Convenience or Headache? The Quest for the Perfect Gadget

In your opinion of today’s technology, what is the best invention that has made an improvement for yourself or the world?  Is their anything in the future that you would like to see created?

During high school I took a program at Forbes Road CTC for computer networking and engineering (CNET).  This program went from changing your screen saver to wiring.

Early Opportunities

Brandi- working at Forbes Road CTC

While attending Forbes, we had a project which required us to take a trip to Seagate Research Center in the Strip District and present a PowerPoint.  We were proposing new applications for wireless and network attached hard drives in everyday life.  While we worked on these projects for a month or so you could see how much more people understood the new application.

External Hard Drive by Seagate


Who doesn’t like Chocolate? If you don’t, check this out first!

Betsy Ann, Sarris, and Hershey are some of my favorite brands of chocolate.  It gives me that mid-afternoon boost of energy, improves my mood, and not to mention tastes delicious.  If consumed in moderation some kinds of chocolate can actually be good for you.

In the CNN article (linked below) I read, they performed research at Tufts University. Jeffrey Blumberg, director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory found hypertensive people who ate 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day for two weeks saw their blood pressure drop significantly.  Also, chocolate milk may help you recover after a tough workout.

Of course with all the calories chocolate has, it should not be a substitute for fruits and vegetables, you need the vitamins, and potassium that they provide your body.

CNN Article

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory

What is Chocolate good for?

Heart- Yes! It helps reduce blood pressure levels. Also it can decrease the risks of cardiovascular disease for people with hypertension. Cocoa Increases supply of blood to the brain, but dark chocolate reduces oxidative stress and contains high levels of antioxidants.

Preventing Cancer- Yes! Dark Chocolate, which contains 13,120 ORACs (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Units), can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and cholesterol problems.

Mood Elevation- Yes! Serotonin and Dopamine are the two chemicals governing moods in the body. Cocoa contains monoamine oxidize inhibitors which flow freely in the bloodstream for longer periods of time which keeps the mood elevated.

Brain- Yes! Chocolate may boost one’s concentration and attention span, enhances memory, also problem solving skills as it increases blood flow to the brain.

Skin- Yes! Researchers believe that the flavonoids (flavonoids- Vitamin P and Citrin – plant nutrients which are non-toxic and beneficial to the human body) in cocoa absorb UV light, thereby protecting the skin and improving its appearance. These flavonoids also help in fighting wrinkles and also help slow down the aging process.

Teeth- Somewhat! Besides chocolate conducing to teeth decay scientists have said that chocolate has the ability to offset the acid producing potential of the sugar it contains. The tannins (a vegetable, defensive compounds that counteracts bacteria and fungi) in cocoa interfere with the action of bacteria on the teeth, which reduces cavity formation. The cocoa content in chocolate is good for teeth; however, it’s the sugar that causes the trouble.

You can find all of this information at:

Buzzle Articles

I added chocolate to my diet during my marathon training. Chocolate milk was a great drink for recovering after my long runs, It gave me the protein and vitamin D that I needed.

Promotional Products – Beyond The Customers

Just the other day, I had a unique experience to sit in on a professional sports team staff meeting. The staff was clearly excited and buzzing in preparation for the upcoming season and everyone had their lists of responsibilities from season ticket organizing to corporate golf tournament management, but one thing caught my ear in particular.

The head coach surely had is pressing issues that needed addressing, but he spent most of his time discussing something the rest had seemed to almost forget about, the in-game camera operators for the jumbo-tron. On top of everything else going on in the office the coach was concerned about the commonly ignored $8.00 camera operators, and more importantly how the organization could keep camera operators longer than just one season. The initial response was to simply pay them more, but due to restrictions with the facility and their employment this was not negotiable. The coach then asked the group: What can we make special for them that adds value and builds their loyalty to us – the brainstorming began that very moment. I was simply fascinated at how all of these other important issues froze for that moment to figure out what the organization could give to camera operators to impress upon them how valued they were.

I won’t give away the final decision, but it’s looking good for the men behind the lenses. I took this as a lesson for the future though: Cool stuff with your brand on it should transcend simply finding new customers. Business owners and managers have responsibility to their teams and their staffs to develop not only loyalty but personal investment. Sure, these camera guys won’t stick around because they got some cool team-branded swag, but providing the experience and connecting with them with legitimate gratitude makes ALL of the difference in the world.

rushIMPRINT has so many options for you to consider recognizing your teams today. Check us out and make the difference for your most valuable resources, people!

Learn Your Halo History

Gaming Insight by Perrin Morasco
Platform: XBOX 360

The newly released “Halo: Reach” is technically the fifth installment of the Halo storyline. First came “Halo: Combat Evolved” in 2001, released in conjunction with Microsoft’s original XBOX. “Halo: Combat Evolved” is considered by many to be the finest launch title ever made. There is even some debate whether Microsoft’s original XBOX would have even survived without Halo. The statistics supported the debate, with an attach rate of over 50% for every console sold. The game went on to sell over 5 million copies (That’s a gross of over $250 million!) !) This game had no online multiplayer capabilities as there was no online service yet available. Microsoft’s Xbox Live service would not be introduced for another year.

Next came the highly anticipated “Halo 2” (2004). The developers at Bungie smartly chose to stick with what worked in the original. They improved the graphics, added more weapons, and best of all, added online multiplayer through the now well established “XBOX Live” service. The game sold 2.4 million copies in its first 24 hours on the shelf. For you movie buffs reading this, Halo 2 out grossed “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” taking the crown of the highest grossing opening day entertainment release in history, the first time a video game held this honor. (Modern Warfare 2 currently holds the crown at $401 million in a single day!)  The game went on to sell 6.3 million copies and, by a wide margin, remained the most played Xbox live title until late 2006. (more…)

Attention All Ghouls, Goblins and Ghosts: Make Halloween Work for Your Business!

3 Tips for Promoting Your Business at Halloween

Tip #1: Trick or Treat Bags
Choose from an assortment of Halloween bags with your custom logo or message to give out before or during your community trick or treat time. Halloween is all about candy and what better way to advertise than giving away a sweet treat with your business name on them. Purchase printable labels from your local stationery store and personalize them with your company name and message.

Tip #2: Throw A Party for the Ghouls!
Host a Halloween party at your business location for your customers to participate in. Have candy available to give to children and incorporate games and the all important costume contest. Be sure to have prizes!

Tip #3: Dress Up Yourself and Your Business!
Incorporate Halloween into your product. Decorate packaging for the holiday and, if your product has the flexibility (such as food or candy), produce it in Halloween shapes and themes. Be sure to join in the fun and throw on a cape or a mask and dress up!

The Great Race- Pittsburgh’s Fall Fitness Classic

“If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up.  Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”  Michael Jordan

I recently started getting involved with races last year in 2009 and   have  been inspired to continue this healthy trend by signing up once a year for a race.  It’s important to get involved around your community and also to get some exercise.

The Great Race- Richard S. Caliguiri

The 5K we signed up for last year, was Richard S. Caliguiri for the 2009 Great Race.   My boyfriend absolutely hates waking up early, so when I tried to wake him up at around 5 a.m. I received an earful.

Since we don’t exercise on a regular basis we kind of fell behind in the race, and as we neared the end he said he wanted a running finish to pass everyone up.  I noticed a lot of people had mp3 players while they were running, which is a good idea to enjoy the run.  The sponsors were very kind, we received a long sleeve shirt, which we wore, chocolate energy drinks one before and one for after the race, hair ties, and a fruit cup.  After the race they had food and drinks for us from many sponsors.

We then decided as much as we liked the race we would sign up for another next year.

What are you involved in?

♥ Brandi

What Happened To Customer Service?

We live in a world where not valuing your customer service is a severely poor idea; information travels too quickly for your brand to combat bad customer experiences!  I’m really frustrated right now with my cell phone and trying to get a seemingly simple problem fixed.  I’m quite confident that this could be taken care of effectively if somebody just took the time to care about my issue, but I don’t think I’ll be so lucky.  Honestly though, I don’t blame the people on the other end of the line; I feel the problem is quite clearly with a compartmentalized system and poor treatment of customer service representatives.

Cell service is bad - and it isn't their coverage!My phone is having an issue connecting to the internet, it keeps telling me to have an authorized person contact the customer service 1-800 number.  I called.  I spent six minutes going through an automated system designed to spit me out to an appropriate representative to resolve my issue.  The young gentleman informed me that due to system limitations he would not have access to help me and that the issue was something I could manage online myself.  I was then transferred to online support and another digital queuing machine only to be spat out to another representative who walked me through the process of creating an online account to fix my own issue.  Before the problem was resolved, she assumed that I had done all the tasks required, but since I was calling from my phone I would need to disconnect before I could investigate our success.

Problem remains.

not getting what I need accomplished ]The system makes it impossible for me to find the same rep again.  I go through the queue again; after explaining the issue (3rd time) to a new person they again remind me that they can’t fix it and it’s my job to do this online and then I am transferred again.  More time… more digital queue.  New young man in online support gets a lightly frustrated version of myself and a full explanation of the scenario; his response: “Well I can help you with that!”  He then takes a few moments and claims that I should be good to go – again, I can’t check unless I am off the phone.  I disconnect after thanking him.

Problem still remains… Mobile internet is not in my future it would seem.  Looks like I’ll be switching to Verizon after all.

The moral:  Information travels so fast these days – companies like major cellular providers can’t afford to continue this level of customer service.  Business owners would be wise to realize that your customer interactions are the fundamental cornerstone of success while your customer service representatives, cashiers, baggers, and phone operators are the front line for your business – pay them well and make them value the experience of working for you.

3 Things You Should Be Doing To Celebrate Your Customers

A friend of mine works for a professional hockey team in their sales department.  We were discussing customer relationships and the difference between types of customers.  He was talking about how season ticket holders have an emotional commitment to the team, while group customers require a unique one-time experience to effectively lock them in as long-term repeat customers.  His philosophy is true in all forms of sales; there will always (hopefully) be YOUR customers that do business with you because of an emotional investment in your company and your products, while some other great customers might turn to you in search of something different than the alternative.  Here are threeways that you can create a unique experience and develop long-term customer relationships.

Give Back

If you don’t have some kind of rewards program already in place, then you NEED to start one now.  Don’t just cut a deal like “buy $100 and get $5 off…” this is overused and tired.  Perhaps placing your brand on some unique, useful, and valuable things is a better route; the more the customer buys the more rewards they get on top of their order.  Build your brand around giving – people will notice.

Invite Them In

New Belgium is the 3rd largest microbrewery in the United States.  They offer FREE tours of their brewery with samples of their beer five days per week; these tours are full 3 weeks in advance.  They invite about 150 people into their building most days to touch, feel, smell, learn, and enjoy how their product is made.  Inviting people behind the curtain provides them with an experience; providing them with great content about your product and company history provides them with the opportunity to share that with others.

Be Grateful

It seems like common sense to “be grateful,” but you could probably think of a time when places of business just didn’t care.  I cheated on my diet the other day and got Taco Bell (don’t judge…); in my attempts to not totally kill my efforts I kept it under $4, and the attendants seemed like my tiny order was legitimately a burden.  Imagine if you could receive sincere gratitude from the people that you give money to in exchange for products and services.  Let’s face it, we ALL have competition in our markets, so outdo everyone else with genuine respect and gratitude for every person that comes through your door.

Take your business to a new level!  Start giving back, inviting your customers behind the veil, and being more grateful and your business will do better – it’s that easy.

How to Keep Your Company Relevant with Technological Advances

Imagine the year is 1990, only 20 years ago. Someone asks you a random question: Who was the 2nd person to sign the Declaration of Independence? In 1990, where would you find this info? You could ask someone that may know or find it in a history book or encyclopedia, if you had one. You could visit a library, and hunt down a section on books that may help you. Either way, there would be some time involved. Flashforward to 2010 (more…)

5 Ideas For Fall Football Marketing

Use this season on the gridiron for marketing your brandIt’s that magical time of year again!  Freshly cut grass, white paint on the ground, shoulder pads crushing into one another, Friday night games, and the pound of the snare drum during half time herald in the sound of football season.  Make this Fall season your time shine by using America’s greatest game to market your brand.

1)      Booster Clubs

Most High School football teams have a booster club.  Get on board by sponsoring a local organization that supports fun and educational programs for students.  Contact their leader to investigate what the booster club needs and how you can help them offset the costs for the parents.

2)      Sponsor a Little League team

Youngsters are learning how to play the game, and countless communities across America have several teams looking for sponsors.  Imagine 20 kids wearing your company logo every weekend through November, that’s a great opportunity for community involvement and raising brand awareness, not to mention the parents knowing the good deed you did.

3)      Tailgate!

Before the Friday night lights come on, there’s fun to be had in the parking lot.  Hosting a tailgate with food, drinks, and giveaways for fans is fine opportunity to put your logo in the hands and minds of your potential customers.

4)      Handouts

Everybody loves FREE stuff!  Think like a fan this Fall and imagine what you might want/need for a game.  You may consider warm knit caps, insulated mugs for hot chocolate, water bottles to keep cool, the ever-popular Kan-Tastic, or something else unique and useful.  Provide something of value to your potential customers/clients and let them know that you care about their positive experience.

5)      The Terrible Towel

Support your local teams by distributing sports towels with both the team and your logos!  Nothing intimidates the other team like a furious wave of fans having fun and spinning a distracting wave of towels over their heads!

rushIMPRINT is your home for all the promotional items you could need to raise your brand awareness this Fall.  We are looking forward to working with you to make this football season a memorable one!