Showing posts from December, 2011

$41 billion in unredeemed gift cards

It's so easy to give gift cards. In fact 80% of consumers said they plan to give a gift card this year, but, just how memorable are gift cards? The Wall Street Journal said that there were $41 billion in unredeemed gift cards between 2005 and 2011.

What can you do with unwanted gift cards? The article How to Unload Those Gift Cards shows you how to exchange your gift cards for almost the full value.

Gamification for Distributors

Presenter at the PPAI Expo 2012, scheduled January 2-6, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. The theme for this year’s event is “Go Big. Go Bold. Go Expo”.

Presentation Description Advertising is passive. Gamification engages an audience and drives them to act on desired behaviors. Is it any wonder companies like Google, SAP and the US Army are using gamification for training, educating and selling?

This presentation will introduce you to what Gamification is and why corporations are using game mechanics. We’ll explore several case studies on how gamification is being used and we’ll finish with an example of how you can use promotional products as part of your customer’s gamification projects.

The goal of this presentation is not to show you a gamification platform but to teach you how to use gamification to find new business opportunities and create differentiation between you and your competitors.

PPAI Expo 2012 Tuesday 1/3/12, 11AM to 12PM
Las Vegas, Mandala…

Pumpkin Pie

A great desert for winter.

For the Dough1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting2 tablespoons granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons vegetable shortening4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces2 tablespoons beaten egg (about 1/2 large egg)
For the Filling1 15-oz can pure pumpkin3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar3 large eggs1 cup half and half1 teaspoon ground ginger1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/4 teaspoon ground allspice1/8 teaspoon ground clovesWhipped cream, for serving
DirectionsMake the dough. Pulse the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the shortening, pulse until it disappears, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mix looks like coarse meal with pea-sized bits of butter. Beat 2 tablespoons ice water and the egg in a bowl, then add to the processor and pulse once or twice. (Stop before the dough gathers into a ball.) Turn out ont a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate …

Business Gifts, Altruistic Or A Branding Opportunity?

Gift giving is certainly complicated enough between friends and family. Giving a business gift brings up a host of new challenges. Should you promote your business or will that seem disingenuous? Does everyone get the same gift or should you give out different gifts? Instead of procrastinating a minute more we have a few good guidelines for you.

Why Give Gifts? If you remember one thing, it's this: give business gifts because you feel generous. People who are generous always give, and always receive more in return.

Business gifts are not part of a marketing plan, an advertising opportunity or a bribe. Go ahead and send a holiday card to everyone in your customer list if you want. Reserve gifts for people who are especially important to you and whose relationship you value.

To Brand or Not to Brand? Resist the urge to advertise! When giving a gift you are not promoting yourself, you are acknowleding the importance of the recipient to you and your company. The gift should be somet…

A Disloyal Loyalty Card

Nordstroms was famous for sending customers to other department stores if a customer would find a product that was not available in the store. A group of independant cafes has taken this a step further in a program designed to bring loyalty to a group of competing locations.

In order to compete with larger chain stores a group of independent cafes in Singapore created the Be Disloyal card. Customers receive points for visiting any participating cafe. Once they get 10 points the customer can return to the original cafe for a free drink.

I think this concept would work for any brand that consumers like to sample such as boutique shops, restaurants, hotels, ice cream parlours, garden nurseries or wine and cheese shops.


Employee turnover costs could reach $2 trillion in 2012

As many as 21 million Americans may be planning to change jobs in 2012 according to recent study by Cornerstone OnDemand and Harris Interactive.

With the cost of employee replacement tallying as much as 250% of salary, U.S. businesses may be faced with turnover costs as high as $2 trillion in 2012.

It's not all bad news. This article goes on to cover how recognition can be used to engage and retain employess.

Read the full article on Return on Performance

Adzuki Beans

This is a great side dish for your bento - lunch.

1 Cup adzuki beans1 Cup sugar2 Tsp soy sauceDirections
Rinse the adzuki beans and cover with 3 cups water. Soak overnight.Bring the beans to a boil with their soaking water. Reduce heat, simmer for 4-5 minutes, and drain. Cover with fresh water and cook for 30-40 minutes.When the beans are tender enough to crush in your fingers, add the sugar and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.Add the soy sauce, cook briefly and remove from heat. Source: Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go

Nasu Dengaku - Miso Glazed Eggplant

Nasu is Japanese for eggplant. They're usually much thinner than the giant meaty eggplant's we're used to. Nasu Dengaku is both sweet and tasty... and awesome.

Yield: 2 servings
Serving size: 1 eggplant

1 Tbs mirin1 Tbs sake2 Tbs shiro miso (white miso)3 Tbs sugar2 Japanese eggplants, cut in half lengthwise1/2 Tsp sesame oilToasted sesame seeds, for garnishSliced green onions, for garnishInstructions
Place the mirin and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 2 minutes to allow some of the alcohol to cook off. Then add the miso and stir until smooth. Stir in the sugar, reduce the heat to very low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, while you broil the eggplants:Brush the cut sides of the eggplants with the sesame oil. Put the eggplants cut-side down on a baking sheet and place under the broiler of your oven for about 6 minutes, checking often to make sure that they do not burn. Turn them over, and cook f…