At Gilson, we believe that progress and sustainability go hand in hand. As a marketing solutions provider and commercial printer, we’ve evolved over the years to meet our clients’ challenges while staying true to our commitment to the environment.

In the midst of changing autumnal colors and the scent of ripe apples in the air, our company recently gathered at Robinette’s Apple Haus to commemorate a significant achievement—the 75th anniversary of our establishment back in 1948. Despite intermittent rain, the event left a lasting impression, bringing together employees and their families to celebrate decades of hard work, dedication, and shared accomplishments.

The atmosphere resonated with laughter and camaraderie as colleagues and their loved ones enjoyed the festivities. Situated amidst the cherry fields, the celebration struck a balance between nostalgia, gratitude, and the joy of the present.

A standout feature of the day was the participation of a long-time employee, doubling as a skilled caricature artist. Transforming ordinary moments into keepsakes, the artist added a personal touch to the event, capturing the unique personalities of our team members.

For those seeking alternative ways to capture memories, the photo booth selfie station became a focal point. Colleagues and their children gathered, adorned with goofy props, creating fun and candid snapshots that encapsulated the spirit of the celebration.

The aroma of smoked barbecue, courtesy of Big Red’s BBQ food truck, permeated the air, enticing everyone to indulge in a feast of mouthwatering delights. From savory pulled pork to tangy barbecue sauces, the culinary offerings celebrated local flavors, leaving taste buds dancing with satisfaction.

The festivities continued with horse-drawn wagon rides, a timeless tradition allowing us to explore the sprawling orchard. Amidst apple-laden trees, conversations flowed, and bonds strengthened against the backdrop of Michigan’s natural beauty.

No celebration would be complete without the fall pairing of cider and donuts. The sweet scent of freshly pressed apple cider and warm, sugary donuts created a comforting embrace of tradition that resonated with every attendee.

Our company picnic at Robinette’s Apple Haus was more than a celebration; it was a testament to the strength of our community, the bonds we’ve forged, and the resilience that has sustained us for three-quarters of a century. Here’s to the memories made, the friendships strengthened, and the promise of many more years of shared success.

Best of Wide Format

Gilson first brought you a behind-the-scenes look at the impressive renovation of the former Heritage Towers (now The Milton) in Battle Creek, MI back in June of 2020. That project is now gaining national recognition, and was unveiled as one of 12 winners of the 3rd Annual Best of Wide Format Awards competition by Big Picture magazine.

How a little advanced planning can yield higher engagement for your next virtual event.

Meeting with clients and prospects virtually vs. in-person has become somewhat the new normal. But a half-hour meeting is much different than a four-hour virtual event, such as the Gilson Annual Sales Meeting. With this meeting for 30+ sales and executive leaders on the horizon, we knew that we needed a creative solution to engage, intrigue, and excite.

The Challenge

At-home attendees of virtual events and webinars face an abundance of distractions: emails pinging into their inbox; spouses, kids, and pets interrupting; the timer on the dryer going off or the delivery guy dropping off another Amazon package. So, how can a meeting host keep an audience engaged amidst these constant distractions?

The Gilson marketing and sales development team collaborated to create a ‘Virtual Meeting Kit’ that would be sent to each attendee’s home in advance of the meeting.

To ensure timely delivery, they asked each invited guest to complete a short survey that indicated where they would like to receive the package (at the office, at their home, or a different remote location) depending on where they would be the day before and day of the meeting.

Also on the form were a few questions related to food preferences, as well as a color preference for a promotional item that would be included in the kit, just to pique the attendee’s interest.

The Solution

Leading up to the event, attendees were instructed to have their ‘Virtual Meeting Kit’ nearby but not to open it until the meeting. This would keep individuals on their toes, as they wondered when and how the box would be used.

As the meeting began, attendees were invited to open their box and enjoy the snack provided for them. Each recipient received a branded coffee mug, a small bottle of water, and two breakfast snacks based on their responses to the pre-event form. They were also greeted with a personalized notecard, thanking them for attending.

Attendees were kept on their toes during the Million Dollar Club Awards presentation and the coveted Salesperson of the Year Award. A hidden compartment in the bottom of the box held their awards (along with some fun-size participation ribbons), and additional meeting resources.

The Results

At the conclusion of the virtual event, attendees were reminded to complete a survey by scanning the code found on the box insert. Within 24 hours, 60% of attendees had completed the survey. An additional 20% completed theirs within 48 hours.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, not only for the virtual event but also for the Virtual Meeting Kit itself. Even the more seasoned sales veterans who have had to overcome significant technological skill gaps were complimentary of the new format.

“After 53 years in sales, the only sales meetings I attended that were more memorable happened to be at Disney World (true story) during my first two years in sales. Great meeting!!!” quipped one attendee in an email to the organizers following the event.


Hosting an Event? Be Open to the Possibilities.

If virtual events are your “new normal,” don’t settle for a purely digital experience. Reach out to Gilson and discover how you can make your next virtual event an experience your attendees can touch and feel.

T’was the month before Christmas, and all through the shop, no elf ink was printed, not even one drop! Gilson’s customers stood by their mailboxes with a glare, wondering when their elves would be there.

“Where’s my elf?” they demanded, “Where’s my reindeer? My tree? Gilson always gives me swag, it’s so clever! And free!”

But no elves would be printed in the Gilson workshop that year. Gilson was spreading a new type of cheer.

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When it comes to securing the attention of a crowd at an event, Gilson has been known to hit their mark. This year’s inaugural showing at the National Trailer Dealers Association (NTDA) Convention in Colorado Springs was no different. Thanks to a few well-aimed direct mail pieces, targeted emails, and a handful of Nerf® darts, […]