rushIMPRINT Blog - Promotional Items & Branded Products All Things Promotional Marketing Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:29:47 +0000 en hourly 1 Mardi Gras Practices Your Business Should Adopt Tue, 28 Feb 2017 19:42:25 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

You might not realize it if you don’t live in New Orleans, but Fat Tuesday is here again. For the uninitiated, that means that America’s most famous party, Mardi Gras, is in full swing. Whether they’ve experienced it or not, everyone is familiar with Mardi Gras, the street carnival that takes over Louisiana once a year, filling the French Quarter with parades, masks, flying beads, and thousands of enthusiastic visitors. Mardi Gras started as a quaint local tradition, but it’s grown to become big business and an integral part of Louisiana’s economy. How did Mardi Gras go from a New Orleans tradition to a national industry? There are some instructive lessons for anyone looking to grow their business in how it happened.

Everyone Loves an Event

Quite simply, people love Mardi Gras because people love parties, and Mardi Gras is the biggest and most flamboyant party you’ll find anywhere in America. The sheer volume of people, the historic setting, and the famous traditions like parades, beads, and masks, all make Mardi Gras one of the biggest tourist events of the year.

Now, it might be difficult for you to recreate Mardi Gras in your own store. After all, a parade down your aisles or through the parking lot might lack some of the impact. The fundamental fact, though, is that people love events. They love any excuse to get out and party, to mingle with other people, and to have a good time.

Why not take advantage of that impulse at your own business? Special events, parties, cookouts, you name it; all are effective ways to get people through your doors or onto your lot who might not come otherwise.

Fun Sells

Mardi Gras has become a national event because people love to spend money to have fun. Once again, that doesn’t mean you should try to recreate Mardi Gras on your own, but there’s definitely a lesson in how many people travel to New Orleans from across the globe just to participate.

By thinking outside the box and doing something fun and quirky, you attract customers who might never have given your business a second thought. The unique local flavor of Mardi Gras is what makes it more than just another party. Try to plan events at your business that incorporate some of your area’s local traditions, or just think of ways to make your sale, event, or giveaway stand out from the crowd.

Free is the Most Attractive Price

If there is one thing everyone immediately associates with Mardi Gras, it’s the beads. They fly fast and free throughout the festival, and people are ecstatic every time they catch a strand. Partygoers will scream, dance, sing, and even enter various states of undress just to get a string of beads. It’s the best example imaginable of how much people love getting things for free, no matter what they are.

If people will go to such lengths just to get a strand of beads, it stands to reason you should have no trouble getting people through your doors if you offer them something they can actually use. Try hosting a giveaway, and you’ll be shocked at how many customers you can attract. If you aren’t sure what to give away, check our page of best-selling promos. We have hundreds of useful, cost-effective items that will get customers through your doors. Best of all, our custom branded merchandise is emblazoned with your logo, so they’ll have your business on their mind each and every time they use it.

Whether you’re planning to hit the streets for Mardi Gras or just spending another night at home, there’s a lot you can learn about how to grow your business by looking at the success of Mardi Gras. Throw your own party, do something fun and quirky, and give your customers something free to remember you by, and your business might just become the next national phenomenon.

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Enduring Business Strategies Gleaned from Past Presidents Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:29:56 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

white house lawn

It’s Presidents’ Day, the day we set aside to honor the great men who have led the United States. The history of the Presidency is one of colossal triumphs, memorable failures, and endurance in the face of unimaginable obstacles. As managers and business owners, there are countless lessons we can learn from the decisions made by these giants.

George Washington: Make the Most of What You Have

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge
Washington is arguably the most famous man ever to hold the office of President. He’s become as much a folk hero as an actual man at this point, but there’s no doubt he had some very real accomplishments in his long and storied career. As great a President as he was, though, he was probably an even better General. As the head of an outmanned, outsupplied army, Washington routinely made the most of a bad situation through tactical genius and a clever allocation of resources.

Follow his example in leading your own business. Sometimes, it’s not about how much you have, it’s about how creatively you can put your resources to use. Know when to make a tactical retreat and when to charge forward despite long odds. You might start out as an underdog, but marshal your forces properly and you could become a legend.

Jefferson, Madison, & Monroe: Be Growth Oriented

Louisiana Purchase
Obviously, the Declaration of Independence is the seminal moment in United States History. In terms of shaping the country that we know today, though, nothing rivals the importance of The Louisiana Purchase. Where France saw the opportunity to make a quick profit, these visionaries saw a future bound only by geography. Their foresight, going deeply into debt in order to massively expand the fledgling country’s territory, created the America we know today, one that spans from sea to shining sea.

Apply that same big thinking to your business. Don’t be content with what you have. Look for every opportunity to grow and expand your company. Take big risks in order to reap huge rewards. Carve out a bigger space for yourself in the current business landscape.

Teddy Roosevelt: Speak Softly & Carry a Big Stick

Teddy Roosevelt
This phrase has become a time-worn cliché for a reason. Some leaders choose to rule through fear, constantly making threats and using derision as a motivational tool. Effective managers, as Teddy Roosevelt could have told you, lead by example and always handle their subordinates with a deft hand.

To get the most out of your employees, treat them respectfully and give them room to maneuver, but make your expectations clear and back them up with definite consequences. It’s good to be permissive to a point, but only as long as the necessary work is getting done.

Obviously, these are just a few examples of the lessons you can learn from America’s Presidents. Each President has similar lessons, and a good manager could pick up some invaluable advice by following their examples. You’ll gain inspiration to move forward and learn quite a few pitfalls to avoid. Just remember that, regardless of their legacies, each of these men achieved something amazing, so look to them for example.

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Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. Show Your Customers Some Love. Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:53:32 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

February is here, and love is in the air. Cupid’s bow is strung, florists are getting ready to work overtime, and the lovebirds are chirping. That’s right, it’s Valentine’s Day, the holiday where we celebrate love in all its wondrous forms, from schoolyard crushes to golden anniversaries.

Obviously, Valentine’s Day is mainly for couples, but there’s no reason your business can’t get in on the fun of the season. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to host a romantically themed promotion that will have your customers head over heels. After all, who doesn’t love a gift on Valentine’s Day?

A free giveaway is the fastest way to any customer’s heart. Whether it’s an item designed to get them in the door or a free gift with purchase, no one has ever struck out offering something for nothing. It’s a proposition that’s sure to please your customers, no matter who they are.

One of the best ways to entice customers to your store for Valentine’s Day is to sweeten the deal. After all, nothing tugs at the heartstrings quite like chocolate. Why not hand out some chocolate candies with your logo prominently displayed to get people in the door? After all, the best way to close a deal is to seal it with a kiss.

custom kisses

Speaking of smooches, isn’t stealing a kiss what Valentine’s Day is really about? Your customers have been waiting for weeks for the chance to lock lips with that special someone. Help them get ready for the big moment with some custom gum or custom mints. They’ll appreciate you coming through for them, and they’ll know exactly who to thank, since your logo is right there on the package. Talk about positive mental association.

When you picture a Valentine’s Day celebration, you see white tablecloths, candlelight, roses and a good bottle of wine. With your help, your customers can enjoy a romantic two-for-one thanks to our custom Rosewood Bottle Opener. And since it’s not very debonair to drink right out of the bottle, why not toss in some custom wine glasses?

The ultimate goal of Valentine’s Day is to set the right mood for romance. When it comes time for your customers to set the tone, why not do your part and secure your company’s spot as the ultimate wingman? With our line of custom aromatherapy products, your customers are going to have no problem putting a little romance in the air.

Valentine’s Day is about sharing the love, and a free giveaway is an amazing way to set customers’ hearts aflutter. It’s a fun, effective way to drive business to your company and build some goodwill with current and potential customers. When you can generate new business, attract new customers, and spread a little love in the world at the same time, that’s amore.

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New Year, New Business Strategies? Sun, 01 Jan 2017 16:30:22 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

A new year is finally here. The gifts have been given, the champagne toasts have been made. Now, things are starting to get back to normal. We’re all back at work full time and ready to start making this the best year yet.

The only way to make sure your next year is always your best is to take some time and look back. What about 2016 do you wish had come out differently? If you could do it all over again, what would you change? Every mistake and shortcoming is a learning experience.

Successful business owners examine those bumps in the road and use them to draw a better map for the future. What better time to look forward than at the start of a new year? We all make “New Year’s Resolutions” in our personal lives, and it’s a great idea to bring the practice to your office as well.

Obviously, you know your business best. You know better than anyone what your strengths are, where your weaknesses lie, and what is going to be most effective for you. Still, there are a few easy resolutions that are beneficial for any business.

1) Dial it Back

Ultimately, you want to grow your business. Sometimes, though, you have to take a step back to take two steps forward. The unfortunate reality is that not every idea works. Savvy business owners are constantly looking for ways to streamline their operation.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is pull the plug on a product or a project that isn’t performing. That way, you free up resources for other, potentially more lucrative uses. Constructive trimming of your business practices is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself headed in the right direction.

2) Pay it Forward

No business exists in a vacuum. Employees, customers, clients, vendors, and contractors all play an important role in making your company a success. This year, resolve to do everything you can to strengthen those relationships. One of the best ways to show your appreciation is with a tangible display.

Our line of custom branded merchandise helps business owners cement those important business relationships. Whether you’re running a free giveaway, holding an employee appreciation event, or looking for the perfect gift to seal a big business deal, we have the right item to you. If you resolve yourself to celebrate your business relationships, we’re the perfect strategic partner.

3) Keep it Moving

This is the most important resolution you can make. It’s important to look at where you’ve been and to celebrate what got you there, but this is about what lies ahead. Take a brief time to consider the year that just passed and then keep your eyes firmly on the road.

Whether it’s a new product launch, a new hire, a new location, a new product, or a new marketing campaign, resolve to grow your business this year. Don’t rest on your laurels, don’t be content. We can all do better. Your resolution should be to make this year the biggest year possible.

By making these simple New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll be taking the first steps toward a prosperous year. It’s a great way to focus your attention and help you plan the best possible strategy. When you look back next year, you won’t believe how far you’ve come.

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Why Your Business Should Adopt Boxing Day Traditions | rushIMPRINT Mon, 26 Dec 2016 21:07:48 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

From late November through January 1, the United States is fully immersed in what is generally called “Holiday Season.” It starts with Thanksgiving and doesn’t stop until we ring in the New Year. In between, we celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and a host of other festive events.

One international Holiday that’s never really caught on in the United States, though, is Boxing Day. Widely celebrated in the UK and Canada, Boxing Day is a day set aside to celebrate professional relationships. What began as the traditional day for employers to provide gifts for their servants has grown into an opportunity for business owners to honor their employees and independent tradesmen with whom they do business.

Traditions Have to Start Somewhere

Boxing Day may not be widely celebrated in the United States, but there’s no time like the present to start a new tradition for your business. Think of all the hard work your employees, contractors, and clients have put in to make your business so successful. Boxing Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate their hard work in a way that is unconnected to any of the religious or cultural significance of the more widely-celebrated holidays. In a diverse workplace, it gives you a chance to show some extra appreciation for your employees and clients without stepping on any toes.

A Modern Twist

Regardless of its origins, the spirit of Boxing Day is giving something back to those who help you every other day of the year. For a modern business owner, that could include everyone from your valued employees to your building’s maintenance staff to the freelance contractors you use from time to time. All of these people are part of making your business successful, and Boxing Day is the perfect time to show your appreciation.

Rush Imprint offers a full line of custom products that will help you show your appreciation to customers and clients alike. From golf balls to delicious towers of yummy treats, these custom-branded gifts are the best way to let the people who help propel your business forward know how much it means to you.

For your employees, we offer custom-branded outerwear that will help keep them comfortable during the cold winter months. These are a perfect way to show a little Boxing Day appreciation and build team spirit in your office at the same time.

Gifts on the Go

Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a proper holiday if you didn’t sometimes forget a gift until the last minute. Have no fear, though. Thanks to our line of custom products with free rush production, you can make sure your employees, clients, and customers go home with a box full of treats no matter how late you put it off. They’re a perfect way to squeeze in a thank you during your hectic holiday schedule.

While you’re already in the Holiday spirit, why not add a new one to the calendar this year? There’s no such thing as too many gifts, and Boxing Day is a great, fun way to spread some holiday cheer around the office without making anyone feel uncomfortable. It’s something your entire company can enjoy together and adds just the right amount of extra flavor to the most wonderful time of the year.

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Everything Your Subscription Box Service Needs | rushIMPRINT Thu, 15 Dec 2016 20:21:25 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

Get Everything You Need for Your Subscription Box
subscription box service

If you’ve spent any time at all shopping on the internet recently, chances are you’ve come across a subscription box service. These services, in which customers pay a monthly fee in exchange for a curated set of goods, have become one of the market’s hottest trends.

Customers love subscription boxes because they get all the benefits of expert curation without having to do all the research necessary to discover the hidden gems in the boxes themselves. Business owners love them because they offer a steady, predictable customer base and a recurring revenue stream they can count on.

What makes the subscription box business plan so amazing is how adaptable it is across markets. Whether your customers are looking for razors, craft beer, delicious meals, or geek culture toys, a subscription box is a great way to reach them as efficiently as possible.

Tim Ray
image via Peter Power, The Globe and Mail

In an interview with The Financial Post, Tim Ray, CEO of Carnivore Club, described subscription boxes as “…the most efficient, flexible and easy-to-operate business model in e-commerce.”

The Total Package

box opening with light coming from inside

What makes a subscription box so attractive to customers isn’t just the items that they get, it’s the method of delivery. Every month, they get an attractively arrayed box of goodies. They get the joy of seeing the box arrive, the anticipation right before they open it, and that moment of childlike glee when the top of the box lifts and they get to see what’s inside. It’s like Christmas coming every month of the year.

That’s why the difference between a good subscription box service and a great one isn’t just which items are included, it’s how they are presented. You’re the expert on your particular industry, and so the job of curating the selections falls to you. When it comes to elevating the presentation, though, we’ve more than got you covered.

rushIMPRINT offers a full range of subscription box services, from ancillary items to printed inserts to box printing, that will help transform a handful of selected items into that special gift your customers spend all month looking forward to.

Customization is King

The same things that make subscription boxes so attractive to your customers are what make rushIMPRINT such a perfect strategic partner. Your customers love that, every month, they get a selection of items that was picked just for them. Customization is our specialty, and we know exactly what it takes to tie your items together into a cohesive, beautiful package that’s sure to please your customers. We offer all of those special touches that make your monthly offering truly memorable.

Whether it’s something as simple as an attractive box to ship in, high-quality inserts explaining the choices, or even a branded item that complements your offerings, rushIMPRINT is the perfect partner. Are you selling craft beer? Why not include custom glasses with your branding? Wine? Maybe a custom corkscrew. Food? Maybe a custom cutting board or oven mitt would be right for you.

No matter what you’re offering, we have what you need to make your subscription box service as memorable and attractive as possible. With your industry know-how and our support services, you’ll be making dreams come true every month for years to come.

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Give Thanks for Your Customers This Holiday Season Fri, 18 Nov 2016 18:08:49 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

Every year, Americans from sea to shining sea take a Thursday in late November to gather together, eat some turkey, watch some football, eat some more turkey, and count our many blessings. We sit around tables with our friends and family and take some time to think about everything we have to be thankful for.

We give thanks for our good health, for the friends and family we’re surrounded by, for Thursday football and leftover turkey sandwiches. We also give thanks for our business successes and the security they provide. It’s important to take some time and think about how far your business has come, but it’s also important to think of how far you can still go.

No matter how hard you worked or what you sacrificed, you didn’t build your business by yourself. Without your employees, clients, and customers, none of the things you’re so thankful for would have been possible. Remembering how you go to where you are is the best way to get where you want to go.

This year, instead of taking a break to silently give thanks in between the second and third slice of pie, why not take a moment to show your thanks directly? A personalized gift is a great way to celebrate your past with your employees, clients, and customers while building a stronger relationship going forward.

More Than a Number

Give and take is the nature of a solid professional relationship. Sure, your clients are getting your services in exchange for their payments, but the fact is that they chose your company out of a crowded marketplace. Anything you can do to reinforce that they made the right decision is only going to strengthen your relationship and guarantee future business.

Thanksgiving is about two things: thankfulness and eating. Why not combine both and send your most valued clients one of our delicious custom gift baskets? Getting a magnificent tower of treats with your company’s logo prominently displayed is a great way to remind your clients that you value them.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

While you’re watching those Thursday football games, pay attention to the fact that football is a team sport. The best quarterback in the world can’t complete passes without receivers who run the right route and an offensive line that blocks for him. Your business is the same way. It requires everyone to be on the same page, fulfilling their personal role to complete a team objective.

Your employees are the ones out there running routes and blocking for you, and there’s no better time than Thanksgiving to let them know how much you appreciate it. By late November, it’s getting cold outside. Why not outfit your team in some of our custom winter wear? It’ll help them brave the elements and put their team spirit on display all winter long. The teams out on the field have uniforms, why shouldn’t yours?

Time to Come Together

The turkey and the pie and the football are all nice, but in the end Thanksgiving is all about relationships. It’s about celebrating the relationships you’ve built and coming together to make them even stronger. Enjoy your time with your friends and family, but also take some time to be thankful for your business relationships. Don’t settle for a moment of quiet reflection, though. Do something to show your thanks this year. By strengthening your relationships now, you’ll make sure that you have even more to show thanks for next year.

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The Dangers of Rushing a Product to Market | The Galaxy Note 7 Debacle Fri, 28 Oct 2016 17:05:04 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>

Rushing is never something any of us wants to do, and doing so can lead to numerous negative outcomes as focus shifts from speed to safety. If you rush your prep work for dinner, you may end up with a little less skin on your finger. If you rush to work, perhaps you’ll earn yourself a nice new speeding ticket or, even worse, a court date. Those are minor issues compared to what Samsung is dealing with after rushing to release their newest phone, the Galaxy Note 7. Samsung had hoped to beat Apple’s iPhone 7 to market, but their misguided haste resulted in major losses and a severely damaged reputation.

The Galaxy Note 7 does all the things you’d expect a phone to do. It makes calls, it messages, it takes pictures, and can make use of all the latest and greatest from the app world; but the most explosive (and unfortunate) new feature is that – well – it explodes. Soon after release, consumers started reporting that the batteries installed in the Galaxy Note 7 were overheating, sometimes resulting in fires and explosions.

Dangerous Consequences

treacherous bridge

Most of us treat our phones like an extra limb, and keep it either on our person or close by as much as possible. Most of us even sleep with it sitting right next to our heads every single night, keeping it close for emergencies while also using it as an alarm clock. Samsung’s issues with Galaxy Note 7 meant that customers essentially had a fire hazard (or even worse, a bomb) next to them at all times without them even knowing it.

As such, other companies and agencies are treating it less like a phone and more like a dangerous weapon. Certain insurance companies are issuing warnings that owning a Galaxy Note 7 may invalidate their home insurance policies. Numerous airlines have moved from restrictions to outright bans on the phone in an effort to avoid a potentially disastrous incident on their flights. Samsung has recalled the Note 7 twice and since shut down production completely. It’s an unprecedented move, and only the company is to blame.

Speed and Greed

heck with safety

Samsung’s desire to beat Apple’s release of the newest iPhone model may have played a part in this disaster. Battery testing for the Galaxy Note 7 was handled in-house and not by a third-party operation overseas, so Samsung only has itself to blame. Clearly, the level of testing performed by the company on its new model’s batteries was substandard, likely because of an internal rush that prioritized getting the Note 7 at the expense of thorough testing to ensure the safety of its consumers.

The result of this misguided attempt to rush production is that Samsung has already incurred billions of dollars in losses. The company is issuing credits for customers to switch to other Samsung models, but many are insisting that they’ll be switching to a competitor. The loss of profits and the loss of current and future customers is being topped off by a class-action lawsuit over the Galaxy Note 7, the first of many that will likely be filed against the company.

There are lessons to be learned from Samsung, though. Take care in the production of your product, even if it means you might have to push back a release date. Rushing things along can lead to any number of unintended consequences, from basic disappointment for a faulty product to injuries, or maybe even death. Don’t let pressure talk you into cutting corners, because the risks of doing so could be disastrous.

Rushes Aren’t Always Bad

Debacles aside, we understand that sometimes a rush is necessary. That’s why we offer 24-hour rush production on many of our top-selling products. We’ve even combined come of these products into convenient kits to hasten your shopping experience even more. Check out our rush kits by clicking the image below and start saving time and money today!

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What’s in a Name? | Consol Energy Center Re-branded to PPG Paints Arena Wed, 05 Oct 2016 16:52:45 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]>
Pittsburgh Penguins

This year when the Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice for the first game of the season as the defending Stanley Cup champions, they will do so at the PPG Paints Arena, and not the Consol Energy Center. Fear not Penguins fans, as this will be the very same building that the Penguins have called home for the last six seasons.

Only the name has changed, as the Pittsburgh-based PPG (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) acquired the naming rights from Consol Energy Inc. just six years into a 20-year deal originally signed before the arena’s inaugural season. PPG’s deal with the Penguins is another 20-year agreement, and the former will join fellow Pittsburgh-based companies Heinz and PNC Bank as the major stadium and arena sponsors for the city’s professional sports teams.

An Unexpected Change

With Consol Energy struggling because of low energy prices, they were forced to abandon their deal. They will remain as a minor sponsor, but PPG Paints will take over as the cream of the crop and the arena’s namesake.

PPG’s goal with this new agreement is to increase “top of mind” marketing and awareness for its already established brand. People arriving to or driving by the arena will see the PPG Paints logo. Fans watching from home will repeatedly hear PPG Paints referenced by the game’s commentators. Fans at the game will benefit from entertainment, giveaways, and other freebies sponsored by the company. As a result, PPG Paints will gain a new avenue to connect with potential consumers on a regular basis. If a deal makes sense, naming rights agreements and other sponsorships are an excellent way to promote brand awareness.

Awareness or Awkwardness?

KFC Yum Center

However, naming rights agreements are not always well-received, as sports fans can be notoriously protective of their city’s franchises. Common issues can arise due to already existing perceptions of the sponsoring company, or due to the resulting name of the arena.

Heinz Field and PNC Park were both fairly well-received by football and baseball fans, respectively, as both brands were established and respected presences within the city. Both stadium names are also concise and clean, which helps when fans and commentators discuss the venues. When the H.J. Heinz Co. merged with Kraft Foods in 2015, there was some fear that the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers would be renamed “Kraft Heinz Field.” Luckily, Kraft Heinz saw the possible negative reaction by fans and opted to keep the existing name.

The Consol Energy Center was never widely accepted, even after six years. Fans tended to avoid the arena’s full name in favor of the shortened “Consol,” and some were turned off by an energy company being the one to hold the naming rights. PPG’s own takeover of the Penguins’ home has led to mixed reactions overall.

On one hand, PPG is a respected company with deep roots in the city, two traits that help to endear to fans in the Pittsburgh area. On the other hand, the decision to go with “PPG Paints Arena” instead of “PPG Arena” is not going over as well. While it’s certainly not the most hideously-named sports venue in the US (hello to Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center or Oakland’s former Coliseum), it certainly doesn’t flow off the tongue. It’s extremely clunky and awkward.

While that may dampen enthusiasm initially, there is no doubt that PPG stands to benefit from this agreement overall. Though your average business can’t afford to sponsor an arena, any opportunity to get your name out there should be seized. In the world of marketing, brand awareness is of the utmost importance. Consumers won’t make use of you if they don’t know you exist.

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Evolving Your Product: How Pokémon Go is Still Going Strong Fri, 23 Sep 2016 18:10:26 +0000 rushIMPRINT Read more »]]> Perhaps one of the most surprising stories of 2016 was the complete explosion of Pokémania throughout the world in July. Pokémon, originally launched in 1996 by Nintendo, was a pair of handheld video games in which players caught, trained, and battled a large selection of fictional monsters called Pokémon. The franchise quickly took off, spawning game after game in addition to movies, tv shows, comics, and trading cards. This summer, it made the leap to augmented reality with the help of software developed by Niantic with the release of Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go brought the monster-catching game to the real world, with real-life landmarks becoming “Pokéstops” used to catch supplies or “Gyms” to battle over, features that were only visible on a player’s phone. The Google-Maps-style overlay also showed Pokémon themselves, allowing players to throw items called Pokéballs to capture them, and eventually train them up to battle others.

Pokémania Sweeps the Nation

The love affair with Pokémon Go was instant. Millions were playing with regularity, visiting real life locales to catch the virtual monsters. Restaurants that happened to be near important in-game landmarks saw their sales increase. Once-empty parks were now full of Pokémon trainers. Players reported that they were more physically active now than they had ever been. This was a result of one of the game’s mechanics by which walking a set distance allows a player to hatch a Pokémon from eggs.

Pokémon Go was downloaded over 500 million times in its first two months, setting numerous records in both app stores and even the Guinness World Book of Records. While the mania has predictably cooled significantly, the game still has tens of millions of active users roaming the world.

Regenerating Interest

One way that Niantic is trying to once again heighten interest around Pokémon Go is with the introduction of the Pokémon Go Plus, a small Bluetooth-controlled device (usually attached to a wristband) that allows players to visit Pokéstops, capture Pokémon, and accumulate walking distance while the user’s phone rests safely locked in her or her pocket. This new product saves trainers the hassle of constantly looking at their phones, which also saves a significant amount of battery life.

This wasn’t a shot-in-the-dark money grab though, but a planned release that many were looking forward to from the start. The emergence of Pokémon Go Plus will help invigorate the current player base while helping to draw former players back into the fold. While it has only been out for a few days, it is expected that it will lead to an uptick in active players and playtime, as well as an uptick in company profits at a tidy $34.99 a pop.

Evolution is Key

One of the features of Pokémon Go and the Pokémon franchise is evolution, where a trainer can turn their basic monster into a bigger, better form. It’s only fitting that Niantic has taken the idea of evolution to heart with their approach of making sure the game is constantly moving full steam ahead. Pokémon Go Plus is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to product development.

Soon, players will be able to trade their Pokémon with other real live people. The battle system will become much more complex. And, of course, the next batch of monsters themselves will join the fray by year’s end. Niantic launched a successful product, but they’ve invested in constantly evolving that product, a winning strategy which will keep current users around and bring new and old users alike back into their arms.

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