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

Delegates also used the Android MWC app to trade and keep track of their collection: &
At the following link 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.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Watering Down the Message: 3 Marketing Mistakes learnt from Maker's Mark

Bourbon fans across the country spilled their drinks last month when Maker's Mark announced that it would begin diluting its liquor in order to increase volume and meet demand. The company said it would add more water to the formula that has been unchanged for more than 50 years, reducing the proof of the spirit from 90 to 84 proof, or from 45 percent to 42 percent alcohol. An immediate backlash occurred, with nationwide press and die-hard fans saying they'd never buy the wax-sealed bottles again. A week after announcing the decision to dilute, the company recanted, backtracking on the move and saying it would resume producing the liquor at 90 proof effective immediately.
Bad business moves that lead to negative press are not new (critics immediately called this Maker's Mark's "new Coke moment"), but the Internet age allows those mistakes to spread exponentially far and fast, and gives users the ability to make their displeasure heard en masse. The bourbon producer reversed its decision quickly, but sometimes brands are permanently hamstrung after making the wrong call: in 2011, Netflix lost 800,000 customers and $9 billion in market value when it raised prices and launched the ill-fated Qwikster brand.
The success of both Maker's Mark and distributor sales hinge upon offering a premium-quality product or service, and anyone in promotional products sales can learn something from the liquor company's missteps. Here are three mistakes made by Maker's Mark that you can easily avoid to keep your, and your client's, reputation strong.
1. It's Not About Money
You aren't doing your job out of the goodness of your heart. For you it's about the money, but it shouldn't be for your customers, especially when it comes to a top-shelf product or service. Fans of Maker's Mark thought the company was dedicated to producing the highest-quality product; by diluting the bourbon to increase volume and sell more, the company told its loyal customers that it was driven by the dollar. The customers, in turn, were driven away. When talking with your customers, don't let bottom-dollar, commodity-based selling cheapen your image-insist on offering a best-in-class service. If you have standards and stick to them, and your clients will stick to you.
2. If You Want Loyal Customers, You Have to be Loyal
Would you call up a reliable customer who regularly ordered the same calendar/diary/notebook year after year and excitedly tell them that you were able to reduce the paper quality of the product, allowing you to sell more of the items to other people? That's what Maker's Mark did in the press release issued to customers and the media. It touted a change in the beloved formula as a benefit, because it would allow the company to overcome a shortage of product. The problem? The "shortage" wasn't locally in the USA, but a result of the expansion to India and other international markets. The company took away the steak then offered back the bone, expecting users to be grateful. The lesson here is simple: Don't sell out your most loyal customers for the prospect of new ones.
3. Don't Assume Any Press Is Good Press
Promotional products are a marketing medium: at their core, they exist to spread awareness of a brand. If those products are able to gain mainstream press and spread that brand awareness further, they are considered exceptionally successful... that is, unless they're in the press due to a gross misspelling or for injuring consumers. February's announcement and subsequent reaction is the most exposure Maker's Mark has ever received and it was entirely negative; someone just discovering the company is immediately left with a bad taste in their mouth. The press did more harm than good for the brand, and chairman Bill Samuels, Jr. has described the period as "the worst four or five days in my life." Listen to what your client is asking you for, and if you think it could backfire if it got out to the wrong audience, advise them to take a different path; what may seem like a smart promotion to your client could be seen as offensive to someone else.
The initial problem for Maker's Mark is that supply couldn't meet demand; the product was already selling out, so there's no way the company could gain sales from this debacle. The company's problem now is minimise damage to to its reputation and to try not to lose too many customers to competing bourbons, both more difficult challenges to overcome. Ironically, by manufacturing the second problem (losing customers) they solved their first problem (selling out of product), but I wouldn't call that a success.
In the end it is unlikely that the company will suffer too much financially as a result of the news: If the product was selling out before, it will continue to sell out. But the people buying it now many not be the same loyalists who made the brand a success, and those loyal fans have to go somewhere. That means increased competition for Maker's Mark and ultimately the potential for fewer sales.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Promotional products vital to marketing - BPMA Reports


 BPMA REPORTS the following

Keeping brands front of mind

New research shows that customers buy from businesses that give them promotional gifts

Key findings
-    94 per cent of us, when given an item of promotional merchandise, do not forget the advertiser or product advertised even after having the product for over six months
-    Two-thirds of us keep promotional products for over six months and 44 per cent  keep them for over one year
-    Half of us would like to receive promotional products more often
-    Nearly half of us like receiving free promotional products that have an advertising message
-    Nearly 98 per cent of us think that promotional merchandise is not a waste of money.
-    Usefulness is a key driver with over half of us saying we would go and get a useful item if it was being handed out
-    Over half of us have three or more promotional products on our desk or in our office

Business people across the UK have been questioned about what they do with and what they like about different promotional gifts as part of a major survey.

One of the most significant results of this second comprehensive national survey carried out by an independent research company was that, as a way to remind us about a company, promotional merchandise works. 

94 per cent of us remember the advertiser who gave it to us or the product advertised after we have had the item for six months and nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) of us are more likely to use a business that has given us a promotional product, when the need for the advertised product or service arises, rather than a similar business that has not given us anything. 

Nearly half (46 per cent) of people questioned said that they like receiving free products that have an advertising message, and 98 per cent think that promotional products are not a waste of money.  Half (50 per cent) said that they would like to receive such items more often.

Neal Beagles, Chairman of the BPMA comments: “Promotional gifts clearly are a powerful marketing tool. Indeed, two thirds of us said we like to hang on to our gifts for more than six months and 44 per cent for over one year. And, of course, one important element that promotional merchandise has in its favour is that we like a free gift!” 

Neal Beagles continues: “These results show that promotional gifts are liked by people in business, but also that they keeping a brand or message front of mind.  By exposing customers and prospects to a company logo or message time after time, brand recognition is reinforced and that leads to sales. So promotional merchandise has a direct and unequivocal influence on our decision-making process when we are ready to buy and so has impact on the bottom line.”

The survey findings show clearly that UK business people don’t like just any product,  ‘usefulness’ is the key factor in people taking and retaining promotional merchandise.  Over half of us (54 per cent) said we would go and get a promotional product that was being handed out if the item is useful.  This is backed up by a look at the list of what we prefer to receive. Useful items like USB sticks (31 per cent), clock and watches (26 per cent), luggage (22 per cent), umbrella (20 per cent) and coffee mug (18 per cent).are among those most likely to motivate us to take action or to lead to a more favourable impression of the advertiser or company.  

Another key factor that must be taken into account when selecting a product is ‘likability’ with 61 per cent of people saying they would take a free gift being given out if they liked it.

Usefulness is again apparent as the key reason why people keep products, with those being kept for at least a year including USB sticks (63 per cent), coffee mugs (60 per cent), umbrellas (51 per cent), clock and watches (48 per cent) and pens (43 per cent).

This follows on from findings of national independent research in 2011 when 18 per cent of respondents said that they had kept a mug for the longest period of time, 15 per cent a USB stick and 12 per cent a pen, with around one-third (33 per cent) indicating they had kept an item for between one and two years and 30 per cent between three and four years, highlighting that around 87 per cent of recipients had kept a promotional item for longer than 12 months.

That we are a nation that likes, keeps and uses promotional gifts is again highlighted by the fact that over half of us (53 per cent) have three or more products on our desk or in our office, and nearly a third (30 per cent) have four or more products.  The most commonly kept items are pens, mugs and cups, calendars, mousepads and USB sticks, with the biggest reason for people keeping products they have received being because the item is useful (80 per cent).

Neal Beagles continues: “Any company, organisation or brand using promotional merchandise is hoping that it will be kept by the recipient and act as an ongoing reminder of them.  In order to achieve this it is clear that the most important questions to ask when choosing a product are ‘is it useful to my target recipients and will they like it?’ If it ticks those boxes then it is far more likely to be retained.”

Neal Beagles concludes: “This survey has again confirmed how effective promotional merchandise can be.  Not only is it welcomed by recipients, but it demonstrably affects their purchasing behaviour by acting as a reminder of any given company or brand and making them more likely to be chosen over a competitor.  Customers that already know about your business are far easier to sell to and so keeping in touch is important.  Promotional merchandise enables companies to do this at relatively low-cost in comparison to other forms of advertising.”