Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Life's too short to give boring swag

As a marketer first, and meeting planner second, bad swag is one of my biggest pet peeves.  What constitutes BAD swag?

1. Cheap (and it’s going to reflect on your brand as being cheap!)
2. Doesn’t align with your brand
3. Logistically isn’t easy to transport (yeah fancy wine opener-I’m talking to you and TSA)
4. Very forgettable (pen, stress ball, notebook)
5. Useless (the kids or dog will end up playing with and /or breaking it—or you’ll see it piled in the trash—not a good look)
6. Over-branded (love the Patagonia beanie—wish your logo wasn’t in 72 point font on it)

Clients always ask me, “What should we do for swag?”  My response is to share the three pieces of swag I have received that changed my life, meaning:  A. I still use the product, or B. I still remember the experience (because giving an experience can be considered swag.)

My favorite product (higher end)
As a constant jet-setter, I am used to living out of a pre-packed, ready–to-go-at-all-times carry-on. I even had an old Target plastic bag that I kept in my carry-on for dirty clothes. That is, until a hotel partner gave me the most USEFUL piece of swag—a linen laundry bag with their logo and MY name, hand embroidered! You better believe I keep this thing in my carry-on, and use it every.single.time I travel. You’ll note the supplier logo is subtle—love that. Bye bye Target bag.

My favorite product (lower end)
Memorable, useful swag doesn’t need to break the bank. Point in turn, this handy dandy “sticker pocket” that I received on a FAM. I wanted to be polite when I received it, so I placed it on my phone case and then stuck a biz card inside it. Honestly, I have a really nice Bosca leather business card holder—why would I use an inexpensive plastic rubber whatever-it-is-made-of sticker for my cards? Convenience! Sadly, we are rarely without our phones these days. And I found when I’m at a networking function, holding my phone, I can easily present a biz card without digging through my Mom-purse looking for my “proper” business card holder. Love it!  In fact, the sticker outlasted my case, so I had to ask for another one when I bought a new case.

My favorite experience
Imagine my surprise when I arrive back home from the gym at 8:30am to find this box on my door step. #Panic. OMG there are ALIVE in there!  Geez—do I need to cancel all my morning calls and make sure they are ok? I don’t know what to do with live lobsters! How do I cook them? Do I have to cook them now? Will they last until 5pm? As a friend told me later that day, “Only you would be stressed out by free live lobsters.” Yes, it was a stressful day—but guess what? My two year old daughter had her first live lobster meal that night. #memorable.  Why were they sent? To get my attention and to entice me to register for a conference. Of course the promoters could have sent me a luggage tag, or a Starbucks card. But #this, sure did get my attention and will soon not be forgotten. #nicetry #AforEffort

Bonus Tips:
. Have a trusted supplier.
2. Order well in advance as to not incur rush production or shipping charges.
3. And speaking of shipping, don’t forget to include shipping (and hotel/venue receiving fees) in your budget.
What's your favorite piece of swag? Worse?  Would love to hear!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Places in Hermosa Beach

I live in Paradise. And I work from home. But sometimes, I need to get away...here's where I go.

To Unplug From Technology

Hermosa Beach at 2nd Street is my happy place. It’s a short walk from the andgreat office and usually quiet and peaceful, especially during the weekdays as most the tourists are up closer to the pier. It’s the perfect place to sit in the warm sand, sun shining down, listen to the ocean waves, and get my thoughts in order. I’m a huge fan of actual books—so I usually bring down a book to read. I play in a beach volleyball league on Tuesday nights and it's simply breathtaking watching the sun set over the Pacific ocean as you're playing. 

To Get Work Done Outside of the Office
JavaMan is local coffee shop that’s a short walk or beach cruiser ride away from the andgreat office.  It has a real coffeehouse feel with large tables, couches, and outside tables too. I love that it’s a local and not a chain. It’s a great spot to catch up on emails or write content. The “focus and get work done” vibe is definitely in the air as lots of local entrepreneurs work out of here.

For a Group Dinner
I’m always on the planning end of group dinners, and there are so many great choices here at the beach.
Mediterraneo is a fav as it’s right on Pier Plaza, has indoor/outdoor seating, and the small plates (tapas) are great for sharing. They also have a great local craft beer menu and interesting wines.

To Watch A Game
Silvio’s BBQ is a bustling restaurant and bar serving authentic Brazilian BBQ specialties plus great a great beer selection. They have outdoor seating and tvs and the sand is a stone’s throw away. It’s really nice to be watching a Saturday morning college football game in November at 9am and be beachside. Love this spot for it’s non-bar food, that’s relatively healthy!

For My Favorite Meal

One of my favorite pizza spots in town is
Locale 90. They serve Old-World pizzas in an industrial setting a block from the beach. It always reminds me of my time living in Rome, Italy. They customize the pizza for me (I don’t eat cheese).

To Have a Productive Meeting
Balleen at The Portofino Hotel & Marina is a short bike ride down the street from the andgreat office and it’s where I do most of my meetings with folks over coffee or lunch –overlooking the marina. It’s a great atmosphere and folks love getting out of the office. And the view...

To Relax 

See #1.