29 Jan

Making A Strong First Impression

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 29.01.10 by John Meloche

We have a lot of fun around here at Synergy Marketing Consultants. In fact, we have been told by many of our customers that we employ a pretty zany bunch. And while our staff boasts a wide array of individuals of all personality types, we can't help but agree with that comment. But how can you blame us? Our sales staff at Synergy know what it takes to help businesses thrive and they are all too excited to inform you about it.

Our promotional items have been helping entrepreneurs take their companies to the next levels for many years. Often, when a member of our sales staff contacts a business owner, he or she is first met with a sense of hesitancy. We understand this. Especially in today's economy, it makes perfect sense for a business owner to carefully consider his or her budget before making a decision about his or her spending options.

The key question that our staff is all too excited to answer for a business owner is ?How can I make this work for me??. We, of course, offer up a series of scenarios. Among the most popular is the situation that involves networking opportunities. Trade shows, conventions and even golf tournaments and company barbeques can all serve as opportune meeting places for entrepreneurs.

When meeting someone for the first time, it's always important to make a strong first impression, right? Well, we hear from our clients all the time about situations in which they wish they could have had a second chance to do that. But we all know that that's not possible. Those same clients are often calling us back after ordering their first round of promo gifts to tell us just how much they helped develop a wealth of new relationships.

We have even found this out ourselves. Our nifty Hockey Schedule Pens, for example, have always been a huge hit at social engagements. Hockey fans or not, when a member of our staff pulls out the crafty writing utensil and proceeds to pull out the schedule wrapped around the barrel, onlookers react as if a magic show was being performed.

Many of our friends and clients appear amazed at this fine product. It's a simple concept and most certainly an inexpensive item, but it does exactly what it was intended to do. Make a great first impression.

Now, since these pens contain our company's name, logo, phone number and website on the barrels, we are now getting orders for them all the time. Our business, obviously, has increased as a result of making these impressions, and yours can too.

With so many promo items to choose from, you know that one of our sales staff will be only too happy to discuss your options with you. Give us a call today and get your company to the next level by impressing the socks off the next would-be customer you meet!

Comments Off on Making A Strong First Impression

28 Jan

Another Freezing Weekend Ahead For Toronto

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 28.01.10 by John Meloche

You know, things were going just fine. Torontonians were experiencing what appeared to be one of the mildest winters in years this January. Barely a flake of snow on the ground and temperatures nearing the double digit mark were becoming commonplace in Canada's biggest city.

Perhaps someone out there spoke too soon. Some smart alec in the GTA must have uttered the words, ?Boy, we're having an awesome winter so far. I bet it won't snow again until next year!?. Thanks, buddy.

Just when you thought that Toronto forgot that it was part of Canada, 680News reports that the City of Toronto is about to experience a major dose of the winter chill. As their website reports: ?An extreme cold weather alert has been issued for the City of Toronto, Thursday, until further notice. The alert is issued when Environment Canada predicts a temperature of  -15C or lower, without a wind chill.?

Not only is the city set for another freezing weekend, but the white stuff is headed our way once again. In fact, many of the Synergy Marketing Consultants staff was surprised to peer out of the office windows earlier today to see a blizzard-like situation involving rapidly whirling snow and heavy winds.

Snow has not yet covered the ground in Toronto, but apparently the worst is yet to come. Most Torontonians are hoping that they won't have to un-retire their shovels just yet as they have enjoyed a relatively shovel-free winter so far.

Better bundle up though! As 680News informs us, the city is expected to be so cold this weekend that it is providing additional support services to its citizens in need. The homeless, for example, will be offered shelter to get in from the cold. In fact, the Toronto Transit Commission is offering tokens at a number of drop-in centres so that people may have transportation to these shelters.

According to 680News.com: ?Anyone requiring shelter should call 311, 416-338-4766 (24 hours), or the central family intake line at 416-397-5637 (24 hours).? Of course, keeping warm during the frigid winters is no laughing matter. Temperatures so low can cause major damage to the skin in the form of frostbite.

Now, if we can just some other smart alec to say something along the lines of, ?Wow, it's so cold, I bet this winter will last well into August?, then maybe we can get Toronto to heat back up again. But until those words are uttered, Torontonians are best to stay indoors or take great measures in keeping warm if it is necessary to go outside over the next few days.

Comments Off on Another Freezing Weekend Ahead For Toronto

27 Jan

Questioning Olympic Medal Bonuses

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 27.01.10 by John Meloche

As Canada gears up for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver next month, a healthy portion of the nation has the ever-popular hockey tournament in its sights. Excited at the prospect of recapturing the gold medal that Team Canada last won in 2002, Canadians are eager to see some of their favourite National Hockey League stars take to the ice to represent their country in the sport they claim is their own.

One of the greatest reasons that Canadians have to take pride in their players going for the gold is the fact that they are doing it for national respect instead of a hefty pay cheque. Or are they?

Some may be surprised to discover that as much as the NHL superstars already make (Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, for example, commands a $8.7 million salary for his contributions on the ice), these same players are being offered cash incentives for winning medals at the Olympics.

As Greg Wyshynski reported yesterday for Yahoo! Sports, the Canadian Olympic Committee is doling out $20,000 per Canadian athlete for winning a gold medal, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.

The growing sentiment in Canada is that although athletes deserve to be rewarded for their efforts, is Olympic victory supposed to be about money? Especially with the salaries being earned by NHL players, do they of all people really need the extra cash for playing in the tournament? Many believe that the committee can surely find a better use for the money at this time.

Medal bonuses, of course, can be a good thing however. As Wyshynski points out, the medal bonuses being offered to Canadian athletes is certainly not exclusive to our beloved national hockey team. Athletes in less-marketable seasonal sports are certainly in need of the money they receive for placing in the top three. Curlers and speed skaters need cash too, don't they? And no one event should be recognized as more important than the other.

But the salaries being made by the professional hockey players cannot be overlooked. Many are calling for the NHLers to donate their Olympics earnings, which is very possibly what may happen with most of them. Canadian Olympic officials have already discussed this option, says Wyshynski.

Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson argues however, that the NHLers deserve to be treated just like any other Canadian athlete living in the village (where Olympians stay during the Games).

?They're going to spend a heck of a lot of money on getting their families and that there to watch them,? said Nicholson, ?More importantly, they play at world juniors and men's worlds and we don't pay them any money for that.?

At the end of the day, the decision will be left to the players. We suppose we should simply have the team concentrate on winning the gold medal before this conversation is pushed any further. However, it goes without saying that there are many charities that could certainly use the medal bonuses more than a millionaire professional hockey player.

Either way…Go Canada!

Comments Off on Questioning Olympic Medal Bonuses

26 Jan

Making Your Own Guarantee

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 26.01.10 by John Meloche

One of the most popular questions our staff at Synergy Marketing Consultants get is ?How can I guarantee that this promo gift will gain more business for my company??. Of course, this is a great question. And there are several answers to it. Let's face it, promo gifts can be awesome for a business. But it's all about how a business owner utilizes the gifts that will determine how much more business he or she will gain.

To ?guarantee? yourself that your promo gift will increase interest in your company, it cannot sit in a box somewhere. Obviously, right? Specifically targeting who your client base is and presenting it with incentives to remember your business is the key to the success of this marketing strategy.

As is written on SooperArticles.com: ?The success of your business will depend on how well you have marketed it. The use of promotional gifts for business recognition has worked well for many successful businesses. You only have to find suitable gift items and brand them with your company logo, name or slogan.?

Of course, your company is logo is important to identifying your company and having it stand out from all of your competition. With a unique company logo that speaks to innovation of your brand, the impression you leave on your customers can be one that leaves an indelible mark.

As SooperArticles.com recommends, ?You will have to find a good designer because the way you present the logo with the gift matters a lot since it has to be placed well for visibility purposes.? With a logo that is quickly recognizable, your company name will only become easier to remember. With items baring that logo in the hands of more and more customers on a regular basis, it will only be a matter of time before that customer base increases.

Says the website: ?Promotional gifts will help a lot in your marketing campaigns and you do not have to produce very expensive items to send the message across but rather making them appropriate for your recipients.?

It makes sense for promo gifts to somehow help for customers to identify with what your company offers. You don't have to over think it or get too specific, mind you. For example, if you own a service oriented company, it might make sense to hand out promo gifts that perform a function such as a pen or flashlight, rather than a T-shirt. That way, the item may be used for practical reasons over and over again, similar to the service you provide.

Finally, we remind our customers about how relatively cheap it is to hand out promo gifts in comparison to the other modes of advertising out there. Many companies spend large budgets on commercials and print ads while the generally inexpensive promo gifts can do an even better job of keeping your company's name and image in the minds of the targeted customers you need to help for it to be successful.

Comments Off on Making Your Own Guarantee

25 Jan

The Dos And Don'ts Of Advertising

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 25.01.10 by John Meloche

As is common practice around here, we advocate good advertising strategies. A well-planned marketing strategy can mean the difference between a company's success and demise. Our promo items are, of course, a major part of what we consider effective and cost-efficient marketing. But there are obviously many more aspects to ensuring that you are promoting your business well.

But don't just take our word for it. California business lawyer, Steven E. Springer offers up a number of ?Dos And Don'ts? that can help business owners thrive in their respective market places. Just as importantly, these guidelines can help keep an entrepreneur out of legal hot water!

In an online article, Springer insists that resisting the temptation to falsely advertise or make claims that cannot be met is the first way to avoid legal trouble. Clearly, it is important to stand out and look superior to your competition. However, it is imperative that your product and/or services can actually live up to their billings.

In one of ?The Dos? that Springer outlines, he reiterates this point. He writes: ?DO your homework: if you claim your product is the 'fastest,' the 'cheapest,' the 'newest,' or anything like that, do your research before making the claim so that you know it is true.? Firstly, this will ensure that you are not making a false claim about your product. Losing the public's trust ? especially before you have even gained it ? can spell disaster for your company.

In addition, false advertising can mean legal ramifications brought on by dissatisfied and mislead customers. Springer also writes: ?DO plan ahead. Develop a budget for marketing that you are willing and able to stick to. Be prepared to spend money to market your product, but know your financial limitations and avoid over-extending your pocketbook.?

This cannot be stressed enough. Surely, all business owners want to be as successful as possible. But setting unattainable goals due to a lack of budget will usually only lead to a tapped out bank account and unsellable inventory. One of Synergy's primary goals is to assist businesses with the marketing of their brands through cost-efficient resources.

Not only do we recommend finding a source of marketing that suits your business, but we advocate ensuring that the advertising costs are manageable. A reminder, of course, that your advertising, no matter what you spend on it, should remain truthful.

One of Springer's ?Don'ts?: ?DON'T advertise in a misleading or deceptive manner. Consumer protection statutes in every state protect against these types of actions and if you are caught attempting to deceive consumers the punishment can be more than monetary — your business reputation will also suffer.?

Of course, it is important to believe in your product. Keep in mind that if you truly stand behind your company and what it can offer the public, you will not need to bend the truth. Focus on who your product is truly intended for and do your best to ensure that their needs are met in ways that no other company can.

Just as Springer says, ?DON'T fail to appreciate your target audience when seeking to market and advertise your products and services.?

Comments Off on The Dos And Don'ts Of Advertising

22 Jan

Telethon Broadcasts Tonight To Help Haiti

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 22.01.10 by John Meloche

Tonight, a number of Canadian broadcasters united to bring the nation a live telethon known as ?Canada For Haiti?. Of course, early last week, Haiti?s capital of Port-au-Prince was ravaged by a massive earthquake claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands. Canada is being urged to come together a nation to show Haiti the compassion and goodwill that the country is known for.

The broadcast features co-hosts Ben Mulroney and George Stroumboulopoulus and a long list of other Canadian celebrities who are all unified in their support of the Haiti relief effort. It is clear that the disaster in Haiti is one of the worst of its kind in many years. The need for generous donations has never been so great.

Many of the celebrities on the telethon broadcast including musicians, actors and athletes showed visible signs of compassion and distress over the devastation in Haiti and the dire need to support the relief effort in that country. All Canadians are being asked to demonstrate the true nature of their heritage and donate as much as they can towards this very necessary cause.

Said Mulroney: ?When we talk about being leaders in the world, this is what we mean and this (telethon) is just another way for us to do that. This is a long-term project, it?s going to require countries from around the world and we?re doing more than our part in an attempt to pull people in the same direction. I?m just privileged to play a small role in that.?

The telethon broadcast featured a benefit concert which was aired on CityTV, CBC, CTV and Global Television at 7pm Eastern Time. It was also streamed live to their websites and broadcasted on CBC Radio Two.

The list of Canadian celebrities who participated in the ?Canada For Haiti? event seemed endless. It included actors Ryan Reynolds, William Shatner, Joshua Jackson, Eugene Levy, Sandra Oh and Pamela Anderson just to name a few. As well, musicians Nelly Furtado, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies and Simple Plan also took part.

Immediately following the one hour Canadian broadcast was the two hour U.S. benefit ?Hope for Haiti Now?. Hosted by George Clooney, this concert featured the likes of Beyonce, Madonna, Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay and Taylor Swift.

Canadians can donate by visiting CanadaForHaiti.com or by calling 1-877-51-HAITI. You may also text ?AID? to 45678 to make a $5 donation to Canada For Haiti. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian federal government up to $50 million. The world is doing its part to lend a very much needed helping hand to the people of Haiti. All Canadians are encouraged to join in.

Comments Off on Telethon Broadcasts Tonight To Help Haiti

21 Jan

Ambush Marketing Attacked In Vancouver

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 21.01.10 by John Meloche

Earlier this week, we advised business owners in Vancouver, British Columbia to take advantage of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games by handing out as many promotional items as necessary to secure new business. Of course, both Vancouver and Whistler, B.C. will be abuzz for two full weeks in February as the Olympics take centre stage.

We also advised business owners in Vancouver to be careful of their marketing practices, by the way, as organizers of the Games are taking advertisements from non-sponsors of the Olympics very seriously. Now while this clearly does not truly affect a private business owner handing out his snazzy promotional gifts, it will however, impact businesses who are purporting to be sponsors of the Winter Games.

As Tamsyn Burgmann writes on The Toronto Star's website today, ?the Olympic organizing committee, known as VANOC, has steadily pursued those they charge are capitalizing off the largest sporting event in the country by misleading consumers into believing they're affiliated.?

Referring to the practice of businesses claiming Olympic-affiliation as ?ambush marketing?, Burgmann notes that VANOC is seeking damage control against those companies who threaten to ?undermine the value of Games sponsorship.?

Interestingly, last week Scotiabank came under fire as they were accused of launching a marketing campaign involving the Games even though they are not official Olympic sponsors. Evidently, VANOC is taking the concept of ambush marketing very seriously in order to protect the 64 domestic sponsors who have contributed over $756 million to the Olympic budget.

Companies targeted by VANOC, however, are apparently not backing down. Marketing professor at Simon Fraser University marketing professor, Lindsay Meredith agrees that VANOC has a right to protest against businesses who haven't paid to advertise during the Olympics, but notes that the committee's aggressive approach to opposing such companies is not helping their case.

Notes Burgmann, such aggression only worked on smaller businesses like Vancouver's 15-year-old Olympic Pizza which was forced to changed its name and five-ring logo on their signage prior to this year's Olympic Games. Tackling larger corporations, however ?who all argue they're merely tapping an Olympic-related surge in national pride ? means juggling the hassles of both legal costs and the potential for bad PR.?

Clearly, small businesses are at the greatest risk of feeling the wrath of VANOC. But business owners should be reminded that it doesn't take a huge campaign to adequately advertise their businesses. Many fans will want to leave the Winter Games with keepsakes to remind them of their experiences there. Why can't one of your company's promo gifts be part of the collection? Don't worry, we won't tell VANOC.

Comments Off on Ambush Marketing Attacked In Vancouver

20 Jan

Give Out Your Promo Gifts Wisely

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 20.01.10 by John Meloche

Yesterday, the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog discussed the numerous ways in which promotional items can help your business. Of course, we know that business owners from all over the world are utilizing this relatively inexpensive practice to strengthen and grow the image of their companies. But again, we'd like for you to hear it from other sources as well.

In an ArticleBlast.com article written by Julie Johnson from August 2009, it is explained that the promo item is one of the best ways to advertise a business. As Johnson mentions, they can pretty much be used to advertise whatever you like. This can be done either through cheap items that can be used just once or with quality products that can be used for many years. It really all depends on the what you would like to achieve.

Johnson makes mention that one of the many ways to make promotional items work for your business is to offer them up as a bonus to a sale. That way, instead of simply giving out your promo gifts for free to everyone, you may wish to give them out to those customers who buy a specific product that you may be trying to promote.

She also brings up an important point when deciding on the type of promo gift you would like to order for your company. Keeping in mind the cost of the item, Johnson suggests that owners discover if there are any additional costs for things such as imprinting or engraving. Of course, it behooves us to mention that the engraving of your company name and contact information is always included in the cost of Synergy's promo items. Worrying about any hidden costs is unnecessary.

Promo items are great ?because people see them and remember them?, writes Johnson, ?Sometimes after seeing something that is unfamiliar, it takes only a few sightings to become familiar. When people wear hats and shirts with logos, others get used to seeing the logo and without realizing it remember it. This is the bomb of brand recognition at work.?

Johnson also reminds her readers that ?people love to receive free stuff?. Therefore, it makes it easy for someone to advertise your company simply by wearing or using the promo gift that your company provided. The extra exposure for your business will always be a much-welcomed benefit, especially when you consider the relative cheapness of the items in comparison to traditional advertising.

As always, we suggest that you locate the promo item that is right for you. Of course, there is no one correct gift to give out as there are several options. But be practical and make a sensible choice that you know will be appreciated by your customer base. Promo items have worked for businesses all over the world. They can work for you too!

Comments Off on Give Out Your Promo Gifts Wisely

20 Jan

Promo Gifts Work Everywhere

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 20.01.10 by John Meloche

It may sound a bit over-the-top but it's true: we are yet to find a business owner who has NOT found an increase in his business' success after sending out promotional gifts to his customers. Having worked with companies from all over North America, Synergy Marketing Consultants has pretty much discovered first hand the wonders that our promo items do for our clients.

But you don't have to take our word for it. On the A1 Business Forum (referred to as ?The UK's Friendliest Online Business Community?), a number of participants in an online discussion have divulged their gratitude towards the promo gift concept as it has helped their businesses tremendously.

Admitting that the ability to remain in contact with all of his clients is difficult, Ian Storer of Aarons Promotions wrote of how his business ?stepped up? his sending out of promotional items to the people who were in his database. He explains that along with a small hand written note, he sent these promo items to clients that he did not have very much regular contact with.

The response was ?fantastic? he reported. Writes Storer: ?We have a had people ring us that didn't seem to return our calls and express interest in various products which are likely to turn to orders and also calls to say 'Just wanted to say thanks for the free pens and coasters' which is great as it gives us the chance to speak with them again and it gets our companies name ringing in their minds again.?

Storer goes on to mention just how simple and easy the practice of sending out promotional items is, reminding other business owners that they can send out as many or as little as they like. He admits that sometimes he his only able to ship out 20 to 30 promo items a week, but found that ?it works?.

Not only does Storer note that sending out promotional gifts is easy, but it is also cost effective. ?Pens, coasters, notepads, post its, mouse mats or rulers are all cheap to post out,? he says, making sure to mention that sending out more than one of these small items is key so ?that way they end up around the office of your clients or prospective clients really making your company name seen.?

As we have been saying, the promo item is a very efficient way to develop and strengthen a loyal customer base. As another poster to A1 Business Forum writes, the practice is also a very ?genuine and effective way to hook your clients?. No matter where you are from, from sea to sea, promotional gifts work!

Comments Off on Promo Gifts Work Everywhere

18 Jan

Advertise At Olympics, But Be Careful!

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 18.01.10 by John Meloche

On Friday, February 12, 2010, all eyes will be on Canada as the 2010 Winter Olympic Games finally take off. With Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia sharing the hosting duties of this historic event, there will be an abundance of opportunities for Canadian business owners to both advertise and draw in more business than ever before.

It appears as if the upcoming Winter Games may just provide the perfect opportunity for business owners to distribute their free promotional items as the number of visitors to the province will clearly increase dramatically. Something lightweight and practical would probably be the best bet.

While history has shown that you pretty much can't go wrong with our pen and key chain collection, we also provide an array of sunglasses which may be perfect for fans wanting to take it the outdoor action throughout each day of the Olympics. This will especially be the case during the first few days of the Games when Ski Jumping, Alpine Skiing, Luge and Biathlon will all take centre stage as some of the first competitions to get underway.

Doling out the promo gifts may, in fact, also be the most cost-effective way to promote your business during the Olympics as only official sponsors of the Games will be granted access to having their brands advertised. According to Karen Moxley in her article in The Globe and Mail last week, some officials are going so far as to have librarians in Vancouver actually cover up logos and names of competitors of any official sponsor of the Olympic Games.

In a memo, written by marketing and communications manager Jean Kavanagh, library staff are being requested to ?avoid such companies as Pepsi or Dairy Queen – neither of which is an official sponsor, unlike, say Coca-Cola or McDonald's.? Kavanagh even suggests taking unusual steps to avoid the display of non-sponsors by writing: “If you have a speaker/guest who happens to work for Telus, ensure he/she is not wearing their Telus jacket, as Bell is the official sponsor.”

As well, she says, if any rented sound equipment is not a Panasonic model, it should have its name and logo covered with cloth or tape. Sounding crazy yet? We couldn't make this up. While this may seem extreme, Kavanagh was quoted in an interview as saying that she did not believe that these measures constituted censorship.

Alex Youngberg, president of the library union, apparently disagrees saying that the memo ?is contrary to the spirit of a public library.? Says Youngberg: “There's something in my library to offend everybody…And that's our job. Our job as library staff is to not ever censor any information.”

It seems that it goes without saying that staying away from Vancouver libraries while advertising this winter is a good idea. Meanwhile, it is a good idea to take in the Olympic Games, cheer for Canada and advertise your business as best you can. Take advantage of the excitement in the air and work towards having your company reach gold medal status.

Comments Off on Advertise At Olympics, But Be Careful!