Wednesday, July 11, 2018

5 Corporate Apparel Trends to Follow

Know your audience. It’s the basic first-step when you’re approaching any marketing task—and making corporate apparel selections is no exception. Whether you’re buying branded items for your own team or purchasing apparel as gifts or giveaways for clients and vendors, start by first considering who you’re targeting.

Millennials have surpassed Gen Xers and Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force—so, if you’re looking to reach these decision-makers and influencers with your apparel offerings, then speak their language. These top trends should help you make the right choices:

1. Athleisure
Blending activewear with comfortable, street-savvy style is on trend. Athleisure gives people the best of both worlds: casual, stylish apparel they can wear outside the office. This apparel choice offers comfort and adaptability—it can go from the gym to the office or lunch. Look for style as well as performance features such as moisture-wicking fabric, UV protection and/or antimicrobial properties that keep fabrics fresh. Consider subtle branding like tone-on-tone logo for a refined look.

2. Vintage
What’s old is new again: The broken-in, weathered look is in. Super soft-feel vintage t-shirts are very popular; they are as comfortable as they are stylish. Raglan baseball shirts and varsity-inspired jackets are also making a comeback. Check out this video that features one of our Shamrock vendors that offers beautiful quality and great designs in customized vintage apparel:

click here to view

3. Bright color
Bold, bright colors are making a statement. (Pantone named Ultra Violet as its 2018 Color of the Year.) But you don’t have to go with a neon shirt or pullover to be current. We’re seeing splashes of color used in accent stitching, in logo treatments, on reflective stripes and cording, and more.

4. Functionality
When it comes to branded corporate apparel millennials and Xers expect more out of their garments: They want style and quality, but also with extra performance and functionality such as comfort/stretch, lightweight/warmth or wind repellant/slim fit. 

5. Responsibility
The apparel you choose to represent your brand says a lot about your company and the values that are important to your organization. Choosing organic or recycled fabrics, eco-responsibly sourced materials and socially-conscious brands are all opportunities to make a brand statement in a subtle but powerful way.

Connect with me at tberry@shamrockcompanies.net if you’d like to learn more about brand-driven corporate apparel solutions.

Tim Berry

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Make Tangible Brand Connections with Experiential Marketing

More experiences. Less stuff. That pretty much sums up the millennial mindset. Today, more young adults are choosing experiences over possessions…like travel over a new car; or concert tickets instead of designer shoes.

Experiences matter—not only in everyday life, but also in marketing. The rise of experiential marketing gives today’s mobile-driven consumers what they want: A firsthand, engaging and tangible connection with your brand.

Creating these brand experiences is simply smart business: According to data from the Event Marketing Institute, 72% of consumers say they view brands that provide quality experiences more positively, and nearly three-quarters said that when they can engage with a brand's experience, they're more likely to invest in its products or services.

When you consider that 49% of people create mobile video at branded events — 39% of which is shared on Twitter — it makes sense to incorporate subtle branding in a way that can be shared socially to drive recognition beyond the event or experience.

A great example of experiential marketing done right is Google’s Mini Donut Shop experience: To promote the new Google Home Mini automated assistant—which happens to be the size of a donut—Google opened pop-up donut stores in strategic cities. They welcomed visitors inside where they were met by conveyor belts moving donuts and Google Minis throughout the space. When the customer asked the Mini a question, a donut box slid down the conveyor and onto the counter—some boxes contained donuts, and others, the new Google Home Mini. Watch the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seJiMKOE6kA
Google Home Mini Donut Shop

The campaign was a success because it was engaging, unexpected and multi-sensory—there was a “sprinkle” booth that showered customers with confetti. Combining Google and irresistible donuts was a genius idea that created a viral celebration surrounding the brand.
If you can’t go as big as Google with a pop-up store experience, consider borrowing a few of the essential elements from the campaign: Create a non-venue venue (in a park, a neighborhood, a lobby, etc.); create/encourage interaction with your product; provide a giveaway; and create a hashtag to drive social media sharing.

Can you think of an experiential marketing campaign that caught your attention? Join the conversation on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The benefits of nurturing a philanthropic corporate culture

Summertime is non-stop busy. Barbeques, vacations, reunions—this is the time of year to enjoy and make memories. It’s also a great time to do good for those in need. At Shamrock, our team organizes charitable giving and volunteer opportunities year-round. And we don’t take the summer off.

The recent and tragic losses of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have made us all pay closer attention to our family, friends and colleagues—to how they’re feeling, to how their words or actions might be a call for help. It’s an awareness that we all ought to bring into our everyday focus.
https://afsp.org/
Each quarter, Shamrock chooses an organization to benefit from our fundraising and volunteer effort. Fittingly, our benefactor this quarter is The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org), the nation's largest non-profit dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.
https://www.fisherhouse.org/
Last quarter, we raised funds for Fisher House Foundation (www.fisherhouse.org.) which builds comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital.

While I feel blessed to be able to help and lend support to these organizations, I’m even more proud that this philanthropic effort wasn’t my idea.

We have a dedicated team of people at Shamrock who spearhead community involvement efforts, providing all of us here with opportunities to serve. They meet monthly and discuss ways that we, as a company, can help in our community and even beyond. Having the discipline—and the desire—is what has helped to make philanthropy a core element of our corporate culture at Shamrock.
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xktMKUaIP8U/Wyq9kC5ptaI/AAAAAAAAA58/GhJQxb_jQrQhfjItLkl8hFsI1_v1D5WSACLcBGAs/s1600/Culture%2BClub-%2BBlog.jpg

What’s important to our employees’ hearts is what’s important to us as a company: That’s always been who we are and how we operate. But being philanthropic is very personal. I think what has made our efforts at Shamrock so successful is that we take everyone’s input and ideas and passions—and then we provide opportunities for our employees to plug in and join in where they feel most compelled to help. 

As with any effort, there must be leadership by example for it to really succeed. And we have that here. All of us at Shamrock—and at every level—take pride in being part of our community efforts. It’s a source of camaraderie. The result is that, as a group, Shamrock has been able to make a big difference in the lives of many people who are in need. It’s a satisfying feeling—and it’s also motivating.

If you’re looking for ideas to help get your own community involvement program off the ground, send me an email and I’ll connect you with some of the people here who do it best. tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net

Tim Connor
https://www.fisherhouse.org/

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tips for running effective meetings

How productive was your last team meeting? Workplace studies show that most of us aren’t fully engaged during work meetings. On average, 91% of us daydream during meetings and 39% admit to falling asleep. Maybe that’s because we have too many meetings on our calendars: Americans attend an average of 60+ meetings each month; and with half of every meeting flagged as wasted time, that equals 31 unproductive hours per month. That’s a lot of lost time—and money.

But, the fact is that internal business meetings are essential for gathering people together to share ideas, garner input and solve problems. So, how we do we make meetings more productive?

This graphic from Entrepreneur magazine is a great resource, so I’m posting it in its entirety:

https://assets.entrepreneur.com/images/misc/1526568667_meetin-agenda-infographic.png?_ga=2.252188175.747874899.1528732464-261276741.1501521901
Click here to view
Work meetings aren’t going anywhere—they are a necessary part of everyday operations for many of our businesses. Implementing these simple, practical ideas can help you make those sessions more productive, and even, enjoyable.

Are there any tips you’d add to that list? Join the discussion on Facebook.

Good luck,
Tim Connor  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Grow your customer base: Tips for marketing to new movers

If you market your products or services to consumers, there’s a viable opportunity for expanding your customer base right in your own backyard. The target: New movers. With more than 35.1 million Americans moving annually—that’s 15.3 million households—this consumer demographic offers great potential, as they’re eager to establish relationships with businesses in their new neighborhoods.

Consider that 65% of moves are interstate (MyMovingReviews Data Report 2017). So, it’s likely these consumers are new to the area—thus, are not familiar with local businesses and services—making them prime new-customer prospects for a variety of businesses:
  • Home services contractors: Landscapers, pest control, painters, plumbers, interior decorators
  • Retailers, restaurants, food delivery services
  • Banks/financial institutions
  • Physicians, dentists, emergency-care clinics, fitness centers/gyms
  • Salons/barbers, dry cleaners, tailors
  • Schools, daycare centers, kids’ camps and enrichment programs
Click here to view

New mover campaigns bring a higher return on investment than any other customer acquisition method. If you can capture the business of a new mover, you have a higher chance of keeping that business for as long as the consumer stays in the home.

So, how do you make that initial contact count? At Shamrock, we help businesses make powerful connections with consumers through integrated branded marketing campaigns. Here’s a few new mover campaign tips:

Start with solid data. Using data analytics, gather information about these potential customers—details that will help to shape focused, targeted messaging and delivery methods that resonate with new movers and bring them to your business.

Maintain brand consistency across all channels. Integrated campaigns include multiple touches: Direct mail postcards, emails, social media, event-based marketing and signage. It’s important to not only identify the channels that best connect with your demographic, but also to create content/messaging that speaks to that audience, while being true to your brand. 

Test and redeploy. An essential part of comprehensive program management is post-campaign reporting—and then redeploying in segment areas, as appropriate (i.e. follow-up email or social media touches).

If you’re interested in learning more, I’d like to share with you some of our new mover marketing success stories. Connect with me at tconnor@shamrockcompanies.net or call me direct at 440-250-2155.

Tim Connor

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

B2B Marketing 2018: 4 Hot Trends

Digital technology has changed the way we communicate. Whether scheduling a meeting or participating in a video conference, we can now manage those tasks using our digital devices—functionality that makes the everyday a lot easier. It follows then, that to be effective in B2B marketing, digital must be a central part of your approach.
  
A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine explains the shift to digital:
 
“While the traditional B2B model was about targeting the B2B buyers and purchasing managers, the reality is that today any B2B prospect employs younger managers who research online. Typically, millennials, they are digital savvy and they look up the vendor’s digital assets to develop a clear picture of the vendor’s offering.”
 
The article concludes that if you’re talking the researcher’s digital language—and making it easier for them to search and find your value proposition upfront—then you’ll rank higher on the consideration list of the B2B buyer, thus increasing your likelihood of making the sale.
 
For best results, take the time to ensure that your B2B marketing program is aligned with these digital trends:
  
Mobile. To demonstrate your value to potential customers, go to where the millennial researcher is always present: Mobile. (More than 42% of B2B prospects use a mobile device at some point during their mobile journey; and 57 percent of all internet traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.) To provide a seamless user experience, your website must be responsive to digital: How quickly do your pages load? Are your videos in vertical format? Do they have subtitles? Test drive your site and adjust accordingly.
  
Social Media. Traditionally, social media was considered a lead generation tool for B2C marketing, but more B2B marketers are using these channels to target and communicate with potential prospects. 
 
  • 53% of B2B prospects say that social media played a role in their buying decision.
  • LinkedIn, with its exploding use of video, is the emerging channel for B2B marketers.

Review your social media plan and identify opportunities for new customer interaction. 
 
Content Marketing & Personalization. As part of a smart content marketing strategy fueled by data, you can ensure you’re delivering the right message at the right time to the right audience. After segmenting your email list, further segment your contacts with demographic data, customer lifecycle positioning, lead nurturing and trigger-based messaging.
 
 
Video. Interactive formats, like video, account for half of all mobile traffic—be sure to incorporate video into your digital presence—on your website, in blogs, on your LinkedIn page, etc. These statistics from Hubspot (April 2018) reinforce the power of video in marketing:
 
  • 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
  • 76% say it helped them increase sales.
  • 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their website.

At Shamrock, we continue to review our B2B marketing practices and recalibrate based on new trends—and digital is one of them. Our big push is in incorporating more video. What’s yours?
 
Ellen Moriarty