Customizing Speakers and Accessories is Our Jam

Customized Google Home Mini

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.

For more information on how we can create a custom brand experience for your company, visit fusionofideas.com/branding.

Eye-catching JBL Xtreme bluetooth speakers customized for Horsepower Site Services
Eye-catching JBL Xtreme bluetooth speakers customized for Horsepower Site Services
Custom Apple HomePod for Golf Channel
Custom Apple HomePod for Golf Channel
The ever-popular UE Boom 2 customized for General Catalyst
The ever-popular UE Boom 2 customized for General Catalyst
Coalfire customized the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot for company use
Coalfire customized the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot for company use
Custom branded Google Home for Charlotte Hornets
Custom branded Google Home for Charlotte Hornets
Customized JBL Clip 3 speakers for FX Networks
Customized JBL Clip 3 speakers for FX Networks

These Schools Have an A+ in Branding & Technology

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.

Customized Apple Watch bands for Harvard Business School
Customized Apple Watch bands for Harvard Business School
Logo etched on Apple Watch for Harvard Business School
Logo etched on Apple Watch for Harvard Business School

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.

Customized iPad Smart Cover and device sleeve for The Decorating & Staging Academy
Customized iPad Smart Cover and device sleeve for The Decorating & Staging Academy

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.

Apple AirPod designed and customized for Avenues New York
Apple AirPod designed and customized for Avenues New York

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.

Apple Watch band etched with school logo for South Kent School
A red Apple Watch band etched with school logo for South Kent School
Customize Apple Watch band in black for South Kent School
Customize Apple Watch band in black for South Kent School

5 Ways to Make Your Brand Stand Out

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:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.

When it Comes to Gaming, It’s All About the Experience

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 eventCustom branded Amazon Echo for Park MGM
  • Custom-branded Apple AirPods for a blackjack tournament at The Cosmopolitan of Las VegasCustom branded Apple AirPods for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
  • Apple iPad Pro with MGM Grand logo etched on the back for one of the casino’s blackjack eventsCustom branded Apple iPad Pro for MGM Grand

Off the strip, MyVegas, an online gaming app by Playstudios, gifted its top players with a customized Apple iPad Pro.

When it comes to casino tournaments, special events, and even online casino gaming, the “wow” factor sells more than the game. It’s all about the player having the best and most memorable experience.

Custom-Branding Beyond Phones and Tablets

Think beyond traditional mobile devices for branding. Pictured here: Fujifilm Instax Cameras

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.

Amazon Echo Show
Amazon Echo Show
JBL Flip 4 and Clip 3 Bluetooth speakers
JBL Flip 4 and Clip 3 Bluetooth speakers
Google Home
Google Home
YETI Hopper personal cooler and Rambler wine tumblers
Amazon Echo Dot and urBeats3 by Dr. Dre earphones
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Amazon Fire TV Cube

3 Tips for Employee Appreciation Week

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

We’ve taken to our blog in the past to showcase a growing trend of companies turning inward and giving unforgettable gifts to their employees. Here are a few more examples of businesses that have shown appreciation to staff through gifting.

Omni Technologies: Beats EP headphones with custom sleeve and gift wrap
Omni Technologies: Beats EP headphones with custom sleeve and gift wrap
FlexCare Medical Staffing: Apple Watch with custom sleeve and gift wrap 
FlexCare Medical Staffing: Apple Watch with custom sleeve and gift wrap
Nashville Healthcare Council: Amazon Echo with custom sleeve and gift wrap
Nashville Healthcare Council: Amazon Echo with custom sleeve and gift wrap

And That’s a Wrap!

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 Swag for the Books

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.

Top 5 Business Gifts Your Employees and Customers Want

The top 5 most wanted tech gifts this holiday season.

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:

  1. Apple iPad Pro – The latest iPad Pro, with an all-screen design and Face ID, is currently the most full-featured iPad on the market.
  2. 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.
  3. Beats by Dre – This popular headphone collection comes in several varieties and offers powerful audio performance.
  4. Amazon Echo Show – The new Amazon Echo Show features a vibrant 10.1” HD screen, built-in smart home hub, and improved speakers.
  5. 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.

For more customizable corporate gift ideas, visit www.fusionofideas.com/gifting.

Customized Mobile Devices as Employee Rewards

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?

The Sky’s the Limit: Conga Custom Helicopter Drones

By Jennifer Fujimori

One of the best things about Fusion of Ideas customized hardware services is that the sky is literally the limit. We’ve showcased custom iPads, Apple Watches, iPhones, headphones, laptops, cases – and most recently, remote control helicopter drones. We worked with Conga, which offers a suite of solutions for using Salesforce.com, to customize a fleet of Cheerwing mini helicopters as a promotion for the actual helicopter tours they’re conducting at the annual Dreamforce conference. With help from our creative design team, Conga opted for a Stealth Armor cutout of their signature logo in white text on a red circle. The Stealth Armor is heat bonded to the nose of the helicopter to accent the red panels and create a polished, brand-new look. Check out the images of the final product, and let it inspire you to create your own custom tech!

Branding Superheroes: Customizing the Apple HomePod

By Jennifer Fujimori

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.”

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The Ultimate Corporate Gifts: The Gifts That Keep On Giving, The Whole Year

“Oh great, they’re handing out another company calendar,” said no employee ever.  

Getting thoughtful gifts can go a long way with coworkers or team members.  With the season rapidly approaching, this is the year for creating excitement and the “wow” factor for your company’s team or special clients.

One of our own employees tells the tale of the value they placed on two separate gifts they received.

“On two separate holiday seasons, I received gifts from my employers. One was an elaborate chocolate and fruit gift basket that was delivered to my home with a generic happy holidays message from the company.  While the sentiment was sweet (no pun intended), the gift was quickly forgotten, and I never really told anyone what I got.

The next year I received some Beats By Dre headphones. They were printed with a small company logo and the headband was printed with my name. They also were sent to my home, but came gift wrapped in retro wrapping paper with a company image repeated in a cool pattern. That made me very excited to open it. There was a personalized card with a note from my boss and the company thanking me for some of the accomplishments during the year. Whenever I wore those headphones, I had family, friends, and even strangers ask me about them. I explained that my company had given them as a gift for my hard work during the year, and I always showed off my name printed on them.  I received many “Are they hiring?” type of comments as people were impressed by the thoughtfulness that went into the gift.

While I’m sure both presents cost my employer about the same amount of money, the one that was cool, unique, and something I could talk about made the biggest impact. As Eddy from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation says, “That’s the gift that keeps giving the whole year, Clark!”   

One of the most important components of gift-giving is taking into consideration what your employees would truly appreciate. Putting a message, logo or thought on your gifts can add a layer that reminds them of you or the company whenever they use the gift.

Now, working at Fusion of Ideas, I’ve loved seeing the impact that customization and thoughtfulness can have. Some of my favorite Fusion services are gift wrapping and custom boxes and sleeves that take gifting up to a whole new level.  And on top of that, Fusion can organize and kit multiple items together (they don’t have to be devices!) so you can really add that extra pizzaz to any thoughtful gift. They can also print and write custom cards and gift tags,  and they ship anywhere around the world.  So if you want a super easy process, all you have to do is order, and Fusion will take care of the rest.”  

Fusion handles projects of all sizes and shapes and we’d love to help you with your gifting ideas. So if you want to give the gift that keeps on giving, contact us at info@fusionofideas.com or 949-453-0740 ext. 109.

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