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!
Flip flops, thongs, jandals or as they’re known (somewhat bizarrely) in South Africa, slops. The cooler more casual sibling of the sandal, there’s few summer footwear options more versatile or fashionable.
It’s a design that doesn’t really need reinvention. At least in the form factor. They’ve followed a consistent design since their inception in Ancient Japan and Egypt. So even today, in your cheap and cheerful thongs, you can follow Pharoah Chic and Samurai style.
They can be made to last a few weeks or a few years depending on the materials. Though I must admit a friend of mine had a pair that cost $2 that survived a four month trip around Asia with nary a scratch or tear.
We can offer highly customisable flip flops that can be manufactured in no time at all without sacrificing style. With a robust sole that’s designed specifically for high definition, full colour printing, you can keep your range varied.
Flip flops are popular with all ages, from toddlers to teens and far beyond, their versatility makes them an invaluable summer accessory. With a variety of printing options, simple and complex designs alike are readily available. For the discerning patron on race day looking for a simple solid colour pair to change into when the heels get to be too much, right down to the hyperactive ten year old who wants their favourite superhero emblazoned on their summer shoes. There’s something for everyone.
There is a lot of talk about seasonal and event specific marketing tie ins. With Christmas now rapidly approaching, it’s time to hone in on what is undeniably the biggest seasonal market of the year. Looking at how to latch onto this opportunity and make it work for your brands.
Unlike some other seasonal events and holidays (birthdays, easter, halloween), Christmas is unique in that pretty much any and all brands can play at utilising the period in their advertising. Part of that comes from the ubiquity of the holiday, and its ties to gift giving and money spending. From NRMA to Australia Post, brands and services of all shapes and sizes find ways to tap into the festive cheer.
The key at Christmas then, is standing out from the crowd. With so much of Christmas focusing on buying and gift giving, so many advertisements focus on deals and cost cutting. Pounding consumers with images of big yellow labels and low prices and sales. It’s nauseating and only really works for large scale retailers and companies dealing in a wide variety of products. The types of companies that will see a large footfall regardless and are really only trying to syphon consumers away from very similar, competing stores.
When working with a more concise brand, you’ve got to get creative. Being unique is always important in advertising, and particularly around Christmas being memorable can be more important than actually advertising the product in any meaningful way. Looking at NRMA and Australia Post advertisements, the ties between the service on offer and Christmas itself are loose. The main focus is on tying specific festive imagery and aesthetics and playing on the associated emotions, to the brand itself. These advertisements come across more like a Christmas card from the company, rather than a sales pitch. Christmas is about closeness, familiarity and comfort. The most successful brands tap into these emotions by being approachable and marketing with humility. As mentioned in the article a few weeks back, Coke perfected this. Despite having a product that has almost nothing to do with Christmas, their advertising absolutely nailed the sensibilities and cultural hallmarks of the holiday.
Another effective theme of Christmas advertising is one of summary. Christmas marks the end of the year, a holiday that gives you time to look back on the last 12 months. It’s why so many brands focus on a timeless aesthetic, or one that calls back to the most distinctive events of the year, as well as tapping into the current cultural and social climate. At the end of the year people take stock of what’s happened to them, of what’s important and where they’re going. People are more aware than ever to the current state of things and if you can make that work for your brand, you’ll be reaching people on a whole other level.
Recently, Australian advertisers have moved further towards embracing what makes Christmas so different down under. Embracing the distinctly Australian. The humour, the geography, the cultural. The inherent silliness in celebrating a very winter-centric European holiday at the height of summer. So much of Christmas’ cultural short hand is wrapped up in our European roots. It’s time to change that.
Christmas is the time of giving, sharing and coming together. Branding is effective when it strays away from the obviously cynical and commercial, and looks at what makes Christmas…well…Christmas. Find what it means to your audience, to you and your brand and make a holy trinity of the three.
What value do you place on trust? And can you place a value on trust?
Well if you are AMP the value is very clear. Since the Royal Commission came about, the share price has dropped more than 70% – from $14 to $3.50.
In a recent survey on Australia’s most trusted brands, Aldi and Bunnings won the race. A bit of surprise for Australians to trust a non-Australian brand like Aldi, more than they trust their own.
This may well be a reflection of how the brands are positioning themselves through their communication. Both Aldi and Bunnings tell the story of low pricing, of which they have been consistent with for years on years. As we know, consistency is a strong indicator of trust. Which for the other supermarkets has been a bit of a downfall in recent times, in respect to the ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ provide plastic bags!
How are you building trust with your customers? Is your message clear, consistent and visible?
If a message is continually repeated for long enough, people believe. It’s called the ‘illusory truth effect’. Which means the tendency to believe information to be correct after repeated exposure. So the more familiar we are with someone or something (business, brand, product), the more likely we are to trust what they are telling us, if the message is consistent.
Trust is a core value to masses.
If you work on building trust, then customers for example, deal with you because they see a value beyond the tangibles of the service and product you are providing.
When you cannot physically be there, you have to rely on marketing to do the job. You want to make sure that the marketing is reflective of a direct experience. Hence the importance of being clear about who your business / brand is.
Building Trust with Promotional Products
When we are clear about who we are as a business / brand, through the marketing process we can start to think about branded merchandise. This will help us not only be selective in respect to aligning the promotion with who we are, but also aligning it with our customer, and how we can, through promotional products, continue to provide value.
Promotional products create an experience that lives on longer than 5 minutes and if carried out correctly the total customer experience builds value, consistency, familiarity, trust and subsequently loyalty.
Marketers in Australia, according to ‘Promotional Products Work’, spend $1.5-$2 billion dollars each year on promotional products for the following reasons:
1. 52% say their impression of a company is more positive after receiving a promotional product.
2. 76% recall the name advertised on a product.
3. 55% keep the item for more than one year.
4. Nearly 50% of recipients use them daily.
5. 52% of people do business with a company after receiving a promotional product.
The Importance of Quality
If it’s trust we are building then quality also plays an important role. Whichever style of marketing / customer experience you decide to go with, the quality of that experience paints a picture about what type of business you are and whether they return and/or tell their family and friends about you.
According to business.com, one of the reasons why product quality impacts your brand is because it builds trust. “Countless potential sales are lost because a brand fails to make a deeper connection with prospective buyers. The quality of your services and merchandise is one way to help you get consumers to appreciate and believe in what you have to offer.”
They also make a very good point about business success and trust working hand in hand. If a business cannot be trusted, business sustainability is virtually unattainable. Who wants to work with someone they don’t trust? And if you are working with a business and you feel this way, you are always on the lookout for a replacement.
How to use Promotional Products to build trust
If you are thinking about your next promotional product or looking for a way to build trust with your customers, suppliers, staff, shareholders, board members, colleagues, etc, ensure you consider the following:
1. Align the product with your Business / Brand Positioning, tying into the consistency of your message.
2. Make sure you add value to your customer. This isn’t limited to the product, but the total experience. How the product arrives, for example, do you present it or send it? What do you accompany the product with? How do you continue the story? How will they use the product? How long will they use it for? Will it help them in their daily life?
3. Provide quality products and a quality experience. Make it memorable and create lasting connections with your customers.
If you would like to talk promotional product ideas that build trust happy to have a chat.
In an increasingly diverse and ever-expanding marketplace the temptation to go big, better and more in-your-face, can be overwhelming. There’s a time and a place for more restrained and exact branding, and it’s here and now.
When the average person thinks logos, advertising and everything brand-related, they probably picture seas of logos, flashing lights and electronic technicolour. Think Times Square, Piccadilly Circus, Shibuya Crossing. It’s a trend that persists and exists across cultures and continents. From Tokyo to the Big Apple, bigger is seen as better.
It’s an approach to branding that attempts a sort of omnipresence. Being here, there and everywhere as a constant reminder and reinforcement. The Trump approach to advertising, who focuses on a relentless self-aggrandisement. Slapping a name, big and gaudy, on every product and property. Steaks, planes and towers, all under one almighty title. It’s worked to mix success for Trump, and in it’s modern context, this sort of very personal branding will divide audiences. Because it’s so tied up in perceptions around his character and what he represents. Success depends on how he, or his name, is perceived. Regardless of what’s being sold. Trump steaks aren’t sold on meat quality, the brand brings images of wealth and excess from its bombasity. That’s the selling point.
Relentless branding, and its relative effectiveness, comes down to the extent to which the brand is tied up in the success and essence of what’s being sold. Hello Kitty, whilst very different to the Trump brand, operates with a similar ethos, albeit one that is arguably more effective. The image of Hello Kitty herself is inexplicably tied to the brand and target audience. She is visual shorthand, aesthetic and selling point all in one. Overbearing and ever-present but also highly targeted in terms of audience.
It’s about knowing the product and the brand, the extent to which they exist synonymously, and what one says about the other. Targeted digital advertising allows any brand an omnipresence if done correctly. But that doesn’t necessarily make it the right approach. More subtle approaches to branding are becoming more numerous, and more importantly, are reaping the rewards.
Recent years have seen even the biggest brands; Coke, Durex, McDonald’s. Move towards a more minimalist design aesthetic with a focus on simplicity and stark design. There’s also been the rise of brands such as fjallraven and Paperchase, which tend to focus on simple elegant design acting as branding.
This trend is also present in larger scale retail and businesses with wide product ranges. General Motors shrunk its brands from eight to four, and saw a 16% increase in sales within the year. Head and Shoulders reduced it’s product line from twenty-five to sixteen and saw a 10% bump in sales. You can get even more mundane. Aldi, which has a far lower number of brands (and very little focus on brand recognition for individual own-brand products), less intrusive imaging and choices on offer, has seen a surge in popularity for exactly this reason.
Take a long hard look at your product(s), and how you want to brand them. It’s all a balancing act, and your approach to branding should reflect the core design ethos. In being too brash and boisterous a brand can drown out its own appeal. Any recognition becoming lost in its own noise.
Winter is on the doorstep. Head protection from extreme weather is a necessity… for how many weeks of the year, all depends on where you live and how often you travel to cold climates.
From another perspective, head attire can have nothing to do with protection, but more to do with a personal identity, statement or association. Celebrities known for wearing a beanie in the summertime include: Robert Pattinson, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, David Beckham and Liam Hemsworth.
Here are some different ways you can wear a beanie, thanks to instyle.com.au:
Take a casual approach – team up with a pair or sneakers
Patterned beanie – Wear with block colour outfit
Work the tones – Compile your outfit on different tones of the one colour
Dress up your beanie – Wear with a tailored coat and Knee high boots
Off-duty model – Match with leather jacket, skinny pants, and sneakers.
Play with Texture – A fluffy beanie with a fluffy jacket.
Stripes – Beanies with stripes.
What are some other interesting facts about beanies:
There is a world record for the most beanies worn at once. One hundred beanies, by a man in New York, in 2016.
It’s believed that the first beanie dated back to the 12th and 13th centuries.
1990s, the beanie increased in its attractiveness, becoming a favorite accessory for skaters and snowboarders
So we get that beanies have been around for a long time and are super popular, both in winter and summer. So how can you make a branded beanie work? There are lots of fun and cool things you can do with beanies: animal designs; full colour images, branding or messaging; ear warmers; visors; or even a pompom on top. It also comes down to your brand personality, message and the theme/event you are tapping into.
Lots of brands do caps and visors, so why not try something a little different. Beanies are a great way to tap into the millennial market; if you want to go for the grungy / anti-social movement; and also the adventure tourism market (involves exploration or travel to remote exotic areas) – a market which is expected to grow by 20% in the next 5 years.
According to Euromonitor International, “There is a fundamental shift in consumer values towards experiences over things that bring happiness and wellbeing, with spending on experiences like travel, leisure and food service to rise to US$8.0 trillion by 2030.”
Millennials are driving this change:
91% of Australian Millennials (aged 18-34) attended a live event, ranging from entertainment-focused experiences like concerts and beer festivals, to more cause-related events like marches and rallies.
81% said they would choose to buy an experience rather than something desirable, ahead of their Gen X (35-45) peers at 72%.
So what’s shaping the experiential economy, they believe the growth is derived from (according to Eventbrite a Event Platform):
People crave interactions off social media – Four out of five millennials say that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world.
People are looking for a new perspective – In a world where the today’s headlines are yesterday’s old news, in-person events provide the opportunity to connect and gain perspective.
Our cultural climate is shifting – A high percentage of people believe it’s essential for people to come together in person to promote positive change
Millennials are starting families – Seven in 10 (69%) of both younger and older millennials attend live events to challenge themselves and escape everyday routines. Their interest in attending events doesn’t lessen once they start families.
Livestreaming is making experiences more valuable – According to Facebook, people spend more than 3x more time watching a live video than a recorded video.
1. Knowing this what can we do about it when it comes to branding:
Create experiences. Start small if you have to. Some ideas to get you thinking:
Tasting testing before purchase. Mezzina do a great job of this.
Offer classes. The Sydney Fishing School has done a great job of this. Now we are seeing cooking classes pop-up everywhere.
Collaborate with a partners to hold an event – We are seeing this happen more and more. You split the costs whilst cross-leveraging your audience.
Demonstrations. They have been around for a long time, and they continue to pull a crowd. But it’s not an ordinary demonstration… people want theatre. So give them theatre. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, it may just mean that the demonstrator is highly entertaining.
2. Crossing over to the virtual world. Real estate agents, particularly ones selling off the plan dwellings are using virtual technology to enhance the buyers experience. It completely changes what you can deliver to a customer – without being limited by your location.
3. Bring your product to where the people are. Race days do a great job of this. You can go and have your make-up and hair professionally touched up, and not have to the leave the race course.
4. Social Media… make it seamless, make it effortless, make the audience feel like they couldn’t possibly not share this experience with their online friends.
5. Branding – Every brand has not choice but to have a level of coolness. Even if it’s a daggy cool brand. Over emphasising your positioning, so your customers, get it and embrace it, because they want to create a ‘by-association’ run off-effect. If I am in this place, experiencing this, then this says something about me that I want others to also know.
We cannot go past the inclusion of promotional products to help you create a deeper more engaging experience for your customers. People love tactile things, they love to touch, and take something away with them. Whether it’s a hat at a sporting match, drink bottles at a running festival, showbags at a conference, T-Shirts at a music event, USB’s after a presentation. Consider how you stretch the experience and the memory to continue beyond the event… this is something promotional products can definitely help you achieve.
By the end of it, even if you don’t drink Coke, you are thinking about it. And that’s just watching the video. Imagine if you are the customer that experiences all these touch-points? It’s next level infiltration, and you have no idea, the effect it’s having on you.
The magic of this campaign is in the journey:
TV (Sight, Sound)
Phone (Sight, Sound, Touch)
Outdoor events (Sight, Sound)
Social media (Sight, Touch)
Print (Sight, Touch)
Shopping centre where you experience the product (Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste).
The engagement of more than one sense, creates a compound effect, as you continue along the marketing funnel to the conversion point – where you receive/buy the product. One versus all sense interplay – is the part versus the sum. The sum is a lot more powerful.
This is poetry in motion. And we haven’t even mentioned the effect this has on your consciousness or subconscious. Messages coming through, via different channels (Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste). Creating stored memories and emotions. Imprinted in your psyche for the rest of your life. Wow. Sounds a little scary, when you say it like this. The power of sensory marketing!
Coke does have big brands and big budgets, and whether you do or not, the learning’s you can definitely be taken into your marketing campaigns. Look at your activity and ask yourself how many senses are we engaging? How can we engage three? Is it possible?
Some ideas that can inspire your team:
Promotional Products – Whether it’s a t-Shirt, cooler bag, notepad or pen – have fun with this. There are lots of ideas, but what will make your idea unique to your brand?
Scented Printing – The candle industry leverages the scent of smell to create nostalgia, relaxation, passion, etc. Is extending ‘time on page’ through incorporating a second sense experience, something to think about?
Events – What event can you create for your customers? If you can get your customers in a room, you have access to all 5 senses, and an opportunity for the highest level engagement. If you don’t wish to run your own event, can you collaborate with a partner?
Sound – We all know the sounds of milk being warmed at the coffee shop, and the sound of opening a Coke or packet of Pringles. Is there a sound that is unique to your brand that you can leverage through your communication?
Signature Scent – Could you create your own signature scent? Who says you have to be a fashion brand to have your own scent. If you had to create a scent for your brand what would it smell like?
If you are looking at your marketing activity and investment, keep asking yourself how you could extend the life or the engagement with the customer, beyond 20 seconds, 3 minutes, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months… This is the magic that well-thought through promotional products provide. Your customers end up loving them so much, that they promote your brand for you in a way that you couldn’t do yourself. And there is nothing more powerful than third-party endorsement.
A logo on a notebook, umbrella, is ok, but you can do so much more. Your customers will be grateful for the effort you put in and reward you with free advertising as a result.
Good business and good brands make sensory marketing both seamless and mutually benefiting.
A book written more than 10 years ago and we are glued to our digital screens more than ever. However, we are seeing consumer trends move from material to experiences.
A ‘Smells and Emotions’ study of 1,000 people by psychologist Silvia Alava, found that people remember 35% of what they smell and only 5% of what they see. And that 85% of people said happy moments were recalled with certain smells.
So how does a brand tap into the senses? How can you taste or smell an App for example or an online brand, or a charity?
We find ourselves in an environment that has a lot of noise. Yes we might be able to reach our audience, but will they remember you/your brand? There are more brands, more products, more messages, more channels. A creative problem awaits us all, which means brands to survive need to think outside the status quo and become more adventurous and continue to test a variety of applications to connect with their customer.
We are seeing online stores, like Amazon create pop-up shops. Fashion stores creating café experiences, fragrant collaborations across all industries, non-food brands opening restaurants, car brands selling apparel….
Champagne is a classic 5 senses product – smell, touch, sound, sight, taste. A magical moment that brings all your past celebratory moments in one. A lot of Coke’s ads have been based on how Coke stimulates the senses. When this happens, I don’t know about you, but it takes me right back to childhood summers and no responsibility.
We are not all in the space of creating a restaurant dining experience for our brands, but if we were to think about the 5 senses, what would our brand sound like, taste like, smell like, sound like, look like?
A promotional product campaign can take this knowledge and apply it to create an experience, a strong alignment with your brand where there is not just reach, but also recall.