Products trending in 2020

The Wrap Up: Products Trending in 2020

Products trending in 2020

The year is ending and many of us are happy to see it go. On the eve of the new year, let’s review the promotional product trends that were must-haves for many of you in 2020.

Socks

They may seem unusual for a promotional product, but socks were trending massively in 2020. Perhaps it was the no-shoes policy many took up during their months working from home that led to their popularity. Or maybe it’s because they’re a fun, quirky promotion featuring an epitome of comfort.  Whatever it was, promotional socks have slipped onto our feet and into our hearts this year. One of our favourites were these, created for Mexican eatery Guzman Y Gomez.

Hoodies

Hoodies are another product that has gained popularity with more people housebound. They’ve always been on our radar, but in 2020, hoodies have really taken a front seat. The comfort, practicality, decoration potential and endless designs made them a favourite giveaway or apparel line for businesses – catering to their customers and clients.

Face Masks

An obvious trend emerged in April and continued through the back end of 2020. Face masks were not universally mandatory but were a justified precaution in a lot of places. Many companies saw the branding potential of face masks and purchased them for customer-facing staff. Keeping their teams safe and on-brand through the upheaval of COVID.

Sanitiser

Another product to trend in 2020 thanks to the pandemic was sanitiser. A clear necessity for every workplace and individual, pump bottles and tubes of sanitiser with custom labels began trending in February and skyrocketed in May.

Caps

The cap, a promotional staple, continued its popularity in 2020. Usually an easy casual product to add to any kind of giveaway, this year caps have been a favourite for staff in all industries. Caps offer effortless branding and are available in so many styles that it’s impossible not to find one that represents your brand. It could be a trucker, flat cap or classic six-panel curved-peak snap back. Whichever you go with, branding is effortless.

Drink Bottles

Drink bottles, especially metal drink bottles had time in the Australian sun in 2020. For our clients, branded drink bottles were distributed to clients and customers as merchandise and giveaways. The greater perceived value of metal drink bottles improves how marketing messages are received and gives the bottle longevity – so extending the promotion and increasing your brand impressions. If you need more convincing about how drink bottles work as promo, take a look here.

Our clients stand apart from competitors with superior products to promote their brands. They trust us to know what is going to help them make an impact in a crowded and sometimes uncertain market. 2020 has been a challenging year but we’re bringing everything we’ve learned into 2021 so look out for our product predictions coming in January.

Eco-friendly straws

Straws that don’t suck! A marketer’s guide to eco-friendly straws

Eco-friendly straws

As a marketer looking for promotional merchandise you want a cheap, easily-customised product that is used often by everyone. A few things match this description – pens, drink bottles and tote bags come to mind. Straws are another that fit the bill. While their troubled, plastic past may cause you to shy away, eco-friendly straws are the way of the future.

Below are the most common plastic-free straws that are perfect for your summer promotion. We’ve included details from recyclability to mouthfeel so that you can find the ultimate eco-friendly straws for your customers and clients.

Stainless steel straws are reusable, durable and long lasting. Their size and shape mean that they’re very difficult to dent, bend and almost impossible to break. They’re also resistant to rust and corrosion. Stainless steel is food safe and dishwasher safe. While it does use more energy than plastic to produce, a stainless steel straw only needs to be used 150 times to counteract the energy used to produce it. That is well within its life span because they are so durable.

On the downside, it is reported that stainless steel can give drinks a metallic taste. And they can be “jabby.” While they can have smoothed and rounded tops and bottoms, their rigidity makes stainless steel straws prone to poking mouths. This can be fixed, however, with a silicone mouthpiece.

Stainless steel straws often come in their own canvas bag with a straight straw, bent straw and straw cleaner. The bag is printed and the straws themselves can be both printed and engraved with your logo or message. They travel easily within their pouches, with no risk of being bent or broken in a handbag or pocket. They are great eco-friendly straws for everyday use.

Glass

A straw made of glass may be your clients’ favourite straw ever. Primarily because of its satisfying weight and smooth mouthfeel. Being see-through, glass straws are easy and fun to clean. You can watch as you brush away any juice bits or smoothie residue. They’re also endlessly reusable and 100% recyclable.

These straws are commonly made from borosilicate glass, which is shatter, bacteria and temperature resistant. That means your sparkling soda and creamy coffee can slide up that tube without sizzling or freezing your fingers. It’s also tasteless – which, in this case, is a big plus!

However, while they are shatter resistant, glass straws are not unbreakable. Any sharp impact, a fall on to tiles for example, may break your glass straw. Luckily, the pieces will be big so clean up is a breeze. The breakage factor does put people off glass straws because it makes them tricky for travelling and not the easiest for children.

Printing is simple on a glass straw. The most common way would be a pad print. For longer lasting branding, you could also go with etching. A clean and classy option.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a popular product for branded merchandise. It’s a barely-processed, natural material that can be made into many things. With its fine grain and soft colour, bamboo is perfect for brands looking to make a statement with an eco-friendly product.

As a straw, bamboo is a great reusable, sustainable and biodegradable resource. They are sturdy, not temperature sensitive and gentle in your mouth. However, they have been known to have a woody taste. Bamboo straws are hand wash only and have a limited life span, because of their internal texture. Their porosity means that over time bacteria will build up inside the straw despite regular washes. The final downside to bamboo straws is that there are no bendy or bent options. This might impact those needing straws for accessibility.

Silicone straws are a family and marketing favourite. The plusses for whoever is using it are many, so we’ve listed them below.

  • Soft on your mouth (great for kids)
  • Dishwasher safe (great for adults)
  • Made from food safe silicone
  • Reusable
  • Easily transported
  • Can be cut to size
  • Can be straight or bent

For marketers, silicone straws come in any colour you can think of. They are easily printed. They can even be debossed for more subtle but impactful branding. Thanks to their malleable construction, silicone straws also come with a range of carry options. Such as hard square and circular, keyring and carabiner clip cases. These all have solid branding spaces themselves.

Unfortunately, silicone straws are not recyclable and will one day end up in landfill. They must be washed often and well, too, because bacteria love silicone’s texture as much as you do. Silicone deteriorates over time and while its life span is longer than bamboo, it does have an end date.

Paper straws are the first we look to when sourcing a plastic straw alternative. When we want something single use for an event. They can be a great pop of colour in a glass and even greater when that colour matches your brand and décor. However, while they are biodegradable, there are a few things about paper straws that make people look elsewhere.

Firstly, we know how they feel when they get soggy…ew. Paper straws are not particularly sturdy and can collapse mid-suck if your beverage is on the thick side. While they do degrade, paper straws are still single use. The energy used for production (more than plastic straws) is not counteracted by a long, practical life. And finally, paper straws cost around 2.5c to produce and contribute to deforestation.

If you are still looking for a single use, biodegradable option for your event, paper is a fine eco-friendly, plastic alternative. They come in easy to brand recycled and recyclable card boxes and won’t end up in the ocean, up a turtle’s nose.

Wheat/Hay

The modern straw’s namesake is a simple length of wheat or hay. And since the world’s been looking for more plastic-free options, wheat and hay growers have made the original straw available again. The straws we’re after are a biproduct of wheat and hay production and would otherwise be discarded. Putting it to use instead extends its life and minimises waste. The downsides are that their production cost is about the same as paper straws, and like bamboo straws, there are no bent options. That’s it.

So, what are its other virtues?

  • They are a single use option but can be composted and will break down in 1-2 months.
  • They are taste-free – so no grassy after tones.
  • They are gluten free because the gluten in wheat is found in the seed and not the stem.
  • They can be easily cut to size and come in a range of widths.
  • They are made in Australia.
  • They come in a recycled card box with your name on it.

If you’re interested in how they’re made, this is the process. The hay stems are hand selected for length and width. The outer layer is removed and the straw is sent for rinsing. Once foreign particles are washed away, the stems are soaked and rinsed again. They are then air dried and cut to a uniform length for packaging. They are sorted and inspected and then washed again. After they are dry, they are disinfected and finally packaged in that recycled, plastic-free packaging.

Straws are not always the first product you think of when you want to make an impression. There are a lot of options out there. But in a world where individuals are trying to make a change for the world, straws are great. One person using a reusable straw like those above stops 584 plastic straws per year, from ending up in the ocean. Eco-friendly straws are great for people, great for the planet and great for marketing. For more environmentally conscious products, go to our online product catalogue. And have a read of our enviro bags blog.

Stress balls and shapes

Do Stress Balls Actually Work? Super stress shapes for health and education

Stress balls and shapes

Wellness is a hot topic as we look for ways to cope with everything that is happening this year. Keeping well during the displacement and uncertainty of bushfires and then the uncertainty and frustration caused by COVID19 has been a bigger task than many expected. Therefore, it might be surprising to hear that certain promotional products can help reduce this stress and anxiety. Even more surprising that they can improve academic performance and reduce pain in post-procedure medical situations. These are pretty bold claims for the lowly stress ball, but it’s been studied and proven, so here’s why you should include them in your merchandise offering.

The History

The stress ball has a long history beginning in Baoding, China during the Ming Dynasty. Still used today, Baoding balls are two smooth stones or weighted metal balls that can be held and turned in one hand. The movement and weight of the balls promotes concentration and relieves anxiety.

The modern version of the stress ball came about after the invention and increased availability of polyurethane. As an alternative to rubber, PU was bouncy, pliable and was the perfect material for a child’s ball. That ball moved into corporate spaces in the 1980s as workers recognised that stress was an issue and experts discovered it could be relieved through tactile self-regulation (more on that below).

Here’s an interesting fact – the original stress ball included a ‘glass shatter’ sound chip that would activate when the ball was thrown. Just to provide the satisfaction of breaking something in frustration.

Almost immediately, the modern stress ball was employed in marketing, branded with logos, slogans and contact numbers. And so it continues today, in many shapes, colours and material. Have a look at some of our range here.

The Science

Humans are great adaptors and one of the coping strategies we have always used is self-regulation. We all do it. It could be tapping your foot, twirling your hair, or wringing your hands to ground and calm yourself. Or it could be controlling the noise level in your workspace through noise-cancelling headphones and instrumental music. Clicking a pen or bouncing on a gym ball are also common methods of self-regulation. Fidgeting is what it is called in school. What it is, though, is controlling sensory stimulation to optimise your focus and manage your emotions.

Did you know that handling a stress ball offers enough distraction to ease anxiety in medical settings? Less anxiety leads to reduced pain and better post-procedure outcomes for patients. For stress, the action of squeezing a PU ball requires enough physical exertion to release tension and frustrated energy. That physical release helps to divert your mind from stressors and refocus on tasks.

For continued concentration, the best items are ones that you can manipulate without having to watch. These include stress balls, fidget cubes and Baoding balls. Chain loops, mini bean bags and hand brushes are also great sensory toys for focus.

A 2006 study found that a class of grade six students had better concentration and learning outcomes when using stress balls during lessons. The result? A 10% increase in the class’s average writing assessment score.

Fidget spinners are not on the list of focus-promoting products because they need hand-eye coordination to use. Their movement also distracts others and so are not great for group-learning situations. They do have benefits, however. Fidget spinners increase fine motor skills through repetitive movement, vibration and muscle memory. So not all bad. For recreation and a fun promotion, it’s all good!

The Marketing Opportunity

As we said above, stress balls have been a promotional product since the 1980s. Small, lightweight and very affordable, they tick all the boxes of a classic promotional product. Stress balls and fidget items have the bonus of physical and mental health benefits. Being so, they are great for a wide range of industries. As well as health, sports, education they would be welcome in corporate and trade event spaces too.

A stress ball shows you care about your corporate clients and understand the pressure that people in your market feel. Stress balls and fidget items are useful, helpful and are great carriers of your brand and messaging as we’ll talk about next.

How to optimise branding

Stress balls have evolved over the last 30 years. While they still exist as a small rubber or foam ball, their shape is unlimited. This introduces so many new opportunities to represent your brand.

From anatomical hearts to shipping containers, lightning bolts to farm animals, stress shapes are fully customisable. Have you got a mascot? You can have mini stress versions for giveaways and displays. Custom shapes are a fun deviation from the classic ball and give you an invaluable opportunity to express what your brand is about.

You can appeal to your industry or show off your specialty. You could also empathise with your consumer – If your business is device repairs, perhaps a stress phone is a good alternative when your clients want to throw something across the room. The multitude of options allows you to get really creative with your branding. Shapes, colours and messaging can complement or contrast the product, your promotion or your overall brand.

Stress balls, stress shapes and fidget items are versatile and functional promotional products. Their branding opportunity is great. Their industry relevance is wide. For such small items they have big benefits to your clients and your business. Take a look through our catalogue or get in touch to see how we can add stress shapes to your promotional merchandise.

Promotional notebooks

Branded Notebooks – Why they’re so good

 

Promotional notebooks

As well as being handy for recording strokes of genius, notebooks are proven to increase concentration and memory. They are also a promotional product staple. The notepad’s big brother is a great product for the corporate space, leather-bound and embossed. Fit for jotting notes on the run as an A6 spiral-bound or on the bedside table ready for journaling. Notebooks are invaluable for students, helpful for the everyday and an unmissable opportunity for marketers.

It’s what they can do for us

There are so many proven benefits to owning, carrying and using a notebook. Those benefits include:

  • Improved handwriting and spelling.
  • Increased concentration, memory, and information processing.
  • Stress and anxiety relief.

Many of us may be out of the habit of taking notes. Some of us haven’t done it since school.  However, there is a lot we could be missing out on by not writing down the things we think of and observe. With a notebook we can keep a track of seemingly unimportant things that might actually be important. For example, where you had that one-of-a-kind salad that you’ll never find anywhere else. Our notes don’t have to be a fully detailed lexical masterpiece, just a word or two. There’s no need to forget, if it’s written down, it’s there for good.

Capture that crucial idea! If you’re carrying a notebook, you’ll be less likely to lose that fleeting thought, that spark of brilliance that leads to other great ideas. Notebooks are a great vehicle for thinking and processing our lives.

It’s how they’re received

After padfolios, branded notebooks are the most-searched promotional desk item. According to APPA (Australasian Promotional Product Association), last year 74% of consumers had one promotional product on their desks and 59% had two. The approximate cost per impression of a branded notebook is half a cent. Less if you’re one of the few to be working at your office desk with people moving around it eight hours a day, five days a week.

As corporate and employee gifts, a personalised Moleskine notebook has a high perceived value. In addition to that perceived value, 72% of human resources managers confirm that promotional products are integral to employee retention and engagement. Notebooks are a useful product that can demonstrate a brand’s appreciation to their team. You can read more about promotional products and HR in our blog.

It’s what they’re made of

When it comes to what their made of, you may be thinking, “paper, duh.” But you would only be partly right. Promotional notebooks are made from a wide range of manufactured and recycled products. And recycled paper is just the beginning of the sustainable notebook’s story. Pages can now be made of recycled stone waste, making them waterproof. Other paper alternatives include plant waste, coffee waste, even elephant dung! Talk about sustainable.

It’s how they look

A branded notebook’s decoration opportunity is prime, with a large, flat space on the front and back covers. Embossing looks great in leather and PU (foil embossed, if you’re a little bit fancy). Engraving increases perceived value and is striking on fabric covers too! Pad, digital or screen printing will cover any other branding design you can imagine. Read about how products are printed here.

It’s the little extras

Branded notebooks are available in any colour and combination and with a range of accessories. Such as pen loop and pen; elastic, clip or magnet closure; bookmark ribbon; recycled paper belly band; document pocket and so much more. Did we mention built-in wireless chargers? Well, you can have that too. These little extras increase functionality as well as perceived and actual value.

No question, they’re for you

Well, not for you, for your clients, partners and employees. They’re promotional products after all, they need to be out there for prospects to see, use and appreciate.

So, if you can’t think of a use for branded notebooks in your promotional offering, give us a call and we’ll find one.

Products that are better for your business

Better for your business – Products to enhance your brand

Products that are better for your business

For marketing professionals, it can be easy to grab a bunch of promo and be done with it. Throw some hats, bags and bottles together and you’ve got yourself a great promotional starter pack. However, you can do more to get the full effect of promotional products enhancing your brand. With a simple switch of classic merchandise, you can have products that are better for your business. In this blog, we’ll give you more impactful alternatives to common promotional products, to set your brand apart.

Drink Bottles

Plastic bottles are great. Many are made locally. They are an easily accessible and functional promotional product. Most promotional bottles are BPA free and come in a range of sizes, catering well to schools, sports teams and community organisations.

Now, if that doesn’t perfectly describe your brand, perhaps plastic drink bottles aren’t for you. Consider double-walled or copper insulated stainless-steel bottles instead. The mirage bottle can easily be adapted with pop and flip lids for casual settings, or powder-coated and engraved for a more corporate feel.

Tote Bags

Non-woven tote bags are an economical favourite. They’re made from polypropylene fibres, bonded through heat, chemical or mechanical processes. The range of available colours, PMS included, and large decoration opportunities make non-woven bags even more attractive.

However, if you want to say more about your brand than ‘we needed bags’, opt for something different. Fabric totes are having a moment as businesses endeavour to declare their environmental stance. Cotton, jute and bamboo make great long-lasting and natural alternatives. They also fit the rustic aesthetic that is right on trend at the moment. You can read more about their individual environmental footprints in our blog.

If your look is more modern or minimalist, a clear PVC tote may better suit your brand. Still environmentally conscious; sturdy and highly reusable, this tote is essential for travelers and eventgoers.

Pens

Plastic pens are such a promo staple that it can be hard to think that anything will do the job better. Plastic pens are featured on front desks and given away en masse at events. They’re cheap, functional and easily branded, receiving 3000 impressions over their life.

Could anything be better for your business? Consider a metal promotional pen instead and see how your brand shines. The price isn’t so different to the plastic version, but people love the weighted feel of a metal pen in their grip. This little detail increases your product’s perceived value and sets your brand apart from competitors.

You can take a more in-depth look at promotional pens here.

Phone Accessories

Thanks to the proliferation of technology in the last 20 years, tech accessories have become a popular choice for promotional products. Well-priced and universally relevant gadgets show an understanding of the contemporary client’s pain points. Phone grips and phone wallets are affordable and useful, but not very exciting for the recipient.

A camera lens phone attachment, however, will have your customers and employees looking forward to the next opportunity to use it. They’ll have you to thank for the professional quality of their social media snaps. And each time they take it out, they’ll flash your brand.

Caps

Caps and hats are an easy go-to for event giveaways and merch. Headwear is a popular product, especially in Australia where sun safety is a must. Branded hats are even collected. That being said, it can be hard to separate your products from those already out there. Slight differences in the style or decoration can help, but there’s only so much you can do.

Hats made from recycled PET will be better for your business. And the environment. And your clients. In manufacturing products made from recycled PET bottles, carbon emissions and energy are halved. That’s on top of the benefits of removing plastics from the environment.

As a hat, recycled PET fibres are lightweight and durable and woven to allow for moisture wicking. They’re perfect for sporting events and uniforms. Bring your company values to the forefront with a cap that makes a statement.

Some promotional products are classics for a reason. They are appropriate in a range of situations; they are affordable, and they’re used again and again. But each item you choose says something about your brand. Get that message spot on and those promotional products will be the best for your business. Don’t be afraid to step away from the conventional, that’s where creativity shines.

Market your company core values

Why Market Your Company’s Core Values & How!

Market your company core values

Your company’s core values are a declaration of who you are and how you do business. They are a defining component of your corporate culture. Your core values should:

  • reflect the kind of business you are
  • clearly state the traits you regard highly in both employees and clients

If you already have company core values, how well do you know them? Are they a true reflection of your people and culture? Forbes studies have shown that clear company values are crucial to corporate culture, a unified team, and its productivity.

Market your core values internally

Your company values may be yet to be determined. Perhaps they are sitting in a folder, unseen since the day you developed them. Whatever their status, now is the time to make them known company wide. Market your business’s thoughtfully chosen traits and watch as your team aligns.

Demonstrate who you are

Knowing what you value in your business gives team members a guide to what kind of employee they need to be. It also is an insight to the kind of people they are working for. This builds trust in both their company and their colleagues. Core values are also a great way to set an expectation of behaviour without giving a list of dos and don’ts in your onboarding pack.

Strengthen culture

Because employee contribution is imperative in defining your core values, their active participation means there will be a crossover in the attributes that are important to you both. You will know your teams are made up of members who have like vision and passion. Employee contribution also provides ownership, which encourages individuals to embody your company values. This, in turn, strengthens the overall company culture.

Declare your core values to the world

Build brand trust

Company core values that are out for everyone to see is a fantastic way to build brand trust. Your values reflect who you are as people, and what you stand for as a business. By marketing them, you are setting the challenge to meet them in every interaction – and your clients and customers will be paying attention. The more you can meet and overreach your values, you are building trust.

Attract like-minded individuals

An ethical supply chain and honesty in your production are features you should be proud of in your business. Perhaps products or services that benefit your community are things vital to your brand. Whatever it is that your brand stands for, stand tall and say it loud.

In marketing your values and principles, you can attract talent that is passionate about their work. You will also find opportunities to partner with like-minded businesses in mutually beneficial relationships. Building a network of contacts, clients and partners that share values is important for the longevity of your brand.

“Values should be defined, developed, made real and above all integrated into the business strategy and DNA. They should be seen from the perspective of ‘shared value’ for business and society.” – Dr. Roger Hayes, IPR

How to do it well!

After you have included everyone in the value-defining process, you need to embed those core values into your company’s daily life. If you are debuting them internally, make it a big deal. A team email will not be enough to implant your values in the minds of your employees. You want them to be able to remember what your company stands for so they can embody those values in their work.

  • Mnemonic devices work well to both summarise your values and help your team remember them. For example, you may be lucky to find that your values are Resilience, Integrity, Support and Excellence, making RISE the perfect mnemonic device to employ.
  • Advertise your values to your staff regularly, through correspondence and promotional products.
  • Include them in your email signatures.
  • Feature your values in company newsletters, expanding on what they mean to you and your team.
  • Regularly reward employee embodiment of your values. Employee gifting is proven to strengthen company culture and improve productivity.
  • Share your values with your clients and ask them about theirs – you can strengthen professional relationships through mutual trust and share beliefs.

Core values & promotional products

Products that act as an example of your values are a great way of demonstrating what they mean to you. Environmentally conscious promotional products can show your commitment to sustainability. It’s an obvious one, but easily done with the extensive range of products available.

If teamwork is one of your values, there is branded merchandise that can help facilitate your team’s collaboration. Products like whiteboards and sticky notes can encourage communication and cooperation between colleagues. You could even get creative with your delivery. For example, a values jigsaw puzzle, tumbling tower game or a pack of custom printed playing cards could all be a welcome addition to your staff areas. Branded casual apparel, in addition to corporate uniforms, is also a great way to enhance team feeling outside of the workplace.

For those who value curiosity; notebooks, backpacks and portfolios are a great way to show your commitment to your team’s continuous development. Providing products that they can use in their learning and professional growth demonstrates your support.

Finally, merchandise can easily be decorated with your values. Printed, embossed or engraved with the very traits you’re looking to nurture, products are a proven way to deliver your message. For everyday use, Stainless steel drink bottles, reusable coffee cups and eco-friendly lunchboxes make great employee gifts and will be used often, inside and outside the office.

Don’t be shy about your values. They are who you are and what you believe is important. Whether you’re rolling them out for the first time or renewing your focus on them to build a stronger team and culture, marketing your company’s core values is a great way to create cohesiveness and energy in your business.

Restaurant Merch - shirts

Restaurant Merch: Branded apparel to make you stand out

Restaurant Merch - shirts

We’ve talked about branded apparel before; however, this blog is not about staff uniforms or give-away hats. This blog is about the trending product that builds brands almost as fast as hand sanitizer is selling out. Restaurant merch and branded apparel.

Branded apparel draws on nostalgic appeal for restaurant patrons who want to sing your praises. Retro logos and characters from childhood campaigns can play on universal brand recognition so they are less about drawing in new customers than giving the fan-base a uniform. Smaller venues can capitalize on their restaurant’s often-unique theme and feel and give their loyal, local following another way to share beyond word-of-mouth. Read on to see why it’s a good idea for your brand to provide branded merch and apparel.

A reminder of the experience

Like tourists buying souvenirs from the destinations they’ve visited, visiting diners can purchase a memento of their experience. They can take your brand with them and advertise it to a new group of potential customers. The good food and great time they enjoyed will be remembered whenever they see or wear that item.

A branded T-shirt, mug, cap or any manner of products can be a memento and reminder of a first date, milestone birthday or where their family ate lunch each Sunday. Eating together is proven to build strong connections, just as clothes are proven to be potent memory objects. Let your customers take a physical reminder of their experience with them and share the love for years to come.

Support their favourite brands

Just like musos buy merch to support their favourite bands, so too do foodies to show their support of their best-loved eatery. As displayed particularly in the next example.

US restaurant, Arby’s, has provided it’s fans a subscription package that delivers a box of Arby’s merchandise to subscribers’ doors every month. The restaurant has a large following on social media, driven by their ‘fellow fan’ marketing philosophy. It is one that celebrates and joins in on what their diners love, making them feel understood and appreciated without being told what to like. Fans were keen to get a hold of the exclusive restaurant merch. The subscriptions sold out in under an hour.

For a great restaurant “too much of a good thing” does not exist. Patrons can eat multiple times a week at the same spot because they love the place. You can give them more to love for the times they can only daydream about your food.

For big and for small

Small takeaways and corner shops often have the most dedicated following. How good is your local chip shop or up-and-coming small franchise? We can name a few outstanding local eateries with reputations their diners would fight over. It’s not surprising that frequently returning customers relish the chance to show off their favourite restaurant. Word-of-mouth recommendations work well, and so do promotional products.

Promotional apparel such as a shirt, has space for a big print (visible from further away) and is worn by a large percentage of the world’s population. 80% of people in the US own at least one promotional t-shirt. This amounts to the second highest number of impressions of all promotional products – one shirt will expose your brand to 3,400 potential customers. The cost of just one of these impressions is two tenths of a cent. Affordable, yes?

You don’t have to be the Hard Rock Café to expand your brand to include apparel. The story behind the now-iconic shirt is that after three years of successful business, the café sponsored a local soccer team. As a sponsor, Hard Rock’s logo was printed on the front of the team’s shirt. The extra shirts were returned to the store and given away to customers. That Hard Rock Café shirt soon became a thing and there were more people coming in to buy one than eat at the café. Now it’s an international brand with venues, stores, museums and accommodation everywhere.

How to do restaurant merch successfully

Unless your brand has a long history with a cool vintage design, creating promotional apparel that looks like your uniform will just make things confusing for your staff and customers. Instead consider choosing stand-out and contemporary artwork that fits your brand. Go with something dark edgy to match the urban feel of your inner-city restaurant. For a bright and sunny fro-yo spot, go with bright and sunny colours. Look to local artists and the trends of your audience. For some brilliant Australian examples, see this article by the Gourmet Traveller.

Don’t be confined to shirts. How about a thick and cozy hoodie for patrons of your near-campus coffee shop? Sports-fabric tees for your juice joint or leather vests for your biker bar? Loafers for your bakery? Knowing your clientele makes the decision of what to go with much easier. Just give the people what they want, your brand will be all the stronger for it.

You can deliver more than takeaway to your customers while they’re safe inside. Contact Impact today to see how great your brand looks on apparel.

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Personal Promotional Products

Personal Promotional Products – Essentials essential to your marketing

Personal Promotional Products

Health and beauty products were the second-most favourite promotional product received by consumers last year. They were second only to wearables. So, what’s the draw? Why do we like them as giveaways? Their number one appeal is usefulness. Personal promotional products are the things we all use, the little insignificant things that help us take care of ourselves. Sometimes, they’re things we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves – but once we’ve got them, we use them ALL THE TIME!

Below we’ve listed the personal products that make fantastic giveaways!

Mini sunscreens

Likely to be used until you have to unscrew the cap to get the last little bit – sunscreen is a staple product in Australia. Having a mini tube in the car or the handbag is pretty much essential. It keeps your skin young and protects you from the damaging rays we’re blessed with in the land down under.

Mini sunscreens will give your brand a tonne of the good kind of exposure as they’re used to the last drop. They’re taken everywhere so the impressions will be high. The real appreciation, however, would come from giving a useful product – something your clients or prospects actually need.

Hand sanitiser

You mightn’t be in the market for surgical masks or stethoscopes, but we’ve definitely got the next best thing. Personal hand sanitiser can be a very important addition to a glovebox or purse, first aid kit or 72-hour pack. Brand it and you’ve got another very in-demand promotional product.

Tissue/wipe combo box

A very cool combo product that made us shout ‘why didn’t we think of that?’ when we saw it in Germany. Luckily we did and it’s available to you!

It’s a tissue pack – then you flip it over and it’s a pack of wipes. Mothers know the number one rule of parenting is ALWAYS carry wipes. Now, they can carry wipes and tissues at the same time. This personal promotional product will be used for sure. Messes are a nightmare but every time they pull out your tissue/wipes you’ll be the life-saver.

Australian made essential oil facial spritz

Okay, so spritzing isn’t something absolutely everyone does. They want to, they just don’t know it yet and you can be the one to show them the wonder of it. Calming sunburned skin and freshening your face throughout the day, a light facial spray is a very accessible luxury for your customers.

As a branded promotional product, the small spray bottle is filled with your choice of essential oils. Then it’s mixed with toning witch hazel and soothing aloe. It can even be colour-matched to your brand, setting you apart from competitors.

Recycled paper lip balm

Your favourite lip protection now comes in environmentally friendly packaging and is available for branding! Express your commitment to the environment and to your clients and give them something they’ve not seen before, will love and feel great about using.

Sustainable packaging is becoming more and more prevalent as we all lean into biodegradable and recyclable alternatives. Be at the front with your personal promotional products.

Bamboo toothbrush

Another product embracing plastic alternatives is something that you might not have thought of for promotions. You’d be surprised by how many people would love to get their hands on a bamboo toothbrush. Why not just give the people what they want? They’ll love you for it and if they follow dentists’ instructions, they’ll use it twice daily. Think of the impressions!

Vegetable-based soap with kraft paper band

It’s a mouthful but it’s a cracker of a personal promotional product. Given away in a hamper or on their own, these custom soaps are a unique and highly impactful product. Even better, they’re environment and animal friendly, and biodegradable with recyclable packaging.

Every time your clients use one of these products, which is often recommended by professionals, they’ll think of where it came from. They may even refer the product to their friends. Personal promotional products have great capacity for referral enquiries, as we’ve experienced for ourselves.

Next time you’re thinking of branded merchandise that gets consistent and frequent use, consider personal promotional products. The impressions are high, the cost is low, the quality is great and the functionality is very present.

What personal use products could your brand employ? Contact Impact today or leave us a comment below.

Sources:

2019 Promotional Product Association International. PPAI Research: https://ppai.org/media/5482/ppai2019consumerstudysummary.pdf

event merchandise environmentally friendly

Party On! – How to make your event merchandise environmentally friendly

event merchandise environmentally friendly

Wherever people come out to celebrate there will be others trying to cash in. Festivals and parades are flooded with advertising attempting to reach every person there. They’re great for promotional products because the attending demographic is narrow. The chance of you reaching your target market is high. After a festival or social event, your branded merchandise shouldn’t be included in the clean-up. Environmentally friendly promotional products are a matter of purpose and consideration. Read on to see how you can keep the earth in mind when you next purchase merchandise.

Limit production waste – Choose products with a purpose

You may believe that it’s up to those to whom you’re giving a product to only take it if they want it. But it’s also your responsibility to supply something that goes beyond the ‘want’ factor. It’s better for you and better for the environment. For a product to be worth it’s manufacture, it should be useful or informative – something that serves a purpose. It’s even better if that purpose is more than your advertising message. Then the product will be useful for both you and your client or customer, making it last longer and more worth the energy and materials spent to create it.

Manufacturers globally are creating merchandise that is environmentally conscious all the way from design to dispatch. Ask us how to access these products for your brand.

Biodegradable is better

There’s a wad of garbage three times the size of France floating between Hawaii and the rest of the USA. It is primarily made up of plastic. 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic – and that’s only 34% of the total amount of plastic in the ocean. The Ocean Clean Up has some interesting but scary figures about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Take a look for yourself (The Ocean Clean Up – Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

Plastic alternatives are freely available, as we’ve mentioned in a few previous blogs. Products made from biodegradable materials will have a significantly reduced impact on the environment should they end up discarded. Natural materials like cotton and jute, recycled paper and cardboard, bamboo and cork are fantastic substitutes to plastic. They are commonly used in promotional bags, notebooks, pens and home wares. These environmentally compatible products reduce your company’s footprint and help you stand apart.

Sometimes environmentally friendly promotional products have a larger price tag. They also have greater worth outside of the numbers. As expressed in an article by the American Marketing Association,

‘Is it worth spending extra on better-made products when people seem willing to snag whatever you lay out? Yes: Because consumers don’t make emotional connections with junk.’

Your brand isn’t garbage, your promo shouldn’t be either

What have you thought when you’ve seen promotional products are sticking to crumbs at the bottom of a conference bag, kicked partially under a table or poking out of a trash can in full view of all passers-by? Obviously, you don’t want your brand to be associated with anything in that condition. Your promotional products are gifts from you to your clients. You’re showing your clients and prospects what their business is worth to you through the products you give them. Think of your products’ perceived worth. It increases with a product’s relevance, fit to purpose and the emotional connection mentioned earlier.

Give relevant products that tell a story. Whether that’s your story or the story of what your recycled products used to be. The telling of it creates a further emotional connection that helps people hold on to your product.

Environmentally Friendly Promotional Products

Products like the below are made from natural or recycled products. They’re suitable for festivals and other events and will leave a better impression that those trodden underfoot by the crowds.

  • Cork reusable coffee cup
  • Recycled paper notepad
  • Seed pencils
  • Bamboo Pen
  • Watering can
  • Branded fruit
  • Bamboo cutlery set

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of an upcoming event. All the opportunities that you could seize with well-placed branded merchandise can sometimes make you go overboard with the giveaways. Instead of giving into the voice that tells you to ‘buy all the things!’, think about what your customers need and what they’ll use again and again. If you can get that product made from recycled or biodegradable materials (almost anything is possible), that’s even better. Environmentally friendly promotional products are a step toward more sustainable practices. They’re worth it to you, it means a lot to your clients, and we love to see greener products out and about.

Let us know how Impact can help you choose environmentally friendly promotional products or follow us on LinkedIn for more inspiration.

Public Holidays

Public Holidays – The days off you don’t want!

Public Holidays

Holidays! You love them! We love them! They’re a special time that we can celebrate whatever it is that is being celebrated. Usually we get together with family and friends and leave work-life behind for a while. A little time away helps us to recharge, realign and rest. However, when you’re waiting desperately for an order to arrive, hearing that everyone has taken the day off is not welcome news. Below we’ve listed the most inconvenient public holidays that will get in your way – and are best factored in when you’re planning your promotional products.

Christmas and New Year

The biggest holiday in the western world warrants a week off on its own. With all the planning, shopping and then meal prep – you need the few days before. Then a couple of days after for recovery and getting the house back to normal. Soon after comes New Year’s Eve and the opportunity to celebrate the ending of a year and bring in the new.

With the two together, many people get two weeks off – from the weekend before Christmas to the Monday after New Year’s Day. Before taking their annual leave, they finish up what work they can and prepare for the new year. This may include processing your order. Or it may include processing the order that scraped in before yours, pushing yours to the new year.

Shipping over this period can also be dicey. Tis the season of giving and in our global society that means sending. Whether its local, state to state or overseas – people are using the post to capacity. The chances of delays are increased.

The lesson is: Get your Christmas and New Year’s merchandise and corporate gifts sorted well before December. Thinking of Christmas in September/October may be considered tacky, but if you’ve got big plans you cannot wait until the season rolls around.

Chinese New Year

The biggest holiday in the Chinese calendar is Chinese New Year. Its date is determined by both the lunar calendar and the solar calendar, which gives the holiday the other names – ‘Lunar New Year’ and ‘Spring Festival’. The first because it is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The second because it signals the end of the coldest part of Winter and start of Spring, as determined by the sun’s longitude.

The holiday lasts approximately 15 days. In 2020 it begins on the 25th of January and goes until the 8th of February. Chinese New Year is celebrated with red (for luck) decorations, food (particularly fish and dumplings) and being together with family.

Like Christmas and New Year, Chinese industry takes a break for their holiday. Work is wrapped up and suspended as people all over the country travel home to their parents and relatives to begin the holiday. The Reunion Dinner is done on Chinese New Year’s Eve and is a big event. This mass movement is called Chunyun and equates to 2.5 billion trips over the whole New Year season.

Factories close officially for the duration of Chinese New Year but can remain closed for the month surrounding the holiday. If your product is being made in China, it’s best to avoid ordering in mid-January and February to avoid delays. If you do require products in the first quarter, save yourself some stress and order before November. It may seem like an unnecessarily long lead time, but it will guarantee your order is manufactured and dispatched before the holidays begin.

State and Local Public Holidays

Melbourne Cup Day

Celebrated Australia wide, Melbourne Cup Day is only a public holiday in Victoria. They get the full 24 hours, while the rest of the country get the three minutes, thirty seconds at 3pm. Because of the public holiday, no orders can be received, processed or dispatched from our Melbourne factories or warehouse. It’s less of a disaster and more of an inconvenience and definitely something we can work around if we have a bit of time.

Show Days

Another inconvenience is the show day. Almost every state and town has one. Some are one- to three-day affairs, while the major cities can take two weeks to get through all the events and proceedings.  In most cases there is just the one day set aside as a public holiday for people to go and have a look. So, like Melbourne Cup Day above, it’s not a big deal if your product order coincides with a show day. It may affect our factories and warehouses, but only for a day. We can work around it most of the time.

When to order

Avoiding the busy season is a sure-fire way to keep out of trouble. So, order your Christmas promo and end-of-year corporate gifts in September or October, at the latest. Your early Spring merchandise should be ordered well before Christmas to avoid interruption by Chinese New Year.

We’ll let you know if any of these will impact your order. As we’ve said before in many of our previous articles – the longer lead time we’re given, the easier it is to navigate any delays, holidays and unforeseen circumstances. If you’ve got an event coming up, start thinking about the products you’ll need well in advance. Keep the public holidays in mind and be sure to give your order a three-month lead time just to make sure you get what you need by the time you need it.