When William Resnick, co-owner of Proforma Printing & Promotion (asi/300237), visits a college campus, the first thing he does is study what students are wearing, carrying, the type of earbuds they’re using, as well as what they’re drinking. Why? He wants to get a clear sense of product trends.
He also follows university Twitter and Facebook pages to look for upcoming events. “When the school posts any of our products on their social media, I repost or retweet and add a hashtag, and perhaps a note of congratulations,” says Resnick. “I may put in ‘Powered by Proforma,’ or something fun, creative or witty to insert myself in there and let them know I support them.”
Playing up trends last fall, Festival Promos (asi/193462) did a custom retro-style toque for the University of Ottawa alumni boutique that unexpectedly ended up appealing to young and old alike. “The younger kids think it’s vintage and hip, and it reminds the alumni of what they used to wear,” says Festival Promos’ Scott McLaren. The toques were so popular, they’ve now become the unofficial toque of the university, and other departments at the school are marketing them as well.
Although this headwear category is trendy, Bill Mahre, president of ADG Promotional Products (asi/97270) says, “Don’t forget the simple things. A big part of education programs is making kids feel welcome and comfortable.” It can be a night light in a dorm room, or a custom planner with information on all of the important campus elements that freshman need to know. “Making their transition easier and feeling more a part of the community is key,” says Mahre.