discovering the best promotional products for you.

There are MANY Right Answers

We discover and present several options for you to review, selecting items that can effectively target the lifestyle, needs, values, and aspirations of your audience.  The better you know your audience, the more tailored the promotional item can be. While still being brand-related, promotional items should be relevant and useful.  In almost every case, promotional products are appreciated, as a tangible “gift” from your organization. Nevertheless, the right idea and quality does impact usage and effectiveness, so it’s important to select and invest wisely.

Consider these two statistics from PPAI industry research:

  • 53% of consumers use promotional items ONCE a WEEK or more!
  • 47% of consumers KEEP promotional items for ONE YEAR or longer!

Promotional items have a high potential frequency and longevity! The right item can be used again and again, exposing your brand to your prospects or customers on a regular basis.  Compared to other media, promotional products have a relatively low cost and provide repeated exposure to a message, since items are kept for so long – that’s effective advertising!

Case Study: Finding a Prized Tech Item

To illustrate how well-selected promotional ideas help promote your brand, we share a case study from the University of Minnesota’s Student Unions & Activities. They needed an item to increase awareness of their brand and encourage involvement from college students, faculty, and staff. Learn how Magellan Promotions account manager shared a top tech product idea that became the perfect prize for the Student Unions & Activities contest. Read Case Study.

 

 

Help Stop the Melt – 5 Ways to Integrate Promotional Products into Social Media

“Most schools will see a melt of 2-3% of their incoming class,” according to Bob Patterson, the Director of College Outreach for Zinch, a Chegg service, who discussed Summer Melt on edTech Digest.

Some of the strategies he outlined to prevent summer melt included creating a social network for deposited students and simply getting students excited about coming to campus.

Students Engaged Online = Less Likely to Melt

Encouraging accepted and deposited students to join and participate in a school’s social media sites is a common goal at EVERY higher education institution throughout the year, and most importantly during summer. To increase participation, it may take some incentive for students to actively post on an incoming class’ social media site.

To increase social media engagement, many colleges creatively use promotional products to promote and drive usage on incoming class sites.  A tangible item is a fun way of saying “thank-you for choosing our school” and an appreciated reminder of your school and its dedicated social media sites over summer. Here are a few promotional product ideas that collegiate clients frequently integrate with their social media campaigns:

Product Ideas for Social Media Integration

  1. Contests: Use promotional items as a prize on social media contests. Ripon College hosted a water bottle photo contest with the Class of 2017.  It was successful in creating engagement with the new class, leading to many new interactions and conversations in the social media space. Learn more in the Ripon College Case Study.
    Ripon College Water Bottles used in Facebook Contest

    Ripon College Water Bottles used in Facebook Contest

  2. Imprinting Twitter handles and social media accounts on a t-shirt.  Bloomfield College has been hosting a t-shirt promotion for three years.  Once students took a picture of themselves with their Accept Certificate and posted it online, they would be mailed a t-shirt.  According to Bloomfield College, each year the number of posts surpasses the previous year, making this promotion a big hit with students.  Learn more in the Bloomfield College T-shirt and Social Media Promotion Case Study.
    bloomfield-college-tshirt

    Bloomfield College T-Shirt and Social Media Promotion

  3. Stickers / Decals: These are a low-cost, direct-mail-friendly item that can easily be imprinted to direct students to social media sites for admitted / deposited students.  One college we worked with created bumper stickers to include in an admitted student mailing.  Students were encouraged to post pictures of themselves with the bumper sticker on the admitted student Facebook page.
    Midland Prep Two Sided Postcard Decal

    Postcard on one side and decals on the other. Available in white or clear with an adhesive or static cling

  4. Phone Screen Cleaner: The DigiClean phone screen cleaner is one of our most popular tech items with colleges.  It comes pre-attached to a postcard or business card, leaving an ample canvas for featuring a QR code, social media icons, and hashtags for incoming students. Read more in the DigiClean Case Study.
    DigClean Mobile Phone Screen Cleaner comes pre-affixed to a postcard, making it ideal for direct mail, not to mention extremely useful for students.

    DigClean Mobile Phone Screen Cleaner comes pre-affixed to a postcard, making it ideal for direct mail, not to mention extremely useful for students.

  5. Picture-worthy Promo Items:  a custom frame with the hashtag #FutureBadgers for the University of Wisconsin – Madison was used to integrate social media into campus tours, allowing prospective students show their excitement and actively endorse UW Madison to their own social networks.  This frame could also be created for Class of 2018 at admitted student days or orientation activities. Learn more about it in the Custom Frame Case Study.
    Future-Badgers-Frame-Campus-tour

    Custom Frame is a fun photo-opp for students with a specific hashtag for online sharing.

Social media plays a key role in building community and helping students find their place at your school.  It’s essential to effectively promote admitted / deposited student sites to minimize the melt.  Consider using promotional products to help engage and excite students throughout summer.

Much More than Tchotchkes.

Tchotchkes. Trinkets. Trash. Swag. Promotional products go by so many names.  The power of promotional products is much greater than just the “stuff.”  Promotional products can motivate, recognize, brand, appreciate, communicate, and start a relationship. With over 83% of people saying that they like receiving promotional items, this is truly a marketing medium that is here to stay – whatever you decide to call it.

In terms of media sales, promotional items are an $18 billion industry that is growing. In 2012 sales were up 4.4%, reaching the highest level in five years and the third-best year ever. UPDATE – Last year sales reached the $19.8 Billion mark, making it the industry’s best year ever!!

While it’s smaller than other media types, as indicated in the chart below, promotional products are an effective part of any marketing mix.

Media Sales Comparison chart

Source: Promotional Products Business Magazine, May 2013
Sales shown in $ Billions

Promotional items can easily be integrated with other forms of media, such as product placement, event marketing, and direct mail – just to name a few.  Look at this brief list of examples:

Product placement

  • Coca Cola Cups used by American Idol Judges
  • Coffee mug used by local news anchor
  • Apparel  worn for TV / video appearance
  • Banners placed for best camera angles

Event Marketing

Direct Mail

Gain higher response rates when including a direct mail premium.  In a Silver Marketing Group Study, the direct mail piece that included a promotional item increased response rates by 50%.  In addition, the direct mail piece that featured an offer for a promotional item increased response rates by 400%, when compared to a letter only.  Some ideas to consider:

  • Three-dimensional mailing with a promotional item
  • Larger size or colorful direct mail piece with an offer of a promotional item
  • Encourage visiting your booth at event – for example send ½ of a pen and receive the other ½ at the booth

As with any successful marketing campaign, it’s essential to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.  A relevant and useful promotional item can reinforce a marketing message to your audience.  Repeat exposure increases the likelihood of recall, which can ultimately lead to action.  PPAI research shows that more purchases are made after a consumer receives a promotional product than after viewing a TV, print, or online ad.  Promotional items stay in front of your target audience to help close the deal.

When planning to buy promotional items, be sure that it is tied into a plan.  Too often promotional items become an afterthought, which can limit its effectiveness of reinforcing a brand’s message.  Rely on an experience promotional consultant, who will understand overall objectives and the target audience to select a useful item that will be appreciated.  We at Magellan Collegiate Promotions are here to help make promotional marketing work in tandem with existing efforts to help rise above the stigma of “trinkets and trash.”  Contact us for ideas on more than just tchotchkes.

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