New Holiday Packaging for the Elf on the Shelf

Summer is over and it’s time to start discussing Christmas! Okay, maybe not yet. But some holiday packaging markets are already preparing for the snowy season ahead.

One yuletide tradition you can expect to see a little early is the Elf on the Shelf thanks to a little help from Sunrise Packaging.

An Old Tradition Gets a New Look with Corrugated Holiday Packaging

If you’re not familiar with Elf on the Shelf–well, where have you been? Apparently not on Facebook. According to just about any family’s photo uploads, the seemingly timeless tradition of a rambunctious Elf (hailing from the Shelf) carries on year after year. This mischievous little critter appears to be the scapegoat for a wide variety of good-hearted, Toy Story-esque pranks around the house. But how exactly does the Elf get on one’s shelf? That’s where holiday packaging comes in.

Elf on the Shelf custom boxes, corrugated cardboard, b-flute

The (in)famous history of the Elf on the Shelf can be traced back to 2004. Over a cup of tea, an erstwhile mother-daughter duo decided to make a time-honored family tradition into a global phenomenon. Legend has it that Santa dispatches helper Elves around the world come December to keep an eye on families and make sure that the holiday magic is running high. This is the reason the Elf is often caught off the Shelf in a covert location. What results is a month-long game of hide and seek and, more importantly, a tradition the whole family can take part in.

 

But the Elf has to get delivered somehow and apparently Santa thinks holiday packaging is the best vehicle (other than the sleigh, of course). This beautiful custom box crafted by Sunrise Packaging. A 4-color printing finished with Custom Holiday Packaging from Sunrise Packaging, MNan eco-friendly aqueous print coating displays the warm colors of the season. These custom RSC boxes are made of B-Flute corrugated cardboard for a combination of durability and cushion, holding up in transit as well as storage between holiday seasons.

 

Sunrise was able to deliver on this holiday packaging just a week after art approvals. At that rate, Christmas could almost come twice a year! In any case, the Elf on the Shelf custom box was a pleasure to work on. A truly lovely piece of holiday packaging that will hopefully be a part of your family’s traditions this Christmas season. You can almost taste the eggnog, can’t you?

Manufacturers Benefit from Social Media

social media marketingSince technology has changed the way consumers make purchasing decisions, it has also changed the way brokers and manufacturers do business. The internet is constantly at our fingertips whether on our computers at work or home, on our cell phones and other devices. This form of communication has taken over the way we communicate in our personal and professional roles, and social media outlets take the cake. Whether it is Facebook,, Twitter, or LinkedIn, these networks make tremendous impact on business communication. Due to this focus shift, manufacturers need to change their marketing approach as well. The end goal of all marketing is to connect with customers in order to increase sales and business opportunities. While manufacturers deal with organizations, sales come from customers. Manufacturers need to go where the people and connect with them, and social media is a great way to do this on a large scale. Using social media, manufacturers must build a stronger online presence by doing the following; getting found and connecting with new customers, showcasing products and services, establishing their credibility as an organization, and drive website traffic for customers to learn more about their business.

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Marketing with NFC

Near field communication (NFC) has offered a new marketing tool unlike any that have come before it. The NFC is a set of standards for devices, like smartphones, to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them close together. This allows for the exchange and duplication of data, but it also offers a great tool for commerce. NFC devices can be used in contactless payment systems allowing for mobile payment to replace or supplement other payment systems currently used in credit cards and electronic ticket cards. Most recently, Kraft Foods has piloted an NFC trial at grocery stores that show high engagement levels (compared to QR codes). For this trial, RFID chips that are readable by NFC-enabled devices were placed in signs on the shelves in front of certain products. This allowed consumers to tap their smartphones and gain access to recipe content, download the Food Assistant app or share information on Facebook. The benefits of this technology compared to others is that this is a frictionless technology. Users don’t have to download an app if they don’t want to. Like we saw in the tips for a great point of purchase display, this technology has an immediate call to action that calls for a simple tap with your phone. Results of the trial showed that the overall ‘tap’ engagement level was 12 times higher than for the QR codes that accompanied the RFID chips. Also, more than 36% of shoppers that took advantage of this marketing tool converted it into an action- like saving a recipe or downloading the Kraft app. In-store marketing has only 5-10 seconds to grab the consumer’s attention, however when NFC was involved the consumer spent up to 48 seconds engaged increasing that chance of purchase ten-fold.

Source: AIPIA

Business to Business Marketing

A new study from the Content Marketing Institute shows that content marketing is now becoming a key element in business to business (B2B) marketing. This organization is the leading global content marketing education and training organization. The Content Marketing Institute teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through a variety of marketing channels. They found that regardless of the company size, 9 out of 10 business organizations now market with content. B2B organizations are using an average of 12 common tactics, the most popular being; social media, articles on their website, eNewsletters, and blogs. What has changed in this year is the more frequent use of social media. The use of social media for these organizations has and continues to grow with 87% of B2B marketers using social media to distribute business content- this has increased 13% from the previous year with the most popular social media channels being LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Learn more about Content Marketing

Small Business Battle: Facebook vs. Twitter

When deciding whether Facebook or Twitter is a better option for your small business do not go looking for answers from other companies, look at your company. The first thing you should take into consideration is who is your target audience. Comparing the environments of Facebook and Twitter and where your target audience is spending its time is how you will decide how much time to engage in what social media outlet.

When you look at the environment of Facebook and Twitter they are very different, yet allowing people to do basically the same thing, communicate. Both enabling people to share information, build relationships, and engage in discussions. By doing your research, you are able to find out where your audience spends time online. Are your customers on Facebook or Twitter? What social media sites are  your competitors on? Facebook is like a newspaper. Twitter is more like the highlights of the stories so you do not have to read the whole thing.

Understanding the needs, wants, and expectations of your target audience is the next step. Facebook is a place to build relationships with customers and Twitter allows you to share quick tidbits with them.

So when deciding what social media outlet best fits your small business needs, it is a tough decision. Look within your company and what your target audience wants. Then go from there.

Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Social Media

Small Businesses are tempting to keep up with the latest craze, social media. There are currently 900 million active Facebook users, 200 million active Twitter users and latest social media tools hitting the market, such as Pinterest. As small businesses start to dive into the social media world, there are a few mistakes they are making.

Social media outlets are not the place to hard sell. Simple as that. Marketing budgets for small businesses are typically small, so using a social media site to not sell can be confusing to most. Only 5-10% of your social media activity should be devoted to self-promotional. Social media is there to build business relationships and show that you are a company that can be trusted. Social media and marketing are in fact similar, yet should be both used for different purposes.

Social media is all about connecting. You cannot connect with someone if all you do is spend time talking about yourself. Engaging in communication with your social media followers is what is important. Showing you care about their opinion and how they feel is what matters.

New social media networks appear everyday. It is important for small businesses to realize that they do not need to join every site. Limiting your social media outreach to websites that compliment your products/services is important. Focusing on a few sites is more effective than joining every site available. Neglected social media websites can reflect poorly on a small business.

Small businesses also have to realize that big brands have the time, resources, and money to run their social media websites as if it was their number one priority. Using the resources available and the time a small business can engage followers in others ways than large businesses do.

Social media is not free. Sure it is free to join just about every social media website, but the time and effort put into keeping up with the website comes at a price. Coming up with a social media plan can save money and allocate social media websites that work for a small business. 

 

Source: mashable.com

Being an Authentic Brand on Social Media via Mashable

Today’s blog post comes via Mashable writer Valerie Beckingham. Beckingham explains to readers the importance of your social media efforts as a brand and why it is important to keep your social media efforts authentic.

If you want your brand’s social media efforts to come across as authentic, you need to know what you stand for and what’s meaningful to you. In other words, authentic social communication requires you to be honest about what your brand represents, what you have to offer, where your weaknesses are, and what’s really important to your audience.

If you’re not listening and engaging in a candid manner, you run the risk of having a message that doesn’t resonate, or worse, creates a backlash, calling into question not just what you’re trying to say via social media, but across all outbound communication channels. For a brand, that’s bad news. Here are four tips for keeping your social-media outreach authentic.

1. Focus On The Individual

Your people are your greatest asset when it comes to social media because they offer a real human perspective rather than a pre-packaged marketing message. The problem is social media can get stripped of its authenticity by strict brand guidelines that mandate an omniscient company voice. Instead, imbue your social channels with the many unique individuals who work for the company.

Think of your audience in the same way. Don’t assume that they are a homogenous mass. This will help you develop a social communications plan that takes into consideration whether this audience is just getting to know your brand or if they are loyal followers. As individuals, we speak differently to different people. Remember that a brand is no different.

2. Listen Up!

It’s impossible to tap into sentiment without a system for listening. As brand communicators, we need to constantly have an ear out for changes in the consumer landscape and be tuned into what’s important to our audience.

For example, a key group influencing the tech industry is millennials, which loosely includes consumers born between 1980 and 2000. You might think you already know it all when it comes to millennials: that they’re all rebels, that their values are vastly different from their parents, and that they’re obsessed with changing the world. In reality, when you listen to young people today through research, you find that they defy those traditional stereotypes. Today’s millennials actually admit they love their parents and list them as friends on Facebook. They have no strong desire to leave home. They’re not even skewed liberal. This new generation is also questioning consumerism more than ever before, and they’ve proven to have very little brand loyalty. Most importantly, they’re currently defining what is real, cool, and interesting. That’s why listening is crucial.

3. Keep It Real

Today’s millennials are not just good at figuring out what’s authentic, they can also spot what is inauthentic from a mile away. Having grown up in the Internet age, they expect brands to talk to them with a real voice, and they’re not afraid to engage them in a public forum.

One great example of authenticity in action is a program recently run by airline KLM. KLM kicked off their social media program by asking, “What do we know to be true about how people interact with our brand?” The conclusion: people waste a lot of time in airports.

Starting with that simple truth, KLM set their campaign up for authentic direct-to-consumer engagement. They decided to surprise passengers that mentioned their KLM flight via Twitter or Foursquare. The teams used social media profiles to learn a little more about these travelers, enabling them to respond with appropriate perks such as a travel book for the hopelessly lost or a sports watch for the casual runner. These random acts of kindness took a little more effort than generic communications, but the response was rewarding. Travelers were only too happy to share their KLM experiences online with others. And let’s face it, what’s more authentic than consumers speaking on behalf of your brand? So don’t be afraid to change your message to suit your audience’s real needs and desires. Then reap the rewards.

4. Follow This Guiding Principle

Given the speed of social media, your message can go from trusted to falling out of favor in the blink of an eye, and it could all hinge on what you say next. That’s why the number one thing you can do to ensure authenticity and trust when connecting with fans, customers, and partners is to think about what your message means to them.

Source: Mashable

6 Ideas to Engage Customers in your Small Business

Working for a small business can have its challenges when it comes to engaging customers with you and the business. However, when customers do become engaged with your small business the benefits are very valuable.

Use Facebook to Show them some Love
Engage with your customers via social media such as Facebook! Facebook is an excellent social platform to recognize a customer. Many people are on Facebook and they will appreciate the public recognition that you give them.

Put Money in their Pockets
Connect your customers to businesses you think will benefit them or that could use them. There is no greater compliment than referring somebody to their business. Your customers will appreciate that you want to help them.

Call them
By keeping in contact with your clients, you are continually developing a working as well as a personal relationship with them. A one-on-one phone call is engaging and can very beneficial to you and your company.

Use YouTube
YouTube is an easy and inexpensive way to create a fun and engaging experience between you and your customers. Upload videos of you and your team doing creative things such as featuring the services of your company.

Make Yourself Accessible
Make sure that you are accessible to your clients. People like to know that they can get a hold of you whenever they may need you whether it be by phone or email. Clients do not want to feel as though they are taking to somebody they can never get a hold of.

Spotlight Customers
Give your customers the recognition they deserve. If your customer sees that you have taken time to mention them in a blog post or on your webpage they will appreciate that you have taken time to speak about them and what is happening with their company. It will also make them feel more engaged with you and the company. 

B2B Companies Embrace Social Media in 2011

In 2011, the use of social media platforms for business-to-business companies became more important in the marketing mix than it has in previous years. For many B2B companies, social media can seem to be a daunting endeavor, but with knowledge of how to enter the world of social media,  social media can bring success. In this past year, many B2B companies have started to engage in social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and have found that these sites are generating success for their companies.

“Leveraging social media for branding and awareness-building can help humanize B2B companies, establish them as thought leaders, and offer new touchpoints for connecting with customers and prospects,” said Kimberly Maul, eMarketer writer/analyst and author of the new report, “B2B Social Media: A Growing Focus for Marketers.”

Knowing which social media sites to use and which ones will bring more success for your company can be understood by knowing who you want to reach via social media. Social networking site, LinkedIn, is used more as a professional networking site for B2B companies and is seen as a way to generate more effective leads and other sites Twitter and Facebook are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are helping B2B firms reach customers in new ways. In a web survey conducted by iTracks, survey respondents often site Linked In as the top social media site for B2B marketers while putting Facebok and Twitter above as the business minded social network. According to Sagefrog Marketing Group, by the summer of 2011, 58% of US B2B marketers that were engaging in social media used LinkedIn, compared to 50% for Facebook and 43% for Twitter.

There is no doubt that social media is an effective tool for any B2B company and that the use and understanding of social networking sites will remain important for B2B companies in their marketing mix in 2012.

Source: eMarketer.com

Where People are Looking on your Facebook Brand Page

On Facebook, many brands experiment with having an eye-catching profile picture in order to draw more traffic to their website and gain a bigger following. In order to track where people are drawn to when first connecting to a Facebook brand page, social media news and tips website, Mashable, worked with EyeTrackShop to get results. The webcam eye study found that the participants in the study almost always looked at the brand’s wall first; about four times longer than anything else on the page.

The image below shows where attention was held the longest when first looking at the Facebook brand page.

The study further explains other observations they found:

  • Content matters. Facebook brand page visitors almost always saw the wall first, and spent more time looking at it than any other element on the page.
  • The exception: Scantily-clad women. Victoria Secret’s page was the only one in which people looked at the profile photo — a busty woman in a brassiere — before they noticed the Facebook wall. When they did move on to the wall, they spent about 25% less time looking at it than they did other brands’ walls.
  • Profile photos can be the difference between seeing and not seeing a brand. Most brand pages’ profile photos didn’t get a lot of attention. Only 57% of visitors to Coca-Cola’s page, for instance, even saw the bottle of Coke that occupies this prime piece of real estate. Generally, profile photos with faces in them got the most attention. An exception to this rule was Skittles, which had an image of a bag of Skittles in the profile photo spot that 90% of visitors saw.
  • Photos on the wall get attention. The Facebook wall with the most images at the time of the test, PlayStation, was also the one that people spent the most time looking at. On average, viewers stayed on the wall for 4.88 seconds. No other page element on any brand’s page held attention for longer than four seconds.