The Only Way to Drink and Drive Safely

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At a recent trade show I attended, I came across a product that immediately awakened the punster in me. I realized that this item was perfect for drunk driving awareness campaigns, as well as outreach programs to college campuses (especially around spring break time).

Within seconds of holding this product in my hands, I realized that the perfect tagline/theme for this product would be: “The only way to drink and drive.”

That is the way we like to work. Find a promotional product that will fit the theme, message or particular promotion our client has. Anyone can pick a product out of a catalog, but will it bring you results? We know that a product chosen with purpose, delivered into the hands of the right target market, and with the right messaging behind it will yield results.

What is the product we were talking about, you ask? A functional bottle opener/USB drive.

A perfect item for bars, beverage distributors, liquor stores, or alcohol abuse awareness programs – just a sampling of the possible uses for this item.

If you would like more information on this particular product, or would like to learn how Lev Promotions can develop a themed promotional marketing campaign that will suit your particular needs, contact us at info@levpromotions.com or at 619-697-2045. You can also visit us on the web at www.levpromotions.com.

More on Branding – Experience is Everything

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Looking back at last week’s post, I see that I mentioned the experience as being a part of the branding process. What I didn’t do, however, was stress how important experience is to building a brand.

The fact is that the one thing that will build or tear down a brand faster than anything else is the experience your customers have. If your customers aren’t rating their satisfaction level as good or better, then they will be defining your brand on their terms of dissatisfaction.

It won’t matter how pretty your logo is, how much advertising you do, or what you’ve decided your image is; the customer’s experience at every level of interaction with your company is the defining factor in the ultimate perception of your brand.

Here it is folks – my ultimate marketing advice: If your customer service doesn’t measure up in the opinion of your customer (yours doesn’t count here) then please don’t spend one penny of your money on marketing. Put that penny, and any others you manage to earn in your pocket and save them for the day when your company declares bankruptcy.

Branding: Does Yours Make Sense?

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A networking organization has asked me to speak on branding to four of their chapters this week. In putting together the presentation, I realized that I cannot remember ever addressing this subject in this forum. Since branding is such an integral part of the marketing process, it’s time to touch on it a bit.

The approach I’m taking is that a BRAND is all about Being Recognized and Name Dropped. That is to say that you develop a branded image when people can associate who you are (a company or personal name) with what you do (that’s the “recognized” part) and then can talk about you directly by using your name (that’s the “name dropped” part).

In order to do that, you must appeal to and imprint yourself on one or more of your audience’s senses. Your look (logo, color, shape, etc….), sound (tagline or jingle), smell, feel (tactile or emotional), and/or taste (for foods) must represent your product and company and then be kept consistent throughout your marketing.

The final component of a branding strategy is the experience the customer has. You can put whatever image you want out there and appeal to any or all of the five senses in a positive way. If, however, the actual customer experience negates your branding efforts, the end result will be a negative brand image. On the other hand, a positive customer experience can overcome less than professional branding efforts in other areas.

The Value of Your Vendors – Take 2

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Last week I talked about how valuable a good relationship with your vendors can be. Today, I had living proof of that, yet again.

Over the past month, I’ve been dealing with one of those orders that nothing goes right on: I had trouble getting the layout for the artwork just right.  When I received the payment notice, my fax machine wouldn’t talk to their fax machine so they could process my credit card. When I called, the phone just kept ringing forever (weather issues affected phone lines at their location).

I finally got all those issues straightened out. I was clearly unhappy with the delays, but not angry. My factory rep, on her own, put this order on a rush at no charge to me so that it wouldn’t get out as soon as possible.

At 5 am today, I got a call from someone in Connecticut (I’m in California) asking me why she had a box of calendars with Lev Promotions on them? Aside from the fact that I didn’t know my own name at that hour, I also didn’t have an answer for her – just questions of my own. Once I was awake, I called my trusty factory rep.

 Turns out my order (yes, the one with all the other problems) somehow had a note placed in the file that it was to be shipped to this Connecticut address. So my order, which needed to go out this week, is not across the country needing to be picked back up by UPS (that can take up to a week) and shipped back to me. But, one more thing, the box broke when this woman picked it up, so now my calendars are everywhere.

My factory rep called me to tell me all about the broken box and to apologize for all the mishaps. In order to not have to worry about the broken box and any damaged or missing calendars, the factory is re-running my order and will ship it out on a 2-day UPS delivery. Everything at their expense.

I truly appreciate the effort my factory rep is going to to make this as right as possible. The best part of this whole mess is that the calendars aren’t going to a client; they are a Lev Promotions’ promotional product, so I can be a bit calmer about the whole thing. Nevertheless, my relationship with this vendor made them jump through hoops to make this right – I never even had to make a request or a demand or get angry.

Moral of the story: treat your vendors right and they will have your back when things go wrong.