Bankers Advertising Articles

Connecting Through Promo

August 28, 2020

Members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, Iowa Air National Guard uses a skid loader to remove downed trees among downed power lines in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on August 18, 2020. High winds uprooted trees, caused wide spread structural damage and power outages throughout Southeast Iowa. — U.S. Air National Guard photo Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groo

 

On Monday, Aug. 10, a derecho (essentially an inland hurricane) barreled through the Midwest, leveling some of its worst damage, with sustained 100+ mph winds, as it passed over Eastern Iowa, including Iowa City, where Bankers HQ is located. We were largely spared — some staff were left without power at home, some lost trees, but our office is unscathed. We were lucky enough to keep power and internet service, although many in our city remained without for several days.

 

Just half an hour North of here, where a few of our suppliers are located, as well as several of our sales partners and customers, the situation is a lot more grim. The entire city of Cedar Rapids lost power. Many are still, two weeks later, without internet, and cell service is spotty. Lines at the few working gas stations were hours long that first week. Sales partners and customers across the state of Iowa have been affected to varying degrees by the wide swathe of the storm.

 

When friends and neighbors are facing devastation like that, it’s easy to feel helpless. It’s the same feeling we all feel, as a nation, as we trudge through month five of the COVID-19 pandemic. But feeling helpless, while entirely natural, gets us nowhere. I am a member of Delta Gamma sorority from my long-ago college years, and our motto is Do Good. I think of that motto frequently in these times of tragedy upon tragedy. It’s so simple, but it’s our best, and often only, choice. And one powerful way to do good is through promo.

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Branding,Marketing,Promotional Products — Genevieve Trainor @ 5:07 pm

Fortune Favors the Bold

April 29, 2020

Rice Krispies advertisement from the 1940s. — public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In the midst of quarantine and confusion, there’s a real temptation to look only forward—to tomorrow, next week, next year, when surely, everything will be “better,” or “back to normal,” or simply “safe,” whichever is your fantasy of choice. But a better tomorrow can’t come unless we pursue it with intention and wisdom, and to do that, we need to turn around and examine the lessons of the past.

Have we ever experienced a pandemic at the scale of this novel coronavirus? Not in most of our lifetimes, no. But that hardly means the past is devoid of clues for how to proceed, succeed, and thrive. Specifically, it’s valuable to look at times of past recession for inspiration in this era of perilous financial straits. How have companies approached various aspects of their business plans during previous periods of belt-tightening, and what tactics have worked better than others? (more…)

Advertising — Genevieve Trainor @ 1:14 pm

The TRUE Power of Promo!

April 1, 2020

The current novel coronavirus pandemic has the whole world in a tailspin. Many of our suppliers have been benched as non-essential businesses in states with shelter-in-place orders; many more are making the call to close themselves, out of an abundance of caution, to protect staff until the worst of this passes.

But some manufacturers in the promo industry are taking a different approach.

Promotional products factories nationwide are being tweaked or even retrofitted to enable production of PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment — the face masks and face shields so desperately needed by so many hospitals, first responders, kitchen staff, and more — and other, more typical promo products that are in high demand right now, including hand sanitizer. Companies that already produced such things are refocusing their efforts to increase quantities drastically.

Still other suppliers have quickly pivoted their production schedules and developed new stock and customizable signage, decals, banners, flyers, and printables to help ease the strain on businesses having to incorporate messaging regarding coronavirus safety, closures, and more on short timetables.

This spirit of community effort and willingness to fill the needs that arise is central to our industry. Promotional products are always flexible and responsive, rising to the occasion, whether it’s a new trend that customers are suddenly craving or a global emergency that needs support.

Bankers Advertising is proud to partner with suppliers that are making efforts, both large and small, to be responsible corporate citizens in this time of uncertainty and anxiety.

Promotional Products — Genevieve Trainor @ 8:59 pm

How Stuff Works: Blue Light Blocking Glasses

March 23, 2020

Blue light blocking glasses are more popular than ever, especially as more and more employees are working from home and taking fewer breaks between their work and personal screens. But how do they work, and why are they a perfect choice for your staff and customers? Read on to learn more!

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Explainer — Genevieve Trainor @ 8:01 pm

TREND ALERT! Marble: Still a Classy Classic

March 9, 2020

Marvelous metamorphic rock!

Our suppliers continue to consistently highlight a trend that’s been hanging around for a few years now: marble!

It’s not just for countertops and classical statues — and it’s not just for hard goods, either.

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Trends — Genevieve Trainor @ 2:54 pm

Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder!

December 6, 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Wait, what? Are there holidays happening, too? No, I mean the Pantone Color of the Year announcement! Every year, the color mavens at the New Jersey-based Pantone Color Institute analyze trends and dive deep into art, culture, and lifestyle around the world to arrive at their pronouncement for Color of the Year, a hue that then goes on to spark its own trends and influence a multitude of different industries, including fashion, industrial design, and of course: promo!

Pantone made their 2020 announcement this year early evening of Dec. 4, right around the time when the normally softer sky deepens and darkens to just this shade: PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue. The elegant and emotive color of twilight will be everywhere we turn next year, and I for one couldn’t be happier! It’s just a titch lighter than our beloved Bankers blue, but we can forgive that.

In their announcement, Pantone calls the color “timeless and enduring.” Blue certainly has had a host of connotations over the years, from honesty and trust to calm and concentration. A 2012 University of Maryland study showed that 42 percent of men and 29 percent of women chose blue as their favorite color (the highest percentage of any color for both). Studies going as far back as 1941 have shown the same, a 2017 Artsy article claimed, going so far as to call it “the world’s favorite color.”

For Pantone’s part, they see it as both “reassuring” and “thought-provoking,” banking on their Classic Blue to “bring a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit.” They believe that it will resonate with “our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

Pantone Color Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman doubles down on these ideas with her ode to Classic Blue: “We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” the announcement quotes her. “It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”

That’s a tall call for a color, but Classic Blue seems more than up to the task. And it’s certainly comforting to have both a clear vision and clear skies to look ahead to in 2020. Such a classic color also will be straightforward to find in products, making it easy to integrate into promo marketing programs right away.

And it’s perfect for the season. You can even get a head start on next year and have a “Blue Christmas” in a few weeks!

Marketing — Genevieve Trainor @ 1:45 pm

‘Tis the Season!

October 21, 2019

Explore our seasonal Gift Guide!

As we roll into fall, there’s a better than average chance that you’re starting to make a list of your top clients or donors and checking your budgets twice! That’s right, it’s time for everyone to start thinking about gift giving, large and small.

We want you to be fully prepped and ready for the season of giving! One great place to start is our Gift Guide, which is filled to the brim with products and ideas for all your giving needs. From travel and party supplies to the best in wearables and electronics, the guide has a myriad of options.

However, we also like to pass along some insight into some of the industry’s hottest trends for the cold weather holidays. We’ve pulled together ideas from our top suppliers, who know which way the (chilly) wind is blowing! These ideas and products will be well-received by everyone from clients to donors to staff.


COOL COLORS
Expect the unexpected this fall! There’s a particularly strong leaning toward pastels, but the key takeaway is that your customers should NOT be afraid to experiment. And they’ll have plenty of support from suppliers and even name brand collaborators for whatever they’re seeking.

What we’re reading: “There are plenty of opportunities to experiment with new colors this season—whether it’s a pastel tote or an umbrella in a soft heathered gray. Even legendary workwear brand Carhartt has broken away from traditional brown with new colors and styles that people are going crazy for.
 

 
 
 
PLANET-FRIENDLY PICKS
The current state of the earth’s environment — from fires in the Amazon to an ever-increasing number of jurisdictions banning single-use plastic to weather patterns hammering already hard-hit areas — is a huge concern for a lot of people. Even if you aren’t an adamant environmentalist yourself, many of your clients may be; it’s a win-win scenario to seek out promo that protects the planet, like this bamboo cutlery. Clients can certainly feel good about a renewable resource that can be harvested repeatedly, especially when it looks this good! Many suppliers have whole lines dedicated to this trend.
 
 
 
 
 
 
SHIMMERING SELECTIONS
One of the most popular ways that designers are pulling in those pastel colors we mentioned earlier is through iridescent and holographic products. A recent industry article on this trend noted its ubiquity in the retail sphere, the creative freedom it offers the end user, and the influence of the rising younger generations. It also pointed out that the icy look of it is perfect for winter holidays. Gift season is the perfect time to have some fun with a little shimmer and shine!

 
 
Be sure you as your representative about these ideas this fall. They’ll be happy to show you samples and more generally keep you informed on all of the hottest trends of the season and all year long!

Eco-friendly,Holiday,Promotional Products,Seasonal — Genevieve Trainor @ 5:31 pm

October is National Arts and Humanities Month

October 7, 2019


 

Every October since 1993, the U.S. has celebrated National Arts & Humanities Month, a perfect chance to think more deeply about the effects that participation in the arts and humanities have on us each as individuals. Part and parcel of that, of course, is the effect they have on professional lives! The arts, of course, are vital to personal development, but we’re here to talk about promo — and like so many other industries, the arts run on promo.
 
Here at Bankers, we have seen some fantastic orders for arts organizations. T-shirts for community theaters, for example. We’ve done holiday ornaments for dance companies. I’ve seen colored pencils branded for a university art museum that was breaking ground on a new location.
 

We’d like to send a big THANK YOU to our current customers in these fields, as well as an invitation to arts professionals to take a look at what we can offer. Our sales partners are creative professionals, too, dedicated not just to selling product on demand but to developing innovative solutions to your marketing needs and finding ways to bring your own wild ideas to fruition.
 

We love working with arts and humanities organizations — private or public, for profit or non-profit — because the nature of that work often leads to a deep understanding of the value of physical advertising! And we’ve found that arts orgs are willing to take interesting, creative risks. A publisher might want a unique product giveaway for readings, to tie in with an unusual book they’re promoting. A gallery may want unconventional rewards for donors to a capital campaign. A record label or band could be interested in something that dovetails with packaging or theme on an album.
 

We have a wide variety of items to make us your source for ALL things branded.
 

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies lists the goals of National Arts and Humanities Month as:

  • create a national, state and local focus on the arts and humanities through the media;
  • encourage the active participation of individuals, as well as arts, humanities and other interested organizations nationwide;
  • provide an opportunity for federal, state and local business, government and civic leaders to declare their support for the arts and humanities; and
  • establish a highly visible vehicle for raising public awareness about the arts and humanities.

If you’re not part of an arts or humanities organization, we encourage you to take time this month to patronize your local theaters, galleries, or music venues (and remember that formalizing your support of the arts is both great publicity and an excellent co-branding opportunity!). If you are in the arts, Bankers is here to help you with all of your promotional needs this National Arts and Humanities Month!

Advertising — Genevieve Trainor @ 5:59 pm

A Not-So-Foolish Consistency

July 10, 2019

Sommarøy is attempting to abolish time.

No, that’s not the name of the newest Marvel supervillain. Nor is it the newest trend in anti-aging skin care regimens. Sommarøy is an island off the northern edge of Norway, in the Norwegian Sea, and earlier this month, the town council of the tiny island’s lone village petitioned the country’s government to allow them to be time-free, claiming that, with 69 days of continuous sunshine each year, the island’s 300-some residents got used to going about their lives however they saw fit, and they felt that the structure of time simply got in their way.

Or so it was reported.

In reality, time-free Sommarøy was a tidbit of genuine fake news, cooked up by Innovation Norway, an organization owned by Norway that serves to promote business development for the country. Makes sense when you think about it, doesn’t it? Because while the idea of living without time was a brilliant bit of marketing, it’s a lot less tenable as a way of life.

Time can feel like it’s a weight, a pressure, a bother. But when we get into the weeds of just what life would be like without it — a thought experiment many indulged in when “news” of Sommarøy broke — it turns out to be a lot messier. Time is how we track things. Everything. And, it turns out, tracking things is one of the key elements to success.

A recent Inc. article with the deceptively mundane title “How to Lose Twice As Much Weight, Backed By Science” spun off of a collection of research about logging food. One study, author Jeff Haden claimed, showed that people who tracked what they ate three or more times per day, consistently, were most successful in losing weight. Another, Haden said, measured that success concretely as a loss of almost twice as much for those who kept a food diary over those who did not. And it didn’t matter what they logged or where or how precisely. It only mattered that they did it.

This is due, Haden argued, to the Hawthorne effect. Based on a 1924-32 study at the Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works factory complex in Cicero, Illinois, the Hawthorne effect is the impact that the simple fact of being observed can have on a subject. While the original study was carried out to determine whether different lighting or different rest periods could have an effect on worker productivity, what it found was that worker productivity increased, it seemed, simply because they knew they were part of a study.

Physicists know this as the observer effect, and it was being discussed right around the same time as the study at Hawthorne Works, as quantum theory was in its nascent stages. On the smallest scale, just being observed can change the behavior even of the smallest subdivisions of matter.

When we are observed, our behavior changes — even, as the weight loss studies show, when we ourselves are doing the observing. And accurate observation requires consistency and time.

“Those are some fun anecdotes you’ve strung together,” you may be thinking. “But what’s it got to do with me? I’m not moving to Norway or trying to lose weight.”

Well, tracking and consistency are fundamentally important to success, no matter what endeavor you’re pursuing.

In that Inc. article, Haden told a story he recalled about Jerry Seinfeld. The comedian shared, in an old Lifehacker article, that when he was first starting out, he determined that the way to improve was to write a new joke each day. So he got a large wall calendar (we can help you with those!) and put a red X over each day after he’d written his joke.

“Success,” Haden wrote, “is based on staying the course and doing the right things, the right way, over and over.”

This advice is applicable to business as well as personal endeavors. What goals do you have for your business at the moment? Are you pursuing something countable, like outreach to customers? Determine a target number for each day, then log it and track it. Trying to establish a new tradition, like employee recognition? Log and track each time you accomplish the short-term goal. (And if you’re looking for a prospective client gift or recognition award: Yeah, we’ve got that!)

Haden’s conclusion: “Don’t assume knowing automatically leads to doing. Logging leads to doing. And leads to a much greater chance of success — which naturally leads to kick-starting your own ripple effect of improvement.”

Observe yourself. Observe your business. You’ll be amazed by what changes.

Marketing — Genevieve Trainor @ 7:36 pm

Promotional Products Work!

May 14, 2019

Happy Promotional Products Work! Week, everyone! This week, the Promotional Products Industry is celebrating our advertising medium. Our goal is to inform the decisions of buyers to integrate with confidence promotional products into advertising, marketing & branding strategies.

Promotional products advertising is the one go to branding tool that delivers exposure, engagement and touches consumers like no other. There’s nothing more powerful and effective than having your brand in the literal hands  of clients and consumers.

Check out this sweet infographic. Can you believe these stats? Promotional products… the only medium invited into spaces & places other media can’t touch!

Uncategorized — Marie Young @ 11:05 am

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