Promo, Brand & Marketing News


Protection During a Global Pandemic: Face Masks for Public Health

As individuals around the world continue to be impacted by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, recommendations about the best ways to stay safe and reduce spread have continued to evolve.

While there was initial controversy over the general public wearing masks in response to coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that people wear masks or face coverings in public, especially in situations where social distancing rules may not be properly followed or are difficult to enforce.

In fact, many scientists and doctors are now advocating for a nationwide official policy encouraging the use of facial coverings or face masks during public outings.

Protective Face Masks in Response to Coronavirus

There are several types of masks or face coverings to be aware of, each with their own level of availability to the general public. In addition, there’s a lot of information circulating about different mask types, including who should be wearing them and when. Here’s a quick breakdown:

At one end of the spectrum are N95 respirators. N95 respirators are rated to protect the wearer against 95% of very small pathogen particles. These masks are considered PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers and first responders. They should not be worn by the public as a general rule. There are also now KN95 masks, which the CDC has listed as a suitable alternative to N95’s.

Surgical masks, such as 3-Ply masks, are worn by staff in surgery and other open medical procedures. They protect against most large particles but may not protect against microscopic viral particles the way N95 or KN95 masks do.

One step below surgical masks are cloth masks and face shields that cover the face but aren’t designed to stop the transmission of those tiny viral particles. They may, however, help protect the wearer from larger particles when social distancing fails. These masks, like others, also remind wearers not to touch their faces, another important protective measure.

Finally, you can simply tie a bandana or other similar fabric around your face. This reusable approach isn’t quite as protective as a snug mask, as it leaves the mouth and chin area open. However, many wearers say it offers some protection, which is better than none. Additionally, a bandana covering, like any facial covering, may help remind others to comply with social distancing guidelines and stay six feet away from everyone else.

As doctors and other health care professionals began warning the public and the press about dwindling and disappearing supplies of personal protective equipment, instructions on how to sew face masks (DIY) out of bandanas and other kinds of material have begun circulating online. Businesses, brands, and everyday consumers have set to work determining which fabrics and mask styles offer the best protection for public health.

Guidelines for Face Masks and Coverings from the CDC

The CDC has advised the public that for any cloth facial mask or covering to be effective, it should meet the following criteria:

  • It should fit snugly around the face, while still allowing the wearer to breathe and speak.
  • It should be attached firmly through the use of ties or ear loops to keep the cloth from slipping.
  • It should ideally consist of two or more layers of cloth fabric to improve the mask’s barrier function against viral particles.
  • It should be constructed of cloth that can be properly laundered for hygiene.

These masks should be worn when out in public and then removed carefully upon returning home. If at all possible, wearers should avoid touching their faces while the mask is in use. After removal, users should wash their hands thoroughly.

Face Masks and Other Facial Coverings You Can Deliver to Consumers

If you’d like to do your part to provide masks, face shields or other facial coverings to consumers, you can explore options here. In addition, it can be a good time to send bandanas or other items that can be easily repurposed as a facial covering during this time.

Take advantage of these items while they’re in stock, let your employees, clients, and consumers know you’re thinking of them during this difficult time. Safety for others leads to safety for all and sending face masks, hand sanitizer and other healthcare items can ensure we’re all doing our part to improve public health and flatten the curve.


How to Brand Your Business in Our New Normal

As we adapt to our new normal (being home) and prepare for the recovery period that will follow in the coming weeks or months, we need to consider what does this mean for the way we’re using certain promo products? What does the future hold in the aftermath of a global pandemic from a business perspective? As you tweak your marketing calendar for the remainder of the year, think about the problems that frustrate or concern your demographic the most, and seek out branded products that can help solve, or at least mitigate, some of those issues. As always, we want to help you reach your target market in a way that’s valuable and thoughtful, yet effective.

Sanitizing and Disinfecting Products

Right now keeping ourselves, our homes, and our immediate environment disinfected is crucial. In the coming months, we know we’ll continue to see sanitizing products and other health-related items at the top of everyone’s lists. Fortunately, as suppliers continue to adjust to increased demand, we’ll see more of these products readily available for purchase.

Sanitizing products certainly aren’t new, but they are getting a renewed spotlight in our daily lives. While proper handwashing is our best line of defense against the spread of illness, there are plenty of times when we have to rely on sanitizers instead.

Portable sanitizer for personal use can be critical for travelers on subways, Ubers, and planes, but it’s also helpful to have on hand for more everyday activities, like at the gym, the doctor’s office, the dog park, or when picking up kids after school. We’ll also continue to see a growing installation of hand sanitizer stations around healthcare offices or business.

There are other evolving ways to incorporate high-demand sanitizing products into gifts and giveaways too, including:

  • Hand sanitizer included in virtual event packages (for now), and conference or event welcome packages (once they resume)
  • Packages of disinfecting wipes for phones, computers, tablets, and other work items as a part of remote-working kits
  • Travel soap or other personal care items

Something else you can get started on now? Delivering these high-value promo items through direct mail—straight to the doorstop of your prospects, customers, or employees. And don’t forget to double check that you’re sending products that meet FDA guidelines for safety and efficacy, especially at a time when there are a lot of efforts to capitalize on high-demand items. For example, take note that in order to be effective, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol.

Health Products and Convenience Items

Other health-related products such as thermometers and personal health items will also continue to increase in use and popularity. Products that help consumers feel safe and prepared, like those in a health and wellness care kit, are also timely.

Additionally, you can take a “back to basics” approach by choosing branded products that feel reliable and trustworthy. Consider items such as a throw blanket to encourage relaxation, self-care, and comfort at a time when many consumers are feeling a little more anxious. 

You might also think of ways you can add convenience and ease to essential workers or business travelers returning to work as social distancing restrictions begin to ease. Functional products like a bag or carry-all tote for keeping necessary sanitizing, health, and travel items organized and easily accessible.

Our new, changed reality presents smart and compassionate businesses with an invaluable opportunity. You can authentically and ethically market your brand by being of genuine service to your customers and prospects.

Modern Marketing in a Global Pandemic

As we adjust to changes in the ways we live and work, our methods for reaching our target markets will change too. The best way to adapt is with a slight shift in perspective. This may require getting creative not only about what products we use to reach people, but how we deliver them, too. Focusing on branded promo items that genuinely meet the biggest needs is a way for your company to do its part for public health, while also maintaining good relationships with the people you want to connect with most.

Interested in discussing ideas about branded promo items that are a good fit for our current climate and for the future? Let us help you think outside the box about the best ways to reach your audience. We’d love to hear from you.

Still managing a team from home? Here are tips on how to stay productive.

Dealing with a cancelled trade show or event? Here’s how to stay connected this season.


The Telecommuting Kit: Consider It a Must-Have for Brands

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing uproars all around the world. Between businesses shutting down, new “shelter in place” orders being released every day, and employees being either out of work or instructed to work from home, daily life is turning upside down.

Many of us are learning quickly that working remotely can be a tough adjustment. Our April Product of the Month kit was created to help recipients settle into their new home office in no time.

A COVID-19 Shutdown Essential: The Telecommuting Kit

For those who are suddenly members of the work-from-home club, which means they’re either a) thoroughly enjoying it and planning to NEVER go back or b) going crazy because home is a distraction and productivity is suffering. Either way, this Telecommuting Kit helps to stay on task (and hopefully prevent mental breakdowns).

Time to Stock Your At-Home Workstation

This kit includes everything needed to keep an at-home workstation fit for productivity during the COVID-19 shutdown, including a mouse pad, stylus pen, a stationery kit, and more. Each item can be customized with your company’s name and logo, so if you’re the manager or boss, these items are the perfect care package as your employees prepare to work remotely.

Packed inside, you’ll find a stationery kit with paper clips, sticky notes, rubber bands, tape, and even a mini stapler to help you knock out that unwelcome stack of paperwork piling up on your dining room table.

It’s also fitted with a “trilogy” stylus, which is a pen, tablet stylus, and highlighter all in one. Talk about the perfect do-it-all tool to keep your at-home workspace neat and tidy—because who wants a million pens rolling around their work surface all day? The barking dogs and your upstairs neighbor’s bass is distracting enough.

Also, it’s time to toss out the make-shift mouse pad you invented out of a magazine or the placemat from your dinner table, because this kit includes a sturdy, professional-looking mouse pad that will keep you on task and distraction-free (no more reading those magazine headlines every time your hand lands back on your mouse).

For those who have children, working from home is even more of a challenge because these new “co-workers” probably don’t understand the concept of personal space. If your clients or employees are suddenly sharing an office with their little ones, they’ll appreciate the microfiber cloth included inside this Telecommute Kit—because fruit roll-up fingerprints aren’t exactly easy to remove from a computer screen. 

Topped off with a four-port USB hub and a braided charging cable, this kit is the ultimate work-from-home-essential to stay plugged in and productive. Also, shopping for office supplies isn’t possible for everyone right now due to the mass shutdowns, so your employees and co-workers would greatly appreciate this compact kit. It’s easy to get overwhelmed as we all adjust to our new “normal,” so treat yourself and your employees to this all-in-one kit to help make the transition to working remotely a bit more seamless.

Interested in getting more ideas with work from home in mind? Click here.

Dealing with a cancelled trade show or event? Here’s how to stay connected this season.


How to Keep Yourself and Your Team Productive While Working at Home

The novel coronavirus outbreak has upended life as we know it for the time being, impacting everything from schools to sporting teams to where and how we work.

With so many businesses shifting to a remote working policy to help employees, customers, and the public engage in social distancing, many companies are learning how to navigate this new work environment on the fly.

Anyone can set up a laptop at the kitchen table and call it a workspace. However, to stay truly productive and keep your team focused, connected, and motivated while staying healthy, you’ll need a slightly more strategic approach.

Create a Dedicated Work Area and Routine

Have you ever found yourself behind the wheel of your car, pulling into your office or workplace parking lot with no memory of actually getting there? That’s the power of habit, and human beings are especially susceptible to it.

Driving in automatic or habitual mode can be risky, but you can also harness the power of habit for good. One way to take advantage of the innate need for routine is to create a new normal for your work-from-home reality.

Start by designating a work area—an exclusive one, if possible. Arrange furniture, supplies, and your computer and related equipment with a logical workflow in mind. Think about minimizing repeated movements, improving ergonomics, and creating a natural flow for your day-to-day tasks. Add lighting that reduces glare and illuminates your workspace to avoid eye strain, and consider grabbing a pair of Blue Light Blocking Custom Glasses while you’re at it.

Many experts and experienced remote workers suggest treating your at-home workday as if you were going to the office. Shower, dress in work-appropriate clothing, and keep regular work hours. This helps your mind and body recognize the habitual work routine, even in an unfamiliar environment.

However, if you’re more comfortable in relaxed clothing, going this route might also help you stay on task. Decide what works best for you, especially at a time when it’s so important to manage stress.

Think About How You Work

Think of your typical day in the office. From morning coffee to lunch meetings to strategy sessions, most of what you do at work depends on that physical space. Your work computer, your desk layout, your chair, your printer, your phone, office supplies—it all resides in a specific space.

Working from home changes that context, sometimes dramatically. And in some cases, it’s hard to even know what needs to shift to accommodate remote work until you’re ready to complete a specific task. If you suddenly realize you don’t have what you need, it pulls away your time and focus as you find a solution.

That’s why it’s smart to take the time now to consider the actual tasks your remote work will need to accommodate. Think through your workflow and make a list of what you’ll need to get the job done. This may also include things like a WiFi booster to ensure you have a strong connection in your home office.

Keep Your Employees Connected and Motivated

Platforms for communication and project management are crucial for productive remote working. That’s true not just for you and your immediate team but for the employees you manage or interact with across your organization. Keeping everyone up to date on the company’s plans will help minimize fear and anxiety, which will help everyone stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Project and task management apps such as Asana and Trello can keep the team oriented toward objectives, which will then leave you free to manage and direct. A communication app like Slack can help everyone stay connected and feel like they’re still part of the team, even if they’re no longer seeing each other face-to-face.

Consider supplying home-office items to ease the work-from-home transition and make employees’ daily work flow a bit smoother. Bluetooth-enabled Headsets, for example, can be a lifesaver when you need to leave your hands free for taking notes or typing. Or supply your team with a wireless charging pad for their home desks.

Keep in Touch

If you’d like to send something out to your team to help everyone stay connected, get in touch. We have lots of useful branded items in our curated “work from home” collection that can make working from home easier for everyone to manage.

Dealing with a cancelled trade show or event? Here’s how to stay connected this season.

Looking for an insiders perspective on unique trends in the promo world? Follow us here.

Interested in keeping up to date on all things ePromos?  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest! 


Cancelled Trade Show or Event? Here’s How to Stay Connected this Season

The novel Coronavirus pandemic has caused seismic shifts across industries, closing schools, public events, and much of the spring conference and trade show circuit. As our clients stabilize their emergency operations and protocols, they have already begun to turn to us and ask questions. What happens when events are cancelled? What happens when we can’t visit our customers? What happens when stock runs out, and replacements from overseas are delayed for months? How do we continue to build culture and relationships with a remote workforce?

Here are just a few ideas for keeping up your marketing momentum, including what to do with all those promo products you ordered.

Repurpose Already Purchased Event Products

As events around the country continue to get cancelled, you may wonder what happens if you’ve already ordered branded products. One option: find a new delivery route. A thoughtful promo product that arrives at just the right time can be all you need to make an introduction or build a connection—even from many miles away.
We can help you package these goods with special messaging and ship them right to a recipient’s doorstep. Now a missed face-to-face interaction becomes an opportunity for a memorable connection.

Freshen Up a New Workspace

Working remotely can be a big adjustment. Help create a smooth transition for your customers by sending custom kits filled with a curated collection of branded items perfect for working from home. Here are some of our favorite products that can help your brand sit front and center as a fixture of someone’s home office:

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Screened devices emit blue light that can result in blurry vision and painfully dry eyes. Blue light can even trigger insomnia, preventing you from getting that great night’s sleep that helps you stay healthy. These glasses are comfortable and durable, protecting your vision during long at-home work sessions.

Wireless Earphones

Working from home presents unique challenges when it comes to staying connected with coworkers and colleagues. With Bluetooth® technology, comfortable headphones free you up while plugging you in to music, meetings, or important calls.

Travel Mugs Without the Travel

With so many options to choose from, we opt for travel mugs to keep that delicious coffee or tea in the mug and safely away from your home keyboard.

One of our personal favorites? This cork-bottom stainless-steel custom tumbler. Comes in black, blue, titanium, silver and white and can be produced in just 5 days!

Our Cork bottom tumblers
Qi Wireless Charging Mouse Pad

This mouse pad is also a Qi charging pad and a phone stand, which results in less clutter and more productivity—not to mention a full charge on your smartphone.

Refillable Phone Sanitizer Spray

Speaking of your smartphone, it’s important to keep it cleaned and disinfected. These refillable spray packs come in a variety of colors but, most importantly, the spray kills germs and bacteria on contact. Looking for other preventive healthcare items? Click here.

Surprise and Delight with Personalization

This is also a perfect time to capture a consumer’s attention with a personalized gift. Consider adding to the excitement of your promo box collection by including an item that features the recipient’s name alongside your branding. Best sellers for personalization include drinkware and calendars.

Prepare for Price Increases

As popular promo items repeatedly go out of stock due to aggressive buying (looking at you, travel hand sanitizer), it’s likely that later this year we’ll see the price of those items increase due to larger demand. Keep this possibility in mind as you make decisions about any promo items you’re planning to order in upcoming seasons.

Continue to Think Long-Term

Disruptions make it easy to lose sight of our long-term strategies. Instead, think about what you can do in the meantime to stay proactive. For example, if you’re struggling to capture clients’ home addresses for product delivery, try going back to the basics with a direct mail or continuity campaign. Or maybe you have your own list of high-value promo items you’d like to stock up on now in order to take advantage of lower prices.

Strengthen Existing Relationships

Consider other ways you can nurture a customer relationship without an in-person exchange this season. Replace phone calls with video chat meetings or touch-based videos when you can. Or show you care by taking a few extra minutes to send a handwritten birthday card to clients. These small, thoughtful actions can go a long way in cultivating loyal brand advocates who will stick around through unexpected challenges.

Ready to get creative about marketing this year and think outside the box? Call us, the Promo Know-How People, to ensure your products make an impact—no matter where they’re going. Stay safe, everyone, and know that we are here for you when you need us.


Flu Season: Tips on Staying Healthy and Keeping Your Brand Top-of-Mind

This flu season has been no joke. At home, we’re in the midst of what experts are calling one of the worst flu seasons in decades, with 19 million Americans impacted so far. Those warnings paired with the arrival of the coronavirus state-side, and it’s no surprise people are scrambling to get late-season flu shots and figure out how to stay protected from whatever virus is lurking.

The good news? Despite the in-your-face headlines, staying healthy this winter doesn’t mean putting yourself on cold-weather lockdown. By integrating some basic precautions, you can curb your risk—and your customers and employees’ risk—of getting sick this season.

#1. Meet Your New BFF: Travel-Sized Soap Sheets

Aside from washing your hands and getting vaccinated, there are other measures you can take to keep germs under control and reduce your risk of getting sick. If you work in a shared environment or go out in public, it’s especially important to frequently disinfect your hands after touching items in common-use areas such as breakrooms, bathrooms, retail stores, elevators, cafeterias and more.

Finding hand-sanitizer (branded or not-branded) is nearly impossible at the moment if you need it shipped ASAP. Our favorite alternative? These Carry-On Compliant Soap Sheets which can be carried in your purse or briefcase for germ-protection all day long.

image of our soap sheets in their case

Choose blue or clear and brand these hand sheets with your logo —you can hand them out around the office to encourage others to maintain a healthy work environment. Or, send your clients a care package with them tucked inside. No doubt you’ll get a “thank you” call, especially in this climate!

#2. Grab Some Tissues and Antibacterial Wipes

The coronavirus is usually spread through the air via coughs and sneezes, by personal contact, and by touching infected surfaces—so keeping tissues and antibacterial wipes handy is imperative to keep germs at bay. Be sure to have lots of tissues and antibacterial wipes laying around your workplace so employees and clients can easily access them.

Leave a few packs on the front desk, in the break room, in the hallways, on each desk, and in other high-traffic areas to encourage others to disinfect their hands and cover their cough. Our Tissue Packs are perfect for desks, tables, and bathroom counters, and they are customizable with your logo in full color—so you can show you care and stay on brand.

Another item perfect to hand out to everyone in your office, or to clients who pass through, are these adorable Mini Tissue Packets. Plus, these non-alcohol based Hand Sanitizer Wet Wipes should be lying around as well—they’re great at killing germs without drying out your hands, and they work well for surfaces such as counters, doorknobs, elevator buttons, and desks.

#3. Keep the Chill Away

If you or your customers live in a colder state, staying healthy means staying warm. Decrease your chance of getting a cold by properly protecting yourself from the snow and rain. Keeping your chest, head, and feet warm is the best way to shield yourself from sickness-inducing weather.

Bundle up with one of our warm scarves—each one comes in a variety of colors that will match any outfit for multiple occasions. Add your business’ logo and take advantage of campaigning your brand when the clouds and rain roll in!

This acrylic Two-Tone Pom Beanie is a fashionable and functional addition to your commute ensemble, and perfect for snowy weekend adventures. The leatherette patch is a great place to add your logo and a modern way to show off your brand. Our Embroidered Knit Beanie will also do the trick—choose from nine colors, and embroider your company’s name on the front for a perfect combination of promotion and function.

Even the smallest measures of prevention can be impactful when you want to steer clear of sickness. Make sure you cover all your bases with these essential healthcare products to help keep you, your clients, and your employees safe this season!

Looking for an insider’s perspective on unique trends in the promo world? Follow us here.

Interested in keeping up to date on all things ePromos?  Follow us on facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest!