Fast Forward - November 2015

TECH TONIC

Adopt Some New Apps

The mobile sphere is home to more than one million apps—1.5 million alone reside in the iTunes App Store. With so many to choose from, are you finding yourself stuck in an app rut? If you’re using the same few apps over and over, afraid to branch out and install what truly works for you, review these options and see if one or more will set you on a new path to app love.

For iPhone shutterbugs

IceCream

This handy app helps free up space on your phone, which you can fill with even more photos. Use IceCream as your default camera and photo app, and the high-res photos are sent to the app’s secure cloud while smaller versions remain on your iPhone. IceCream also tells users how much space is left, and how to share images with a private network of contacts.

For the busy-bee professional

Free Time 2

Between video conferences, play dates, weeknight games and yoga classes, do you wonder where all your free time has gone? Download the Free Time 2 app and it will tell you. This app works with Microsoft Outlook, Google and Apple calendars, showing you just where and how much free time you have. It also lets you share your availability with selected contacts.

For the ‘let’s do lunch’ crowd

Reserve

If the stove in your home has never seen a hot pan, the free Reserve app is right up your alley. Use this concierge app to gain access to tables at some of the most popular dining spots in the country. Select a partner restaurant, a time slot for arriving, and the app makes the reservation and updates the user. Caveats? Just two— Reserve partners don’t pay for the service, either, so they aren’t obligated to hold a table for Reserve customers, and no-shows are charged anywhere from $10 to $25 by the app.

For the weekend road-tripper

Last Minute Travel

This free Android/iOS app lets you book flights, hotels and tour activities as well as view flights by price and stops; map hotels by location; and peruse a section offering exclusive deals. Want to sail the seas in style? LMT’s family of companies includes a cruise option.

Andy Griffin headshot webFive Minutes With Andy Griffin, Managing Partner At KeepSake Box USA

PPB Tell us about the origins of KeepSake Box USA. What brought about the idea of building a promotional business around packaging, as opposed to products that would need to be packaged?

Griffin KeepSake Box USA was started in January 2015 and is located in Carlstadt, New Jersey. Through our companies Premium Color Group LLC and HandPack Inc., we have been serving the promotional industry for 21 years by providing hand-assembly, printing and fulfillment services to a host of local, regional and national promotional products distributors. Throughout that time, the need for short-run custom boxes with that certain ‘wow’ factor was always evident. We witnessed time and again as promotional products distributors sought a high-end box that they could customize to the client’s needs and, more importantly, be made here in the USA so that they would be readily available within the industry’s short turnaround requirements.

It wasn’t until 2013 that we had the capabilities in-house to bring what once was a dream to life. For two years we worked through many different prototypes, styles, patents and versions to come up with the KeepSake Box product line that we have available today. We believe our current product line fills the void of a unique, flexible packaging solution we knew was nonexistent in the promotional product industry and we are confident our boxes fill that void. How do we know—because it is what we are hearing with each phone call, email or order we take.

PPB What kinds of conventional beliefs about packaging have you encountered with customers, and how have you responded?

Griffin We are finding that many promotional products distributors do not realize the value that packaging brings to the table. Though the value of the promotional product itself is a big factor, the presentation in which the end user receives that product is really paramount to the total experience. Packaging is often an afterthought, and being so it is thought of as a budget-buster to a marketing campaign. Yet a successful presentation, one where the packaging is planned in advance, is the driving force around the making the presentation more memorable. Again, it is an essential part of that total experience.

Our goal is to try and spend as much time as needed with each distributor, whether at Expo, on the phone, or through emails, educating them to sell the experience that great packaging brings to their end users’ needs and goals. Add to this the increased revenue that can be had in presenting a brilliant packaging option, and it leaves many believing packaging truly is everything.

PPB Incentives and premiums are a growing niche in the promotional market. How can promotional consultants incorporate premium packaging into the incentive sales pitches they develop for clients?

Griffin We thought about this very question from the beginning, and we figured out a way to deliver something special to that incentive-based niche. For a promotional consultant delivering a big presentation, what better way to make an impact than by having branded (self-promotion) boxes to use in sales pitches? Everyone is always looking for the hottest trends and the latest unique products out there, so why not bring to them something that most others will not? This could be something the client has never seen or thought about for their promotional needs. You would be surprised at the feedback we receive on how successful our clients’ sales pitches are when a KeepSake Box is incorporated. It becomes the forefront of the conversation; the icebreaker, if you will.

PPB Is it worth packaging low-cost items in premium packaging? If so, what’s the payoff for distributors and their end users?

Griffin It’s all about raising the perceived value of that low-cost product. The right packaging can sell the message of even the most mundane products. I joke all the time that if you put a $3 bottle of wine into one of our wine boxes, folks will think it’s the best wine they ever tasted in their lives. It’s also true that great packaging will stick around, still be cherished, and still be driving the branded message far after that low-cost item has either broken, run out of ink or been disposed of. After all, keeping your clients’ brands in front of the prospects is what the promotional products industry is all about.

Packaging is such an inexpensive option, but to see your own name on something means the world, and who would dare throw out something with their name on it? It just doesn’t happen. With a plain corrugated box, we think, “Great gift—now how do I get rid of all this trash it came in?” That thinking is completely opposite when some time is spent thinking about the power of packaging. Place that same award/gift in our KeepSake box and the thinking is more like, “Great gift, and great box—now, what can I use this box for around the office?” Take the next step of printing that person’s name on the box and the response becomes, “Wow, how can I showcase this cool box with my name on it so that all my friends and colleagues can see it?”

A properly branded box, with the client’s logo proudly displayed, provides lasting brand recognition each day the box sits on a shelf or desk. It’s what marketing directors dream of and what HR directors crave, and it can be brought to life for them by the packaging-savvy promotional product salesperson.

BRANDABLE

Build Your Brand By Doing Good

More and more consumers want to reward socially responsible companies with their business, so how can you communicate your good works with them while also celebrating their commitment to social responsibility?

xocial logo webXocial is an online platform built just for this purpose. On xocial, brands can redefine themselves for prospective customers who might not be aware of the charitable work they do; brands can also inspire and reaffirm customer loyalty by recognizing longtime customers for social engagement activities. Xocial marries promotions with points systems, allowing brands to focus a promotion based on audience and activity.

Coffee and donut chain Tim Horton’s used xocial to seek out users who completed the company’s Countdown to Earth Day Challenge promotion. Coupons, gift cards, promotional items and other products were awarded to users who earned ‘xocial points’ for completing challenges as part of the promotion.

xocial Tim Hortons thank you web

THE WATER COOLER

Make Your Cube More Conducive To Productivity

Cubicles weren’t always the stodgy, impersonal boxes they appear to be today. The three-walled work station was born to be a much more fluid space—the Action Office. The original open-plan office system, complete with an adjustable-height desk and vertical filing system, was introduced in the 1960s but failed to take off.

The original intent of the Action Office—to offer workers fluid workspaces that would promote productivity and efficiency—seemed to be lost as companies sought a better way to squeeze more workers into less space. The adjustable desk was ditched, and modular furniture—including those dreaded cubicle walls—became the go-to equipment for outfitting office spaces.

If an open-plan workspace is not in the cards for you, try these techniques for improving productivity wherever you work.

Get a better chair.

A desk chair that supports your back and can be adjusted for height will help you stay comfortable during long periods at your desk.

Get a second monitor.

Multiple monitors are a favorite setup for multitaskers. For many, seeing more at once enables them to get more done, more efficiently.

Stash items that aren’t used every day.

Clutter happens. Remove tools and resources that aren’t used every day, and place them in easy-to-reach or well-catalogued locations so you can still access them quickly when you need them.

Organize your desk to optimize your workflow.

Create a simple system for organizing tasks by immediacy—either online or with filing trays—and separate your desk into two major areas: computer work and non-computer work.

MARKET SHARE

Make Your Website More Portable

You’ve got a great website, but can your customers get the same experience from your mobile version? Rather than spending the time and resources to develop a separate mobile site, companies can work with Moovweb, a cloud-based platform designed to deliver optimized mobile experiences, to convert their websites into mobile versions that offer engaging experiences.

Ajay Kapur, CEO of Moovweb, says a great mobile experience is delivered through six dimensions: speed, responsiveness, searchability, content, conversion and usability. “Small business consumers now use smartphones at every point in their customer journey to engage with your business,” says Kapur. “But average mobile conversion rates are 70-percent lower” on mobile than desktop, he adds, contributing to a lower customer lifetime value.

Kapur says small businesses can improve the way their websites are used on mobile devices by enacting any of several strategies, including: bundling and combining page contents into as few files and images as possible; configuring mobile pages for optimum search rankings; presizing images for various screen sizes; and limiting content above the fold (the first part of the screen that users see) to 150 words or fewer.

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