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

Attollo Scholars Experience Some Magic

NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson keynotes 'Magic: An Attollo Experience' in Lancaster, Penn. ©Attollo
NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson keynotes ‘Magic: An Attollo Experience’ in Lancaster, Penn. ©Attollo

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.”

Custom branded Apple AirPods are given to event sponsors and donors of Attollo's annual fundraiser.
Custom branded Apple AirPods are given to event sponsors and donors of Attollo’s annual fundraiser.
Attendees celebrate 60 of Attollo's high school program scholars for being accepted into colleges across the country. ©Attollo
Attendees celebrate 60 of Attollo’s high school program scholars for being accepted into colleges across the country. ©Attollo

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.

How One NBA Player Built Team Chemistry On and Off the Court

Ariza’s former Rockets teammate, Eric Gordon, with his customized Apple AirPods ©Trevor Ariza

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.

In the News: MoneyInc.

Our CEO, Russ Taylor, is the newest business contributor on MoneyInc., an online business and finance outlet that covers personal finance, technology and travel. The outlet reaches 1.1M visitors on average, per month. As a regular contributor, Russ will be sharing his perspective on mobile technology, and how businesses can maximize the use of mobile devices in their organizations. Check out his first article, Top 5 Corporate Gift Ideas This Holiday Season.

 

‘Operation Rudolph’ Brings Great Cheer to Phobio Employees

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.”

Phobio CEO Stephen Wakeling and Chief Solutions Officer Denny Juge on stage with one of the Apple Watches customized by FUSION OF IDEAS. 2017 PWP Studio Corporate Event Photographers
Phobio employees show off their gifts at their holiday party. 2017 PWP Studio Corporate Event Photographers

The WORLD’S FIRST Customized Apple Watch Series 4

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:

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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AirPods Trend

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.

Milwaukee Brewers

By Jennifer Fujimori

The Milwaukee Brewers and their fans have a lot to be proud of. The team is currently just one game back from taking the lead in the NL Central division. Their closing pitcher Corey Knebel has recorded 14 saves this season. Legendary hitter Hank Aaron called Milwaukee home for his entire MLB career, and now serves as the senior vice president of the team. And perhaps what speaks the most to the integrity of this team is their commitment to giving back to their community.

The Brewers Community Relations program works actively with players and their families, coaches, and personnel to find and participate in events supporting various causes. Highlights include speaking engagements, youth baseball clinics, fundraising through events like bike rides and 5K runs, and a fan fest from which the proceeds are donated to Brewers Community Foundation youth recreation and education programs.

To recognize these achievements in community outreach, the Brewers organization presents each participating player with an annual gift. This year, the gift of choice was the sleek and lightweight Beats Pill+ speaker, which is a device Fusion of Ideas has customized for several past projects. When the Brewers club approached Fusion, their goal was to elevate the gift even further. They wanted the gift to be both a superior piece of technology and a token of personal appreciation from the team. With the help of mockup designs from our creative team, the client decided on a custom laser etched Brewers logo, which is a letter “M” with a sprig of barley underneath to represent Milwaukee’s brewery tradition.

The resulting final product sent a heartfelt message to the players that their team places a high value on philanthropy and giving back to the Milwaukee community. We couldn’t think of a better way to say thanks.

The Rock Gives Back

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.

In The News: Lil Yachty Opening Custom Xbox and Controller

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

 

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Picture Start: Making Your Mark as a New Business in an Elite Industry

By Jennifer Fujimori

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

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HomePod Gets A Make Over

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!