O’Cobhthaigh, a branded merchandise professional and owner of TurnKey Promotions operating out of Hunters Hill NSW, was formally certified with her MAS on 27th May 2020. Reflecting on the experience she said, “This is a massive milestone in my career and for the industry in Australia.” Upon graduation only two professionals in Australia hold this designation, so it is indeed a massive achievement. A sentiment shared by Wesley Fawaz, CEO of the local association APPA, Australasian Promotional Products Association, stating “It is truly incredible to have another professional in our industry receive this certification. I hope this encourages others to follow and we congratulate Diana for all of her dedication and hard work.”
It is this level of dedication that has awarded O’Cobhthaigh
a place among an elite few in the promotional industry. Individuals with MAS
certification are regarded as industry leaders, and rightfully so as they have
attained a higher standard of professionalism, knowledge and experience. The
certification is acquired through a combination of active employment in the
industry, education, industry contributions and the successful demonstration of
expertise. It is more than education; it’s about understanding and implementing
a higher level of doing business.
Finding a specialist in an industry is usually a bonus for
most consumers. Imagine walking into a bakery to pickup a birthday cake, only
to find out that the baker is a world renown cake creator. What seemed like a
typical purchase has now become an experience and you may never look at cakes
the same way again. The same rule applies in any industry and that is exactly
what O’Cobhthaigh has done and will continue to do in the future. Raising the bar,
showing her clients that they are not transactional but rather key partners in the
industry she has chosen.
A perfect example of where the bar sits can be found in one
of the integral parts of MAS certification. Recipients must go through a
rigorous curriculum on safety and compliance where they are not only educated
on regulations but challenged to adopt new procedures that incorporate them. This
includes identifying hazards and ensuring products are safe for children,
knowing what chemicals and metals are present in raw materials and the inks
used to brand them, understanding safety measures in electronic devices, how to
read test reports and the list goes on. MAS professionals don’t just react to
what a brand needs, they protect and enhance it. O’Cobhthaigh confirms this has
been her business model from day one stating, “I am in business for quality not
quantity. I have a book of loyal clients and my goal is to provide the best
level of service I can on every single project.”
O’Cobhthaigh is a leader in her industry and since receiving her certification has been actively recruiting peers into the MAS program. She is an incredible role model, helping to advance her industry, improve product safety and compliance, as well as promoting continued education.
Join us as we explore ways to spark warmth and joy this
winter, keep our minds and bodies active, and play with new ideas to
promote team spirit.
It’s true, Autumn is wrapping up and with daily time feeling
so slow the seasons seem to have come and gone in a blink of an eye. The
government is slowly allowing businesses to reopen, and while this is being
phased in I imagine most of us will be spending this winter working from home.
It’s time to wrap up in a comfy blanket, light a candle or two and enjoy warm
cups of coffee and tea. We have a lot to be thankful for and plenty of things
to look forward to.
Are you ready for the new business attire this winter? 2020
is going to be about classic fleece blazers, matching trackies and fashion
forward accessories like Sherpa lined wraps, also referred to as blankets. For
those of us who are integrators and familiar mixing our work and home spaces
this is a dream come true. For everyone else, I dare you to live a little
Keeping spirts high is the goal and we need to remember that
we are still incredibly connected to one another. Life may feel a little more
planned at the moment, but a healthy injection of some unexpected flair is all
it takes to mix things up.
When we look into day to day office life we can see
innovation and sparks of creativity that develop from impromptu social
interactions. Collaborations and ideas come to life quickly when a thought can
turn into a comment and lead into a chat during something as simple as a coffee
break. True fact, some of my best ideas have come from unscheduled meetings or
catch ups where there was no pressure to “have an idea”. It’s the camaraderie
of a team that creates this energy and it enters into the workplace outside of
standard lines. We don’t plan to have side chats and personal moments at work
but they happen and it creates our “work family”.
This can still happen! I know accountability is key and it
is important to make sure everyone stays productive, but I also think it’s
important to have fun, giggle, and share stories. Introduce a goofy idea,
something as silly as an emoji sign. Your team can hold these up during virtual
meetings to interact visually while being quietly ridiculous. After all,
emjoi’s were created to express emotions and ideas. What about branded pajamas,
embrace the jest of people working in pajamas and try doing it in branded wear!
Smiles are hard to resist and the more you generate the higher the team spirit.
You can also try taking a standard morning ritual like
pouring a cup of coffee and make it a team event. Create a care package with a
branded mug or tumbler everyone can use (this is also a great visual reference
during online meetings). Bring the team into the experience with a morning
minute where you talk about what you’re drinking. Encourage the team to hold up
their cups and discuss any new twists or tricks they’ve tried with their
coffee. We can help get the ball rolling! Included with coffee item orders is a
quick flip ebook for at home coffee hacks. It might sound funny, but that’s the
Another popular trend (which I say because it sounds better
than the truth) is at home fitness. Keeping up our health has never been more
important and staying active has become a new challenge in our day to day
At minimum our daily regime needs to include basic stretching to ensure we are balancing the activity changes with working from home. We’ve partnered with an incredible physiotherapy company, Healix Health, have put together an entire collection of at home physio guides to help keep up our bodies active. Healix works to create healthier, happier and safer workplaces working with transportation, aviation and government industries. They have given us exclusive access to a guide focused on simple stretches and at home exercises that anyone can perform to keep their neck and posture aligned. Their guide also includes exercises with resistance bands and we’ve included a few of our favourites that can be custom branded. We’ll include this guide (can be customised with your brand and message) with any fitness item ordered.
Are you looking for something unique? Full of character, personality and possibly a dash of charisma? Take a moment this month to invest 5 minutes into exploring what the local community is producing. Many of these businesses have defied the odds to keep their brands and product lines alive and they’ve found niches within their community worth our attention. As we unite to find the “new normal” it is important to remember that we are strongest together. Facing a global challenge we might feel like an itsy bitsy spider but let’s not forget the sun did eventually come out to dry up all the rain. Maybe we’ll start the next chapter with a better outlook and a deeper connection to the local communities we’re a part of. We believe so, and we’re keeping communication open. Whether you’re working on a project or need a moment of inspiration we’re here to help.
Points of difference define our experiences.
Many of the businesses producing Australian made products are small. Born from artists, dreamers and entrepreneurs who needed an avenue to express themselves. Sounding like a great place to find something different? Well you’re right. Big box companies live in a world of commodity, what’s trending now and how do I stock my shelves with it. Small businesses, and specifically those producing their own products don’t have this ability. “Go Big or Go Home” isn’t part of their business plan, and typically not why they got into business to begin with. Instead of thinking big, these businesses have to think differently, and this is truly the secret sauce to the beautiful products they produce. Points of difference are what define our experiences and the number one reason brands should be looking to connect with smaller locally produced product lines.
Enrich your brand’s story by connecting with the stories of the products you brand.
Guess how many plastic reusable cups are brought in and branded each year from overseas manufacturers? What happens when those products have reached their life span? If we’re lucky they are recycled, but often these products end up back in landfill because the manufacturing company that created the cup stopped caring the moment the boat sailed away. Now lets look at a local business producing the same type of product. Except this business is all about sustainability and accountability. Instead of writing off every product they create they have a presence in the community and take back any product, no questions asked, at any level of the life span and recycle the product right back into the next batch of cups. Pretty amazing right? We agree, and that’s why they’re in our new Made in Australia catalogue. Take a look at the Uppercups, some amazing products from a phenomenal source. The next time you need branded merchandise, take a moment and think about the story you’re connecting your brand to.
In the era of blogs, social media, and Stan, there isn’t
really a centralised place for students to congregate, except on campuses. This
creates a unique opportunity for advertisers and brands to target an audience
of students. Ad placement can be an attractive option and is typically a quick
and easy fix, but it can also be incredibly fragmented. While most students are
caught up in socialising and thinking about their next class, are the ads even
This is where branded merchandise holds an excellent vantage
point. Providing students with products they can use, both at home and at
school, is the best way to create brand exposure within this audience. Students
are operating on limited time and funding which makes them incredibly open to
free assistance and support. Where one student might walk blindly past a wall
banner for setting up a new bank account, that same student may stop to grab a
kit of free pencils with the same information included inside. Getting your
message into the hands of students isn’t’ hard, just make sure the message is
quite literally “in their hands.”
This month we are exploring a perfect approach to student marketing and have constructed a catalogue full of amazing ideas. Mix and match colour options allow you to stay within branding guidelines or play into the colours of a school while showcasing items like coffee cups, water bottles and tumblers. Or look at public transport, which is often discounted or free to students, and explore branded RFID blocking merchandise designed to hold transport cards and student ID’s. We have also included top supply staples like pencil/pen pouches and notebooks which all students are in constant need of.
Looking to tap into the sustainability trend being fuelled by Gen Z? In October we launched “Eco-Living” which was a catalogue dedicated to eco-friendly merchandise available with custom branding. This is an excellent way to interact with students in 2020 and if you haven’t had a chance, take a quick browse through this catalogue by clicking here.
In short, when you’re looking to create school spirit, or
highlight your brand amongst students, make sure you are putting that message
into their hands. Three simple steps, show your support, give back and get
noticed on campus.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(RSPCA) gathered reports and statistics for 2019 showing that approximately 61%
of households in Australia own pets. This gave Australia one of the highest pet
ownership rates in the world and calculated over 29 million pets in total.
Amongst these amazing percentages it was calculated that the most common owned
pet were dogs coming in at 40%. Although
the number of people owning pets may seem massive, it should come as no
surprise when you consider the top four benefits of owning a pet as reported by
owners. Relational benefits (love, affection and companionship), life being
better in general, happiness, and the improvement in mental health and
well-being. Pets become part of families and pull at our heart strings earning
themselves a well-earned title of “Fur Babies”.
We wanted to take a month to celebrate the fur babies of Australia by creating a catalogue (View Here) that is aimed at promoting animal care, happiness, and good ownership. Branded merchandise adheres to the basic standards of advertising, needing to be the right product, to the right person at the right time. Pet owners are a dedicated demographic, fiercely loyal and accustom to daily routines with their pets. This creates a perfect opportunity to place your brand into a high exposure environment surrounded by good times and cuddles (puppy cuddles are the best).
Exploring demographics and helping our clients consider new
audiences is what makes TurnKey Promotions unique. We launch custom themed
catalogues every month and each one is dedicated to exploring new ways to reach
your target audience. This month’s Pet Catalogue pulls at my heart strings and
reminds me of a marketing manager I had the privilege of working with a few
years back. She worked with a local bank and was looking for promotional
merchandise to include for the opening of a new branch. Before contacting us
she had conducted some preliminary research of the neighbourhood where the
branch was to be located and determined that there was a very high volume of
dog owners. When we met, she reported back her research and we collaborated to
create a promotional gift aimed specifically at dog owners. While this might
seem like an odd choice for a bank, it was well thought out, targeted and ensured
a successful opening event for the bank. Exploring demographics can really make
a difference to your promotional product campaign. If we dive deeper into the
61% of households owning pets we will find that 64% of those pet owners are
female and 65% are from households with incomes of $50,000 or more. Diving a
little further we can also find that 75% of those aged 18-24 are pet owners
(Gen Z) and 66% of those aged 40-54 are also pet owners (Gen X). In fact, over
three-quarters of families with children ages 6 or older also report back as
Remember your target audiences can be bound together with beautiful
strings like owning a pet.
Branded pet products is a growing trend in the promotional industry, but we searched far and wide within our supply chain and put our findings into an easy to browse catalogue just for you.
If you’re looking to bring something new to your next event
or promotion you can always count on us to help you stay on target and outside
of the box
In his book Cities & Countries, Roman Payne wrote “ Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”
I implore all the travel lovers to unite, as we all know this to be true. There are cities we fall in love with, places we’ll never forget and of course those of we will never travel to again. It’s these affairs with amazing cities that inspired the release of a collection dedicated to urban life and exploring. Who are we? Where are we going? How do we get to and from work? How do we Celebrate? Travel and pass the time?
Our newest collection “Urban” is a celebration of the urban explorer in each of us. Be it the day to day commute to work, the reset lunch breaks we’ve all learned are priceless, or how we create the most memorable days off, it’s about the journey. We have all spent time and energy in planning out our daily adventures and they deserve to be recognised and celebrated.
Welcome to the tangible story of urban explorers, from a yoga instructor and a PHD student who only eats organic, to the CEO of a tech start-up and let’s not forget the conservative executive who sometimes gets lost (we all know one). The items we are showcasing are the essentials we carry with us to take on each day.
I wanted to bring a bit of funk and feel to this selection of products and remind all of the brands out there looking to stay connected with their target audience, don’t forget about practical acts of endearment. A quick dry travel towel may not sound like the most thrilling product you’ve ever come across, but I promise you I’ve been to the gym (allegedly… proof is still out). I’ve seen the daily regulars toting the same drink bottle and towel each and every day. It’s an item they have incorporated into their daily journey and is with them when they need it. I can’t think of a better place for your brand to be, can you? Check out our Urban Catalogue Here
Four ways to embrace eco friendly items and incorporate them into your marketing.
One of the best ways to promote reusing, recycling and reducing is to live by example. Make sure all of the products you are selecting haven’t been “green washed’ and actually are providing a positive impact on the environment. A lot of items are marketed as ecofriendly, but to really embrace the idea we encourage you to get invested into the “why” and link that back into your branding. If you are branding a water bottle, consider placing an inspirational phrase on the reverse side. Something as simple as “Fill. Drink. Repeat” has a massive impact and reminds the recipient that the item is reusable. You can also find products that speak for themselves and we’ve included a few in our newest catalogue “Eco Living”. A perfect example is the reforest jute tote bags. For every 100 units sold the manufacturer arranges a tree to be planted within reforestation areas of Australia. To help illustrate this program we have added a small recycled tag to the bag straps which alerts recipients to the program. Contributing to good initiatives creates good vibes and this is exactly the association you want with your brand. Another great option in our catalogue are the water bottles crafted from sugar cane. Each bottle has a stock sugar cane graphic printed along the base which helps celebrate the natural materials used to create the bottles. In addition, the bottle supplier is actively contributing to a clean water charitable fun and each bottle sold helps to provide clean water for three months to one person in the Central African Republic.
Connecting back to nature creates a genuine sense of giving back to the environment. Items that can be planted or placed in gardens are a great way to get your brand involved. Select an interactive item like potted plants, a butterfly or bee hotel (featured in our catalogue) and your brand will have repeat exposure as each unit grows. We also have an innovative pencil in this month’s catalogue that can be planted at the end of its usable life cycle. Each pencil has a water pouch built in and once planted will degrade, releasing the water and seeds. Products linked to being planted open great possibilities for brand enhancement messages like “grow with us” and “new beginnings”.
Choose items that can be incorporated into every-day life.
Most landfills are loaded with single use disposables, many of which are used
and disposed daily. Coffee cups, plastic straws, and plastic bags sit at the
top of this list and ecofriendly options are not only being sought by consumers
but also by local state and government agencies. Bans on plastic straws and
plastic bags are on the rise, along with reusable coffee cup programs which are
popping up in fast moving metros. This creates the perfect time to put your
brand on trend, in demand and all while staying ecofriendly. Reusable bags made
from fibres like jute, cotton or cork add a natural beauty to your branding.
Along with these bags, recyclable paper straws, and reusable coffee cups
(especially those made of unique materials like rice husk) provide a great
solution for reducing landfill. Your brand’s exposure is maximised with items
used daily and if you can achieve that along with helping the environment your
brand is #winning.
Two terms that are rarely married together are eco friendly and corporate gifting, but we’ve included a couple ideas to achieve both and take your brand to the next level. Starting with premium sunglasses that come packed with a jaw dropping backstory. Each pair is crafted from re-purposed skateboards and the results are stunning. Top of the line luxury sunglasses make the perfect summer gift and being made from skateboards is a great conversation twist. Next up is a must have tech item constructed with bamboo, organic cotton, hemp and recycled plastic. With natural crafted Bluetooth speakers your eco friendly gifting is sorted this season. These stylish 10-Watt speakers combine quality sound with a sustainable design and are sure to spark both intrigue and delight with recipients.
No matter what direction you want you want to explore, there are eco friendly initiatives at every budget level. Tiptoe into the idea or dive headfirst and start contributing to the reducing, recycling, and reusing trend wave. The demand is here, the impact is real, and your brand deserves to be placed where it matters most. We love this chapter in the promotional products story and are excited to share our newest release “Eco Living” catalogue.
Should you or shouldn’t you start planning for Christmas three months out?
Why you should?
Preparation, most of us believe is key to smooth sailing. And we all know Christmas time is where stress levels can be peaking. Getting organised early on can avoid last minute panic stations.
You have adequate time to shop around for best pricing for gifts, food, decorations, plane tickets, etc.
If you are a lover of everything Christmas, so extending one of your favourite times of the year from one day to three months, makes complete sense.
You actually love the build up / anticipation more than the day of Christmas, and therefore dedicate most of your focus on this part.
You have lots of family coming and need the 3 months prior to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for the day.
Dietary requirements are not limited to one person at the table anymore. Every person and their dog has a food allergy / intolerance / preference. If you are catering, this certainly requires an excel spreadsheet.
I know it may feel a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but it does make life a lot less stressful when you can plan ahead. Particularly when it comes to gift giving for customers, staff, suppliers, business partners… and particularly when the quantities are not small. Planning helps you stick to your budget, ensure stock availability, delivery and quality is spot on.
“Detailing the return-on-investment for a business gift, Jennings reveals that C-suite executives are especially impacted by a gift that tells a story and facilitates a deeper personal connection, which 94% of top executives believe is important to business success. Over 80% of C-suite executives believe that business gifts generate measurable positive ROI in addition to intangible benefits. “Gifts humanize business,” said a survey respondent. “It pays for itself two fold,” said another.”
Let me know if you want to talk Christmas gift giving for your customers, shareholders, suppliers, partners and/or staff. I have loads of gift ideas – both new and the classics that never falter.
The awards night is part of the two day industry only trade show, where we come together to present and discuss the latest promotional products.
Environmentally friendly is trending in our industry. There are different segments within this sustainable / environmental category, which include:
REUSABLE – Moving from single use to life time usage. Both natural (wheat husk, rice husk, corn starch, bamboo fibre) and plastic materials are being used to create these products. Some of the products include coffee cups, bottles, bags.
RECYCLABLE – Glass, paper, plastics.
REDUCED – Products that are not entirely made up of plastic, and include bio-degradable (Under AS 4736-2006 a product can only be claimed biodegradeable if it can achieve 90% of biodegration of plastic materials in180 days) materials. We are seeing this percentage continuing to increase.
RECOVERED – This is where waste product that was previously discarded is recovered and reworked to create various products. Corn starch and wheat starch are examples of materials that are being recovered.
PERSONALISATION AND CUSTOMISATION – This is definitely not going away. Manufacturers are creating flexibility in their process to cater for this growing market. Everyone wants a ‘one-off’, special, unique and the promotional products industry is doing a great job of building their capabilities to align with this growing segment.
We are very excited to share our latest exciting news…
Last week at the APPA (Australasian Promotions Products Association) industry awards night TurnKey Promotions came first place in the ‘Self Promotion’ Award category.
For the past three years we have been entering the awards and making finalist, but this is the first year we have taken out a first place in a category. We are ecstatic to receive this award and be recognised by the industry. This particular category had a lot of tough competition, which makes this victory even more rewarding.
THE AWARD ENTRY CRITERIA
To enter the award we were required to complete a written response of 300-600 words for each of the following questions, along with the inclusion of visual elements:
What was the company’s business goal and branding requirement to achieve KPI’s? Was it achieved and how did promo contribute to it being achieved?
The concepts, design, creativity or development or selection of products to meet the brand or campaign requirement and marketing strategy relevance.
How successful was the promotion or campaign?
The campaign that we submitted was our ‘Lets Roll Into 2019’ campaign, which was rolled out from February 2019.
The objectives of the campaign were to:
Recognise our clients and their value to our business TurnKey
Promotions Create an opportunity to connect with our clients.
Showcase a promotional product item that was new and interesting and marketable around a theme.
Make the meeting a planning session for the year ahead so we can put together an activity schedule and create ongoing opportunity to touch base with our clients in the lead up to their key events.
We went for a high quality product, ‘Let’s Roll Bundleᵀᴹ, with personalisation, i.e. client initials. The classic vintage style with modern-day features, travel accessories bundle, we believed fit the brief. The significance of our gift was to associate the positive emotions of travel with TurnKey Promotions. But more importantly the gift symbolised the start of our journey in 2019.
We were clear about the objective of this campaign from the beginning: To increase the value of our existing clients by 20%, which we not only achieved but exceeded. Our scorecard was derived from January to May 2018 versus 2019 sales revenue.
The results continue to surprise us It has helped us significantly improve how we allocate internal resources to higher dollar valued clients versus lower dollar valued clients. This is a business model evolution… something we had previously realised, however this promotion pushed us into taking action.
Why we thought we should win
We wholeheartedly believe in the power of what we do and have first handedly experienced the results through this campaign.
Our clarity at the start of the campaign was fruitful in getting us to the successful result at the end. Synergistically the campaign underpinned the message of ‘planning in 2019’.
Not only did we achieve our short term goal of increasing sales revenue, but it has definitely set us up for 2019 and building on our client relationships.
Smiles and thank yous. It doesn’t feel like much, but it did take a reasonable amount of effort, particularly in respect to the personalisation and the inclusion of the activity schedule, and our clients were very appreciative. This makes working and running a business, purposeful, humbling and fun.
It’s our time to shine… for our clients! We really wanted to win this award to reinforce to our clients that they are important to us and they are partnering with a creative industry leader.