Monthly Archives: October 2015

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Six creative xmas product ideas to wow your customers

‘Tis the season to be jolly…and generous! Nothing quite captures yuletide celebrations than a special gift to say ‘thank you’ to your customers for their business over the last year. You’ll no doubt have gotten to know your best customers well, so have an idea of the types of gifts they’d really appreciate. We’ve matched some creative corporate gift ideas to example customer personas, to inspire your corporate gifting choices and help you to keep your name on top of your clients’ minds this festive season.

The perfect way to show appreciation and stay on your client’s mind is by sending them a timely gift, and there is no better time than Christmas. Here are some ideas for interesting items that won’t break the bank, but will pleasantly surprise your customers…

What type of person is your customer?

The Gym Bunny

techWe’ve all worked with someone who loves to work out and spends most of their spare time in the gym or at a yoga class.

Give your customers and prospects a kick out of fitness with a fitness activity tracker band.

They can track their steps, distance, sleep patterns, steps climbed and calories burned. These handy little wrist bands act like a personal trainer without the weekly or monthly fees!

The Foodie

hamperWith every cookbook under the sun, this culinary pro loves to try new flavours and food, and is a bit of a dab hand in the kitchen (they even once auditioned for Master Chef), so what better way to win their hearts than with a luxury foodie hamper?

It can be beautifully boxed; chock full of luxurious goodies, such as the key ingredients plus a recipe to make a delicious festive meal from scratch. Oh, and it’d be rude not to include wine!

The Tech Addict

apple watch techGlued to their smart phone or latest tablet, they love nothing more than trying the latest tech products and apps to make their lives easier.

Wearable tech items, such as smartwatches, are super slim and stylish, and make great promotional gifts as they have a great area for printing your brand name or logo, and the straps can be pantone matched to your brand colours.

Smartwatches put the user in control do they don’t miss out on the important things in life, by staying connected and in sync with a smartphone delivering alerts on the go. This gift oozes style and swag!

The Family Guy

(or gal. We don’t discriminate!)

cookiesThey love talking about their kids, and spend their weekends between ballet and football lessons. Confectionary works a treat, because it also means they can share the goodies with their little ones when they get home from work!

Think custom cookies in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, to really make an impact.

The Thrill Seeker

sackThey’ve recently completed ‘Tough Mudder’ for the third year in a row, and have just signed up to do a charity sky dive. This adrenalin loves to push themselves to the limit, enjoys challenge, but also likes to give back to their community and charities.

So how about a quirky santa sack full of thrilling gifts?

The Pet Lover

reindeer blanketAlways talking about their cute pooch or adorable kitten, the pet lover gets all gooey-eyed over their four-legged friend.

A thoughtful gift for Christmas would be a snuggly reindeer blanket for their pet’s bed, which can double up as a throw for the sofa and avoid pet hair/muddy paw prints on your couch!

We hope there are a few ideas to inspire your corporate gifting this festive season, but before we finish, remember: packaging makes all the difference. It can make an average product stand out and look much more premium, so don’t overlook how your gift will be packaged when it comes to making your choices!

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.

How to create and capturecustomer value through

How to create and capture customer value through a consultative approach

Consultative selling or ‘solution’ selling is a relatively well-known concept that developed in the mid 1980’s. But surprisingly few of today’s B2B companies adopt this approach effectively. Here are some of the benefits of a consultative sales approach to help you create and capture customer value.

How do you develop a consultative sales approach and form partnerships with your customers and clients?

“The consultative sales process is primarily focused on the experience that the potential customer (the lead) feels and sees during their interactions with you. It’s about the how you find ways to provide your leads with value and make it all about them – not about you.”

– Hubspot

Every business has their own way of selling. Whether you’re a ‘one man (or woman) band’ or a larger corporation with a huge sales team, you’ll have developed your own preferred way of selling. A consultative approach is no easy task; it takes high levels of commitment, coordination and strong internal comms to be successful. This is especially true if your business has multiple product lines to cross sell through various locations. It also is multi-departmental, and means sales work together with technical, product, marketing and other internal teams to nurture leads, answer any technical queries, and close a sale; and then work together afterwards to provide after sales support.

A consultative approach is not just about sales though, says our MD Darren – it’s a “cultural shift that’s totally focused on customer needs, and the team must be supported and self-driven to deliver on this.”

Darren elaborates, “The brands who work with us recognise the importance of working with a supplier who really works hard to fully understand their business, products and services, problems and goals; and we pride ourselves on delivering a consultative approach with all of our clients. What this means is we focus on our customers’ needs first, and then provide solutions to their problems”.

What makes a consultative approach?

  • Learning about your customers’ needs first, before trying to sell a product
  • Focusing on a total solution, bespoke to your customer’s needs
  • Regular, interactive contact; providing inspiration, insights and ideas

Marketing software company Hubspot, has a great article on consultative selling, and outlines the six key principles of consultative selling, which we have provided our own commentary on, to help refine how to create value from consultative selling:

Hubspot’s six principles to the consultative sales process

1. Research

Always gather intelligence about your potential customers. Get as much information as possible to understand more about them – check out their social media profiles, personal blogs, company news feeds and good ol’ Google. (Basically stalking them online and finding out as much as you can!)

2. Ask

Ask open ended questions that require more detailed answers – and remember the four ‘Ws and the H': Who, What, Why, When and How. The aim is to get to know what your prospective customer’s problems are, their goals and objectives, budgets and potential timescales, in order to tailor your solution for them.

3. Listen

There is actually a listening technique used in counselling which is also highly effective in sales, it’s called Active Listening. It’s a way of using body language and cues to let the person know you’re listening; not interrupting, being ‘present’ and making the client feel like they’re being heard. Try it!

4. Teach

Obviously your objective is to develop a relationship with your prospect so they become a customer. To do this, you need to build trust. You can do this by helping them first, and selling second.

5. Qualify

It’s the best use of your time to be talking to a qualified lead. A lead is just contact details, but a qualified lead is a decision maker, a person who needs a solution to their problem, and who has the authority and budget to work to with you.

6. Close

You’ve no doubt heard the expression “always close the sale”, but turning sales leads and prospects into actual customers can sometimes be an arduous process! Research shows that most sales are made between the fifth and twelfth contact with a prospect, so there is a lot of ‘back and forth’ relationship building and development that goes into the consultative sales process. But what pays off is a more informed sales person, a more qualified lead, a more tailored solution – so a potentially easier sale to close”

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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Day in the life of…

This month, our spotlight is on Production Manager Amy, who is talking baking, exploring, grumpy people and exceeding customer expectations…

Us: “Hi Amy! So, for our blog readers, can you tell us a bit about your role as Production Manager?”

AMY: “I have worked at CE for nearly 3 years, and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone – it must be the job that keeps me busy! Basically my role involves overseeing and managing the production of orders and goods for clients. Client order information is passed to my team, the production department, by the sales team when they have a new order. We look after the order from this point until the goods are delivered to the client. I place orders with suppliers and liaise with the customers to ensure the goods are delivered on time and to the high quality expected. It takes the admin away from the sales team and lets them win more work!”

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

AMY: “Exciting. Unpredictable…Unstoppable!”

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

AMY: “Rewarding”

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

AMY: “One of the biggest challenges we face in this department is co-ordinating big campaigns to get them out on time. Throughout the year, one of our biggest retail clients runs many events at their shopping centres all around the country, and we put together merchandise packs for all their retail promotions”.

The client services and creative team do an amazing job of putting together exciting products to inspire our client; and seeing the real thing once it all comes together is so rewarding!

It’s really satisfying seeing a campaign come together. One campaign involves input from all of our in-house departments – sales and customer service through to design, production and warehousing – to ensure the stock is produced on time and developed as we, and the client, have envisioned. It’s amazing when you see literally thousands of the finished merchandise packs put together ready to dispatch to the client. Once they have gone out the door, you feel a great sense of achievement.”

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

AMY: “One of my favourite projects so far has been working with global beauty brand, Benefit. We put together gift ideas for their employee Long Service Awards, to celebrate and acknowledge staff service. The client was a pleasure to work with, and really open to our ideas – the more creative the better!

They wanted some fun products which they could give to the shorter serving team members to show their appreciation, and then we offered higher end premium gifts for those who had been there longer as an acknowledgment of their long service with the company.

I enjoyed creating an ‘ideas box’ of 20-25 products, which was sent in a beautifully presented box, with the gifts inside wrapped in pink tissue paper, which they loved as it added a special touch! They finally decided on a product range of 15 products from our ideas, so all the effort was worthwhile!”

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

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  • Lanybook – original, versatile, classy

Magic-Cube-

  • Magic Cube – tactile, fiddly, satisfying

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  • Confectionery – colourful, variety, delicious!

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

AMY: “It has been said before, but I genuinely think it’s the the people who work at CE that makes us unique. Everyone is so committed to their roles and to our clients and it makes such a difference, not just in our day to day work, but in the overall satisfaction of our clients. Dealing with various external companies every day, I encounter some people who, when something goes wrong they will walk away and not help. But I make it my mission that if a client hasn’t got their order, or has a query, we will do everything in our power to sort it for them and ensure they are not disappointed. Everyone has the same mentality here – we always go ‘over and above’ to meet and exceed customer expectations, and that’s how it should be in my opinion!”

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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How to gain competitive advantage through innovation

As the needs and requirements of customers continue to change, and as technology moves forward, today’s brands and businesses need to gain and retain competitive advantage in order to boost growth. Companies which innovate continuously are way ahead of their competitors. So how can you apply the same approach in your organisation?

What makes a brand a leader in its field?

Let’s look at a real example of a successful brand:

Apple

Apple has built a ‘brand empire'; they’re the ones who have customers coming back for more every time they launch a new product or latest model. As consumers, we’re always anticipating the latest release from Apple. Anyone who owns an Apple product tends to then buy other Apple products – Macbooks, MP3 players, phones…

Why?

Not because their product is superior, but because of their innovative approach to emotive marketing. They have created competitive advantage through brand appeal. As leadership expert, Simon Sinek says in his famous 2009 TED Talk about ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action':

“Year after year, after year, they’re [Apple] more innovative than all their competition. And yet, they’re just a computer company. They’re just like everyone else. They have the same access to the same talent, the same agencies, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different?”

He has discovered that Apple, like all great brands and leaders, do the following: they “all think, act and communicate from the inside out”.

What he means is; all companies know what they do, and how they do it. But many don’t understand ‘why’ they do it. What really resonates with us from Simon’s presentation is trying to figure out what your organisational purpose is. He asks the following questions, and we think all businesses should apply this when trying to figure out their vision, values, and ethos:

“What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organisation exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it”

Discovering innovation

Before you can gain competitive advantage through innovation, you need to really understand where the sources of inspiration and innovation come from – internally in your organisation, and externally in the market environment you operate in.

Start with an innovative audit, and look at what innovation is currently taking place in your business. Look at things like:

  • How successfully innovation is encouraged and promoted;
  • What, if any, the inhibitors are;
  • How innovation should be benchmarked against best practice.

You also need a process to encourage innovation within your business – so encourage feedback and ideas from staff, stakeholders, customers and suppliers. Innovative companies tend to have a much deeper understanding of their customers, and, as Simon Sinek points out in his TED talk, they understand ‘why’ they do what they do.

Gaining Competitive Advantage

“For us at CE, we appreciate that change is constant”, says our MD, Darren Cohen. “The needs of our customers are adapting, the marketplace is evolving, and brands have to reach their audiences in new ways such as through digital media. If your organisation is going to succeed, you need to welcome and initiate change, to remain competitive, streamline processes and procedures and to develop and implement new ideas”

“One way that Creative Emporium innovates is through technology. We’re not like your usual promotional merchandise supplier in the sense that we take a holistic approach to our customer needs – we don’t just produce tacky gadgets and strap a logo on them. We provide a full solution that encompasses not only merchandise sourcing, but a robust online ordering procurement system to streamline and consolidate purchasing, branding, stock holding and distribution”

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.