All posts by Greg Rollins

Chinese Tariffs and Promotional Products

 

Recently, the US pushed forward with an increase on the current tariff rates with the potential expansion of tariffs to cover all Chinese imports. In response, China levied additional tariffs on $60 billion of US exports to China. This will likely result in an increase in prices, ranging from 10-25%, on all promotional products imported from China beginning July 1, 2019.

We remain committed to providing you the best customer service and support as well as the best quality products at the best possible prices. Because of our vast network of suppliers, we are well positioned to source promotional products and materials from around the globe and are hopeful that the tariffs on products made in China will not drastically affect our business. We will continue to keep you updated on how the tariffs will impact our pricing.

Serval of our suppliers have notified of increases on July 1st. But some have inventory and will hold the current costs until they replenish old inventory.

Moving forward our proposal cost will only be good until July 1, 2019.

Keep in mind Proforma can source goods made in the USA. Also many promotional products are made in other countries, in particular serval garments come from Thailand and Vietnam.

Agency Resources

Inhouse

Let Proforma GIS manage your marketing

What are you looking for in a advertising agency? Do you want that firm to have cachet with dozens of people to work on your projects? Does using an agency make the outcome look like you wanted? Let’s talk about retainers. What are the reasons for retaining an agency? One reason for using retainers is access, with the monthly billing you are setting aside time for that agency to work for you. If you’re marketing goals are not clearly defined and set in stone that billing could be going to projects that are not on track. Maybe there is a better way to get agency services without retainers and high overhead. Proforma GIS has the in house agency services.

Hire Proforma GIS

Proforma GIS is an independent marketing resource. Agencies have a lot of resources on staff and need to pay for all of the overhead. Proforma’s in house agency works on a different paradigm. Our Virginia based studio has account managers, designers and developers that handle the day to day production. Where Proforma keeps the overhead down is our extensive resources of freelance designers and developers our supplier partners that support the production side of delivering the tangible commercial printing, promotional products and digital media.

Hire staff for Agency work
Can you also do this advertising agency work in house? Yes, depending on the amount of work and what your brand’s story is and what are the deliverables to engage your audience. The process of managing multiple suppliers, diverse products and tight deadlines make having a partner that can carry the load might make sense. Look to Proforma GIS to partner with you and your in house staff to build the most cost effective team.

Proforma GIS advertising agency video

Marketing Resources

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Proforma Marketing Resources

Some business owners think that marketing is expensive and that it is just not needed. At the point when the steady flow of business dries up is not the time to start marketing. Start with a plan to market your business that includes steps that need to happen to get your business in front of the people that buy what you sell. Once that plan is finalized a schedule of implementation is set up. The actions are delegated to people or vendors to act or deliver the collateral. Proforma GIS can help your business at any stage of this process.

Here are some thoughts on how Proforma GIS can help drive business:

Is part of your plan to help sales get in front of new prospects? How will that happen? How will they contact the prospect? Do you need a promotional product to warm up the phone call that tells a story of how your business could help?

Are your plans next year to go to one trade show per quarter? What are your goals for that trade show? How are you going to stand out? What is going to drive attendees to your booth? How will you follow up? What does your booth look like? Do you have a printed brochure with a call to action? Are you going to give out promotional products to folks that stop by the booth? Or will you send them a direct mail piece to drive them to receive a special promotional product?

Do you have these or a big marketing project to accomplish quickly? Is your team already tasked to other projects? There are a lot of steps and a lot of decision points to consider; Proforma GIS can help. We have the resources that will bring an entire project together. Marketing Strategy, Graphic Design, Print, Direct Mail, Promotional Products, Trade Show Booths, Video and Digital Media all under one roof. Proforma has an infinite amount of resources. Proforma GIS will manage all to the steps along the way so you only need one contact and that means your brand will stay consistent.

Take a moment watch this video to see how Proforma GIS will be your partner and resource for your next marketing project or check out our website here: Your Marketing Partner Proforma GIS

Branding: being significant

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Branding is a complete system for communicating a company’s unique message. Originally it was a mark – or a logo. Ranchers branded their cattle with the ranch logo so it would be easy to identify them. That is the key “easy to identify”. A brand is the promise the big idea the Reputation all brought together with emotional connections about the product services.
Depending on the size of the business typically is how their brand is looked at by both clients and owners. Smaller business trade on referrals or strong relationships and visual branding is not as focused on. This is where developing a brand can help push your business to the top of mind when clients have a need. Branding is the visual reference that connects all of the value your business brings to you customers and clients. This along with your unique value that can bring clients based on an overall feel of how your business helps them.
All the touch points: Logo, identity System, Print, web media & signs are where your image needs to consistent and show the same values that you bring to your clients. With the right visuals and design elements along with photographs perception can become reality.
When looking to have your logo designed a good designer will want to understand your business. What does your customer service, product and product quality look like? How do the employees meet customer’s expectations? What is unique and compelling about your business? This and much more goes into the logo and identity design.
Once the designer has a clear understanding of the business environment and how they bring products and services to the market then designs can be produced. Typically the designer will produce 6 to 12 versions with color options. The deign must take into consideration the different media the logo will be used on. Many designers make this pretty full color picture that can only be printed on a full sheet of paper. That type of logo is not very effective in communicating your brand. Logo needs to be able to print in one color and even black and white. Also it need to be able to fit on promotional products and be able to produce at the lowest cost. Be careful of a landscape and portrait version. That will dilute the brand.

Proforma Helps Printed Products Carry Strong Brand Messaging

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Proforma print management can streamline your purchasing and reduce overhead costs.

Whether it’s a catalog introducing a new product line, a magazine to reach a specific audience or a marketing or direct mail piece, print is still a strong component of any marketing mix. There are many advantages to creating marketing campaigns that carry brand identity and positioning on all supporting materials. From branded promotional products to printed collateral, the choices are endless to creating the ultimate strategy to stay top-of-mind with customers.

Two key elements to every marketing campaign are message and design, but the quality of the accompanying product, giveaway or promotional piece can make a long lasting impression with your audience. According to Sageworks, “Sales growth has been fairly constant over the past five years at somewhere between 3 and 5 percent, for printed materials thus showing that the industry is still growing its revenue.” The power of print marketing is reflected in nearly everything we touch and see, whether it’s a business card, billboard, flyer or a wall calendar. Print increases the visibility of businesses and organizations and provides instantaneous engagement and recognition.

Eco-Friendly Marketing Opportunities

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Proforma GIS Branding

No matter what your stance is on the sensitive subject that is global warming, we can all agree on one thing… We LOVE our Planet. This one-of-a-kind, beautiful Earth is ours, and therefore our responsibility to keep clean, sustainable and healthy. The inhabitants of this amazing planet are also mass consumers. So how do we blend these ways of modern life, while taking care of our planet? We must also ask the question, is it even important to said consumers? Marketing research says absolutely.

An ASI Study showed that being Eco-Friendly Marketing does play a part in the decision making process to purchase goods and services. Environmentally friendly products leave a better impression with consumers, almost half actually*. Over 55% of the millennial generation is willing to pay more for products and services that are committed to positive environmental impact**. This type of forward thinking can lead to brand loyalty in young consumers, practically ensuring a customer for life.

Today’s consumers are being eco-friendly without even trying. When it comes to throwing away or passing on promotional products, over 63% of Canadian and American citizens are giving these marketing items to someone else or recycling their goods instead of choosing the trash*. These smart decisions not only are pro-Earth but provide continued brand exposure.

In today’s market, eco-friendly materials are very accessible and more affordable than ever. In apparel, look for materials like hemp, organic cotton and wool. Houseware products that are made from bamboo, a highly renewable material, are best for mother Earth. When researching any marketing collateral, whether promotional, packaging or print, be sure to look for key descriptive words such as biodegradable, 100% recyclable, “raw” materials and Kraft paper.

These featured products are the perfect example of beautiful, eco-friendly items readily available.

If you are interested in any of these ideas and products, visit my website or contact me for more information.

Let Proforma GIS Enhance Your Branding

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Proforma GIS Branding

Proforma GIS is a leader in the printing, promotional products and packaging industries with a creative edge to add impact and value to your brand. As your agency without the agency fees, we provide the most innovative and cutting edge product and service solutions. We partner with our clients to develop marketing campaigns and print collateral including branded direct marketing, awareness programs and integrated marketing solutions. Most recently, Proforma worked with a large financial agency to create a multi-faceted print campaign to invite customers to inquire about available services that weren’t being utilized. The organization needed a fresh new look for all their printed products and wanted Proforma to oversee everything from the concept branding and design to the final product.
The client decided they wanted to send customers an innovative direct marketing piece. Their overall concept was Ideas in your Head and wanted to increase awareness of their financial planning services. Proforma suggested using Proview see-through postcards. On the postcard was an X-ray of a skull with a note card pinned to the head saying, “{Your financial plan}… Is it just in your head?” The postcard also informed bank customers that an invitation to a small group session would arrive shortly, where they could enjoy food and beverages while learning how to update and improve their financial planning.

Additionally, Proforma provided branded Brown Kraft envelopes to hold the postcard. Each envelope was stamped in big red and yellow letters with the words, “X-Ray Film Please Do Not Bend.” To complement the project, Proforma supplied branded brain-shaped stress relievers bearing the slogan, “Is it just in your head?” to be given to customers who attended the small group sessions onsite.

The client loved everything about the campaign, from the intriguing mailing envelopes to the ‘brainy’ stress balls. The campaign was a hit with clients, too. With the success of this project, Proforma continues to work regularly with the financial agency on all their marketing and branding campaigns.

Shop online for Branded products here

Apparel is Changing. Embrace it.

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The signed jersey off the back of your baseball idol, a favorite sweatshirt passed down to your daughter or the commemorative jacket you received after crossing the finish line for your first marathon. Apparel can hold a significant meaning to the wearer that’s not always visible to others.

The world of promotional apparel is no longer just about a run of the mill t-shirt that ends up in a pile with all the others. Promotional apparel is making leaps and bounds, embracing retail trends with sleek cuts, touchable fabrics and the hottest styling to create pieces that the wearer will truly love.

It’s no secret that apparel is a part of our daily lives. We use it to outwardly express our personalities, as a comforting touch in tough times and as a celebration of a memorable moment. And our daily apparel is seeing a cultural shift – consumers are looking for pieces they can wear to a casual office, out to dinner with friends and transition to drinks for the night.

As a whole, apparel maintains a very high advertiser awareness rate. When your employees, clients or friends wear apparel branded with your logo, they serve as a walking billboard for your brand. If you’re providing exceptional apparel options, they will more likely want to wear it.

So, put down previous notions when it comes to uniforms, t-shirts and other promotional apparel, and pick up the idea that these branded items can become a much loved jacket, a favorite sweatshirt or a t-shirt they’ll never want to take off.

Embrace the shift, embrace the apparel.

Looking for a starting point? Check out these featured pieces to start your branded apparel wardrobe today.

Digital Media On Demand

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Digital media has left the screen and integrated itself into our lives. It’s no longer about interacting with what’s on the screen in front of you when and where you want to. This media outlet has turned into an entire ecosystem within our daily lives, designing our environment and changing the way we interact with the world.

Digital media today has no rules. With everything at our fingertips, it allows us to go further faster. We can ask for products, the weather or even a pizza delivery on demand with voice activated products and context driven search results. Today’s digital media has the ability to anticipate what we will want and need, before we want and need it.

In order to be successful in today’s complex world of digital media, companies need to anticipate their customers’ wants and needs before they realize it themselves. Create marketing campaigns that truly speak to your clients. Strive to promote your business with out of the box solutions and provide promotional products that anticipate your clients’ needs while living cohesively within your brand.

When you partner with us, you are partnering with a resource that has the ability to anticipate your marketing needs and create a solution fully customized to you and your business’s goals. From promotional products and printing resources to digital marketing and eCommerce, we are only limited by our imagination.

These featured products will help your clients stay connected to the digital world we live in today.

If you are interested in any of these ideas and products, contact me for more information.

Creative Brainstorming Sessions Create Infinite Possibilities

Creative Brainstorming Sessions Create Infinite Possibilities

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5 Tips for Brainstorming Success

Getting creative isn’t always easy, especially when you’re trying to force the innovative ideas to come. As difficult brainstorming may be, there is always going to be a need for developing creative ideas. When the time comes again that you’re required to ‘get creative’ don’t just stare at that blank piece of paper, follow these quick tips to get the creative juices flowing so you can brainstorm a brilliant idea.

Write it down. No matter how corny, silly or plain stupid you think the idea might be, writing those flops down will help lead you down the path to a better idea. Plus, it’ll help you keep track of what you’ve already ruled out, and leave a nice drawing board for your next brainstorming session.

Google it. In those instances when you have no clue where to start, it helps to look at what others have done in the past. Be careful not to outright take their ideas, but gaining some inspiration from others’ success and understanding the best direction to go is always a great start.

Sleep on it. You may not always have time for this, but some of your greatest ideas probably come when you’re away from your desk, focusing on something completely different. Once you feel you’re hitting a wall with creativity, take a step back and work on something else. Check back in later once you are refreshed and can focus.

Start with what you like. It’s hard to get enthusiastic for something you don’t care about. If you’re having a hard time getting excited about your ideas, try thinking of what inspires you, what catches your attention and what you enjoy most. This way of thinking will help lead you down a more exciting and creative path.

Try it out. Once you’ve been working on a creative project for a while, ideas may start to blend together. Keep your project on track by bouncing ideas off a few team members. See what works, what doesn’t and what seems to garner the most positive responses. Although their feedback is great, it’s important to remember that your coworkers do not represent your entire audience!

Developing creative ideas does not have to be a painful endeavor. By following these tips, you’ll have those creative juices flowing in no time.

If you are interested in any of these ideas and products, contact me for more information.