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BE EVERYWHERE (The Lost Child Technique)

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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.


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.

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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?


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.


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!


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.


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.

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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.

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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!

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

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Nostalgia Marketing



Nostalgia originates from a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "homecoming", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache". At one point in time it was considered a serious medical condition before being recognized as an emotional response to memories.

Good advertising evokes emotion; a sentimental bound can do just that. Our memories are our identities. Everything you say or do derives from your past. About every half decade all the cells in your body are replaced, so in about 5 years you aren’t going to be the same body. But you’re still the same person, and that’s all thanks to your memories. Nostalgia is a feeling of connecting with the younger version of yourself, a version of yourself that is long gone, which can warm the heart of even the coldest person.

Whether it’s a continuation of a series that was discontinued or canceled years prior, a reboot of a beloved franchise, or simply including a famous character from the past, nostalgia can be a impactful advertising tool if used properly.

Check out these popular examples of nostalgia marketing used by beloved brands you’re familiar with:



Crystal Pepsi

The Jungle Book 2016Ghostbusters 2016 film poster




As you review how these successful brands have utilized nostalgia marketing to evoke an emotional connection to their product, what are some ways your marketing goals can achieve a similar response for your customers? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Quality is more valuable than a flashy gimmick. When developing a nostalgia related marketing strategy, it can be tempting to become a bit cheesy. This is not necessary. Emphasize the quality of your product and that will create a response within your audience. Show that your product is timeless. Brands like Nintendo and the Throwback Pepsi illustrate that their brand is powerful and timeless. How can you communicate the same with your brand?

Create an emotional tug. Do you think there is any connection between Coke and Clydesdale horses or polar bears? There is no real direct connection between the two, but their advertising creates an emotional pull that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Apple has also done the same in some of their recent holiday marketing with the Frankenstein monster that was a first unaccepted when he began caroling among the crowd but one child turned around the entire scenario when she began singing with him. The emotional message – love and accept everyone. The marketing message – the new recording features in the new iPhone 7. In each of these scenarios, the companies managed to market their products while appealing to the emotions of their audience. When trying to evoke a nostalgic feeling among your customers, take them back to their childhood. Transport them back in time; resurrect their memories. Give it a try with your next campaign.

Resurrect the old. The examples above provide a great example of old becoming new again, or vintage. When something becomes old, it has not lost its purpose, it has just aged. Many things are timeless, like the Disney classics, Cinderella and Pinocchio. When old movies are remade, like Ghostbusters and Jungle Book, it is not an insult to the original. Rather, it is paying homage to the old, by blending the old with a bit of new. What do you have in your product wheelhouse that may be a bit old that you can bring back to show your customers how you’ve grown? Consider integrating that into your marketing.

As you work on developing your nostalgia marketing campaign, you will want to partner with a marketing and graphic design company that not only understands what you are trying to accomplish but has the tools in their wheelhouse to make it come alive. XLDesign4U specializes in developing customized design and marketing plans to meet your unique needs. Consider a consultation with one of our team members to develop the most effective nostalgia marketing campaign for your business.

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Molding Your Logo



The old adage, “you don’t give a second chance to make a first impression,” certainly rings true when you are trying to land a new client. We’re told most our lives to not judge a book by its cover and to dive deeper rather than taking things at face value, but the truth is most people do just that. First impressions do matter. That being said, it is extremely important that you develop your business branding to reflect your business’s style and concept directly. Your audience’s first impression of your brand should be the right one. The center of your brand is your logo.

Think of your logo as a letter of the alphabet; when you look at the letter ‘A’, you immediately recognize it and know the sound it makes and exactly what it means. You want the same level of recognition with your logo.

A good logo is simple, appropriate, and memorable. Your shape should be exclusively associated with your company, and your company alone. You should be able to take away all the text from your design and it still be instantly recognizable as your company.


To figure out your company’s shape, you need to know what the shapes mean to people when they see them. Choose one or combine a few to get your message across, but always remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE. It should be simple enough that a child can easily draw it and still be recognizable.


Vertical vs. Horizontal-

Before we get started breaking down shapes themselves, we need to talk about their orientation. How your shape is angled is more important than one may realize. It can directly convey certain attributes about your company at first glance.

Vertical designs exude strength, power, masculinity, and dominance. While horizontal designs give off a sense of rest, composure, femininity, and peace.



Now, let’s start looking at what each shape means.


Circular- The circle, one of the most popular shapes used in design, exudes positivity. Perhaps it is the its relation to the all too familiar smiley face. It has no beginning, and it has no end; therefore it is infinite and whole. There’s a flow that comes with a circle thanks to its lack of hard lines and its bubbly nature which is soft on the eyes. It is useful for encapsulating and confining ideas, and when combined with other circles it can display partnership and unity.

Square/Rectangular- This shape shows structure due to its flat lines, making it appear stable, like the foundation of a home. Balance comes to mind when faced with these shapes.

Triangular- Depending on how it lies, the triangle can either convey balance if placed on its flat lines or lack thereof if placed on one of its sharp points. It can also represent direction. Often seen as aggressive and sharp, this dichotomy makes it a versatile shape in design.


Organic- Based off forms we see in nature, organic shapes come across as comfortable and interest based.



Abstract/Stylized- These shapes are literal representations of whatever your message is, not found anywhere in nature nor amongst geometric shapes. It is a direct reflection of your business.



Simple Rebranding-

If you’re reading this article it is likely you’re in one of two groups -  someone making their first logo or someone who already has a logo and is wondering how it is holding up. If you’re a member of the second group and the “keep it simple” part hurt your soul a bit because your logo is anything but simple, I urge you to re-assess your brand message. Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. What message are you conveying with your logo? Is it the message you want to convey?. If you look at the logos below from large companies, you can see overtime how they simplified themselves to be more recognizable.


Each of these brands are highly successful and have stood the test of time. Take this into consideration as you review your logo. If you’re just getting started, I hope these guidelines will help you craft the brand message that is right for you that will clearly communicate your message to your audience.

Are you looking for a qualified resource to dialogue about your logo design? Contact the XLDesign4U team today for a free 30 minute consultation.

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Is Your Beef Memorable? Part 1


Let’s face it. We all like free stuff.  

That’s why we happily accept free promotional products from companies.

Have you ever been given a promotional product that appeared flimsy & cheap? What kind of impression did that leave? As small of a token as that trinket was, you immediately associated the quality of that product with the perceived quality of that company’s product or service.  Some promotional products specialists say that "SWAG" is a bad word because it instills the clear impression of junk.   Corporate branded promotional products are a reflection of your company’s brand, and therefore, should not be taken lightly.   "WOW" your gift recipients!  That's how they'll remember your brand, it's services and - in many instances, the person who presented the gift.  

Dave Thomas, of the Wendy's Hamburger Chain, sealed his brand with the notorious "Where's The Beef" television commercials back in the 80’s.  For those of you who are too young to recall his message, here's a quick recap:

Where's The Beef?

Wendy’s did an excellent job of branding their company with their popular slogan, “where’s the beef?” As a company, you never want to leave your prospects or customers thinking, “where’s the beef? “The investment to promote our branded message is related strongly to the perceived value of the branded "give away" gift.  We want the gift recipient to remember us and what our company or services can provide for them.  A positive remembrance is accomplished when the gift is re-usable time and time again whether it feels good, smells good, looks good, works great or even tastes yummy.  If the gift falls apart, shrinks, dis-colors or doesn't taste good what kind of positive impression does it leave for the company and the service you provide? The quality of the product(s) you choose to give away has a direct reflection on how the quality of your product or service is remembered. What kind of impression do you want to leave with your gift recipients?

 So, how can we ensure that we maintain a positive remembrance with an affordable cost and a high perceived value when giving away promotional items?

 As you work with your promotional products partner, ensure they not only know what your budget is, but also your standards in conveying your corporate brand.  Don't skirt around unrealistic ideals.  Communicate openly with your promotional products partner.  We all know how to shop and have a basic concept of product values. Upon understanding your realistic promotional budget and the desired result for your marketing campaign, a qualified promotional products partner can go to work for you in finding the products that best fit your parameters.  Think about that first impression.  How does the "give away" communicate your branded message?  Sometimes a picture of a possible worthy marketing item just isn't good enough - ask for a sample so that you can insure the product quality conveys your desired corporate remembrance. 

Always remember The Five Senses.
Each person has five sense organs that take in information from their environment and send it to their brain. The brain then processes the information and tells the body how to respond. The 5 main sense organs are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin.

When your promotional partner understands not only what you want to communicate, but also your audience and your budget, they are able to work with you more effectively to achieve your marketing goal.  Think about the median age of your audience and what are the types of products that your audience is most likely to appreciate?  When communicating your results-oriented marketing ambition, it does no one any favors keeping your budget a secret. In fact, it is a waste of both of your valuable time. You will find that a qualified partner can save you time if they are given all of the requirements of your marketing goals.

 Don’t leave your customers asking, “where’s the beef?” Start with a clear communication with your promotional products partner so that they can work with you to deliver the highest quality product within your budget that will reflect your brand and services as desired.  The response we received from our recent  Brand Name Products publication shared with our newsletter subscribers proved that "beef" is, indeed, important.


© Image Credit:

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Let's Have a Barbecue That Sizzles


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Warm weather, good music, hamburgers on the grill – it’s that time of year again.
It’s barbecue time!

As the month of June awakens, we begin to get a glimpse of that warm summer heat. Summertime is often a time to kick back, relax and have a little fun. Pools and water parks are opening and beaches will become packed as people begin to enjoy summer vacation. For some, the first getaway of the summer is right in their own backyard or even a local park. Individuals and companies alike enjoy a good barbeque during the warm summer months. At home, it is a great way to enjoy the company of family and friends over a nice meal. For businesses, hosting a company picnic is a relaxing way to bring employees together to socialize without the daily stress and pressures of work. It is a great morale booster.  Customer appreciation picnic events are a great way to build service relationships too - a great way to bring out that "down to earth / real people" connections. 

But, hosting a barbecue event has even more to offer than just great food. Part of what makes a picnic outing great are the social activities and interactions among the crowd. Need some ideas to bring your team together this summer at your company picnic?

Set a theme: People love party themes. It makes the event more fun and allows people to get into character. One popular summer picnic theme is a luau, complete with tiki lanterns and grass skirts. Also, one of the great things about hosting a luau is that it is often hosted at or near water so that your attendees can enjoy a nice cool dip during the party. Whatever theme you choose, go all out with decorations to really create the illusion you seek. Send personalized invitations to your employees. A direct invitation sent via the mail makes a larger impact because it makes them feel special. Don’t forget that special touch. Encourage people to dress up to support your theme, making the event that much more of a success.  Incorporate barbecue event products that sizzle!

Scavenger Hunt: Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?

 ScavengerHunt image

It is one of the best ways to get your party people engaged. Start the event out with a scavenger hunt. Eliminate the awkward social moments when people first arrive at an event. Hand out cards to send them on the hunt as soon as they arrive. Your attendees will immediately become engaged and you will find that participating in a scavenger hunt will create great team building skills for your employees while encouraging some healthy competition. It will also give your cooks plenty of time to finish grilling your delicious food without anyone hovering over them.

Party favors & prizes: Everyone loves free prizes. You will want to reward the winner of your scavenger hunt with some cool prizes. Pre-planning some picnic games for your guests to enjoy can be fun too.  Plus it builds friendly team competition.  Maybe a teamed water balloon toss with increasing distance between partners’ tossing.  Have fun giveaway items linked to your party theme available for all attendees. Giveaway ideas can be anything from fun sunglasses, water bottles, water toys to glow in the dark necklaces; the list is endless. In addition to providing your game winners with prizes, you’ll want to have small party favors for everyone who attends. For example, if it’s a luau, maybe give everyone who attends a lei to support your theme. Have fun with it. Personalized candy is fun as well, because who doesn’t like sweets? Hand out chocolate bars personalized to your theme and company. People will love it!  If your event is a company picnic or customer appreciation event, don’t forget branded recognition gifts for your employees and/or customers.

Provide a diverse menu. Everyone loves a good barbeque, but remain sensitive to the fact that everyone does not eat hot dogs and hamburgers. As our nation becomes more health conscious, more people are becoming vegetarian. Offer some diverse menu options to meet the tastes of everyone attending.  Pot-luck food assignments are fun too!  Segregate the assignments by categories such as a side dish, a dessert, beverages, etc.  The host can be in charge of the main course and festive plates, napkins, utensils and the like. A surprise mixture of other dishes that you’ve assigned arriving with each guest will add a bit of fun, and will encourage all of the guests to be a part of the event’s success. 

Summertime is here so dust off those grills and get ready
for summer barbecuing and picnic fun!

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© Scavenger Hunt Image Credit:

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The Courtship – the impact of handwritten notes



The Courtship – the impact of handwritten notes


You’ve gotten past the awkward moments of the first date and now you’re dating. This moment in the relationship can be described as bliss. Everything is so new. You’re truly in the honeymoon phase. Every little thing she does is cute. Every little habit he has is adorable. From their laugh to the way they crinkle their nose before a sneeze. This is also the phase of your relationship where your beloved will leave little love notes for you with everything from a love poem to “I miss you.” Don’t you remember passing love notes in elementary and middle school? Do you like me? Check yes or no.

The courtship between a company and employee is very much the same. When an employee starts a new job, they are in bliss. Everything is new and exciting. They enjoy coming to work every day. Each day they find out something new about the company that was better than their last job. They are in their honeymoon phase. But, as a company, what are you doing to extend these feelings of bliss past the honeymoon phase? How can you keep your employees happy and excited about working for you just as they were that first week they started? Have you ever thought about the power of a simple handwritten note?

In our electronic world of email, texts and social media, the art of a simple handwritten note has almost become lost. Even in the example of a couple courting these days, I’m not so sure that handwritten notes are even popular among couples anymore. Notes have been replaced by texts. But, a text cannot convey the sincerity of a handwritten note.

Why send a handwritten note to an employee?

Because it is rare. Handwritten notes are so uncommon these days that when someone takes the time to write one, it carries a lot of weight. The recipient feels appreciated because someone took the time to actually write a note to them. As a new employee getting acclimated into a new environment, this small act further solidifies their decision to join your company. It makes them feel more comfortable with the team they’ve chosen to align themselves with.



Token of appreciation. A handwritten note shows your employee that you appreciate them, and what better way to express that appreciation than taking the time to write a note to say so. Welcome your employees with more than just onboarding paperwork on their first day. Make them really feel welcomed. If your new employee is part of a team, write the note and have the whole team sign the note. What better way to make your new employee feel appreciated?

HanoverWelcomeCard AB Dec15


However, handwritten notes are crucial to developing and building relationships with your new employees that will lead to longer tenure with your company. But, the key is to maintain this program. Like a new relationship, don’t stop courting your new employee once they say “I do.” Continue to work on developing that relationship by communicating with them on a regular basis to show them how much you care and appreciate them.

Lori can be reached at 804-569-0527 , TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  





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Are you remembered everyday?

Are you remembered everyday?
Wouldn't it be great if your clients and prospects thought of you every day of the year?  We can achieve this easily with subliminal time "remembrance" through a customized calendar gift.  Of course, including an image about you and your company that is viewed daily is a plus, but there are additional calendar enhancements that can really keep your calendar in front of your clients and prospects.  We all use calendars.  Where have you seen a business office/work-space that doesn't have a calendar?  XLDesign4U specializes in customized calendar creation - we can help you with promoting your business and it's services through this every-day medium.  Here are some thought provoking ideas to make your calendar stand out:
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10 Reasons Promotional Products Work

10 Reasons Promotional Products Work

1. Promotional Consultants:
           The Rock Stars Of The Marketing World

2. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No! It’s a promotional product!

3. Business is Booming

4. Spread The Word

5. Enhance Marketing Campaigns

6. Positive Impact On Brand Image

7. Gifts That Keep On Giving

8. Endless Array Of Options

9. Quick Turnaround Time

10. Fun and Handy



©; PPAI Study: Effectiveness of Promotional Products As An Advertising Medium

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HowTo Develop A Promotional Plan?

HowTo Develop A Promotional Plan?

Successful promotion campaigns don't happen by chance. To realize goals, promotional products programs must be carefully planned, taking into consideration the audience, budget and, of course, the ultimate result to be gained.

A professional promotional marketing consultant should discuss these seven important elements to help you plan the best promotion for reaching your objective:

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How is your Promotional Consultant Educating You?

How is your Promotional Consultant Educating You?

It's  Promotional Products Work Week!

I'm enthusiastically share information this week (specifically) about how promotional products work.  Many of our readers are already educated, however some are not...   I take pride in being a promotional consultant, and it is my pleasure to educate the public about this facinating industry.

XLDesign4U is a strong resource for more information on promotional products, including promotional ideas, sample evaluations and marketing team-work.

I welcome you to visit our web store that is filled with product ideas, and will be glad to personally assist you as your team player with your next promotional project from product selection, sample evaluation and everything from creation to finished delivery.



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Promotional Products: Impact, Exposure & Influence

Promotional Products: Impact, Exposure & Influence

How Effective Are Promotional Products?

Promotional products are extremely effective in reaching and influencing people according to PPAI and university research studies.  Following are some examples:



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Promotional Products- A Marketing Medium (FAQs)

Promotional Products- A Marketing Medium (FAQs)

How can promotional products work as a marketing medium for your business?

Many businesses are unaware of how promotional products can improve their reach to customers (old, new & future).  Likewise, promotional products can work as a recognition tool of praise or award for employees, fund-raisers or even a brandad acknowledgement the local little league team you sponsor.

Here are the answers to commonly asked questions about the promotional products industry.




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