A Raffle Prize Worth Putting For

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.

 

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

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!

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.

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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Xilinx AirPod Project

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.”

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