Gretchen Nielsen

Helping people get promo products for over 20 years in the SF Bay Area

Using Branded Items

Here are suggestions about using promotional products and personalized gifts. You know a lot of this but maybe there’s a morsel or two you’ll like. It’s organized by categories and tags – click on either to read related content.

This ain’t your grandpa’s rodeo!

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

In the old days, businesses gave promotional gifts like pens, calendars, mugs and caps. These are still hugely popular and often good choices. Some companies want something different, a unique corporate gift, and these days, wow, you can put your logo on anything! My husband thinks it’s amusing to say that you could put your logo on Toby Keith’s “behind”, but I suppose that is actually true, for a price it probably could be done. Your logo, on anything. The only limit is your imagination. Poke around on the Explore Products page. Try typing in an unusual search term just to discover the universe of possible items you can custom imprint. Or type in a search term related to your business. Things we’d never imagine can be custom imprinted. There’s bound to be something that ties into your business message. Things we’d never imagine can be custom imprinted. There’s bound to be something that ties into your business message. Beyond that, using my 20 years experience (and sophisticated professional search tools) I can help you find something unique to use as a corporate marketing tool.

a Giant endorsement

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

I love promotional products and so do my buddies, San Francisco Giants Buster Posey and Sergio Romo

Your name – all day – every day

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

You like having your name and phone number at your customer’s desk, don’t you?  Well, a calendar does it – all day and every day.

Everyone has a calendar at their desk or on their wall and at home.* It’s easy to put your name where customers and prospects will see it every day (and your logo, web address, email, graphics, pictures, and more). Calendars are great. They appeal to all ages and genders. Calendars have high impact and are low-cost.  You can also save money by controlling who they’re given to. A customer displaying your calendar is like a personal recommendation of your brand to anyone who sees it.  And they don’t “walk off” or get taken, like, say, pens.

There are different sizes, ones that go on a keyboard or monitor, magnetic, 3D, cd booklets, planners

Here are a couple quick things to know: -Quantities start as low as 100 for simpler calendars. -Ordering your calendars in the summer gets you a better price than if you order them in October or November. (You order them in the summer but you don’t take delivery and you don’t pay for them til you’re ready but you’ve at least got them ordered, you don’t have to worry about it, it’s taken care of.) *Even in these days of mobile phones and computers, recent studies showed 98% of homes and 100% of businesses use at least one calendar, and that 50% of people have never used the calendar feature on their cell phone.

99% of all problems solved

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

It’s been said that 99% of all problems have already been solved.

Geeks like swag

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

How much do geeks like swag? So much so that used a “bag of swag” as an incentive for visitors to engage in discussion on their site. Gamespot uses promotional items to build engagement Gamespot is website of video game news, reviews, previews, trailers, etc. and E3 is the big annual trade show for the video game industry. finds a winning strategy, using promotional items to build engagement These gamers figured out a winning strategy. Who won?

  • Gamespot got new members and built engagement and loyalty
  • companies whose swag was included got promotion and brand awareness
  • the tradeshow enticed people to attend future shows
  • the industry benefited from the excitement created at the tradeshow being sustained
Are you are recruiting, recognizing or marketing to techie types? Level up, find new weapons (unique promo items) and win the game!

You’re Welcome

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

It feels good to say thank you. It feels good to be thanked. Some people like to give their customers an unexpected gift, not as a marketing tactic or as a sales tool, but just as a way of saying “thanks” for their patronage. A simple gesture like that helps retain customers, and we all know that it’s more cost-effective to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones. There are many occasions that merit thank you’s

  • project completion
  • touring your facility
  • attending an event
  • viewing a demonstration
  • request for information
  • end of year and holidays
And people who should be thanked
  • volunteers
  • donors, fundraisers
  • vendors
  • employees (landmarks, anniversaries, training)
Your thank you gift shouldn’t be over-the-top expensive because that could seem extravagant. It depends on what you’re thanking them for. If you are thanking a prospect for letting your company fly them to the Bahamas and put them up in a private resort to hear your presentation on capital investments, your gift probably should be expensive. For others, a more appropriate thank you gift might be a logo imprinted coffee mug full of chocolates. Something that is tasteful and useful will be well received and won’t get thrown away or banished to the back of a drawer. A thank you gift that ties into your business message and has your graphics custom imprinted on it will prompt your customers to keep coming back.

Attention please!

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

Huh – what did you say? I’m sorry, I was distracted… Companies are clamoring for attention everywhere we turn. How do you get your message through? The most basic way to get someone’s attention is to break a pattern, to do something surprising and interesting or maybe humorous. A local IT Support company, The Computer Wizard, wanted something different, that would convey what they do, and found this effective and economical promotional item, a pen shaped like a magic wand A local IT Support company, The Computer Wizard, wanted something different that would convey what they do and I found them this effective and economical promotional item, a pen shaped like a magic wand How can you emerge from the clutter and get someone’s attention? What are you trying to convey? I can help you find a unique item that captures the attention and gets your message across.

What’s your story?

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

If you have a story and pictures to go with it, a custom calendar is a great way to tell it. Your company’s custom calendar can have a picture for each month, with a blurb that tells that part of the story. Stories you could tell with your calendar that will have a lot of impact:

  • the evolution of a product
  • the history of your company
  • the design and manufacturing process of a product
  • cool techno geeky machines and diagrams
  • the seasons of your business
For example, your winery’s calendar could show pictures of your vines being trimmed in January, bud break in April, flowering in May, bloom in June, veraison in August, harvest in September, and bottling and Gold Medals in whatever months those happen. If your company is known for a flagship product (let’s call it the Ultimizer for this example), your company’s custom calendar might show the original version of the product, the Ultimizer M1, in January, the Ultimizer M2 in February, the Ultimizer M2mkII in March, etc., with text explaining the brilliant improvements incorporated into each. A record label’s story could use photos of their different artists, cd covers and Grammys for each month. You may also choose to have little blurbs on certain dates, for example on January 16th there could be an entry “Our Company founded on this date in 1952″. because a picture is worth a thousand words, a custom calendar is a great tool to tell your story Selling is story telling. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, a custom calendar is a powerful tool to get your story across.

Will the defendant please rise

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

“Yes Your Honor, I understand – hefty fines, irreparable harm to my brand and lost customers.” Fortunately, that scenario doesn’t apply to you because all products you order through Gretchen at The Vernon Company are safety compliant. Of course you only want to give your customers and prospects something that is safe, that can’t hurt anyone. But now there are Federal and state laws, like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, with strong safety standards, especially for children’s products. It’s not just children’s products, though. All products you select must be compliant with Federal and state regulations – it’s not optional. Don’t worry. Promotional products are safe and effective for promoting your brand.

  • Just be aware of the safety issue
  • Ask the right questions
  • Use the right promotional products partner
The Vernon Company
  • has implemented strict supplier safety standards and works only with “safe suppliers,” who have provided us with compliance certification and documentation and extensive indemnification certification.
  • Custom imports are sourced only through approved vendors with documented safety procedures and testing practices.
  • Complete social compliance – all manufacturing processes are socially, ethically and environmentally responsible.
  • Member of our industry’s Product Responsibility Action Group; helped establish industry best practices
Products you get through Gretchen are safe for promoting your brand.

Giving customized gifts controls expenses

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

Here’s an example of an expense – recruiting. Recruiting quality staff is an expense for some businesses. But, it costs less to keep good employees than to find new ones: retention costs less than recruiting. Many companies have a tradition of recognizing the milestones of employees’ years of service, for example with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 year awards. There are also other occasions for recognition that don’t require waiting years and years! When a project is completed, team members get recognized. Perhaps finishing a training program merits notice. How about people who learn or present at industry conferences? We like it when employees come in under budget or come up with a cost saving idea – and we reward them in front of their peers. Employees are craving more frequent recognition – and most employers aren’t giving it to them. When it comes to company profitability, employee appreciation is key. Companies that are good at recognizing employees are three times more profitable than those that are bad at it, according to the New York Times Bestseller, The Carrot Principle. Have a happy, engaged, productive staff. Give your employees something they will value that says you value them.. Reduce your recruiting costs by using recognition gifts.

The US Economy: My Part in it’s Success

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

I get to do what I love doing (and have been doing for over 20 years), helping customers get their promotional products, and make a living at it. And that contributes to your part in the success of the US Economy – promoting and growing your business. Many of our customers and prospects respond very positively to products Made In USA because they help create and keep American jobs and maintain a strong economy. We also like products Made In USA because of

  • Quicker turnaround time (from order to delivery)
  • Savings in shipping and customs
  • Better quality control
  • Less inventory/stock issues – if a manufacture is out of stock, they produce more.
So congratulations to you and me for our part in the success of the US Economy – we deserve a pat on the back!  

The pen is mightier than the card

Posted by admin | Posted on July 14, 2021

Where is that business card? I can’t find it. But if it’s a pen that writes well I use it – and it’s close at hand and has your contact info on it. Of course you have business cards, but it’s good that you have nice pens to give out, too.

ASI Award

all content ©2014 Gretchen Nielsen, Promotional Products Supplier
2127 Kawana Springs Rd., Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Advertising Specialty Institute
Promotional Products Association International