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.
Welcome to plastic free July. What does that mean exactly? If you decide to take part you join other millions of people around the globe who are agreeing to reduce their plastic waste. The movement started was started in 2017 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (founder of the Plastic Free Foundation) and a small team in local government in Western Australia. It is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world.
Whether you are a believer in Climate change or not, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into our oceans every year from coastal regions (published by National Geographic in May 2019) is not good in anyone’s standards. From my own personal experience, on a recent trip to Ireland I witnessed the exuberant level of pollution in their beaches and bays. Something I had never seen before. The locals told us this beautiful part of the world has become an ocean waste deposit.
Looking at our own home front, Australia (according to War on Waste statistics), Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world. We use over 10 million plastic bags a day. 85% of soft plastic from bags and packaging ends up in landfill.
It’s an interesting time for all of us. The choices we make in our lives, both personally and professionally. Recently Coles launched their latest ‘little shop’ campaign, ie, plastic toys … and have received backslash from the likes of change.org – who have started a petition which says – “Are you gobsmacked that Coles has brought out a new range of ‘little shop’ toys during Plastic-free July?”
This is something I have thought a lot about in our business. The promotional product industry produces a lot of plastic products. It is changing. Can it change faster ? Of course. I think it comes down to education, product availability and business/brand positioning. In the last 10 years, sustainable / eco-friendly products have evolved from novel / niche to being in high demand. This growing movement has been driven by:
Changing consumers attitudes: “25% of consumers are extremely concerned about plastic packaging, 42% think manufacturers should prioritise making packaging recyclable and 21% think the industry should work toward entirely plastic-free packaging” (Kantar).
Educational programs and the rise of influencers: David Attenborough, “The War on Waste”, Leonardo Dicaprico Save the Whales
Educational precincts – UTS is working on eliminating the most common single-use plastic items in their campus.
Businesses – Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living’ brands accounted for 60% of growth in 2016 and grew 50% faster than the rest of the business. Lego has committed to building its toys entirely from plant-based or recycled materials by 2030. They are investing over $2.18 billion in this project.
Availability of environmentally friendly products.
Through my research over the years of environmentally friendly products, I see the trend of reverting back to ‘the way we were’. We sold ourselves the dream of fast and convenient, only to realise that it’s not good for us or the environment. So slowly, we are changing things and going back to basics. That’s why you will see promotional products that don’t feel necessarily new… but the sourcing, the materials, the logistics … has changed. Here are a few I would like to share with you:
WHEAT STRAW – Is the stalk left over of harvested wheat grains. Previously it was categorised as a waste product – where in some countries they would burn off the starch. The material is now reclaimed to make wheat products.
BAMBOO – The fastest growing plant. It can be easily substitute all known wood applications without having to cut down entire bamboo groves or plantations. It also continuously grows after harvest without having to re-plant it. Bamboo converts about 35% more CO2 into oxygen than a regular tree.
RICE HUSK – A waste product with little value, so recycling will not reduce air pollution and the amount of plastic used! Biodegradable and reusable.
GLASS – A natural choice for a clean, pure taste and offers a safe and eco-friendly alternative.
SILICON – Made from silica found in sand, lasts longer than plastic, both in respect to the environment and product usage. It’s high durability, makes it more ‘ocean friendly’. Silicone can take extreme variations in temperature (cold to hot) without cracking, melting or falling apart.
My not so hidden secret is my absolute love for stationery. I used to dream of owning a filofax when I was young!
I only recently thought about the connection with my business. A lot of the promotional products I work with clients on, are in actual fact, stationery products. My love for stationery, however did start from a very young age. (“Show you the child at 7 and I show you the adult!.”)
If you know me well, you know how much I am in love with my TurnKey Promotion pens. Since the day these pens were delivered they have come into conversation more times than I can count!
I know for sure I am not alone with this borderline obsession. Which got me thinking, where does this world wide fixation on stationery come from. In the times of ‘paperlessness’ (so we thought!), stationery stores are not going away. If anything, in the last 10 years we are seeing more stores pop up.
Thanks to thepaperdashery.com they have shed some light on where the obsession with stationery comes from:
New stationery represents a fresh start
Stationery provides an alternative to digital communication
Stationery puts power and control into your hands – literally
There is a belief that stationery makes us more organised and creative
Stationery provides a channel for us to express our true selves.
Who thought a pen and notepad or diary could deliver so much!
So it appears there are a lot of emotions and feelings, consciously or subsciously flying around in stationery stores. A place of self reflection, clearing the past and ‘potentialising’ the future. Stationery stores are limiting their marketing potential… we are no longer talking about paper and pens, we are talking about people’s lives in big ways! Kikki K (Australia born, starting in Melbourne in 2001 and now has 100 stores) has run with this notion, offering in-store self development workshops. ‘Saved by the ballpoint pen!’
Stationery stores have definitely upped their game, which is most certainly the reason, for those who once watched their love fade away, have since reunited. The choice of stationery products, the colours, the luxuriousness… these are no longer boring places we paced for office supplies. They have become the kind of stores that you think twice about, before entering, because you know for certain, you will spend longer than you initially plan to. An adults toy world!
To be honest I am not sure if this is a gender specific obsession. I know a lot of women who have stationery obsession, but I don’t know of a lot of men. Enlighten me if you have some examples.
For me personally, stationery provides a tactileness, that I increasingly crave – post the computer taking over our lives. Stationery without even realising helps me to connect and focus on what I am doing right now. You definitely don’t want your mind wondering when you write the first word, line, paragraph in your brand new diary!
I found a list (thank you Gena-mour Barrett at BuzzFeed) that has confirmed my stationery obsession is real – “Anyone who’s slightly obsessed with stationery has secretly done:
Organised your pens by colour, type of pen, etc.
Taken the line width of your ruled paper seriously.
Practised your handwriting before making that first sacred mark in a new notebook.
Lied and said you didn’t have a pen because you didn’t want someone to take it.
Been excited by the prospect of starting a new job or term at school because it means having to go stationery shopping.
Refused to use a beautiful notebook for way too long because you still haven’t found a good enough reason to use it.
Convinced yourself that new stationery is the key to organising your life.
Winced when someone asked to borrow a piece of paper because it means ripping a page from your precious notepad.”
Lucky for me I have turned my obsession into a business, and so researching, sourcing, reviewing, testing, selling, stationery products for my day-job is a perfect fit.
These are some of my latest obsessions that you may also find yourself becoming obsessed with:
If you need a sample, don’t hesitate. Nothing would bring me more joy!