Phone 804.569.0527 | Fax 804.569.0528 | Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/xl4u3181/public_html/components/com_easyblog/router.php on line 66

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/xl4u3181/public_html/components/com_easyblog/router.php on line 66

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/xl4u3181/public_html/components/com_easyblog/router.php on line 66

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/xl4u3181/public_html/components/com_easyblog/router.php on line 66

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/xl4u3181/public_html/components/com_easyblog/router.php on line 66

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/xl4u3181/public_html/libraries/cms/pagination/pagination.php on line 131

XL4U Blog

We XL4U!

Brand Name vs Knockoff

brandnamevsknockoff coverrgb 01

Should you get the new iPod or a generic MP3 player? Do you go with Nike or just a generic brand running shoe? Do you spend your hard-earned money on that new Coach purse, or do you get the knock off that looks just like it? These are the questions we ask ourselves when evaluating whether to go with the well-known name brand product or just a generic version of it. Do name brands really matter? How important are they to you? Name brand products are clearly more expensive than their knockoff counterparts, but are they better? Let’s take a moment to distinguish the clear differences between brand name products and knockoff products to help you more carefully evaluate your decision.

There are factors that go into consideration when deciding between a brand name product and a knock off.

Loyalty

We simply purchase some brands out of habit and loyalty. For instance, maybe our parents used the same laundry detergent during our childhood and by default you’ve continued to use that detergent with your family as an adult. You have a particular brand loyalty to that detergent. You haven’t really evaluated whether it is the best in the market. It’s just familiar to you and has worked to meet your needs so you don’t see a reason to change. People that are loyal to a brand are likely to stick with it because it has been reliable.

Apple Brand Loyalty And Brand Champions

Quantity/Price

Customers almost always list price as a main factor in the products they choose to purchase. Unless they have brand loyalty to the product, more than likely, price and quantity will have a significant influence over their decision.  Analytical spenders will compare the quantity of the product they are receiving with the cost to determine the overall value. A price conscious consumer always asks, “what am I getting for my money?”

tl horizontal main 1

Quality

While price is important when evaluating products, so is quality. The most expensive product isn’t always the best, but the least expensive product does not always lack quality.

In determining the best product to use, it is important to evaluate your loyalty to that product line, price and quality. So, how does this come into play when evaluating whether or not you choose a brand name or knockoff brand? Let’s review some pros and cons of each.

Brand Name Pros

Why would you choose a brand name product, even if it might be a more expensive product?

  • Aesthetically more appealing. Brand name products are typically more established in the market, enabling them to invest more money into attractive packaging to lure their buyers.
  • Often made of more durable materials. Oftentimes, but not always, brand name products are made of higher quality, more durable materials, resulting in a higher price point.
  • Sold in more stores. Brand name products are often found in more stores because they have been around a while and have higher distribution channels. For example, you can find Tide in any local grocery store because it is a well-established laundry detergent brand.
  • More promotional deals. Brand name products often spend more money in advertising, which is one of the reasons why their brand is so recognizable. With a higher marketing and advertising budget, these companies often invest in a variety of promotional offers to bring in new customers.
  • Name recognition. Brand name products have a foothold in the marketplace. It didn’t happen overnight but they’ve built a name for themselves. People recognize their brand when they see it and therefore, associate that brand with credibility. The see the Nike swoosh and think “just do it” and they see the Burger King sign and think, “have it your way.” Established brands have garnered recognition that results in trust with its consumers.

namebrand

While there are clear benefits to brand name products, knockoffs do have their place. Let’s look at some of their advantages.

 Knockoff Pros

  • 30% cheaper on average. The number one reason a consumer will choose a knockoff product over a brand name product is price. It’s easy on the purse strings, allowing them to delegate money in their budget to other priorities.
  • Often sold in bulk. Many knockoff brands are often sold in bulk which means that not only is the product cheaper than the brand name alternative, but you also get more for your money as well.
  • Available on government assistance. Knockoff brands, particularly in the food industry, are available to purchase on government assistance. Name brands are often not allowed in the program if it is significantly more expensive than its generic counterpart.
  • The same as brand name. Knockoffs are often mirror images of their brand name counterpart. This is particularly evident with over-the-counter and prescription drugs where the generic brand is significantly cheaper but houses the same ingredients as the brand name.

generic brand title1

There are clear advantages to both the knockoff and the brand name. In the end, it is clearly a matter of choice and preference.

Whether your preference is brand or off brand, consider partnering with the team of XLDesign4U to find products that fit your specific needs. We have an assortment of products we can place your unique branding on and a plethora of cost effective alternatives.

Continue reading
84 Hits
0 Comments

Duped By Marketing?

 foolcover 01 3

April 1st just passed, did you get fooled?

Advertising is designed to entice you to purchase a product. Companies use many different strategies and tactics to promote their products and services, but let’s be honest, some of these tactics have played us, the consumer, for fools. In the spirit of the season, it is only right that we review some of these tactics with you so that you won’t be an April fool when you make your next purchase.

Overpricing

The next time you make a purchase, do your research. Many companies overprice their products, making them seem like a good deal in comparison to something else. However, the product that is often being compared is either overpriced or not an apples to apples comparison. Don’t get duped! For example, if you see an $80 steak at the start of the menu, the $20 ribs will seem more like a good deal in comparison. But, is it really a better deal?

Interestingly, it has also been shown that those who do end up getting the overpriced food (i.e. $80 steak) tend to enjoy the meal more than if it was less money, even if the meal is the exact same. They higher perceived value gives the illusion of a luxurious meal, when in fact, that $80 steak could just be a marked up $20 steak.

overpriced

99 cents

One penny under a dollar sure does make a difference. It’s all about strategy and this is probably the most widely used trick of them all. Simply dropping the price of an item to end in .99 has been proven to psychologically make us think an item is significantly cheaper when it’s only a penny difference. So, whether the item is $0.99 or $9.99, we’ve been conditioned to think we’re getting a deal when in reality, it’s just a penny.

99

Salt=Thirst

A cool, refreshing beverage should quench your thirst, right? Do you ever wonder why when you drink soda or any big brand water that you don’t feel completely quenched by the end of the beverage? You can thank sodium chloride for that, better known as salt. Some beverage companies put salt within their drinks in hopes that you’ll have to drink more, in turn making it so you must buy more. And clearly it’s working because despite Americans’ awareness that sodas are unhealthy, over half of them consume at least one soda per day. Our guess is most consume more than one because of the salt intake.

salt

Meal Appeal

Have you ever seen a mouthwatering pizza on a commercial and immediately wanted to order a pizza? We’ve all seen the spectacular looking food in commercials. And, it’s not just the pizza that may look good; they really know how to make a Big Mac look gourmet, but for those that have ordered the food know that it almost never looks as good in person. The reality is, most of the food in these commercials are not even real. These companies have whole teams of people that specialize in food photography & editing. Some of their methods are equal parts deceptive and ingenious. They often use glycerin to make sea food appear juicer, use dyed mashed potatoes to mimic ice cream (because the lighting would melt the ice cream too quickly to photograph), insert carboard into cake slices (as well as pancake stacks) to make it more structurally sound and separate the icing from the cake to avoid stray crumbs on the icing, gluing sesame seeds to buns, and most ice you see in commercials is plastic made specifically to look like ice cubes. There’s plenty more examples, but I think you get the idea. A majority of food you see on TV is a lie, a delicious looking disgustingly made lie. Yum!

food stylist paul grimes 608

Phony Portions

“You get what you pay for” doesn’t always hold true for some companies, some have very tricky ways of saving a bit of money by changing their portion sizes over time giving you less for the same amount of money. Here are a few examples of this trickery at play: Over time cereal boxes have become thinner. Lays hold about 30% chips and the rest is nitrogen; this helps keep the chips fresh for longer while on the shelf, but at the expense of less chips. Snickers started selling two small bars within one wrapper leaving a gap between them, this gap cuts down on the amount of chocolate and saves them tons of money each year. By far the most disturbing of these proportion scandals is the meat industry. Meat is sold by weight, so to make them heavier (especially chickens) they inject water into the meat, this method is called “plumping”. Some chickens sold on the market have been shown to be made up of up to 30% water.

lays1

Advertising is a great tool used by many companies to promote their products, but as you can see, many companies have “fooled” us with their deceptive tactics. Pay attention to what you’re buying and make sure you are truly getting what you pay for.

In the meantime, if you are interested in crafting an advertising campaign that will not “fool” your customers, but genuinely grow your brand and promote your product, consider partnering with the team at XLDesign4U.

Continue reading
96 Hits
0 Comments

From Mom & Pop Shop To The Top

momandpop cover 01

Success is a universal desire, yet everyone has their own ideas of what success means. Simply owning a business could have been your ultimate end goal so, if you’re content wherever your business is on the totem pole there’s no reason to read further. However, for those of you who have further business aspirations and want to see their small operation morph into a top contender of your field, this is the article for you.

Yes, It’s Possible

Not all corporations start out large; many originated from humble beginnings that had to climb and persevere to the status they are now. A wonderful example of this is the story of Sam Walton. Back in 1950, Sam opened his first retail store in Bentonville, Arkansas. Using the technique of scoping out competitor prices and marking his down slightly from theirs, his shops grew immensely in popularity. This eventually enabled him to gain enough capital to open a second shop in Roger, Arkansas. You recognize these retail operations today as Walmart. Walmart is currently in all 50 states, 14 foreign countries and has an annual gross profit of over $120 billion. It employs more people worldwide than the population of Houston Texas. Ninety percent of all Americans live within 15 miles of one. You might not be the next Walmart, but on the other hand you might be.

Waltons Five and Dime store Bentonville Arkansas

The Key Master

The phrase “confidence is key” is to keep in mind during an expansion. However, after you get through a few doors, there will be more than just your confidence needed to unlock the next door and move forward. You’ll attempt to open a door and fail and you’ll either need to find a new key or give up on that door completely.

Some doors are reinforced, so kicking them down isn’t always a viable option, and if it is an option, it’s possible to damage the success or opportunity on the other side. You can always try to pick the lock, cheat the system, but that’s not the honest way to go about it and you risk breaking the lock entirely rendering the door into a wall. So, this begs the question, what keys do you need and where do find them?

You can ask a friend if they have a key or refer you to someone who might; alternatively, you can hire someone to create a key for you, or you can do the grueling work of crafting the key from scratch. At the end of the day, it all comes down to utilizing your available resources intelligently to move yourself forward. Don’t fear asking and don’t fear working; sometimes those are your only or best options.

3413419 a lot of old metal keys taken closeup as background

Success & Failure (accept both into your life with open arms)

If you can’t accept failure, success is never going to accept you. Nothing truly spectacular that has longevity started at the pristine level it’s at now. It takes countless hours, days, weeks, months, years of trial and error. Finding out what works and what falls flat is all part of the process of prospering. People who know how to handle losing are always better winner.

fail

Love a Critic (distinguishing between helpful & harmful critiques)

When you accept the fact you’re not always right, you’ll have the adequate mindset to grow. Knowledge is power, but delusion of intelligence is a weakness. When someone gives you criticism try your best not to get upset. Hear the person out and then think on it. Don’t dismiss nor accept immediately, just consider. Once you evaluate for a decent amount of time then you should decide if what they said held any significant weight. But, remember, your best critiques come from someone who has already achieved the level you are aspiring to. Listen to criticism but filter it accordingly.

critic

Jack of All Trades Don’t Get Paid like Experts Do

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”- Bruce Lee

If you offer 20 different services (although variety is great) you’ll only be a novice at all of them. If you knock it down to just a few, your skills will be more specialized in those fields. Scrap what you’re just okay at and get tunnel vison for the things you’re best at. That’s how experts are made- organize your focus and execute accordingly.

focus

Define Your Demographic

Chuck E Cheese vs Dominos. Knowing which demographic gives you an incredible competitive advantage, even if your product isn’t the most superior in the same market. For example, it’s safe to say in terms of quality, Domino’s pizza is better than Chuck E Cheese (CEC). But does this get in the way of CEC being unsuccessful? Not by a long shot. This is thanks to market segmentation; they know their demographic (children between the ages of 3-8) and market to that age group aggressively.  That’s the key to their success and longevity.

demographics1

1+1=2 (small companies that combine make bigger companies- Simple Math)

When all else fails, it’s wise to consider a merger. Finding a company with identical services and goals to compliment yours could be a huge step in elevating your business venture to a whole new level. The challenge is finding that ideal company to merge with. Like the research you’ve done to evaluate your market, it is vitally important to do the same level of research in determining the best company to merge with. After all, you don’t want all of your blood, sweat and tears to go to waste with one bad business decision. Take your time…ponder and make sure a merger makes sense for your business expansion efforts.

3599123 thumbnail 1024x912

If you are planning an expansion for your business and would like to partner with a company that can assist in developing the right marketing strategy and tools to achieve your goals, consider partnering with the team of XLDesign4U.

Continue reading
141 Hits
0 Comments

BE EVERYWHERE (The Lost Child Technique)

 LOSTLOGOmilk twitter

There are over 7 billion people on our planet today, with an estimated 125 million formal micro, small and midsize businesses and 89 million emerging markets. That is a lot of opportunity for visibility!

But, the raw truth is no matter who you are or what you do standing out is an uphill battle. Decades ago, it was easier to differentiate services and products because the competition was sparse. Today, although we have a larger audience to advertise our products and services, competition is fierce. Devising ways to make your business stand out is more crucial than ever to achieve success. If you’re looking for ways to get your brand in the spotlight, check out these helpful hints to get your brand right where it’s supposed to be, in the public eye.

LOGOS, LOGOS, LOGOS

Logo Collage

Your logo is your first impression to your target audience. If it doesn’t arise curiosity and interest, you’ve already lost your customers. It is the face of your company, the epitome of your brand.  So, how do you get your face recognized by the masses? If your child was missing what would you do? You’d post that face on every available surface until enough people see it and hopefully provide you with the valuable information you need to retrieve your child. Why not use this same method in sharing your brand?

Some will act right then and seek your company out and some won’t.  The most important thing is that the face stays fresh in their minds. In the case of the “lost child” metaphor it’s all about what if they find your child; regarding your brand presence, it’s what if they need your services. It’s all about standing out. The timing is not always going to be right, but when you stay in front of your customers on a constant basis, you stay top of mind when the need arises.

So, what are the available spaces to place your face?

Promotional Products/Apparel– How many times per day to you pick up a pen to write? Can you count the number of notebooks and sticky pads in your office? How many polos and t-shirts do you have in your closet? If you put you face on something useful your face will be in view as much as the useful item; that makes sense.

promoproducts 1

Website- If your company website doesn’t have your face it, you’re missing opportunities to solidify and share your brand. Do your clients and prospects a favor and remove the guess work. Let them know who you are and what you do. Have you considered adding a favicon to your browser tab?

Website

Favicon- It’s important to fill the available space you can place your face as web-based markets continue to rise. Although it’s only a small icon, it can really make or break the professional website’s look if it’s missing. The small logo in your tab is a key feature if you’re trying to have continuity with your online brand identity instead of settling for the default setting. It might seem mundane but without it your website will appear incomplete.

favicon1

Business Cards & Collateral- If the face of your business isn’t on your business cards and collateral, how are you going to get business? This should be a no brainer!

FreeMinimalBusinessCardPSDTemplate

Vehicle- Do you have a company vehicle that requires you to travel to customer sites to perform services and/or make deliveries? Use that hunk of moving metal to get your face in

front of a major audience, anyone you drive near. Car wraps, large magnets, airbrushed, or even standard bumper stickers can all be great ways to get your face out there and drive up sales.

xlcar

Email Signature- Correspondence with your clients is inevitable; it’s how you build relationships and close deals. Professionalism is a necessary trait if you’re looking to attract new customers and keep the business you already have, but some businesses struggle with portraying a professional manner with their customers. Simply using proper spelling and grammar in your email correspondences will make you appear educated, but a logo in your email signature will make you appear more legitimate and is yet another way to stay in front of your customers.

email Signature 7

Profile Picture(s)- The likelihood of having a modern-day business and not being connected to social media is slim to none, but if that is the case…the year is 2017, please fix that. For the majority of you who do indeed have social media for your company, make sure your logo is the centerpiece of your profile pictures across all social media platforms.

facebook profile picture1

Signage- Do you have a physical location that your clients/suppliers visit frequently? Give your headquarters the treatment it deserves and distinguish your building’s identity with proper signage. Show your face!

External Install 01 JPG jpg

If you need assistance with any one of these brand spreading methods, please contact the trusted & creative team at XLDesign4U!

Continue reading
156 Hits
0 Comments

Where's The Beef Part 2

 

image

Where’s The Beef Part II:  

The promotional product distributor’s role to deliver quality.

The promotional products that you choose represent you and your brand. Therefore, shouldn’t you carefully consider the company you choose to partner with to provide these products for your company? A promotional product is much more than a pen, a cup or giveaway item. It is a representation of your brand in the marketplace. Oftentimes, it is an item your recipients will use over and over again. Don’t you want that item to leave a good impression? To accomplish this goal, you need to work with a qualified promotional products distributor that understands the value of delivering a strong brand recognition.

How much do you know about your promotional products distributor? Are they educating themselves in the industry so that they can provide you with the best products and service? Are they solution-oriented and safety compliant on your behalf or just pressuring you to buy? In such a competitive market, advertising specialty distributors, suppliers and decorators need the skills to help you out-think, outperform and out-service your competition's marketing strategies.

Continue reading
153 Hits
0 Comments
SWaM-LOGO 70x30web  evalogo-70x30  socialicon-facebooksocialicon-linkedintwitter-xl4u  ASI ID bwsm  sage logo PPAI logoPSA WeAre-ppai icon c  UPIC-XL4U  VAPPA Logo70x30px  EWI-70x33