Get Back to Business with Outdoor Fun!

Get back to business with these fun, outdoor promo products!  Summertime is here, and it’s the season of outdoor office parties, summer conferences, employee gifts, and more.  CCG offers full color imprinting on a wide range of products designed to wow any recipient.  From tumblers and coolies to durable Adirondack chairs, we have promotional products to fit all your needs.  Reach out to your CCG representative to get your hands on these hot, new summer products!

Sunscreen:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=UBKGT-AYRZV

Block out harmful sun rays with this 2 oz. SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion with Carabiner.

Cornhole:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=NNCCU-UQPQR

Regulation Cornhole Set includes two scoring platforms and 2 sets of 4 throwing bags. The entire 2ft by 4ft landing surface of the scoring platform can be fully imprinted. Available in natural wood, white and black.   

Cooler:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/p/TGFPZ-XPFGP/igloo-akita-collapse-and-cool-cooler—ice-blue

Igloo® collapsible cooler with 24 can capacity, leak-resistant antimicrobial lining, adjustable shoulder strap.

Coolie:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=OSDSC-VJCCP

This Scuba Coolie is perfect for fitting bottles and narrow cans. 1/8″ high density foam will keep any drink cool and is perfect for advertising at any event. Available with a full color imprint.

Pickleball:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=SGJZA-VXWGQ

There’s a reason why Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America! This set has everything you need—2 wooden paddles, 2 high-visibility Pickleballs, all packed in a mesh case.

Adirondak:

https://www.ccgpromofactory.com/:quicksearch.htm?quicksearchbox=MSKHC-CYNBQ

Chill out in beach style with this folding Adirondack chair. 40″ x 28″ x 35.5″ chairs are crafted from natural fir, with namesake wide armrests, and a tall, slatted backrest.

By Marley Niesz

#GotYourBack: A CCG Story

              What makes a company valuable?  What sets it apart from the competition?  How do we attract and keep loyal and dedicated employees? As a CCG employee myself, with less than a year into my career, I mulled over these questions as I admired CCG’s senior employees who have spent decades with the company.  While I already know the value CCG provides to its customers, I wanted to sit down with our most senior team members and listen to their stories. 

“Our capabilities allow for a lot of flexibility with different jobs.”

-Patrick McInerny

              Patrick McInerny, Bindery Supervisor at CCG, tells the story of getting his first job here. He quickly proved himself as a conscientious employee and soon was afforded opportunities for growth within the company.  Although he started out in shipping, Patrick realized his affinity for working with machines and began putting in overtime working in the bindery.  A fast learner, at the age of 24, he was put into a management position in the bindery.  When CCG acquired another company, it changed the type of work the company was producing and he made the decision to seek a new opportunity elsewhere.  Although he had positive experiences with his new company, when Randy Sparrow, CCG’s Chief of Operations, called on him to come back to CCG, he accepted and is still here today. When asked about his loyalty to CCG, Patrick explained that his reasons range from fairness to flexibility and growth. “CCG treats its employees fairly. There is always work to be done and opportunities to grow.  We have a wide range of machines: 7 to 8 folders, stitchers, and a Hunkler with in line folding just to name a few. Our capabilities allow for a lot of flexibility with different jobs,” said Patrick.

“Our customers become part of our family.” -Patty Bennett

              Patty Bennett, CCG’s Billing Administrator, spoke highly of the support and encouragement she has received over the years from her mentors at CCG.  Patty began her career at CCG in the accounting department, and after six years had acquired the knowledge and skillset to be promoted to Billing Administrator.  The mentorship and support of her supervisors and colleagues fosters a family atmosphere within the company, according to Patty.  As an employee-owned company, CCG has a culture of accountability to its customers and between employees.  The overall desire is to see each other do well while doing what is best for the customers. 

“We haven’t been around this long by accident.” -Bob Bahm

              This June, estimator Bob Bahm, will celebrate 31 years with Corporate Communications Group.  He talked to me about the company’s shared values of mutual respect and loyalty.  Bob recalled a time when he and a coworker got into a disagreement.  Discouraged by the situation, but encouraged to work it out, they composed themselves and resumed the process of listening to each other’s side. Together, they resolved the issue.  This example highlights the idea of mutual respect and trust between coworkers, as well as CCG’s motto “#GotYourBack”.  The #GotYourBack motto transcends the company culture inside our walls out to our customers as well.  As Bob said, “We haven’t been around this long by accident. Printing companies have to change with the times and be forward thinking. It is this mindset, from our leadership and employees, that allows us to serve and meet the needs of our customers.” 

“The level of reliability and service that we bring to our clients would be impossible to match by any other company.” -Kevin Dunn

              In speaking with my coworkers about the company, one of my favorite parts was hearing stories of CCG employees coming together in support of each other and to help our customers.  Senior Account Executive Kevin Dunn, who has been with the company for 39 years, shared a great example of this.  One of Kevin’s customers needed a 24-hour turnaround on a significantly large print job.  He was awarded the project on a Friday and the customer needed delivery the next day!  Management huddled and came out with a request for the needed employees who would be critical to completing and delivering the job within the 24-hour turn time — asking if they would be willing to work the hours and times required to help make this happen. Kevin was touched to see the number of employees who turned out and worked with dedication to get the job done.  This is just one example of CCG employees having each other’s backs and putting the customer first.  As Kevin said, “The level of reliability and service that we bring to our clients would be impossible to match by any other company.”  Patty Bennett reiterated CCG’s dependability and dedication to its customers, saying “CCG has always produced the highest quality work. Servicing the customer needs is a priority and a must and CCG will go the extra mile to meet the customer’s schedule. Our customers become part of our family.” 

“CCG is truly a one-stop shop, with a variety of turnkey solutions for our clients.” -Bill Giles

              One of our most seasoned employees is Bill Giles, who has been with the company since 1982.  Bill has seen the company grow and change over the years, while thriving through several mergers and acquisitions.  Aside from CCG’s ability to change, adapt, and adopt new technology, one of the company’s best features is its wide array of marketing solutions.  As Bill explained to me, CCG is truly a one-stop shop, with a variety of turnkey solutions for our clients.  This intrigued me when I was first introduced to the company, but it has proven true.  I love being able to offer my customers a solution for every one of their marketing issues.  CCG prides itself on being dependable and available for all our customers’ needs.  #GotYourBack is more than just a moto, it becomes part of every interaction with our customers and with each other. 

              By Marley Niesz

Gear Up for the New Trend of Outdoor Tradeshows with These 10 Tips

As warmer weather approaches, outdoor tradeshows are gearing up to be in full swing!  Stay ahead of the curve with CCG’s top 10 tradeshow tips to help your brand take center stage at your next tradeshow appearance:

  1. Invite Attendees—Print and mailSave the Date” communications and post on social media to create awareness of the show and maximize attendance.
  2. Get Noticed with Grand Format—Capture the attention of attendees from the start.  Colorful tents, banners, 3D displays, and feather flags work wonderfully for immediate brand recognition. 
  3. The Swag—People LOVE free stuff!  Organize giveaways and hand out branded goodies to attendees to support brand recognition after the show. 
  4. Registrant Giveaway—Send branded kits to key prospects who have pre-registered to attend the event.  Offer special incentives to visit your exhibit or booth while creating an opportunity to spread brand awareness.
  5. PPE—Make your visitors feel safe!  Offer branded masks, antimicrobial products, and hand sanitizing stations at your booth as well as social distancing signage. 
  6. Staff—Have enough staff to allow for breaks and maintain a rested, engaged crew.
  7. Weather—Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Sunscreen is a great giveaway in the summer.
  8. Hydrate—Make sure you have enough water and snacks for staff to keep up the energy.
  9. Power—Add a charging station to your booth to make it a popular destination.
  10. Have Fun!—Make the day memorable and you’ll be guaranteed to score some new customers! 

By Marley Niesz

The Psychology of Colors and Their Usage in Major Brands

              Target® red, Tiffany® blue, and Barbie® pink are some of the many shades made famous by their corporate brands.  Did you know that a brand can trademark a color?  Turns out they can!  A brand can legally register to trademark their brand color(s) to prevent any other similar business from stealing their signature color.  As an integral part of print, packaging, and design, it’s no surprise that brand recognition and awareness revolve around color.  Take Coca-Cola® for example, whose shade of red is so recognizable that most could identify it without the logo being present.  The development of brand standards is much more complex than the average consumer might think.  The colors and shades are chosen with purpose to evoke thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the brand and product itself.  This is called color theory, and it is an important facet of marketing.  

              Think of something as simple as a business card.  Did you know that a person is ten times more likely to hold on to a business card that is printed in multiple colors than a card printed in a single color?  Talk about capturing attention!  It takes about a nanosecond for a consumer to form a judgement about a color, and in judging color, they are judging your brand as well.  In fact, a study done by the Seoul International Color Expo found that 85% of consumers make a purchase based on the color of the product and packaging.  Because of this, marketers choose specific colors and pairings to influence mood and product perception.

              As an overarching theme, warm colors like red and yellow are flashy, energetic, and inspiring.  In contrast, cool colors such as blue or purple are more calm, reserved, and subdued.  Brands use color to evoke these desired feelings in their customers.  Marketers design their logos to reflect the same.

              Let’s take Target as an example.  Red is bold and energetic, easily capturing the attention of consumers in a shopping center or even on the highway.  It contrasts beautifully with white, which conveys style and elegance.  These colors are perfect representations of Target’s brand and image.  To customers, Target is peppy and fun, a perfect fit for the everyday bustling family.  But Target has also entered the affordable luxury market, offering modern fashion lines and home décor lines designed by famous influencers.  The white and red logo balances these initiatives perfectly. 

              Another example of excellent color usage in branding is John Deere®.  Their classic shade of green is recognizable anywhere.  Green signifies growth and nature, an obvious choice for the farm machinery industry.  Furthermore, green also represents stability and endurance.  This points to John Deere’s reliability and durability, important facets in the world of manufacturing.  Just like Target, John Deere’s brand image is constantly reinforced by its use of color.

              CCG created a comprehensive guide on choosing the best color for your product packaging.  Check it out for an in-depth analysis of major colors and their value in branding, and talk to your CCG rep to make your brand shine with color today!

By Marley Niesz

Get Ready for Earth Day with CCG!

Although Earth Day occurs just once each year, sustainability is relevant 365 days a year!  Did you know the printing industry plants 4 times more trees than they harvest each year for the production of paper? And did you know that not only can you be environmentally conscious with your print marketing decisions, but you can do the same with branded promotional products and packaging?

Marketers now have access to responsibly sourced promo products and innovative paper packaging to represent their brand and follow through on their commitment to our environment.  The use of paper packaging instead of plastic is nothing short of sustainability brilliance, considering that 75% of paper packaging is recycled. And here at CCG we encourage our clients to choose gifts and branded merchandise such as recyclable totes for shopping or reusable water bottles made from recycled products.  Responsibly sourced notebooks, backpacks, apparel, and more are all available through our promotion’s division.  Gift guilt-free with regard to the environment with thoughtful, sustainable products sourced from CCG!  

Through your marketing, your organization can encourage your consumers to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This is especially important and fitting as Earth Day approaches.  Check out these special eco-friendly products available through your CCG representative!

By Marley Niesz

Put Forth Pizazz with Promo!

Did you know 80% of consumers own a promotional product?  While this is good news for brand visibility, how can organizations make their unique branding stand out among the rest?  CCG’s experts in branded merchandising work tirelessly to keep clients informed and on the forefront of promotional marketing trends.  From pens to polos, CCG combines vibrant art with the hottest products in the consumer market to help organizations increase visibility exponentially.

Where to start?  Branded kits have exploded on the market in 2021.  Useful for employee and client gifts, virtual conferences, giveaways, and more, kits make a warm impression and leave a lasting impact on recipients.  Want to keep it simple?  Writing instruments like pens are one of the best-selling promotional products of all time.  Welcoming new employees?  Employees love company-branded apparel.  No matter the product or occasion, contact our CCG experts to make your brand shine today! 

In the meantime—check out our February newsletter on trending promotional items for 2021!

By Marley Niesz

Valentine’s Day– How the Printing Industry Steals Hearts

              Possibly the most exciting class party of elementary school each year fell on Valentine’s Day.  I don’t know what it was about turning a shoebox into a “mailbox” and collecting Valentines from classmates, but Valentine’s Day took the cake.  I remember meticulously picking out my box of printed Valentines each year, usually featuring cats, and making sure the one I gave my crush didn’t come across as too romantic.  Whether consumers have realized it or not, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest commercial holidays of the year, and a significant one for the print industry and for marketers. 

              One of the biggest spectacles of Valentine’s Day is engagement.  Although engagement and diamond rings go together seamlessly, it wasn’t always so.  In the aftermath of the Great Depression, diamond cartel De Beers solicited the help of New York agency N.W. Ayer to sell its new expanse of South African diamonds.  The ad agency worked to craft the idea that endless, special romance could only be expressed with a diamond ring.  The result was the iconic, highly successful slogan “A Diamond Is Forever.”  As women began to expect a diamond ring as a form of engagement, men followed suit, and diamond sales rose exponentially, increasing from $23 million to $2.1 billion over the next 40 years.  With that, a simple marketing message turned a campaign into a worldwide phenomenon that stands the test of time.

                With this knowledge, I was curious to find out more about the print industry’s role in Valentine’s Day.  Where and when did printed Valentine’s Day cards begin stealing the hearts of consumers?  Surprisingly, the practice of exchanging Valentine’s notes dates all the way back to the 1500s with the gifting of handmade cards and love notes.  By the 1700s, the print industry took advantage and began producing commercially printed cards.  The United States adopted this trend around the mid-1800s, and valentines often depicted Cupid, hearts, and other symbols associated with love.  While original Valentine’s notes were often hand-made, the onset and growing affordability of commercial print increased the sales and availability of pre-made cards. 

              Enter Esther Howland, the “Mother of the American Valentine”, whose romantic cards were attributed as the first mass market printed valentines in the United States.  Achieving huge success, she rebranded as the New England Valentine Company, the first of many print companies solely focused on the production of valentines.  One of the most famous valentines companies was Hallmark Valentines, which is still around today.  Hallmark is often credited with the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, as other inspired companies joined in on the fun selling chocolates, flowers, and other gifts, shaping the holiday we know today.

              At present, Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day to send printed cards, behind Christmas.  According to the Greeting Card Association, in 2017 Americans were expected to spend $1 billion on cards.  In total, spending for the holiday fell around $18.2 billion.  With these numbers, it is no surprise that year after year the print industry continues to ask consumers the age old question in its cards—will you be my Valentine?

By Marley Niesz

Influencer Marketing: Your Next Big Move

              Unless you’re from a different planet and don’t look at any social media, you’ve likely heard of influencers and influencer marketing.   While the word influencer often conjures up ideas of the Kardashians and other celebrities, the state of influencer marketing in 2021 is much more nuanced and complex.  A decade ago, influencers were far and few between and the role was limited to wealthy and well-known celebrities.  The past ten years have seen a complete transformation of influencer marketing with it no longer dominated by wealth and fame. Regular social media users with strong followings have begun to influence the social media sphere as well.  In fact, being an influencer can now be considered a full-time job.

              Charli D’Amelio is a dance tik-toker who has the highest following on the app (105 million), although she started out as an unknown.  She now has immense influence on her fans when it comes to brand and product promotion and posts sponsored content almost as frequently as dance videos.  As shown by her origins, anyone can become an influencer today with enough luck and hard work.  The rise of social media marketing has skyrocketed the number of “influencers” across all platforms and industries.  Because of this, any company, big or small, can take advantage of the benefits provided by influencers. 

              Influencers can be split up into categories, specifically Macro and Micro, depending on the size of their following.  Generally speaking, a micro influencer has between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, and a macro influencer has 100,000+ followers.  These two types of influencers attract different followers and create varying content.  Because of their variances, they fit into different marketing strategies and serve different purposes.  Either way, 80% of marketers find using influencers to be effective in driving ROI.  So which influencers work best for which companies?

              Generally, smaller more niche companies find the most success using micro influencers.  Although micro influencers have less following and therefore a more limited reach, they achieve much higher engagement rates than their macro counterparts.  In fact, according to a study by SocialPubli, micro-influencers generate 7x more engagement than macro-influencers.  Furthermore, a study by Markerly showed that as followers increase, engagement decreases.  The same study found that Instagram users with 1,000 followers or less receive 8% engagement, but posts from influencers with over 10 million followers receive 1.6% of likes.  This is because platform users are genuinely more interested in a micro influencer’s posts than the average population following a macro influencer like a celebrity.  Micro influencers are in more of a niche market, are often subject-matter experts, and have similar interests to their followers, thereby increasing chances of engagement.  Small companies selling a specific product looking to reach more of a niche, but engaged, market would find more success using micro influencers for this reason. 

              While companies with niche services and products may look for micro influencers with higher engagement rates, companies with a more diversified set of products and services will want to reach a larger audience.  This is where macro influencers show more success.  Because of their much higher following, macro influencers have the ability to advertise to a much larger, more diverse group of people and increase a company’s brand visibility.  In the end, it really depends on the company and their sales strategy. 

              To give an example, a small vegan clothing brand will likely find more success with a micro influencer who lives a vegan, cruelty-free life because his or her followers probably live a similar lifestyle and would be interested in the brand.  Additionally, micro influencers are viewed as more genuine and trustworthy than macro influencers, and because of this they have more influence over their followers’ purchase decisions.  Smaller, local companies can benefit from using micro influencers because they often accept the product or service as payment instead of money and return with an honest review.  Micro influencers are a cost effective way for small companies to generate real leads they may not otherwise receive from other marketing touchpoints. 

              On the other hand, large corporations often focus their marketing strategy on brand visibility and relevance.  Because of this, they regularly use macro influencers for their ability to reach millions of diverse people and encourage viral marketing and user generated content (UGC).  Adidas is well known for its use of macro influencers, whether through design collaborations like Yeezy and Ivy Park or just basic advertising, and they have found continued success.  The Adidas #MyNeoShoot is a great example of using macro influencers to harvest UGC.  First, Adidas embarked on a design collaboration with star Selena Gomez, who, with 202 million Instagram followers, is definitely a macro-influencer.  To promote Selena’s Adidas Neo collection, Adidas began a campaign in which users were heavily involved in the advertising, deciding many factors.  Additionally, consumers were encouraged to submit their own photos to Instagram modeling the clothing line, and six lucky winners were picked to star in an Adidas Neo photo shoot.  The campaign proved highly successful, with over 12,000 UGC entries for the contest and a 24.2% increase in sales. 

              Although utilizing macro influencers can guarantee high brand visibility and success, it is much pricier than using micro influencers.  According to The New York Times, well known influencers charge around $75,000 for a single Instagram post and almost $200,000 for a YouTube video, making them much less feasible for smaller companies.  Although they come at a high price, the celebrity of macro influencers controls the tide for consumers who want to be just like their famous idols, encouraging them to make purchases as such. 

              My earliest memory of macro influencer marketing was around my freshman year of high school when The Hunger Games franchise was making rounds in theaters and bookstores alike.  Everyone I knew was obsessed with the series, the characters, the movies, and the actors involved.  When China Glaze, a nail polish company, released its Capitol Colours line, inspired by the franchise and promoted by one of its most popular characters Effie Trinket, I bought the collection before I even knew what the colors were.  Funny enough, I still use those polishes today, many years later. 

              To summarize, consumers love and trust influencers when it comes to making decisions in the product market, and therefore both macro and micro influencers should not be overlooked by companies deciding a marketing budget.  Interested in taking advantage of the power of influencer marketing?  Utilize the expertise of our agency partner Digital Shuffle in your next strategic marketing plan. 

By Marley Niesz

The Long Withstanding Success of Doritos Super Bowl Commercials

              At first I thought maybe I was alone in associating Super Bowl commercials with the cheesy chips company.  So I did a test and asked my coworkers the question I already knew the answer to.  “What company do you most associate with Super Bowl commercials?”  The answer—unanimously—was “Doritos”.  What is it about Doritos’ marketing strategy that has proven so successful year after year on the biggest night of TV advertising in America?  I dug into this phenomena, did my research,  and watched WAY too many old Doritos commercials to find out. 

              The source of Doritos’ success is unsurprisingly its own consumers.  Doritos mission aims to “re-define culture and support those who are boldly themselves”.  Following this mission, for the 2007 Super Bowl, Doritos started their “Crash the Super Bowl” Contest which encouraged consumers to submit their own content to be featured in the Doritos’ commercial.  One of the first winners was the iconic Crystal Ball Super Bowl ad which featured an office worker who wished for free Doritos, proceeding to throw the “crystal ball” (a snow globe) at the vending machine and snatching the now free Doritos.  The insanely popular, fan-made ad placed #1 on the official USA Today Ad meter poll, winning the Super Bowl as far as ads were concerned. 

              The Crash the Super Bowl Contest went on for over 10 years until 2016, and it paved the way for user-generated content use in advertising.  In using UGC, Doritos changed the course of TV marketing, bringing it back to the consumers to produce real, authentic content that the average person could relate to.  The contest itself also did a great job generating hype for Doritos and the advertisements months before they even came out.  Each year, thousands of amateur film makers sent in contest submissions and thousands more online users generated organic buzz about the competition on social media platforms.  As a response, other big name brands like Ford Lincoln, Pepsi, and Newcastle Brown Ale created their own Super Bowl ads with UGC, following Doritos’ lead.  Truly, Doritos began a new era of television marketing.

              Doritos consistently produced hilarious content using its UGC method.  Some of my favorite Doritos Super Bowl Commercials included When Pigs Fly, about a boy who goes to great lengths to make a pig fly in order to secure a bag of Doritos.  Another great commercial was the Doritos Funeral commercial.  A man fakes his death so he can eat Doritos and watch the Super Bowl in peace until he falls out of the casket and is exposed.  These simple, out of the box commercial concepts created by Doritos consumers themselves continued to entertain Super Bowl viewers until 2016, when the company took a new turn in its marketing strategy. 

              Post 2016, Doritos kept up the pace by leaning into viral and influencer marketing tactics for their Super Bowl commercials.  In 2017, Doritos hit the ground running with a rap battle featuring iconic actors Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage.  Super Bowl commercials after featured performances from Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys and a dance showdown between Lil Nas X and Sam Elliot.  All these ads had one thing in common—the use of celebrities.  Celebrity features boost viral and influencer marketing, which occurs when consumers are encouraged to share information about goods or services via social media and the internet.  The use of celebrities in the Doritos commercials made them memorable and exciting, and as a result, millions of consumers talked about the ads online.  Doritos’ success comes from its ability to create, rather than follow, marketing trends. If Doritos continues this string of advertising commercial wins, they will achieve Super Bowl success for years to come!

By Marley Niesz