Choosing the Right Promotional Products for Your Brand
Promotional items are a key element of any successful marketing strategy as they provide a great opportunity to get your company name known by a wider audience. Additionally, the right product will continue to reinforce your business message long after it has been initially given. So how do you decide which products to choose?
Identify Your Market
Think carefully about the kind of customers that you are trying to appeal to. For example, if your target market is children, then something as simple as a branded balloon is a quick and low-cost way of attracting attention. Using the latest small gadget or a computing accessory such as a branded flash drive is a good way to attract the lucrative techie market. If you are targeting a large sector, then obviously consider your budget carefully to see how your funds can be best spent and ensure you get good value for money.
Pick the Right Product
The best promotional items have several distinct characteristics. Ideally, they should tie in neatly with your business – for example, a branded hairbrush is unlikely to be a particularly good advertisement for a legal firm. Choose something that is distinctive and can be easily identified as relating to your company. Branded items that are useful, such as pens, bags, mugs or notebooks, will help promote your message over a longer period of time as they tend to be kept, either on desks or in handbags. Every time they are used the recipient will receive a gentle reminder of your firm, making sure it stays in their mind as long as possible. The same is true of items that are displayed, such as magnets or wall planners, as they will serve as a permanent advert for your business. Whatever you choose, make sure it is not too large and can be easily transported – this is crucial if you are giving out promotional products at trade shows.
Assess Their Impact
There is no point in blowing your entire marketing budget on vast quantities of promotional products if they are not going to result in productive sales leads. If at all possible, have some samples made up first and see how people respond. Just as you would assess your broader marketing strategy and make changes where appropriate, make sure your promotional items are actually helping your business message to get through.
The right promotional products can support your marketing strategy by introducing new clients to your brand. Choose wisely to maximise their impact and get the most return on your investment.
Top Tips for a Successful Corporate Event
There may be times when your business has to arrange and host a special event. This might be an awards ceremony, a gala dinner or even a corporate fundraiser. Although the logistics can initially seem overwhelming, follow these simple steps to make your event go smoothly.
Begin with the Basics
In order to run a large-scale event there are number of important issues that that need to be considered as soon as possible. The first is deciding on a venue. Visit a few to get an accurate comparison of the services and facilities they each offer. Have a clear idea of all your requirements – you may end up having to make some compromises but if there are some aspects that are non-negotiable, you will need to find places that can accommodate these. Once you have your venue, you can set a date and then get to work on your guest list. If you need to advertise your event, look for suitable channels such as specialist publications or relevant social media.
Managing the Logistics
Aside from a venue and guests, there are lots of other things you need to create a successful event. What catering do you require? Can the venue supply this or will you need to find external contractors? Audio-visual equipment such as projector screens will be necessary if you are making a presentation. Will you need to hire extra furniture? Practical issues such as accommodation and parking will need to be addressed. In addition, depending on the type of event you are organising, it may be necessary to organise some entertainment. This could be anything from a band to a comedian, a magician to a professional host – whatever you need you will need to arrange well in advance.
Once you have all the basics in place, you can work on the little details that will really make your event special. Take time to enjoy the fun bits, such as choosing menus and arranging music or decorations. If you company is hosting the event to help raise their profile, look at unusual and interesting promotional items you can give to your guests as a reminder of the evening.
The key to a successful event is to spend plenty of time in thorough preparation and planning. By organising everything from the promotional items to the entertainment well in advance, you can enjoy yourself, knowing everything will run according to plan.
CSR and Your Company
Corporate Social Responsibility, otherwise referred to as CSR, should be an important part of any company's ethos. The economic downturn in the last few years has seen many businesses' CSR efforts reduced but now it is vital that every company plays its part.
What is CSR?
Corporate Social Responsibility broadly refers to a strategy where a company strives to improve the wellbeing of the wider community by carrying out charitable deeds and behaving in a fashion that supports the business's values and ideals. In short, it is a practical demonstration of the company's conscience.
What Are the Advantages?
An effective CSR policy will have benefits for many sectors of society. Any fundraising you take part in will obviously directly benefit your chosen charity. You might choose a national or global foundation whose aims are in line with your own company's vision. Alternatively, it might be very important to you and your staff to support a local charitable initiative, perhaps one that you have had dealings with or that is particularly close to your heart. Your staff will feel that they are achieving something worthwhile, whilst your company will benefit from improved links within the neighbourhood. CSR initiatives can also raise your company's profile and spread your business message, especially if your staff wear the company workwear whilst interacting with the wider community.
What Can You Do?
There are plenty of fundraising ideas that you and your staff can get involved in, from organising a charity football match to hosting a gala event. Your staff might be up for a physical challenge, such as competing in a triathlon or climbing a mountain. Working in teams to reach a goal such as this can not only raise money but also give an amazing sense of achievement. Boost morale by creating special branded workwear for the team members – or sell extra garments to raise additional funds. If sponsored sporting challenges aren't your thing, there are plenty of other ways that you can help out. One of the most valuable things you can donate to a charity is your time – perhaps you and your staff could volunteer in a soup kitchen or spend some time visiting patients at the local hospital. Think about what skills and services your employees can offer a charity. You might have the expertise to design and create a new poster campaign or be able to plant a garden at an old peoples' home.
Putting an effective CSR strategy in place can not only benefit your business, but will have a positive impact on the wider community.
Corporate Gifting – Navigating the Ethical Minefield
Giving corporate gifts has many benefits – improving relationships with potential and existing clients, showing appreciation for a job well done and even raising the profile of your company. But once you have decided on the perfect gift, there are still a number of tricky issues to consider to make sure your gift is both given and received in the right spirit.
Who Is It For?
The first thing to determine is who exactly will be receiving your gift. Whilst it may seem unfair to say that different people will have different expectations, it is true that the gift you choose for an office junior is likely to have a lower value than one you might send to a senior manager of a global corporation. A present that might seem quite insignificant to one person might be deemed far more lavish and valuable by another. If you are at all unsure, then giving corporate gifts whose monetary value is hard to gauge can be a good solution.
Think about any religious or cultural issues that might arise from the giving of a particular gift, such as alcohol. The relative expense of the gift should also be considered – for example, something that may seem quite inexpensive to you might be perceived as more lavish in a poorer country. Remember too that novelty or joke presents do not always translate well across cultures. Unless you are extremely sure the recipient will find them funny, they're best avoided.
Timing Is Everything
There are certain times of year, such as Christmas, when the giving of a gift is undoubtedly meant as a kind and thoughtful gesture during the festive period. There are very few people who would argue that giving a tin of biscuits to your stationery suppliers could be in any way interpreted as having an ulterior motive. However, the giving a gift at a different time could have other implications. If you receive a gift from somebody whose company has tendered for a contract you are about to award, this could be construed as an attempt to affect your decision. In this instance, the present could be regarded as a bribe, especially if it is disproportionately generous. Always make sure that there can be no suggestion that any gift you send is given for anything but the most honest of motives.
The ethical considerations of corporate gift-giving can seem overwhelming, but with a little careful thought you can send presents that will be received in their intended spirit to the mutual enjoyment of both parties.
Top Tips to Improve Teamwork in the Workplace
Time and effort spent boosting the morale of employees can prove to be a sound investment. Staff are likely to be more productive if they are happy and motivated by pride in their work and sense of self-worth. They are also more likely to remain loyal to your company, saving you time and money on recruiting and training replacements. So how can you make sure your staff are happy?
Grievances and Feedback
One of the key factors that can affect morale in the workplace is if staff feel their grievances are ignored. Giving people a platform to air concerns or voice opinions will prevent issues from festering and becoming more problematic. If you have a very large company it may not be possible to communicate directly with all your employees, so make sure you have dedicated personnel available to liaise between floor staff and management and pass on any feedback.
Good Working Conditions
The environment your staff work in can have a profound effect on their morale. Cluttered, cramped or unpleasant working conditions can bring the mood right down, so look at ways these can be improved. Plenty of fresh air and natural light will make for a better workplace. Make sure that staff have a space somewhere away from their desks to prepare and eat their meals. They will be more productive if they feel they have had a proper break. If they wear a uniform, make sure that this is comfortable as well as appropriate for the job they do. Company workwear can be a great way to make employees really feel part of a team – this could be ties and jackets for office jobs or even hats and fleeces for outdoor workers.
A good programme of social events can improve team spirit, making staff feel valued over and above their actual productivity within the workplace. These functions could be as simple as regular drinks after work or as involved as an inter-department sporting event such as a football tournament. Even if you are a small company, organising a regular summer or Christmas party is a nice way to thank staff for their efforts. Developing friendships at work is important, especially if your employees work to an unusual shift pattern and have few other opportunities for socialising.
From providing a decent staff room to investing in branded company workwear, there are a number of steps you can take to make your staff feel valued, increasing their productivity and improving company relations.
Simple Ways to Improve Your Marketing Strategy
Whatever line of business you're in, an effective marketing strategy is crucial. It's one of the key ways to reach new customers and build a bigger client base, leading to improved business opportunities. You have hopefully established a strong brand identity, so customers know what to expect from your company. The next challenge is to get that information out to the public, so they can choose to use your service over that of your competitors.
Identify Your Market
In an ideal world all consumers of the goods or services you supply would choose to get them from you, but the truth is that unless you are the only supplier in an untapped market, you will need to fight for your share of the market. The first step is to identify who your target customers are. Are you a supplier of a luxury high-end item that appeals to a very small select group? Or do you offer a product that is always in demand? Think about whom you are hoping to sell to and how you can reach them. Creating a database of potential clients can be useful, especially if you are planning to send out marketing emails or mail shots. Conduct thorough market research so you can be confident you have a targeted strategy.
Plan Your Campaign
Once you have identified your potential market, think about the type of marketing that they are likely to respond to. Young people are familiar with advertising via social media whereas older people may react better to a leaflet or brochure. Rather than a costly and potentially unproductive blanket promotional campaign, market your company through relevant channels such as specialist directories or publications. This type of focused approach is vital to avoid wasting money on ineffectual marketing campaigns. You want to ensure that your promotional products reach those people who will actually be interested in them.
Make sure you take time to assess the efficacy of your marketing plan. If you allocated funds to advertising, was it worthwhile? Could that money have been budgeted elsewhere to greater effect? If you didn't reach the customers you were hoping to, how can you improve on this? Monitor your marketing to ensure that money spent on promoting your business is money well spent.
A focused marketing campaign is an effective way of getting your company message out there, ensuring your promotional products go to the right people and improving your business prospects.
Business Basics – Establishing a Strong Brand
Whatever your new business idea, there are lots of issues to consider, from stock management and finding premises to hiring staff and getting your venture up and running. Before you do any of these things, first you need to establish a brand.
What's in a Brand?
In a nutshell, your brand is the identity of your company or product. It encompasses all the different values, ideas or characteristics of your business in a way that is easily identifiable. One of the most exciting aspects of setting up a new venture is choosing the name. This may be as straightforward as using your own name — perhaps with a reference to the goods or services you intend to supply. Alternatively, you might want to choose something more creative. Make sure that it is easy to spell so prospective clients can search for it online and that it will work well in local, national and global markets. You want something catchy and distinctive that ideally gives some clue about the nature of the business. Customers should be able to know what you stand for and what kind of service they can expect just by looking at your brand, so it's important to get it right and ensure you are creating the right impression.
Designing a Logo
Once you have the name you can think about a logo, which is the visual symbol of your business. The strongest logos are quite simple, using striking clear fonts and strong colours – you can incorporate a picture if you want but bear in mind that this may reduce the logo's impact. Think about where you will use your logo. It needs to work in a variety of formats and sizes, from small letterheads and compliments slips to larger promotional items such as wall posters or even exhibition banners. A text-based logo is relatively easy to design yourself, especially with the wealth of computer software available nowadays. Alternatively, you could commission a designer to create one for you.
How Is It Used?
Your brand should be at the forefront of all communications with prospective clients. This includes items such as business cards, flyers and other promotional items that are the basic essentials of your marketing strategy. But there are plenty of other openings for you to advertise your brand that you may not have thought of. Your website, sales emails, premises, staff uniforms and company vehicles are all further opportunities to raise your brand's profile.
Creating a strong brand is the first step in implementing an effective marketing strategy, helping you to build your business.
Mick Martin Promotions can help you establish your brand through our promotional items plus our embroided work and leisure wear.
Boost Your Business with Great Corporate Gifts
Giving the perfect corporate gift can be a fantastic way to boost your company's profile with prospective clients, leading to better business opportunities for your firm. Consider these key issues and you will end up with the perfect gift that that will convey the right message to your recipient.
Why Send Them?
Unlike incentive or reward schemes, where recipients must reach a certain level of attainment in order to qualify, corporate gifts are given freely regardless of success. They can be used to say thank you, to promote a new venture or to raise your company's profile.
What Does Your Gift Say?
The type of gift you send speaks volumes about your company. Wine or chocolates don't demonstrate much in the way of imagination, however nice they may be. The perfect gift should be something that will be used and appreciated and ideally also say something about your firm's business values and character. Quirky novelty items can work well if your company is in a particularly creative or unusual field but may not be so effective if you want to portray a very professional image. It is far better to send a few good-quality gifts than hundreds of cheaper ones that make your company look shoddy. Try to tailor them to the specific interests and tastes of the intended recipient.
Make It Personal
This can be tricky if you are sending hundreds of corporate gifts but if budget and time allows, a personalised letter or card included along with the gift can make a lasting impression. A simple handwritten note shows you have taken extra time and trouble over the gift.
Check Any Guidelines
Some offices, particularly those involved with public services, have strict policies regarding the acceptance of gifts. Check if there is an upper limit in value, as anything above this may need to be declared to the tax authorities or returned. Make sure too that you don't send anything that could cause embarrassment or be misconstrued as a possible bribe. Think about any potential implications with regard to differences in culture or beliefs. For example, a bottle of brandy would not be an especially thoughtful gift for somebody who does not drink alcohol for religious reasons.
Sending a corporate gift to a client shows you appreciate their contribution, either for work done in the past or for projects you hope to collaborate on in the future. It can be a lovely way to build a relationship with a new or existing business as well as providing an opportunity to improve your company's profile.
Back To School with a New Uniform
After a family holiday to Spain or a fun filled week at the caravan it’s almost September, the new academic year is now upon us and the time has come to sort out your children’s school uniform. Whether it be your child’s first day at school, moving up a year group or going into their final year it’s great to see them looking smart. No doubt they will have the initial moans when looking in the mirror whilst wearing a blazer or tie for the first time but come Tuesday morning the uniform will be chucked on whilst running out of the door in a hurry to spend time with friends before the 9am bell.
Uniform Makes Life Easier and Kids Fit in.
A uniform can make life so much easier for parents, no rushing around on a morning deciding what clothes to put on the kids whilst juggling sorting the breakfast, making the beds and packing the lunches. Set uniforms can save money too, once a quality uniform is purchased it can last the year, saving the expensive branded clothing we buy our children to be worn on evenings and weekends. A school uniform also leaves no room for competition with children as to whom is wearing the latest, most wanted sweatshirt or trousers and so they can concentrate on the important things such as learning and achieving in the classroom.
Tell your School about Mick Martin School Wear
Many of our schools now require pupils to wear a set PE kit that must be purchased from themselves and also offer optional extras such as fleece jackets, waterproof coats, hats and bags all branded with the school logo and very reasonably priced. You can be confident items of clothing purchased from us will be hard wearing and long lasting as we aim to make quality clothing available to parents at a low cost so pupils are well dressed as this reflects on the image of the school. Even better it’s a one stop shop, you can sort a full uniform with just one visit to our website allowing your family to enjoy the summer holidays outdoors rather than trailing the kids round shopping centres.
Schools we are already supplying
Here at Mick Martin Promotions we are delighted to be the sole supplier of quality uniform offering a variety of options to pupils at Duckpool pre-School, Dunston Riverside Academy, Rowlands Gill and St Mary’s School Whickham. If you are a parent, teacher or governor looking for a supplier of school uniform get in touch we would love to be part of making your school a smarter place!
by Maeve Martin
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