Reflection on Trends as we Welcome the Year of the Ox
FEBRUARY 8TH 2021
This week sees Chinese New Year 2021 introduce the Year of the Ox. So, what does that mean? Well very aptly and appropriately timed, it embodies hard work, positivity and honesty. As a business we started to see the effects of Covid this time last year as Chinese New Year dawned and workers did not return to the factories for some months after their festivities. Covid-19 spread through the cities of China and then rapidly throughout the world. We understand the hard work, dedication and determination that has been required to get through the last 12 months and businesses still have a long road ahead to recovery yet. However, with a positive outlook, honesty and transparency with staff and clients, we can support each other, encourage each other and be there to provide that little boost to each other when it’s required.
Mental health and wellbeing are so important especially when we have all been living this situation for such an extended period of time, regardless of what that situation may be. We are all affected by not being able to see loved ones, the sadness of losing loved ones, the fear of keeping each other safe, the lack of motivation when every day is groundhog day and the juggling of home schooling whilst holding down a job or running a business. Our private and personal lives have collided but we are resilient, we are agile, we adapt and we (hopefully) conquer.
In the face of Covid, things in the promotional merchandise industry have changed. One of the biggest reasons for buying merchandise historically has been to support events – conference bags, event giveaway bags, corporate event gift bags, stand scatter items, printed promotional products, high end branded gifts, swag. However traditional events have been stopped, leaving events organisers and businesses with very few options. Adapting to virtual online events and virtual networking has proved successful for many to continue advertising, developing business and finding new business opportunities and connections. We have supported many companies who have reached out to us to support their virtual events with something more physical. Something to evoke an emotional response and leave a tangible memory to reinforce their brand. Promotional merchandise has proven to be one of the only medias that can successfully achieve that - be it through a pre-event pack with goodies to make the event more seamless or branded sweet treats and refreshments to keep a delegate fed and watered where a complimentary coffee break and lunch would usually be the highlight. Alternatively a post-event gift to follow up with new contacts and make the right impression at the start of a new business relationship. All of these leaving a lasting reminder of you and your brand with the recipient.
Branded corporate gifts have also come into their own again. With teams disbanded working from home, companies want to motivate, to keep up morale and promote inclusivity. Team gifts through the letterbox have put smiles on faces. Whether the gift boxes are offering practical items to make working from home easier or gifts to encourage exercise and time out for wellbeing, or to celebrate company achievements and milestones rewarding all for their efforts. Popular items have been commemorative pin badges, party packs, fitness kits, picnic sets, woolly hats / beanie hats, branded clothing for the right presentation on Zoom calls, headphones, wireless chargers, business bags to keep everything in a safe place, water bottles and mugs to encourage staying hydrated… the list goes on! As businesses recruit, Onboarding packs are becoming increasingly important too to create the right first impression to new staff and kickstarters, to reinforce the brand and company culture when a welcome at the office to meet the team is just not possible.
Our UK Made product ranges have also come into their own this last year. Buying local has been high on the agenda for all of us, you only have to look at social media and the support for small local businesses to see that. With more concern for our environment, manufacturing processes, materials and air miles this is a good thing! Nearly all of our product categories can now be supplied from a UK source including pin badges, printed lanyards, printed paper products, promotional giveaways (fridge magnets, keyrings, trolley coins etc), printed ice scrapers, promotional travel mugs, personalised water bottles, branded umbrellas and awards. Whilst other supply links have faced challenging times with shipping delays and stocking issues, our British suppliers have been able to maintain some continuity. Once again as we arrive at Chinese New Year when factories in China shutdown for the festivities, lead times for Far East products will be delayed by 2 weeks but rest assured that our UK Made merchandise is still available and can meet any of your last minute requirements!
That’s the great thing about merchandise, there are so many options and therefore it’s so adaptable. The reasons for use may have changed but our range of products remains broad and versatile to ensure there is a solution for any requirement, Chinese New Year or not.
Happy Year of the Ox – we send you all positivity and strength for the coming months and the year ahead.
If you found this article useful, you may also want to read How to Compliment Virtual Events with Promotional Products
If you would like any assistance with concepts for your merchandise gift box, just get in touch and we will share some ideas suited specifically to you.