Archive for the ‘Gratitude Marketing’ Category

Promotional Products: Beyond the Coffee Cup Friday, July 6th, 2012

From mouse pads and bottle openers to lip balm and mints, you probably have more promotional products at your home or office than you realize.  These useful items quietly advertise their parent company through logos and slogans imprinted on the objects.

Traditional promotional products can be effective, and are certainly better than nothing, but think about expanding your horizons beyond the coffee cup.

For a product that suggests innovation, technology, and an eye to the future, electronic promotional products like laser pointers, iPad cases, mp3 players, headphones, calculators, USB drives, and digital cameras may do the trick.

Want your company to be synonymous with elegance and good taste?  If you have the budget, consider high quality lighters, fountain pens, golf sets, automatic corkscrews, fancy pocketknives, bottles of wine, cigars, fine leather items, watches, and jewelry.

To be truly memorable, consider using a promotional product that is goofy or creative.  Whoopee cushions, talking toys, slippers, bubbles, and other gag or novelty items will make your promotional product unforgettable.  Use a pun or catchy phrase to highlight your business.

The only drawback to imaginative or wacky items is that they may not be as useful (and therefore lasting) as more traditional products, like pens and staplers.  If you promoting an event or short-term marketing campaign, a promotional product that is catchy and inventive might be the way to go, even if it eventually gets tossed in the trash.

A great idea is to customize your promotional product to reflect the values or theme of your company.  This will appeal to your target customer while reinforcing your business’s dedication to its field.  A solar company might give out eco friendly shopping bags or notebooks with recycled paper to emphasize their commitment to sustainable living.  A travel agency might order luggage tags or binoculars to give their customers a useful item while traveling.

You can also take a traditional promotional product and reinvent it with a simple twist.  Add a funny quote to a coffee cup, in addition to your logo.  Add a funny tassel to the end of your promotional pen.  The possibilities are endless.

The bottom line: Try to find something useful and enjoyable for your customer, and something that also reflects the values of your business.

Janet Hill Jackson

Gratitude Marketing Specialist

P.S. Be sure to watch this video


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Why Promotional Products Are Effective Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Even if you have never heard the term “promotional product”, you have undoubtedly used them.  Promotional products usually have a company’s logo on it.  Traditional promotional products include pens, T-shirts, USB drives, coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets, and more.  Notice that all these items are cheap to purchase and distribute, but are they are all items that are useful in daily life.

Promotional products are effective because they last a long time.  Unlike traditional advertising, which lasts for a few moments, promotional products last much longer.  Because the items are usually small and useful, people are unlikely to discard them.  Why throw out a perfectly good pen or mouse pad just because it has a logo on it?  The person ends up looking at the item more often than they realize.  They subconsciously associate your company with the utility they receive from the item.

Also, even if they do not keep the item, chances are good that another person will use the item.  Pens get borrowed or taken, and other items get recycled either on purpose or by accident.

According to research done by L.J. Market Research, 71% of participants had received a promotional product in the last year.  33% of those people actually had that product with them at the time of the study.

Even during hard economic times, promotional products can be cheaper to order and distribute than traditional advertising.  They hold value because they last longer than regular advertising.

However, choose your promotional product wisely.  Some people stick with the basics: pens, mugs, etc.  You can be more creative (and you should be), but make sure the item is still useful.  Choose an item that reflects a theme for your company in general, or for a particular advertising campaign.  Consider your distribution method, and make sure your target audience (and maybe even beyond) actually receives your promotional product.  To state the obvious, a box full of promotional T-shirts collecting dust in a storage room does not promote your company.

Janet Hill Jackson

Gratitude Marketing Specialist

P.S. Be sure to watch this video


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Inexpensive Ways to Express Appreciation Friday, June 8th, 2012

We all like to feel appreciated.  Think of the last time someone did something unexpectedly nice for you, “just because”.  It probably made you feel great.  And here’s a secret: it made the other person feel good, too!

So, want to feel terrific while simultaneously making someone else’s day?  Here are ____ inexpensive (or free!) ways to express your appreciation for someone, whether it’s your spouse, family member, neighbor, coworker, friend, or even a stranger.

  1. Take donuts or another treat to work for your co-workers.
  2. Wash your spouse’s car.
  3. Surprise someone by taking them to dinner and a movie.
  4. Hand-write a letter or card with a sincere, positive message.*
  5. Leave a love note in your spouse’s pocket, or another place where they’ll find it when you’re not around.
  6. Pick up someone’s favorite treat from the grocery store.
  7. Call someone who lives far away and who would love to hear from you.
  8. Offer to go out for a drink with someone.
  9. Leave a kind message on a mirror with a dry erase marker.
  10. Surprise someone on their half-birthday.
  11. Compliment someone on a physical feature or outfit choice.
  12. Take care of an unpleasant chore you know they hate (like taking out the trash or cleaning the cat litter box).
  13. Run an errand, like dry cleaning or grocery shopping.
  14. Offer to baby-sit or house-sit (but only if you mean it!)
  15. Compliment someone on something they do well (be specific!)
  16. Give out water bottles on a hot day (especially if someone is doing yard work or something physically draining).
  17. Open the door and smile for a stranger.
  18. Tip generously, and add a kind note if possible.
  19. Clean up the house without any prompting.
  20. Let someone else pick the movie at the theater.
  21. Give a gift certificate to a store/restaurant someone likes.
  22. Offer to help with any major project (like moving, etc).
  23. Make their favorite meal for dinner.
  24. At a friend’s house, offer to do the dishes or another household task.
  25. Or, simply someone how much (and why) you appreciate them!

These little things can make a world of difference, especially if you or someone else is having a bad day.  Even if you think people know you appreciate them, show them anyway!

Janet Hill Jackson

P.S. Be sure to watch this video




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Don’t Worry, Be Happy Monday, June 4th, 2012

The quest for happiness dogs many of us.  We read books and blogs, take pills, do yoga, and drink alcohol, all in an attempt to reach that elusive state of contentment that we label as “happiness”.  But happiness is fleeting, and you can’t force yourself to be happy.  Is it futile to pursue happiness?

Yes and no.  Yes, if you fixate on the concept of happiness as a destination or an end-result.  You will almost certainly be unhappy if you approach life this way.  It is not futile to pursue happiness, however, if you do it in a more roundabout way.  That is, you can seek out and pursue habits, activities, and values that lead you to happiness more often.  To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, happiness is not a goal.  It’s a by-product of a well-lived life.

Here are some more tips:

Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t feel happy 100% of the time.  Negative emotions are a normal and necessary part of life.  Negative emotions or moods are healthy in moderation and are actually quite essential, because they spur us to action.  Without healthy self-criticism, for example, we would never improve ourselves.  These states are temporary, which is important to remember the next time you are in a funk.

Practice acceptance.  Sometimes, you can’t change a situation, no matter how much you’d like to.  Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”  Reframe the situation in a way that helps you grow.  If your boss is overbearing and obnoxious, for example, chances are that you can’t change his or her behavior.  You can, however, use it as an opportunity for personal growth: you can learn to deal with hostile or difficult personalities while maintaining composure and practicing patience.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable.  This is a tough one, because life is harsh sometimes.  Don’t let defensiveness or fear keep you from living the life you want to have.  Love with your whole heart.  Trust yourself and others.  Have big, intimidating life goals – and go after them without holding back.  Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  Take risks.

Take 100% responsibility for your life.  Happiness takes hard work and persistent effort.  Do what you really, really want to do.  If it’s important to you, make time for it, not excuses.

Practice gratitude.  Make sure you take time everyday to think about everything that is great about your life.  If that feels intimidating, try to think of one thing that happened throughout the day that made you feel happy.  It could be as simple as having a cheerful interaction with a cashier, or noticing that your spouse unloaded the dishwasher.  Grateful people are happier people. Say thank you.

Thanks for reading this blog and sharing it with your friends.


Janet Hill Jackson

Gratitude Marketing Advocate

The BirdDog Group



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Thank You Goes a Long Way Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The desire to show our appreciation spans across all cultures and countries.  The phrase “thank you”, in its various forms, is a universal way of showing our gratitude.  Yet perhaps because we use this phrase so often in our daily lives, we may forget just how important and powerful of a tool it is, both in business and in life.

Why say thank you in the first place?  We say thanks because we acknowledge that the other person didn’t necessarily have to do what they did for us.  Your customer could have gone elsewhere for their product or service, for example.  By saying thank you, you are thanking them for their choice to support you and showing them why helping you was a good decision.

In business, demonstrating your gratitude is essential if you want to continue with a business relationship.  If a customer or client feels taken advantage of or simply “used” for their money, they are very likely to seek out alternatives to your product or service the next time around.  Long-term customers are hard to come by, so you should show your appreciation often and sincerely.

In life, saying thank you demonstrates that you appreciate the other person and do not feel entitled to their help or support.  This makes the other person feel valued and important.  Such positive emotions ensure that someone will have an incentive to support you in the future.  We are, by nature, emotional beings.

So how should you say thank you?  Sometimes we rely too heavily on a simple verbal “thanks”.  If you think about it, the spoken thank you is the easiest and cheapest way to express gratitude, but it may not be the most effective or lasting.  Because it is so easy to say, it may not seem particularly special or memorable to a client.

Consider the use of a personalized greeting card or some other tool that demonstrates that you took the time to think of them and what they mean to you.  Be specific about what you are thanking them for, so they realize that their support was both notice and appreciated.

Sending a card or small gift is relatively inexpensive, but its value is priceless when you consider its long-term implications.  Saying thanks is a win-win: you feel good, and they feel good.

Janet Hill Jackson

Gratitude Marketing Advocate

The BirdDog Group


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The Importance of Appreciation Friday, April 13th, 2012

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

We all know it feels great to know we’re valued, but how often do we remember to tell others that we appreciate them in return?  To energize yourself and others, make an effort to let people know – often and in detail – what makes them a valuable part of your life.

Tony Schwartz, author of an article entitled “Why Appreciation Matters So Much”, via the Harvard Business Review website, writes that whether employees feel their managers are truly interested in their wellbeing is the “single highest driver of engagement” according to a study by Towers Watson.  Unfortunately, less than 40% of employees feel that way.

Why the disconnect?  In the business world, we are a lot more used to doling out and receiving negative feedback, usually geared toward fixing problems.  Attempts at giving positive feedback and showing our appreciation can sometimes come off as awkward and contrived and contrived, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

To effectively show your appreciation to someone else, it’s important that you really have an understanding of their value to your life, job, or current situation.  While it may seem easier to point out what someone is doing wrong, most people (most of the time) are doing a good job.  So take notice!  Be as specific as your can with your praise and try to frame it from their perspective.  Write a note, shoot an email, or better yet, say it in person.  Look them in the eye and say “Thank you.”

Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”  If you’re still not convinced of the power of positive reinforcement, try to remember the last time someone told you they appreciated you or paid you a compliment.  If you’re like most people, you felt great and even energized. Show your appreciation now.

Janet Hill Jackson

Gratitude Marketing Advocate

The BirdDog Group

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