Why Branded Promotional Products Are So Relevant As Marketing Tools

Every business that hopes to be successful tries to reach out to more and more customers through TV commercials, billboards, social media, web banners, and magazine ads. However, many of these businesses underestimate the power of promotional products.
Free promotional products are small, cost-effective gifts; however, they can have a large impact on the exposure of a business and long-term interaction with the customer.

Research Studies on the Effectiveness of Promotional Products

The effectiveness of promotional products has been determined through various research studies and surveys. According to the Promotional Products Association International, about 94% of customers remember which company they received a promotional gift from. Out of these people, 85% go on to do further business with the brand. In fact, over 58% of consumers said they retain the gift for 1 to 4 years.
A 2016 study by the Advertising Specialty Institute reported that most people keep promotional products with them for an average of eight months. Once they are finished with them, 63% of the customers give away their promotional products.
This means that the advertising message is passed along to other people. About 76% of these customers also have a favorable impression of that company and may help to promote the brand, either by word-of-mouth or by simply giving away your promotional product.
For more effectiveness, many businesses give away products that have usefulness that can last for a long time. Some of these gifts may include pens, caps, calendars, key chains, mugs, mousepads, bags, and water bottles. Other experienced marketers, however, select products that are more unique and have a much wider impact.

Instant Brand Recognition

Brand recognition means customers can identify a company through its logo and associate its products. For example, a person can immediately recognize Starbucks by its mermaid logo.
When businesses give away promotional gifts to their customers, they carry them wherever they go, this gift remains with them for several months and reminds them of the brand whenever they lay eyes on the product. Additionally, products like pens, tote bags and water bottles are taken everywhere by customers, which means other people at their office, school, gym, and shopping malls see it. This increases brand awareness.
Promotional products are more powerful than print advertising since over 76% of customers who received freebies could recall the name of the company, while only 53% could remember the name of a company they saw in a magazine ad.

Improved Customer Loyalty

Everyone loves freebies, especially if the gift is unexpected. When people receive a surprise promotional product from a company, it makes them very happy. That’s why it is important for businesses to make sure their promotional products are of high-quality, and not made from cheap material. This not just makes customers feel special but also make the company’s products last longer, which means more exposure for the brand.
A high-quality promotional gift that complements other forms of marketing by a business will bring the customer’s attention to the brand. About 85 percent of these people will willingly do businesses with that company again.

Work as Business Cards

Do you know that most businesses who give away promotional products come up with ways to add their contact information on the freebie? These gift items not just has a company name and logo, it also sometimes have their email, phone number, social media address, or hashtags on them, particularly on larger products like bags, diaries, and mugs.

This effectively makes a promotional product calling card as well.

Looking at the stats, it is proven that promotional products have a lasting impact on the customer and comes with great value for the business. Giving away promotional products is not an antiquated strategy; instead, a freebie, even though it may cost pennies, can go a long way to get and retain customers for businesses.

Trending Retail Brands to Watch

 

The year 2019 is the Year of the Earth Pig, according to the Chinese zodiac, and the pig is considered the symbol of wealth and fortune. But it has not been so for many mega brands.
Since 2018, many blockbuster brands have experienced bankruptcies, store closures, and consumer data privacy breaches. Brands like Nike, Ikea and Barnes & Noble announced plans to open smaller stores while stores like J.C. Penney downsized and Sears and Toy R Us filed for bankruptcy.

Digitally Native Direct-to-Consumer Brands

As seasoned brands like Gap, Claire’s and Victoria’s Secret shut down stores across the world due to lack of innovation, many other relatively new start-ups, most of which were born on the internet, are starting to embrace the brick-and-mortar concept.
These direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands — called this because they sell products directly to shoppers, circumventing department stores — are helping to revitalize the outdated shopping experience by owning permanent physical stores. These brands speak directly to consumers on digital and social media channels where people are the most engaged.

Trusting Relationships

Millennials and Generation Z are more likely to purchase services and products from brands they trust or which offer them the most engagement. This means going beyond making sales announcements, and instead, making moves that resonate with the customers and help them interact with the brand.

Social Activism

Although social media is becoming a huge part of the consumer-brand relationship, many companies are also winning hearts by championing various social causes. Gallery Furniture’s Jim McIngvale donated furniture to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Even though he momentarily lost profit, he gained customers ten-fold after they heard about his philanthropy.
This kind of demand is growing more and more in Generation Z and Millennials who may become loyal customers of brands just because they are eco-friendly or socially responsible.

Take a look at some of the brands that are using new ways to make themselves popular with customers.

Glossier

The beauty brand was found by Emily Weiss in 2014 after she unveiled her first four products in her “Into the Gloss” blog and announced the launch of her e-commerce platform, Glossier.com. In 2017, the digitally native brand entered her first foray into the physical store industry when she opened her flagship store in New York.
Her second and largest store in New York was launched in November, 2018 and its concept just screams for customers to take pictures but also to share them on their personal social media accounts to their hundreds of followers.
The concept of a social-media friendly store may seem silly to some but studies show that over 70% of users make buying decisions based on something they see on Instagram, or buy brands endorsed by social media influencers.

Outdoor Voices

The activewear brand, Outdoor Voices, started as an e-commerce platform but opened its first store in 2014. Till March 2018, the company raised $57 million. CEO Tyler Haney claims social media plays a big part in forming meaningful relationships with customers by engaging them in conversations and even asking for advice, which they use as inspiration for future products.

Allbirds

Allbirds has an inherent understanding of what makes a DTC relationship work and they have used their social media channels to speak directly to their customers. The eco-friendly shoe company has already opened stores at Chicago, Boston, Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, London, Beijing, and Shanghai and plans to open stores in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles too. In October 2018, the company was valued at $1.4 billion.

Koio

The luxury leather sneaker brand, Koio, has raised $5.1 million and has already opened several stores across the United States, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. What’s great about their products is that they are hand-crafted in Italy and are available at accessible prices. With its smart brand strategy, Koio is fast becoming one of the biggest disruptors in the sneaker industry.

Dirty Lemon

The DTC beverage company sells products through its text-to-order service, using a technology conceptualized by CEO Zak Normandin. The organic beverage brand, which has flavors like rose, matcha, and charcoal, created enough buzz to get the attention of Coca Cola, which led a round of $15 million funding. It opened its first store in New York last year.
Most of these brands are the brain-child of young entrepreneurs entering the industry who have refreshed the shopping experience with innovative store concepts, experiential offerings, increased customer services and their commitment to CSR.
This trend will likely continue for the rest of 2019 and beyond.

2019 Marketing Trends

The marketing landscape is ever-changing and dynamic. Just when marketers start to think they have their consumers all figured out, they turn around and do something completely unexpected. Therefore, spotting the next big trend can be complex, and often times, frustrating work.
In the past decades, marketing trends have changed more than the past 50 years. Here are some of the foremost marketing trends that seem to be all the rage – for now.

Diamonds are a Millennial’s Best Friend

Most Millennials value experiences over materialistic things. A majority of this group are now eschewing diamond engagement rings in favor of less expensive gemstones or even placeholder rings. However, that doesn’t mean they are not buying diamonds at all — just not for engagements.
This is one of the most mind-boggling phenomena seen by marketers. Even though millennials would rather have exclusive experiences rather than own high-end goods, when it comes to diamonds, it seems they are still a girl’s best friend. The 2015 De Beers Annual Diamond Insight Report shows that Millennials spent over $26 billion buying diamonds, more than what any other generation spent, and account for 60% of the diamond buyers in the United States.

Videos Are the Future

Gone are the days when TV viewers were left complaining about the 10-minutes of commercials during a 20-minute sitcom. It seems Millennials and Generation Z have no patience for that. These days, businesses have only a few seconds to grab their attention.
Nowadays, the younger generation is more focused on watching short engaging videos, with Millennials watching an average of 10 to 20 hours of online videos every week. Social media channels are on board with this and since June 2018, Instagram has come up with IGTV to enrich the video watching experience by allowing users to watch videos in vertical mode without turning their phone to landscape mode.

Artificial Intelligence is Here

Although the older generation views artificial intelligence as a threat to their privacy and security, Millennials and Generation Z have welcomed AI with open arms. From asking Alexa to play Taylor Swift’s “London Boy,” to looking at Netflix’ recommended TV shows, AI is everywhere and is here to stay.

Direct-to-Customer Experiential Commerce

E-commerce fueled by direct-to-customer experience has revolutionized the shopping experience. Once, businesses were more focused on selling low-priced products endorsed by celebrities through print, TV, or outdoor media. These days, however, younger customers want a whole lot more.
Retail brands now need to directly interact with customers and give them an engaging experience, without any intermediary in between. Word-of-mouth and honest reviews by online influencers and peers now hold more water than a multi-million dollar ad campaign. The younger generation is also more focused on which brand gives them a more social media-friendly experience and whether they participate in worthy socially responsible causes.

Embracing the Inner Herbivore

Alongside the organic revolution, Millennials and Gen Z are now turning vegan. The plant-based food phenomenon has turned from a temporary fad to a mainstay phenomenon, brought about by growing environmental concerns and anti-meat campaigns, and the younger generation is being drawn towards it in hordes.

Retro Revolution

Brands are now increasing tapping into millennial nostalgia. A 2013 UCSC and Cornell study showed that the younger generation not just forms emotional attachments to the music they listened to as adolescents but also to music their parents listened to when they were young. From the lightning-quick selling-out of Nintendo’s 2016 NES Classic to the popularity of Netflix’s 1980s themed “Stranger Things,” the retro revolution is offering a variety of nostalgic and deeply personal opportunities for marketers to tap into.
These days, if a brand needs to be successful, it needs to be extremely adaptable to change. Cultural shifts, technological advancements and consumer behavior are changing every second and brands need to be on their toes so that they are not left behind.

 

The Many Benefits of Organic Cotton Over Conventional Cotton

The Pro-Environment Advantages of Organic Cotton Over Conventional Cotton

When we are picking out a new dress at Macy’s, we hardly ever wonder where the material was sourced from. However, knowing how the cotton we wear was produced is now more important than ever.

These days, millennials are focused on organic foods, natural cleaning products, and sustainable energy sources. Yet, organic material in fashion is just as important for preserving our environment.

Difference Between Organic and Traditional Cotton

Many of us have read about organic cotton being used to make high-end products in fashion magazines. These clothing, towels, bed linens and other textile products are usually sold at premium prices. However, the cost is not the only difference between organic cotton and traditional cotton products.

Purity Level

The purity of the cotton fiber is determined by how it is picked. Organic cotton is only handpicked which prevents its delicate fibers from being weakened and damaged and therefore, preserves their purity. Ordinary cotton, however, is more in demand and so is harvested by machines to handle the overload. Therefore, cotton fiber often gets damaged during the process, which means purity is not maintained and some portion of the plant is wasted. Apparel made from organic cotton is, therefore, softer than regular cotton.

Environmental Impact

More importantly, however, is the fact that organic cotton is not treated by toxic pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs. These poisonous substances are not just harmful to humans but to the entire ecosystem. So you will be shocked to know that conventional cotton is the dirtiest crop and requires up to 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of the world’s pesticides, even though it is only grown in 3% of the area.

Impact on Wildlife

These deadly toxins not just kill insects in the cotton crop, but they also unintentionally kill 67 million birds in the United States every year, reports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The runoffs from these chemicals also poison open waterways, which contaminate the local fish, farm animals, and other crops and trees. The horrible truth is that when we consume local animals and crops, we too are contaminated by these toxins- traces of these chemicals are also found in breast milk! This can hinder neurological developments in babies as well as cause cancers in adults.

Impact on Farmers

Worldwide, there are over 100 million farmers that grow cotton in 80 countries. Out of these, 77 million workers suffer from pesticide poisoning every year. These result in over 20,000 deaths every year, particularly in developing countries which do not have any protective measures against pesticide toxicity, stated the World Health Organization.

What’s worse, developed countries fare not much better with the U.S. reporting a death toll of 10,000 farmers every year due to cancers related to these chemicals.

In contrast, organic cotton farms are working in compliance with the “decent” work policy, with about 46% reported to be either partially or fully Fairtrade-certified. About 97 percent of these businesses also offer their female workers women-friendly conditions like maternity support, since the majority of cotton pickers tend to be women.

Impact on Water and Soil Sustainability

A single T-shirt made from non-organic cotton can take as much as 2,700 liters of water. Organic cotton requires far less water as it is not treated by pesticides.

Additionally, regular cotton is grown over and over on the same soil, deteriorating the quality of the soil and bleeding it dry of nutrition, leading to bad crops. These crops need even more water, leading to more water wastage.

Organic cotton, on the other hand, is rotated from plot to plot, which means the soil retains its fertility and creates biologically diverse agriculture.

Impact on You

Regular cotton requires a large amount of chemicals dyes, chlorine, and heavy metals to process, which leaves permanent residue in the apparel. When you wear these, you suffer skin allergies like inflammation, rashes, and eczema.

Organic cotton manufacturers use water-based natural dyes and safer products to manufacture their clothing. This means there is no chemical retention in these clothes and they are great for people with sensitive skin, particularly babies.

Several of the world’s biggest brands, including ASOS, H&M, Levi Strauss, and Nike have committed to using organic, sustainable cotton in their clothing lines. Yet organic cotton still accounts for only 1% of all cotton production. We need to do better to save the world we live in.

The Impact of China’s Import Ban on Plastic Waste

China’s Waste Import Ban Puts a Halt to the Recycling of Plastic

Even though more and more Californians are putting their shampoo bottles, yogurt containers and straws into recycling bins, since the past few years, the majority of these recyclables have been carted off to incinerators and burned or being stockpiled at facilities as the recycling industry flounders on how to dispose of it.

This situation is being mimicked all across other states as the United States struggles to adapt to the import ban on plastic waste placed by China.

China as a Garbage Bin For Developed Countries

China has acted as the world’s biggest dumpster for almost half a century and about two-thirds of the world’s waste has ended up on its shore. However, now it seems that the world’s biggest economy has had enough.

In July 2017, China told the World Trade Organization that it will no longer accept foreign trash and will focus on combating its own mountainous waste. Up until now, China has banned 32 different recyclable materials, citing contamination and poorly sorted material and demands imported recyclables be unmixed, clean and 99.5 percent pure — a standard that is too strict for most Americans to meet.

By rejecting global trash, China now hopes to have a positive impact on its local waterways and air quality to preserve its environment and citizens’ health.

Waste Disposal in Smaller Southeast Asia Markets

Now that China has slammed the doors shut, United States is now seeking smaller alternative markets in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India, where environmental standards are low and labor is cheap.

Unfortunately, these countries do not have the capacity to recycle so much plastic waste nor can they prevent illegal dumping. As a result, they have become quickly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of garbage and are now coming up with restrictions of their own. Worse, Asia is home to five of the biggest marine plastic polluters and dumping more trash in these countries will only worsen the issue.

Burning and Filling Landslides

Since the United States is woefully ill-equipped to deal with their own backyard trash, it means that the plastic and other recyclables are either burned or thrown into domestic landfills. The burning releases toxins like sulfur and nitrous oxides that are largely wreaking havoc on disadvantaged citizens like Latinx and black communities who live near disposal facilities and dumping sites.

How is the U.S. Handling Plastic Waste Now?

The United States has relied on China for decades to take care of its pollution. This sudden change in policy has made it clear that the country is ill-adapted to recycle its own waste by itself. In fact, the U.S. hasn’t bothered to build a recycling plant since 2003. Recycling companies that once showed a profit for dumping trash into Asia are now in the red as they continue to accumulate garbage with nowhere to send it.

As a result, several recycling facilities and recovery centers in California, as well as other states, have closed their doors for good while many are floundering and at risk of closure.

Is There a Decrease in Plastic Products?

Meanwhile, Americans continue to throw away over 35 billion plastic bottles each year. Ultimately though, the customers themselves aren’t responsible for the increase or decrease of plastic waste. The responsibility lies with corporations and businesses which produce plastic packaging at a record pace. Packaging-free products are still scarce and are only available to a tiny percentage of the population which has the money to assuage their green conscience.

China’s ban should serve as a wakeup call for lifestyle and food and beverage companies to create better sustainable products. These companies should be held accountable for the products they produce, which includes manufacturing packaging that can be recycled and taking back the used packaging for reuse or disposal in an environmentally responsible manner locally— instead of passing their waste to other less-fortunate nations.

Prada Launching Recycled Nylon Bag Collection Made From Ocean Plastic

Prada is not new to using inventive ways of utilizing nylon.

In 1984, Miuccia Prada, the granddaughter of founder Mario Prada, began using nylon for ready-made accessories. She got the material for her newly-launched backpack from a nylon factory that made parachutes. At that time, the endeavor created quite a stir since nothing could be further from luxury and classic elegance than an industrial fabric.

Despite being faced with rivals like Gucci and Versace, Muiccia Prada did not back down. The fashion designer claimed she hated the bags during the era because they were “so formal, so lady, so traditional, so classic.”

Now, 35 years later, Prada’s iconic nylon accessories have survived the test of time and continue to make appearances on the runway, with the fashion house using 700,000 meters of the material every year.

ECONYL
Nylon is a plastic-based product and to use such huge amounts of the material in the current climate does not seem like a very wise decision. Keeping this in mind, the Italian fashion house launched its Re-Nylon collection in June, which will incorporate sustainability in the brand by using regenerated nylons made from plastic fished from the ocean, discarded fishing nets, and textile fiber waste.

The recycled nylon, produced by Aquafil, is known as ECONYL and the fashion house vowed it will use only this type of nylon by 2021. The great thing about ECONYL is that it can be recycled again and again with no loss in quality.

Prada Re-Nylon Collection
Although the initial collection will only showcase six unisex bags — a shoulder bag, a tote bag, a duffle bag, a belt bag, and two backpacks, the fashion house intends to make its entire nylon collection from ECONYL by the end of 2021.

The bags in the collection will initially be sold for 20 percent more than the ones made from plastic, but Prada says it is working to slash the price so that environmentally-conscious customers will not be forced to pay a higher amount once Re-Nylon goes completely sustainable. It also says that it will donate a portion of the proceeds from the bags’ sales to a UNESCO project that supports the environment.

The company plans to launch the Re-Nylon collection alongside a National Geographic series that shows how ECONYL is manufactured.

ECONYL Used By Other High-End Brands
With this move, Prada joins the ever-growing list of high-end fashion brands that are already using the Aquafil-trademarked nylon. Aquafil claims for every 10,000 tons of ECONYL thread made, the company is able to save 70,000 barrels of oil.

The eco-friendly fabric is currently being used by dozens of fashion brands around the world, including Adidas, Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Triumph.

Going Fur-Free
This is not the only environmental-friendly project that Prada has undertaken. In May, the fashion house declared it will stop using fur in its women’s apparel and accessory collection by February 2020. The Italian brand previously used mink, rabbit, and fox fur in its collections.

The decision extends to all its subsidiary brands including Miu Miu, Church’s, and Car Shoe, and will come into effect just in time for its Spring/Summer collection.

By doing so, Prada joins the list of high-fashion luxury brands that vowed to stop the use of animal fur in their products going forward including Chanel, Burberry, John Galliano, Versace, DKNY, Gucci, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Georgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Vivien Westwood, Calvin Klein, and Stella McCartney, who is a trailblazer when it comes to ethical, cruelty-free fashion and has never used real leather, fur, or feather in her products.

It remains unconfirmed how Prada intends to deal with their ECONYL bags once customers wear them out, but it would be a good idea to take them back and recycle them again. Given the resilient nature of ECONYL, the strategy would cement Prada’s reputation as an ethical and green brand.

Givenchy Becomes Latest Designer to Join Streetwear Ranks with New Trainer Collaboration

In a surprising first, fashion powerhouse Givenchy teamed up with Japanese shoe brand Onitsuka Tiger to bring together a special streetwear collaboration.

The French fashion house and the Japanese sportswear brand jointly launched a sneaker collaboration during the second-last day of the 2019 Florence edition of Pitti Uomo, one of the most important men’s fashion wear events in the world. Using its platform as a special guest, Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller showcased her first standalone menswear shows, which featured the new Mexico 66 GDX sneakers. The artistic director of the House of Givenchy announced they will be releasing the stunning sneakers on June 13.

Givenchy X Tiger
A blend of chic haute couture and Japanese street-style leatherworks, this collaboration marks the first time Givenchy ever partnered with an external sneaker company on an international level; this is also the first time Onitsuka Tiger has ever joined forces with a luxury fashion brand in the 70 years since it was founded.

Inspired by Nippon Made Mexico 66
The new trainers are inspired by Onitsuka Tiger’s iconic “Nippon Made Mexico 66” design, which is known for its classic shape that harkens back to the style of several retro street shoes, including the Limber, which was worn by the Japanese team during the Olympics in 1968.

Although the new Givenchy-Onitsuka Tiger version still retains the beautiful and sleek classic profile of the original Nippon Made Mexico 66, they are available in two distinctive monochromatic colorways.

The design elements are similar across both styles of sneakers; the all-white version highlights the Givenchy logo letters in a perforated design on one side and the Onitsuka Tiger hallmark stripe on the other side. The black pair has a bright red cross detailing on the quarters of the shoes that provide a stark and stunning contrast to the monochromatic look. It also has a suede toe cap. Both the styles have contrasting heel tab emblazoned with the co-brand “Givenchy—Onitsuka Tiger.”

For people who are looking for something that is high fashion as well as sporty, these sneakers, retailing at $510, are worth emptying your wallets for.

Evolution of Trainers From Sportswear to High Fashion
Initially, the prime feature of sneakers was sports. Brands like Reebok, Nike, Air Jordan, and Vans were all created so that you can be ready to hit the gym. However, since the past few years, sneakers have made their way into fashion wear.

As the new Givenchy X Onitsuka Tiger shoes indicate, today this paradox has become one of the most defining characteristic of the street style sneakers market. Brands continue to create trainers designed on the technology that helps athletes run, jump and play faster and better. However, over 90 percent of the buyers in the industry purchase sneakers due to their fashion appeal.

Fashion Powerhouses Crossing Over Into The Sneakers Streetwear Industry
At the turn of the century, sneakers went largely out of fashion due to the so-called “brown shoe” revolution, furthered by brands like Timberland and Caterpillar. However, sneakers are now fighting their way back into fashion with a vengeance.

Since the past two decades, it is not just sportswear brands that are making the most form their sneakers. Luxury fashion brands like Hermes, Prada, and DKNY have now crossed over into the street style market, as well. In fact, in 2017, Balenciaga’s Speed trainer was named the “Shoe of the Year” by Vogue after it kept selling out year after year.

Despite the sweat-inducing prices, these sporty-slash-luxury shoes continue to sell well among the elite clientele — and the demand continues to grow.

As for the Givenchy x Onitsuka team-up, many Waight Keller fans may not be surprised to see this collaboration, considering the original Mexico 66 sneakers are one of her favorite footwear. For both the French and Japanese brand, the sneakers represent a union of two widely-different cultures and shoe-manufacturing techniques, and it won’t be a surprise if the sneakers will be snapped up by both Givenchy and Onitsuka Tiger fans across the globe.

Reversible Fashion Is This Season’s Most Economical Trend

Reversible Fashion Is This Season’s Most Economical Trend

If you want to kill the two proverbial birds with one stone, reversible fashion is the way to do it. Just because you are short of money this month, doesn’t mean you need to skimp on fashion. On the contrary, reversible fashion helps you make the most of your money.

Economies of Scope

Unless you are a multi-millionaire, chances are you want to make the most of your clothes. That does not just mean that you want clothes that are durable (though reversible clothes certainly are), it also means that a single shirt is so versatile, it could be worn to the office and to a girls’ night out.

Although years ago, this concept may have seemed like a figment of someone’s overactive imagination, thanks to reversible fashion, this has now become a reality. A single reversible dress can be worn two ways, three ways, and yes, even four ways! In fact, it is not just clothing; tote bags and even shoes now come in reversible designs.

Reversible clothes are not just durable and serve various purposes, they are also great for people who live out of suitcases and want to maximize on their luggage space. That’s because you are packing one dress, but can rock it 2 to 4 ways.

Brands Offering Reversible Designs

Jia Collection Offers Only Reversible Designs

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Image caption: A reversible black dress that can be worn as a pink dress with a black belt from Jia Collections

One of the best places to buy reversible fashion clothing is Jia Collections which offers a whole range of convertible dresses, shirts, pants, jackets, pullovers, and even scarves. Since the clothes are meant to be worn inside out, this means the fabric has to be high-quality and will have no chance to rip at the seams. Most of the reversible fashion is also wrinkle-free and do not have any visible stitches or seams, which would, of course, defeat the purpose.

Jia Collection also features sweaters, with changing necklines and colors, which you can wear front side back and inside out as well, which means you have a sweater for four different occasions.

Another great brand which offers reversible fashion is the Nael Coce Collection, which features Ambi Platforms. Though these heels are a perfect companion for formal places like offices, parties and even weddings, they come with built-in ballet flats which you can slip out and wear on their own.

Fenty Reversible Parka

When it comes to high-end brands, singer Rihanna’s fashion brand, Fenty, offers some of the hippest and modern clothes. A lot of us have seen RiRi rocking parkas with a different color on the inside. But what many of us don’t know that the jacket is from her line of reversible parkas and can be worn inside out in two different colors.

Burberry Offers 120 Reversible Items

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Image Caption: Burberry’s reversible tartan tote bags

The reversible fashion isn’t new but major brands have started hopping on the bandwagon for the past few years. In 2018, Burberry led the pack with dozens of convertible clothing and accessories, including coats, scarves and bags — and it is coming up with more and more versatile designs every day.

Unlike other fashion brands, which typically feature one side which is far brighter than the other, Burberry came up with bold contrasting tartans and checks on both sides so that no one can mistake its signature style.

On-The-Go Fashion

The best thing about reversible fashion is that you don’t need to be flustered about going home for a quick outfit change. All you need to do is hop to the bathroom, turn your office suit inside out, and be ready to meet up with your girls, straight from the office, with a totally different look.

Showing up to a party in the same dress as another person is a recipe for disaster. However, thanks to the convertible dress, you can easily avoid this supremely awkward situation and transform your look in seconds, without anyone being the wiser.

A few pieces of reversible clothing and accessories can make it seem like you had a whole new wardrobe. Not only will you get envious glances and a truck-load of compliments for always showing up in the newest ensembles, your friends won’t even be able to guess it is the same outfit you have worn three times before.

Beat the Heat in Style with These Fashion Tips

How to Dress For Work During A Heatwave

When the temperature rises, most of us usually experience a fashion meltdown.

When you are experiencing 90-degree weather in July, all you want to do is to whip out your spaghetti-strap tank top and wear that to work. However, just because something is appropriate for the weather does mean you can wear it to work. Remember that you will still be dressing up for the office, regardless of how much you’d rather be jumping into a swimming pool.

Here are some things that can help you feel fresh and cool during the hot weather:

Choose Cool Fabrics

Have you ever seen those New York fashion editors? They always seem so cool and composed while dressed to the nines. Meanwhile, others are melting into a pile of goo in the heat. The trick is that they look for summer-smart fabrics.

Although suede suits, stiff leathers, and silks are certainly workwear staples, these fabrics do not make a good look for the summer.

The reason?

These fabrics will increase sweating and retain body odor — certainly not the appearance you want to give at your corporate meeting.

Additionally, silk repels water which can make your clothes stick to your body, give it a strange rippling effect and make it look like you have walked out of your house without bothering to turn on the steam iron. Similarly, fabrics like nylon and polyester are also a big no.

Instead, look for soft, flowing, lightweight, breathable fabrics, like muslin, linen and lightweight denim that are sweat-wicking. In fact, the best thing about these lightweight fabrics is that they are versatile and easy to style for work, while at the same time you can wear them to casual gatherings as well.

Crisp Linen Shirts

Crisp linen shirts can be your best summer buys as they are breezy and come in work-appropriate patterns and prints, like checks or stripes.

Black Slips

Even though black slips may seem way too casual for some offices, they can be the perfect office wear if you make sure the hemline is not too much above the knee and the neckline is not too low.

Shirt Dresses

Shirt dresses are the perfect blend of formal and casual and offer a great office look. What’s more, you can pair them with heels or barely-there sandals and wear them to formal and casual places alike.

Denim Culottes

Jeggings, skinny jeans, and tights are not your friend in the summer. Instead, you should opt for lightweight denim with wide legs and higher hems

Go One Size Up — or Even Two

We all know that loose clothing makes us feel cool. But do you know that wearing clothes a couple of sizes up also make it look more expensive and elegant? In contrast, wearing skin-tight clothing, especially in the summer, can make you look gaudy.

This summer, ignore the size tags; instead, look for brands that play with summer volume. A-line cuts, which fit loosely in the arm, waist and legs are top picks. You can also choose tops that are cropped just enough that they do not press against your stomach. This can help create a layer of air against your skin.

Yes, You Can Wear Shorts to the Office

Surprisingly, you can even wear shorts to the office — just not the Daisy Dukes kind. Instead, get yourself some nicely tailored shorts made of cotton or other breathable fabric and pair it up with a well-pressed classic shirt. This can help you avoid wearing pants and help your legs to breathe.

The Balancing Act

In summer, it can be all too easy to think that you can get away with wearing something barely more than a bikini at your desk. However, that’s hardly appropriate for an office environment. The best thing to do is to exercise balance.

If you wear a short skirt or shorts to the office, make sure they are not too tiny and pair them up with a long-sleeved breathable dress shirt. If you want your arms to be bear, make sure you don’t show too much skin on the leg.

A flowy maxi dress with classic geometrical prints is also a great outfit for the office in the summer season.

When it comes to balance, make sure your colors are muted too. Pastel tones absorb much less sun than bold colors like emeralds, rubies and royal blues. Avoid black clothes as they absorb the most light.
Additionally, wear colors that do not display your sweat stains to the maximum. That means a big non-no to light greys.

UV Protection

Lastly, don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Choose a lightly-tinted one that can go in place of heavy layers of foundation. Select a brand that offers a waterproof formula so that it doesn’t flow away with your sweat and reapply whenever you go out in the sun.

Dressing for work during the heatwave can be tricky. However, if you know a few basic summer rules, you can beat the heat with style.

Lack of Trust in a Brand is a Deal Breaker for Consumers

Brand Trust Is Now An Essential Buying Consideration for Many Consumers

If customers don’t trust your brand, you lose business; it is as simple as that. You only have to look at the recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and the not-so-recent The Honest Company controversy to see this happening.

Lack of Trust is a Deal Breaker for Brands

Today’s customers have become smarter, thanks to the digital world being at their fingertips. Now, they don’t just demand that your product looks good. They want total transparency from your brand before they commit to opening their wallets for you. In fact, according to a study by Label Insight, about 40% of users claim they will switch from their current brand to another brand if it offers them more transparency.

The same type of response has also been observed in a report by Edelman, which states that 81% of people from all geographies, ages, gender, and income levels consider trust to be a deciding factor when purchasing from a brand.

Marketers may spend millions of dollars on advertising their brand’s product, but the truth now is that customers today don’t trust paid marketing tactics that show celebrities praising a product. They need to be sure themselves that the words coming out of their mouth is the truth.

Trust is becoming more important than ever to customers because of their growing concerns about fast innovation, product experience, and customer experience, including brands collecting user’s personal data and targeting them. Facebook is a prime example of this.

Facebook As An Example Of Lost Trust

Facebook’s usage plummeted last year although the company tried to damage-control by taking other measures to make sure the platform grows. Since April 2018, critical Facebook actions like posts, likes and shares have dropped by 20%. Additionally, the social networking giant continues to lose its younger demographic, particularly the Millennials and Generation Z, who are moving along to other platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Trust Washing

One of the most important things to build trust is to stay true to your brand. A lot of people exploit societal issues in order to make more money. Customers are wary of people who give a lot of lip service on a trending social topic, but when push comes to shove, they fail to take any concrete action. Customers today have the uncanny ability to see a brand’s mistake and ask about it. If your response is late or lack-luster, you will get negative feedback and lose the trust you worked so hard to build. Worse, a brand’s marketing campaign can totally backfire if their campaign doesn’t feel authentic by losing the ability to ignite a social revolution. This can lead to trust washing.

Case in point: Actress Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company

The Honest Company Controversy

Alba marketed her lifestyle brand by claiming all her products were natural, baby-friendly, and free of harmful chemicals. However, soon after, the company received complaints from customers claiming her natural sunscreen resulted in severe sunburns and that her laundry detergent contained SLS, which is an irritant for sensitive skin.

As a result, The Honest Company had to drop various brands, change the formulation of their products, and lost its Unicorn status.

Importance of Consumer Trusts

Many surveys show that customers are twice as likely to buy new products from a brand that has their trust. Moreover, these customers become brand advocates that can drive the sales of your product through simple word-of-mouth, which is known to motivate up to 50% of all buying decisions.

Think back to a time when you were blown away by a company’s product and customer experience. Chances are that you still do business with them and look forward to buying new products from them. This is proof of how customer experience works to improve brand retention and loyalty.

Brands are Failing the Trust Test

Even though trust is of utmost importance, brands are failing the trust test, stated the Edelman report. Just one-third of the respondents said that they trust the brands they buy and use and only 21% say they know from their own experience that the brands they use are actually committed to corporate social responsibility.

Today, only the most trusted brands are successful in making a difference in their consumers’ lives. Brands are influencers and have the power to make real change come to life. It is their responsibility to use that power on their customer’s behalf if they want them to follow their cause.

Tariffs on Chinese Imports Climb as Trade Negotiations Stall

Tariffs on Chinese Imports Climb as Trade Negotiations Stall

President Donald Trump has imposed billions of dollars worth of new tariffs on imports by China and is threatening more tariffs, even as the two sides continue to talk in Washington in order to reach a trade deal.

The latest bombardment in the U.S.-China trade war came on May 10 when the Trump administration announced that it was increasing duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products — including medical devices, apparel, handbags, seafood, and electronics — from the current 10 percent to 25 percent. The Republican president also threatened to slap a 25 percent duty on $325 billion of further imports, which would cover almost all products coming in from China to the U.S.

Trump said his administration has already started paperwork on the threatened tariffs though it would take until at least late June to implement them.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1125069835044573186
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1125069836088950784

Trump suggested that American businesses could avoid tariffs by producing goods in the United States.

The Trump administration’s earlier decision to impose 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and 25 percent on another $50 billion of imports was followed by countermeasures from Beijing, which targeted $110 billion worth of goods.

The tariffs and threats of more are a shocking turnabout from April when the U.S. president spoke about closing a landmark deal with China and discussing where the two sides should meet for the ceremony.

U.S. and China Trade War

Washington and Beijing have been embroiled in intense trade talks since early 2018 when Trump first complained about China’s trade deficit, alleged intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and what Trump refers to as Beijing’s unfair business practices.

Both sides have a vested interest in reaching an amicable solution. The trade war has hurt businesses and farmers of both countries. Earlier in May, U.S. and global markets dropped and are likely to retreat further if the brinkmanship continues, with the Bank of American Corps warning that additional tariffs in the near future could potentially cause a 10 percent decline.

Trump has repeatedly said Beijing bears the tariffs on Chinese imports, but experts agree that it is the American taxpayers who bear the brunt. The Republican president’s insistence on tariffs may have come after witnessing the stronger-than-expected U.S. economy. However, a full-blown war is expected to adversely impact the stock market and test the tolerance of many of Trump’s supporters.

China’s Stance on Tariff Hikes

China’s Commerce Ministry said it “deeply regrets” the rise in tariffs and on May 13, announced that it would retaliate by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, mostly agricultural in nature.
President Xi Jinping is in the midst of trying to deal with a host of social and financial challenges and wants to see technological advancements and a solid economic growth that would reinforce the Communist Party’s grip on China.

Chinese imports to the United States make up over 4.5 percent of the country’s exports, and tariffs could significantly affect its GDP. At the same time, Beijing does not want to succumb to Trump’s demand as it believes it would infringe on China’s sovereignty.

The world’s two biggest economies have become intertwined over the decades, but neither the U.S. nor China is so dependent on the other that they would be unable to survive without each other. Experts believe that the trade war is only one part of a growing escalation of bilateral tensions between two countries with basic conflicting ideologies that will continue to develop over the years.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Ditching Engagement Rings

Nobody Really Needs an Engagement Ring

It used to be that people would get worked up over engagement rings. If a coworker announced she was engaged, all the women in the office would stampede to her workstation and demand that she showed them her ring. If someone did not have a ring, people would start whispering about how her fiancé was strapped for cash or was miserly, how he didn’t “value” the woman enough to spend money on her and how you could not be “properly engaged” without an engagement ring.

But not anymore.

These days fewer and fewer Millennials are investing their hard-earned cash in diamond rings.

Why Millennials Do Not Need Diamond Engagement Rings

Unlike the previous Generation X and Baby Boomers, Millennials are not interested in engagement rings, even as the diamond industry is going bonkers trying to win them over. In fact, it is not that they have stopped buying diamonds altogether. The 2015 De Beers Annual Diamond Insight Report shows millennials spent $26 billion buying diamonds, which is more than what any other generation has spent. However, they no longer seem to be buying them for engagements.

Millennials Are Not Getting Married

One of the biggest reasons for a drop in engagement rings is that millennials are not getting married as early as the previous generations. In fact, most of them prefer not to get married at all, and it is projected that 36 percent of women born in the 1990s will remain unmarried at 43 years of age.
So if you don’t plan on getting married, why would you need an expensive diamond ring?

Millennials Are Opting for Other Stones

Today’s young couples are looking to get rings with other stones like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies, as they are more unique and make a stronger statement. They also serve as a means to rebel against the diamond industry’s monopoly and forceful marketing campaigns. Millennials are also more value conscious and are more concerned with the unethical mining of jewels and factors like sustainability.

Millennials Value Experiences

Young people these days prefer to have more experiences than material things. They would rather put away their money for better uses like travel, concerts, vacations, or an extravagant wedding in the Tropics, rather than on a ring with little use.

Millennials Are Buying Loaner/Fake Rings

More and more millennials are proposing with stones that are not diamond, or with placeholder rings. Placeholder rings allow customers to buy a cubic zirconia ring or a silver ring worth $50 to $200. This way, they do not have to wait to save up enough money for a real diamond ring before proposing and the ring-wearer can later search out the perfect style that they would like to wear. Another realistic-looking option is buying fake rings that sell for just $20 a piece.

Millennials Are Not Buying Rings at All

Some millennials have come up with an even cheaper option: not buying a ring at all. There is no law that says that you cannot get engaged or married without a ring on your finger, so why buy one at all? It has no real value and is virtually useless.

In a perfect world, no one would judge you for not having an engagement ring. After all, you don’t need a ring to prove that you love someone.

Here Are 5 Strategies to Inspire Your Employees

5 Effective Ways to Inspire & Motivate Your Employees

It is easy to assemble a dream team. However, it is not as easy to keep it.
Most managers these days face a conundrum when their previously happy, enthusiastic, and inspired employees are not so anymore. When your employees lose their luster, is there any way to get it back?

Here are five things that have worked:

Give Credit Where Credit’s Due

A lot of managers come with the attitude that they don’t need to recognize or thank their employees because they are only doing a job that they are being paid for.

Unsurprisingly, this attitude is one of the biggest let down for employees. But being recognized, appreciated, and feeling that they provide value to the company is what forges a connection between employees and their managers.

The beauty of recognition and appreciation is that it is virtually free. Sometimes, all a manager needs to do is send a thoughtful email or handwritten note letting a person know how valuable he/she is to the company, or announcing their accomplishments to the team.

Provide Incentives

Going a step further, there is no reason not to reward a job well done with a prize. Doing this will help the employee become motivated for a repeat performance. It will also inspire other team members to give their utmost to be the next in line to get said prize.

Incentivizing does not just mean monetary compensation. It can just be positive reinforcements like giving your employees a free lunch, an early time out, gift cards, movie tickets, or dinner reservations. Not only does this kick in the reward centers in our brain, but it also inspires some healthy competition which has been proven to improve performance.

Create a Lively Workplace

Nobody wants to spend over eight hours at a dull and dreary office; such a place is enough to kill anyone’s mood and sap their energy. Your mood also affects your creativity, performance, concentration, and sense of well-being.

Studies show that offices with noisy air conditioners and low ceilings have the most stressed employees than offices that are open and filled with natural lighting. Modern offices are places where employees actually want to spend time. These offices are starting to resemble homes, and their kitchen and gyms are becoming centers of activity. Some great ideas to brighten up your office include adding bean bags, eclectic furniture, and plants to your workplace. Break-away spaces, where employees can just hang out and relax, are also becoming very popular.

Give Some Time Off

What is the point of devising a complicated vacation and holiday plan if your employees are not being given the opportunity to take them? A lot of managers do not give their employees sufficient time off from work, even during the holiday seasons or when their kids are on vacation from school. What these employers don’t know is that a few days off from the office’s hectic schedule can do wonders for an employee’s performance. If they knew this, they would certainly give their team ample opportunities to take a well-deserved vacation.

Give Employees Autonomy

“I really love my boss breathing down my neck and micro-managing all aspects of my job,” said no employee ever! Human beings like autonomy; it makes them feel that they are in control and gives them ownership of their work.

Granting your employees some measure of autonomy, letting them work at their own pace within the deadline or letting them contribute to the goals and plans of the company can increase engagement, motivation, and productivity. It also makes employees know that their boss trusts them to do the right thing.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to inspiring your employees, all of the ideas mentioned above have been proven to work well in office environments. In fact, there are plenty more ideas that you can explore to make your employees happy. After all, satisfied and inspired employees are the secret to any workplace’s success.

Avengers Endgame Was Supported By a $200 Million Promotional Campaign

The massive marketing campaign for Avengers: Endgame reportedly cost a mind-blowing amount of money for Marvel Studios. It is estimated that the promotional expenses for Endgame easily outstripped the $200 million mark, making it the most expensive campaign of all time.

Previously, Marvel’s marketing team spent $150 million on Avengers: Infinity War, $140 million on Spiderman: Homecoming and $80 million on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The $200 million expenditure seemed like overkill to many fans, who believed that Marvel did not have to go to such lengths to promote the movie since it would still have broken box office records. However, the tactic of expanding the demographics of fans and building up even more anticipation seems to have worked seeing as Endgame crossed the $2 billion mark in its first 11 days of the box office.

Brands Share in MCU Movies’ Success

In fact, it seems Marvel is willing to share its success with its allied brands. Industry estimates claim that consumer brands that have allied themselves with the Marvel Cinematic Universe can see an astounding average of 50 percent rise in sales for a product line that they are promoting for at least three months.

When it comes to the MCU movies’ box office tracking, the potential moviegoers belong to all sorts of demographic, but the masses are slightly more male-dominated. Keeping this in mind, Marvel designed various marketing tactics to rope in the potential female and millennial audiences for Endgame.

Ulta Beauty

UIta Beauty, the beauty chain store, collaborated with Endgame to produce an exclusive Avengers themed makeup collection for the first time ever. The Avengers: Endgame cosmetic line comprises of a 15-shade eye-shadow palette, four lip matte liquid lipsticks, four lip glosses, a highlighter palette and three different types of cosmetic bags to carry the arsenal everywhere you go. The makeup line sold out in the first weekend at Ulta Beauty.

Audi

Audi partnered with MCU on Spiderman: Homecoming and this time around, it showcases its Audi e-tron GT and Audi e-tron Sportback concept. The German automobile manufacturer launched a video in December in which Robert Downey Jr. spoke about his character, Tony Stark, while driving an Audi e-tron GT in the sequel. It also released a digital video that follows Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, and her introduction to Avengers, Thanos and various aspects of Earth’s society. The Audi e-tron SUV also features in the video.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola also teamed with Marvel Studios to run a series of Marvel-related ads featuring its custom-created Avengers-themed cans created by pop artist Tom Whalen. The massive movie campaign was run across 57 countries with custom ad spots.

Google Pixel Phones

Google’s Avengers-themed advertisement for Google Pixel phone explored what would happen if the phone was introduced in a world facing a little crisis. The advertisements show how Google Pixel phones always come to help when the going gets tough – just like the Avengers. Google Pixel also launched its exclusive augmented-reality “Playmoji” stickers of the heroes.

Ziploc

As Ziploc did last year in April when Avengers: Infinity War was launched, it launched a range of custom-designed Marvel-themed sandwich bags.

General Mills

Moviegoers got an Endgame ticket for $13 when they purchased three participating Yoplait and Big G Cereals products. It also featured custom-designed Avengers-themed packaging including Avengers characters on Go-Gurt tubes and collectible cutout posters on Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Other cross-promotional efforts for the Avengers finale included collaborations with McDonald’s, Hertz, Synchrony Financial, OPPO Mobile, Mastercard and Stand up to Cancer.

Avengers: Endgame may be the end of the series of movies depicting Earth’s mightiest heroes, but if the cross-promotional campaign is any indication, it seems humans still rule when it comes to marketing.

5 Effective Ways to Inspire & Motivate Your Employees

It is easy to assemble a dream team. However, it is not as easy to keep it.

Most managers these days face a conundrum when their previously happy, enthusiastic, and inspired employees are not so anymore. When your employees lose their luster, is there any way to get it back?

Here are five things that have worked:

Give Credit Where Credit’s Due

A lot of managers come with the attitude that they don’t need to recognize or thank their employees because they are only doing a job that they are being paid for.

Unsurprisingly, this attitude is one of the biggest let down for employees. But being recognized, appreciated, and feeling that they provide value to the company is what forges a connection between employees and their managers.

The beauty of recognition and appreciation is that it is virtually free. Sometimes, all a manager needs to do is send a thoughtful email or handwritten note letting a person know how valuable he/she is to the company, or announcing their accomplishments to the team.

Provide Incentives

Going a step further, there is no reason not to reward a job well done with a prize. Doing this will help the employee become motivated for a repeat performance. It will also inspire other team members to give their utmost to be the next in line to get said prize.

Incentivizing does not just mean monetary compensation. It can just be positive reinforcements like giving your employees a free lunch, an early time out, gift cards, movie tickets, or dinner reservations. Not only does this kick in the reward centers in our brain, but it also inspires some healthy competition which has been proven to improve performance.

Create a Lively Workplace

Nobody wants to spend over eight hours at a dull and dreary office; such a place is enough to kill anyone’s mood and sap their energy. Your mood also affects your creativity, performance, concentration, and sense of well-being.

Studies show that offices with noisy air conditioners and low ceilings have the most stressed employees than offices that are open and filled with natural lighting. Modern offices are places where employees actually want to spend time. These offices are starting to resemble homes, and their kitchen and gyms are becoming centers of activity. Some great ideas to brighten up your office include adding bean bags, eclectic furniture, and plants to your workplace. Break-away spaces, where employees can just hang out and relax, are also becoming very popular.

Give Some Time Off

What is the point of devising a complicated vacation and holiday plan if your employees are not being given the opportunity to take them? A lot of managers do not give their employees sufficient time off from work, even during the holiday seasons or when their kids are on vacation from school. What these employers don’t know is that a few days off from the office’s hectic schedule can do wonders for an employee’s performance. If they knew this, they would certainly give their team ample opportunities to take a well-deserved vacation.

Give Employees Autonomy

“I really love my boss breathing down my neck and micro-managing all aspects of my job,” said no employee ever! Human beings like autonomy; it makes them feel that they are in control and gives them ownership of their work.

Granting your employees some measure of autonomy, letting them work at their own pace within the deadline or letting them contribute to the goals and plans of the company can increase engagement, motivation, and productivity. It also makes employees know that their boss trusts them to do the right thing.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to inspiring your employees, all of the ideas mentioned above have been proven to work well in office environments. In fact, there are plenty more ideas that you can explore to make your employees happy. After all, satisfied and inspired employees are the secret to any workplace’s success.

6 Things You Can Do Daily To Be A Happy Couple

If there is one thing a good, strong, and healthy relationship is about, it is happiness. How many times have we seen elderly couples who have been married for decades, yet still retain the aura of newlyweds?
If you also want a fairytale romance, you do not need to take inspiration from Disney characters. Instead, there are a few very simple things that you can do daily to become a happy couple.

Eating Together

Nothing could be easier than having at least one meal together every day. True, most of our day is spent on work, but couples who are busy should make a priority of having dinner together each night. If it’s not possible to have a meal together every night, you should at least have breakfast together. Just a few minutes of eating together is a ritual that can bond you and make you a happier couple in the long run.

Make Your Other Half Your Priority

One of the biggest upsets of a relationship is when one or both people feel that they are not important to their other half. Misunderstandings and resentments develop until the relationship falls apart. Therefore, when you make a small sacrifice on behalf of your partner, let them know that you did it because you value them more.

Unplug and Go Offline

Most of us spent a huge chunk of our day at work. When we are finally reunited with our partner, the worst and most disrespectful thing we can do is to stare at a screen, whether it is our TV, laptop, or cell phone. Therefore, turn off your device for the time you have left with your partner and reconnect with your partner live and face to face.

Show Some TLC

It is important to show that you love your partner beyond the bedroom. There are a lot of people to whom affection does not come easily; for others, being affectionate is second nature. For those who are embarrassed by public displays of affection, it is important to show their partner they are cherished inside their homes. It could be something as simple as hugging and kissing them when they leave for or come home from work. Although this may seem silly, this is a powerful remedy to keep a couple happy.

Forgive and Forget

When you are in a long-standing relationship, you will see all sides of your partner, including their worst side. Sometimes small disagreements heat up and turn into huge, name-calling fights, where accusations are hurled and things are thrown. However, once the tension is released, you can both choose to move forward and forgive your partner. Keeping grudges in a relationship only festers the wound and end up in your relationship failing.

Be Silly

Having a sense of humor is one of the most endearing qualities in a person. Cracking witty jokes and playing pranks on another can do wonder for you as a couple. The most solid couples have the ability to shrug their shoulders at any adversity and laugh at life.

A happy and healthy relationship isn’t something that just happens. Even though the two of you may have strong chemistry, if you do not make some effort on behalf of your partner, your relationship is probably going to go stale. Letting your partner know they are loved and valued is something deliberate and continuous.

Making the Most of the Modern Office

Have you ever taken a look at the headquarters of companies like Google and Instagram? They are like an office worker’s dream. It is getting increasingly obvious that offices are continuing to transform based on changing workplace cultures and trends.

Previously, we have seen office cubicles change to open-air communal spaces with an addition of numerous amenities. But what remains the same is the desire to create an optimal office space.

Here are a few tips to make the most of your modern office:

Create an Open-Plan Layout

Your workplace reflects not just how you work but how well you work. Hence, an office layout should be more than just separating divisions and departments by grey walls. A modern office space consists of open-plan space, pulled-down partitions, and rearranged desk layout. Not only does an open plan layout make your office looks better, brighter, and lighter, but it offers employees more rooms to collaborate.

A room that is open plan means your employees won’t have to wind their way through a maze of cubicles just to go to a conference room. Employers can also give freedom to their workers to not have a single dedicated place to work at, giving them the opportunity to rotate and mingle in with people of other departments, if they need to collaborate.

Make Break-Out Spaces

Modern offices are more than just a room filled with workstations. Employers these days know that their workers need time to break away from the office environment to get their creative juices flowing. This space does not just mean a place where you can have lunch, but is actually used to aid your productivity with a chance to work away from your computer.

The best thing about break away spaces as that they can be as informal as you want and have a home-like atmosphere. You can also make them creative, fun, and cool by adding some mood-boosting elements that make employees want to spend time there. These could be using flowers and plants, adding nature features, hanging modern art, adding stimulating pops of color, introducing office pets, or many other things that can enhance your employees’ work experience.

These places help employees break out from their mundane jobs and come together to discuss work-related topics in a casual and relaxed setting.

Introduce More Amenities

Modern offices are increasingly proving perks to their employees. These range from offering an array of healthy snacks to a fully-stocked bar. Some offices also provide an on-site masseuse service to make sure their employees remain content and at peak physical health.

Though all offices offer coffee, there are some that go the extra mile to introduce health food cafés into their companies which are incredibly popular. Some other amenities include offering a studio or gym space, or an outside space like a terrace or rooftop, which can be a great place to interact. One of the best things that many companies are seeing into is the introduction of nurseries for their employees’ young children.

Impact on Effectiveness and Efficiency

When you have to spend at least eight hours a day at work, you often start feeling disconnected from your home life. At the same time, you begin to lose passion for what you do as your work and home life balance goes out of whack.

A modern office space and amenities are not just something cool to have. Some of us can’t even work if we don’t have a break out space, game rooms, and perks in our office. That’s the reason why you will be hearing more about the modern office in the coming future.

How Often And How Important Is It To Reboot Your Router

How many times have you experienced internet downtime and have rebooted your router to fix it? It’s now second nature to us to unplug the router, wait ten seconds, and then switch it on again and miraculously see the internet working again.

Although the routers can seem very mysterious, you can use them to solve the problem if you know what’s wrong.

How Exactly Do Routers Work?

You can think of your router as a computer. Inside the modem are a CPU, local storage, and memory. Sometimes, like a computer, your router may experience a bug. This can be due to the CPU overheating or a memory leak or anything else. However, just like a computer, a router can be rebooted to make it run smoothly again. Although this doesn’t exactly solve the issue causing the downtime, it does fix it temporarily.

There are multiple reasons why your router needs to be rebooted. This can solve some minor issues. Sometimes, however, your internet does not suffer from any downtime at all for months. Even in such times, it is a good idea to reset your router periodically.

How Many Times Should We Reboot Our Router?

There is no exact answer to this question, although experts recommend resetting your router every couple of months, even if you experience no internet downtime. A reboot can fix internet connectivity issues, fix slow connections, and is one of the major troubleshooting options available to you at home.

Faster Connection

Periodically rebooting your router can give you a few major benefits. One of these benefits is that you’ll get a much quicker internet connection. That’s because your internet service provider assigns you a unique temporary IP address to each of your devices, which they can change at any time. If your router does not recognize the change, your connection can become very slow or drop altogether.

The same thing can happen if you have multiple devices connected to a single router. Therefore, resetting your router once in every two months can give you a speedier connection.

Prevent Hacking

Restarting your router, however, gives you even more benefits than getting a faster connection. It can actually prevent you from being hacked.

Last year, the FBI advised all homes and businesses to reset their routers after a threat from foreign hackers that impacted thousands of networks around the world. By using a malware called VPNFilter, these hackers were able to misuse the device, hack into private information, block network traffic and make some internet routes inaccessible.

The FBI recommended restarting your routers so that it could disrupt the malware. Cybersecurity experts also recommended users keep their firmware, like antiviruses, firewalls and administrative control up-to-date to prevent other hacking threats and to restart their router after every update.

Can Routers Really Prevent Cyber Attacks?

It certainly doesn’t hurt to try. Rebooting your router is very easy to do, and is perfectly harmless. It is also one of the very first troubleshooting options when you are experiencing internet or network issues.

However, according to security experts, a simple rebooting won’t effectively protect you from a cyber attack. Part of the code of the malware can still survive until the router is given a factory reset. That is the only surefire way to completely eliminate the VPNFilter from your router.

You can do a factory reset by holding down the reset button on your router for a few seconds. However, after that you will have to reconfigure all your settings. You may need to call your internet provider to help you do that.

Experts say rebooting your router is a simple and safe thing to do when you are facing connectivity woes and cyber threats. If you are especially concerned about the security of your router, a factory reset is the way to go.

7 Habits that Reduce Stress

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and stress plays a huge role in increasing its risk.

Our lives have become so busy these days that stress is now part and parcel of our everyday routine. Everyone hears helpful advice like “don’t stress yourself,” but that is easier said than done. However, if you are committed to reducing stress, it really can be done.

Here’s how:

1. Request Extra Hands for Help with Kids

Stress is inevitable in parenting. It can begin as early as pregnancy and once the child is born, no parent is safe from stress. How to change the diapers, when to feed the child, and how to get some sleep in between remain some of the primary stressors that new parents face. Contrary to popular belief, stress does not lessen as your child grows older; it only changes its sources.

At this time, it is important that parents establish a support system. You will often get the most offers of help during pregnancy and immediately after birth. This is no time to be shy. You need to accept all the extra hands you can as it can be virtually impossible to take care of a new-born child alone.

Make sure you acknowledge anyone who is willing to help you and keep a record of them for future reference. Getting help does not mean asking someone to babysit your child for the entire day; it could just mean half an hour while you jump into the shower or 15 minutes to have that badly needed cup of tea.

2. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep deprivation accompanies people of every age during stressful times. Whether you’re a new parent, have an exam, or are working on a challenging office project, you will probably experience sleep deprivation as the direct result of your stress.

To get healthy sleep, reduce your screen time – news hour in particular – as that can lead to even more stress. Instead, use the time to listen to relaxing music. Establish a routine for bed and wake-up times. Make sure you are sleeping in a comfortable setting, with optimal room temperature, no noise or any other kind of disturbance that can ruin your sleep.

3. Eat Right

Since we are extra-busy these days, finding the time to prepare and eat healthy food is difficult to come by. However, junk and fast food are the biggest sources of stress as the harmful ingredients in them can increase our blood sugar and cholesterol, which can result in hypertension and cardiac diseases.

Eating at home often guarantees you are eating the right things. Try to keep nutritious foods at hands like green veggies, fresh fruits, grains, and nuts and incorporate them into your diet as much as possible.

4. Get Exercise

Research suggests that exercise contributes towards reducing stress as it releases dopamine, our happy hormone.

Doing some yoga, practicing tai chi, or performing meditation can bring balance to your hay-wired emotions. If you are extremely worked up, hang a punching bag in your garage and let loose on it whenever you are feeling stressed. Also, try to include early morning running or biking in your schedule. Just an hour of exercise each day can alleviate your stress levels dramatically.

5. Minimize Drama

It is so easy to fall prey to gossip and someone else’s drama, but try not to pay attention to them, especially if you work with a gossip-monger. Malicious feelings, like anger, envy, and resentment, can eat away your feeling of well-being and cause needless stress. Therefore, remove yourself from such situations and encase yourself in a bubble of peace and self-confidence.

6. Take Some Downtime

Many of us live with the misconception that if we don’t think about the fact that we are sick, we will get better; however, nothing could be further from the truth. If you have a viral infection, food poisoning or even the slight flu, it is OK to skip school or work and take out some downtime. Use the day to go offline, get some much-needed rest, and eat healthy.

7. Take Care of Your Emotional Health

Chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and nightmares. To reduce this risk, take care of your emotional health. The easiest way to do that is to spend time with your kids, family, friends and loved ones. You don’t have to book a weekend at the Disney World or host expensive dinners. Simply ask them to accompany you to run around the park, or spend 30-minutes if quality time engaging in healthy discussions.

Once you establish these few habits, you will start to feel inner peace, contentment and a feeling of enjoyment.

New Study Shows Garlic Enhances Memory and Offer Other Health Benefits

Do you know that someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds? Over 44 million people in the world suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other memory-related disorder. In the United States alone, 5.8 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. No one knows the true cause of these neurodegenerative diseases and there is no cure.

Seeing this gap in knowledge, scientists decided to investigate if there is an association between our aging digestive system and development of memory problems and whether garlic could prevent the decline.

Here’s what they found!

Role of Garlic in Reducing Risks of Memory Loss Disorders

According to a research study presented at the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting in Florida, scientists who experimented on mice believe garlic provides health benefits to our brains via our guts. The team fed oral supplements of allyl sulfide, an organic compound in garlic, to 24-month old mice and observed that those who were fed the micronutrient maintained healthy gut bacteria which reduce intestinal inflammation and improve short and long-term memories.

Here’s How Garlic Changes Our Gut

Garlic has long been known as a prebiotic and feeds the beneficial bacteria in our guts. Our gut contains trillions of microorganisms and research shows that healthy gut microbiomes have a positive effect on our mental health. In fact, some studies suggest that patients who had low gut bacteria suffered from depression.

Research shows that the number of gut microbiota diminishes with age and that is when memory-related disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, develop. This is because the resident bacteria in our gut regulate immunity, inflammation, production of vitamins, carbohydrate metabolism, detoxification, production of essential neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, and levels of neuronal-derived natriuretic factor (NDNF) gene expression, a gene which affects our memories.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Whether it’s sliced, baked, or beaten to a pulp, garlic tastes wonderful in all our food (even though it may not smell that great). Now, you have got another reason to add this delicious superfood to all your favorite recipes. Aside from preventing memory loss, garlic offers a whole host of benefits.

Fighting Common Cold

Now we know why our mothers gave us garlic mixed in honey when we had a cold. A daily supplement of garlic can reduce chances of cold by 63% and cold symptoms by 70%.

Lowering Blood Pressure

Heightened levels of blood pressure and hypertension can result in a stroke or heart attack. Garlic can help reduce blood pressure in just 24 weeks.

Reducing Heart Disease Risk

Daily intake of garlic can reduce cholesterol level by 10 to 15%. It can also reduce the risks of heart attack, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease by increasing the flexibility of our blood vessels and decreasing blood vessel damage due to inflammation.

Increases Bone Density

Garlic minimizes bone loss, particularly, in aging females, who have low estrogen levels. It also decreased the risk of bone-related disorders like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Decreases Cancer Risk

Garlic consumption has been shown to reduce risks of cancer in the mouth, larynx, pharynx, and the esophagus as well as the stomach.

Suggested Daily Intake of Garlic to Maximize Benefits

Research suggests that approximately 20 grams of garlic in food form should be taken 1 to 3 times a week for best health results. Most experts advice eating raw garlic, which has been crushed or chopped.

Let it sit for 15 minutes to trigger the formation of beneficial compounds like allicin. If you cannot tolerate eating raw garlic, add it in your food towards the end of the cooking time so that the high temperatures do not break down the essential nutrients in it.

There is no reason not to eat garlic; not only is this vegetable crispy and delicious, but it also comes with life-saving benefits and promises longevity. Browse the internet and you will find tons of mouthwatering recipes in which garlic is the star ingredient!

Marijuana in Fashion: Wearable Weed Is Now In Vogue

Remember Kate Moss’s “heroin chic” look from the 90s? It seems that its modern equivalent would probably be something inspired by cannabis.

Many people have used marijuana for a variety of medicinal and recreational purposes. However, it has just been a few years since weed has been showing signs of becoming the next fashion trend — an accessory associated with an elite lifestyle.

Cannabis Couture

As far as fashion trends go, wearable weed is definitely ‘in’ these days, thanks to fashion designers and celebrities flaunting the cannabis leaf motif on their apparels. Designers are creating cannabis-themed shirts, dresses, handbags, accessories, jewelry, and even pens and tie pins without any hesitation. As a result, this marijuana-fashion crossover has taken Hollywood by storm. Stars like Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus, and Bella Hadid have already sported gorgeous jewelry with cannabis symbolism.

One of the most notable advocates of wearable weed fashion is Los Angeles-based designer Jacquie Aiche, best known for her cannabis-inspired Sweet Leaf jewelry. The delicate leaf motif can be seen featured in Aiche’s stunning pave diamond necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and clutches. Her gorgeous accessories have made a fan out of celebs like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner. Her diamond studs also made an appearance at the White House where they were worn by activist Bianca Barnhill.

In the same vein, Strathcona Stockings’ Ryley O’Byrne has been incorporating the cannabis design on her elegant, silky knee-high stockings which have been shown off by stars like Solange Knowles and Grimes.

In 2012, Italian luxury brand Moschino’s creative director Jeremy Scott green-washed the Adidas logo on a sweatshirt worn by rapper A$AP Rocky. For her spring 2015 collection, Mara Hoffman wove the cannabis leaf pattern into her trousers and maxi-dresses.

In 2016, Alexander Wang jumped on the bandwagon and introduced monochromatic pot designs into his mohair skirts and raglan sleeve car coat for a grungy, edgy look. One of his cannabis-inspired dress was famously worn by actress Margot Robbie on Saturday Night Live.

Wearable Weed
Clothes made from hemp, a variety of cannabis, have been worn for hundreds of years. Hemp is a strong fiber and wide-legged trousers made from the material are famously worn by Thai fishermen. Now, hemp has entered high fashion as designer wear made from the material is being introduced in the latest collection from prestigious fashion houses.

In fact, hemp growers in Canada are hoping that marijuana legislation would allow them to cultivate all parts of the hemp plant. Currently, Canada restricts the use of hemp chaff which contains CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient of the hemp plant. If more hemp material is produced, its use in fashion would undoubtedly increase.

Cannabis Concerns
Despite giving tribute to cannabis in their collections, many designers remain silent about featuring the plant as material in their fashion wear. This could possibly be due to the lingering stigma associated with weed.

It may still be a few years before wearable weed becomes part of mainstream fashion. As cannabis couture gains momentum, many companies will reevaluate their marketing strategies and may rebrand cannabis in a positive light. To that end, marijuana fashion has opened the doors to a much broader world of cannabis acceptance.

India’s Growing Apparel Sector Highlights New Opportunities

India’s retail industry accounts for over 10 percent of the South Asian country’s GDP. According to a research study by McKinsey, the country’s apparel market will be worth $59.3 billion by 2022, making it the sixth largest in the world. Its GDP is expected to grow 8% percent a year between 2018 and 2022.

India, As Emerging Fashion Market in Asia

One of the key reasons for the rise in the apparel sector is the participation of the middle class. India’s middle class is expected to expand with an annual rate of 1.4 percent, leaving behind China, Brazil, and Mexico. The current annual income of the middle class is over $9,500 and it is expected to become thrice as much by 2025. Hence, it is not so surprising that over 300 international fashion brands will soon be launching their stores in India.

Reasons for Growth in Apparel Sector

There are several reasons why India’s apparel market is growing, not least of which is the role of Indian market players and their innovative strategies:

Leveraging Technology:

Indian retailers are making the most of technology to enhance their in-store experiences. They are increasingly using digital displays and online checkouts in their stores. Some high-end fashion brands are using augmented reality to show customers how they would look in a certain outfit. Supermalls have also increased space for entertainment and food.

Use of Smartphone: The rise in the apparel industry is also being driven by customers who are heavily leaning towards online buying. A few years ago, only a few million people owned smartphone in India, a country with a population of over 1.2 billion. However, the number of smartphone users reached over 300 million in 2017 and is expected to reach over 800 million by 2022.

Artificial Intelligence: Retailers and e-commerce leaders are also employing artificial intelligence solution in the apparel industry. Companies will no longer focus on having the largest collection of designer wear. Instead, they would be about presenting the right selection of clothes to customers, based on their personal preferences.

Apparel Sourcing: Thanks to the high availability of superior quality raw materials like cotton, wool, jute, and silk, India is fast becoming a major textile supply and export hub. According to a 2017 report, about 41 percent of chief procurement officers expect to increase sourcing from India because of its significantly lower labor cost.

Challenges in the Apparel Sector
A market that is as complex as India comes with its own set of challenges. The apparel business is still chaotic with only 35 percent of sales in 2016 being accounted to formal retail.

Climate: Given the fact that India occupies a huge space of land, it’s natural for it to have regions with different climates and cultures. The majority of India has a warm, balmy climate for most of the year. Only the north part of the country has moderate to severe winters for two months.

Tradition: Bollywood celebrities may don Western clothing when they are out and about but, for the most part, India’s women prefer traditional clothing. It is expected that traditional clothes will still account for 65 percent of India’s apparel market share by 2023. As such, international brands breaking into the market should take local apparel preferences under consideration.

Infrastructure: India is filled with broken infrastructure and as of 2016, over 40 percent of its roadways remained unpaved. This makes for poor execution of last-minute deliveries.

Despite these challenges, India continues to show signs of rapid improvements. New luxury malls are opening frequently, making up for a fantastic retail climate. Despite inequality, poor infrastructure, and fragmentation, India may well become the next global apparel and fashion sourcing hub.

Consumers Concerns on Counterfeits: Here’s How Fake Goods Hurt You

Remember Xu Ting, the Chinese woman who, along with her family members, was sued for counterfeiting millions of dollars worth of luxury products? The story of this successful con that ripped off big brands like Gucci, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent might amuse some readers. However, not many of us know that counterfeit goods cost the U.S economy losses that range from $225 billion to $600 billion every year.

A recent survey sponsored by Bayer revealed that 66% of Americans are seriously concerned that about 29% of products manufactured and sold in the United States are fake. In fact, the majority of the participants believe the issue is worse now than it was three years ago.

From fake designer perfumes to bogus medication, the counterfeiting business is one of the largest underground industries — and it is thriving.

The Real Dangers of Fake Goods

When Americans think of counterfeit goods, they think of unrealistic scenarios that affect only the fashion or art industry. However, most people don’t realize that counterfeit goods have also snuck their way into pharmaceutical, automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries. Although the risks posed by sham products aren’t always apparent to consumers, they can have grave health and safety consequences.

Safety Risks

When it comes to buying electronic goods, many Americans are more concerned with paying the lowest price while ignoring the harmful effects fake products can have on their safety. Counterfeit iPhone chargers and poorly made batteries have resulted in explosions and electrocution, resulting in serious injuries. Fake products also affect businesses as they can hurt a business’s reputation, lose profit as well as increase its price.

Health Risks

Since counterfeit medications are not subject to regulatory authorities like the FDA, their consumption can result in life-threatening health risks. Around 10% of the world’s medicines are counterfeited. This includes high-end lifestyle drugs that reduce fat or life-saving anti-carcinogenic and antibiotics. Imagine the harm it can cause to patients who consume these drugs to manage their condition and relieve pain.

Years ago, counterfeit medication could be detected via careful observation or reading the labels. Irregularity in appearance caused due to the carelessness on the part of the counterfeiters would give away the con. However, they have now become much more sophisticated and chemical analysis is the only way to find if a drug is genuine or not.

Economic Risks

Not only do counterfeit products cause health and safety issues for humans but they also result in significant cost to the economy. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development has estimated that fake products will result in the loss of up to 5.4 million jobs by 2022. Moreover, the proceeds from the fake goods are more often than not used to fund terrorist organizations and crime syndicates.

How Can Americans Be Aware of Counterfeit Products

It is getting increasingly difficult to distinguish counterfeit products from real ones as these criminals go to great lengths to make sure their product closely resembles the original. However, fighting trade of counterfeit goods is very important.

For Consumers: Consumers can watch out for ridiculously low prices that seem too good to be true — because they probably are. If buying products online, consumers should check out the designer’s website for the list of authorized dealers and buy only from them. Some other red flags include misspelled names of the brand, unusual designs, and unknown factory outlets.

For Brands and Manufacturers: Brands should make sure they have a very secure and transparent distribution network. They should have a mechanism in place for reporting counterfeit goods on their website as well as a comprehensive “cease and desist” policy to ward off counterfeiters. They should also monitor authorized retailers who sell their products as even they resort to selling counterfeit products sometimes.

People have a duty to cooperate with regulatory authorities and verify the authenticity of their purchased products. If people refuse to buy bogus products at cheaper prices, these counterfeiters will suffer losses and may even disappear with time.

Going Green: Consumers Are Now More Willing To Spend Extra Cash On Eco-Friendly Products

Back in the day, “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” taught little boys and girls about the importance of environmental awareness and sustainable living. Now, these millennials are all grown up — and they are finally able to give back to the planet.

A recent Trends Tracker report indicated that though green and eco-friendly products are pricier than ever, doling out extra cash is not scaring consumers away.

According to the new report, about one-third of consumers say that they prefer eco-friendly options while 50% say they are against GMO foods.

Millennials Are Happy To Buy Less Stuff, But With More Green Value

This survey confirms a 2015 Nielson report that indicated changes in buying behaviors. The report claimed that consumers are now happy to pay extra for sustainable and eco-friendly products. In fact, more and more people, especially millennials, are willing to sacrifice quantity for quality; they are buying less stuff, but with more environmental value. This is in spite of the fact that millennials are now living in one of the toughest economic conditions that have been witnessed in the past century.

The Heart of the Matter

A huge part of the reason is emotions. Nowadays, people, especially young individuals don’t just want to buy a product; they want to buy a lifestyle that aligns with their values. Millennials are now becoming much wiser and more risk-averse when it comes to spending their money. With difficult job markets and budget constraints, millennials spend their money more carefully than the generation before them and are buying fewer material things. However, when they do purchase, they are increasingly leaning towards buying eco-friendly products, though they may be more expensive. These people would first go to brands that advocate pro-animal messages, sell chemical-free products and implement ethical and sustainable business practices.

When browsing the shelves at Sephora, young women are now first considering whether a brand is cruelty-free, not how pretty the shade of the lip gloss is. They are asking questions about how biodegradable the packaging of their eye makeup palette is and whether the ingredients in their foundation are harming the planet. Young, newly married couples are now considering buying energy efficient lightings for their new home, not because they would decrease their electricity bill, but because they would result in lesser emission of greenhouse gases. In fact, people with mountains of money are choosing to spend it smartly, say, to buy a hybrid/electric car, rather than one that runs on gas.

More and more people are increasingly saying they use and dispose of products in ways that achieve the intended benefit for the environment.

Deep Roots

A report by Stanford University revealed that about 90% of CEOs believe that sustainable practices should be the future of the business world. These entrepreneurs have taken steps to ensure this by developing sustainable and green products and services, taking out sustainability reports and creating new positions like Chief Sustainability Officer and Climate Change Analyst.

In fact, the trend seems to spring from business schools; 88% of which believe that businesses should prioritize social responsibility and environmental considerations. Moreover, fresh entrepreneurs are positioning their brands around the ecosystem. This has given rise to a number of positive start-ups that are focused on green, recycled and sustainable products and services.

It is clear that consumers now prefer eco-friendly brands. However, businesses should focus more on bringing the proper message to their consumers, so that they understand what their brand is trying to achieve by going green. Otherwise, their consumers may end up buying from their competitors that might not care about the environment at all. It is now time to live clean and keep it green.

Your Time On Social Media May Be Making You Depressed And Lonely

Do you feel lonely? Well, you are not alone. In fact, 47%of Americans suffer from loneliness, according to a health service organization, Cigna.

In an age where social media is considered to bridge gaps and bring people closer together than ever, such a thing doesn’t seem possible. But, unfortunately, it is.

A new research study by the University of Pennsylvania, “No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression” suggests that the incessant use of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram is associated with decreased mental and social well-being in undergraduates.

Obsessive Use of Social Media Elicit Envy And Unworthiness

How many times have you watched videos of a friend on a solo trip to Japan? Or watched an acquaintance posting curated pictures of her collection of Hermes bags? Once you start comparing your life to theirs, you will feel a sense of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and failure. This illogical impulse will be even stronger for those who already suffer from self-esteem issues. These people will obsessively check their social media status to see if their followers have “liked” their posts or wished them a happy work anniversary — and if they don’t get the required compliments, it is very easy to fall into depression.

Obsessive Use of Social Media Creates Feelings of Disconnect

We have become such creatures of habit that if we are sitting alone, waiting for a friend at a restaurant, we take out our phones, rather than pay attention to our surroundings. Some socially-awkward people may find chatting to a friend online easier than tolerating the curious stares of strangers; however, as soon as they go offline, their connection disappears, and you feel a sense of disconnect with the “real world.” This actually makes you feel even more isolated.

Obsessive Use of Social Media Increases Mental Stress

A study conducted by the University of British Columbia stated that just a slight buzzing of the phone can cause an abrupt decrease in enjoyment. Consider this scenario: You are at your sister’s wedding when your phone buzzes with a new Facebook notification. Your immediate reaction would be to grab your phone so that you don’t miss out. Even if by sheer force of will, you do not open the app, that one moment of buzzing will have disconnected you from others at the party. It will also put a damper on your ability to relax and just have fun with your family.

This lack of rest and relaxation can also make a person susceptible to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Their strange mood swings will also cause others to distance themselves from the person in question.

So, is social media a bad thing?

Not necessarily. Dr. Hunt emphasizes the fact that she does not suggest college students stop using social media. Instead, she advocates limiting screen time and spending more time with real live people.

In fact, social media has proven to be beneficial for introverted teenagers. Studies show that students who use social media to discuss school get higher grades. Social media has also been instrumental in students fighting depression by providing sources of information that can help them heal. In fact, many shy students find it easier to talk to people when they have a barrier of a screen between them.

Hence, social media, if used in moderation, gives us ample opportunity to socialize, bond and form connections.

It is quite ironic that people who are lonely turn to social media to feel connected and valued. Conversely, people who are not lonely, to begin with, may develop disconnect and isolation, because of too much time on social media.

In the end, it all comes down to quality versus quantity. So, don’t be afraid to unplug and unwind.

3 Strategic Tips to Grow Your Social Media Presence Across Multiple Platforms

The average adult in the US uses at least three social media platforms. This, of course, explains why businesses are so quick to jump the social media marketing bandwagon. But if you want to grow your social media presence across multiple platforms, you’ll need a proper strategy. Which is why we’ve put together a list of three essential tips that you need to know to absolutely nail your social media presence!

1. Know Your Audience

The first step to a cohesive social media strategy across platforms is to know your audience. We cannot stress this enough. Even a well thought out, creative campaign can be a mega flop if it’s not targeted to the correct age group.

Statistics show that Youtube and Facebook remain as the most popular platforms across the board. Younger users tend to use Snapchat and Instagram more frequently than older users. These are all factors to keep in mind when developing a content strategy.

2. Difference in Social Platforms

Every platform has a different approach and allows users to engage in different forms. Facebook and Instagram gives you the option of creating a separate ‘business’ profile that allows access to a variety of insights and statistics about your user demographic. This can be incredibly helpful when trying to understand user engagement.

Twitter is a great place to engage with customers and other brands, by tagging them in posts directly; it can create a tone for your brand outside of traditional marketing posts. We are talking about posts through which you can create a sense of personal connection with others. Youtube can be a great asset for multi-media marketing and behind-the-scenes looks of how your business operates.

On the other hand, platforms like LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest are not as generalized and therefore marketing on these platforms will only be successful if you’re targeting a certain demographic, like professionals on LinkedIn or teenagers on Snapchat.

3. Streamline Your Content

It can get difficult to manage multiple platforms all at once. This is why streamlining your posts is a smart move. Websites and apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, and SocialFlow all allow you to customize and synchronize your content so that you have everything in one place.

Being able to control your social media posts from one platform will not only save you time, but it will also allow you to focus on having a cohesive brand image throughout the posts.

There’s a lot to be gained when you grow your social media presence across multiple platforms, but if it’s not done with care, it can go horribly wrong. If you focus on the points above, the results are going to be absolutely worth it and the best bit is, you don’t need a large budget or crazy teams to manage marketing on social media. Having a good strategy and a clear vision is all it takes!

4 Foolproof Ways to Build a Content Marketing Strategy for Customer Conversion

We are living in a content obsessed world. From traditional newspapers and magazines to social media and podcasts – the kind of content we engage in and interact with is an essential part of how we choose to live our daily lives. Creating a strong content marketing strategy for customer conversion can be one of the smartest decisions that you make for your business.

But it’s not as simple as spewing out pages of content day in and day out. A good strategy will consider things such as user experience and customer retention along with quality content to make sure that the strategy continues to pay off in the long run. Here are 4 essential tips for building a content marketing strategy to help customer conversion!

1. User Experience Matters

The first thing people are going to see when they click on your website – before they’ve even read your content – is the layout of the page itself. If you have a clunky, overcrowded and difficult to use webpage, you will risk losing potential customers almost immediately.

Make sure that you have an easy to navigate webpage with relevant, intriguing information about your business. You want to interest users enough to stick around for a little longer. But if your homepage isn’t interesting or inviting, chances are that they won’t stick around no matter how amazing your content is.

2. Give Customers Content to Make Informed Decisions

Your content should not just be geared towards promoting products. It should also have an element of educating consumers about what product suits them the best. Think of it this way – if you went to a website with products ranging from $1 to $100 with no idea of which one will meet your needs, you would prioritize saving some money and go for cheaper options.

On the other hand, if you provide customers with info graphics or creative and informative content, you’ll be able to get them to engage more deeply with your website and brand.

3. Give Insights to Your Brand

Don’t be afraid to show off your brand a little. Show videos of behind the scenes, or of team interviews to get customers more acquainted with how you work, not just what you work with. This will build trust with your brand and increase chances of them engaging more with you out of pure interest in your work ethic.

4. Stay Relevant

Keeping your content relevant requires effort, dedication and a lot of time. But it is one of the key factors in retaining customers. If they keep coming back to your website and find the same content recycled over and over, they’ll get bored and might stop coming back altogether.

However, if you stay on top of trends, customize your products and services according to seasons, what’s viral on the internet and current events, you’ll get more engagement.

Keeping these points in mind will translate into your content marketing being tailored to your long-term goals instead of giving immediate results that don’t pan out in the future. Keep your head in the game not just to play, but to win!

5 Simple Ways to Increase Customer Retention

Businesses that have a lot of customers may seem successful, but the real challenge is to retain those customers in the long run. When a customer continues to purchase your product/service, they are showing you brand loyalty. Not only is this a great way to boost your company’s morale, it also increases the chances of the customer recommending you to others.

However, long term customer retention is not easy. It takes a little bit of effort to make sure that your service quality is consistent enough that the customer keeps on coming back time and again. Here are 5 ways to make sure your customer retention plans work out every time!

1. Value Feedback

Customer feedback is essential to understanding how they view their relationship with you. Even if all they have to say are positive things, you will still learn a lot by getting to know their perspective. Make it as easy as possible for customers to get in touch with you when they want to let you know something is wrong. And make sure that you reply to them as soon as possible. Good customer service shows that the brand cares about customer experience.

2. Give Customers More Than Just a Product

Even if you have the best product or service on the market – there’s no guarantee it’ll stay that way. What’s going to last longer is a connection with your brand, a connection that goes beyond your product to things such as appreciating your brands work ethic, or resonating with your social responsibility goals. Use social media and blogs to build a relationship with your customers where they can get to know you not just as a business, but on a more personal level as the people behind the business.

3. Have a Strong Corporate Social Responsibility Model in Place

A good CSR program can resonate with customers by showing them that you are willing to contribute to making society a better place. Choose a cause that is important to you and stick to it. Customers are increasingly drawn to brands that support some social cause because it gives them the satisfaction of knowing that they are also making a small change by choosing a socially conscious brand.

4. Offer Special Rewards Programs

Customer retention is all about making sure customers choose to come back to you time and again. A great way to do this is by giving them the choice to sign up for a loyalty or rewards program that will give them points they can use later on every time they shop.

5. Stay Consistent and Thorough

Nothing comes easy. If you want to ensure that your customers are satisfied and willing to come back, you will need to keep customer engagement consistent, engaging, and organized. A good CRM system can help you gather and manage customer information efficiently and help keep engagement consistent.

By keeping these five points in mind, you will start to notice repeat customers. In the long run these customers are the ones that will provide stability and profitability to your business. So, don’t let this opportunity go by and start working on holding on to your one time customers.

How to Appropriately Capitalize on Awareness Campaigns

Promoting awareness campaigns are incredibly important. They can help educate, treat, and prevent a great number of issues that people face but may not know about. Campaigns like the breast cancer awareness programs help people understand they may be at risk and how to take preventive measures. While on the other hand, campaigns such as Autism awareness and food allergy awareness exist to educate the masses about conditions that they may not have been aware of before and teaches them how to deal with people suffering through something similar.

Awareness campaigns are a great to align with your brand. They allow you to influence and impact society in a positive way, and it’s also a great way to use marketing for a good cause. There are a number of ways through which you can use awareness campaigns to maximize brand impact. We’ve listed two easy ways below;

1. Use Pre-existing Symbolism
Most awareness campaigns have their own symbols. The pink ribbon for breast cancer, the colorful puzzle pieces for autism, the rainbow flag for LGBTQ rights, and the teal pumpkin for food allergies are all examples of how symbolism becomes a strong component of these campaigns.

This makes it incredibly easy to associate your brand with a campaign, especially if there is a dominant color that you can associate yourself with, such as the pink for break cancer. Changing the colors on your logo as a symbolic gesture, having your staff dress up in that color for a day, or sharing a badge and banner on your website with the symbol are all ways of aligning yourself to a cause.

2. Choose Unique Promo Products

A great way to keep people engaged is to choose promo products that are aligned with the cause you want to support. You should customize the products you choose based on the situation and your audience. For example, a branded water bottle or T-shirt with the symbol of the pink ribbon would be a great promo product for breast cancer awareness. On the contrary, if you are simply holding a seminar at work then going for something more subtle like a mug would work just fine.

Promo products are a great part of these campaigns because if they are unique and spike a person’s interest, they are likely to keep them around for a long time and by consequence, they will feel more inclined to remain engaged with the cause and your brand.

But that doesn’t mean that promo products are the only way that you can support or host an awareness campaign. With the widespread reach of social media, a solid online campaign with lots of creative multi-media content can boost visibility, not only for your brand but for your awareness campaign as well.

Your goal, in addition to being supportive of an important social cause, is also to get consumers to resonate with your brand and build an image that shows them you are not just a faceless corporation but you also have values that matter. They should also realize that your intention as a business is not just to profit but also to make a positive impact on society as a whole.

Why it’s Essential to Have Multimedia Marketing for a Successful Brand

Why is Multi Media Promotion Such a Big Deal?

If you aren’t using multi-media in your marketing strategy, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to garner consumer engagement. Research shows that tweets containing images receive almost five times the amount of engagement in contrast to those that don’t. If that wasn’t convincing enough, statistics show more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every single day. Let that sink in for a moment.

It only makes sense that in a market so saturated with content, in order to stand out you will have to take a multifaceted approach to creating your content. And one of the biggest tools is video marketing.

Why Video Content is So Successful in Marketing

It’s Versatile

Video content is no longer restricted to pre-recorded clips. Live streaming, virtual reality, and 360 degree perspective videos all offer consumers the chance to interact with your brand in new and engaging ways that traditional content doesn’t.

It Gives Businesses a Higher Return on Investment (ROI)

With the ability to place a purchase option after viewing content on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, businesses are getting faster ROI’s. This is not just restricted to social media. Even on blogs and websites, the presence of videos increases the order value of a product by at least 50%.

Better SEO

Embedding videos on your website can help you rank higher on Google, thus increasing the amount of traffic on your website. In fact, traffic can go up by almost 55% if you use videos in your content.

More Personalized

Videos make a much larger impact on people because they offer the chance to get to know the business in a much more personalized way. It engages your senses differently than just reading a blog post and leaves you feeling more connected to their message.

How to Make Content that Resonates

Whether you’re positing pictures on Instagram or tweeting videos with trending hashtags – the core aspect of creating content that resonates with your audience can be broken down into two chunks;

1. Know Your Audience
2. Know Your Platform

A 30 second video may work on Instagram but it will be less effective on YouTube. Similarly, a long caption may be great for your Facebook post, but not have the same impact as multiple tweets on twitter.

There is no one-formula-fits-all solution to creating creative multimedia content. Just like the medium, the content too needs to be multifaceted. Relying on any one medium – be it video, text, or images – is restricting yourself to the benefits of that medium alone. On the contrary, if you were to combine all three, your impact would not only be bigger, it would last a lot longer too.

Brand Value with Luxury Promo Products

You might think with the marketing industry becoming increasingly digitized, that promo products would be going out of style. On the contrary though, according to research, promo products encourage brand awareness and brand recall more than any other form of advertisement.

If that’s the case, then it’s not only important to invest in using promo products, but it’s also important to focus on the quality and value that the product will bring to end-users. Whatever the product represents for them is the association they will build with their brand.

hat makes a good promo product?

Simply put, what differentiate an okay promo product from a great one are two things: utility and value.

You want people to genuinely use your promo goods and attach positive value to them. The promo industry is saturated with standard USBs, pens, and phone covers, and sure they have utility but if you want to set your brand apart, you can really add a lot to the value of your product by aligning yourself with a luxury brand.

How will luxury products impact your brand?

Luxury promo products do more than just make the end-users happy, they also reinforce that your own brand holds the same standards of quality.

It works a bit in the same way celebrity endorsement and product placements would work as a marketing tool. Take the brand Canada Goose for example. Over the year, the brand name has become synonymous with luxury clothing.

This isn’t just because of the hefty $500 plus price tag; it’s also because of the image they’ve created for themselves. From celebrity sightings to sponsorships and magazine covers, they’ve nestled themselves into consumers’ minds along with glamor and luxury.

Canada Goose also sets a great example of how branding does not need to revolve around the same stereotyped products and markets. Their collaboration with digital artisan Eepmon goes to show that when it comes to adding value to your brand, you don’t need to be limited by your industry – even when it comes to opposing ends of the spectrum like apparel and digital art.

Luxury promo products don’t need to break your budget!

Just because you’re going to use luxury promo products for your brand doesn’t mean that you need to go above and beyond your budget. If you’re working with us, you can get affordably source name brand products, and add your logo recognition to it.

How to Impact Branding with Color

Brands have been associating themselves with color since color was invented – which translates to since forever, basically.

Can you think of Coca Cola without thinking about red? Or Facebook without thinking of the color blue?

Color runs so deep in branding that Pantone – one of the world’s leading product color consultants – even has a shade of purple titled ‘Cadbury purple’ as a nod to the brand’s iconic purple logo.

With the recent Pantone trend color report for 2019 currently making rounds, what does color mean for your branding strategy in the upcoming year?

Colors may primarily exist to tint your vision and add interest and excitement to the life around you, but they’re more than just aesthetics. Brand recognition and brand recall are heavily associated with the color you choose to promote your brand with.

This is why your brand philosophy should align with the traits that are generally associated with your color of choice. Of course, these associations depend heavily on personal experiences, geographic location, and preferences. But there are some generalizations that can be made.

For example, red is associated with such things as warning and danger but also passion, excitement, and adventure. Green is most commonly associated with nature and therefore makes more experience to frame a more peaceful brand image. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Take Mountain Dew – they took the color green and the motif of nature (mountains) and branded themselves as sporty and adventurous.

Same Color, Different Shade

Not all shades of the same color mean the same thing.

Pink can go from soft and feminine to bold and sultry as you move along the shade wheel. When choosing how to use color for your branding, you won’t just need to select the primary color but also pay attention to the shade.

Some colors can end up looking tacky if you choose the wrong shade and end up affecting the ‘vibe’ that you’re going for with your brand.

How Should You Be Using Color for Your Brand?

Colors signify meaning that much is clear. Whether this is meaning that is naturally occurring such as corresponding green with nature, or developed through careful branding – the fact is, using colors smartly can greatly affect your brand image.

If you want to look at the trending color palette predictions for next year, the theme seems to revolve around joyful hues underlying the theme of empowerment and environmental awareness. Deep pinks, bright yellows, and mossy greens dominate the template.

Even if your brand already has a standard color palette, you can keep up with the trends through utilizing this palette in a number of ways such as promo products which will allow you to explore the palette without necessarily changing your own logo design.

Innovative Business Models for 2019

There’s no doubt that the business climate has changed in a number of ways over the past few years. Trends come and go, but some of them stick around as permanent changes in attitudes. Technology, globalization, environmental awareness – all of these factors have contributed to a shift in perspective.

Going forward into 2019, here are five changes we predict will define the businesses of today and tomorrow.

1. Heightened focus on packaging and design

Packaging and design is becoming more innovative with every passing year, and we predict it will only continue to be a focal point for businesses. The focus will not solely be on aesthetics but also on how the packaging can be more environmentally sustainable and friendly. We can already see big brands such as McDonald’s and Amazon committing to reducing and ultimately eliminating packaging waste.

2. Flexible work environments

The traditional 9-5 work space is diminishing to make way for a more flexible work environment, where workers will be able to choose to work from outside a strict office environment. Advancing technology now allows for collaborative team efforts without the need to be physically present. This is why we predict that in the coming year, more businesses will adopt flexible work habits.

3. Faster delivery services

Businesses are now pushing themselves to offer the fastest possible delivery service to match the fast pace of today’s consumer lifestyle. This has taken the level from a standard five-day shipping up to express same-day-shipping options, even for small businesses.

4. Prioritization of product safety

In this market, businesses cannot afford to overlook any product safety protocols. The widespread accountability comes as a result of growing consumer awareness as well as tools to share experiences publicly with a global audience. With the click of a button, businesses can be exposed, which ruins their reputation.

5. Find the value

Instead of hyper focus on product marketing and profit, businesses will continue to add value to what they produce and stand for. Whether it’s through a clearly defined purpose, sustainable sourcing, or partnership with brands and causes holding similar values – the business model is becoming increasingly personalized. There is no space for empty, cold business models focused solely on sales.

It’s important to understand the shifting trends and align your business according to them. Otherwise, you run the risk of falling behind the performance curve. And in this age when consumers are becoming more aware of the kind of businesses they choose to interact with, it would be a grave mistake to stick to old ways instead of innovating and developing according to emerging trends.

5 Crucial Things to Keep in Mind When Meeting Clients for a Meal

Even though some people are predicting that changing trends will lead to the festivalization of business meetings, there’s no denying that a classic business lunch and/or dinners can serve a number of purposes and will never go out of style.

But almost all of them require you to be respectful, mindful, and entertaining without being too overbearing. So whether you’re making an impression on a new client or trying to build on a relationship with an old one, keep these 5 crucial things in mind for your next meal!

1. Punctuality

This might sound clichéd but we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be on time for business meetings. Nothing is as unprofessional as showing up late. It will inadvertently give off a negative impression and that’s the last note you want to start your meeting on.

2. Let clients order first

By letting your client order first, you will be giving them the choice to choose what they’d like without being inhibited by your own choices. As a rule of thumb, avoid ordering alcohol unless your client shows an inclination or if it’s a celebratory occasion.

3. Keep your phone off the table

It may be second nature to reach for your phone every time a notification pops up but it is basic table manners to keep your phone aside. If you’re constantly checking your phone it may show your client you are uninterested in the conversation, and may convey rudeness. Put notifications on silent, and if there is a very important call or emergency you are expecting, let your client know beforehand.

4. Don’t dive straight into business talk

Imagine someone invites you to dinner and before you’ve even sat down, they’ve launched into their business proposal. Straight turn off right? Keep the business talk for after you’ve ordered. Take the time before that to catch up with your client, develop a level of comfort and familiarity – or, if this is your first time meeting them – get to know them better.

5. When it comes to the bill

It can be embarrassing and awkward when it comes to who is paying the bill. If you are hosting the meal, it might be easier to give the waiter your card before you order to avoid the inevitable haggle over the bill. If that’s not possible, just be prepared to pay before the bill even comes so there is no awkwardness.

Of course, a key aspect to making these meetings successful even if you follow all of the above is to make sure there is healthy, genuinely interesting conversation flowing. A good conversation can lift the mood of the table and make it easy to tackle even the hardest possible topics.

3 Ways to Shop for Makeup Without Breaking the Bank or Breaking Out

Makeup can go from being a fun hobby to a downright dangerous obsession. And it doesn’t help that social media is saturated with influencers all tempting us with the latest and greatest makeup launches every time we log in.

But how much is too much when it comes to shelling out cash for a purchase?

The age old question of “is high end makeup worth the money or are drugstore brands just as good?” still rages strong today. If you’re confused between the two, here are three ways to make shopping for makeup simpler and cheaper!

1. Make Ingredient-Based-Purchases

Often, the prices for high end products include the cost of makeup packaging and the value of their brand name even though the formulas of the products may be similar or identical to cheaper drugstore alternatives.

This is why it’s so much better to focus on the ingredients of any product before you decide to buy it. If you don’t know what to look for in the list of ingredients, there are a number of websites that can help break down and simplify what the labels on your bottle mean so you know the which product is likely to irritate your skin.

2. Focus on Your Skin

No matter how much money you spend on expensive makeup, if your skin is in a bad state, there’s only so much it will be able to do.

Drugstore brands like L’Oreal and E.L.F have skincare products that rival high end quality. So you don’t need to look too far. Invest in a simple, effective skincare routine that targets your problem areas. The better condition your skin is in, the less makeup you will arguably need.

3. Choose Wisely

Narrow down the products you value the most in your makeup collection. For some people, that might be their foundation, for others it might be a wide shade selection of lipsticks. The way you budget your money will depend on your preferences.

Browse different options, read reviews, decide on which brands carry the best options for your product choice. Drugstore brands such and NYX, Maybelline, and E.L.F will tend to have a wider and more fun selection of products as opposed to some high end brands such as YSL or Charlotte Tilbury which build value by promoting a simpler, classic range.

Splurge on the products you really value in your collection, and then search for cheaper alternatives to the rest.

It might be tempting to want to buy a product for every inch of your face, but remember – it shouldn’t cost you a kidney to look and feel good. You don’t need all the products you come across, and you don’t need to pay double the amount for a high end brand when drugstore alternatives work just as well if not better sometimes.

Why You Should Make the Switch to Sustainable Packaging

Switching to sustainable packaging may do more for your brand than you think. In today’s market, with increasingly environmentally conscious consumers, brands that ignore the evolving consumer climate will inevitably be left behind.

This is why we think the smartest time to switch to environmentally sustainable packaging is now. And here’s why!

Branding is about Reaching Your Audience

If the consumer of today is demanding brands to be more sustainable in business practices, then you as a brand should be focusing on delivering on that expectation. This is even more important because brands all over the world are already rushing to jump ahead in the race for sustainable production.

McDonalds has announced that by 2025, all of its packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources. Amazon has switched to its signature ‘frustration free’ packaging, which isn’t just cost efficient, but also claims to have eliminated a whopping 215,000 tons of packaging material! And Cocoa-Cola is among the world’s first to begin production in PET plastic bottles made entirely from plant based materials.

If market leaders are following the sustainable packaging trend, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t too!

An Environmentally Friendly Brand Image Will Boost Brand Loyalty

If your brand is in line with consumer’s ethical and moral beliefs, they will be more likely to remain loyal to you, or even switch to your brand from another that is not in line with their principles.

The best part about switching to sustainable packaging is that you will not need to break your bank in order to catch up with the brand image that’s been cultivated by the likes of McDonalds or Amazon.

Sustainable Packaging is Cost Efficient

Sustainable packaging does not just refer to using inexpensive materials to market your goods as environmentally friendly. It also means measures that are associated with other aspects of packaging such as reducing unnecessary waste, clearly labeling products, and using more recyclable material such as cardboard, paper, and glass.

Small changes can have big impacts, and it doesn’t require dealing out wads of cash. It just means you dedicate yourself to meeting the trends that will be driving the environmentally sustainable markets of the future.

It’s Good for the Environment

At the end of the day, investing in sustainable packaging efforts is going to help boost your brands value and loyalty across the board. But in the long run, it will also help the planet. And if that is an impact your business can have, it’s a darn good one!

How to Maximize Your Digital Marketing Output

Let’s face it: digital marketing has changed the landscape of how we view advertisements and marketing campaigns. Marketing is now integrated into the content we consume in such a meticulous way; we don’t even realize it half the time.

If you’re looking to get the hang of digital marketing, we’ve compiled some important aspects of the trade that may help you up your game.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Original Content!

Good content is the cornerstone of every successful digital marketing strategy. If you want to maximize your impact, you will need to ensure your content is top notch.

This can be difficult because when it comes to the internet it always seems like someone, somewhere has already done something similar.

But adding your own original twist on existing ideas, and making sure you’re consistent about producing content that is engaging and relevant will take you a long way.

Master the Skills of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You’ve created content that you think ticks all the right boxes. It’s interesting, fresh, relevant, and engaging. But it’s not getting the kind of attention it should. An important aspect of successful digital marketing is the use of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

Search engines are the primary means through which consumers look for information. SEO allows you to increase the visibility of your content for users who are searching for similar topics. You want to have your content be featured as high as possible in search results to get the most interaction.

Don’t Neglect the Power of Social Media

Social media marketing is effective because of the outreach it has. Everyone is on some form of social media, and within a single platform too there are multiple ways to advertise. Add to this the fact that platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer you the option of setting up a separate business account with in depth statistical feedback of how your content is being received, and you have a recipe for success right there!

The Perfect Formula: A Blend of Organic and Paid Marketing

If you really want to make the most impact, you will need to strike a balance between organic marketing (SEO) and paid marketing i.e., Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

While SEO will serve to organically increase the visibility of your content in the long run, SEM will give you the option to utilize paid marketing platforms in a number of ways to promote your content. This includes options such as ‘pay-per-click’ ads, paid search advertising, and ‘cost-per-click’ ads.

Put together, the right combination of SEO and SEM can boost your digital marketing strategy right where you want it to go.

Return on Investment (ROI) and Analytics

As with any business venture, your return on investment (ROI) will give you an idea of whether your digital marketing strategies are bearing fruit or not. An advantage of digital marketing is that most analytics are easily available to you.

You can track traffic to see whether your content or advertisement is reaching your desired audience easily. Another important metric for ROI is tracking sales for any given campaign, which is again easily doable.

The Take Away

Digital marketing makes collecting statistics and analytics about your campaigns so much easier. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but a successful digital marketing strategy that taps into the power of every tool available to you is essential if you want your brand to succeed in this marketing environment.

Tech Accessories: A Roundup of All That’s Trending

Tech rules our lives, so much so that almost everything we do now in our daily day-to-day is somehow dictated by tech. With every new gadget that’s released, there is double the number of accessories that flood the market. But which ones offer real value, which ones are worth the money?

We’ve got a roundup of the hottest trends of the past year, so you can see if you’ve kept up!

What’s Trending in Phone Accessories?

Phone accessories have reached a new level of functionality, allowing you to get the most out of your mobile. Developers are experimenting with different materials from silicone to magnesium and polycarbonate, in an effort to play around with the benefits each material offers.

Here are some of the top trending phone companions of this year.

1. Pop Sockets

Pop sockets can be summed up in three words: versatile, simple, genius. These little round disks have taken the globe by storm.

These little strokes of genius were born out of the need for a simple technicality – our phone screens were getting bigger and our hands were feeling smaller. In came the pop sockets, a perfect midway dock for your fingers to grip your phone without overstretching your hands. They ‘pop’ out twice to give you different gripping options so you can get that perfect selfie every single time.

3. Key Rings

Similar to pop sockets in function, but different in design – key rings are also a hot trend as far as phone accessories go. They come in a variety of different styles and offer slightly better grip than pop sockets due to the option of letting you hook your finger through the ring.

This may be a more suitable option for the much larger phone models that need extra grip support.

4. Multi-functional Phone Cases

Everyone knows phones are only as interesting as their cases. This year, in addition to the usual creative colors and patterns, cases had features that aimed at helping your phone perform better too.

From attached wallets and selfie lights, to battery powered cases, to covers that are heat proof and waterproof to suit your climate – phone cases have graduated from being an aesthetic addition to a straight up upgrade for your phone!

What’s Trending in Laptop Accessories?

1. Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse

If you’ve got a laptop that doubles as a tablet, investing in a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse helps with portability and usability of your gadget.

No matter how much we might try to get comfortable with it, a traditional mouse just provides so much more comfort than a trackpad!

2. External Bluetooth Speakers

If you love your music, or your laptop doesn’t quite have the volume capability you like, investing in a pair of Bluetooth speakers may be what you need. They range from small and portable to larger and louder based on your needs. They’re definitely a popular accessory pick!

5. External Hard Drives/USB

Backing up your data or having a portable option for when you can’t haul your laptop around is an essential component of getting the most out of your tech.

If you haven’t added any of the accessories above to your collection yet, you better hurry before the next wave of inventions is upon us! After all, no industry quite beats the tech industry when it comes to innovation!

4 Subconscious Ways Colors Affect Branding in 2019

The psychology of how color impacts us is backed by years of research and theories. However, skeptics still argue that how we perceive color has a lot to do with our own subjective experiences and preferences. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, the fact is that color is a crucial part of promoting products we use on an everyday basis, and a core strategy used in marketing all over the world.
Here’s a list of 4 ways color will impact your everyday life in the upcoming year.

  1. 1. Your Favorite Brands

The color of a brand often says a lot about the image they want to portray. Take Apple for example. With its neutral palette of blacks, steel grays, and white, the brand holds a distinct image of being classic, timeless, and elegant.
On the other hand, you have companies like Slack and Google with bright primary colors that immediately give the perception of creativity and diversity.
While brands usually have a default color palette associated with them, it doesn’t mean they can’t branch out when they want to. Google’s homepage logo often changes colors to symbolize different historical or current events. But even then, the shift in color is still a form of branding wherein the company attempts to portray itself as up-to-date or socially aware.

2. Fashion

You may have heard that black is the most fashionable color and white never goes out of style. While that may be true, the fashion industry is one of the most versatile industries when it comes to playing around with color.
In fact, color is such a fundamental part of fashion that each season, the Pantone Color Institute creates a report with a compilation of forecasts for future trends. For upcoming color trends in fashion for 2019, Pantone predicts a lively palette including colors such as bright orange and yellows, deep reds and mossy greens as well as light pinkish lavenders and coral.

3. Textiles

Upcoming textile trends are a blend of the classic and modern. While experts predict that vibrant, bold primary colors will be all the rage in 2019, there is also a forecast that muted neutrals such as mushroom gray and cool toned blues will also be popular as a reflection of modern, robotic elements of this day and age.

4. Home Décor 

Like the fashion industry, interior design also goes through seasonal shifts in color palettes. These are all reflective of changing trends, technology, and tastes. Don’t think home décor is restricted just to painting your walls. The colors that are trending tend to filter down into decorative pieces and cutlery too.
Predications for trending colors in 2019 include a combination of classic neutrals like terracotta, cream, and gray along with accents of brighter colors such as yellow. However, a standout trend is the growing popularity of misty pastels, especially blues and pink.

Color is such a fundamental part of everyday human life. It’s no wonder that industries try to use it in creative ways to reach their target audience. After all, there’s no better way to make a statement than to take something simple and make it extraordinary with a dash of color.

 

Keep an Eye Out for These Upcoming Fashion Trends in 2019

The fashion industry is always evolving. With every passing season, there are different colors, patterns, and prints that are trending. But trends are like cycles. They go in and out of style and it’s difficult to stay on top of all that’s happening.

If you’re overwhelmed, don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of 4 upcoming fashion trends for 2019 that you should keep an eye out for.

  1. Bright Color Palette

According to Pantone’s seasonal report, 2019 is going to see a splurge of color. The palette that is predicted to be in style contains bright colors such as orange, deep blue, fuchsia, coral pink , and turmeric yellow to name a few.

But while these colors may be making an appearance in stores next year, this doesn’t mean that the classic neutrals will go out of style. Soft browns and creams are expected to stay as structure pieces. These earth toned hues also tie in with the fashion industry’s attempts to become more environmentally conscious.

2.  Eco Friendly Materials

With the globe in an outcry over environmental awareness, it is no surprise that fashion trends for 2019 are utilizing eco-conscious materials such as fake fur in an attempt to conserve the planet. These fabrics are no less high quality than other options but they speak of a deeper desire to care for Mother Nature. Other fabrics to look out for are denim, light linens, and jacquard.

3. Layering Patterns and Pieces

Another emerging trend for 2019 seems to be the layering of prints and patterns. From a rise in popular checkered shirts to lively florals and animal prints, everything seems to be coming together one on top of the other to give 2019’s fashion trends a visual explosion of color and design. If that wasn’t enough, experts also predict that layers items on top of each other will also be a trend to look out for.
4. Cozy, Simple Comfort

The fashion industry may be brimming with over the top, borderline odd designs and trends. However, one thing to notice in predications for 2019 is that this year will focus a lot on simplicity and comfort. Cozy, loose, large clothing is coming back to replace the tight silhouettes of the previous years.

5. Sporty Accessories

The trend for bright, sporty accessories is going to be big in 2019. This doesn’t mean you will need to pull out your tennis shoes just yet! But adding a pop of color to casual outfits through bags, glasses, shoes and hats will all be en vogue next year. If it still seems daunting to digest, that’s alright. Remember, fashion is what you make it. There is no uniform trend that fits all, it’s completely individualistic. So take these trends and make them your own! Mix and match until you find your own unique sense of style.

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