Category Archives: Business Focus

Take away Value: Promotional Products

In our last blog we took a look at some of the more traditional physical ways of getting your products in front of audiences and grabbing their attention with balloon displays and window dressing. We’re continuing this theme of real world marketing approaches this month, with a low down on some ideas for giveaway marketing materials.

The first pointer we’d make here is not to be derivative with the choice of materials you create to distribute. Whilst for business to business marketing, perhaps more office oriented freebies such as the traditional go-to option of branded pens might be appropriate, is this going to stick in the memory of a business to consumer audience? It’s likely to be lost and forgotten and unless your business is oriented around stationary then your unlikely to trigger any sort of memory or association in the mind of your audience, which is the real purpose of this marketing strategy.

Tying the giveaway product to your business somehow ought to be a priority in your planning. Have a brainstorm. You’ll be surprised at the variety of marketing products which are available to brand with your logo or messaging. Everything from memory sticks, small toys, booklets bags, gloves, pet products, puzzles and various other novelty items can be found. For inspiration, have a look through the catalogue of a promotional products creator, GoPromotional and OutstandingBranding are two recognised suppliers, but a quick Google search will likely find a more local supplier who’ll be able to guide you through the process.

Promotional Badges

For non governmental organisations, charities and other groups promoting membership for example, pin badges are a good method, allowing people to display their support and creating a public familiarity with the branding of different groups and contributing the awareness drive. This isn’t just an approach to be taken for charities and other organisations. Brands can also benefit from this kind of exposure and with several options for different styles of badge presentation to suit your brand and messaging, from classic button badges to enamel pin badges, you can be sure to find something which is ideal for a giveaway to the public.

Finding your audience

Once you’ve settled on promotional product which properly matches your brand and objectives, the next stage is to settle on a location to give these away where they’ll find a relevant audience. Giveaways in public spaces with heavy footfall is one approach for mass market promotion. If your product or service is more niche however, a more targeted strategy might be required to ensure that your giveaways aren’t wasted. Finding a specialist agency in promotion or product sampling might be a good start and take some of the logistical pressure off getting your product out to the chosen market. This is especially true of those who opt for a product sampling direction.

Otherwise, a good tack is often to target trade shows, conferences and other occasions where relevant audiences are gathered together within the framework of an event. Getting in touch with organisers and offering to contribute free materials to attendees can nail you a winning delivery channel through to your target audience. We’ve all been given a canvas bag with course materials and branded products at the end of a conference or training course and this is a great place to start when targeting select groups.

The lesson here is that whilst getting a good choice and good quality of product made is vital, unless these reach a relevant audience it is money wasted! Both sides of the equation need to be brought together to ensure success.

Uniforms as Marketing? The brand messaging of staff clothing

Even though marketing is a creative industry, we can sometimes be a little closed-minded when it comes to considering exactly what marketing can constitute. Whilst we take for granted all the new facets of marketing and advertising that the 21st century has thrown at us, sometimes going back to the core principles of marketing as communication with the consumer can throw up some interesting new approaches.

Many experts in marketing and branding in particular, will be keen to point out that branding doesn’t simply cover marketing materials, company logos and colour schemes and packaging design. The brand of a company is the culture of the company, and this has to run through everything the company does. This is something that large international names such as Nokia take very seriously.

In this vein of though, a lot of establishments, particularly in the catering and hospitality sectors, invest a great deal of time considering the presentation of staff and what this communicates about the company and brand. This is of great importance in catering and food services in particular, where the reputation of the cleanliness of an establishment is deduced from the appearance of staff. There is an old adage about restaurants that you need to look at how clean the bathroom is to learn about the standard of hygiene throughout the business. The same is true of the appearance of staff. Get this wrong and you’ll put potential customers off eating at your restaurant or staying at your hotel.

So maintaining good standards of presentation is an important place to start when considering the message you’re giving to customers, but the opportunity to communicate your brand through the presentation of staff doesn’t end there. Again, to use an example from the hospitality sector, if you’re running a hotel, considering where the brand of that hotel sits amongst its competitors. Is it a casual modern hotel, is it boutique, is it a corporate hotel with a lot of business and conference guests? Is the hotel traditional? The uniforms of the staff ought to reflect these choices. What is the colour scheme and can your staff uniforms match the scheme? Do your concierge staff wear traditional waistcoats, double breasted suit jackets and pleated trousers or more modern fitting slim suits and flat front trousers? Are your bar staff in shirts and aprons or in branded polo shirts? These are all possibilities to be considered, and everything your staff wear will reflect on your business. As such, many suppliers of uniforms for hotels and restaurants will reflect this variation in what different establishments require from their uniforms. The same principles of marketing and communicating your brand through the stylistic choices you make in your staff’s work wear.

So whilst there may be a great deal of value in looking closely at online marketing materials and channels, social media, viral videos and screen advertising, let’s not forget that one of the key impressions that is made on our customers and potential consumers comes from the staff they deal with, which are the point of contact with the business. Shouldn’t this also be the territory of marketeers and branding experts and not just human resources?

Business Focus #1: Manufacturing & Packaging

We present a series of articies focusing on specialist industries.  Our first is the packaging industry, one which affects so many businesses.

What is contract packing?
http://www.marsdenpackaging.comIf you’re in the early stages of setting up your own business the chances are that you’ll have started to put some thought to how you’re going to package your products as well as to your manufacturing website. The world of packaging can prove to be a minefield for the uninitiated and if you’re feeling a little daunted, hopefully this article will shed some light on the world of contract packing and packaging services.
Contract packing (or co packing) is simply a cover-all term used to describe a range of packaging services, from gift packing for special events, through to hand packing and the assembly of packaged goods into point of sale displays. Contract packing services are offered by a range of professional packing companies based throughout the UK and by knowing which types of packaging services are available; you’ll be well on the way to finding the best packaging for your product.
The services offered by contract packing companies vary hugely according to the size and scope of their operation. However, bagging services are widely offered and involve filling and then sealing pre-printed or clear bags with products such as sweets, crisps or snacks. Bagging can also be used to package a number of smaller items such as toys, safety razors or household items.
You might come across contract packing companies who offer a multi-head weighing service, designed to be used in combination with a bagging service. Highly controllable computerised weighing machines are used to fill and then weigh bags to ensure complete consistency across each bagging ‘run’.
Flow wrapping is a highly cost effective way to pack multiple products together and is often used contain and protect items for insertion in a box or rigid outer-packaging. Flow wrapping is also ideal for wrapping small items for inclusion with larger items – think of the free gifts you often find in boxes of breakfast cereals – and can also be used to package food products or cosmetics.
Shrink wrapping is a way to wrap several items together, either for display or to reduce the risk of damage in transit or from tampering. Shrink wrapping products can also be used to attach a promotional item or a free gift to another item. Overwrapping is used to protect an inner package -usually cardboard – and can help to extend the shelf-life of the product within, whilst also being an effective way to contain the smell of highly scented products or perfume.
Point of sale assembly is a service which can be used to group items together for display, either at a supermarket checkout, on the end of an aisle or mid-shelf, behind a bar or on a counter or customer-service desk. The most widely used form of point of sale packaging is clip-stripping where bagged items are suspended from a plastic strip, ready for sale.
This article covers just some of the wide range of contract packing services available in the UK. If you would like further advice on the most appropriate packaging for your product, why not get in touch with a contract packing company near you? http://www.marsdenpackaging.com offer a nationwide service.