Category Archives: Branding

Top Marketing Fails [SlideShare]

Many companies find that their marketing message gets “lost in translation” during international ad campaigns

It can happen to anyone. You’re having a conversation with someone from another part of the country – or maybe even from another nation entirely, and you say something that really makes him or her gasp. What an odd reaction, you say; until you realize that what you were trying to say didn’t translate with the intended meaning. Major corporations around the world have also encountered these types of communication failures – the kind that cause marketing managers to shake their heads in disbelief and customers to question the motives of those in charge of the ads.

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Sometimes, marketing issues arise due to an incorrect translation between an English-speaking company and their international audience. Just ask Pepsi. Their international campaign targeted at the Republic of China touted that “Pepsi brings you back to life!” In China, this translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!” It is curious that a company as large and savvy as Pepsi wouldn’t ask for a consultation from a Chinese language or culture expert before launching a major ad campaign that promised to resurrect the dead.

Other companies have suffered similar marketing failures, especially those who have tried to jump all over the popularity of newsworthy world events. Kenneth Cole, the great, Brooklyn-based purveyor of trendy clothes and fashion accessories, decided to piggyback on the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 by tweeting “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online — KC.” With people dying in the streets and a nation facing severe political unrest, it was obviously considered in bad taste to make light of such a serious situation.

Several other companies, from Chevrolet to Gerber Baby Food, have committed catastrophic faux pas through a variety of marketing campaigns. Many marketing fails have resulted in absolutely hilarious situations – some of them providing lessons and insights into international customs and traditions that don’t end up aligning with Western marketing ploys. Others have emerged as truly insensitive or narrow-minded marketing activities that have tarnished the reputation of several well-known companies.

Whatever the result, there is a seemingly endless list of companies who have committed serious marketing fails over the past few decades. Here is a SlideShare of eight of the top marketing failures that demonstrate just how easy it is for an honest marketing message to get lost in translation – or for a company to offend millions via a simple Tweet.


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<iframe src="http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/30588013" width="427" height="356" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC; border-width:1px 1px 0; margin-bottom:5px; max-width: 100%;" allowfullscreen></iframe><div style="margin-bottom:5px"><strong><a href="http://www.pens.com/blog/top-marketing-fails-slideshare/?utm_source=contentmarketing&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=marketingfailsslideshare" target="_blank">Top Marketing Fails [Slide Share]</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="http://www.pens.com/" target="_blank">National Pen</a></strong></div>

Small Business Saturday Tips

Small Business Saturday is almost here!  This Saturday, November 24, marks the 3rd annual day that this event will be held.  As small business owners, planning and developing ways to effectively enhance your business image is a vital process in attracting and procuring customers during this day.

Inform the Customer, Raise Awareness.  Letting people know that Small Business Saturday is on November 24, or this Saturday, is crucial.  Many people are aware of national events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but being that Small Business Saturday is only in its third year, they still might be unaware.  When customers come into your store during this week, let them know that the event is going to be going on this Saturday and find ways to raise awareness.

Create Something Tangible.  Whether an advertisement, fliers, a storefront sign, or a creative display, let people know what Small Business Saturday is all about.  Tangible items and/or products better inform the community and provide them with added information needed in decision making processes.

Provide a Takeaway.  During this week leading up to the event and also on the day of, provide your customers with something that will allow them to remember YOU.  Takeaways allow customers to ingrain your business into the back of their minds and remember what you have to offer them.

Build Relationships.  Lasting relationships will not only benefit business success, but will also highlight your business proficiency and effectiveness for meeting needs.  Make the customer and community feel as though it is family.

So let us “shop small” and show support within our community by helping those who give so much to us!

 

Small Business Saturday!

November 24, 2012 is a day dedicated towards showing our support for small business nationwide.  Small Businesses create more jobs and opportunities than any other business in the nation.

With the support of American Express, last year over one hundred million people came together and dedicated their efforts shopping “small.”

 National Pen recognizes that the majority of our customers are in fact small businesses.  Whether you need promotional tools, items for giveaways, or products to highlight your small business, let us serve you with all your needs!  Come visit us @National Pen

Don’t Get Lost In The Dark!

With Daylight Savings coming up on November 4, make sure that you aren’t afraid of the dark!  Our LED Flashlight Key Chains are convenient, simple to use, and can help brighten any situation. They are great promotional gifts, and will help illuminate your marketing efforts!

  • Simple, efficient source of light
  • Fits conveniently on any key chain
  • Power to illuminate any dark place
  • Promotional value that lights up any relationship!

How you can make small marketing dollars equal year-round advertising

One of the easiest ways to keep your message around month after month is with a promotional calendar. Calendars don’t get thrown in a drawer, they get coveted wall space, and they are a unique way to display your personalized message. Cost-effective and budget-friendly, calendars are a great way to show your customers and prospects you care. They make great holiday gifts and are the perfect way to generate goodwill and brand awareness at the same time!

We offer a variety of calendars and planners to fit your brand, your budget and your look!

Our most popular option, the Reflections Wall Calendar, offers style and stunning graphics for a fraction of what you would think.

For a touch of fun, choose the Mickey and Friends Wall Calendar with colorful Disney designs.

The Translucent Monthly Pocket Planner comes in vibrant colors and will help keep your ad message in the hands of your customers and prospects all year long!

The Bristol Deluxe Weekly Planner with a FREE pen is sure to impress everyone who receives this elegant planner.


No matter what your budget or your style, there is a calendar out there for keeping your business in view 12 months a year. Tell us what works best for you and your business!

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Holiday Gifts for employees and for customers!

How can you show your appreciation for all the hard work your employees put forth all year? Or how much you appreciate your customers for being the integral part of you and your businesses success? Typically, many companies choose the holiday time at the end of the year to show their gratitude – either through holiday parties, company outings, employee gifts, or customer appreciation gifts.

But what is the ideal item or gesture? Often times business owners, especially small businesses struggle to find the balance between cost and quality. Budgets are tight, especially this year, and being able to express your gratitude without breaking the bank is a tightrope walk almost every business owner is familiar with.

The answer doesn’t have to be a compromise on either side though! With a little thought, many companies will find that they can offer a low-cost AND personal gift for everyone on their list! Personalized products offer the ability to show your customers and employees how much you care – adding that extra touch of class! Mugs, high-value pens, and calendars are the perfect way to give them a gift that will last – and remind them all year that you were thinking of them – so they think of you when it’s needed most! Filling a mug with candy or popcorn is a great way to dress up a simple gift. Putting a quality pen in a small stocking will add a bit of cheer! Calendars are always a great gift this time of year – just as last year’s calendars are running out!

No matter what you choose, it’s always the thought that counts – so make sure your gifts reflect just how much thought you put into your much-appreciated employees and customers. For more holiday ideas, click here.

The Power of Word of Mouth

Word of mouth marketing has been a proven tool in generating interest, traffic, awareness and ultimately – sales. But how has word of mouth marketing changed in the past few years? With the advent of the internet, information is literally at your fingertips in a matter of seconds. Wide searches and reviews can generate foot and internet traffic for retailers and businesses.

However, one of the most important advances has been the use of social media for businesses. Forrester analyst Augie Ray recently wrote Word of Mouth and Social Media: A Tale of Two Burger Joints. This article discusses how two wildly popular restaurants rose to success – one over the course of 10 years, and the other – in just one year. How did this happen, and how can we all learn from this success?

- Twitter and Facebook engagement – get followers and fans and talk to them…it’s a quick, informal and viral way to disseminate information
o Offer prizes for contests such as trivia, scavenger hunts, pop quizzes, and holidays
- Use social media for promotions to drive and retain loyalty
o Offer special deals, sales, or insider information to encourage your customers and
prospects to visit often and enjoy the site
- Create videos on YouTube – product, sales, events…the possibilities are growing every day!
- Focus on time, not money.

Social media requires very little money to be successful, but it does require time. Devote time to creating interesting and compelling tweets and posts, and responding to your interactions. This type of activity fosters some of the most powerful word of mouth success available.

So get out there and be social start with us!

Test Your Business!

When developing a marketing and sales strategy for your business, there are many avenues, ideas and programs to follow. It’s overwhelming at times – Do I focus on message? Do I need a new design? Is my website performing? It’s enough to make your head spin! However, one of the key pieces of advice any consultant, marketing guru or successful businessperson can give is to test, Test, TEST!

Justin Premick published an article about his case study regarding his email efforts and how effective they were. The focus of the case study was comparing text links to html buttons in an email. He was trying to discover which type of presentation drove more sales and conversion. Not surprising, his initial results were that the colorful button drove more people to click. Rather than stopping there, Premick continued to test this in over 40 emails. His results showed that over time, these results were not true – in fact, the final results were that using “buttons” rather than tests was not the best long-run tactic to take.

So, why is this important? Premick stated it best:

  • What works today may not work tomorrow.
  • What works for someone else may not work for you.
Running a successful business takes testing and analysis to see what works for you and your business – so come up with a hypothesis and test it! Once you see what works for you, you can use those learnings to continue to refine your marketing strategy and get the most bang for your marketing dollar and time!

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Going Green – for your environment, for your business!

Being eco-friendly and saving our resources is not just an environmental issue. It’s also a great way to save dollars in your business, and reach out to your customer and client base. Some obvious benefits of following the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” adage are: saving our environment, reducing waste, and saving money.

But what are the not-so-obvious benefits?

Why not use your ad message in a “green” way – like putting your imprint on a Shopping Tote? Many stores encourage the use of re-usable shopping bags, and some even charge for bags or boxes. What a simple way to keep your name and message in view!


Many offices are also downsizing their disposable supplies – that means no more Styrofoam coffee cups for some. Put your message on their morning coffee mug and encourage business and saving the environment.


Use these simple products to have an additional (and eco-friendly) way to stay in touch with your customers, and show them you care them, AND the environment!


For more tips on green business tips, visit http://www.business.gov/expand/green-business/.


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Customers for Life

Identifying and reaching out to customers is a challenge that businesses face on a regular basis. But what about retaining customers — for life? Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, in Missouri, uses a “front of the line” program for their regular customers – meaning that in the dead of winter, if your pipes freeze, you won’t have to wonder how long it will take for the plumber to come out.

In a recent article on MSN’s Business on Main page, Keeping Customers for Life, companies like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing are used as a model for how to grow and retain your long-term customer base.
Here are some key steps used by companies such as Southwest Airlines, ED Foods and Crucial Technology:
- Deliver what you say you’re going to do
- Expect the best
- From there, go beyond the usual
- Watch your customer, not your bottom line
- Nurture lifelong employees
- Make customers want to stick around
- Be picky about your lifelong customers
Customers truly are the heart of any business – we simply wouldn’t exist without them, so remember: treat them well and your company will be treated well in return!
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