Carr Workplaces specializes in executive offices and virtual offices for independent professionals and small-to-mid-size businesses. “For some of the larger companies that are trying to scale back on their real estate square footage, we provide an alternative to that where they can help their employees within our centers,” says Pamela Girardin, director of marketing. “For independent professionals and home-based workers, we provide a way for them to get out of the house and work in a business environment and office that they probably would not be able to afford on their own, and they also get to take in all the administrative support we provide.”
For an industry that services a common need, but isn’t necessarily well-known, ad specialties provide a way to start a conversation with prospects. Girardin wanted relevant promotional items for Taste of Georgetown, a food-tasting event, in June. So, Carr ordered hundreds of water bottles and sunscreen to hand out to hot, thirsty event-goers from a booth outside the trade show entrance.
“We did custom-branded water bottles, and the concept was that, for 30% less, you get so much more with us,” Girardin says. “When people got the bottles, they asked, ‘What does 30% mean?’ That allowed us to start the conversation and explain what we do and trigger their interest.”
On the bottles were icons with all the things that people gain from “office-ing” with Carr Workplaces – security, infrastructure, high-speed Internet, receptionists and more – with the knowledge that it actually costs 30% less than conventional office space.
Girardin understands that water bottles aren’t typically kept for a long time, but she says they were worth the investment nonetheless. “People walk in and get thirsty, and we feel that, while the staying power isn’t necessarily the same as a pen or pencil, the draw is heavier and the connection is stronger because it seems to be an item of a higher need at that moment,” she says.
“With the water and the sunscreen, attendees were willing to have a conversation to take the item,” says Girardin. “Our booth got a lot of traffic just because people saw us giving out things that made sense for the event.”