From the moment the eye-catching yellow and black invitation arrived in customers’ mailboxes, anticipation for Gilson’s Lunch & Learn began to build. Promoting the “Power of Premium,” the invitation included a nifty little pop-up box reminding guests of the date (and visually demonstrating Gilson’s multi-layered capabilities.) Within days, nearly 200 customers had confirmed a spot at the annual event, assuring the place would be packed to overflowing!
By mid-morning on November 2, the parking lot at Gilson’s Oak Industrial Drive facility began to fill up with attendees. Company executives and sales reps led them on a tour of our corporate offices, warehouse and fulfillment center. Overhead, a drone owned by Central Michigan Paper—one of our event sponsors, along with Neenah Paper & Packaging—snapped aerial photos of the soon-to-be-crowded luncheon area.
Lunch Is Served (with a Generous Side of “Learn”)
Our guests enjoyed the event so much that we’re tempted to say it was all fun & games. But, there truly was a “learn” component to our Lunch & Learn. Dallas Franklin, Art Director for Neenah Paper, introduced six versatile and inventive updates on classic typefaces. She also focused on the latest in luxury retail trends, especially as they relate to, personalized marketing, appeal to millennials, eco-friendly products, as well as current styles, colors, and patterns.
Let the Games Begin!
With a room full of marketing and design professionals, we simply couldn’t resist serving up a few artsy games—with a twist or two to level the playing field for those with questionable artistic talents. At the “So You Think You Can Draw” station, brave volunteers attempted to sketch elephants, apple trees, bikes and other figures on an easel while blindfolded. The entertaining (and sometimes indecipherable) results were posted on our Facebook page for voting. Congratulations to Kim P. from Bandit Industries, Inc. for creating the most “liked” masterpiece!
A second game, “What’s That Font?,” tested participants’ font-recognition skills, challenging them to match up sample type in 20 different fonts with a randomly sequenced list of the font names. Some found the challenge more manageable than others (although only one guest was stumped by the “Wing Dings” font!). In the end, Suzi H. from Baker Publishing came out the winner, correctly naming all twenty fonts. The complete list of top performers and honorable mentions:
Runners up (90% Correct):
Nicole P., Universal Forest Products
Rebecca S., Rebecca Sherry LLC
Emily L., Sauder Manufacturing Co
Sheri N., MLive Media Group
Honorable Mentions (80% Correct):
Sarah K., Kindel Furniture
Jim Y., Meijer
Elise B., Newell Brands
Jessica S,, Meijer
Jimmy F., Meijer
This year, our guests also participated in a community outreach effort, using their artistic skills to decorate sack supper bags for Kids’ Food Basket. From rocket ships and cartoon characters to seasonal designs and cheerful messages, attendees completed over 50 one-of-a-kind illustrations to encourage and support local school kids.
Sound Bites and Solid Advice
Customer response to the Lunch & Learn was immediate and favorable. The cool die-cut letters, personalized place cards, and giveaways from Neenah were universally popular, as were the games and contests. Many attendees also expressed enthusiasm about discovering Gilson’s broad capabilities and variety of services. (Our salespeople heard a lot of “I didn’t know Gilson could do that!”) Others found the presentation so timely and relevant that they immediately requested a video recording to share with colleagues who were not able to attend the Lunch & Learn.
To all who attended this year’s event, thank you for your participation, energy, feedback and overall enthusiasm. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we look forward to seeing you on the next go-around. But just a friendly word of advice: when you see the 2017 Lunch & Learn invitation, don’t wait to reply. This year, our guests were so eager to attend that we were completely full less than a week after sending the invitation!