31 Oct

Healthy Halloween!

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 31.10.11 by John Meloche

Happy Halloween everyone! Tonight’s the night where kids (and let’s face it – adults too) dress up in their scariest, and sometimes hilarious costumes to celebrate the annual holiday. Children will be trick or treating while some older “kids” will be at parties attempting to win costume contests.

The thing is though, Halloween is notorious for having an unhealthy rap. With candy being doled out as the standard treat, there is cause for concern about the diet many children will be undertaking over the next few weeks. As usual, parents are cautioned to ration out their children’s candy so that they are not eating too much all at once.

In addition, it’s always important to go through your child’s entire trick or treat haul before allowing him or her to eat any of it. However, this Halloween, you may just want to do your community a favour by offering some healthier alternatives to the kids who visit your homes tonight.

According to QMI Agency’s Fran Berkoff in an article published yesterday, there are a number of ways to help keep your kids healthy on Halloween. There are “100-calorie, single serving snack packs” available out there that can be great addition to children’s lunch boxes over the next few weeks.

Berkoff also points out that “you can also give out trail mix, popcorn, small raisin boxes, pretzels, or granola bars. Puzzles, little toys, spider rings, stickers, pencils, small boxes of crayons may also appeal to younger kids.” Of course, we’ve been talking to our clients, here at Synergy Marketing Consultants, about using Halloween as a great time to give out promo items such as pens!

Naturally, not everything that your child brings home after trick or treating will be healthy. In fact, you know that most of their candy collection will not be. So Berkoff also recommends that you do your part to ensure that your child is maintaining a healthy diet, especially in the weeks to come.

She suggests that you provide your children with healthy meals before going out for their trick or treating activities tonight. That way, they won’t be so inclined to dig in to their sugary goodies before coming home. And, by the way, don’t forget that pumpkin carving can be a healthy activity.

Once your jack-o-lantern is complete, don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds! Many people toast them for a great snack. As Berkoff points out, “Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of fibre, potassium, iron, vitamin E and healthy fats. You can add them to trail mix, eat them as a snack or in a salad.”

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28 Oct

Canadian Shoppers Show Unique Traits

Posted in News on 28.10.11 by John Meloche

Even though Halloween comes this Monday, retailers are already gearing up for the holiday season. Shopping is most definitely about to pick up and retailers are preparing themselves for the rush. For those who celebrate Christmas, they are likely very aware of song lyrics that insist that Santa Claus creates a list and checks it twice.

Well, according to Dana Flavelle on Moneyville.ca this past Tuesday, Santa Claus must be Canadian. Think about it. Where is the North Pole located anyway, right? Okay, well Flavelle doesn’t refer to Santa Claus at all in her article, but she does note that Canadian shoppers are known for making shopping lists to help out their holiday shopping experiences.

Based on a survey of 1,200 Canadians by The Integer Group, which is a global marketing firm that recently opened in Canada, “51 per cent of Canadians make shopping lists versus 43 per cent of Americans.” The survey also found that “only 16 per cent of Canadians expect loyalty cards to deliver value compared to 43 per cent of Americans.”

And that’s not all. Apparently, the shopping habits of Canadians show a number of differences to that of their American neighbours. These findings will be important for Canadian retailers to consider as the holiday shopping season quickly approaches. But the gap between Canucks and Yanks seems to be shortening.

According to Marcus Evans, the managing director of Integer Canada, Canadians are buying fewer or cheaper items and are switching to private label brands. They are also making lists more frequently, which indicates that they are making fewer impulse buys and spending less time in the stores.

Evans explains that there are two types of shoppers: “mission based planners” and “inspiration seeking explorers. Said Evans: “They may be mission-based when they’re shopping for food, but inspiration seekers when it comes to fashion. The trick is to figure out which kind of shopper you have in which category.”

Canadian retailers should also take note that 45 per cent of Canadian shoppers just wish to get in and out of stores as quickly as they can, while 37 per cent like to explore stores. The survey also found that 26 per cent of Canadian shoppers think shopping is fun, while 25 per cent feel that it’s a chore.


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27 Oct

Coca-Cola Cans Going White

Posted in News on 27.10.11 by John Meloche

At Synergy Marketing Consultants, our reps often discuss with their clients various ways in which they can build their brands. Our promotional items, of course, are commonly used to increase customer bases by encouraging stronger senses of brand loyalty. A brand, we believe, is determined mostly by how customers view your company.

Often, a customer first thinks of a company’s branding based on its logo or advertising images. For example, Coca-Cola is most often associated with its red can. And during the holiday season, the soft drink company’s use of the polar bear in its commercials has helped for the product to be globally recognized even further.

However, Coca-Cola is looking to make a bit of a change next month in an effort to strengthen its branding image that much more. And according to QMI Agency in a report released Tuesday, it’s for quite the noble cause. The iconic red Coke can is turning white in an effort to help protect the polar bears of the Arctic.

QMI writes that Coca-Cola is teaming up with the World Wildlife Fund to raise upwards of $3 million towards conservation efforts. So it appears as if the polar bear is more than just an advertising gimmick to the soft drink company after all! This move certainly can’t hurt the image of the already-hugely successful soda manufacturer.

Starting in November, the new white Coke cans will feature red lettering providing the opposite effect of the normally-used red cans with white lettering. QMI notes that this will be the first time in the history of Coca-Cola that it will not be using red cans to carry its famous product.

More than 1.4 billion cans will be produced. In addition, Coca-Cola products such as Minute Maid and Nestea will also feature white bottle caps as part of the new initiative to assist the habitat of the polar bears in the Arctic. Reveals QMI Agency: “Biologists estimate there are some 20,000 to 25,000 bears left (and) about 60% of those live in Canada.”

Said Muhtar Kent, the chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola: “We want to help the polar bear — a beloved Coca-Cola icon since 1922 — by helping conserve its Arctic habitat. That’s why we’re using one of our greatest assets — our flagship brand, Coca-Cola — to raise awareness for this important cause.”

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26 Oct

Make The Most Of The Haunted Holiday

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 26.10.11 by John Meloche

Halloween is just a few short days away everyone! Have you thought of the ways that you may be able to scare up more sales in your store? Here, at Synergy Marketing Consultants, we speak to our clients regularly about giving things away for free. Our amazing promo gifts help to develop stronger senses of customer loyalty and they encourage referrals as well.

In yesterday’s blog, we discussed the importance of taking advantage of the Halloween season if you are a store owner. Not only should your entire store front – and perhaps your store interior as well – be decorated in a way to celebrate the season, but store owners should be sure to give out some handy and useful promo gifts as “treats” to those visiting their stores.

On GoPromotional.com, our sentiments are agreed upon as the site states that Halloween is one of the best times of year to give out promotional items to your customers. Keep in mind that with each gift that you give out that contains your company name and logo, you have given another customer a glowingly positive impression of your brand.

Since Halloween is on its way, the website also encourages business owners to become involved in at least one “trick or treat” event in their communities. Just as your promo gifts would, you will want to make sure that you are promoting your business with a sign or imprinted banner of some kind.

It’s important to have fun at these events. But, it’s just as important to have your business represented in a positive light. Of course, you will want to make sure that people attending the event leave it knowing exactly what your business is all about and where it is located.

Be mindful of where you are, GoPromotional.com reminds us. During the event, you don’t want to “talk up” your business unless someone asks about it. Keep in mind that it is just a time to gain some added business exposure while having some fun with the rest of the members of your community.

According to the site: “Holidays can be a fun time of year but they also present many opportunities to showcase your business, so make sure that you are having fun and spreading the word about your business. These community events will provide you with excellent opportunities to showcase your business.”

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25 Oct

Halloween Is A Time To Hand Out Gifts

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 25.10.11 by John Meloche

In just under a week, we will be embarking on one of the scariest days of the year! It’s nearly time for Halloween, so the thrill of being scared to death is making its big return. And while haunted houses and spooky costumes can most certainly be cause for a fright, business owners across Canada should have nothing to fear.

That is, of course, if they are taking advantage of the haunted holiday. It has become widely known among retailers that the Halloween season is one of the biggest sales seasons of the year. So, it goes without saying that business owners should certainly be gearing up to haul in more customers this week, if they haven’t already.

But how can a business owner take advantage of Halloween? On GoPromotional.com, it is stated that most customers tend to be attracted to stores that keep active in the community. So, for example, decorating for the holidays is something that makes storefronts more lively and festive and more apt to catch attention of passersby.

This noticeable change in your store not only helps for customers to get into the spirit of the season, but it encourages them to pay attention to what is happening in your place of business. Many store owners change up their store fronts on a regular basis. However, it should be a no-brainer to beleive that Halloween is a time to “spook” things up a bit.

GoPromotional.com insists that the Halloween season is the perfect time to use decorating to your benefit if you own a store. In addition to decorating, you may also want to dress up the employees in your store. As well, participating in community events that are also acknowledging the season will be great ways to promote your business during this time.

One of the most significant points that the website makes is to remember that Halloween is a time that is all about giving things away. It recommends that you pick up “lots of promotional goodies for customers to come in and grab.” Naturally, a useful and handy promotional gift comes in incredibly handy during Halloween.

Perhaps, you should think of Synergy Marketing Consultants as your one-stop Halloween shop! According to GoPromotional.com, giving out promo gifts, “is a great way to get people thinking about your business and the better your goodies are the more attention they will attract whether you are in the store or participating in a community event, word of great freebies travels quickly.”

We’ll continue to take a look at this concept in tomorrow’s blog.

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24 Oct

RIM Hopes Free Apps Make Up For Outage

Posted in News on 24.10.11 by John Meloche

In a couple of last week’s blogs, we discussed the overwhelming popularity of smartphones such as the BlackBerry and the iPhone, and how much these handheld devices have become mandatory requirements for most people. This was evidenced most clearly when just over a week ago, a BlackBerry “outage” caused a major disruption in the lives of many owners of the gadget.

“I was incensed,” one of our Synergy reps admitted, “When you pay for a service, you expect it to be readily available to you. It was quite annoying not being able to get in touch with people using BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). I must say, however, that the outage did make me realize just how dependent we’ve become on smartphones!”

Research In Motion, or RIM – the creators of the BlackBerry phone – seem to completely understand just how important their devices are to those who own them. Although the outage disrupted service in Canada for less than a day, RIM has announced what they hope will be a remedy to the frustration experienced by so many of their customers.

Last week, The Canadian Press reported that the Waterloo-based company would be releasing a number of free BlackBerry apps to users, in an effort to compensate for the unexpected shutdown. The report reveals that the “iSpeech DriveSafe.ly Pro” was made available last Wednesday morning.

This pretty nifty app usually runs for about $19.99 US. Now free, the “iSpeech DriveSafe.ly Pro” reads texts and email messages aloud for drivers so as to not distract their eyes from the road. RIM has also announced, that in addition to this app, at least a dozen more will be made available, offering savings of more than $100.

The Canadian Press states that these apps include some of the more popular mobile phone games such as Sims, Bejeweled, Texas Hold’em Poker and Bubble Bash. BlackBerry users will have until the rest of the year to take advantage of downloading all of these free new apps.

But will the free apps make up for the email, texting and internet shutdown from just over a week ago? “It’s a nice gesture,” responded our once frustrated rep, “I’m sure the savings from getting the free apps will more than make up for the cost of losing a day of service. But it all depends on whether or not those apps mean anything to you. I probably won’t download most of them!”

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21 Oct

Much Ado About Data Plans

Posted in News on 21.10.11 by John Meloche

This past Monday, our blog commented upon the impact that last week’s BlackBerry outage had on users of the service all over the world. Unlike cell phone users of just a decade ago, today’s users of hand held devices tend to text, email and “BBM” each other a whole lot more than they do actually making phone calls.

On Tuesday, John Terauds of The Toronto Star wrote of this modern-era phenomena by pointing out that data plans are making up the bulk of the income made by providers of cell phone services these days. Data plans, of course, allow for smartphone users to use instant messaging programs like BlackBerry Messenger over texting.

As Terauds writes, “Canadians trade nearly 7 billion regular text messages every month. But with the growing popularity of smartphones, the shift to data-based instant messaging has begun in earnest.” With data plans incorporating a limitless instant messaging plan, smartphone users are doing away with their pay-per-message rates usually attributed to text messaging.

“Test messaging is now generally included in data plans,” pointed out one of Synergy reps when hearing of The Toronto Star article, “A lot of people still text but generally seem to prefer the instant messaging. My provider includes both types of messaging in its data plans so you can use either as much as you like.”

Terauds writes, however, that there may be an eventual disappearance of traditional texting. The usage of data plans is, without a doubt, increasing across the country. He notes that Telus’ wireless date revenue has jumped by 39 per cent over the past year. And while Rogers has not released any specific numbers, they too are seeing increases in data usage.

At this point, it seems as if the traditional cellphone is also about to be phased out. It’s nearly impossible to find anyone anymore who uses one, as smartphones have become the norm. A quick survey of reps working at Synergy Marketing Consultants headquarters, earlier today, made quick proof of that.

In fact, Terauds reveals that last week, “Sony Ericsson announced that it would stop manufacturing regular cellphones at some point in 2012, because 80 per cent of its sales now come from smartphones.” The most popular smartphones seem to be the iPhone and the BlackBerry.


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20 Oct

Take The Free Way To Push Your Biz

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 20.10.11 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we discussed the benefits of handing out promotional gifts to your customers in an effort to increase your client base. At Synergy Marketing Consultants, our expertise lies in increasing your sales without having you spend a fortune. In addition to handing out our great gifts, we do recommend a list of other promotional tactics.

And these ones, you can implement for free! On eHow.com, it is explained that there are a number of resources out there that some business owners simply neglect when it comes to advertising their businesses. Many of them we have discussed in past blogs, but they are definitely worth reiterating.

Using Craigslist is one of the suggestions on eHow.com. We, here at Synergy, do this ourselves. Completely free, the Craigslist website allows you to post an ad in a specific region of the country. Your ad should be concise and clear about what it is your company does. Of course, it should include your contact information and a link to your website so that potential customers may get directly in touch with you.

Work for credit, says eHow.com. The website insists that doing so will help you to build both your connections and your portfolio. It is also one of the best ways to build references for future paying clients. Doing such work will help others to spread the word about what it is you do. After all, increasing your client base is the name of the game.

It is not uncommon for us to recommend the use of social networking websites around here. Many of our past blogs have championed the use of such sites as Facebook and Twitter, as they too are free avenues that allow you to promote your business online. Practicing what we preach, Synergy does its part in keep its social media profiles regularly updated.

Writes eHow.com: “Create your own flyers. Post them wherever you can. Make sure you get permission before you post!” Even kids know how to do that! How do you hear of most garage sales? A sign posted on a fence or light post somewhere usually! And while you want your signs and flyers to be professionally crafted, getting them out there simply requires effort, not money.

Finally, don’t forget to join a networking group. On eHow.com, we are reminded that when you attend meeting and distribute your company information, you are showing the dedication necessary to take your business to the next level. After all, these meetings help you make more connections in your industry while providing the perfect places to pass along your great promotional gifts!

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19 Oct

Promotional Gifts Provide Positive Results

Posted in Promotional Products, Synergy Suggestions on 19.10.11 by John Meloche

At Synergy Marketing Consultants, we specialize in promotional products and corporate gifts. Our many years of experience have proven to us that when business owners hand out practical and useful gifts to their favourite clients, it helps to develop stronger relationships fostering a growing customer base.

Promo gifts help to keep your business on the minds of your clients regularly as they can be used each and every day. Pens, mugs, hats, sunglasses and key chains are among our most popular gifts because these items are used so regularly. With your company name and logo affixed to these gifts, they make for very cost-effective advertising tools.

The relatively low cost of our products is one of the biggest benefits of using them. At least, this is what many of our clients tell us. When comparing the price of our gifts to your average promotional campaign, one can easily see how rewarding it can be to put in an order for the items that best suit your business.

Here, at Synergy, our energetic staff is trained to discuss with business owners the various ways that they may use these gifts to promote their businesses. Sure, they can hand them out to every customer, but that probably wouldn’t be the wisest bet. You want to pinpoint special members of your target audience.

These should be individuals who would most appreciate your gift and who would be most likely to pass on the news about their great experiences with your company. Keep in mind that there are so many different opportunities to make your promotional gifts work for you.

For example, with Halloween around the corner, you may want to hold a festive event at your location and present your gift as a “trick-or-treat” item. Encourage customers to come into your store and take part in the event by having a contest, perhaps. Remember, advertising your business and getting more customers doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking.

Contact one of our reps today and talk to them about the promotional gift that would best suit the needs of your client base. Find out just how cost-effective and efficient these gifts can be when it comes to helping you grow your customer base. In tomorrow’s blog, we’ll also take a look at a few other ways you can spread the word about your company – for free!

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18 Oct

McDonald’s To Premiere New TV Channel

Posted in News on 18.10.11 by John Meloche

We talk a lot about advertising, here at Synergy Marketing Consultants. We also often discuss ways of being innovative. In many ways, our clients are among the most creative entrepreneurs in society as they take advantage of our high-quality promotional products at social events to spread the word about their businesses.

As a business owner, it’s important to be constantly coming up with ways to grow the reach of your company. You never want to be left behind your competition, or give the buying public the impression that you’re business isn’t worth checking out. Just take McDonald’s Corp., for example.

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of the super huge fast food chain. But McDonald’s always seems to be coming up with new ways to outdo itself. So what could possibly be next for the billion-dollar corporation, you ask? Try the “McDonald’s Channel” on for size!

According to Lisa Baertlein of Reuters, “McDonald’s Corp will roll out a high-definition television channel to nearly 800 restaurants in southern and central California by March. The world’s biggest hamburger chain is doing this as part of a test, and one day hopes to take it across the United States.”

Partnering up with such companies as ABC, BBC America and reality television producer Mark Burnett, of Survivor and The Apprentice fame, the McDonald’s Channel will showcase such programming as local lifestyle news including fashion, art, music, sports and nightlife.

Customers will not have access to a remote control, however, so what you see is what you get. But Baertlein reports that Wi-Fi will be available in the McDonald’s restaurants carrying the channel. Leland Edmondson, is the founder of ChannelPort Communications, and is in charge of overseeing the project.

Edmondson reveals that the channel will show less than eight minutes of advertising per hour and McDonald’s will only take up a small portion of that time. Other brands will have the opportunity to now advertise in McDonald’s restaurants on the new channel. There is no word yet on whether or nor the new channel will be rolled out in Canada.

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