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How Startups Could Use Their Workspace More Efficiently

office-manager-hero-imageBreath Air

As one of the basic elements we need to survive, it’s not surprising that the air we breathe has an impact on or work. High quality air – air with low CO2 levels – has been found to boost brain power when compared to ‘conventional’ office air.

Clearly, altering air is not an easy thing to do, but a couple of modifications here and there can help: Adding plants to the office, encouraging people to take walks during lunch hour, or simply opening the windows will give your employees the opportunity to breathe higher quality air.

OfficeKeep it simple – Design

There are so many things you can do with an office space, it’s difficult to know where to start. What colour should the walls be? What furniture should we buy? Open plan or closed plan?

Science can’t provide all the answers but, if you’re in need of help, studies have found that people respond better to rounded furniture; the colors blue, green and red; and as for open plan offices, the majority of people think they’re a no-go.

 

Business meeting in an office

Feel like at home – Comfort

Physical and emotional comfort are important factors for an efficient office. Ergonomic equipment, such as a chair with lumbar support or a vertical mouse, and home comforts, such as cards and photographs, can help motivate employees.

You spend most of your waking life in the office so it makes sense to surround yourself with familiar and comfortable things!

 

office manager1Keep Low Noise

In a recent survey by Office Genie, a ‘quiet office’ and ‘remote working’ were ranked 6th and 7th in terms of their positive effect on productivity; falling behind monetary incentives such as pay rises and bonuses, but coming in ahead of health related factors such as exercise and a proper lunch. There is clearly an appetite for a quieter working environment and thankfully, a quiet working zone is easy to set up.

Listening to music, however, has been shown to improve mood and resourcefulness, showing that when noise is on your own terms, it can be a good thing.

Update yourself – Technology

When businesses rely so heavily on the internet, there is little worse than slow broadband or glitchy computer systems. Investing in your technology will pay on the long run: it cuts down on wasted time and employee stress. Hearing someone bash angrily away at a keyboard or frantically click a mouse isn’t anyone’s “dream” environment.

How to use advergaming as a small business

Advergaming_webBig brands have big bucks to throw at advergames, but how can small businesses compete with that? The answer lies in technology, namely in HTML5. You can design and build highly complex games with beautiful interfaces in HTML5 at an affordable cost, making it perfect for companies with a leaner marketing budget. HTML5 offers you the following advantages:

Inclusive: Web-based games only require a web browser and work on any platform, mobile device or desktop computer.

Instant play: Playing in the browser requires no app or software download and installation.

AdvergamingEase of publication: No need to wait for Apple or Google to approve your app. You simply publish on your website!

Promotion: App promotion is expensive, but to promote your website game, you can use your existing and developed marketing channels and the website itself.

Sharing: To share your game, players only have to copy and paste the URL. Social media, email, chat – it works a thousand ways. Instant win!

Data: You don’t have to measure data on different channels. On your own website, you implement the tracking, monitoring and analyses you want to evaluate the performance of your advergaming campaign.

Standards: Adopting HTML5 is widely encouraged across the web, especially with the focus on mobile. In fact, Microsoft and Google use advergames of their own to promote HTML5 – and their own browsers Edge and Chrome. Microsoft’s Rethink experiences let you play The Settlers of Catan in Catan anytime and Assassin’s Creed Pirates. Google publishes a slew games of their own, including The LEGO Game Build with Chrome as part of their Chrome Experiments.

Examples of advergaming

 

Food Burger KingBurger King

Burger King has also been behind some of the most popular advergaming titles in history. They created three games for Xbox that you could get with the purchase of a value meal for an extra $3.99. They were so popular in fact that they ended up being 2006’s best-selling video games during the holiday season. Rather than having revolutionary gameplay and graphics, Burger King’s games were just fun. They had a touch of humour and simple yet engaging gameplay. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to have a decent video game.

FIFA Football

This football-themed video game has been popular pretty much since it was released in 1993. Not only does it have lots of branding for the different football divisions around the world, but it’s also got tons of ads for brands. Coca-Cola, Sony and Visa are just a few of the brands you might see in their games. A lot of the advertising is incorporated subtly in places that their players are already trained to see ads in football matches. That means it doesn’t seem invasive or odd, but the message still gets across.

The benefits of advergaming for a Brand

Advergames use the interactive and social components of games to the advantage of a brand. Here are some of the main benefits they offer to brands:

AdvergamingRaise brand awareness: You play games in your free time, and a player’s levels of attention are high when they’re playing a video game. You can harness that power with subtle placements of your brand and product. A custom advergame can tell a story about your company in an unobtrusive yet engaging way.

Positive brand interaction: When done right, advergaming continuously and effectively exposes the brand to the player in a way that is neither aggressive nor invasive. Instead, playing creates a positive experience associated with the brand.

advergaming-hero-imageFollowers: Advergames can help build true fans who are potential leads and can convert to loyal customers. The marketing feels less intrusive, because it is up to the players to choose when they play and interact with the brand.

Promotional opportunities: Don’t stuff your advergame with sales and offers – any overkill can turn off gamers. Yet there are subtle ways to add in just the right level of promotions and rewards (like discounts or coupons) into games.

 

MCD FarmvilleData and research: Games are an alternate reality and offer you nearly ideal circumstances to test drive new products and ideas. Marketing strategies that wouldn’t work offline can work well in advergames. You can use things like sign-ups, sharing and polls to collect valuable data from players.

Good games go viral: Advergames can make it really simple for the players to talk about the game (and the brand) on social media. Games often have shortcuts so players can do things like share scoreboards, show off achievements and compete with friends online. Players spread the word for you when they like your game.

Great reach through games: You think video games are just for boys? Think again. Today, the average gamer’s age is 30, and 45% of them are female. The gaming industry is raking in over $100 billion per year, and roughly 20% of the market share falls to mobile and social games. The wide-reaching marketplace offers you great potential to reach your target audience.

Advergaming- The advertising value video games can offer

Advergaming_webThe very best advergaming is actually a playable, interactive game that happens to include promotional messages.

Video games are designed to keep you in that sweet spot between happiness, frustration and progressive skill development. You just want to keep playing and playing. So, naturally, hardly anything would be more frustrating than advertisements plastered all over the screen, annoying promotional pop-ups or full-screen video commercials interrupting your gaming flow. That’s why you might think that marketing and video games don’t mix well. Yet advergaming exists and is very much alive.

advergaming-hero-imageThe difference between gamification and advergaming

Gamification is the combination of marketing strategies with classic gaming techniques to keep you engaged with the brand or product. When you compete with your friends for Foursquare Mayorships, collect points for My Starbucks Rewards or play McDonald’s Monopoly, you’ve been lured in by gamification.

Advergaming might sound similar, but it’s not the same. It means developing an actual game for the purpose of marketing. There are three main types of advergames:

MCD Farmville1) Advertising inserted into an existing game

Have you played Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U? Did you notice how you can race with Mercedes cars in the game? That’s product placement right there. Back in the 90s, the rising wave of popularity of video games had advertisers salivating over all the possibilities to place brands and products in your favourite video games. What followed were games like Zool, a platformer where an alien ninja ant fights its way through a sweet world of candy — sponsored by ChupaChups — and Cool Spot, which had players jumping and running around…with the 7-Up mascot.

2) Full games for desktop computers, consoles, or mobile devices

The restaurant chain Chipotle released a free iOS game called The Scarecrow in 2013. Marketed as an enticing game in which the player breaks up a monopoly, it not-so-subtly promoted the company’s values. Regardless, The Scarecrow was a huge hit with fans. Players downloaded the game more than 250,000 times in just four days.

3) Games on a company’s website

You might think of these as branded mini games, which you’ll find on sites like Candystand. But successful advergames on the web go beyond throwing together a bit of flash animation. Ubisoft’s video game Watch Dogs is set in a dystopian future where players hack cameras and mobile phones. To promote the game, Ubisoft produced the website WeAreData*, which offers infographics and real-time visuals of geo-data from Paris, London and Berlin.

HOW WORKWEAR INSPIRES HIGH FASHION

Marie_Antoinette_roseLet them wear workwear:

Back in the 18th century, Marie Antoinette was famous for having her very own little farm in the gardens of Versailles. The building included animals, a mill wheel and a barn. All specially designed to make the queen feel like she was in the countryside instead of the palace’s premises. She would even wear outfits inspired by the theme which included muslin chemises with sashes and straw hats. As you can imagine, much like the stiletto-wearing McDonald’s employee, these delicate dresses were anything but what country people actually wore at the time.

Humble beginnings

It was during the 20th century, to be exact. We first saw T-shirts make the move from the US Army to the silver screen where heart-throbs Marlon Brando and James Dean popularised the item. If you want to find out more about the history of the T-shirt, check out our infographic.

 

Marlon_Brando_in_Streetcar_named_Desire_trailerHow Jeans became labor workwear to High fashion

In a similar fashion, denim has got its roots in manual labour. The first pair of jean trousers were born in mid 19th century when American tailor Jacob W. Davis was asked to create a pair that would sustain harsh conditions. He made the garment from the sturdiest cotton he had available at the time and put copper rivets on the seams that often tear apart on the garment. Seeing a business opportunity, he contacted his cotton supplier Levi Strauss & Co. for a partnership and together started a company that would eventually become Levi’s.

Current Trends:

Fisherman

Just last year The Guardian wrote an entire article on how “Fisherman” was the new ‘It’ thing in menswear. Cable knit jumpers, beanies and wader trousers are all part of the trend.

Construction Worker

Among their predictions for 2017, streetwear blog Highsnobiety listed workwear as one of the biggest trends of the year. Think of overalls, bright colours and combat boots.

Business Casual

Some may argue that office attire isn’t technically workwear, but any clothes you have to wear for at least twenty hours a week falls into the category in my book.

Recent collections from brands Gosha Rubchinskiy and Prada showcased outfits inspired by business casual. The first draws inspiration from a young post-Soviet Union workforce while the second has got a dash of 70’s flare.

THE TIPS OF RENTING RESTAURANTS FOR EVENTS

Restaurants are some of the best places to host events at. They know how to serve large groups of people and their staff is used to perform under pressure. That being said, not all of them are created equal and even if they were, not all restaurants work for every occasion.

budgeteBudget

As a general rule, venue and catering should cost less than half of your overall budget. Keep that in mind when looking for a restaurant to host your event.

Decorations

Restaurants already have their own decoration in place. Sometimes they pay interior designers good money for them so it’s understandable when owners don’t take it very well when someone asks them to change it.

 

events-positive-lasting-impressionFeatures

As a restaurant, you can rest assured that the venue will feature everything you need when it comes to serving food, but do they have what you require to make a presentation? Are there enough energy outlets for you to connect all of the devices you must use? Do they have a screen or at least a white wall where you can project a presentation? Do they have microphones or should you bring your own?

wedding-event-plannersHolding capacity

Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many events get screwed up by poor head count. The capacity changes depending on the purpose of the event, if you’re planning a dinner party for 30 people then you’ll need space for 30 chairs. If you’re having the same number of guests, but for a cocktail party instead then you can do with a smaller venue since most of the time people will be standing.

Knowledge

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Scout the location before arranging any meetings with the owner or manager. A good idea would be to visit the place, more than once, as a customer. Go during different times, when it’s rush hour and when it’s not. This will give you an unfiltered view of the place and how it performs day-to-day.

how-to-organise-experiential-eventsMenu

Nowadays there are more people than ever who have vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free diets. Also, if you’re expecting attendees from foreign countries you should pay special attention to their customs. Depending on where they come from and what religion they follow, there might be certain things that they won’t be allowed to eat. For example, Muslims won’t eat pork or drink alcohol and Hindus usually don’t eat beef.

Place (Where it’s located)

Is it easy to access to? Does it have an easy connection to public transportation? If some of the guests are coming in their own private transportation, is there a place to park nearby?

Rate

When hosting a large group, most restaurants will offer you a fixed menu and a flat rate per person. Most of the time these will include the entire meal (including dessert), several bottles of wine and even coffee, but other times it won’t include coffee or just the meal and you’d have to pay the drinks on the side. Before writing any checks, make sure you understand everything that’s included and what’s not included in what you’re paying for. It would be embarrassing for one of your guests to order coffee, only to find out that they have to pay it out of their own wallet.

DTG PRINTING- THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY

Picking a printer is one of the most important steps we take in our journey as a customer merchandise enterprise.

DTG-top-imageWhat is DTG printing?

DTG means Direct-to-Garment printing. It is a relatively new process of printing, as it only came into play in 2004. These printers however have advanced quickly, to the point where they easily compete with screen printing. For the purposes of ecommerce, DTG printing is the best way to print t-shirts at optimal quality and speed for minimal cost.

It’s significantly easier to print small batches of t-shirts using DTG printing than it is with Screen printing. This is true even if you are printing a single shirt, you can do so at a cost that maximizes profit margins and quality, offering you much better customer satisfaction.

dtg-printer-machineHere are some of the benefits:

Full Colour Images for a Fraction of the Price.

– Unlike our competitors we stop charging you after 5 colours so you’re not punished for vibrant designs.

Rapid Turnaround.

– Due to the speed of our cutting-edge printers your t-shirt prints will be printed and ready to ship faster, giving you greater customer satisfaction.

Fantastic Quality on Light/Dark Apparel.

– DTG printers inject ink directly into each strand of the fabric, making all products pixel perfect.

Cost-Effective Prints.

– We offer a much higher profit margin for each of your products than our competitors offer, as the cost are lower.

dtg-page-bottomimageDTG Printing Process

  1. There’s an automated quality check for your design which ensures your design is the best possible quality for print.
  2. Once your design is ready for print, the order is automatically sent to one of our premium suppliers based on the location of the customer
  3. The order is received by the supplier where they add the design’s unique barcode which contains all the image data for printing.
  4. The t-shirt is then loaded onto one of our top of the line Kornit printers where the barcode is scanned.
  5. dtg-vintage-photo-collagesA pre-treatment solution is sprayed onto the shirts to make the ink stick to the fibres more easily which prevents your design from fading.
  6. Your design is then printed onto the t-shirt
  7. Our printers then check to make sure that your t-shirt designs have the best quality possible and match your original design perfectly.
  8. The t-shirts are packaged up and shipped to each customer, directly from the printing facility for the fastest possible delivery time.

Why we use DTG printers

DTG printers are the future of custom apparel printing and since they’re a recent addition to the world of printing, they still have room to become faster and cheaper to run.

However, after months of research we truly know these are the best for our customers, they give the fastest printing turnaround time in the industry and fantastic profit margins.

5 Things to Know about DTG Printing

dtg-vintage-photo-collagesIt’s pretty new

We’ve come a long way in garment printing.  Back in the day they used ancient devices called screen printers.  Compared to DTG, screen printing is like trying to read War and Peace while rock climbing.  Direct to Garment printing is a relatively new technology that only began in the early 2000’s and is just now hitting its stride.  It’s a great time get involved in the DTG industry.

It’s easy but there’s a learning curve

DTG seems pretty simple on the outside.  Load the image to the computer, put the shirt in the machine, and press the button.  But there are factors that you normally would not be aware of if you’re new to the industry.  So although digital printing is much easier compared to screen printing there is a slight learning curve to overcome, but after that it’s smooth sailing.

dtg-printer-machinePrinting on light garment shirts is so much easier than dark garment shirts

Printing on dark garment shirts isn’t exactly splitting the atom, but compared to printing on light shirts it is more difficult and time consuming.  For one thing, pretreat is required if white ink is being used.  That means you have to pretreat the shirt, heat press it, print the image, then heat press it again.  Sounds a lot easier than it really is, but there’s a learning curve. The old way of doing things required you to pretreat your shirts using power sprayers and such.  Some machines allow you to only pretreat the areas you want, saving you time and money.

DTG-printingThere’s some maintenance involved

When you come in the morning there will be maintenance.  When you leave at night there will be maintenance.  If something goes wrong…. you guessed it.  There will be maintenance.  This has mostly to do with the white ink settling down in the lines and clogging up the heads, but if you keep your machine active and maintained there shouldn’t be much to worry about.  If you don’t want to take responsibility of maintaining the machine everyday, then DTG might not be for you.  The maintenance isn’t hard, it just take time.

It’s not cheap, but over time it’ll pay for itself

Getting into digital garment printing can be a huge financial risk.  The machines are expensive and the cost of supplies & consumables can add up.  OK, everything but that last part was true, but depending on how much you sell each shirt the machine will eventually pay for itself.  Everything after that is profit. Do your research first and attend a few trade shows like ISS, NBM, or SGIA.  Most of the time vendors will give huge discounts on initial equipment purchases during trade shows, saving you a ton of money.

Examples of brands using food in advertising

Roughly one fourth of social media shares are food related. Big brands have understood this and added social media to their marketing mix to generate online engagement and bring more customers through the door at their business locations.

Food VirginVirgin mobile – Social responsibility with Meal for a Meal

While social streams and feeds are cluttered with food pics, people go hungry in this world. In a campaign to Make mobile better, Virgin mobile promises to help feed those in need. For every food picture posted to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter tagged with #mealforameal, they will deliver a real meal to a person who couldn’t afford it otherwise. Meal for a meal is meant to fight food waste in a partnership with OzHarvest, a charity rescuing excess food which would otherwise end up as trash.

Kraft Foods – New Friend Requests

Kraft Foods repositioned its A.1. Original Sauce and dropped “steak” from the label. The point was to show customers that the sauce was more versatile, so they created a Facebook campaign with a video to drive awareness and sales. Their approach was original and creative, using the social network to show that the product was in a relationship with Steak but was open to other friend requests.

Food McDMcDonald’s – User-generated content with 40 together

For its fortieth anniversary, fast food giant McDonald’s focused on user-generated stories and nostalgia. On the 40together.com website, users submit their memories by writing or speaking. Their words are illustrated with colors, fonts, icons and animation and can be matched to a decade and a product. TV ads depicting milestone moments in people’s lives with McDonald’s food playing a role in each accompanied the campaign.

 

Anheuser-Busch – Buds for Buds

The beer brand created a mobile experience with a promotion to buy a friend a beer. The objective was to make Budweiser more relevant to young consumers who might perceive the brand as dated. To drive awareness, traffic and sales, they connected the online and offline. Though we spend more time with online friends, buying a beer for a buddy is a real thing if you redeem your drink at your local bar. With millions of media impressions and a lift of in-bar sales from customers, the campaign was a success.

Food Burger KingBring back Chicken Fries – Burger King

Fast food chains periodically self items on their menu, only to bring them back later and drive consumers to their locations. Social media seems ideal for marketing these campaigns, and Burger King is indeed king when it comes to viral strategy. When “chicken fries” started getting considerable mentions on social channels in January 2015, the company reacted and made a decision to bring back the food. With the hashtag #chickenfriesareback and presence on Tumblr, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it was their most social initiative so far, averaging 380 tweets a minute and getting 150,000 total mentions on social media in the first 72 hours of the campaign.

How you can use food for marketing your business

Food pictures
Food Image

It’s a no-brainer that a very effective and popular way to promote your business or restaurant on social channels is with attractive, delicious-looking photos to install salivating, craving and growling stomachs in your audience. Visual content is among the most consumed and shared types of media, and you will need palate-pleasing pictures for your website and social media outlets to attract hungry eyes. But beware, quality photos are harder to snap than you might think.

Know the lingo

Looking for mouth-watering words to spicy up your menu, caption your images and write compelling copy for social media? Choose the right words to showcase your food on the page and whet the appetite of customers.

Food AdvertisingSocial Media

Instagram marketing is a given for your food business. To develop personal relationships with customers on social media, encourage the sharing of their own content. Photo contests, polls about their menu or product favorites and raffles are great measures to populate your pages and streams with content from your customers.

Showcase food-related content on YouTube

A YouTube channel for your business is a great opportunity to further spread your brand and promote highly shareable content. Think about what kind of videos you can produce and share. Consider video recipes or even your own cooking channel, interviews with guests and staff, seasonal dishes and highlights, a video tour of your business, tips on cooking, local produce, preparing dishes or guides on how to hold tastings.

Food DeliveryPartner with an online delivery service

People are lazy, and in today’s world of online presence, ordering in is more common than ever thanks to mobile apps and a rising number of services offering a streamlined ordering process. When your business or restaurant does not have its own delivery service, consider reaching out to more customers by forming a partnership with a delivery service.

Leverage online reviews

Customers research food locations beforehand, so a backing of positive reviews will definitely work in your favor in attracting attention and business. Most platforms allow you to register your business and enter details about it, so it’s necessary that you do this. Customer can and will review you, if you work on your profile or not, so you should be proactive to have review platforms work in your favor rather than against you.

Check-ins and rewarding loyal customers

Swarm is the counterpart to Foursquare that gamifies the customer experience at your business location. The mobile app allows people to check in and compete with your friends. As a business owner, you can make this part of your marketing plan. Monitor your customers and offer coupons, promotions and rewards for loyal customers.