What’s attractive about hybrid-working for the employer?
Large office buildings are expensive to rent and operate. Having one central location can leave an organisation more vulnerable to disruption.
Businesses need flexibility; being asked to sign a long lease that commits you to a fixed-sized building is, increasingly, an unattractive option.
The truth is, that many 20th century assumptions about how a business should operate are being debunked.
Technology has changed everything. There will be no going back.
What’s attractive about hybrid-working for the employee?
Long commutes, long hours in the office, a ‘shirt and tie’, flying there-and-back in a day for a 1-hour meeting; is that really the smart way to work?
Achieving a work-life balance matters to the young. They don’t care about being seen to be the last to leave the office at the end of the day. Attitudes have changed.
When you work, and where you work, now matters less. The Monday-to-Friday-nine-to-five routine is old-hat. Many now work part-time, or on short-term contracts, or no contract at all. For better or worse, weekdays and weekends are less defined. When it comes to time, employers and employees have to give and take.
Flexibility is as attractive to some as pay. People increasingly value their mental and physical health. The old status symbols of house and car are becoming less important; houses are too expensive for most to ever own and cars pollute and depreciate. This is not 1980. People want a life, not just stuff.
Today’s graduates will be forced to work for more years than their parents and grandparents did. That is of course unless automation or AI renders their job redundant – but then they will just retrain and adapt. The concept of ‘a job for life’ died last century. Many will have multiple careers.
All of these factors point to a future when the relationship between work and life is very different from before. The Religion of Workism is heading for its Reformation.
Who’s moving to a hybrid-working model?
The U.K. Civil Service and Standard Chartered Bank are amongst the lastest converts to a more flexible approach to ‘work’. Their staff can now pick and choose where to work via a network of local serviced office spaces which span the globe. Twitter Inc. has told its staff that they can work from home forevermore if that’s what they want. Many more companies are following suit.
Start-ups have, for many years, started life in flexible shared office environments. It seems likely that, rather than scale up (at great cost) to their own dedicated buildings, some will want to retain the financial flexibility and locality they already enjoy.
Countries too are adapting to attract the hybrid-worker. Croatia moved to allow remote workers to settle temporarily during the pandemic and other countries offer residency packages to attract young, highly skilled workers. If your personal ‘product’ is intellectual – as opposed to physical – the world really is your oyster!
Marketing operations for the hybrid-working model
Ultimately humans are social animals. Not everyone has enjoyed working from home during the pandemic and of course, not everyone can work from home. But that aside, the likelihood is that your audience, whether it be clients or colleagues, will be located in more locations than before.
Physical events will return, although various factors are likely to mean that they may become smaller, more numerous, and much more localized. Face-to-face meetings may, in themselves, become more event-like.
International business travel is likely to become much more expensive as governments punish, by way of taxation, regular usage of the polluting methods for transport.
All of this points to the need to ship marketing collateral, in smaller quantities, to a much greater number of locations.
So what does that mean for your operation?
Well, either you create an in-house logistics operation, with all the associated costs and commitments, or you outsource your requirements to a third party.
If, as most tend to do, you go down the outsourcing route, you need to be sure of a few things;
- Will the third party keep your data safe?
- Does the third party offer a carbon-neutral shipment option?
- Does the third party use environmentally friendly packaging where possible?
- Will the third party manage all shipping-related queries and issues? i.e. customs, duty, and returns.
Managing logistics is time-consuming. Having the resources to store and pack lots of parcels is expensive; if you are unsure as to what the cost really is, just ask your CFO.
- What ‘working’ and ‘at work’ means has changed and will continue to change.
- Increasingly, marketing collateral will need to be shipped, in smaller quantities, to a larger number of locations.
- Managing more shipments involves sharing data and making sure your activity is environmentally friendly.
Looking for someone to manage your marketing operations? check out our Services page.
Humans are social animals – events will return!
In fact, post-COVID, physical events may become more frequent, albeit smaller and more localised, than before. People really do need to get out and socialise!
Large international gatherings – tens of thousands of people wandering around giant halls – face a more uncertain future. Sure, it’s nice to get away from the office for a few days but what about the impact of the flights on the environment and all that downtime! Maybe the ‘EXPO’ is now an old format?
A ‘tour’ of smaller, localised events – taking the message to where the customer is – may prove more effective for many businesses.
Customer-focused events may also become more popular. Instead of trying to pitch to a crowd, many of whom are not serious prospects, maybe it makes more sense to ‘set-up-shop’ for a day at the customer’s site. This is a great way to follow the old commercial maxim that – ‘it’s more cost-effective to win more business from your existing clients than it is to win business from new clients’.
And then there’s the virtual event. Sure, it allowed for a continuation of activity during lockdown but virtual events – essentially a video telephone call to a large group of people – are inherently homogeneous, one strangely seems to blend into another. The opposite effect, in fact, that events typically seek to achieve.
Vaccination programmes should mark the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though there are likely to be false starts and setbacks, slowly the events industry will emerge from near extinction.
So today there is light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t expect to find ‘life before COVID’ when you reach it. Minds have been changed and traditional activities questioned. Pre-existing trends have been massively accelerated. The 9-5 Monday to Friday standard is on its way out. For many, life and work, home and going somewhere else to meet, will merge into one fluid process spanning four days not five.
2021 is likely to be a roller-coaster ride; Q1 and Q2 should see Brexit, Biden and some vaccination alone. Maybe Q3 and 4 will offer a little more certainty with 2022 feeling relatively settled.
It seems appropriate to live life in constant anticipation of change.
And yet, one constant remains, humans will be…well, human.
So you have the concept, in fact, you’ve already run similar campaigns in other territories. Now all you need is a partner who can replicate and execute your plan for the EMEA region.
You’re in the right place! and here are some examples of projects we’ve managed;
Client: All-flash data storage hardware manufacturer, summer end-user promotion
Fulfilment requirement: Design and source a retail quality beach towel and custom shape power bank. Package with a covering letter, translated into the appropriate local language, and deliver to individuals located throughout Europe. Each delivery to arrive within a set delivery window. Provide an on-line delivery report confirming ‘signed for’ date, manage any data issues, courier or customs queries and subsequent returns.
Notes: The beach towel was custom manufactured in Portugal. The power bank, which was designed to mimic the shape of the product the client sort to promote, was custom manufactured in Shenzen, China.
Client: Marketing automation app provider, agency partner promotion
Fulfilment requirement: Source and brand a teapot, teacup and tin of tea and package with a well-known brand packet of biscuits. Place into a mailing carton along with personalised literature. Mail to marketing agencies throughout Europe. Report and manage accordingly.
Notes: A U.S. company, with its principle marketing contact based in Johannesburg, we worked to pull together this project quickly. The product came from Poland, print and food sourced locally in the UK.
Client: Cloud data management company, end-user demand generation
Fulfilment requirement: Replicate and execute a U.S. demand generation campaign throughout Europe, the Middle East and South America. Create a fully customised mailing box, insert a printed card and an empty sunglasses case to create a small mailing pack. Mail to individuals located throughout Europe. Report and manage accordingly.
Notes: The central message of the campaign was ‘give us a sales meeting, and we’ll send you a pair of Ray-Bans to go into this empty case’. We then fulfilled the Ray-Bans directly to individuals who had subsequently agreed to a meeting. The client is U.S. based, with the project being jointly managed by their offices in Amsterdam and Palo Alto.
In addition to these examples, we’ve created ‘new starter’ kits for a rapidly expanding U.S. software company. For a major British based legal firm, we produced and delivered ‘launch gift packs’ to every member of staff, across 18 locations worldwide, to celebrate a corporate re-brand.
If you would like to discuss a potential requirement, please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Face to face meetings will return, it’s just a case of when.
In the meantime, Zoom and other video conferencing systems have become part of everyday life for millions. Previously the preserve of large, or advanced organisations – now your waving grandmother, bedecked in her Sex Pistols baseball cap, appears as if by magic. Zoom is here to stay and that changes a lot.
If you enjoyed business travel you probably ought to consult your doctor. At the best of times, it was bearable, most of the time it was just – well – a bit crap.
Getting on aeroplanes and going to faraway places used to be associated with success – ‘oh, they’re sending him to Japan, they must think highly of him’. Nope! he’s just the loser who couldn’t think of a good enough excuse to get out of it or, someone who has personal reasons for being away from home a lot.
The downtown is criminal. Security is a theatrical token gesture, with the whole purpose of the 2-hour pre-flight nightmare being to get you to spend money. Duty-free isn’t as cheap as Amazon. There’s something referred to as ‘food’ on the flight but often no wi-fi.
Nowadays, flights arrive on time. Essentially this is because the airlines have extended the published flight time so they appear punctual. How many times have you heard the pilot say ‘oh we’ve made very good time, ladies and gentleman, due to a tailwind’.
And just as you arrive home, knackered, on a Friday night into a rainy Heathrow you are treated to a delay – because there is nowhere to park the plane – of a length of time approximately equal to the time it took to fly there in the first place.
And what price this jet-set luxury? Well, a business-class ticket, to anywhere further than a train can take you, would buy you a small family hatchback. Alternatively, you could fly cattle-class, joining the hen-party from Wigan and the kid who’s attempting to conduct spinal surgery with his knees. All this and you’re helping to screw the planet as well, yeh!
Until the experience improves, massively, or flight times and omissions are slashed by new technology, business travel is doomed.
So-called ‘meetups’, Zoom forums where teams and audiences interact from the comfort of their own space, will undoubtedly become more popular.
Yes, the people involved will eventually meet up in person but when it comes to regular communication this how they are going to do it. But Zoom meetups do suffer from one negative factor; after a while, they seem to merge into one long homogeneous ‘thing’ you did today.
Being able to follow-up a product launch or training event, soon after its taken place on Zoom, is key. That’s how your brand, or message, is going to cut through. It’s all about redefining the word ‘event’. The principles are the same, the delivery – metaphorically and literally speaking – is different. You have to send your swag and that’s actually a more targetted approach, winning more mindshare, and getting more attention. A tangible follow-up to a meetup is, arguably, more effective than what went before.
We can help you source the product and send it directly to your audience members (via a carbon-offset courier of course) – whether that be to their home or place of work.
I attended the Zoom and got the T-Shirt!
So has marketing lost its soul?
Everyone used to want to work in marketing. It was the cool department. Those guys had fun, they got to go to places and do things. Not so much now.
The technicolour team has turned civil service brown. Playfulness is out. Analytics are in. If you can’t count it, better not do it.
For too many, creativity equals personal responsibility, and as all greasy-pole-climbers know, personal responsibility is the devil. Armies of once joyous and lively young souls now drool over graphs and tables of real-time stats. Click refresh. Click refresh. Click refresh.
Spreadsheet porn is the modern marketeer’s dirty little secret. They snort columns and rows. They knockback hits and likes. Take a look around, are you sitting in a room full of bean-counter zombies?
So if the marketing department has, in reality, become just an IT-Finance-Admin hybrid, what’s the point of it? If it’s all just statistics and apps, why not just automate the lot? Maybe there’s an HR AI algorithm planning to let you go as we speak!
Stop. Customers are human. Humans are sociable, emotional animals. People buy people. Goodwill is not a cryptocurrency.
It’s a radical thought, but maybe humans appreciate having a bit of fun! You know, like they actually want to be engaged by other humans. It’s the kind of stuff that traditionally passes you by because you’re usually too busy checking your phone! Maybe you need more of a life and fewer stats.
Behind those numbers on your screen lurk personalities, ideas, opinions, and relationships. Underneath the permafrost of big data flows a river of humanity.
So what kind of marketeer are you becoming? Real or synth? Human or droid? Dead-hand or warm-heart?
Has marketing lost its soul? Well, maybe it’s getting that way, and that could make working in marketing much less attractive to individuals with real flare(s).
There are many summer-themed promotional items, available from stock, which will help to spread a little sunshine this year. Summer is, in theory, the time of holidays, long evenings and above all fun! So, if you’re looking to develop a seasonal campaign this year, here are some promotional ideas for you.
Holiday travel accessories
Help take the stress out of travel by giving-away a travel-themed promotional item. Travel adapters are always well received, with both low cost and high-end options available for corporate branding. Travel in comfort with a neck cushion or travel comfort kit. Luggage tags, locks or straps always come in handy. Travel bags offer a great opportunity to heighten brand awareness.
Summer clothing and accessories
T-shirts are the perfect promotional product. Useful, with large branding area, they are as popular today as they were 100 years ago. Your office might be nice and cool, but the warmer weather can make work harder for those in places where there is no air-conditioning. Maybe your warehouse staff need a Summer uniform? Maybe your drivers need garments that are more appropriate for sitting in traffic on hot summer days? Summer is also a time for sporting events, like charity runs, sports matches and team building days. How about a summer hat or a pair of branded sunglasses?
Beach and pool accessories
The beach and pool are great places to have fun. Why not send your clients off on vacation with a cool beach towel? What about a useful cooler, beach bag, or beach game? Then there’s the barbeque or picnic. Who doesn’t need some bar-b-q tools or an apron? Kids love the pool and beach so what about something for them? A bucket and spade set, a kite or frisbee? What about some ice lolly moulds or water bottle with a fruit infuser?
Summer music festivals and cultural events
Millions of people attend music and cultural festivals every Summer. That represents a huge captive audience for your brand. Each event has its own demographic and culture. Promotional items, especially those which can be used during the event, are always very popular.
From a set of earplugs to a seat cushion or disposable poncho, there are lots of low-cost items which fit the bill. There is even a range of festival survival kits for those who fully immerse themselves in the weekend! And if you would like to create something really bespoke, like branded wellies or tents just contact our sourcing team for more information, although you’d need at least 4-6 weeks lead time.
And remember, as we get closer to the Spring and Summer period, stocks of popular items become more volatile. Don’t leave it too late!
Promotional products; 10 effective uses to help you get more value.
1. Increase brand awareness
When your customers seek ‘X type of product’ what brand do they think of first and why? Making sure the right people think of your product or service, at exactly the right moment, is what brand awareness is all about. Your product or service may be technically superior, it may be cheaper, it may be a whole long list of wonderful things but if people don’t recognise your brand, or even worse, are confused by what it stands for, your sales team will have a mountain to climb. Promotional products help to raise brand awareness and spread the message. Get known by more people for less.
2. Improve customer loyalty with promotional products
70% of companies say it’s more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Earning and retaining customer loyalty is paramount. People ‘buy people’, so give ‘your people’ the tools to spread goodwill. Promotional products offer a cost-effective medium for increasing customer loyalty. Maybe your audience is very traditional, they want the printed calendar for their desk or a simple pen? Maybe your clients will be enthused by something more sophisticated like a wireless charger. Make sure your brand name is right there, front and centre, just when it needs to be!
3. Promote a specific product, message or event
Use promotional products to highlight the attributes of a particular product or service. Connectivity, integration, speed, efficiency; all of these concepts can be communicated by the right promotional product. Add a strap-line or event title to your branding to tie-in with your campaign. Continue the main theme of your campaign through your promotional give-aways; match shapes, colours, and functionality.
4. Recognise employees
Good people are hard to find. Great people are hard to keep. Making sure that colleagues, of all levels, are properly recognised is key to your organisation’s success. A staff umbrella for the winter, a ‘new starter’ pack or gym bag to encourage a healthy lifestyle can all form part of a programme of recognition and reward. We all like to feel valued. Promotional products can help to add the value that staff retention relies upon.
5. Increase footfall to your trade show booth
Catch the eye. Giveaways are a great, low-cost method of attracting interest and spreading goodwill. Why not turn each visitor into a mobile advertising platform by giving them a free bag? Have a low-cost, high volume giveaway like sweets or stickers to giveaway en masse. Then take something more sophisticated to give to your key contacts after that important scheduled meeting. And remember, merchandise is made to order so the more time you allow for production the better the product will be – don’t leave it to the last minute!
6. Kit your staff in uniform
Teams wear team kits. Armies wear a uniform. It’s simple stuff. Put everyone in some form of uniform and subconsciously they start to work together. Uniform, even if it’s just an embroidered shirt for wearing at a trade show, will help make your staff more visible and feel more valued. Uniform projects a professional image to existing and potential clients. Think about it, who do you feel more confident buying from? The smartly dressed person decked in company colours or the non-descript guy loitering around at the back of the trade-show booth? And what sort of image do you want your delivery drivers to portray? As the old maxim goes, ‘you never get a second chance to create a good first impression’. We offer a wide range of clothing and headwear.
7. Say thank you to a VIP
Decision-makers are hard to get to and even harder to satisfy. It’s never been tougher to maintain a personal relationship now that we all operate in a digital world. And yet, people still ‘buy people’. The big decisions are still almost always sealed with a face to face meeting or a level of personal trust built over many years. So say thank you, at that opportune moment, to the person who has placed their trust in your product or service. What’s an appropriate gift for your key contacts? Do women want the same as men? Is there a price point, too low and the item may seem insulting, too high and you stray into the minefield of inappropriateness. Check with the people who manage the relationship.
8. Tie-in promotional products with an event or season
Four seasons and numerous religious, cultural and sporting events combine to create a busy calendar of potential themes for your next promotional campaign. But be careful, make sure you aren’t about to offend someone or infringe a copyright! People are individuals with individual attitudes and beliefs. The title of a major sporting event is often copyrighted and many images and terms associated with major events are protected too. So yes, it’s cool and often really effective to tie your promotional campaign in with a moment in time, but before you do make sure you’ve done your homework.
9. Add value with a premium gift
Ever wondered why you got a freebie inside a box of breakfast cereal? Did you know McDonald’s Restaurants is the largest toy retailer in the world? Multi-nationals follow the tried and tested approach of ‘premium’ marketing; add a low-cost extra to your core product to alter the overall perception of value. Could you do something similar? Buy our plumbing products and get a free tape measure!
10. Promote cost-effectively, sustainably and responsibly
As digital advertising costs spiral and social media marketing flatters to deceive, traditional marketing methods have begun to regain ground. Promotional products offer a low-cost channel for generating brand awareness and promoting goodwill. And now you can go green with promotional products!