Storytelling Builds Better Brands (For Promo Businesses and Their Clients)

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The Perfect Employee Onboarding for 2019: Creating a New Employee Welcome Kit

By Will Harris for Impactbnd

The Perfect Employee Onboarding for 2019: Creating a New Employee Welcome Kit

There’s a lot at stake during a new employee’s first week of work.

Just imagine your first day. It’s exciting, but also scary.

You arrive full of optimism and eagerness to get started. Then, you walk in the door and the next moment can go two ways:

  1. You can wander around inside of a building you’re totally unfamiliar with, searching for someone who can help tell you where to go.
  2. You’re greeted by someone awaiting your arrival, who guides you to a tidy desk complete with a beautiful new employee kit and a welcome sign on it.

Onboarding is a perfect opportunity for employers to win over the hearts and minds of their new team members. First impressions are massively important, and on an employee’s first day, they’re making note of every detail, so you don’t want to leave anything up to chance.

You also don’t want to show up to this part empty-handed.

When welcoming a new employee, you want to make sure they’re greeted with their very own new hire onboarding kit — and we’re not just talking about paperwork and office supplies.

The Importance of Good Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding is becoming increasingly important.

In a competitive war on talent, companies need to be doing whatever they can to attract, and retain top employees; and that all starts with your approach to onboarding new employees.

“Onboarding is a magic moment when new employees decide to stay engaged or become disengaged,” said Amy Hirsh Robinson of The Interchange Group in an interviewwith the Society for Human Resource Management.

“It offers an imprinting window when you can make an impression that stays with new employees for the duration of their careers.”

New hires who have a poor onboarding experience may conclude that the organization is poorly managed and decide that it was a mistake to take the job.

This is particularly true of millennials.

Notoriously labeled “job hoppers,” millennials are more likely than previous generations to bolt if they feel the fit isn’t right at a company.

Already, millennials are beginning to make up more and more of the workforce, so it’s important that organizations better prepare for their arrival.

Not investing in your onboarding experience is setting the stage for an early exit.

More than a Human Resources (HR) Concern

This responsibility of onboarding new employees goes way beyond just HR and People Ops.

As companies begin to turn more focus on their employer brand –– an organization’s reputation as an employer, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation that is geared towards consumers –– marketing teams have to be ready to take on the onus.

A study from the Harvard Business Review shows that as companies shift resources towards their employer brand, the responsibility is also shifting from HR teams to the CEO and/or marketing.

Employee retention and engagement is a full-team effort, and your company can’t afford for your marketing team not to be involved in the onboarding process.

If there’s any place where onboarding and marketing collide, it’s the new employee onboarding kit.

new-employee-onboarding-swag-uber(Image Source)

Why a New Employee Onboarding Kit is a Must Have

A new employee onboarding kit is a marketing tool; it just serves a different purpose than most of your traditional marketing efforts, as it’s built to boost your employer brand.

No, an onboarding kit full of company swag isn’t a replacement for a strong company culture and good benefits, but it’s definitely a strong component of it, and when your new hire kit is well thought out, it’ll make a big difference. How, you ask?

1. Sparks Employee Engagement

One of the pros of a well-crafted employee onboarding kit is that it can help spark employee pride, engagement, and advocacy.

People tend to wear t-shirts, carry water bottles, or use other gear from companies they support or align with. Giving your employee new gear to represent your company will help turn them into a promoter and champion of your brand even outside of the office — plus who doesn’t love some free swag!

A common boast companies make is “Our people are our greatest asset.”

While this may sound cliché, it’s actually very true of employer branding.

People are far more likely to listen to what a company’s employees say about them than what their recruiting ad does. This means attracting talent relies heavily on employee engagement and advocacy.

Everything you can do to make this happen goes a long way.

2. Promotes Company Culture

The onboarding kit is also an excellent way to show your new hire what your company is all about.

Sure, they’ll have read up about your company, but this is your first chance at truly immerse them in who your company is, and what their experience here will be like.


The example above is from Ogilvy, one of the world’s most renowned advertising agencies.

The company’s founder, David Ogilvy, is known as the father of advertising, giving the company a really rich history in the \industry.

Ogilvy really leans into this reputation with its employee welcome kits.

The inside contains a book written by Ogilvy himself, as well as a list of his eight creative habits.

These components work well in that they reflect the company’s rich history, all while setting the stage for what your time will be like at the agency, while also offering something a bit fun and unexpected.

A well-crafted new hire kit will incorporate clever ways of welcoming a new employee and give them a peek into the company’s culture.

3. Makes Your New Hire Feel Welcome

When your company or team gains a new employee, it’s critical that you invest in making them feel welcome.


Studies show that during their first couple of months, new employees are still feeling out whether they fit in with the company/team –– an experience called belonging uncertainty.

Thoughtful company swag in an onboarding kit can be a great way to combat any uneasiness your new hires may be feeling.

Imagine the scenario where your new employee receives their kit, and the next day they decide to wear their new company t-shirt, only to walk past a coworker wearing the same shirt.

Yes, the situation is silly and maybe slightly embarrassing, but also disarming and provides an excellent icebreaker to approach a co-worker and get to know them.

These small moments help your new hire feel the part.

That feeling is important and inspiring it right out of the gate will give you a solid first step towards turning them into a lifelong employer brand advocate and promoter.

So, What Goes in An Employee Onboarding Kit?

It can include necessary things like a laptop, notebooks, a key to the building, or an employee handbook, but also consider some fun swag items like water bottles, stickers, t-shirts, etc.

Unexpected things like these get people excited, and let them know that your organization is thinking about you as a human being, not just an employee.

Kevin Spahn, Art Director at Element Three, a marketing agency in Indianapolis with serious authority when it comes to employer branding, says items in their kit are divided into three categories: informative, practical, and fun.

The informative. This is your baseline info that new hires need to know. Items might include:

  • Map of the office
  • Key to the building
  • A letter from the company president
  • Parking instructions
  • Information on benefits
  • A checklist of things you’ll get done in your first month

This may sound relatively boring, but it doesn’t have to be.

Element Three (seen above) actually turns their onboarding kit into a game of sorts. Inside is a checklist full of tasks for the first month, with each tab on the checklist helping them learn something important about their new surroundings.

The practical. These items are the ones that help your employees do their jobs, like these waiting patiently for a new team member on their desk at FanDuel.

(Image Source)

Practical items might include:

  • Laptop
  • Notebooks & pens
  • Flash drive
  • Monitor stand, mouse, and mouse pad
  • A professional development book

Now we’re getting a little flashier, but the excitement of office equipment wears off relatively fast.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to make a strong impression here, however.

Per Gallup, something important to employees –– and millennials in particular –– is knowing that you’re invested in their growth. A small but potentially impactful gesture — give your new hire a book related to their professional growth.

Whether it be on something more general like leadership, or a book with industry-specific knowledge, the fact that their betterment was even a thought will mean something and might make them want to stick around and grow at your company rather than elsewhere.

The fun. Now we’re talking.

This is when you get to outfit your team with more exciting gear that may not be a need but certainly is a want. It could include things like :

  • Apparel (t-shirt, sweater, hoodie, polo, etc)
  • Water bottle
  • Stickers
  • A pennant
  • Enamel pins
  • A coffee mug

Add some excitement to your onboarding kit! These are the items that will make people really excited about joining your team, and help you come off as, well, cool.

Don’t think you can’t enforce company culture here, though. A thoughtful message on the inside tag of a t-shirt or a clever bit of copy on a company water bottle can help reinforce your brand and mission to employees in a memorable way.

One key here: when thinking swag, make sure you get swag that people actually want.

It may seem silly to put a lot of thought into swag items, but it’s all pointless if they’re not items people will use.

Plus, thoughtless swag doesn’t reflect well on your brand, so make the investment worth it and be sure to do it right.

Get Your Employees On Board!

In many ways, it’s an employee’s market and your company can’t afford to not have a well-thought-out onboarding structure. Now’s the time to get started!

Be sure to use these tips to put together the perfect new hire onboarding kit that not only gives your new employee everything they need to get their work done, but also some surprises that makes them excited about doing so.

It’s Free. It’s Fun. Why Silicone Valley Loves Swag – and how it’s changing.

San Francisco Chronicle – by Carolyn Said  July 21, 2019

Scan your closets and drawers. Chances are, you’ll find T-shirts, tote bags and baseball caps emblazoned with logos and slogans of conferences you attended, products you bought, nonprofits you supported, companies that wanted to sell you stuff.

A majority of Americans own branded pens, drinkware, T-shirts, bags, caps, outerwear and desk accessories — with the average household having 30 promotional products, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute, a trade group.

Swag or schwag — branded promotional merchandise — is a major marketing tool in almost every industry. But it feels particularly pervasive in the technology sector, which shelled out $1.43 billion for promotional products in 2018, up from $1.08 billion the year before, the trade group said.

For tech companies, which often deal with complex products, producing something tangible such as a water bottle or fleece vest helps make abstractions more appetizing to consumers.

“Most of Silicon Valley is intangible clouds of electrons tunneling down circuits,” said Paul Saffo, a futurist and longtime valley watcher. “That’s why we’re suckers for physical artifacts.”

There are other reasons, as well. Silicon Valley spawns scores of startups, which need to quickly establish themselves in the public eye. Companies hand out logoed apparel to create walking billboards for themselves as they jostle for new recruits and customers. As tech enterprises release new projects, T-shirts are de rigueur for fostering esprit de corps among team members. There’s even a book, “Apple T-Shirts,” that chronicles some of the company’s history through its apparel.

“Swag has existed for as long as the Valley itself,” said Leslie Berlin, project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford, in an email. “I still treasure my Fairchild Semiconductor pencil holder.”


Remembering the Leslie Salt Mountain: Bay Area’s odd, glistening landmark

In an industry where companies and products come and go seemingly in the blink of an eye, swag can outlast them.

“We find that T-shirts are sometimes the only physical evidence” of a defunct product, alliance or company, said Dag Spicer, senior curator at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum. “We have quite a few shirts of glorious failures.”

The museum counts about 6,500 items of ephemera — T-shirts, mugs, buttons, hats, tote bags — in its collection. One exhibit wall showcases hundreds of button pins with slogans like “I pray in Fortran” — an early programming language — “Support your local computer dealer,” “The Joy of Unix,” and “NetWare, Dedicated to Serve All LANkind” — an artifact from the days when Novell dominated local area networking.

“I’ve always wanted to do a USB exhibit about all the crazy little devices and funny little shapes they make USB sticks into,” Spicer said.

But environmentalists worry that the deluge of knickknacks adds to landfill — and say their concerns are heightened as swag goes more high tech.

“Swag was always wasteful but now has become things with circuit boards, batteries and other toxic materials,” said Nick Lapis, director of advocacy at Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group. “It’s irresponsible to hand out a disposable item with lithium ion batteries.”


Patagonia, the Ventura maker of outerwear that’s a coveted swag item, in April said it would decline to stitch corporate logos on its vests and jackets except for companies that “prioritize the planet.”

Tim Andrews, CEO of the Advertising Specialty Institute, says the industry is making a conscious effort to be more environmentally aware. Part of that involves higher-end merchandise and more personalized items — “you rarely discard something with your name on it,” he said.

“The time of cheap plastic items that people tossed away quickly was 15 or 20 years ago,” he said. “If you distribute a product that’s not kept, respected and appreciated, that’s not effective. We encourage members to focus on products that will be retained.”

Sendoso is one of many companies that have made a business out of facilitating swag.  Photo: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle

The group’s studies show that consumers have more favorable impressions of freebies that appear sustainable and were made in the U.S.

Some new green forms of swag have emerged. Danielle Baskin of San Francisco started Branded Fruit initially as a joke but now has a thriving business of printing company names and logos on all types of produce, from avocados to peaches to sweet potatoes. Growing up with a mom who worked for a promotional catalog — her toys were branded stuffed animals, stress balls and maze pens — she already felt connected to the industry.

Fruits and veggies are “something everybody wants, and they don’t sit on a shelf forever and don’t go to landfill,” she said. “People now are more interested in experiences than objects; eating an avocado is an experience, and it can be a branded experience.” Also, branded produce is very Instagram-friendly, extending its reach on social media.

The logos, meant for produce with peels or skins, use the same nonedible, non-compostable material as supermarket produce stickers, but Baskin said she plans to switch in September to new inks that will be edible and compostable.

Other companies are harnessing technology to make swag more personalized and effective.

Kris Rudeegraap co-founded Sendoso, a San Francisco company that automates assembling and sending customized swag packages on behalf of customers, including personalized gifts, such as mugs from the recipient’s alma mater, bobbleheads of the recipient, handwritten notes and a variety of other items.

Now 3 years old, Sendoso has 150 employees and more than $13 million in venture backing, and it will send out about half a million packages this year for its 400 corporate clients. It integrates with customer relationship software like Salesforce. Rudeegraap said sending swag and letters delivers a 30 times higher response rate than simply emailing.

Jessica Cross, manager of demand generation at San Francisco’s RollWorks,which uses Sendoso, agreed that sending swag works.

“We don’t want to send a cheapie pen that will get tossed; we’re looking to make a memorable impression,” she said. “In an age of too many voicemails and overloaded email boxes, people still get excited to receive a package. It costs more, but there’s a big return on investment.”

One reason swag is so effective is that humans, like other primates, are hard-wired for mutual exchanges, said Jamie O’Boyle, senior analyst at the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, a Philadelphia think tank. “If you give people something, even something small, then they feel obliged to you,” he said. “Reciprocity is an absolute in pretty much every culture.”

Museums in Silicon Valley are already collecting promotional items like T-shirts from companies; the ephemeral items provide a record of a fast-changing industry. Photo: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle

In addition, swag works when it lingers in your personal space. “People see thousands of advertising impressions — on billboards, websites, TV and radio every day and rarely remember them, but almost everyone remembers brands represented by products that sit on their desk, in their kitchen, that they wear to work or sports games,” said Andrews from the promotional industry trade group.

Lots of people recall weird swag that they’ve received throughout the years, even if they tossed it. A random Twitter survey elicited tales of chocolate-covered crickets (from Cricket Wireless, appropriately enough), a 3-D-printed sandstone doll, embossed metallic ice cubes, underwear printed with data (“technical briefs”), a reel viewer, talking plastic figurines, a wooden eagle, autographed celebrity photos, a key fob with a condom inside.


“We’re all just big dumb crazy squirrels who instinctively collect things even if there’s no purpose to them,” Saffo said. “Future archaeologists will someday thank us for the sedimentary layer of swag of Silicon Valley.”

Find the original article here.

Carolyn Said is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @csaid

Carolyn Said covers the on-demand economy (new marketplaces such as Uber, TaskRabbit and Airbnb that let people rent their time, goods and services), the impacts of automation and AI on labor, and the world of autonomous vehicles. Previously she covered the housing market and foreclosure crisis, winning awards for stories that shed light on the human impact of sweeping economic trends. As a business reporter at The Chronicle since 1997, she also has covered the dot-com rise and fall, the California energy crisis, the corporate malfeasance scandals, and the fallout from economic downturns.


25 Facts about Promotional Products

Do you have a prospect that is considering incorporating promo products into their marketing mix but is maybe concerned about ROI? Let the facts do the talking!

We’ve got 25 useful facts and stats to back up your sales and marketing strategy! Aaaand, we’ve pulled them together in a shareable infographic to help you show prospects and clients the value of promo products.

Feel free to share the 25 Facts About Promotional Products Infographic across your social media, website, blog, or with your prospects and clients!

New Additions and Old Classics in Promotional Drinkware

Brendan Menapace for Promo Marketing

The Psychology of Colors in Marketing

By Dashburst for

Do you feel serenely calm when surrounded by green fields and blue skies? Have you ever asked what does the color red represent and why you feel slightly alarmed when staring at a red stop sign? Color psychology study’s hues as a determinant of human behavior, and it is used by brands to evoke different reactions.

The Psychology of Colors

Color has been known to have a powerful psychological impact on people’s behavior and decisions. And this knowledge has been harnessed all too well in marketing psychology by designers and marketers alike. Color can often be the sole reason someone purchases a product. In a survey, 93 percent of buyers said they focus on visual appearance, and close to 85 percent claim color is a primary reason when they make a purchase!

How do Colors Influence People?

Red – Creates a sense of urgency, which is good for clearance sales. Encourages appetite, thus is frequently used by fast-food chains. Physically stimulates the body, raising blood pressure and heart rate, associated with movement, excitement, and passion.

Blue – The preferred color of men. It’s associated with peace, water, tranquility, and reliability. Blue provides a sense of security, curbs appetite, and stimulates productivity. The most common color used by conservative brands looking to promote trust in their products.

Green – Associated with health, tranquility, power, and nature. Used in stores to relax customers and for promoting environmental issues. Green stimulates harmony in your brain and encourages a balance leading to decisiveness.

Purple – Commonly associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect. Stimulates problem-solving as well as creativity. Frequently used to promote beauty and anti-aging products.

Black – Associated with authority, power, stability, and strength. Often a symbol of intelligence, but can become overwhelming if used to frequently.

Grey – Symbolizes feelings of practicality, old age, and solidarity. But too much grey can lead to feelings of nothingness and depression.

White – Associated with feelings of purity, cleanliness and safety. Can be used to project an absence of color or neutrality. White space helps spark creativity since it can be perceived as an unaltered, clean state.

Properly Using Color Theory

Use contrasts to reduce eyestrain and allow readers to focus their attention on specific items. Vibrancy can dictate the emotional response users have to your design.

Color Psychology Used by Major Brands?

McDonald’s chooses high-energy colors like red and yellow which appeal to children, kindle appetites and create a sense of urgency. Of course, Ronald McDonald himself is popular with the kids, but he’s also sure to agitate parents quickly. This facilitates faster customer turnover.

It’s scary to think how powerful this tactic has been for Micky D’s, which might not have been the same ridiculously big chain it is today without using red and yellow so effectively. McDonald’s sure wouldn’t be so popular trying to market all that unhealthy food using the color green!

Interestingly, the only major global brand to use green as its primary color is Starbucks. Using green shows that Starbucks hopes to promote a sense of relaxation in their cafes, inviting customers to come in for a coffee break during a stressful day.

How to Use the Psychology of Colors When Marketing

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Image Source: Homestead