I am a Cleveland Browns fan. Yes, willingly.
You don’t have to follow the NFL to know the Browns are one of the sorriest franchises in sports. In the eight years since the team’s last winning season in 2007, the Browns are 37-91, a .289 winning percentage. For comparison’s sake, the Patriots have won 36 regular season games over the last three years.
With such a dismal track record, it surprised no one when owner Jimmy Haslam fired his coaching staff and general manager mere hours after the Browns lost their season finale to the Steelers a couple weeks ago. It was surprising, however, when Haslam announced that Sashi Brown – a 39-year-old former lawyer who had served as the team’s general counsel and salary cap expert for the past three seasons – would have “ultimate say over the roster” as the executive VP of football operations. Days later, Haslam hired as his chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, whose emphasis on statistical analysis helped revolutionize Major League Baseball during his time in the front offices of several different franchises.
With no notable personnel experience on his résumé, Brown’s promotion appeared to be another example of “the Browns being the Browns.” The DePodesta hiring, meanwhile, sent the sports world into a tizzy. Critics claimed statistics aren’t nearly as relevant for football as they are for other sports, particularly baseball, and traditionalists universally panned the decision, with some in the media claiming “football people” are rooting for the Browns’ experiment to fail.
I admit to being skeptical at first, but then I read this article about the DePodesta hiring. In particular, this question fascinated me: “If we weren’t already doing it this way, do you think this is the way we would do it?” With few teams in sports having more incentive to challenge conventional wisdom than the Browns, I found myself wondering if these hirings would ultimately prove to be genius moves from an owner who had not only embraced an outside-the-box mentality, but had seemingly removed the box from the room entirely.
The question for us is: Can we actually learn something from the Cleveland Browns? Absolutely. It’s all too easy to settle into a routine or make daily decisions that are dictated by tradition and the status quo, and then months or years later, we wonder why we feel stagnate, why our work isn’t as successful or challenging, or why we’re just plain bored. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the safety and comfort of your box and ask some tough questions that may completely change the way you do business.
Of course, I’m not naïve enough to suggest this approach is guaranteed to lead the Browns out of nearly two decades of futility, but I applaud Haslam’s willingness to try something completely new.
How can we adopt a similar unconventional mindset?
Take time to brainstorm
I’ve found one of my biggest hurdles is simply carving out the time to sit down and come up with new ideas rather than immediately reacting to a given situation. You can’t think of a new way to do things if you don’t spend any time actually thinking.
Challenge yourself to approach your decisions and your problems from different angles
Oftentimes, other people can best help us break from our traditional mindset and find new solutions to old problems.
Tap into your creativity
We’re all creative by nature, and that creativity can be powerful when applied to problem solving. When brainstorming a fresh solution, don’t just settle for the first or second idea you have. Challenge yourself to go deeper, to ask tougher questions, and to find the answer that’s hidden underneath years of preconceived notions, reactionary thinking and other people’s expectations.
Posted By Natalie Darr/ February 16, 2016
You’ve been marketing to your clients through one line of communication and it’s worked out, done its job. You keep in touch with your customers with mailers and coupons, which is just one great avenue to advertise to your customer base. Unfortunately you’ve pigeonholed your marketing efforts by only using print. On a positive note, obviously your client is happy with the business you are currently doing; you’ve got the sales to prove it! For the sake of argument, let’s say you want more. More business, more sales, more clients, more everything. How can you gain all of the business from your clients and other prospects and not just by using the weekly newsletter sent? Here are a couple of ideas to help you in the climb.
Attach a Product to Your Print.
Your customers receive a regularly scheduled brochure in the mail. Every month you are supplying these folks information on your company that may or may not end up in the recycling bin. In addition to those consistent print deliveries, attach a branded magnet for your client’s convenience. Sending an appointment reminder? Throw in fun cell phone wallet with your company’s logo on it. Perhaps a branded mini screwdriver would be helpful to those long-time customers always using your services. Sending these additional items are thoughtful and conversation starters that hopefully ease the door open for discussions about what you offer as a company.
Market to Existing Clients.
Ever heard of the saying, your next great customer is already a current client? Well that is exactly true. Your next new sale is probably right under your nose. You have been doing some sort of sales with these folks and have established trust in your business relationship. So how do we produce new sales from existing clients? Ask for a lunch meeting or any meeting for that matter and provide your clients with a presentation specifically catered to them. Review projects you created for them and great past reviews from other customers. Highlight your brand with fun leave-behinds and quickly but efficiently showcase all of the new resources, products or service you can provide to them.
Check-in Regularly Bearing Gifts.
If you aren’t already, you should be visiting your clients regularly. The relationship that you create with your customers has an enormous effect on your sales. I personally lean towards companies that I have a great comradery with when I could probably get what I need from four other places cheaper. But I trust and genuinely like them, trumping cost. How do you position yourself in this favorable manor? Gifts. From chocolate gift sets and office accessories to apparel and trendy tech gadgets, these fun and thoughtful presents will win the hearts of your clients and that next project. These gifts let your client know that they are important to you. Have out-of-town clients? Try to communicate with them on a regular basis via phone or email and make sure send your gifts in the mail.
You’ve done the hard part; you actually are doing business and making sales with this company. Take advantage of the situation and don’t settle for just average. Keep working to build that great relationship and watch your sales grow.
As 2016 chugs along, you’ve probably given your business plan some thought on how you can really rock it this year. In my opinion, one of the most beneficial steps you can take in improving your business plan is to reevaluate your marketing and advertising strategies. Have you been running the same ad month after month? Is your website in desperate need of a facelift? I’m a creative person and trained in marketing, so I notice and appreciate good campaigns. This year, consider these pointers as you contemplate how to improve your marketing and advertising campaigns.
I am a big fan of color. Have you ever noticed how much more your eyes are drawn to a full-color ad compared to a black and white one? Or how you’re attracted to items that are a particular color? There have been actual studies done on what colors work best in “x” and “y” situations. Do a little research and you’ll discover when to use red instead of purple if you want to illicit a certain reaction from your audience. Just remember to not go overboard – pick two to four signature colors for your brand and use them interchangeably.
I am also a big fan of fonts. I love how many different kinds there are, even though the massive selection can quickly become overwhelming. From bolds to italics, serifs to sans serifs – wait, serifs…? A serif is a small decorative line that’s added as an embellishment to the basic form of a character. The most common serif typeface is Times New Roman, whereas the most common sans serif (without serifs) typeface is Helvetica. Serif fonts are generally used in print while sans serifs are generally used in digital. So the next time you’re scrolling through fonts, take some time to notice the differences between the two.
Are you ever immediately turned off by advertisements that are jam-packed with information, pictures and other clutter? As high as the urge is to put as much information on your ad as possible, don’t. The more white space you have in a design, the better. Remember that people are only going to glance at your ad for a second or two, just like you do with ads, so convey your most important information and leave it at that. This usually includes your company name, logo and website. Think about it: if you have a good logo, people will remember it, and in turn they will remember your company, and then they’ll just look you up online. Don’t take up valuable real estate with unnecessary information.
Take some time this year to reevaluate your marketing strategies. Maybe your brand needs a makeover or you have some extra dollars to spend on advertising. If you begin putting these pointers into practice, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful marketing and advertising campaign.
Want to be the toast of the town with your prospects, clients and employees, alike? Think branded barware! Indeed, branded beverage accessories and drinkware are sure-fire promotional tools to keep spirits high. Whether the preference is beer, wine, liquor or liqueur, you’ll find a litany of logo-laden bar options to choose from.
Branded Barware Basics
Here are some of the most popular items to help your recipient duly stock the bar:
• Glassware: From wine glasses and champagne flutes to martini and shot glasses, glassware is a standout branded barware product for its practicality, long life, and surface area on which to display your message or logo.
• Steins and Stadium Cups: With everything from glass beer steins to their plastic stein mug counterparts…not to mention stadium plastic cups in various sizes and colors, these containers are appropriate for a bevy of beverages. The large variety of plastic sizes and colors also helps to ensure a corporate identity match. People just love these convenient cups for their portability and durability.
• Bottle Openers: This handy gadget comes in a multitude of shapes, sizes and configurations, including those that are key-ring size or can be mounted on the side of a counter for regular use – and visibly display your logo.
• Coasters: No one likes liquid rings on their furniture so coasters are always a desired bar item to have on hand. These come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, including leather, acrylic, plastic and heavy-duty cardboard. Many also offer two sides on which to market your brand or even add a personalized message for the recipient
• Cocktail Napkins: If you want to help the recipient enjoy their cocktails with class, nothing says sophistication like an elegant cocktail napkin tucked under a martini glass. This is a great way to make an elevated brand statement
• Beer Buckets: Whether plastic or galvanized steel, a fun barware item is a beer bucket to hold a bunch of brews on ice. These are great for parties, backyard barbecues, or a camping or beach trip. The buckets can even be used as décor items when they are not keeping cold beer within reach. Of course, their large size offers a great promotional billboard opportunity.
Here is a summary of the latest and greatest ways to say “cheers” with branded barware:
• Go for glass and plastic drinkware, including wine glasses, champagne flutes, and other stemware; beer steins; shot glasses; and mugs.
• A mountable bottle opener keeps it handy and well-used. Keychain bottles openers are also convenient…and highly visible.
• Coasters and cocktail napkins keep beverages from ruining cherished furniture with wet circles while also making a style statement.
• Beer buckets keep many drinks on ice to save on having to leave the game or party
to get your next brew. Large buckets are great for displaying logos and messages in
For more ideas, check out our Beverage webpage
Your company may be doing great things but how will anyone know if you don’t tell them? Press releases are a great tool to get information out about your company, educate your audience and help keep your business top-of-mind next time a reader needs a product or service you offer.
If you don’t have a dedicated public relations professional on board, the responsibility of writing an effective release more than likely falls on you. Although writing a press release may feel like a daunting task, these basic tips and tricks can help you create a successful press release and gain the positive coverage you deserve.
1. Be aware of your language
Not everyone reading your release may be an industry expert. Keeping your audience in mind when choosing the language of your press release is key to getting people to read it.
Sure, if you’re releasing it to an industry publication, feel free to use all the jargon you’d like. But if a local, small-town paper is picking it up, keep the language simple and understandable to a broad audience.
2. Keep the ads out
Public relations is all about generating buzz around the great things your company is doing, not a free advertisement. Keep focused on the story at hand and avoid adding unnecessary details about the great services you offer or the benefits of choosing your company. There’s a time and place for that and, in the end, it’ll just get cut anyway or worse; deter the reporter from running your story.
3. Make it short and sweet
Thanks to social media feeding us information at lightning speed, today’s readers’ attention spans are getting smaller and smaller. Keep your press release down to one page to avoid boring your readers, cut out unnecessary words and only include information imperative to understanding the story.
4. Pick your targets wisely
Almost as important as the content of your press release, who you send it to can make or break your opportunity. Create relationships with reporters local to your area who focus on your industry; it doesn’t make sense to send a press release covering your manufacturing business to a lifestyle reporter. Thank them when they run your release and keep contact with them regularly.
5. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Press releases are not a new thing. They’ve been done over and over again and have a set format for you to follow. Include your contact information, a headline, your city and the date the announcement can be made public. Send the entire release in the body of an email, including any images, and make yourself available to any requests the reporter
If your press release doesn’t get picked up right away, don’t get discouraged. Contact the reporter and see what you may be missing, try a different publication or a new approach. Eventually, your news will get the coverage you want and, once it does, share your story on social media for an even more reach.
by Nick Montecalvo
This past week I spoke with our InMotion Team about the Do’s and the Don’ts of Holiday promotional products. Being industry veterans, they’ve seen the holidays go by year in and year out with hits and flops alike.
Sometimes the flops are not because the product is lousy, a lot of the times delivery and timeliness play a big part in the process. Here are a few tips to make sure the holiday promo buying process is easier for you.
Do: Keep It Simple
We all like to get creative during this time of year while buying gifts for our friends, relatives, and loved ones but when selecting promo items to give out at company parties and gifts, sometimes being creative can over complicate things.
It’s the age old adage, and it’s worth mentioning: Keep It Simple. Some items that
may seem like great ideas for holiday promo, may be the hardest to attain during the holiday season.
Don’t: Insist on Specialized Items
Is the product flammable? No – I’m not joking. Client Services Manager, Dee Dennis, told me that there have been times where she has needed to order alcohol or flammable products during the holidays, but they are limited in quantities and where they need to be shipped. Some states don't allow it at all. Keep that in mind when your considering the champagne with your company logo on it for your New Year’s Eve company bash.
Don’t: Turn Your Back on Time
If you’re planning to order promotional items to give away at your company party right now…you’re behind the eight-ball, but it’s not hopeless. Email us now for help.
As a rule of thumb, however, normally you’re looking at 10-14 business days to produce depending on project specs, although rushes may be offered at a higher rate. Bottom line – just like shopping for your relatives…waiting until the last minute to order promotional products may make it difficult to get what you really want. Halloween is when you should really start thinking about holiday promotions. Click here to get a reminder next year.
Do: Be On Brand and Appropriate
Appropriateness of the promotional products you choose for your holiday event is important. Make sure everyone has signed off on the 50qty inflatable palm trees.
Holiday promotions can be a chore, but InMotion Brand Strategies can make it a whole
Sent: Thursday, October 1, 2015 5:31 PM
To: Kevin Montecalvo <Kevin@imbrandstrategies.com>
Subject: mil gracias!
Kevin . . . miracle maker . . . my deepest gratitude for all your hard work, prompt and professional . . . always willing and going out of your way. You have excellent customer service. Believe me..I deal with many people and vendors often.
Congratulations on a business well run by your spirit . . . your son is as kind.
You were really my best partner on this event and made many people happy with the quality of your work.
Thank you so much from my heart
Structure Tone, a $4 billion international full-service construction services provider has chosen InMotion to create an eCommerce site. The site will feature more than 100 branded merchandise items, as well as printed collateral and marketing pieces.
“Our partnership with Structure Tone will give them more control in their marketing efforts worldwide, as well as lowering their inventory costs and increasing the efficiency of their buying processes,” said Kevin Montecalvo, CEO of InMotion. “With InMotion, Structure Tone will receive personal service from people who understand their brand and are personally invested in their success, as well as an agency that has access to unlimited marketing and creative resources to help them maximize their exposure and fully leverage their global presence.”
Structure Tone’s new eCommerce site will serve employees in 16 domestic locations and three international offices. The store will help Structure Tone control brand consistency, manage company spending and regulate inventory and warehousing of its products.
The company selected InMotion Brand Strategies powered by Proforma because of its access to a network of unlimited marketing resources and Montecalvo’s ability to provide exceptional service, ideas and solutions.