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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Summertime Signage Is a Give-Away

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

promotional product beach ballSummer makes it easy to reach people who are out and about in the warmer weather.  While outdoor signage is a big way to capture lots of eyes, promotional products featuring your company name or logo are little ways that make a big difference. 

First, these little products are mobile and have pass-along value.  They will get into the hands of many people and be seen by more eyes than just those of the owner.   While magazines and newspapers have a pass-along value—that is, one copy is seen by an average of 2.5 people --premiums have even greater potential.  For example, according to a survey done by the Advertising Specialty Institute, if the original recipient doesn’t want the item, 62 percent of people will give it to someone else.  Items like shirts get 344 impressions per month, and pens get about 457.  From logo’d visors and sunglasses to pens or car magnets, awareness for your business increases by using promotional give-aways. 

Innovative premiums can also make a lasting impression.  Consider your target audience and your company personality.  If you want to communicate with beach-goers, a myriad of items awaits for every budget and every taste.  A sturdy beach umbrella, a pair of flip-flops, a beach towel or beach tote – all emblazoned with your name or slogan – are not only memorable items for the owner, they are also moving billboards for you.  Too much money, you say?  If you have a strategic plan, valuable premiums don’t have to break the bank.   Weigh the pros and cons of giving away fewer high-quality items that speak volumes, vs. distributing thousands of low-budget, low-quality items.    Your signage professional will be stock-full of great ideas to fit any budget.  Drink huggies, plastic beverage holders and beach balls are also nothing to sneeze at, and may be more suited to a conservative budget. 

Whatever your choice for outdoor give-aways, make them meaningful – for you and for the recipient.

Exhibit Your Signs

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trade show displays are one of the places we’re bombarded with signage.  Every angle and every corner has some type of sign – banners, neon, digital and more.  There are wrapped cars, flashing lights and sparkling words.  Trade show booth signage is shouting, “Look at ME!” 

To cut through the clutter, you can use trade show signage in both obvious and subtle ways.  First, work with a Maryland sign company to create a custom sign that identifies your booth.  Existing customers will recognize the sign and stop by.  The same custom signage can be eye-catching for new customers.  It can simply be your company name or logo in a tasteful sign material that portrays the personality of your company.  For example, if you are a high-tech company or have several messages to communicate, consider digital signage.  It has the flexibility of multiple messages as well as the impact of moving video.  If budget is not an obstacle, a video wall is high-impact and attention-getting.  

Choose trade show backdrops that are durable and clean-looking.  The “less is more” approach is a good one, because it will help you to cut through the clutter and be remembered.  Instead of customers trying to recall all of your products and services, you’ll be memorable for your simplicity.  Finally, a subtle way to get attention at a trade show is to give away items that can become walking billboards throughout the trade show.  Bags, visors or notepads emblazoned with your logo and website or phone number are great promotional items to consider and they can easily be obtained through your Maryland signage company.  They are valuable gifts for the recipient and for you. 

As the winter trade show season approaches, plan to cut through the clutter with signage that is valuable to you and your customer.

Seven Weeks and Counting…

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The countdown is on…or at least it should be if you’re considering promotional items for holiday gifts.  Yes it’s true.  The Big Day is only seven weeks away.  Timing is everything this year, so get organized and determine your time frame – it’s a lot less than seven weeks.  Let us explain.

Promotional gifts for clients or branded holiday items for prospective customers are great ideas.  You’ll want your customers to receive their gifts before Christmas.  It’s on a Tuesday this year.  That means a high probability that many people will leave their work places on Friday, December 21, and not return until after the New Year.   They will likely leave early, at that.  The legendary holiday rush for shipping will be well under way by December 14.  If you’re mailing bulk, seven days is not nearly enough time to get there by December 21.  You can see where this is going.

Sounds like you need to do some serious gift selecting this week if you hope to have gifts in hands by December 14.  While anything can be done for a price, who can afford to pay rush charges on printing and delivery from Maryland sign companies?   

Start by confirming your quantity and budget.  Select from items within that price range – whether they are wearables with your company logo, branded pens or etched paper weights.  If you need some help deciding what might work best, visit our online promotional products catalog, or call us to discuss some options.  Meet with your professional sign company and enlist their help in designing the right product for your holiday message.  Get a time line for proof approval and product delivery.  At the same time, make sure your labels and/or cards are being done so everything is ready to go out the door when the product arrives.  

Now, relax and let your professional Harford County sign company do the rest! 

In-Store POP Signage Means In-Store Decisions

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

According to the Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) 2012 Shopper Engagement Study released recently, grocery shoppers are making more decisions in-store than ever before.  The in-store decision rate has reached an all-time high of 76 percent.  Why?  Look around your grocery store next time you’re there.  Bold signage, fancy labeling and enticing displays are everywhere.  The signage ranges from shelf talkers to digital displays, but it has one objective: communicate effectively to a captive audience.

Nearly one in six purchases of a particular brand is made when a display of that brand is in the store.  The study concluded that retailers are not taking full advantage of opportunities to increase sales through in-store marketing.  The study says “Compelling creative…can turn the subconscious shopper into a conscious shopper.”  Read:  great signage is a must.  It can change people’s minds or it can simply get their attention and the product will do the rest.  With bold, to-the-point messaging, you can reach your target shopper, and increase sales.  In the study, about 56 percent of shoppers said they did recall seeing in-store displays.  Most often remembered were end cap and free-standing displays with descriptive signage.  Finally, 66 percent of all “observed grabs” resulted in a purchase – if they picked it up, they bought it.  

Now, there’s a good reason to get the shopper’s attention and give him or her an opportunity to touch and feel the product.  Give your signs a chance to shine.  Tell your custom sign design team and they can give you the sign ideas you need, and help to build your business quickly.

What’s Hot and What’s Not in Promotional Products

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How can you tell what’s hot in your world of promotional materials?  We’ve talked about targeting your audience and choosing your promotional items to reflect your image, both in quality and market.  But what are recipients really looking for, and how do you make that work for your business? 

A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute called “Defining the Disconnect,” showed that there are discrepancies between consumer attitudes toward promotional items and what marketers are actually giving away.  For example, according to the study, brand names don’t matter as much as marketers think in promotional items.  Just over 32 percent of consumers said the brand name on a promotional item was important.  Meanwhile, over 70 percent of marketers thought it was important.  The study found that prestige brands command a higher quality promotional item.  That is, if consumers get an item from BMW, they expect higher quality.  This does link back to our recommendation that a high-quality item can enhance your brand image.  Finally, promotional products are great incentives.  The study showed that 82 percent of consumers will take surveys to get an item, 70 percent would stop by a trade show booth, and 40 percent would respond to a company on a social networking site in order to get an incentive item. 

So what’s the hot promotional item in your industry?  Here are a few we thought were unique and thought-provoking.  The banking and financial industry can count on flip calculators or coin purse key chains.  The construction industry builds business using a forklift stress buster, a level key chain or a metal tape measure.   That tape measure also sells it for realtors, as do house-shaped credit card mints.  Dentists are smiling with full-color floss, personalized toothbrush and toothpaste, or a full-color bag.  Schools and universities learn to promote themselves with backpacks, hand sanitizer and bus-shaped stress toys.  Contact your custom sign developer today to check what they think is hot in the market now.

Source:  http://www.asicentral.com/asp/open/research/channelstudy.pdf

Wrap It Up In a Bright Package – New Car Wraps

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

If you’re craving that cherry red or racing blue car instead of your conservative gray or taupe vehicle but can’t quite bring yourself to change your permanent paint color, wrap it up!  Visit your Maryland professional sign company to explore a full vehicle wrap.  These wraps not only look great, they are cost-effective and time sensitive, compared to a new paint job on your car.  Or, if you want to turn your vehicle into a traveling billboard sign complete with your logo, make sure the car color matches the logo colors with a complete wrap in a color of your choice.

The wrap will maintain your car’s original paint and shield it from dings – from stones flying up from the road to careless people flinging their doors open into your car.  If there is damage done to your car while wrapped, or if you have an accident, the chances of being able to wrap the new section in the same color wrap are better and more economical than matching the original paint color.  And, a vinyl wrap can preserve the original paint, increasing the resale value of your car.  

If you really want to be trendy, put on your sunglasses and admire the latest chrome auto wraps in silver, gold, copper and other colors.  They’re actually vinyl wraps like those you would use to change your car’s color, with a chrome finish.  Like traditional wraps, they protect your car’s paint, while giving you that bright, shiny look of chrome.  A chrome wrap will keep your car cooler, because it reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them. 


Your professional sign company can install wraps quickly and easily.  While this could be a do-it-yourself project, the attention to detail is so important that it’s worth getting a professional.  First, the car’s surface needs to be prepared properly.  All blemishes and uneven surfaces need to be removed before applying the wrap.  Properly prepared surfaces will allow the wrap to stretch and adhere more smoothly and last longer.  Although stretch vinyl and chrome film can be positioned and repositioned without leaving a permanent “memory,” your professional installer can get it right the first time.  In addition, they can recommend the right design if you want printing or painting.  

So, wrap up the latest trend – a bright, shiny vehicle protected against the wear and tear of the road!

Promote Your Image with Promotional Materials

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Your company has an image – a “face” that it shows to the public.  It’s a way of doing business, and a perception of your business.  It starts with your company name and extends to everything you do.  It’s a first impression and a lasting impression.  If you’ve branded your company, you’ve taken steps to strengthen that image.  Promotional materials from a reliable Maryland sign company can help you in two distinct ways.

First, promotional materials can increase awareness of your company’s name to a broad audience.  They do what they say they will – promote your company.  Give away pens or bags or notepads emblazoned with your logo at sales events or at Maryland trade show displays, and your name is seen by thousands of people.  The item you choose becomes a mini billboard for your company, as well as a reminder of your company every time the item gets used.

Second, promotional materials can and should enhance your company’s image.  You may just want a far-reaching, inexpensive item to get your name out in the Baltimore area, but be careful in your choice of items. The quality of the item counts.  If it falls apart after one day or fails to work, that’s a reflection on your company.  Choose high-quality items that make a statement on their own.  Add your logo, and that quality statement transfers to your company image.  

Additionally, keep in mind that your choice of a promotional item itself communicates something about your image.  If you want people to think of your company as fun-loving or carefree, don’t select a traditional gray pen that you’d find in a bank.  Try a colorful or unusual item that communicates that image – like a bright visor or a pen with an unexpected design.  Your professional sign company can give you hundreds of ideas and advice to help you promote your image through promotional materials.

Promotional Personality

Thursday, August 30, 2012

eco-friendly grocery tote with company logoWhat’s your promotional personality? That is, what are your promotional items saying about your company? Promotional items are a great way to market not only your company’s name, but also its image. If you choose an item that relates to your key message, it makes the message that much stronger. So, for example, a reusable grocery tote says you are eco-friendly, helpful and practical. A reusable aluminum water bottle also says eco-friendly and “green.”  

If you choose items that are out-of-the-ordinary, it sends the message that your company is innovative and creative. Products like mint tins, mouse pads or sunglasses are all a little less boring than the traditional pen or refrigerator magnet. Unless you are a writer or an information company, try to be a bit more original. Consider your target audience and what they will use. If you’re a summertime or vacation-related business, select an appropriate item like sunglasses, visors or even flip-flops that leave an imprint of your logo in the sand!

Most importantly, choose quality promotional products. If the product looks or feels cheap, it will cheapen your company image. That doesn’t mean it can’t be inexpensive. Ask for samples of items before selecting, and determine the quality and longevity. While a promotional item isn’t meant to last forever, it is meant to be used and taken to high-visibility locations so people can see the logo. It should be sturdy enough to withstand this transportation. 

Promotional products come from all types of vendors. Maryland sign companies like BWS can provide high-quality promotional items and you can be sure the printing will be outstanding. The printing on the item should be positioned properly, have enough space for the message to be readable and be durable. Your custom sign manufacturer can also create your Maryland trade show displays, giving your company a unified, professional personality.    

“Connect” With High-Tech Promotional Items

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

With Fall trade show season and corporate meeting season approaching, the promotional item business will be heating up.  There’s still plenty of time to select a great item that reflects your company’s image along with your Maryland trade show display signage and keeps your name in front of thousands of prospects.  While pens, bags and Frisbees are all great handouts, consider the message you want to send.  

USB Flash Drive can be imprinted with company logoTechnology-related promotional items are becoming more affordable to use as promotional give-aways, and they certainly fit the lifestyle of most consumers.  Even if you are not a high-tech company, you can give items that “connect” you to your customers and keep them “connected.”  You can print a message like, “Stay connected with XYZ Company” on these items, or simply print your logo and have the implied message of connection through the item itself.  If you’re still scratching your head wondering how high-tech devices can become messengers for you, consider the following ideas that can be ordered and printed through your Maryland sign company:

  • USB flash drives – everyone uses them, they are small and inexpensive.  Many can be pre-loaded with information on your company.  Others can be personalized with printing or labeling.
  • Touch-screen Stylus and gel pens – this is a high-tech twist on a pen; it can be used with electronic devices or good, old fashioned paper.
  • Phone holders or chargers – these can be logo’d easily and are small, light-weight and a great accessory.
  • Computer screen brushes or keyboard brushes – simple, yet useful; while not a technology item itself, it’s connected to technology and shows that you’re connected.
  • Retractable Ethernet cords – printable and portable, these are great for travelers and also send the “connection” message.

If Blue Water Signs can help your company stay in the minds of potential clients with the help of any of these technology-related promotional products, please contact us today or visit our online promotional products store.

Moving Billboards

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Towels, water bottles, visors, umbrellas, chairs…it’s summertime, and people are out and about in Harford County with all their gear. Whether it’s to the pool, the beach, or the baseball game, they’re taking necessities that can become moving billboards for a fraction of the cost of most advertising. That’s right. Your company name or logo on a beach towel or water bottle is worth hundreds, if not thousands of impressions. In fact, a study from the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) concluded that 94 percent of the 1,000 respondents surveyed could recall a promotional product they received in the past two years. 89 percent could recall the advertiser of the product. The study also showed that compared to advertising on TV, print or on-line, promotional products delivered higher recall rates of the brand or product/service.

Create your own moving billboard with promotional products. Work with a Maryland custom sign company and choose an item that relates to your product or service. For example, if you sell ice cream, choose an ice cream scoop or a spoon with a logo. Or, if you are a bank, select a pen, a calculator, or checkbook cover. Magnets are also great promotional options, because they can be custom shaped, and used on cars, refrigerators, filing cabinets and more. Choose something that will get lots of exposure by being carried different places.

Next, determine your message. Use your logo, and add a tag line that will be both memorable and a quick read. Remember that your message will be visible to a new Harford County audience every day. It will also find its way to many of the same people. Promotional items are truly like little billboards, but they offer more. They deliver valuable customer impressions, as well as foster good will for your company.


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