Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Are you keeping up, the promo market is changing fast

Time waits for no-one, so time-stamp this entry as when we look back at this entry in the near future even the things discussed below will be out dated.

I'm talking about the fast-changing and sometimes strange trends which influence the promotional market, and in particular the ‘tech’ sector. Technology products are, by their nature, usually sleek, powerful and reflect popular tastes in design. However, that’s not always the case!

Product life cycles are shortening rapidly, with digital photo frames and handheld video cameras becoming just about obsolete in the face of the rapid expansion in ownership of smartphones and tablets. Current trends in global technology will also probably see the demise of other mainstream promo items such as the computer mouse and computer flash drives over the next three years or so, as touch screens, voice and retina control and ‘cloud’ storage transform our digital lives. In the mean time, USB's are still a frequently ordered item by our customers and we have orders going through every week for these.

One of the latest fads that's done the rounds is the Selfie Stick, the ultimate tool in self-portraiture for the selfie fan who has to have it all. In this product, a Bluetooth remote control is coupled with a telescopic pole featuring a clamp for your smart phone that enables the user to take remote-control selfies at the touch of a button.
It’s a tough time to stay in touch with what’s hot and what’s not, so we as promo experts have a key role in advising our clients which promotional gadgets they should be considering for this time next year. We regularly conduct massive overseas buying trips and invest heavily in keeping "in the know" as to what will be hot and what will not.

The selfie stick is not the only passing fancy. How about the Bluetooth umbrella?
This brolly senses when it rains, plays a tune and allows you to take calls through the umbrella itself or using smart phone gloves with built in microphone and Bluetooth, allowing the user to literally ‘talk to the hand’! Beanies are now enabled with Bluetooth too.

Also trending right now are fitness brands such as the below which we supply that are made out of water resistant soft touch TPU. They are a Bluetooth Activity band / watch worn around the wrist with OLED display. Allows the user to monitor activity levels and overall lifestyle. Includes time feature, tracking / monitoring goals for steps, activity, speed, sleep patterns, etc.

Or, staying on the same theme, how about this item - A clever health gadget that allows you to monitor how much water is being consumed during the day. A free app allows you to set targets for your water consumption during the day and then links this data via Bluetooth to the water resistant coaster. Another product that mixes health and technology.

Another massive trend currently is for ‘portable power’, or the ability to keep business devices charged and connected for longer. Power banks are now coming in literally all shapes, sizes and styles! Some of the more creative are even shaped to look like ancient stones – handy accessories to take camping with you – or with suction cups built in to attach your device while charging.

One thing’s for sure – this particular promotional gadget will be around for quite some time – at least until smart phone and tablet manufacturers find a solution to extend battery life, as typically, current models tend to run out about three-quarters through every day of their use. Until the time that problem is solved, we in the promotional market continue to have a lucrative and fashionable technology gift which is guaranteed to be used each day – and hence act as a strong ‘brand reminder’.

Friday, 18 October 2013

All going mad for freebies

A SURVEY commissioned by the BPMA has shown that like the rest of the world, the UK is a nation of freebie hunters, and that brands who use promotional products as part of the marketing mix will reap the benefits. The survey questioned 1,000 men and women.

Distributors, like myself, that recommending particular types of merchandise to brands and end users noted that three in 10 consumers said they had purposely changed a regular brand in order to receive a promotional product. This is good news!

Nearly half of those questioned (48%) would switch their brand for cooking accessories, while nearly 42% would switch for a coffee mug.

Other items that can persuade consumers to change brand include fizzy drink-branded glasses (39%), a cuddly toy, such as the puppy associated with a well-known toilet roll brand (34%), the meerkat toy that was made popular in a recent advertising campaign (34%), a cosmetic purse or tote bag (30%) and the monkey toy associated with a familiar tea brand (28%).

Men are most likely to switch their brand for a coffee mug, while women would switch their brand for cooking accessories.

Of the promotional products that consumers have and use, 62% said they had a pen, 35% a mug, 33% a keyring, 25% a T-shirt or sweatshirt and 25% a drinking glass, with other items of merchandise kept and used including USB sticks, bags, caps and notepads.

The reasons why consumers keep promotional products will be familiar to distributors, with 82% of consumers saying they keep them because they are useful, 24% because they are relevant and 20% because they are good quality.

Interestingly, over a quarter (26%) keep them simply because they are a novelty.

The power and attraction of promotional merchandise is clearly demonstrated in the results of the survey, with almost a sixth of consumers saying that they would use “devious means” – such as giving out false personal details or gaining uninvited entry to a venue or event – to get an item.
The importance of usefulness when selecting a product again comes to the forefront, with almost two thirds accounting for their underhand behaviour by the usefulness of the product.

The results showed that the most popular item consumers are devious about is free branded toiletries, with a third (33%) conning their way into receiving them.

Other items obtained by cunning means include drinking glasses (31%), iconic items of clothing such as t-shirts or caps (30%) and towels (21%)

Drinking glasses are a popular freebie with men, with two-fifths using devious means to secure one, while a quarter of women have been deceiving to bag a free soft toy.

The places where consumers have or expect to pick up promotional products was highlighted, with 80% saying they would at exhibitions, 60% at roadshows, 49% in hotel rooms, 38% in banks, 32% in hotel receptions and 31% at car dealers or garages.

Looking at branding on promotional products, nearly half (47%) said that “significant” branding was acceptable, whereas a third (33%) stated that branding should be “subtle”.

While it might be expected that younger people would be more fussy about the brand on a product, in fact the results showed that the reputation of a brand would sway over three quarters of 35 to 44-year-olds (77%), whereas half of 18 to 25-year-olds would not be affected by this.

In the current difficult economic climate, nearly three-fifths of consumers said they are more likely to keep freebies than before the recession.

What’s more, one in 10 consumers said they would give a free branded product as a gift to a friend or family member – again showing how product choice can help to raise brand awareness among not only the direct recipient, but among wider friends and family as well.

Gordon Glenister, Director General of the BPMA, said: “The study clearly shows why promotional merchandise remains popular with brands and end users.

“If the right product is chosen to suit the target audience, then it is desired and kept by them, giving ongoing brand exposure.

“The results of this survey re-affirm what previous studies have shown about the power of promotional merchandise in aiding brand awareness and sales.”


Monday, 2 September 2013

The benefits of promotional products

Did you know...

Promotional products are part of daily life. They are powerful because they are long lasting, cost effective and they work, both as forms of communication and as useable, necessary tools. Have a read of the below...

Out of 2000 respondents, 90% confirmed that they own promotional products. On average they use them once per day and 50% could recall the brand or company that gave it to them. By comparison this brand recall reduces to 38% for radio & 28% for TV, which indicates that recall of these advertising mediums is not as effective.
(source- GWW Germany 2011)

83% of respondents like receiving a product with an advertising message. 48% would like to receive promotional products more often. On average 91% had promotional products in their kitchen, 74% in the workspace and 55% in the bedroom. People keep promotional products everywhere.
(source- PPAI global survey)

Research has shown that many people have more positive views of companies after they have received promotional products. The majority of people, 61%, also report that they are encouraged to look into the products of the company after receiving a promotional item. Receiving a gift also has a positive effect on securing new customers.
(source- 2FPCO-Etude de l’object publicitaire en France 2011)

Integrating a promotional product with television and print outpaced both mediums alone in message credibility and referral value.
(source- PPAI study 2006)

Promotional products have the flexibility to fit the cost of a promotional campaign to any budget.
(source- PPAI)

Promotional products deliver a lower cost per impression than any other media.
(source-ASI global study)

On average 70% of respondents keep promotional products for anything up to 4 years.
(source-ASI global study)

Everyone loves promotional products.

Our products perform a major service in promoting business, products and services in all walks of life, throughout the world.

We are proud of this and the more of our end users that know about these benefits the better!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

6 Ways to Make Your Story Go Viral

6 Ways to Make Your Story Go Viral

How do you get people talking about your product or idea? It's less unpredictable than it seems.

Viral Wave

Every business needs to get the word out, every leader wants their ideas to spread more.
Here is an interesting article from when Dave Kerpin spoke with Jonah Berger, the leading word-of-mouth scientist, to get answers. Berger, a Wharton professor and author of Contagious, gave a six-step method to drive people to spread the word, as below:

1. Social Currency
People love to talk about things that make them look good. The promotion they received, how well their kids are doing in school - or the time they got upgraded to first class. So make them feel like insiders, or give them remarkable information, and they'll tell others in order to make themselves look smart and in the know.

2. Triggers
Top-of-mind means tip-of-the-tongue. Ever wonder why people talk so much about the weather or what they had for breakfast? The more people are thinking about something, the more likely they'll be to tell others about it. So link your product or business idea to prevalent triggers in the environment - objects, ideas, or topics that come up frequently in conversation anyway. 

3. Emotion
When you care, you talk. If you're excited about a piece of news, angry about a decision, or amazed about a discovery, you're much more likely to tell others. So focus on feelings rather than functions. Find the strong emotions behind any message you want to take viral.

4. Public Availability
People tend to use other people for information. What restaurant is good? Which service provider should I adopt? You look to others and assume that if many people are doing something it must be pretty good. But you can only imitate if you can see what those others are doing. So, the more observable behavior is, the more likely it is to catch on. If you create a campaign or idea that is easy for people to show, it will grow.

5. Practical Value
People don't only want to look good, they also want to help others. So the more useful a piece of information is, the more it will be "shared" on social media. Discounts, travel recommendations, or articles about the best sunscreen to use all get passed around because they're helpful. So, highlight incredible deals or useful tips and more people will pass it on. 

6. Stories
People will talk about a product or brand if it's part of a broader narrative: How a new software cut billing time in half, or how a company sent out a replacement product the next day free of charge. So, build a "Trojan horse" story, one that carries your brand along for the ride. Make your message into an enjoyable tale, and you can be sure it will be told.

Take into account a few of these principles as you create your marketing strategy, and you'll optimize your chances of "going viral." Take them all into account, and you'll get close to a sure thing.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Case Study - Campaign of the Year Finalist - Android Pin Badges

To be eligible for Campaign of the Year there were some key questions that needed to be answered

1) Have you supplied promotional products to a high profile campaign or brand?  If the answer is yes, then why not enter this award? 

Yes, Google (the client) is possibly the biggest brand in the world and the Android brand is world famous as the most used mobile operating system in the world with 500 million devices activated globally, and over 1.3 million added every single day.

2) Did your innovative product or product range help raise awareness among a target audience? 

Yes, in terms of raising awareness it actually went off the scale. There were film crews following our promotional campaign instead of the new phones and technology which is what they were in Barcelona to do! See videos such as below:

3) Do you or your client have anecdotal evidence that shows a positive impact on the campaign, product or service that you supplied promotional merchandise to? 

Yes, there are countless press releases, blogs, eBay pages, APPS, newspaper cuttings, videos, photos as well as testimonials from customers and the client to highlight what a resounding success this was. Google even used our campaign artwork in their own TV ads such as below:

All Yes, here is our submission for the Campaign of the Year award.

Android at Mobile World Congress

MWC is the world's biggest exhibition for those in the telecommunications industry, attracting 55 000 delegates over the 4 day event in Barcelona.

 Android's Objectives at MWC:                              
  • Demonstrate and accelerate Android's momentum.
  • Highlight openness, choice and innovation
First Steps:

Google set about trying to achieve this by taking a booth at the Barcelona based fair and working the creative of the Android character into a physical presence.

Google created life size models of the little droid, had a slide, a giant Android themed smoothie bar and Android themed PC terminals for developers to showcase their work.

A lot of fun in fact, but something was missing...

Our thinking...

Google wanted something quirky. Something people would want to keep. Something they'd warm to. Something they might even want to collect.
We landed on enamel pins that people get at fairgrounds as a souvenir of their stay.

And this related to Android how?

Android themed pins were perfect to showcase the momentum around Android: the fact that there so many handset and chip manufacturers were adopting Android.
We produced 86 designs to showcase the variety of Android devices and partners.

Showcasing the Android ecosystem of partners

Google gave each of their partners a standee’ to distribute their unique set of pin designs from.

Visitors to the Android booth got Z card maps of the trade show floor to find out where our partners were based if they wanted to learn more about Android and collect the pins

Mobile World Congress Opens...

  • Day One happens to be Valentine's Day...all Android staff wear the pin with the love heart.
  • Day Two, Google reserve the DJ themed pin for guests of their party (headlined by Basement Jaxx).
  • Next thing the horse trading begins.
  • People scramble to get the entire collection.
  • Suddenly it's this Android momentum that is the one thing on everyone's lips at MWC.

 PIN - MANIA takes off!

To quote the Android Brand Manager... 
Pin mania - the distribution of unique pins amongst partners spotlighted the Android community and drove a tremendous of interaction, including CEO’s and Director’s fighting over pins!

"MWC Android pins hit eBay. Complete set yours for £900”

Press Coverage went Global

2012...we did it all again, but better. A New Collection was released. 

The Momentum continued...

This year's designs were customised and reflective of the wealth of content on Android. Partners could design their own and submit them on-line for consideration in the final range.

+ We Brought the Experience Online!
Delegates also used the Android MWC app to trade and keep track of their collection. They were also prominently displayed on Google’s official Android pages android.com/mwc/pins

Delegates also used the Android MWC app to trade and keep track of their collection: android.com/mwc/pins & http://androidpins.dotit.mobi/
At the following link http://androidpins.dotit.mobi/ you can collect your badges online and add them to your collector’s basket so you know which ones you still need to collect

2011 collector’s basket so you know which ones you still need to collect

2012 collector’s basket so you know which ones you still need to collect

The Impact

To quote our Google contact …
  • “This simple giveaway helped us immeasurably demonstrate (and accelerate) the momentum around the Android brand.
  • AND highlighted the openness, choice and innovation of the platform.
  • It drove tremendous engagement and interaction with C-level delegates, not to mention a few bun fights!
  • "Forget Disneyland. Android booth at MWC is the happiest place on earth." - I4U news
  • Here's a sizzle reel Google prepared to highlight our presence there:
  • 2011 click here 
  • Another press release here
  • 2012 click here 

The final full photographed 2012 collection is below and I'm proud to say I was involved in the design and production of every single one of them.