Monthly Archives: July 2015

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Day in the life of…

This month, our spotlight is on Business Development Director Gavin Faulkner, who is talking client service, one trick ponies, and Icelandic volcanoes…

Us: “Hi Gavin! So, for our blog readers, can you tell us a bit about your role as Business Development Director?”

GAV: “Business development is about identifying potential new clients, developing relationships with them, and integrating them into the business. This involves getting past prospective clients’ ‘front of house team’ to allow me to speak to the right people!”

Us: “We hear you’ve been involved in this industry a while?”

GAV: “Yes, I’ve been working in the promotions industry for 18 years, 8 of which have been with Creative Emporium. In my first ever job, no more than 5 minutes after sitting down at my new desk, my boss slammed a yellow pages in front of me and said: “Get calling Ford dealerships, I need a red Ford puma here by Friday for a Budweiser promotion”, I thought, “OK this sounds like a cool job!”, and I’ve stayed in this industry ever since, as I love the variety and scope of the projects we get to work on with amazing brands.”

Us: “What three words would you use to sum-up a typical day in the CE office?”

GAV: “Unpredictable, Quick, Diverse”

Us: “And what one word would you use to describe why you love your job?”

GAV: “Team”

Us: “Can you tell us what has been your biggest business challenge to date and how you overcame it?”

GAV: “Eyjafjallajökull. I’ll explain: After working on a solution for an EMEA client for several months, we were finally ready to launch in Germany on a specific date. But then the Iceland volcano eruption happened (Eyjafjallajökull) stopping all flights that day. My MD and I got in the car and drove from Leeds down to Felixstowe, over to France, through Belgium, onto Holland, finally arriving in Germany that evening. We walked into the hotel to meet the client as if nothing had happened – like something from Top Gear!”

Us: “What has been your favourite promotional campaign or project for a client and why?”

GAV: “There has been so many; either due to the brand or the nature of the promotion! It has to be the “Eat 5 a day campaign” for the Government. This was a fantastic project allowing us to demonstrate our capabilities from a brand, in-house production and flexibility prospective. Most companies would outsource this scale of order to offshore facilities; however, the requirement was for the production to be phased in, kitted and dispatched in short lead times…which we did brilliantly! The order was repeated every year for 3 years. Signing off this job due to the complexity of the designs was nail-biting and called on the expertise of our production team to maintain consistent print quality throughout.”

Us: “Tell us your fave 3 promo products and why?”:

GAV:

• Cotton shopper – One trick pony (private joke)

One trick pony

• Fully bespoke branded trolley case – Sex on wheels

suit case benefit

• Umbrellas – No other alternative!

Yellow-Telescopic-Umbrella

Us: “In your own words, what do you think makes CE different/unique?”

GAV: “This industry is awash with promotional companies, each promising to be the cheapest, the quickest and best service. Creative Emporium take these as a given, and we are so much more. Although we supply tangible, promotional branded merchandise and clothing, our ethos is to help our customers engage with their target audience through effective solutions based on a consultative approach.

The dedication and passion of every single person in our team contributes to our growing success. You can put all the technology and systems you need to into a business – it’s what you have to do to be able to service world leading brands – but there will never be a substitute for face-to-face interaction with a client. Relationships are my passion.”

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.

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July Product Focus: Going green with eco-friendly promotional gifts.

A popular strategy for today’s companies is to ‘Go Green’ and look for ways to reduce your carbon footprint and become a more sustainable business. Whether it’s introducing cycle to work schemes, reducing waste or recycling paper; another great way to go green is with your marketing and promotional activity – which may impact in the products that you source and the suppliers you work with. ‘Eco-friendly’ promotional products are a fast growing area, especially for companies looking to maximise their environmental credentials, or when used strategically as a part of a CSR campaign.

Corporate Social Responsibility is high on the agenda for modern businesses, with many organisations having environmental targets to meet. More and more companies are looking at promotional products made from recycled, organic, sustainable or ethically sourced materials to feature in their marketing campaigns, as well as at events and conferences, as they appeal to prospective customers and represent your company as forward-thinking, ethically and environmentally aware, and progressive.

Here are some eco-friendly product ideas to help you go green with your promotions:

With a wide range of eco-friendly recycled products, from Bags to Clothing and Stationery, you have a huge amount of choice when it comes to finding a product to meet the needs of your eco marketing campaign. But sometimes, with choice comes confusion, so we’ve handpicked some of our client favourites and more popular items:

 

  • Bags for life

bag 4 life

Why not aim to be ‘plastic free by 2016’? Reduce waste, pollution and promote your business with promotional recycled bags in a range of styles. Popular promotional bags are re-usable shopping bags, which are usually made from fabric such as canvas, woven synthetic fibres, or unbleached natural cotton and can be printed in full colour with a large branding area to promote your brand messages. CE Tip: choose a jute bag that’s made from plant fibres which are completely biodegradable for extra eco creds!

  

  • Eco Clothing

eco label

Clothing is a hugely popular promotional product for all types of marketing campaign, and using eco-friendly clothing is a great way to enhance your brand in a positive way. When sourcing ‘Eco Clothing’, look for garments that are made from certified environmentally-friendly recycled textiles, organic dyes, and sustainable materials.

 

  • Recycled stationery

recycled stationary

For your next campaign, try promotional stationery items that specialise in being kind to the environment – such as Recycled Sticky Notes or Recycled Notebooks. Promotional stationery is constantly in demand for events and marketing campaigns, as it can be easily included in things like gift bags or goodie bags at events. The popularity of stationery will secure longevity of your brand message with your target audience whether at work or at home, for years to come.

 

  • Recycled Mugs

recycled mug

Promotional Recycled Mugs are a great environmentally friendly product that can be produced out of some unexpected and surprising materials – such as bamboo, such as the bamboo travel mugs pictured above, or 100% recycled plastic. The great thing about promo mugs is the diversity in colour and style, meaning you’re sure to find something to match your brand and customer needs. Plus, mugs provide a good area to display your brand logo and key messages – a great way to get your brand in front of your target customers every day – at the office on their desks, at home, or ‘on-the-go’ with a recycled travel mug.

When it comes to choosing eco-friendly promotional products you need to consider both the supplier’s credential and policies, as well as the products they source. Some of the things to consider with eco products are:

  • Quality
  • Value
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Ethical manufacture
  • Recycled, Organic or Biodegradable materials
  • Waste minimisation

Your promotional items don’t need to satisfy each of the above criterions in every campaign; but if you can demonstrate for example, that the products you use have been sourced from factories with strong human rights and ethical manufacture, that is fulfilling part of your CSR strategy. Having one or more of these attributes is a good way to demonstrate your commitment to improving your green credentials and reducing your carbon footprint.

As promotional merchandise suppliers ourselves, we are dedicated to sustainability, supplying environmentally responsible merchandise and respecting our natural resources where possible. We see it as our responsibility to help our clients make informed and responsible purchasing decisions with eco-friendly promotional items, to help them portray their brand and environmental goals simultaneously.

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.

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5 Steps to making your exhibition a big hit

Exhibitions are happening all the time all over the world. But many businesses spend thousands of pounds and never reap the full benefits of the exhibition, through wasted opportunities to not only attract visitors to their stands, but also by not following up on leads and new business opportunities. So how can you establish an industry presence that will encourage sales opportunities? It begins with knowing why you’re doing it in the first place…

1) Why are you exhibiting? What are your objectives?

By setting objectives for your trade show presence, you can measure the event’s success. As exhibitions can be a significant financial investment, you want to ensure your exhibition spend will make a positive impact on your brand and sales growth.

Typical objectives can include:

• Generating leads/making sales to new and existing customers
• Launching, demonstrating, researching, testing or sampling a new product or service
• Increasing brand awareness, positioning and/or raising your profile and image
• Growing your database and acquiring new leads
• Market research: don’t forget, you’ll also want to monitor competitor activity – new products, marketing literature, how they interact with customers and how they portray their business and so on…

2) Quantify your audience

Exactly ‘who’ are you targeting at the show? It’s all too common practice in marketing to measure success by the number of leads generated, ‘the more the merrier’ and all that jazz. But the trouble with this approach is that too much of the pre-show budget is spent on attracting just about anybody, on buying freebees and giveaways that may end up attracting the wrong audience to your stand, and losing you money as a result of not focusing on the right targets.

What you need to do is:

• Understand exactly who your best customers are, and target these at your exhibition
• For example, do you want to convert prospects into customers? Or reward existing committed customers?
• Will these targets be at the show? If not, invite them!

Who you’re targeting affects everything from the pre-show promotion, through to your communications messages, stand design and layout and what you’ll give out on the stand, so make sure you’ve thought this through at the start of planning your event.

3) Pre-show promotion

Start early with promoting the exhibition to get qualified leads and prospective customers to visit your stand. Do your research; think about what is their biggest fear at the moment? How can your product/service help to solve this? Once you know this, make it the focus of your stand. Better still, speak at one of the event’s seminars, as this will increase brand awareness and demonstrate thought leadership.

Send invites to key people and always include a call to action that tells them precisely what to do and to act – now! And remember – always sell the end result: the solution to their problem, the answer to their need. Make them feel that they’ll be missing out if they don’t attend!

4) Add value to the visitor experience with promotional gifts

Gifts and promotional giveaways are a huge part of exhibition and trade show culture, and an important marketing tool to attract visitors and potential customers to your stand. Pens are without a doubt still the most popular item, but other great giveaways include:

– Mugs
– USB flash drives
– Hand sanitizer
– Branded confectionery/refreshments such as sweets, popcorn, frozen yogurt and soft drinks
– Desk accessories such as calculators, mouse mats
– Clothing such as baseball caps
– Laptop bags, iPhone and tablet cases
– Printed calendars

However, a great promotional item is only great if it’s useful in some way to the person receiving it, and relevant to your brand. Think about how you could provide a great promo giveaway that will put a smile on your target customer’s face and be used again and again.

5) Post-show lead follow up

Around half of exhibition attendees only need to hear from an exhibitor once after a show to make their buying decision, because they are now familiar with your product/service. Yet, alarmingly, nearly 80% of all show leads aren’t followed up! Not following up on leads means you could miss out some potential new business opportunities. And bringing in new business is one of the main reasons to exhibit, so don’t let all the hard work and costs be for nothing. Simply send a follow up email the next day confirming what you discussed and make sure you make a follow up call within at least 2-3 days after they visited you otherwise people forget – we’re all busy!
Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.

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3 Ways Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be used as a marketing tool

We know that the public perception of ‘corporate social responsibility’ seems to be more and more important these days. But the widely varying definitions of what ‘CSR’ actually is, presents a significant challenge to businesses, both large and small. So what is it and can it be used as a marketing tool?

What is CSR?

These days, your customers expect more from you. From the services you provide, to the products you sell, and now even when your products are sourced – consumers are demanding higher and higher standards from the companies they buy from. The term CSR generally describes any business activities that not only deliver commercial objectives and meet legal requirements but also have a positive social and/or environmental impact.

Do you need a CSR policy?

With rising customer expectations, it can be wise to have a CSR strategy and policy which takes into account the interests of your wider community and those of the local environment. We appreciate that it may seem a little unnecessary to formalise what is basically ‘responsible business practice’ into a specific policy; but it can have significant advantages to your business and marketing activity. For example, environmental issues are likely to be of real concern to a manufacturing firm that needs to address waste management; meanwhile, a business in the personal services sector may wish to focus on community involvement. At Creative Emporium, we expect more from ourselves on behalf of our clients – and our CSR policy extends right through to ethical trading and product sourcing throughout our supply chain.

So how can companies tap into the benefits of CSR? How about using this as a selling point for your business?

Here’s our three top tips to consider as a way of benefiting your business and standing out from the crowd by using Corporate Social Responsibility in your marketing as a brand differentiator:

  1. Support your local community!

Increasingly, businesses are trading not only products and services; but on their reputations and brand value, especially within the local area. If you work with local suppliers or you employ local people then shout about it, because it shows you’re supporting the local economy and community as a business!

Tips:

  • Work with local suppliers to support the immediate economy
  • Become a key sponsor or ambassador of a charity, sports team or community project in your local area
  • Promote CSR initiatives by giving out promotional items to promote your business/cause – recycled or eco products are a great way to do this!
  • Write press releases/blog posts about your recruitment and employment of local people, and use of local suppliers to emphasise your commitment to the local/regional economy.

For example, a key message to your customers could be: ‘Here, at X we are ambassadors of a local charity and regularly support fundraising efforts to raise awareness of the cause and to encourage donations. We hold an annual Summer Fun Day and donate all proceeds to the charity’

How will this help your business?

Aside from enhancing your local area and supporting charities and/or community groups you will also be provided with the opportunity to raise your profile in your region and promote your business at the same time. Why not think about press and radio coverage of your charity events to further promote your brand? It could be a great way of generating new leads or help with current customer retention at the same time as reinvesting your time in the community that you work in.

  1. Employee engagement…happy staff = happy customers!

The employees of an organisation are key stakeholders, who need to be motivated, involved and stimulated to perform their tasks to a high level; and a healthy and happy workforce is not only important for employees, but it is also beneficial for your business. Actively supporting CSR in the workplace and encouraging training and personal development will ensure your employees are working to the best of their abilities and feel fulfilled at work.

Tips:

  • Encourage your staff to come up with ideas for CSR projects – Being outwardly involved in CSR as a business can contribute internally to improved employee perceptions, motivation and staff retention
  • Why not take on an apprentice or run a work experience scheme with local schools? This demonstrates that you are investing in the next generation of talent by helping young people make the transition into the world of work.

For example, a key message could be: ‘Here, at X we run a work experience programme with a local high school to give young people the opportunity to learn about the industry, engage with customers and gain experience in an office environment.’

How will this help your business?

Employees are far more likely to perform at their peak if they feel they can be themselves and are well respected in the workplace. This will reduce the costs associated with absenteeism, reducing the need for frequent recruitment and creating a healthy and happy workforce.

  1. Go green

Many companies are now facing both employee and customer pressure to be more environmentally friendly.

Tips:

  • Promote the use of online policy documents to encourage paperless operations, and recycle any paper that is thrown away
  • Why not introduce car-share programmes at work or cycle-to-work schemes, to reduce the amount of cars on the road?
  • Encourage your staff to switch off their monitors, PCs and other equipment at the end of each day. Also think about using low energy light bulbs too.
  • When sourcing promotional merchandise to promote your brand, look out for companies who put ethical sourcing at the top of their agenda, and use recycled products where possible

For example, a key message to your customers could be: ‘Here at X we carefully monitor our energy usage and operate a paperless environment where possible. We also run an initiative to encourage all staff to walk or cycle to work twice a month to reduce our carbon footprint’

How will this help your business?

A combination of increasing demand for energy, and targets set by the Government to reduce carbon emissions means that energy and fuel costs are likely to remain high in the long term. By taking small steps, you can work towards reducing costs in these areas.

Remember though; CSR should be part of your long term wider business strategy and not just short-term tactical marketing. A CSR promotion can be a fantastic short-term proposition though, and the best CSR promotions are those that are linked in some meaningful way to your brand’s core product or promise. For example if you’re a clothing retailer, you could donate clothing to homeless shelters.

Shout about it!

If you already do some of these things then why not add a ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ section to your website or incorporate some of the key values into your mission statement or company’s brand values? If you don’t, it’s really easy to start making some simple changes to the way you work and to start telling people about it! Have a read about Aviva’s CSR activities for further inspiration, as we think they are doing it really well – and communicating it even better!

Complete Branding Solution

We’re experts in providing the complete branding solution for our clients, so please get in touch today to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your branded merchandise and clothing. Call us on 08707 500057 or drop us a line by email.