Wristbands: Carrying Your Message for Miles (and Years)

When the Livestrong Foundation (formerly known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation) launched the iconic yellow silicone wristband in 2004 as a fundraising initiative, I hoped it would raise some money for a worthy cause. I had no idea that it would catch on across the country — and around the world — as one of the hottest promotional products around. To date, over 80 million Livestrong bands have been sold, inspiring countless other charitable organizations, companies and brands to share their message in this popular manner.

silicone wristbands

Silicone wristbands are so popular even Elvis has his eye on them.

 Like so many others, I thought this trend would never last. Who would want to wear these promotional wristbands? Nearly everyone, it turns out. From young to old and red to blue, people of all ages, nationalities, genders, political beliefs and lifestyles want to rock a wristband. That’s one of many reasons the silicone wristband is here to stay. Ten years later, this staple promotional product is produced in a plethora of colors promoting metro parks to marathons and everything in between.

If you’re interested in promoting your company or brand with a reminder around the wrist, keep the following variables in mind:

  • decoration method
  • imprint location
  • imprint colors
  • band sizes
  • band colors
  • packaging options
  • quantity
  • in-hands date

All of these factors can affect your pricing, and different options make sense for different objectives.

In addition to exposure, silicone wristbands are also helpful at events. Hand them out to attendees at concerts, conferences and sporting events to easily identify who should be admitted and who shouldn’t. They’re durable, easily spotted and can be kept long after the event for continued exposure and as a keepsake.

Whatever your message is, it’ll go far on a silicone wristband.

Weigh In

What silicone wristbands are in your collection?

Are you surprised at this product’s staying power or did you think it would be a hit?

When did you get your first silicone wristband?

Have you promoted your brand, company, cause, organization or event with one?

Rockin’ the wristband,
Jaime

We don’t have wristbands, but we do have social networks. Connect with CCC!
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Get Real, Brands: Why Real Is Usually Right

Whether you’re a racing fan or not, you have to love Jeff Gordon and his sponsor, Pepsi MAX, right now.

Last year, the duo produced an awesome ‘test drive‘ video, where a disguised Jeff Gordon took an unsuspecting used car salesman on the ride of his life. Only, it was fake. A stunt driver, paid actors and a car that didn’t exist (an ’09 Camaro). Some of the thrill wore off after the truth came out. And the truth will come out in today’s ultra-connected, 24/7 world.

So this time, they got it right. They wanted to show the reporter, who broke the story of the initial video being fake, that they could, in fact, pull off a real stunt of EPIC proportions. And they did. Jalopnik‘s Travis Okulski went for the ride of his life. All real this time, and the Internet’s buzzing about it.

No, you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet. But when a brand gets real, it usually gets it right.

What did you think of the video?

“Test Drive 2” video courtesy of Pepsi YouTube Channel
Tweet from Travis Okulski’s Twitter feed

Cheers,
Jaime

All real, all the time. Let’s connect:
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You Don’t Know Jack About Brandjacking

In the mid-nineties, there was a trivia game called You Don’t Know Jack. As a trivia buff, I loved the game and even had it on CD-ROM (remember those?). OK, I also loved telling people, “You don’t know jack” when they answered incorrectly. Which brings me too…

You Don't Know Jack logo

Brandjacking. What is it? When someone hijacks your brand, either personal or business, in order to steal your thunder (and publicity) or to hurt your brand’s reputation. It usually happens online, especially on social media. The term is widely credited to Business Week, which used it in a 2007 article.

So what’s the problem? First of all, it’s desperate. You’re either trying to grab some cheap publicity from another brand’s (hard work &) success or trying to cause damage to someone else’s brand. Either way, you look bad.

Second, come up with your own brand. Put in the work to build your brand, formulate a strategy and put it into action. Don’t try to jump on someone else’s coattails to success without putting in the work.

Maybe I’ve just spent too much time working on companies’ brands and understand how much time, effort and money go into the branding process. As all of you fellow marketers and business owners know, it’s a lot of hard work. For someone else to benefit from that (outside of donated publicity for a non-profit or cause) is incredibly frustrating and annoying.

Clearly Conveyed Communications logo

As a small business owner, my brands (personal and business) are my everything. I’m all in, as they say at the poker table. I’ve put every last chip I have into making Clearly Conveyed Communications work. For someone to come along and hurt my brand(s) would be a horrible blow.

As Tony Zayas so elegantly puts it on the Proforma blog, trust is the new business currency. If clients and prospects don’t trust you, they won’t work with you.

So if you think brandjacking is cool (or a viable marketing tactic), then you don’t know jack about branding.

The mic is yours…

Do you agree? Or is brandjacking a viable guerrilla marketing tactic?

Are there any brandjacking examples that you feel have been a success?

Would you brandjack?

You may also like: The Art of Branding | The Olympics: A Global Brand (Kind Of)
Rage Against the Political Machine: 5 Takeaways for Your Marketing Efforts

Photo credit: You Don’t Know Jack

Your trivia (& branding) buff,
Jaime

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The Art of Branding

Branding is a buzz word today, so everyone wants to drop it like the name of the hottest new rapper out there. While it’s overused and abused, it’s still an instrumental element to companies and people everywhere.

“Good brands are able to set the tone, create the scene, and make us a part of it all.”  –Danny Trizio

We’re all brands, you and me, Apple and Google. Living, breathing entities that customers and fans connect with, get to know and enter into relationships with. Sound strange? OK, think about why you buy an iPhone instead of another smartphone or why you choose Google over Bing. It may be a subconscious choice, but it’s not likely random.

Apple ad

Apple has designed a brand with staying power.

Of course, some brands get it more than others. The aforementioned Apple is one of the strongest brands alive today, and this is coming from an Android fan. I came across a blog post by Danny Trizio, marketing campaign manager at Proforma, touching on why Apple ‘gets it,’ so I’ll let him explain.

Along with the tech icon, another brand who forges a deep bond with customers is ABSOLUT. (Full disclosure: I am a customer!) I previously offered a toast to this icon for its fine take on branding.

ABSOLUT UNIQUE

One of a kind, millions of expressions…
ABSOLUT UNIQUE

Keep in mind that it’s not only industry leaders who can develop strong brands. While I’m a fan (and heavy user) of Starbucks, I also love our local spot, Angel Falls Coffee Company. It’s located in a neighborhood with a unique flavor that loves to support mom and pop shops. Angel Falls embraces its role as a local favorite, with an eclectic spot that welcomes you in to play some checkers, discuss current events or people watch while enjoying its brew (and a delicious, fresh out of the oven baked good).

So how can I bond with two brands in the same industry? First, as previously noted on this blog, I’m an espresso addict. Second, I patronize both of these companies on different occasions. I love to walk to Angel Falls to enjoy a steaming GingerBeast (relax, it’s only a gingerbread latte) while catching up with a friend or gazing out the front picture window, lost in thought.

Starbucks is a different breed. It’s everywhere, so I can stop in for a mouth-watering soy hazelnut macchiato, breakfast sandwich or old fashioned glazed doughnut whenever I want. The breakfast sandwiches are available all day, so it’s perfectly OK if I want breakfast for dinner or am really slow moving on a lazy Sunday. I can meet business associates or customers there to discuss projects while enjoying the breeze on the patio. One of the main reasons I became a Starbucks fan is the company’s prevalence in airports. I could grab an espresso and Perfect Oatmeal (which fits neatly on top of a lidded Starbucks cup, by the way) en route to my connecting flight at 7am. Haven’t we all been there?!

Now that I’m not traveling so much, I find that I love hitting up my local Starbucks, which makes every effort to fit into the community. Its baristas are some of the happiest people I see all day, the atmosphere is conducive to thinking (which I like to do) and this coffee giant’s reward program is phenomenal. I was pretty excited when I received my gold card in the mail this week. Brightened up my Monday!

Follow my take on my favorite brands on Pinterest

Chime In

So, who are some of your favorite brands? Who ‘gets’ the power of branding?

Did I miss the boat on any brand I referenced above? Who did I miss?

Let your voice be heard!

(Oh, and I’d be remiss not to mention my favorite brand, Clearly Conveyed Communications.)

Apple ad courtesy of Apple, Inc
ABSOLUT UNIQUE photo courtesy of ABSOLUT US

Cheers,
Jaime

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Why do you want to be an egghead?

It’s the first thing that makes me second guess following you. Seriously, if you can’t even add a custom avatar – something, anything – I really question the value of your tweets. Of course, there’s debate on what works best as an avatar, but first, you need an avatar.

I realize that this is basic knowledge, one of the first things you learn when deciding to jump into social media. So why do so many people still want to be an egghead? 

Twitter default avatar

A little history… The current default avatar came about in September of 2010 when Twitter decided to make another update in this area. Previously, the micro-blogging platform used a strange, pseudo face with a brown background followed by a bird. I’m always amazed at the uproar that follows a default avatar update. Why not just customize your avatar?

previous default Twitter avatar     previous default Twitter avatar

I get it. I’m not photogenic and would much rather be behind the camera. However, your face (cartoon, logo or place of business) is as much a part of your brand — personal or business — as your tweets. Let people put a face with a name and establish more of a connection with you. Add a little warmth to the oftentimes cold digital world.

Jaime Shine/CCC Twitter Bio

Personally, I would recommend a head shot. It doesn’t have to be formal or professionally taken; just make sure it sends the vibe that you’re aiming for. I do change up my profile picture from time to time and have different profile pictures across my social platforms. I recognize that I have different audiences on other platforms and choose a profile picture accordingly.

If you absolutely refuse to use a head shot, then at least use your logo, place of business or an object that is meaningful to you. Remember, your profile picture is one of the best ways to make a first impression. Make it count! Don’t be an egghead.

You may be interested in: What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

Your turn…

What are your thoughts on social media avatars?

Do you use a default avatar on any social network? If so, why?

Does a default avatar affect your impressions of someone?

Chime in… let’s discuss!

Default avatar images courtesy of Digg with me blog

I may be crazy but I’m not an egghead–
Jaime

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How Elvis Can Inspire Your Success

If you didn’t notice, Elvis Presley‘s birthday was Tuesday (January 8th). He would have been 78 if he were still alive today. Man, that’s hard to believe. Despite his untimely death, Elvis achieved considerable fame and status as the King of Rock and Roll. How did he get there? God-given talent, a lot of hard work, a little luck and three other important traits.

elvis_wallhanging
  • Be Yourself — Elvis resonated with so many people because he was true to himself. OK, it helped that he had an amazing singing voice and was considered a sex symbol, but he didn’t try to be someone else. People recognize authenticity (especially today) and are drawn to it. Represent your true self (sexy singing voice or not), and you’re likely to be more successful than trying to be someone you’re not. 

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Take Risks — Elvis didn’t invent rock and roll, but he became the central figure of a new music revolution being heard by the masses for the first time. Taking risks brings consequences, both positive and negative. While he was loved and idolized by legions of fans, others hated him for his shocking stage presence and delivering the devil’s music to impressionable teenagers. You normally have to take risks in order to taste success so remember that the next time you’re making an important decision.  
  • Embrace Versatility — Beyond the gyrating hips, Elvis became an icon due to his versatility. His silky smooth voice allowed him to become a cross-genre act before that was in, leaving an impression on country music, pop ballads, gospel and the blues. Hey, he isn’t the best selling solo artist in the history of popular music by accident. Throw in his trips to Hollywood, where he starred in movies and recorded soundtracks, and you can start to see a well-rounded individual. Be adventurous; expand your interests — and skills — so that you’re more of an asset. 
harum scarum

In summary

Be yourself, take risks and embrace versatility to increase your chances of success today. Clients, co-workers and business partners will be drawn to your genuine nature, appreciate your ability to try new things and take note of your interest in expanding your skills by branching out.

Hey, Elvis did and it worked pretty well for him. Talk about a brand! If you’re looking for help establishing or fine tuning your personal brand or company’s brand, I’d love to talk to you.

Are you a fan of Elvis? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or via social networks.

Rockin’ those Blue Suede Shoes,

Jaime

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