A marketing group around a desk

Marketing Agency, Specialist Partner or Product Supplier: Which is better for you?

A marketing group around a desk

You’ve got your campaign all drawn up. You know who you’re targeting, when and why. You may even know what the whole campaign will look like. Now, you want to really give your campaign some punch and add a product or two. Something your audience can take away. It could be a thank-you gift, awareness building give-away or a prize for the lucky winner. Whichever it is, a physical gift will wow your consumers and cement your relationship. So, how do you go about finding that perfect product? Do you have a regular specialist supplier who is always ready to meet your needs? Or do you jump online and grab some pricing off a webstore? Maybe, this time, you let a marketing agency find the right one for your brand and work it in to your plan?

The good news is that all options are valid! All avenues will lead you to a product that is on-brand and suits your message. But which is better? To help you decide which option suits your situation best, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons.

Full-Service Marketing Agency

An agency can definitely get you the right product for your campaign. Agencies can also design your entire campaign for you. Besides sourcing pertinent products, a full-service marketing agency has the ability to coordinate the entire marketing of a brand from conception to delivery.

Logo, voice and tone, corporate colours, fonts and visual assets, content and scheduling are all part of the agency package. And of course, you can pick and choose which of those services you require.

To help your brand or campaign reach its potential, a marketing agency will employ its own promotional product team. Depending on the size of the agency, it could be one or two very talented individuals doing the heavy work. They might outsource any jobs that they can’t fit in, as well. In bigger organisations, each arm could have its own team to look after you – from designers to content writers and SEO experts. All your bases will be covered with a full-service marketing agency.

Pros of full-service marketing agency:

  • You don’t have to organize all the aspects of your campaign yourself (printers, manufacturers, product designers).
  • You don’t have to vet the vendors yourself or take the time to build relationships.
  • There is one channel for reporting – You will have one point of contact who understands your goals and vision. They will guide you through the whole process.
  • They can coordinate the entire campaign to have each aspect launched simultaneously.
  • One point of contact means details are consistent across the campaign (colours, designs, sizes etc. through the print, products and digital assets), which gives the end product a critical cohesiveness.

Cons of full-service marketing agency:

  • Marketing agencies aren’t usually specialised for products. This means expertise may be lacking in some areas.
  • Contacts and relationships for outsourced services may be fewer than a single service provider. This issue is mitigated when the company is big enough to have a whole team for one area. For example, a large marketing agency may have a promotional products team with the same knowledge and background as a promotional products company.
  • You are entrusting the look and feel of a product and the branding on it to someone outside of the organisation.
  • You pay more for the agency to be your go-between with outsourced services.

Specialist Promotional Products Partner

A specialist promotional products partner works closely with you to find or create products tailored to your campaign. Most often, you will send them a brief that includes what you’re after, who it’s for and what you want it to do for you. With that information, your account manager (and the team, if it’s a bigger company) will source or create the best product for your campaign. A promotional products partner will coordinate the design, manufacture, decoration and shipping of a product for you. Additionally, your account manager should be following up on the success of your campaign and looking to your next one.

Like marketing agencies, a company’s size will affect the level of service you receive. Small businesses have a one-on-one feel but may lack a larger organisation’s buying power.

Regardless of size, expertise is a promotional product partner’s best asset. Some (like Impact) have been in the game for decades. Years of experience mean that they’re on top of the trends in the industry. It also means that they’ve had time to develop strong relationships with their supply chain, delivering you better quality and prices.

Great specialist partners, whether their specialty is products, SEO, copywriting or design, also have complementary services that make your life easier. Content writers will have schedulers, SEO specialists give you custom reports and promotional products partners can give you warehousing, online portals and other helpful things.

Pros of products partner:

  • You have more control over the production and ordering process.
  • Can be cheaper than a full-service agency.
  • You can guarantee the look of product and presentation of logo through the proofing process.
  • You get a dedicated account manager to oversee every aspect of the process from conception to delivery, and including follow up.
  • A custom product can be made for your brand with every detail considered – down to the design on the swing tag.
  • You get access to a team of individuals with specialised knowledge of the products industry. Their contacts across the world get you the perfect product at the best price.

Cons of product partner:

  • A large range of options and styles can be overwhelming.
  • A product supplier cannot coordinate the full campaign with digital and content assets.
  • You may be repeating yourself for every vendor you’re working with. Especially if you’re getting multiple quotes.
  • A products partner may be biased in which product they present to you. That bias may be based on price, personal preference and ease of supply.
  • Products may be considered outside of the context of your whole campaign.
  • Large projects can take time from design, to manufacture, to delivery.

Product Only Supplier

A product only supplier is your one stop shop for general products at great prices. While they may not offer custom-made products, their ease and speed of service is exceptional. Many product suppliers operate through online stores. This means you can have pricing and place orders without the back and forth of dealing with salespeople – great for when you need a quote ASAP and have multiple approvals to navigate on your end.

Product only suppliers make bulking up your campaign, or stocking your office’s branded merchandise an easy job for a Friday afternoon.

On the other hand, some product only suppliers offer a single niche product. If it is something that aligns perfectly with your brand and resonates with your customers, that thing could be the only promotional product you need. Products like that often come at premium price, but are worth it for the ROI they will give your campaign.

Pros of product supplier:

  • Almost immediate quoting.
  • What you see is what you get.
  • Self-service with online stores.
  • Well priced standard products.
  • Specialty niche products with great quality that can’t be found anywhere else.

Cons of product supplier:

  • Little opportunity for customisation outside of branding.
  • Customer experience may feel transactional.
  • Limited product range from one or two manufacturers, or a single product.
  • No understanding of whole campaign and objectives.
  • Do not offer any other services outside their product.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you.

If you have the budget, but not the team or connections to create the campaign you want, an agency may be the right fit for you.

On the other hand, if you’ve got the details of your vision clearly, you like to control the process from beginning to end and you only need someone to handle the creation and integration of the physical assets, a promotional products partner will work well for you.

If it’s the last minute and you don’t need any of the bells and whistles, go for the product only supplier.

All are correct and all will deliver you a product to complement your brand.

Become an Iconic brand in 2022

How to become an iconic brand in 2022.

Become an Iconic brand in 2022

2022 will be an iconic year for many. The light at the end of the dark tunnel is in view. As businesses and countries re-open, the opportunity for growth is everywhere. Now is the time to re-invigorate your brand and create something recognisable, quintessential – something classic. If you’ve got the vision to build your brand into one that will last the ages, you cannot go past these eight pieces of advice. Here is how to become an iconic brand in 2022.

Make it versatile

Take your logo, your colours and fonts and make sure they are as effective on screen as they are on paper. Ensure your imagery translates across platforms and is immediately recognised on Instagram, Tik Tok, Shopify and Magento. You need strong and clear brand guidelines, so nothing is lost in translation.

A versatile brand embraces all its channels and presents consistently across them all. Varying the tone and voice of company messaging can be confusing for consumer. Mis-matched visuals make your brand look disorganised and chaotic. Neither of these things instil trust in your brand. In 2022 your consumers need to be able to know it’s you, without seeing your logo, wherever you are reaching them.

Make it simple

Is it time for a rebrand? With all the excitement of the possibilities before you, remember to subtract – rather than add – to what you’ve already got. Iconic brands are simple. Many have logos that are nothing more than a single word or image. Get rid of the fluff and get down to who and what you really are.

Go easy on the colours too. From a promotional products point of view, more colours are more expensive and don’t always look better. One or two signature colours really pop on products. Online, monochrome branding with a simple font is easy to read, recognise and remember. Simple is timeless.

Make it heartfelt

Hopefully you know your market. You understand their motivations and their pain points. You understand their emotions relating to your market and your product. That is good, because tapping into the emotions of your consumers in your marketing can increase sales by 23%. A 2017 study by Nielsen shows that consumers favoured brands that had higher emotive power in their marketing.

“Consumers who are emotionally connected to a brand are worth two times more to a business than the average highly satisfied customer. They will trust the brand more, make more purchases while exhibiting lower price sensitivity and follow different communication channels more intently.”

Forbes writer, Omar Jenblat, emphasises that a campaign must feature emotions that are aligned with the brand. The inclusion of emotional content has to be a “natural extension of the marketing strategy.”

Make it visual

An iconic brand can be identified by a colour or image alone. Thanks to the internet, humans are now experts at interpreting images both consciously and subconsciously. For marketing, that means less work for copywriters and more for designers. Hubspot claims that branded images – that is, visual marketing with your brand in it – yield 67% more attention than straight-up advertisements. Not only that, but people retain 65% of the information presented to them if it is paired with a relevant image.

However, be sure to stick to your branding guidelines and keep your brand consistent.

Make it social

You can’t expect your consumers to come to you 100% of the time. You have to go to them. Discover where they like to hang out and go there. An iconic brand will engage with their audience through social media. Once you’re there, try not to throw ads at them, hoping to get their attention. Instead, engage with your audience like you would in person. Be helpful, friendly, have conversations. You can build a community around your brand.

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out and partner with your audience’s shared interests. That’s how making friends works after all.

Make it authentic

In today’s world perfection is seen as suspicious and disingenuous. Consumers know when something is too good to be true, it usually is. Showing the reality of your brand builds trust with your market. Consumers are smart. They know life is messy, complicated and evolving, so your branding missteps and hurdles won’t come as a surprise. Instead, they’ll be a welcome insight into your brand.

Over the pandemic period trust in businesses increased – according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. Consumers felt they could trust businesses to do the right thing more than government and media. Transparency is the buzz-word for an iconic brand looking to increase trust and strengthen their following. So show your process.

Make it sustainable

A brand with a clear stance on local and global issues will win the trust, and business, of passionate customers. According to that study just mentioned, consumers place a lot of trust in brands to make good choices and be a force for positive change. 86% of consumers expect CEOs to make a stand against societal and environmental issues. An iconic brand will make good on that trust. Throughout your supply chain, from product to marketing, corporate to warehouse, opt for the most sustainable and globally conscious avenues.

Make it real

An iconic brand is an experience. It will extend past the logo and the product you sell. While online interactions are necessary and invaluable in our time, you must give your consumers something tangible to experience as well. Trade shows, store openings, product launches and demos link what customers have seen on their screen to how it will fit into their lives. Positive interactions and physical experiences give your brand value and make your consumers feel valued.

Do you want to make your brand even more powerful and memorable? Coordinate and combine your online and real-world marketing.

Every brand has the potential to become iconic, but not everyone makes it. You need a clear vision of who you are and why you do what you do. Combine this with simple, versatile visuals and powerful consumer engagement on- and offline, and you’ve got something that will last. For the details that will win your audience over and build your brand into the icon it can be, Impact can help.

Browse our blog for merchandise ideas, or contact our team today.

Employee Wellbeing at Home

Improving Employee Wellbeing – In the Office and WFH

Employee Wellbeing at Home

The last 2 years has thrown a lot at us all. We have encountered a lot of disruption in the business world. However, there have been a few positives to come out of this global experience. One of them being an unprecedented focus on employee wellbeing. The mental, physical and emotional health of team members has become incredibly important to help businesses maintain momentum. Companies that have nailed their health initiatives have thrived.

80% of large and 50% of small companies have implemented employee wellbeing programs among their teams. Whether in the form of activities, incentives or company-wide policies, wellness initiatives should be as varied as the individuals they’re looking to serve. Different though they may be, the desired outcome is the same: better physical health, greater resilience, and increased productivity at work.

We’ve seen and facilitated many effective initiatives at Impact. All are trying to have a positive effect on employee wellbeing. Generally, they can be divided into three categories:

Policies

Flexible work hours and paid parental leave are great examples that have employee wellbeing at the heart. Employer-funded professional development and education are effective at improving growth and satisfaction in the workplace. Clear and easily accessible feedback processes can also be included here.

Programs

Many workplaces have had success with in-house yoga, meditation and gym classes. These programs allow for a scheduled mental break in the workday and a way to get moving. Others have financially incentivised physical activities that can be completed by remote and WFH teams. Some companies offer money prizes and self-care bonuses for reaching goals and trying new things. Charity work, company retreats and allotted personal project time can also be opportunities to recharge.

Environmental Supports

Employers can support their team’s wellbeing by adjusting the environment where they work. Healthy snacks can replace lollies and biscuits in the lunchroom. More natural light, plants for air quality and making stairs an appealing option over the elevator will all support a healthier way of life. For employees at home, making sure they have an ergonomic workspace and the supplies they need can make their physical spaces more inviting and healthy.

 

“Soliciting feedback from employees on their interests prior to picking a wellness program is essential to its success. Everyone sees wellness from a different perspective and enjoys different activities.”

– Josh Awad, Depression Alliance

For those not in the office, maintaining relationships is top priority. Working from home, sometimes in literal isolation, has been seen to disrupt employee wellbeing in a major way. Therefore, programs that encourage individuals to be social and reach out are invaluable. All efforts need to be genuine, though. The Director of Health and Wellbeing at Price Waterhouse Coopers, Sharon Ponniah, gives the following advice:

  • Maintain connections.
  • Be authentic and honest.
  • Understand and acknowledge that circumstances and preferences vary widely. So be ready to address the actual needs of your team.
  • Encourage meaningful breaks throughout the day and facilitate time outs.

Wellness initiatives that actually work are intrinsic to company culture. Building an atmosphere of compassion and genuine care in the workplace and at-home workspace are essential for getting through this period with our health intact.

If you’re looking to reach out to your remote teams and boost your employees’ wellbeing, Impact can help.

Promotional Products in 2021

New Year Trends: Promotional Products in 2021

 

Promotional Products in 2021

2021 is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship your brand has built with customers and clients over the year that shall not be named. Last year was about meeting your stakeholders where they were. Because they couldn’t come to you. Promotional Products in 2021 are about looking after your people and their environments. Whether it is by helping them establish a new work-life balance or reducing the use of plastic in their day-to-day. Your brand can make a difference outside of your usual service or product offering. Here are the things that will set your brand apart in 2021.

Notebooks

Work from home (WFH) was a necessity in 2020. And we saw burnout increase due to the blurred lines between work and home. Without the commute to separate the timeframes and physical spaces, people are working harder for longer and ignoring their breaks. We’ve got more screens in front of us for more hours of the day and that fatigues our eyes and brains.

Your clients may be looking for a product to solve this problem for their stakeholders and a notebook is just what they need. A notebook offers the eyes a break from the screen, while keeping up the productivity. Also, the physical action of writing notes means greater information retention and a more organised WFH day.

Read our blog to find out more about why notebooks are a great tool for marketing and in general.

Plastic alternatives

Environmentally friendly promotional products have been one of the top trends for the last five years. It’s time to narrow it down for the big changes that are happening this year. In March 2021 South Australia is banning single use plastic. Straws, cutlery and drink stirrers will be the first to go. Thankfully, plastic alternatives are not difficult to find and branded plastic alternatives are widely available.

You can read more about reusable straws here and enquire about our range of reusable cutlery.

Not only are these reusable bits and pieces better for our environment, but they are also better for our health! We are responsible for their cleaning and carrying and so we are motivated to keep them in good working order. We know what cleaner we use and where the products have been. By looking after our reusable products, we are creating healthy habits and staying away from harmful bacteria.

Apparel

The business traffic slow-down that hit mid-year last year was an invaluable opportunity for many brands and businesses to refresh their look. From Adobe and Ampol to Kmart Tyre and Auto (now MyCar), redefining who you are and what you do is a valuable strategy when so much is changing around you.

Uniforms updates are an exciting part of rebrands, mergers and refreshes. There is an opportunity for your people to look even better, be more comfortable and represent your brand in a more meaningful way. Impact has a wide range of corporate and trade apparel including brands such as Gloweave, Stormtech, Van Heusen and Calvin Klein. View some of our collection on our online catalogue.

Brands have been reaching their customers in their homes with the help of social media. And their promotional product of choice? Apparel. Limited edition socks and hoodies carried brands through COVID, maintaining brand interest and building relationships. We love a giveaway, even more when its something we can curl up in. We predict this trend to continue in 2021 as businesses rebuild their brands and test out their new digital prowess.

Home and Leisure

Working from home since March last year, employees, clients and customers have become comfortable with the new way of doing things. While state guidelines are allowing workers to return to offices slowly, the WFH situation may be hard to give up. The ideal would be a happy medium where work and home are balanced to offer the best of both worlds. For that reason, we know that brands are embracing the home as an important space for their marketing.

Most notably they are looking to products that offer positive experiences in and around the home. Association between the brand and a good time is powerful. It will serve these businesses well into the future. If you’re thinking of doing the same, consider these wholesome, home-centred products.

The world is looking forward to a better year in 2021. Businesses especially are exploring new and better ways to reach customers and serve clients. Promotional products in 2021 are still an effective way to build brand awareness outside of the screen in a world that is increasingly digitally dependent. Put your brand in their hands and watch it grow.

Contact us today for more product ideas and marketing must-haves.

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.

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.

A successful event can be attributed to many different factors.

WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL EVENT? – 6 tips to boost your expo experience

A successful event can be attributed to many different factors.

Trade shows and expos are an investment. All elements of being an exhibitor will cost you; the booth space, man hours, booth display and swag. You put all this time and money into being there and standing out so that you can walk away at the end of the day with a bucket-load of new leads, opportunities and sales. Is that all there is to a successful event?

Maybe it’s a little more involved than ticking all the boxes and waiting for all the right people to give you their business. The amount of planning and preparation that goes into exhibiting at a trade show will determine your success. Below are six tips to give your tradeshow experience a boost.

1.Manage your calendar

Expo dates can be known months and even years in advance. There’s no reason for an event to sneak up on you. When you know your events calendar you can plan ahead and get everything you need ready. You can get a well trafficked spot, the right staff available and the exact promotional products you want without the stress of a tight deadline.

Also, when you know what you’re doing when, you can plan your product launches, rebrands and special promotions to coincide with your attendance at a trade show. The excitement you feel for something new happening in your business will affect the people around you. They’ll get excited too!

2.Organise your people

You want your best people with you when you’re exhibiting. The sales personnel who draw people to them, who build rapport easily and aren’t afraid to ask for the sale will get the most out of your expo attendance. You’re a team, work together and play to each other’s strengths. If you have a specialist with you, pass the specialist questions to them and get your ‘crowd-pleaser’ to draw in the leads, while your executive takes pre-booked appointments.

You can keep your team on the same page by briefing before the show opens and debriefing at the end of each day. It’s good to discuss the team’s expectations and strategy to keep efforts in sync. Then talk about your wins and losses so you can gauge your success later on.

3.Look the part

We’re not talking about the sales team here, although appropriate apparel and uniforms are important. Booth design is big business now. Gone are the days when a picnic table and a marquee was all you needed to draw a crowd. Today’s booths can be a mix of a coffee shop, office space and shop-front.

The consensus among the experts is that your expo space should encourage your visitors to linger. Keep them comfortable and engaged while they’re waiting to speak to one of the team. It could be treats and a comfy couch or a product demo and multi-media. Having an inviting and engaging booth will absolutely contribute to a successful event.

4.Get creative merchandise

The swag is a big draw for those attending trade shows. Samples and catalogues are great, but so are the things they can use right away. Things like notepads, pens and shirts are a sensible start. However, there are so many options out there that can be tailored to your business or the specific event to extend your reach and help you stand out from the other exhibitors.

Think about the people you want to remember you. What do they need? What do they use every day that could have your information on it? Do they share a common problem that you could solve with one piece of branded merchandise? It’s possible, just get creative.

5.Take the right details

In order to capture the great leads, you need to get the right information. Not just contact details – anyone can give or take a business card. You want to know the problem your leads are tackling, the best time to call them, their current solution/your competition. These details will help you to follow up effectively, with answers ready for their further questions.

Take notes. After a day or two, or three, of talking to prospective customers, all day, it will be difficult to remember who said what. If you make a physical or digital note, you’ll be able to put the conversation to the name.

6.Follow up

Contact your leads within 48 hours of the end of the show. If you can’t get to all the names yourself, that’s great! But delegate. Follow up your leads using your detailed notes. You may remember them, but they may not remember you and vice versa. Mention a key point you discussed to help remind them. People like to be remembered too. Knowing you paid attention during the conversation you shared will help build that rapport and endear yourself to your new client.

You and your company invest time, effort and budget into attending trade shows and expos. It’s easy to feel lost in the crowds once you get there, however you can make it incredibly rewarding. By incorporating the six points mentioned above to your expo preparations, you’ll guarantee a successful event.

There is a strong link between employee gifts and staff engagement. Useful and tech items are great employee gift ideas.

Employee Gifts and Staff Engagement – The statistics to back up corporate gifting

There is a strong link between employee gifts and staff engagement. Useful and tech items are great employee gift ideas.

You know that promotional products aren’t only for external marketing. A recent study by the PPAI (Promotional Product Association International) has reported that US brands are spending $4.3 billion on employee relations and gift-type products. They recognise the link between employee gifts and staff engagement. They’re betting big money on it. If you want your workforce to work harder for you, one thing you can do is show appreciation through corporate gifting!

Promotional products and the younger workforce

According to the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey, those born between 1980 and 2000 make up 40% of Australia’s current workforce. So either you are one or you’ve got one on your team. This generation has developed great flexibility when it comes to education, technology and employment. Therefore they are accustomed to fast-paced developments and great leaps in accepted knowledge and understanding.

The millennial age group is more aware of global issues as a result of being constantly connected to media. The never-ending stream of biased messaging and advertisement has fostered distrust towards government and business motives. Of the most commonly used advertising channels, print, is the least effective when trying to capture the millennial consumer. Promotional products are the most effective. The statistic for this is impressive – 88% of surveyed millennials would be more likely to do business with a company from whom they received a promotional product.

Studies have shown that almost every single millennial has received a promotional product in their life – approximately 30% have received between one and five promotional products in the last six months.

So why does promotional product marketing do so well with this demographic?

Effective branded merchandise will fit seamlessly into the life of the one who receives it. We’ve all gotten busier in recent years, so nothing should need to stop for an effective advertisement to be seen. The PPAI’s consumer study reported that 86% of millennials will keep a product they deem practical. Furthermore, 48% will hold onto a product that suits their personal style or personality and 31% will keep it if it carries a personally relevant message.

Standing out in an ever increasing and connected population is difficult. So if an individual is gifted something that speaks to their personality and helps them express their individuality, they’re sure to incorporate it into their lives.

Promotional products and employee engagement

Referencing the overall workforce, promotional products are also extremely effective for internal branding. If you’ve read our article about successful internal marketing, you’ll know that consistent messaging is vital. So vital, in fact, that 98% of employees have greater confidence in their employers when external and internal marketing are in sync.

In our first paragraph we stated that $4.3 billion is spent on employee relations and gift-type products. In 2017, the largest percentage of promotional products sold were used for employee relations at 18.5%. Business gifts were third, at 12.7%. That sum and consistent investment in internal promotions must indicate some correlation between employee gifts and staff engagement.

Deloitte found that as trust in business leaders diminishes, trust in employees grows. Employers are therefore trying to strengthen employee engagement and brand advocacy. Their aim is to let the genuine enthusiasm of their workforce do the talking. The PPAI’s study into the role of promotional products in the US workforce reported that companies with engaged employees out perform those without. The margin is 200%, saving $550 billion in lost productivity. Employee engagement can stem from staff knowing they are appreciated.

Demonstrating to your staff that they matter and that the work they do is valuable will be reflected in their future efforts. It will also show in the way they represent your company out-of-hours. The majority of employees (90%) are proud to represent their company publicly, so there’s no need to be shy about the merchandise you provide them with. However, the products with which you gift your employees should be thoughtful. As stated earlier, the more practical and relevant they are to your staff, the more use they will get and the more integrated your brand will become in their lives. Logically, the more staff are instinctively on-brand, the better they represent company values and are able to build your clients’ trust.

Showing you value their work and contributions to your business through corporate gifting is an effective way to retain great staff. PPAI found that 57% of the US workforce would stay with a company that provide promotional products to their employees. This figure is even more significant when considering the 1980 – 2000 age group. Millennials, who make up a significant portion of the workforce, are shown to only stay with a company for two to five years before moving on to a different opportunity. Staff retention and engagement then, is shown to be improved with corporate gifting.

There’s no need to be stuck for ideas. Below are some of the best employee gifts for staff engagement. All are able to be branded and personalized using the various decoration methods available. Contacts us for more ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas.

Employee Gift Ideas

  • Glass drink bottle
  • Desk puzzle
  • Lap top or conference bag
  • Waterman pen in presentation box
  • Smart drink bottle
  • Moleskine notebook
  • Stainless steel vacuum coffee cup
  • Phone grip and dash clip
  • Custom shape power bank
  • Wireless charging phone dock with Bluetooth speaker

Sources

Co-Branding is an effective Promotional Product Strategy. It says 'I'm with this guy!'

Co-Branding – The ‘I’m with them’ Promotional Product Strategy

Co-Branding is an effective Promotional Product Strategy. It says 'I'm with this guy!'

We love a good mash-up – when the great parts of our favourite things combine into something magical. When you nail a cross-over people will talk about it.  Co-branding is one strategy that works so well for starting conversation. So, when you’re thinking about your promotional product strategy, why not consider partnering up? Give your audience the best of both worlds.

‘I’m with them!’

Brand Awareness

Co-Branding is tapping into the best bits of a brand to strengthen your own. Aligning your company to another, more popular organisation can really elevate yours. Ideally, you’ll have similar target markets. This lifts your brand awareness among the people you should be doing business with. Or, if you are looking to break into a market that is slightly outside your usual, the endorsement of your co-brand can smooth the way.

Industry Credibility

An affiliation builds your credibility to match your partner’s as clients or potential customers see your companies as equals. Raising your profile within your industry can then result in further beneficial partnerships and collaborations. You will also set your brand apart from competitors, establishing yourself as an industry leader through the B2B relationships you build.

Company Values

Your brand will be saying ‘I’m with them’ in terms of company values. Aligning with a brand that is clear about what they value and their stance on social issues can change the way your company is viewed. A strategic affiliation can shift the opinions of an entirely different demographic in your favour.

The beauty of co-branding or strategic affiliation, is that your potential clients get a whole lot of information about you and your brand because they already know your affiliate. They can guess your values and priorities, your industry standing and your objectives by the fact that you’re working together with a brand that they know those things about. That being said, the partnership has to make some sense.

One of the longest continuous co-branding partnerships that we’ve found is the Dr. Pepper/Bonne Belle Lip Smacker lip balm. The soft-drink brand lent the taste of their product to the cosmetic brand in 1973 to create a product that is still being sold today. While the two seem like quite different companies, their target markets are the same and their products are highly compatible. The result is a logical collaboration of the two brands into a single product that has been popular for almost 50 years.

A promotional product strategy

Most commonly, co-branding happens as a promotional product strategy for one-off sponsored events. Companies will collaborate on their promotional products to distribute them at sports games and community events. Brands may also come together on singular occasions to commemorate an industry event for their shared client base.

A more subtle, and possibly more powerful, way of co-branding is branding “big-brand” products. But what on earth does that mean?

It means putting your logo on a product that is made by a big-brand, rather than putting your logo on a product next to a big-brand. An example of this kind of co-branding would be your logo on a KeepCup. It is a perfect fit if you want to project your brand’s stance on environmental responsibility to clients or potential customers. Alternatively, if you were trying to raise your brand awareness and industry standing in the rural community, you may use Akubra products in your company’s apparel or as branded merchandise.

Leveraging a product that is well-known and respected in your target market will immediately raise the perceived value. Consumers will keep and interact with the product for longer, resulting in many more impressions. The chances of them considering your brand for their next purchase or service needs will also increase. You can read more about perceived value and impressions in our Cost vs Value post.

Keep it appropriate

The right “big-brand” product will give your own brand credibility within your target market in the same way that conventional co-branding does. Seeing your employees in Calvin Klein company shirts speaks volumes to clients when out on sales-calls.

As previously though, the partnership has to make sense. The product must reflect your brand or the message you are trying to portray. If the match is wrong, you could lose the message and the credibility you were trying to attain, and then some. A confused client is not too motivated to buy.

Even the daddy of all big-brands is not immune to a dud co-branded product. Coca-Cola teamed with OPI nail polish in 2014 to create a collection based on Coca-Cola brands and flavours. This collaboration could have made sense if the polish was scented. Or even intended only to cash in on the signature Coke-red colour. Instead, it featured, among others; a silver for Diet Coke, a deep green for Sprite and a baby pink that even they couldn’t explain on their website.

Due to Coca-Cola’s behemoth status, it didn’t lose out on this misadventure. However, it has left a lot of people thinking, ‘huh?’

If you’d like to give your brand a boost, consider adding co-branding to your promotional product strategy. Partner up with someone that will raise your profile and strengthen your stance on issues you feel passionate about. The key is to know your target market, have a clear message and choose a brand or product that makes sense.

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Effective Internal Marketing shows greater vision success

3 Principles For Internal Marketing Success


Effective Internal Marketing shows greater vision success

Creating a cohesive team gets harder as companies grow. The ideal way to bring your employees together is through your company’s brand. When your team know what and what isn’t ‘on brand’ their interaction with customers and clients is consistent and reassuring, building trust and loyalty both internally and externally. That’s the goal. The reality is that getting to that point requires hard work and effective internal marketing.

Effective internal marketing gives your people, from top to bottom, a clear vision of what they are trying to achieve – whether it be a merger, re-brand or performance boost. Whatever it is, approaching internal marketing the same way as external will help to engage your employees and empower them to deliver brand vision.

Harvard Business Review’s Colin Mitchell outlines three principles essential to effective internal marketing. They are ‘Choose your moment’, ‘Link internal and external marketing’ and ‘Bring the brand alive for employees.’ As evidenced in the article, acting on these principles will build a solid company brand that is understood and lived by employees.

Principle 1: Choose your moment

Successful internal marketing often requires the momentum of structural or other great change to capture employees most effectively. During these periods team members look for direction in earnest and will be open to strategies that give them reassurance as well as purpose they are looking for.

Mitchell also warns of knowing when to back off. The enthusiasm of internal marketing done well may tempt you to continue to push the branding message after the moment has passed. However, this can lead to confused, frustrated and overwhelmed teams that just want to get the job done. Once the vision is caught, your employees must be given the time to implement and enact it.

Principle 2: Link internal and external marketing

Giving the same message to your employees as to your customers lets employees meet the expectations of customers and increases their trust in you. Your team is empowered by the knowledge that they are working toward the goals you’ve advertised to your clients.

Mitchell sites Nike’s internal ‘story tellers’ that echo their external marketing in their correspondence with employees. They share the successes of employees’ and founders’ initiative, or ‘just doing it’, to motivate staff. In using external marketing slogans internally, Nike shows itself as one cohesive company, true to its brand.

Principle 3: Bring the brand alive for employees

 

As much as knowing the target market is essential for creating potent external branding, so is knowing your employees when marketing brand internally. Understanding the team’s pain points and sources of resentment, then actively solving them, are crucial to making your employees feel like they are part of the brand and your vision.

Mitchell says,

To overcome people’s natural cynicism, the campaign and the communications materials must ring true for employees and must draw on the company’s very soul, reflecting and reinforcing what people care about and what makes them come to work in the morning.

When they feel included in the brand, your employees will have little trouble taking it on and reflecting it in everything they do.

Internal marketing should be more than a company-wide memo and a mug with your slogan on it. While we absolutely support employee gifting, it should be used at the right time and in conjunction with meaningful communication to successfully market your brand to your team.

You can read the original article here.