(L) 021 554 1549 | (C) 082 776 5560 mellanie@sportingimages.co.za

“As necessary as lungs” is how one branding expert describes your company’s brand identity. It needs to connect with the customer and draw them in wherever your logo, corporate colours or staff uniform appears. In each and every market though, from coffee beans to call centres, a dynamic crowd of newbies is fighting to steal your customer base. Corporate branding 2020 – how can you come out on top today and beyond?

 

Mellanie Jenkins, director of Sporting Images advises that firstly, it helps to have the experience and clout of a professional promotional company on your side. “We’ve found that many of our corporate clients are choosing to spend a bit more than before on promotional items, because they’ve seen that traditional TV and print adverts just don’t have the same effect as before. And, among the call centres that we service, it’s been a lot of fun to put our promotional packages together because these companies want to order funky stationery items like branded pens, notebooks, post-its, paper clips, mugs, cooler bags for lunch and even memory sticks. These work like magic to boost team spirit and enhance staff cohesion,” she enthuses.

 

Companies are also choosing to do ad hoc runs of T-shirts and caps for special events, or simply to give away to clients when they see them. When clients wear these items, or photograph themselves wearing these on social media, the brand is kept top of mind and becomes an item of conversation among the correct target audience, she adds.

 

While most companies set aside a budget for promotional items every two years, Jenkins believes it is important to go back to her clients every year and to leave a catalogue with them so they can have a browse and see what new products have become available. “There may be a problem they are trying to solve, such as how to avoid plastic waste from water sachets being thrown down in a race they’re sponsoring. An item like an ultra-light handheld running bottle, added to each race pack, could solve this issue and promote their brand to race entrants and spectators at the same time,” she enthuses.

 

One thing the fly-by-night promotional companies may skip over is the need to tap into lateral thinking as the seasons change. “In winter, many of our clients like the suggestion of placing an order for a batch of fleece tops to keep staff warm at work; while during the Rugby World Cup, they may appreciate a pack of branded golf shirts to wear in the rugby box. You really need to be embedded properly in this industry to offer a polished and intelligent service,” says Jenkins.

 

While you could do this job completely online, it misses out on really connecting with the client and getting to understand what they need and the market they are targeting. It could mean a company accepts your quote and suggestions, receives the package you have put together for them in good order, but never comes back to you in the future. “We always meet with our clients, listen to their requirements, go away with the aim being to meet these, and then send a sample pack for them to peruse and approve,” explains Jenkins. “This means we are more likely to secure a client over the long-term, as they really appreciate the customer service that we provide.”

 

In conclusion, Jenkins reveals that new corporate branding trends are emerging all the time – so you can’t rest on your laurels. “It pays to keep your eyes open in this game and to showcase to clients some of the more disruptive industry developments. It is in our interests for the promotional branding that we endorse to have a louder voice and to get more done for our clients, while keeping within the necessary parameters. We like our clients to stand out just that bit more than their competitors.”