Terms of Service: Swag

SWAG: Stuff We All Get Not to be confused with swagger, “swag” is a popular term for all those wonderful promotional items you can receive for free from a company, usually given at an event. It’s the STUFF WE ALL GET! Some look forward to the swag bag more than the event. The most coveted swag is the loot given to Academy Award nominees. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not distribute this, incidentally. A marketing firm called Distinctive Assets compiles and distributes the special gifts. Click to see the 2020 bag. The objective for merchandisers to give their products for free through a swag bag or celebrity gifting lounge is to have their products in the hands of Hollywood royalty. If they’re lucky a photo of a celeb and the product will make its way into a print publication or entertainment coverage TV show. An expected practice – like goody bags at a children’s party People appreciate and even expect swag at certain events. Swag commonly appears at running races (t-shirt is the bare minimum), fashion shows, some galas, and vendors offer it up like trick-or-treat candy at trade shows. Swag usually has the company’s name and/or emblem on it and can range from a small bag of candy  to a vacation on a yacht as was gifted at the 2020 Academy Awards.   Guess again As a second acronym, a dear friend enlightened me that S.W.A.G. also stands for Scientific Wild Ass Guess. I love this! AKA Guesstimate. It’s a contradiction in terms, of course, how scientific is a guess? A wild ass one at that! Consider giving swag as a nice gesture that compliments the experience and attaches a lasting memory to the event, organization, or product. What will people really love? You’ll have to make a S.W.A.G.! Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Sign-up on her website today to receive helpful insights like this one in your inbox.  See how easy your efforts can...
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Capitalizing on an Anniversary – Increase Awareness Part 2

Happy Anniversary! This might actually be the best way to enact a full-court press on your promotional activities with the goal to increase awareness. I would encourage you to capitalize on your longevity and create tangible objectives that will set your intended outcomes of your activities. If your organization is celebrating a year ending with a 5 or 0, then an anniversary theme is appropriate to anchor a year’s worth of promotions, maybe longer. Disney celebrated their 60th Diamond Celebration that lasted 18 months.   Anniversaries give the media a reason to talk about you. Don’t waste the opportunity by only talking about your promotional activities planned! This is a common mistake. For instance, instead of talking to a reporter about the menu planned at your gala, talk about the years of impact you have made in the community. Point out how your mission is being exercised year after year and leads to your ongoing success. Honor the many people who have led to the organization’s success. This is the same for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. People make things happen so celebrate them.   Low and No-Budget Tactics It does not have to cost a fortune to celebrate an anniversary. It can be as easy as adding the number to everything you are already doing. For example, if your nonprofit is celebrating a decade of success, your Annual Gala becomes the 10th Anniversary Gala. Top TEN (get it?) lists become a weekly topic on social media or a monthly topic in your e-newsletter. These little alterations don’t cost anything! Send a press release to your local media honoring one person from each year of your existence who was instrumental to your success. If the media is interested enough to write a story (or simply run the release that you submitted) you have expanded your reach to every reader of that publication only for the labor cost of writing and emailing the release. Relatively low-cost investments include sharing swag like t-shirts, bumper stickers, window decals, hats, commuter mugs, and so on that put your name out in the public. Finally, don’t forget to develop a good hashtag for social media posts and create reasons for your audience to also post using that branded hashtag.   Big Ticket Items If you have the funds allocated for an anniversary blitz or have sponsors to help with co-branded efforts, then you might...
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Reset Your Vertical Clearance

As we re-set and recalibrate, watch your vertical clearance. I’m all for a full plate—literally and metaphorically. The problem for many of us is that once the plate is full, we start loading it up vertically. As it gets taller and taller, it is harder to manage, like a tower of ice cream scoops on a cone, and as filling and rich as a tall stack of pancakes. Trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 gave us a forced intermission in our lives. Even if your job continued as you worked at home, and even if you were painfully reminded why you never wanted to home-school, your social calendar was lighter. For some of us, this has been a complete timeout. Business stopped. Volunteer engagements halted. Social activity banished to virtual sessions. People post regularly on social media their wishes for a re-set on 2020. As much as there has been disappointment in my household—one child home from her semester abroad in Grenoble, France, one child’s senior year obliterated—I think THIS is the re-set. This is what a re-set looks like.   We are forced to look at things differently. We are faced with deciding what matters most. As my 88-year-old mother shared, “Six feet apart is better than six feet under.” Grim but true. We’ve slowed down. We’ve re-evaluated. That’s a good thing. I would hope that all of us consider making changes as the world opens up again. For those of us in cities experiencing social unrest, newness will rise up like a phoenix and it could be painful. It’s a different place and our perspective has been altered radically and unexpectedly.   Mind your vertical clearance Above all, don’t go back to an irrationally stacked plate. Don’t return to dizzying multi-tasking that seemed normal. I say this to myself as much as I say this to anyone. I once blew a contact off my finger with my blow-dryer because I was unconsciously multi-tasking on overdrive. There was no rational thinking in that moment, no presence of mind. Wow! I was desperately over-scheduled.   The remedy is a calendar diet Instill some portion control strategies so you don’t consume too much of what you don’t need like gorging on empty calories. Say no to things you really don’t want to commit to doing. Damn ‘duty’ and ‘shoulds’! Get on the phone or a video-chat instead of traveling so...
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Terms of Service: Reach

  The term REACH refers to the number of people who possibly saw your story, placed ad, or social media post. There’s a bit of extrapolation here to come up with the number and it is based on potential so the number can seem quite large.   An ad in a publication’s reach is based on the circulation number. That can include subscribers as well as all copies that are sold in retail outlets. Reach can be larger than the circulation considering people share magazines and other periodicals. Outdoor advertising is based on the traffic that drives by that particular billboard and for broadcast advertising it is obviously based on viewership.   When it comes to social media, the reach can be enormous. For instance, your first circle of available viewers are your likes and followers. For every share, you add the likes and followers of those people. There could be multiple layers of sharing until it seems everyone is familiar with the story. At that point we say it is VIRAL.   As you calculate the reach of your website … … you want to examine the number of visitors. In the early days of the Internet people went by “hits.” This was misleading because clicking on photos registered as hits and photos did not all have the same number of hits.   Back in the 80s when I was in college we learned the concept of reach communicated as “AVAILS,” meaning the number of people available to see it. In terms of advertising like a commercial, you want the viewer to see it more than once to make a lasting impression. Not surprisingly, this is called IMPRESSIONS. I learned the magic number of impressions is between five and nine times. In an advertising media plan, you gauge your ad purchases by the number of people seeing the ad or watching shows that meet your demographic profile. Primetime shows having the highest viewership have the most expensive ads. With the current wide variety of viewing options an advertiser has myriad ways of reaching its intended audience. Keep in mind, you need to reach your target market or the numbers won’t matter. Consider that almost everyone in the United States watches the Super Bowl and you can easily understand how that saturation drives up the price of the advertising. Its reach is, well, super! Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in...
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Let’s Be Objective When We Increase Awareness

If you think all you have to state as a marketing objective is to increase awareness, guess again! Back in the 1990s there was a sweet white-haired woman with cat-eye glasses and floral dresses who attended the weekly Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce networking meetings. Her introduction from the front table was, “I’m Marjorie Simms with the Stricklin Snively Mortuary, and it’s better to know us and not need us than to need us and not know us.” It was the perfect anecdote to kick-off a Wednesday morning. It speaks perfectly to the desire to increase awareness, however it’s not all there is to the story. Yes, everybody wants their business or nonprofit to be a household name, but do you really need that to be successful? When I ask a client or student why they want to promote their business and its mission, they often say, “To increase awareness,” or “We want people to know about us.” “Why?” I ask. “Why do people need to know about you?” Not surprising, I am often met with a stunned look that says, “Duh! That’s why we called you!” I need the client to delve deeper. As much as you want to believe that everybody ought to know about you, not everyone needs you the same way everyone will need a mortuary one day. “WHY do you want people to know about you?” I persist.   The answers are usually something along the lines of one of the following: So when they need our services they know who to call. If they know someone who needs us, they can share the information. Because we are constantly looking for more volunteers. When we launch our capital campaign people are familiar with what we do. Because we are celebrating a big milestone and we want the public to know that we’ve made a difference in the community. Because we know more about our topic than anyone else and we are rarely quoted. Aha! Now we are getting somewhere! These answers point to the real objectives, the meat of what they are after. They want more customers, some of them from referrals, more volunteers, more money, to be positioned as a respected contributor to the community, and as a thought leader. With this information we can create some measurable objectives, strategies and tactics that will increase awareness while addressing many other quantitative results...
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