Monthly Archives: May 2014

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the SWAG

Guest Post by: Derek Maine, Marketing Coordinator at Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham LLP

When I started in my role as a marketing coordinator I had a dirty little secret that I did not keep secret from any of my co-workers and bosses – I hated SWAG.  I associated promotional products with trade shows I would attend with my father growing up and kept envisioning an empty, broken-down trade show with useless trinkets littering the floor.  I wanted to spend our resources on fancy souped-up legal software, CRM systems, basically anything but a Teague Campbell bobblehead.  I was wrong (it happens from time to time), and two separate instances showed me how wrong I was.

A few months after starting in my new position I received a call from a very lovely, but quite frantic woman.  She was upset.  Apparently she was unloading the dishwasher and a travel coffee mug with our logo slipped through her hands and shattered on the floor.  It was her husband’s favorite mug, he used it every day, and was there any way that I could ship her a new one.  She would gladly cover the cost of the mug and shipping.  I was shocked. People love this stuff.  It’s his mug. Of course I sent her a few new ones and some other fun items and told her to call me anytime if she needed anything.

The second instance that brought me fully into the fold and loving SWAG has to do with relationships.  I went to an early morning coffee meeting for the Raleigh City Group Legal Marketing Association.  There was a gentleman there that provided promotional products to companies.  He didn’t pass around mouse pads with his company’s logo on it.  He joined in on a conversation about CRM software with smart, helpful, tangible advice from his own experiences.  He asked questions and was getting to know and understand the challenges the group faced in marketing.  I didn’t hear him mention SWAG or promotional products once; I only knew what he did based on his business card.  At Teague Campbell, our attorneys are constantly working to get to know their client’s business and industry, instead of listing off a litany of legal services we provide.  We provide ourselves on that because, essentially, our job, like most people’s job in the service industry, is to make someone else’s work-life a little bit easier, a little safer, a little more predictable in an unpredictable business climate.  Here was someone doing the exact same thing – living out the principles we preach.

So we met for coffee. And again, there was not a pitch or some huge magazine of products.  It was a frank and productive discussion on the type of clients we work with, the industries we service, the sort of event we go to.  Most impressively, he had ideas.  We were launching a new service that would include marketing to financial advisors.  With a background in that industry, he went over the various trade groups and associations and the sort of marketing that works and doesn’t work with an unfamiliar group.  He was helping me do my job. And he had specific ideas about promotional products.  Instead of selling me a catalogue, he listened to what my firm’s goals were and got creative about ways we could incorporate promotional items into the events and for our clients and prospects.

Because of where you are reading this, you have already figured out the company.  The gentleman’s name was Ben Hedgepeth of Th!nk Promotional Group.  While we’ve just begun our partnership, it is clear that this is a true partnership, with each us striving to make each other’s job a little bit better, a little bit easier.

One last story.  At a recent unnamed event, I was sitting with a group of fellow exhibitors listening to the speakers.  The talk that day, like a lot of talks and a lot of days in business, was about relationships.  The theme was familiar to all of us — building partnerships at every level of an organization and valuing great service.  I asked a few fellow exhibitors who provided their SWAG.  One gentleman said “some company out of New Jersey,” another one said, “I actually have no idea, I have an email address if you need it.”  Clearly the concept of relationship building and partnerships was not reaching every level of these two particular organizations (and they were two very good organizations). When someone asks me who provides my SWAG, I get to say, “Ben Hedgepeth. He lives and works in Raleigh, if I have a question or need something he can be at my office in ten minutes.”


40th Birthday; The Rubik’s Cube

It was on this day in 1974 that Erno Rubik a young professor from Budapest developed the prototype for the Rubik’s Cube.  The original design was made out of wood and required more than a month for the inventor to solve.  The Rubik’s Cube, as we know it today, has become the worlds most popular selling toy.

Custom Branded Rubik’s Cube

Rubik's Cube

As Low As $6.99

This promotional item is great for schools, camps, learning centers, and educational workshops.  Keep your clients engaged and enraged as they try to solve the worlds best selling toy.

It’s More Than Just Promotional Merchandise; Its a Tool

Here at Th!nk we get to interact and chat with some incredibly brilliant and creative people.  We love to hear their ideas and see how they are using promotional merchandise as a tool to continuously stay in front of their clients. Man, do they do a good job.  Below are just a few snippets of just how genius our customers are.

Impress Your Client’s With Custom Branded Gifts That Require a Follow Up Item.

“Aw, thanks..a…..cheeseboard..with your logo?” Wait! There is a card: please select your favorite assortment of cheese from the list and we will hand deliver it in the next two weeks.  Now you have captured your clients attention!  Or a set of grilling utensils followed up with fresh surf and turf.  However; lets be honest, In the south, properly prepared pulled pork is the best way to grab your clients attention.

Custom Branded Cheeseboard

Hardwood Cheese Board

As Low As $11.66

This custom engraved cheeseboard will look great in your clients kitchen.  It is classy, functional, and an excellent conversation starter.  Not only does it function as a cheeseboard but it could be used as a cutting board.

Laser Engraved Custom Grilling Set

BBQ Grill Set

As Low As $15.50

Who wouldn’t get excited about using these bad boys over a charcoal grill cooking a Cowboy Ribeye thick enough to make John Wayne proud? Or if you prefer lighter fare, they will do the trick for chicken, fish, vegetable kabobs etc.. This laser engraved stainless steel grilling set has it all: serrated spatula, stainless steel brush with scraper, bottle opener, and tongs.  And a gift box to make it all nice and pretty.

Your clients have chosen to align themselves with your company for one reason or another.  It could be based on price, expertise, responsiveness, attention to detail, trust etc.. All of which are critical to a good working relationship.  However; I would venture to say that most clients stay with you long term because of the experience.  Create a delightful experience and your clients will NOT leave you.



2014 US Open: Is Your Promotional Merchandise up to “Par”

In June, the U.S. Open returns to North Carolina for the third time in 16 years.  The legendary Pinehurst #2 will host players in what is often cited as the most mentally taxing golfing event of the year.  Designed in 1907 by Donald Ross, the evil genius, this course has served as the site of more single golf championships than any course in America.  In 2014, this course will make history again, serving as host to the U.S. Open and Women’s Open Championships in consecutive weeks.  When anyone who knows anything about golf hears “Pinehurst #2” they think of Payne Stewarts legendary “fist punch” or associate it with class.

You see, Pinehurst #2 elicits memories of greatness that most want to have associated with their company or brand.  When someone hears your company or brand name, what are they thinking?  How are you leveraging each opportunity, like the U.S. Open, to grow this image?

Making Birdie with the Right Promotional Item

Are you planning to have a booth at the US Open?  If not the US Open, is your company planning to sponsor another outdoor event this year?  If so, below are our top three picks for promotional items.

Stay Hydrated: Custom Branded Bottled Water

Custom printed bottled water

As Low As $0.65

June in North Carolina lends itself to incredibly hot days.  What better way to attract people to your corporate booth than offering custom branded bottled water.  Having your logo printed on the most desirable item besides Phil Mickelson’s autograph at the US Open will certainly drive traffic to your tent.

Keep Cool: Slim and Slender Misting Fan

Misting Fan

As Low As $3.63

Sweating it out on the golf course is expected if you are playing; however, dripping in sweat is considerably less enjoyable if you are watching. Beat the heat with a custom branded battery-powered misting fan.  This slender fan will easily slip into the pocket of tournament goers, is easy to use, and will keep your brand in the face of patrons throughout the tournament.

Avoid Sunburn: SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray

Sunscreen Spray

As Low As $1.79

Corporate swag is supposed to burn your brand into the mind of customers.  Do just that while helping them avoid a Kenny Powers grade farmer’s tan.  Everyone agrees nothing is more miserable than a day in the sun that leaves you clamoring for the aloe vera bottle.  Custom branded sunscreen spray is an excellent promotional item for all outdoor events.