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  • Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 - Mental Health in the Workplace 101 May 13, 2019

    s the 13th – 19th May marked in your office calendar? Mental Health Awareness week 2019 is an important date for the diary. Why?

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    It’s the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health issues and to promote a call to action to end the stigma.

    Fellow colleagues and employees health, both mental and physical, should be supported to encourage and maintain a positive working environment. After all, happy, healthy staff means a happy, healthy business!

    As Richard Branson rightly said; “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients,” and with stress being the 2nd biggest cause of occupational ill health, tackling the issue of mental health problems, supporting staff and employees is paramount for their wellbeing. [​IMG]

    How to support the mental wellbeing of your colleagues and employees:
    30% of staff do not feel that they can openly talk about stress in their workplace and 56% of employers want to help improve staff wellbeing, but don’t feel that they have the right level of training to do so. We are evidently at a crossroads; employees and staff want help, but feel like they cannot approach a senior authority, whereas the senior authority want to support their staffs’ wellbeing, but do not feel that they are able to.

    Build a bridge between both sides by incorporating a number of ways that enable management and employers to support employees’ mental health both in and out of the workplace:

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    Dismiss the taboo!

    Is there is still a stigma surrounding mental health in your workplace?

    A blog published on the Time to Change website by a mental health support worker concludes that society is seeing an improvement in attitudes towards mental illnesses, but there is a still long way to go to “eradicate the discrimination and stigma.

    You can eliminate the taboo in your workplace by starting a conversation and signing up to a credible mental health service (such as MIND) to help provide support for sufferers. Through introducing this, you’re showing your support and creating a safer work environment. As a result, you’ll build respect and trust from staff and employees, helping them to become more open about their silent battle against mental health issues.

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    Get to know your team and check in regularly.
    As Richard Branson pointed out, the key to a successful business is its staff. The bottom line is that you can’t always tell if someone is suffering in silence, but sometimes there are subtle indications that can be noticed.

    People who are experiencing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression can be more sensitive to the work environment; such as comments and the atmosphere, and may portray a negative attitude.

    According to MIND, there are a number of stress symptoms that can be linked to other mental health issues. Some of them are:
    • Feeling irritable, aggressive or anxious
    • Constantly worrying
    • Nail biting/skin picking
    • Unable to concentrate
    • Tiredness
    By checking in regularly, you’re providing your staff and employees with the comfort of knowing that someone cares, along with the opportunity to talk about any problems they may be experienced. Whether they take you up on the offer or not, the fact that they feel appreciated will go a long way.


    Take time to think about your wording.
    Communication is key in all businesses and the wording is crucial. It’s super easy to type a short and simple email when you’re in a rush without thinking about the impact it may have on the recipient.

    Take a moment to think about how you’re coming across in your communications before you send them out. For example:

    "Need to talk to you ASAP about your marketing campaign, not doing as well as it should be. Meeting room in 10 minutes."

    If someone reading that suffers from anxiety, this could send them into a panic because they could presume the worst, especially as ‘your’ insinuates that the blame is entirely on them. Whereas:

    "Hello Bob,

    Would you mind popping into the meeting room in 10 minutes to discuss our marketing campaign, please? Let’s evaluate its progress so far and we can work together to tweak it if need be.

    Thank you :)"

    This approach is less assertive and suggests that there’s a problem without appointing blame, as well as offering a solution.

    Some need-to-know facts about mental health in the workplace:
    • 1 in 6 employees are currently battling a mental health condition.
    • 30% of staff do not feel that they can openly talk about stress to their manager.
    • 56% of employers want to help improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel that they have the right training.
    • Around 12.7% of sickness days are because of mental health issues.
    • The second biggest cause of occupational ill health is stress.
    • By providing better mental health support, UK businesses can save up to £8 billion a year.
    To conclude this piece about mental health awareness in the workplace, we’d like to share something we read on the Time to Change website:

    A man was on a train with his group of friends and began to loudly tell them (and the whole carriage) about his past experiences and how he battled with symptoms of schizophrenia.


    He went on to say about how he turned his life around after receiving the support and medication he needed.

    When he left the train he asked his friend if he was being a bit too loud and making the other passengers uncomfortable, to which his friend replied, “Well, if everyone on the train had been discussing their mental health problems openly; that would be the end of the stigma!”
  • Memorable Merchandise Ideas for SMEs & Start-Ups Mar 22, 2019

    How can your small business stand out in today’s competitive environment? The answer; memorable merchandise!
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    There are over 5.7 million small businesses and a rising number of start-ups in the UK, all trying to impress investors and penetrate their market to significantly increase their share to make a name for themselves.

    With 79% of consumers researching a brand after receiving a promotional product, merchandise is not to be overlooked when it comes to maximising brand awareness and driving traffic to a website.

    A common misconception among many SME directors and marketers is the high cost associated with merchandise to match the striking imagery and multiple colours used on their existing digital marketing collateral; this is not true.

    “Full-colour” is our buzzword for SMEs and start-ups, because we have a range of low cost, high-quality promotional items that are available to be printed in full colour with a bespoke design at no additional cost!

    Full-colour desktop items provide a unique marketing opportunity for SMEs. With there being an average of 2080 working hours a year (excluding allocated annual leave), promotional desktop items will provide exposure for that entirety of that period, especially if they are printed with attention-grabbing artwork!

    Here are our Top 5 Merchandise Ideas for Small Businesses and Start-ups:

    1: Universal Tumbler
    Why?
    • Reusable drinkware is in - it can be used both in and out of the office for hot and cold drinks
    • Full colour, all over branding available
    • Choice of 3 lids
    • Made in the UK


    2: Desktop Calendars
    Why?
    • Promotes your brand 365 days a year
    • Different message or image each month
    • Limitless branding opportunities


    3: Brite Mouse Mats
    Why?
    • A desktop essential for all offices
    • Full colour, all over branding with a bespoke design
    • Made in the UK using recycled products

    4: Index Markers & Sticky Notes
    Why?
    • Cost-effective
    • Stunning full-colour print available
    • Handy to use to mark pages, or leave reminders

    5: 50mm Fridge Magnet
    Why?
    • Printed full colour on the front to display your contact details
    • Round or square laminated design
    • The average household will keep a fridge magnet for 6 – 8 years

    Visit our website or give us a call on 01245 382600 for more information or merchandise inspiration to kickstart your SME marketing!
  • Marketing with Branded Confectionery - What a SWEET Idea! Mar 21, 2019

    Branded confectionery products such as promotional chocolate and sweets are a tasty way to sugar coat your marketing and get your brand noticed!

    Research of the UK market by the consumer analyst Mintel has revealed that nearly one in six people eat chocolate every day!

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    The same study also found the following:
    • 17% of the population eat chocolate four to six times a week.
    • Only 1 in 20 people claimed they never eat chocolate.
    • Chocolate had a £4.3 billion market value in 2015.
    • By 2019, the market value is due to rise to £6.9 billion.
    Mintel's research also found that the favourite variety was plain chocolate, which is eaten by three-quarters of the UK’s population, while bars filled with caramel or other treats are the second most popular. The research also discovered that there was a little discrepancy when it came to males and females and how much chocolate they consume.

    Richard Ford, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, said:

    "From the Aztecs to Willy Wonka, in both fact and fiction, cocoa and chocolate have held a special place in people's hearts throughout the centuries. That’s no less so today - demonstrated by the fact that just a small minority of Brits say they never eat chocolate. Its status as a personal treat remains an ingrained part of consumers' diets…"

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    How can brands include branded confectionery in their marketing?
    Promotional confectionery can be used in any commercial, educational or retail setting. For instance, branded chocolate and sweets can be given away at universities, corporate dinners, trade shows product launches, conferences, site visits; the possibilities are endless.

    When should a brand use confectionery as a promotional giveaway?
    There is no right or wrong answer to this question; the answer is at anytime! Brands might combine branded sweets and chocolate with other offers or hand them out as bonus customer appreciation gifts. Such items can even be used as awards for exemplary employee performance. Many of our promotional confectionery items are extremely cost effective and can be handed out generously, spreading a company's branding far and wide amongst their target audience. Personalised confectionery as an advertising medium is unaffected by age, gender or demographics; everyone loves it!

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    Why is branded confectionery so effective?
    One way for a brand to win over its target audience is by providing them with recognised comfort items that have a really pleasant subliminal association, accompanied by the company branding! The personalisation options available depend on each item but can include a simple one colour one position branding, full CMYK print on the outer packaging, embossing on the wrapper and chocolate, as well as printed paper inserts.

    Every time promotional items are used, it increases awareness of the company name printed on the product, allowing the brand to maximise customer retention. If a business wants to impress potential customers with personalised confectionery, we offer many options, including items from Europe’s leading manufacturers, such as Lindt; some of which have previously been unavailable to the promotional markets in the UK and Ireland.

    What does branded confectionery taste like?
    Our range of printed confectionery features chocolate with cocoa content ranging from 32%-40%, which is much higher when compared to the cocoa content in the best-selling chocolate bars on sale in the UK. In fact, Kit Kats, Mars Bars and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk are just some of the mainstream chocolate made from less than 27% cocoa.

    Allwag Promotions can offer items such as bite-sized sweets in covered glass jars, fully personalised containers with chocolates, sweets or mints, flow wrap packages, retro confectionery, condiments such as jams and honey, logo biscuits, as well as healthier options such as dehydrated fruit and much more.

    Want to turn your marketing sweeter with tasty merchandise?

    Contact one of our branded confectionery experts:

    01245 382600 | [email protected]
  • Everything you need to know about the Colour of the Year 2019 Mar 15, 2019

    Living Coral (PANTONE 16-1546) has officially been announced as Colour of the Year 2019 and it means everything in the global battle against waste…

    Last year, Pantone, the provider of colour standards for the design industry, announced Living Coral as their Colour of the Year, tying in nicely with the theme of reducing single-use plastic; the term that was crowned 2018’s Word of the Year, as we explored in our previous blog on our website.

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    New research shows that over eleven billion pieces of plastic are littering coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region alone – that’s enough plastic to get from the moon to the earth 1.5 times, and this is set to grow by 40% in the next seven years. Coral has flourished on our seabed for around 500 years, but scientists fear that they might disappear by the end of the century.

    According to Pantone’s press release, Living Coral is “an animating shade of orange with a golden undertone” and goes on to explain how “we get energy from nature” and how “reefs are a source of sustenance and shelter to sea life… embracing us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment”.

    The vibrant shade of Living Coral ensures creates striking imagery which will catch peoples’ eye across all digital platforms, including social media. According to PANTONE, it’s suited to all demographics universally in regards to product design, creating captivating items that will exhibit “humanising and heartening characteristics.” [​IMG]

    What does this mean for 2019 trends?
    Whether it's fashion, décor, merchandise or packaging, expect to see a lot of PANTONE 16-15-46 present on both the online world and in society. Pantone’s Colour of the Year has inspired and influenced product development, design and purchasing decisions for the past 20 years, and will undoubtedly continue to do so.

    We hope that brands continue to take on board the prominent trend of preventing plastic pollution to save our planet’s marine life. By incorporating Living Coral into their promotional products and communication mediums, companies can help to remind their staff, clients and stakeholders of the true beauty of nature and how boycotting single-use plastic will impact our sea life and after years of damage and pollution, allow the coral reefs to cease being littered and continue to flourish.

    Did you know that we offer a range of merchandise that can be PANTONE matched and/or printed in full colour with a design of your choice?

    Get in contact with our team for more information!

    01245 382600 | [email protected]



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  • University Marketing: How to Attract Generation Z Mar 8, 2019

    Wave goodbye to Millennials, marketing to Generation Z is the new and challenging task that all universities are now faced with.

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    Higher education institutions over the UK are now having to reimagine and create their marketing strategies to predominantly target and recruit this new and diverse range of potential students.

    Marketing to Gen Z doesn’t have to be as mind-blowing and difficult as it’s often perceived.

    What to consider when marketing to Gen Z:

    Understand your audience.

    Like the first steps to any successful marketing campaign, you need to understand your target market’s behaviour so you can know exactly how to approach them. Here’s everything you need to know about Gen Z:

    · Gen Z is the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation because they live in a world where the internet and other forms of technologies have always been present, providing them with instant access to whatever information they need, anytime, anywhere, at a click of a button.

    · Gen Z is digital and tech-savvy with 92% having a digital footprint and 40% already self-proclaimed as “digital device addicts,” and view social media as a way of life and a key contributing factor of their decision-making process. Therefore, if it hasn’t already, your university’s strategy needs a drastic medium shift to predominantly focus on your brand social media and digital presence, with a heavy focus on mobile-friendly content.

    · Gen Z is less focused than any other generations, according to an article published by Huff Post, due to having access on-demand to continuous updates, Gen Z processes information faster and therefore has a lower attention span. Therefore, quick and attention-grabbing campaigns are a must; you have no more than 8 seconds to capture their attention before they lose interest!

    · Gen Z is more entrepreneurial-minded than Millennials, employers envisage that those who are born from 1995 onwards are highly likely to go straight into work than stay in higher education, with 8 in 10 students in compulsory education aiming to start their own business. It is therefore paramount that a clear message of the key advantages university life brings is easily accessible.

    · The perception of brand loyalty has changed, now Gen Z expects brands to be loyal to them, not the other way around. Therefore retention and relationship marketing is key; if they don’t feel appreciated, they’ll move on.

    Now that their characteristics are understood, here are our top tips for university marketing to Gen Z students:

    #1: Promote what they will achieve from attending your university.

    With an entrepreneurial mindset, Gen Z is driven by results, what will benefit them and the success that will be gained from attending your university.

    Having grown up with an online presence, peer opinions are extremely important, so try to introduce and include video case studies of alumni successes and current students talking about valuable life experiences learnt and achievements so far in their university career.

    Your university can then post these videos on digital platforms such as apps, social media and websites.

    Ensure those who are being interviewed wear branded clothing printed with your university’s logo, such as promotional hoodies; this is an effective way of adding to your brand identity and instantly making your logo recognisable to the viewer.

    It’s also a good idea to create a hashtag for current students to use when talking about your university on social media, this way prospects can search to see what’s being said. Research away from main sites means viewers feel they are getting a more genuine review.


    #2: Think digital first and stand out from the 130 UK universities

    What gives your university a competitive advantage and how will the tech-savvy Gen Z first perceive your brand?

    Gen Z has access to multiple screens; mobiles, tablets, desktops and TVs, so think about the frequencies in which they use them. According to Marketing Tech, Gen Z engage with an average of 10 hours of online content a day, spending over 5.9 hours viewing content on their phones. A mobile device strategy is, therefore, a given, but how do you ensure it differentiates from the strategies of competing universities?

    HSBC recently launched its ‘sound identity’ as part of their rebrand, using a devised piece of music to build their brand when their target market is always distracted. Creating a piece of signature music for your university that resembles its character and ethos is an innovative, tech-savvy way to engage with Gen Z. The music can be incorporated into many digital channels such as phone apps, website, and the introduction to your videos and will be instantly associated with your university.

    Merchandise such as promotional earphones is a great way of introducing musical branding, especially when coupled with other mobile phone accessories printed with your logo and landing page or app name to act as a call to action.


    #3: Show your loyalty with Merchandise

    Merchandise is key to retaining loyalty, with 79% of promotional gift recipients feeling appreciated. The key to a successful promotional gift is finding a product that is useful to your target audience. Gen Z is a digital and tech orientated market, therefore branded gadgets are at the forefront when it comes to practicality.

    Here’s some promotional gadget inspiration to help gain the loyalty of Gen Z:

    Branded Charging Cables-so they can have a charging solution for their devices wherever they go.

    Promotional Powerbanks - so their phones can remain constantly charged.

    Printed Phone/Tablet Stands - for comfortable screen viewing.

    Personalised Phone Screen Cleaners - to help maximise visibility of your marketing campaign.

    Please get in contact with our team for more information about how merchandise can help you to create an effective strategy for marketing to Generation Z!

    01245 382600 | [email protected]
  • Questions to ask when choosing the perfect promotional product Aug 14, 2018

    Almost every company uses branded promotional merchandise to promote themselves; whether it’s simply a pen printed with their logo, powerbank to keep them charged throughout the day, a printed mug used when taking a much needed break or even your laptop bag when travelling to meetings. However, there is such a wide range of products available on the promotional market, how do you ensure that you’re selecting the right item out of a catalogue with thousands of options?

    Ask yourself or your colleagues to think about the five W’s…

    Who is your target audience?
    To target effectively through promotional products you need to understand your audiences’ demographic to help tailor your selection to meet their needs. For instance if your target audience is over 65’s they are less likely to be receptive to a mobile phone related product than a 20 year old would. Once you know who you are targeting you can focus specifically on their lifestyle choices such as hobbies, interests or favourite activities. This way you will be able to choose a product that remind them of you more frequently.

    What is the purpose?
    Most of us want to stand out and be different but you need to decide exactly what it is you want to gain from this giveaway or gift; is it to support an ongoing campaign, say thank you, leave a reminder featuring key information, spread brand awareness or promote a call to action? Usefulness is the key characteristic of a successful branded item because it will be used frequently, exposing your branding and marketing message to both the user and whoever may be around them at that time. It’s not just about something that stays on the desk anymore, oh no, lifestyle choices are far more popular.

    Where will they receive the product?

    There are so many ways of sharing promotional merchandise from postal in mass campaigns, to hand delivered personalised gifts to a freebie with another purchase. If, however, it’s at a trade show or exhibition, everyone loves a giveaway. But make sure yours really stands out by going for something different maybe even quirky, that’s light and easy to carry. Anything edible is great because the recipient will have been walking around the venue for a long period of time and the last thing they want is additional weight.

    Why would they want to receive this gift?
    Your product should reflect the character and ethos of your brand but at the same time should be functional and useful so that the recipient wants to keep it. Quality over quantity is always a good tip. Pet insurance companies might giveaway foldable water bowls to encourage their clients to keep pets hydrated, or a university might supply students with promotional USBs; both products are tailored to the recipient and it is something they will want and more importantly need to use every day. Even if they already have one, they will be delighted to receive another one. Statistics show that 79% of people felt appreciated when receiving a promotional gift, and we all love the feel good factor it brings!

    When will it be used?
    The trick is to choose an item that will be used more often than not or kept for a long period of time. The more the product is used, the more impressions it will create. So, think about your target market’s lifestyle and choose a product that will slot in nicely with their daily routine to become a necessity. The most popular ‘must have’ promotional products link to technology such as smartphones or laptops, as many of us can’t be without either. If you want a promotional gift that will be used regularly, think about powerbanks, smartphone accessories or Bluetooth speakers at the higher end or pop sockets and earphones at the lower end, there really is something for every budget.

    Don’t forget that our merchandise experts are on hand to answer any questions you may have and work with you to choose the perfect promotional item that meets your budget, reflects your brand and gives you that return on investment that we all want.

    Take a look at our website to check out our fabulous range of items all of which are available to be branded with your logo!

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