Timelines & Deadlines

Timelines & Deadlines – where the time goes from product quote to delivery

Timelines & Deadlines

A timeline for promotional products is flexible in most cases. The time it takes from the moment you request a quote, to the point where the products are signed for at your door can be shortened to an extent. We can push factories along, or you can invest in air freight. Very rarely are we asked to slow an order down and from this we’ve deduced that speed is a priority for a lot of our clients.

It is important to note that it always pays to be prepared. Giving yourself a three-month period between the time you order merchandise and the time you actually need it is incredibly valuable. It means that you will be able to get the products you want, at the best price, without the stress of a tight deadline.

However, we know you’re busy. Promotional products aren’t always at the top of your list of priorities – and when they are it’s probably because you’ve planned the rest of the event detail and swag is the finishing touch. It’s coming up in a couple of weeks and you need that branded merch now. So, when the production timeline is not progressing as you think it should, it could be for several reasons. We’re listing them below in the hope that it helps you better understand what the hold up is.

The Product

The product you choose can determine how soon it can get to you.

Some of Impact’s factories can hold a range of stock on-hand, as well as manufacture to our clients’ needs. For the merchandise that is kept in-house, all it needs is the decoration to be applied. It’s called ‘local’ product and can be ready for delivery within 24 hours (more detail below).

The second most common product type is made-to-order. Impact has relationships with factories both in Australia and all over the world. Some manufacture your everyday products and others can make whatever you like. Our network of specialist manufacturers is what allows us to supply unique products to our clients.

Speaking of factories all over the world – the product you’re after may need to be imported. These products are called ‘indent’ stock. As you would have read in our custom products article, imported goods need a longer timeline, obviously because of travel and sometimes because of customs delays.

When we’ve got the time to source the perfect product for you, the variety of products available is massive. For when you’ve got a close deadline, the products become limited to what we can source with the shortest lead time. Meaning that you may not get the exact product that is perfect for your brand and message at the best price.

Production

It makes sense that the more products you require, the longer they will take to produce. Our factories are used to producing merchandise in bulk, so they’re able to manufacture and decorate hundreds of products simultaneously. They can be fast – but a reasonable timeline must be allowed to produce large orders.

For example, you can imagine that an order of 10,000+ units has got to take a bit of time. It’s usually between five and ten working days.

The quickest time to dispatch that we can organise is under 24 hours. Rush jobs have a higher unit cost though and are only available depending on the type of product and decoration.

Further to that, how detailed your logo or design is can also influence your lead time. The trickier your logo or other decoration is to apply, the longer it will take. A simple one-colour logo can be printed in a matter of seconds. Depending on the decoration type (here’s a list of what’s possible), your intricate multi-colour logo can take up to 15 minutes to print or embroider and even longer for engraving.

Shipping – Indent Sea vs. Air Freight, Couriers, Customs

We touched on it earlier, but shipping is a major player when it comes to a product’s lead time. It’s the part that we can’t really control. For local stock, we can arrange couriers based on their speed and flexibility. Through our 20 years of experience, we know the ones who can get the job done quickly. You can see our review on our couriers in another blog.

Indent orders, however, are mostly out of our hands once they leave port (sea/air). Unfortunately, we cannot predict the weather that may impact the freight of indent products. Nor can we hurry along products that have been delayed by customs.

How can you make it faster?

After placing the order – look out for the artwork proofs for approval. We send them to you as soon as we receive them from the factory. The faster you approve the proofs; the sooner production can start.

Similarly, make sure the artwork you send us is correct. The more times we go back and forth between you and the factory with artwork adjustments the longer your order will take. Moving a phone number and changing the orientation of the print will take sometimes-precious hours.

Let us know the delivery address at the point of order. That way we can tell the factory when we place the order with them and there’ll be no back and forth while the products sit there all dressed up but nowhere to go.

Finally, when you’re in a pinch and you need that merch faster than fast – you can shorten the timeline by paying a bit extra for express, rush or overnight shipping. Be sure to mention it as soon as you can so we can arrange it.

Conclusion

In our business there are few worse things than missing a client’s deadline. We understand how important they are – so we will do all we can to get your products to you in a timely manner. Some products are available as quickly as the next day – but it’s best to get things done in advance.

Let us know how we can help with your next event or promo roll-out – Contact us today.

Case Study on Allegion trade show

CASE STUDY 13: Allegion

Tea Infuser Bottle

Client: Allegion

Allegion Case Study

BRIEF:

Produce a high-interest prize for architects and designers to win at Equinox events throughout 2019 at the Allegion stand.

BACKGROUND:

The client wanted a drink-related item that could be used in conjunction with tea tins that we had supplied them. Allegion have run a ‘spin to win’ activity at their stand at Equinox events running across Australia in 2019 to engage with architects and designers and the tea infuser bottles were given away as the major prize. Their sleek styling, engraved bamboo lid and gift tube were the easy choice for a prize aimed at architects and designers.

OUTCOME:

The tea infuser bottles have been a major success at all Equinox 2019 events. Many of the winners of the tea infuser bottles commented that the prize was fantastic, and some winners said they really wanted a tea infuser just like the ones we were giving away as the major prizes.

VAHS apparel in NAIDOC march

CASE STUDY 12: Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Branded Apparel

NAIDOC March Apparel

Client: VAHS – Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

VAHS Apparel Case Study

BRIEF

Supply a product the client has ordered for the last four years because the quality is great.

BACKGROUND

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) has been an Impact client for the last four years. Their products are created and available for purchase at the NAIDOC march and pre-march festivals during NAIDOC week. They aim to create awareness and find solutions to the issues effecting indigenous people.

OUTCOME

This year’s VAHS branded hoodies, tees and singlets carried the organisation’s health message surrounding children and second-hand smoke. The extra visibility of their message helped carry it to all those in attendance. VAHS promotional merchandise also adds to the sense of community and pride felt during the NAIDOC march and other events.

Seasonal Promotional merchandise

Changing with the seasons – How you can keep your brand fresh all year round with seasonal promotional merchandise

Seasonal Promotional merchandise

Keeping up with the changing seasons in business is integral to staying relevant. Our digitally driven world means we are looking for the next thing almost before we’ve finished with the current one. While the weather can have some influence on your marketing plan, especially if the popularity of your product or service is determined by the season, it doesn’t mean you’re restricted to it. Seasonal promotional merchandise can keep your message reaching your audience throughout the year.

Public holidays, special business events and trade show routes are great excuses to create limited edition products that keep your customers and clients wanting more.

The benefits of updating promotional merchandise

As mentioned above, we digital age natives love newness. Freshening your promotional offering is a great way to keep things exciting for your staff and clients. It also means you can gift again sooner and avoid giving a branded notebook and pen set to someone who already has one.

Basing your new merchandise on a season, event or holiday can be an opportunity to focus your clients’ attention on a particular product or service. For example, you might use the Christmas season to give focus to your prompt product delivery times with custom Christmas packaging. Or you might draw attention to your charity efforts with promotional merchandise where proceeds are donated.

The temporary nature of the season will help your audience feel comfortable with a focused message. Though beware of how long you’re staying on the one thing. Move on to the next season and don’t let them get bored.

Finally, limited edition promotions create urgency for those wanting to buy. When your customers know that they won’t be able to get that merchandise again, they won’t want to miss out. FOMO is real and it’s a great motivator.

For example…

Seasonal promotions are a commonly used marketing tool to build sales at a time of year when products are most desired, or when they may not be as popular. The latter is an effort to continue consistent sales throughout the year. Below are some of the seasonal promotional merchandise we’ve provided for our clients.

Peters ice cream offered promotional apparel in the lead up to summer when their products are in steep competition with other cold treats. Their custom ugly sweater-vests made them visible on social media among their target market group at a very profitable time of year. Their product references the heat of Australian summer during the Christmas period, as well as summer activities that are considered quintessentially Australian.

Paying attention to internal seasonal marketing is also important. Burson Automotive ran a sun safety program that included branded staff drink bottles and custom sunscreen delivered to each location. Their staff welfare was the driver of the program and it allowed them to circulate branded merchandise. Taking care of your employees should not need a special event, however, a special event is a great excuse to spoil them.

Promoting yourself as a supporter of an annual event is a great way to promote your business and align it to the values of your community. The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) had product made in time for NAIDOC Week. They chose this time to launch their promotional product because they knew their message would reach their target audience better when it was delivered in conjunction with NAIDOC week events. Their audience was also expecting to see something from the organisation, so the message was anticipated. The inclusion of a giveaway product carried their cause further and will continue to carry it as long as their products are in use.

What’s on your calendar?

So, what’s coming up that you can use to boost your brand? Are there any sporting or community events that you can get behind? Is there a series of trade shows that you could launch a new product or service from? Promote your launch with special edition merchandise. Are tourists a bit reluctant to visit in winter? Remind them why they come and offer promotional merchandise to keep you front of mind.

There are many reasons to invest in promotional merchandise. Keeping your brand and messaging up to date is only one of the things that branded products can do.

Branded apparel and accessories for all occasions

On your sleeve – Branded Apparel and Accessories

Branded apparel and accessories for all occasions

Branded apparel is a popular choice for those wanting high-visibility promotional products. It was the number one promotional product category sold in 2017 for a reason. The opportunity to employ your own customers and potential clients as advertisers is well worth the price of the merchandise. Even though some clients are preferring branded apparel with minimal branding to avoid feeling like a billboard, you just need attractive items that carry a relevant or well-designed message to make yours a favourite. There are many other benefits in adding wearable promotional products to your stock.

Read on to see how branded apparel can work for your business.

Stats for branded apparel and accessories

In 2017, 35% of promotional products sold were wearables. That includes promotional t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, scarves, jackets and uniforms.

Did you know 58% of US consumers own a promotional t-shirt? It’s not too surprising that even more than that, 69%, own a promotional hat. That hat is even worn weekly by one third of men in the US. As we know, the more use a promotional product gets, the greater the number of impressions and the better it is for business, and the environment. In terms of your economic output, branded shirts will cost you two tenths of a cent per impression and hats, three tenths.

Brand recall is high among those who have received branded clothing – 85% of consumers remembered advertisers who gave them a shirt or hat. They can also remember the message of the product.

Special Events

Promotional wearables, particularly shirts and hats, are popular for events. One of the reasons being that people love something they can take home as a memento. Every time they put it on, they’re reminded of the time they had. Event apparel is also a way for people to advertise their participation in the event in the future – a sort of ‘I was there’ statement.

Remember to include the event slogan and social media tags so that anyone seeing the apparel can access more of your brand’s content and see what all the commotion was about. They may want to be a part of your next event if they like what they see.

Event apparel is often a t-shirt or hat given to an attendee for the very reasons above. Not to be forgotten, however, is what your team wears at the event. Even if it’s a trade show, having something out of the ordinary (not their usual uniform or business attire) for your staff to wear will help to build a sense of unity in your team and portray that to the people who see them. It also helps them stand out.

For things like sponsored fun runs and community events, limited edition branded apparel for your team is a simple way to thank them for their time in attending it. As we discussed in our post about employee engagement (link), we found that 90% of employees are happy to wear their company’s logo in public. Along with this, 57% of staff would stay with a company that provided them with promotional products.

Just some of the benefits of promotional apparel for events.

Uniforms

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In 2018, 50% of the Australian workforce wore uniforms. Included in these numbers were corporate apparel, polos, aprons and hats. Aussie employees don’t mind wearing uniforms, mostly because it takes the decision-making out of their morning routines. Customers also like it – 94% of them prefer staff in uniform because they can recognise them easily.

If your business has a uniform policy, adding your brand to it is an easy promotional opportunity. You’re not promoting your brand to your employees, but everyone with whom they come in contact. The presentation of your staff reflects your brand – be it casual or corporate – and adding the visual of your logo can help to make this correlation clearer. Wearing your brand is also a reminder to your employees that they are an example of your business and that can empower them to perform.

Branded merchandise can help promote your brand even if your employees don’t wear uniforms. Accessories like aprons, name badges and even PPE allow your team to continue to rep without interrupting their own outfits.

Promotional Socks!

We’re just adding this one in because we love doing branded socks. They’re a quirky way to add your brand to your potential customers’ everyday apparel. They’re not in your face but they’re seen whenever you put on, take off or tie your shoes. Why not add them to your social media marketing campaign like Mexican takeaway, Guzman y Gomez (link)?

Socks have a wide appeal. Unisex and easily hidden beneath trousers or flaunted with a pair of sandals (not our favourite way, but a common one). Fresh socks are also the epitome of comfort, so no one would turn them down. With the right design they could be fighting for a pair.

Branded apparel is a common and effective way of marketing your brand. There are a lot of options for any occasion – be it everyday work attire, event memorabilia, trade show uniform or social media promotion. Take your pick and run with it, because promotional wearables will get your message out and about.

Promotional pens for small business

Pens, pens, pens. They’ve been a top seller in the promotional products business since 1993 and in the top 5 products of 2018. Everyone uses them and everyone loses them and so they need more. They’re light-weight and carried easily in a pocket, purse and sometimes tucked behind an ear. It makes sense that they’re the most commonly owned promotional product by all consumers. So, whether you’re buying them for your workspace, for an event or as a corporate gift to your employees and clients – promotional pens are a cost-effective, useful and high-impression product, perfect for small business.

By the numbers

Promotional pens are so common that it can be easy to write them off as just a cheap, easily-brandable thing. However, we all genuinely appreciate a well-made writing implement with a smooth ink flow and ergonomic design. That’s why we get a little upset when our favourite goes missing – more on that later. Whether it’s for jotting notes at work, taking down a new contact’s details or doodling while on a long business call, a pen is the conduit through which our thoughts are noted down.

In case you’re yet unconvinced, here are the real-world numbers

  • 73% of people carry a pen with them at all times. Furthermore, 89% of consumers own a promotional pen. About 20% of them actually own 10 promotional pens!
  • Promotional pens are kept for about nine months, mostly because of their quality, but also for their practicality and a little because of the way they look.
  • Each of the 3000 impressions received over that nine months costs you less than a tenth of a cent. Talk about cost-effective!
  • In a study conducted in Belgium last year, researchers found that participants using an unfamiliar brand’s promotional pen subconsciously looked more favourably on that brand when they next encountered it. They only discovered notable numbers when the brand was unfamiliar. From this we can surmise that as a first point of contact, a branded pen is great for brand awareness and getting a foot in a new client’s door.

They’re proven to work, then, but which ones are best pens for small business? Here are the most common types.

Plastic

Plastic pens are the most simple and cost-effective of all pen types. They’re made, bought and shipped in bulk. They’ll have blue or black ink with a one or two-colour print on the side or clip. For you, they’d be great for intra-office use. Stock your workspace with these bad boys and you won’t need to worry for a while.

A survey taken by PaperMate gave some great insight into workplace pens. More specifically, why they go missing!

While we have all accidently stolen a pen from work, one in five employees surveyed admitted to stealing a pen on purpose. Half of these workplace thefts occurred because they could not resist the way the pen wrote – smooth and effortless, are the words used in the study. The next 36% of pilferings were blamed on how the pen looked. The remaining percentage of thefts were attributed to the outside colour of the pen. It seems a good office pen is very in demand. All the more reason to have your brand on it when it goes walkies.

Plastic pens are also great for expos, trade shows or any type of event where you’re giving something practical to people walking by. You don’t feel bad about giving them away because you know they’re great at building brand awareness, and you’ve hopefully still got boxes of them back at the office.

Metal

Metal pens are also good for expos. Their extra weight and ‘shininess’ give your brand a boost. They feel expensive and so feel like they’re worth more to the person you’re giving them to. While their dollar value is a little bit more than plastic, basic metal pens are still very reasonably priced.

For the more discerning small-business owner, you may like to explore the moderately priced pens. With a bit more heft and possibly a well-known manufacturer, you could have an effective corporate gift or ‘accidental’ giveaway.

We now know that a lot of pretty pens are pilfered on purpose. Promotional or plain, they are perpetually parted from their purchaser. However, pens are also often left behind by accident. Whether on a counter after signing out or under a clipboard clip somewhere. If a giveaway is too much or looks too desperate for you – try intentionally, accidentally leaving a pen. No one will mind, they’ve all done it too…by accident.

For those who would like to stand on ceremony and present a pen as a corporate or employee gift, there are designer, pen-maker-brand pens available for customisation. Fountain, Cross, Waterman, Parker, Balmain and Balenciaga – any you like. The name alone carries weight, then put your company name next to it and it definitely says something. In fewer volumes, these types of staff awards and corporate gifts are well within your reach. The practicality of such a gift combined with the power of the pen as a promotional product is an effective marketing move.

Other materials

We live in a day when plastic and metal are not our only options when it comes to writing implement. Evolved from quills and reeds in the olden days – to pens made from recycled cardboard, cork, wood, bamboo and wheat today. Ethically and responsibly sourced materials like these are fantastic, environmentally friendly alternatives. Their natural and sustainable source means that they have a smaller impact on the environment when they’re manufactured. They will also leave less of a footprint when they are no longer in use as they break down in landfill.

Manufacturers around the world are innovating production methods to include practices that are better for the environment. One in Turkey has developed a bioplastic that dissolves in landfill within three years. They also use recycled waste plastics in their pens. This increases the plastic’s lifespan and lessens its impact. Furthermore, this manufacturer donates a portion of profits from their recycled plastic pens to marine and habitat conservation foundations.

There is so much variety in the promotional pen game. Like bottles and bags (add blog links) each are suited for the many purposes you put them to. They’re more than just something to write with. A promotional pen can help you make a sale or widen your marketing reach. At the very least, it’s an attractive, smooth-writing implement that a co-worker envies enough to pinch while you’re not looking.

CASE STUDY 11: Rockwell Automation

Acacia Cheeseboard

Client: Rockwell Automation

BRIEF

The client wanted a valued gift that connected with their food and beverage industry customers. They would be gifted at the biannual AUSPACK event. The product had to be something that would get a lot of use, that wasn’t a desk or business-related item.

BACKGROUND

Rockwell Automation attend a number of tradeshows throughout the year. This year they wanted to make their customers feel special with a gift that they could enjoy with their family and friends. Our consultant took their brief and budget and came back with the Acacia Cheese Board engraved with the Rockwell Automation logo.

OUTCOME

The cheeseboards were so popular at the AUSPACK event that Rockwell ordered again for their biggest event of the year. The results at the TechEd expo were just the same. In their words ‘every single customer loved it and thought it was a really nice and useful gift.’ Rockwell have ordered the Acacia Cheese Boards three times in 2019 – it’s safe to say their clients cannot get enough of their custom branded corporate gifts.

Rockwell Automation engraved cheeseboard with printed box.

CASE STUDY 08: Honda MPE

Custom-Shaped Power Bank
for Honda

Client: Honda MPE

Honda Australia Generator Case Study

BRIEF:

Create a custom power bank in the shape of the all-new EU22i Honda generator. They were to be presented as gifts to Dealer Principals who attended the Power Equipment National Dealer Conference and if successful, added to Honda merchandise range.

QTY: 6000

BACKGROUND:

Marketing a new product is always difficult. Honda were looking for ways to market their all-new EU22i in a cool way. That’s when they came to Impact to design a miniature version of the generator.

OUTCOME:

We designed a concept visual of the power bank for Honda signoff and went to work on preproduction samples. After the sample signoff, we went to mass production and delivered in a timely manner. The Directors and Dealer Principals were so impressed with the outcome, the power banks were added to the merchandise range and rolled out nationally! Great win for both Honda and Impact!

Power Bank for Honda MPE

CASE STUDY 10: Peters Ice Cream

Maxibon
Vestmas Vest

Client: Peters Ice Cream

Peters Ice Cream Case study

BRIEF:

Create an Aussie version of the ‘Ugly Sweater’ for a Facebook promotion at Christmas.

BACKGROUND:

Celebrating Christmas the traditional way in Australia is always going to be difficult with the burning heat. That’s why Peters came to us for an Aussie take on the rest of the world’s ‘Ugly Sweater’.

OUTCOME:

We explored a variety of options and decided the ‘coolest’ way to get the effect of the knitted look was to do a sublimation on the AFL style Guernsey. The end result was incredible and the whole Peters team and Maxibon enthusiasts totally agreed! After delivery, the vests were an instant hit in the Peters offices and when fans saw them on Facebook they were going wild trying to win one of their own. All-in-all the promotion was highly successful for Peters in engaging customers. So much so that they brought them back in a different way for Christmas 2019!

Maxibon's Vest
Maxibon's Vest

CASE STUDY 09: Burson Automotive

Sunscreen
and Drink Bottle

Client: Burson Automotive

Case Study on Burson Automotive

BRIEF:

Locally source 1L pump bottles of high SPF sunscreen and drink bottles in time for summer. All branded with the Burson logo.

BACKGROUND:

Burson Automotive views the safety of their people as a top priority even when it comes to small details like sun protection. Their order was a part of a company-wide health and safety sun smart initiative. It required the Impact team to find Australian-made products and supply them to every Burson store lunchroom in Australia. Local products were necessary so that they met Australian standards and got to each location in a timely manner.

OUTCOME:

The sunscreen and drink bottles proved to be a great help during the summer months. Staff had the necessary sun protection they needed while going about their work and were able to represent Burson while using their branded drink bottles. With custom sunscreen bottles, Burson branding was consistent in store, from front to back.