The Promo Column

A helping handfrom the industry B

What strange times we are living in. With ‘unprecedented’ surely the word of the year, it’s hard to know what to expect next from the flurry of sandbagging that we are all caught up in due to the coronavirus. Promotional products commentator, Stuart Derrick, reports.

usiness generally has been hit hard, and with many firms in no position to promote themselves or their products and services, that will have a knock-on effect on merchandise firms whose whole raison d’etre is to help firms do just that. However, this too will pass. We don’t know when, but things will return to normal, whatever that looks like. Businesses will go back to work at some point and they will need to promote themselves. They will also need to motivate confused and worried staff like never before. It will be hard work, but it will happen, and there will be a big role for merchandise companies.

In the meantime, the industry continues to work, albeit in a slightly reduced manner. There are still needs to be fulfilled, and new requirements are popping up.

Explore the opportunities

With so many people suddenly working from home, some companies are looking at the opportunities that this presents. As staff exercise social distancing, by bunkering down, it can be hard to recreate the energy and togetherness that the office environment provides.

Merchandise is one way of letting people know that they are still on the radar, still part of the team, and still cared for. Edibles specialist, Eat My Logo, can get a message straight to the door of home-working clients or staff in the form of a box of one of its yummy products. It’s the perfect way to say ‘keep up the good work’ they say. The letterbox range is slim enough to slip through the door and you can choose from brownies, sponge cake, cake bites, or biscuits. All products are topped with a high quality edible logo image and are sent via Royal Mail.

Other products that come into their own during lockdown include the trusty water bottle. Hydration is still important when you’re working from home and there are lots of cool options, not least the mode-ish carriers that can keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Listawood’s Eevo-Therm bottle is one example, and it can be printed with photo-realistic 360° imagery to maximise brand impact. Another option is Xindao’s glass bottle

with textured PU sleeve from its XD Collection. This 550ml glass bottle with a textured

Listawood’s Eevo-Therm bottle

PU sleeve is an ideal solution for those who prefer a plastic-free drinking experience. It’s made of glass and features a leak-proof bamboo lid. A wide-mouth design allows for easy liquid intake, and a nonslip PU sleeve protects the bottle while adding a fashionable touch.

Joys and challenges Working from home has also introduced many of us to the joys, and challenges of video conferencing, not least the inability to hear what’s being said. What better time to invest in

a decent speaker for your laptop, tablet or phone, enabling staff to better understand the content of online meetings, and also to enjoy a few bangers at the end of the working day? Firebrand Promotions has a range of


Bluetooth speakers that can do just that. Or, how about wireless headphones? Fluid Branding chose a pair with an eco-edge as its product of the month recently. Made from sustainable materials including bamboo and RPET, the ‘cans’ are perfect for the home working environment and remote meetings. They can be connected via Bluetooth with a range of up to 10 metres, have up to four hours usage, and can be quickly charged in two hours.

Rallying around

Like the rest of the country, the merchandise industry has also rallied to do what it can in this time of crisis. Many companies are looking to use their sourcing power to provide products that are in short supply, such as personal protective equipment (PPE).

LRG International has taken to consolidating customers’ orders and then airfreighting them together to ensure each customer benefits from cheaper delivery prices. The company claims to have been able to negotiate lower prices on its PPE range of face masks, protective visor, disposable glove, hand sanitisers and antiseptic wipes. It can manufacture these items within five days of ordering and airfreight them straight to distributors or end customers.

Promotional companies are also getting behind the NHS by providing goody bags for hard pressed staff. An appeal launched by the industry to give something back to those in the frontline led to enough pledges from companies to fill 2,000 bags to give to NHS staff. One thousand were delivered immediately after Easter to the London ExCel Nightingale Hospital and a further 1,000 to the Birmingham NEC Nightingale Hospital by April 17. The campaign aimed to hit a target of 5,000 bags before the end of April. Meanwhile, Kingly has set up its Sofia production line to provide anti-bacterial and hygiene packs for medical staff in Europe, starting off with Spanish hospitals, which have been among the most stretched. It will also be targeting hospitals in Italy, Bulgaria and the UK. These are tough times for all in our industry, but it’s heartening to see that people are stepping up to the plate to do what they can to help. When all of this is behind us – and it will be at some point – their efforts will not be forgotten.

Kingly’s hygiene packs

May 2020 |29 |

Firebrand’s Bluetooth speakers

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