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.”
Like many cystic fibrosis patients, Richard Fusco spent most of his life in the hospital. In the last three years of life when his health started deteriorating, Fusco depended on an iPad to communicate with his family, stay in touch with friends, and keep himself entertained with movies, books, videos and games.
Fusco’s father, Ralph Fusco, saw how this multifaceted mobile device enhanced the last few years of his son’s life and was inspired to provide the same opportunity with technology to other cystic fibrosis patients. This was the beginning of The Richard S. Fusco Foundation.
The mission of the Foundation is to help children with cystic fibrosis stay connected with loved ones and school through mobile technology. Since it was founded in 2013, the Foundation has formed partnerships with six children’s hospitals across the country to give iPads to their young cystic fibrosis patients.
Inspired by his son’s zest for life and positive attitude, Fusco partnered with FUSION OF IDEAS to design a vibrant image for the iPad Smart Cover and a second image for the device sleeve. Prior to each delivery of iPads, the images are printed and packaged up to create a surprise and delight moment upon receiving the device.
FUSION OF IDEAS also uses its proprietary laser etching process to customize the device itself with the Foundation’s name on the back.
“It is pleasure doing business with FUSION OF IDEAS to produce these colorful covers and packages for the iPads that we hand out,” said Ralph Fusco, founder of The Richard S. Fusco Foundation. “More than just a beautiful package, it is a memorable experience for the children when they open the devices for the first time. The joy we see in their faces and the appreciation by their families is what keeps us going, and we hope to provide that experience to young cystic fibrosis patients nationwide.”
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
Inspirational speaker and best-selling author Mary Morrissey is a dream builder, who empowers others to achieve new heights of “spiritual aliveness, wealth and authentic success.” Morrissey is the visionary behind Life Mastery Institute®, a life coaching certification program that has transformed the lives to tens of thousands of people worldwide.
Through Morrissey’s certification program, coaches are trained and mentored to learn how to effectively teach others and build their own successful, difference-making life coaching business. Coaches also receive in-depth mentoring, tools and templates for authentic client attraction, heart-centered client enrollment and business-building.
As part of the certification program, the coaches-in-training are given a customized Life Mastery Institute® iPad with books, music, program audios, and teaching tools all preloaded on the device. Each piece of preloaded content is handpicked by Morrisson, who encourages coaches to use the iPad as an all-in-one tool to find the resources they need for their life coaching business.
The Life Mastery Institute® iPadBrand Experience, Created by FUSION OF IDEAS
The Life Mastery Institute® iPad brand experience begins with a printed letter from Morrissey to welcome to coaches to the program. The next layer is the unboxing of a custom blue and gold branded device sleeve that is precisely fitted around the iPad box. Inside the box is the Life Mastery Institute® iPad customized with the logo etched on the back of the device. Through FUSION OF IDEAS’ proprietary laser etch process, the carefully designed artwork on the iPad will not fade, chip or rub off. And finally, the homepage of the iPad is completely personalized for the program with a custom home screen and dedicated apps and content preloaded onto the device.
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.
From Apple Watch and Apple gift cards to Amazon Show, Bose Quiet headphones and Yeti coolers, we saw an array of corporate gift requests come through over the holiday season. On top of brand customization, businesses opted to add extra touches such as personalized gift tags, custom set-up boxes and custom gift wrap to create a memorable unboxing experience for the recipients.
A custom sleeve is the most popular custom option for corporate gifts as they are precisely cut to fit snugly over the original manufacturer packaging. Sleeves are customized using our color printing process and come in various finishes, including matte, satin, UV glass or spot gloss.
Custom gift wrap is individualized with the company logo or artwork. Each piece of gift wrap is precisely cut to the perfect size for the gift, which is hand wrapped and finished with a matching bow.
And finally, custom set-up boxes have become the standard for the ultimate, executive-level gifting experience. Creating a luxurious unboxing experience for a single device or for neatly housing multiple products, each set-up box is custom designed according to the device(s) size and company brand.
Check out a few highlights from our 2018 Corporate Gifting Program:
Bowl games have a long history of making the holiday season merrier and brighter for college football fans, especially when your team is in the playoffs. For the players involved, there is a great sense of pride that comes with playing in the biggest game of the season. And of course, there is bowl swag.
The Pac-12 Conference events team partnered with FUSION OF IDEAS the last two football seasons to create memorable gifts for the Pac-12 bowl teams as a reward after a long season of hard work. Both years, the gift of choice was a customized Apple TV gift set that included a fully branded Apple TV, remote, and iTunes gift card, which were shrink-wrapped and packaged with coordinating crinkle paper inside a customized Pac-12 shipping box.
The one-of-a-kind gift, which took a popular Apple technology and made it personal with custom branding and packaging, was a unique and thoughtful way for the Pac-12 organization to show appreciation to the players.
Playing the most important game of your season is already a dream come true. Add in cool free stuff and it’s easy to see why athletes love this time of year.
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.
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:
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.
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
We’re predicting that the Apple HomePod might be at the top of many gift lists for the holiday season later this year. The HomePod already gets major cool points as a gift, but when you add laser engraving, custom printing, custom packaging, and custom gift wrap, you take it to a whole new level. Our Business Development Team made a very cool video to show how you can customize a HomePod. Check it out!
It was almost exactly a year ago that the Xilinx project went down in Fusion of Ideas history. The new Apple AirPods had just been announced, and everyone was anxiously waiting for them to hit the market. A few months had gone by since Apple’s announcement, and the public wanted to know when the AirPods would be arriving in stores. Small batches of AirPods were released to stores, but were immediately sold out. Fusion was told that it would be awhile before businesses would have the opportunity to purchase them in large quantities, because production was just not fast enough to keep up with the demand. Then Xilinx reached out to Fusion after being referred by Apple. They had 800 AirPods (a big deal, since stores hadn’t even received this many yet) and they wanted to find out more about our customization services.
Xilinx was planning to give AirPods to each of their employees as a special gift from their executive team. They wanted to customize the AirPods’ white custom casing with the Xilinx logo. They also wanted to send the AirPods to employees in unique customized packaging to show their thanks and appreciation. Fusion was their one-stop-shop for getting both of those things done in record time. The custom packaging included signatures of all of the executive team as part of the design, meant to show their appreciation.
“Xilinx was looking for something cool to give their employees,” said Theresa Brown, Senior Business Manager at Fusion of Ideas. “Gifting the Airpods alone would have been nice, but the real wow factor came from outfitting the AirPods with logos and customized packaging including their executive team signatures. It took the gift to a whole new level.”
During the holiday season, we have thousands of devices that come through our doors to be customized and gift wrapped. Which of these five items do you think were given as gifts the most? Click here for the answer.