Summer means longer days and warmer weather, which leads to some of our favorite things: outdoor gatherings, summer barbeques and festivities.
If you’re thinking about the perfect employee gift or an upgrade to your office wireless accessories, consider a smart speaker, which can be used for many occasions. According to a new Global Info Research study, the worldwide market for wireless smart speakers is expected to reach over 500 million units by 2024.
In today’s connected world, there is a rising demand for smart devices, including smart wireless speakers. FUSION OF IDEAS’ device customization service delivers high-impact brand experiences for all mobile devices and accessories.
From Apple HomePod to the UE Wonderboom, we offer personalized solutions for any mobile device or accessory. We utilize a proprietary UV printing process, which allows for permanent, full-color printing on any raw material. For a semi-permanent alternative, our StealthArmor protective film is heat bonded and precisely fitted to maintain the thin lines of the device while offering the same style and protection.
More than 1,300 attendees at the annual Attollo fundraising event in Lancaster, Penn., celebrated a group of 60 high school program scholars for being accepted into colleges across the country. Also highlighting the event, Magic: An Attollo Experience, was a keynote by NBA Hall of Famer, Magic Johnson.
This year’s celebratory fundraiser raised $1.5 million benefitting the Attollo program. Founded by the Children Deserve a Chance Foundation, Attollo is a college access/leadership program in Central Pennsylvania that supports youth from underrepresented communities in their pursuit of academic achievement, empowerment and social engagement.
As a token of appreciation to the event sponsors and donors, Attollo partnered with FUSION OF IDEAS to create custom-branded Apple AirPods as gifts. The device included the program’s name and logo printed on the case and on the stems of the headsets. The AirPods box is outfitted with a fitted custom device sleeve that has a photo of Magic Johnson.
One event donor shared anonymously, “You [Attollo] always inspire students to push beyond their comfort zones and do more than they thought possible. I am not quick to try new technology, but when I received these AirPods, I decided to push myself beyond my comfort zone and try them. My grandchildren were so impressed when I came walking in with my AirPods! I can listen to my audiobooks and my old favorite songs.”
Technology is driving change not just in corporations and private businesses, but also in the education sector. Many schools are taking learning outside the classroom with online programs that allow access to educational materials on mobile devices.
Others are using mobile technology as an incentive or form of recognizing students when they complete a program or hit a milestone. When technology is coupled with a marketing strategy that adds the school brand on the devices themselves, it creates visibility for the school and adds a personal touch for the recipient of the device.
Here are a few schools that have strategically used custom-branded technology to offer a unique value proposition.
Harvard Business School
Harvard University’s business school customized two Apple Watch bands in two colors to give as rewards within its online program. The school’s “VERITAS” shield is etched on both sides of the watch band, and the phrase “HBX Live” is etched on one side of the band as well as the back of the watch itself.
The Decorating and Staging Academy
The Decorating and Staging Academy used customized Apple iPad Air tablets to enhance the learning experience for its students. iPads are preloaded with specific industry-related apps and protected with a custom Smart Cover printed with the Academy’s logo for brand recognition. A custom branded sleeve encloses the device to create a one-of-a-kind unboxing experience.
Avenues: The World School
Avenues New York, the first campus of Avenues: The World School in the heart of Manhattan, gives away customized Apple AirPods at special school events. A school that touts bringing together the best of tradition and innovation, it created a design for the branded AirPods that speaks to both the school’s brand and its diversity. The AirPods are used as part of its marketing strategy to garner more brand awareness for the school.
South Kent School
A private boarding school for boys in Connecticut, South Kent School customized Apple Watch bands with its logo and showcased the watches as part of a presentation at a regional event. The logo, etched on bands in the school’s two colors, helped bring more visibility to the school.
Companies like Apple, Nike or Disney can put their name or logo on any product and customers will flock to it (then keep coming back for more.) But what if you’re not a Fortune 100 company or a well-known brand? In a crowded marketplace, how do you make your brand stand out?
The good news is, you don’t have to be a company at that caliber to have brand recognition. Here are 5 ways that can help your business rise above others:
Create interesting content. Interesting also means original and sincere. If your content is cliché or too sales driven, or if you attempt to mimic another brand, people won’t have a compelling reason to choose your company over the other brand. Also, be bold in your content. When it comes to making a name for yourself, risk often leads to rewards.
Know your customers. Ultimately, your brand is what your customers say it is, not what you think it is. Know who your customers are and form a connection with them. That connect is based on trust by meeting their expectations.
Be good at one thing. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. When you think of In-N-Out, you think of burgers. The Southern California chain does burgers well and they stick to what they do best. In the same manner, know what you do best and be good at it. Your customer will remember you for it.
Deliver on your promise. Having brand integrity is key to a successful business. This is part of building trust with your customers. Nordstrom promises a no-hassle return policy and the company delivers on this promise every day. Their customers are loyal because they know that if they need to make a return, there will be no questions asked.
Visibility is key. In marketing, it is said that a customer must see your brand seven times before the customer remembers it. Leverage different opportunities to diversify the visibility of your brand to help with brand recognition. Perhaps you surprise and delight your hotel guests by using laptops with your brand at your new guest lobby. Or you donate raffle prizes with your company logo at an industry event. Or you send your clients a custom-branded tablet to help them track your services. There are infinite ways to put your brand in front of your customers.
In the race to get your brand to stand out in a crowded marketplace, it takes a clear objective and a deep understanding of your business, your customers and the marketplace.
Once you have established your brand, let us help you take it to the next level by making it known to your customers, partners and stakeholders. Contact us to get a complimentary mockup of what a custom-branded device looks like with your company logo.
In Vegas, playing casino games has its perks. Besides the potential of winning cold, hard cash, members of players clubs get free hotel stays, discounted meals, concert tickets, golf rounds, among other rewards. And when it comes to tournaments and casino events, there are even more benefits just for playing.
A number of Vegas casinos have included customized tech gadgets as part of the benefits for participating in a special event. These giveaways serve as reminders of the event after the players have left the casino floor.
Here are a few that FUSION OF IDEAS got to work with:
Amazon Echo smart speakers customized for Park MGM’s special event
The GOLFWEEK Amateur Tour, with 50 regional tournaments, was founded to give amateur golfers a chance to compete in a nationwide series of stroke-play golf tournaments. Open to men and women, young and old, the tournament – now in its 25th year – uses some of the best championship golf courses and concludes with a National Tour Championship, which awards the final winner among the top players in each flight.
In addition to a day on the greens, the winner of each flight is awarded a crystal trophy and each participant is entered into a tournament raffle. At the El Paso, Texas/Las Cruces, N.M. tournament, customized Apple AirPods served as one of the top prizes for the event raffle. As one of the hottest tech accessories, it was a highly sought-after prize for the 60+ participants of the event.
Additionally, Apple iPad Pro tablets with customized Smart Keyboard Folios were used to check the golfers in at each tournament and serve as a live score board. As we have seen in this event, and others, cohesive branding can significantly add value and experience for all attendees and participants involved.
Businesses are increasingly finding value in custom-branding mobile technology. Branded technology can be used as:
a marketing tactic to elevate brand equity;
employee rewards or as gifts to clients and vendors;
a theft deterrent for company devices by having the company logo printed on them.
As one of our core services, customization is our business. We have partnered with more than 2,000 brands to create customized solutions, with phones and tablets being the most popular tech devices for custom branding. In the past few years, mobile accessories – such as device cases, speakers and headphones – have gained traction, particularly during the gifting season.
Our capabilities do not stop there. With laser etching, color printing and StealthArmor (our proprietary protective film) solutions, there is no limit to what we can customize. New products present different specifications, dimensions and materials, making for an exciting challenge for our design and production teams.
As people and businesses continue to move toward mobilization and personalization, we challenge you to think beyond traditional mobile devices and see how customization can take your business to the next level.
Employees cannot take their jobs for granted. At the same time, employers cannot take their staff for granted. As an employer, your employees dedicate a significant portion of their time to help you succeed. With Employee Appreciation Week approaching (February 25 through March 1), how will you thank your team for their hard work and dedication?
Whether you are planning to bring a simple “thank you” lunch for your crew, or an all-employee celebration, here are three tips to keep in mind:
Get involved. Leaders in the company should be involved in the planning of the celebration, no matter how big or small. Don’t leave the task to non-management employees. Employers need to celebrate their employees and show them how important they are to the whole company.
Everyone is important. Avoid the temptation to spotlight certain employees. There is a right time and place to recognize top achievers. Employee Appreciation Week is an opportunity to show gratitude to the entire staff.
Know what they want. If you are giving a gift, remember that your employees are worth more than a tchotchke that will end up in a drawer or be given to their children. Skip the low-quality items and give something that is valuable and memorable to them. A memorable gift doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many cool giftable gadgets that are priced fairly, such as Apple AirPods, YETI tumblers or Amazon Echo Dot.
“My daughter is nonverbal and she finally has a device where we can download the app that helps her communicate with us at home. It’s the biggest blessing and an amazing gift! People take their spoken language for granted and do not realize just how hard it is for a nonverbal child. This iPad can break those verbal barriers for our family!”
These were the words from a family member of one of 57 kids who went on the Kidd’s Kids 2018 trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Founded by late radio host and television personality, Kidd Kraddick, Kidd’s Kids provides hope and happiness by creating beautiful memories for families of children with life-altering and life-threatening conditions.
Every November, the organization sponsors a group of children and their families on an all-expense paid trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” where they can forget about doctor appointments and their illnesses, and enjoy a magical day with their families. At the start of this once-in-a-lifetime trip, the kids were gifted with a personalized Apple iPad that is preloaded with all relevant and contact information for their trip.
Here are the words from another family:
“We were so grateful to have the iPad for my son’s 11-day hospital stay. He loves being able to keep in touch with family and friends using the FB Kids Messenger app. He also likes it for drawing, watching shows and playing games.”
This is the eighth year that FUSION OF IDEAS has gratefully donated our app development and customization services to this amazing cause. Together with Best Buy, we were onsite to help hand out the iPads to the kids, and see the delight on their faces when they were presented with the customized devices. “The donation of the iPads from Best Buy and completely personalized by FUSION OF IDEAS provides entertainment, educational tools and memory-making apps the Kidd’s Kids otherwise would not have,” said Kelly Kemp, executive director of Kidd’s Kids. “We know how grateful all the kids are especially when they are back in the hospitals for days or weeks at a time. It’s a blessing and a partnership we are so very grateful to have for our Kidd’s Kids.” For more photos from this year’s Kidd’s Kids trip, check out their album on Facebook.
Remember the cellophane wrapped gift baskets filled with mementos and sweets you used to get every holiday? While they are still around – and still appreciated by many – technology has taken over as the preferred business gift of choice.
Technology spending for the 2018 holiday season is projected to reach a record-setting $96.1B in revenue in the U.S., a year-over-year increase of 3.4 percent, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Businesses who choose to give a tech gift are taking it up a notch with customization. Customized tech boosts brand recognition and repeat exposure, among many other benefits. Compared to traditional advertising, corporate gifts showcasing your company brand can be a cost-effective advertising method for your business. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the recipient receiving the same gift twice!
Here at FUSION OF IDEAS, orders for holiday gifting are in full swing. Here are the five most popular tech gifts we are seeing:
Apple iPadPro – The latest iPad Pro, with an all-screen design and Face ID, is currently the most full-featured iPad on the market.
Apple Pencil 2 – To go alongside the new iPad Pro, Apple revamped the Apple Pencil, an effective and accurate tool for handwriting, sketching and illustration.
Beats by Dre – This popular headphone collection comes in several varieties and offers powerful audio performance.
Amazon Echo Show – The new Amazon Echo Show features a vibrant 10.1” HD screen, built-in smart home hub, and improved speakers.
Apple AirPods – Apple AirPods continue to be the most popular tech gift not just for the holidays but all year-round thanks to their instant setup and truly wireless features.
The 2018-19 NBA season is in full swing. We are reminded of a project we did last season with professional basketball player, Trevor Ariza, that blended our proprietary color printing process with a hot Apple accessory. The outcome was a sincere gesture of team camaraderie.
Ariza, who was playing for the Houston Rockets, recognizes that true team chemistry is built both on and off the court. As a gesture of appreciation, respect and genuine friendship, Ariza wanted to give a memorable gift to his then-Rockets teammates. The team frequently used Apple AirPods during practice for motivation and focus, and they are noise-canceling and sleek in design. It was clear that the popular wireless earbuds would make the perfect gift.
To make it even more personal, Ariza worked with FUSION OF IDEAS to customize 15 sets of AirPods, one for each of his teammates. Each AirPods charging case was customized with the Rockets’ logo, the player’s last name and number, all in the Rockets’ vibrant red colorway. The result? A unique, personal gift that is symbolic of the team chemistry and skill, leading the Rockets to a victorious season that year.
Phobio is a software company that helps brands create better technology experiences for their customers. The Atlanta-based business is driven by a team of individuals who are leaders and experts in their fields. In 2017, as a way to reward employees for a successful year, Phobio partnered with FUSION OF IDEAS to help create a one-of-a-kind gift for its employees to appreciate and enjoy all year long.
In comes “Operation Rudolph.” Working in stealth mode, FUSION OF IDEAS customized 75 Apple Watches to surprise Phobio’s employees at its holiday party. The watch features a detailed design of the company logo on the dial. The exterior of the watch band is embellished with a design that represents the Phobio brand, and the inside of the band is etched with the company mantra: “Be better.”
Each watch included a personalized gift tag for the recipient and was packaged in its original box covered with a custom box sleeve. Phobio chose to pull everything together with custom gift wrap, which was designed by FUSION OF IDEAS and incorporated the company logo.
As a company that fosters a collaborative working environment, Phobio was excited to present these personalized gifts to its employees, and the response was overwhelming.
“Our ‘Phobiosapiens’ worked very hard all year and I wanted to show them my appreciation for their great work,” said Phobio CEO Stephen Wakeling. “Operation Rudolph was a huge success and everyone was blown away after opening the gift at our annual holiday party. It’s been a great point of pride among team members. They show their friends and can tell them ‘look what my company did for us!’ It’s going to be very difficult to top that this year.”
As soon as we got our hands on the new Apple Watch Series 4, our design team went to work to find the best points of customization and created the WORLD’S FIRST customized Apple Watch Series 4.
Here’s what we did:
The specs. We started the process by getting the exact specs of the device, down to the millimeter. Precise measurements are crucial as we only get one chance to print directly on a device or accessory.
The mockup. Once measurements are logged, our design team went to work creating a mockup of the design, painting a picture of what a finished custom device will look like. A final proof is sent to the client for approval before production begins.
The production process. Depending on the device, we may build a custom housing to hold the device while it is in the printer. Our patent-pending color and laser customization process allows us to permanently brand devices with high-quality, full-color graphics without voiding the device’s warranty.
The packaging. We extend the brand experience with custom packaging solutions including sleeves, boxes, gift wrap, shrink wrap and one-of-a-kind packaging experiences.
We are thrilled about the new Apple Watch and the results of the customization. The most significant added feature on Apple Watch Series 4 is that it is also a health-tracking powerhouse. Game-changing features such as fall detection and emergency SOS open the device to new audiences: fitness and outdoor enthusiasts, senior care providers and healthcare workers.
For us at FUSION OF IDEAS, deciding whether or not this new wearable gadget is worth purchasing is a no-brainer. And with the holiday season around the corner, this is the perfect gift for your valued employees or customers. The only question remaining: how will you customize the Apple Watch to fit your company brand and culture?
Check out how we transformed Apple Watch Series 4, from ordinary to extraordinary:
Employers are always looking for new and different ways to reward employees and celebrate successes. A trend that has been rising in popularity with our clients is using customized devices as part of its employee rewards program.
There are many ways for an employer to use corporate gifting to build up, fuel and recognize employees. Some ideas include:
Creating a points-based system to reward employee performance through peers or managers
Building a rewards system to recognize significant service milestones
Setting productivity or sales goals with a highly valued prize that employees can earn when they reach the goal
Or simply planning a surprise holiday gift as a reward for all of your employees.
Any employee gift can be taken up a notch with customization – custom printed Apple Airpods for employees to listen to music quietly at work, a customized Apple Watch with laser-etched company name, or even a branded drone that is guaranteed to wow the recipient.
FUSION OF IDEAS has pushed the boundaries of creativity by customizing a wide range of devices, from headphones and portable speakers to game consoles and cameras. The possibilities are truly endless. What can custom-branded devices do for your business?
Apple CEO Tim Cook took center stage yesterday at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino to announce the release of several Apple device updates. If you were on the watch like us, you know there will be three new iPhone models building off of the company’s 10th anniversary iPhone X: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Additionally, Apple Watch Series 4 will feature a larger display with a slightly thinner body, along with some cool features like heart monitoring and haptic feedback on the crown.
Announcements of new Apple products, or any new mobile tech device, mean one important thing to us at Fusion of Ideas: we’ll be researching and presenting our customization offerings for the shiny new devices as soon as they hit the market.
The art of mobility is clear with every touch point of the customizing experience. And members of the Fusion of Ideas customization team are seasoned pros at figuring out the specs for new devices. Even when the new device is similar to an existing one, measurements accurate to hundredths of an inch must be taken to create a spec file that will be used for production. We also run tests and research on the materials the device is made out of – even a slight change to the type of metal or glass can change the way we approach customization. Most importantly, our color and laser customization process allows us to brand devices with high-quality graphics while not voiding Apple’s device warranty.
We’re excited to dive in and present custom options specific to these new devices. Stay tuned for more information as we await the release dates.
This may seem obvious, but we tend to nerd out every time a new Apple product is released. Apple’s livestream product announcement events, typically happening once or twice a year and bearing charming names such as “Let’s meet at our place” and “Hey Siri, give us a hint”, are monitored closely in the Fusion of Ideas office. Part of this is because many of us are personally Apple fans, but the other part is excitement about the branding possibilities that come with a new device. The R&D process begins at Fusion well before the device has officially hit the market. Our customization team gathers information about the materials the device is made of, the dimensions, the packaging and any accompanying accessories. We get our hands on a sample device or two as soon as we can and get to work testing out customization capabilities. When the HomePod smart speaker hit the market in 2018, it was the first completely new device released by Apple since 2014, when the Apple Watch was announced. It also posed a unique challenge: the round, cylindrical speaker did not present many obvious options for customization. “The HomePod offered a challenge in that there is not a lot of surface area to customize,” said Chris Mancuso, Customization Manager. “It pushed us to think outside the box to come up with customization options that would fit with the sleek and modern design of the device.” Working with the Fusion design team for artwork and production files (and inspired by our office-wide affection for the Marvel Cinematic Universe), the customization team did a bold color print of the red Marvel logo on the white mesh of the HomePod. The top of the speaker is outfitted with a clear color printed Stealth Armor version of Iron Man’s arc reactor. Rounding out the sample package is a custom sleeve and gift wrap, printed with vibrant images of Iron Man and the Marvel logo in its signature red and black colorway. “We really pushed the boundaries with this device and came up with some really innovative ways to brand the HomePod,” said Mancuso. “The Marvel-branded sample provides our business team with a great way to show clients what we can do with this device.”
Since their release in late 2016, Apple’s AirPods have been flying off the shelves – and landing here at Fusion of Ideas, where we’ve been customizing unprecedented numbers of the wireless earbuds for our clients. We expect AirPods to be the most customized device during the upcoming holiday gifting season for the second year in a row – it’s an excellent portable piece of technology at an affordable price point for many of our clients. Customization options include the earbuds themselves, the charging case, and custom sleeves and gift wrap to tie everything together. Here’s an example of a recent custom AirPods project we did for a client that nicely showcases all of our available services.
We got so excited that we posted on social media, but forgot to include the news right here on the blog. Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, gifted custom Skyscraper edition Xbox’s to a group of amputees. He’s seriously a huge role model. We wanted to share a clip of the video of him giving them away, as well as some of the really cool product shots we got of the project before it left our doors. We love working on projects that are used to do good in the world.
We love seeing people react when they’re opening a gift customized by Fusion. Today, the recipient happened to be @lilyachty. Check out this video of rapper Yachty showing off his brand new custom Xbox and controller.
Repost 7/11/18 video credit: @lilyachty on Instagram.
A few more photos we took at our Fusion headquarters before the project went out. Photos by Fusion of Ideas
Throughout our many years of customization experience, Fusion of Ideas has worked with clients in almost every industry – healthcare, education, food service, construction, entertainment, fashion – the list goes on. We relish the chance to impress our clients by customizing devices or mobile apps for their employees or customers. But for many of our movie-obsessed team members, it’s hard to deny that it’s especially thrilling when we get the chance to work with clients who are in the entertainment business.
PICTURESTART is a production company who set out to find a customized tech gift for 200 top clients and company executives. Our design and business teams went to work, collaborating with the PICTURESTART decision makers to create a sleek logo print for Apple AirPods. The PICTURESTART logo is printed on the charging cases for the AirPods, the stems of the AirPods are printed with a clean blue stripe, and to round out the project, we did a custom sleeve to fit over the AirPod box. PICTURESTART is focused on youth-oriented movies and shows, so the colorfully printed AirPods were the perfect way for the new company to announce itself as a fresh and innovative presence in the film industry.
The gifts you give your clients and the technology used by your employees offer unique opportunities for you to make a statement about your brand and the way you do business. By partnering with Fusion of Ideas, PICTURESTART created an impactful brand experience that recipients will recall every time they pull out their AirPods. “We’re finding that the AirPods have become a highly preferred gift in the year and a half since they were released,” said Russ Taylor, CEO at Fusion of Ideas. “They’re compact, useful, and can be customized in several areas. Plus, they have the appeal of being a relatively new Apple product, at a price point lower than an iPad or Apple Watch.”
Whatever your tech and design preferences may be, we can help you come up with an unforgettable gift. And if you’re on the fence, check out some of the finished projects on our website and Instagram account. We’d love to create your custom gift next!SaveSave