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Custom and Bespoke Promotional Gifts Supply

Custom promotional products are those that have been created and manufactured specifically for a client and their marketing campaign. Whilst most standard promotional gifts are supplied with a logo and imprint, these generally exist on the shelf or on short lead times (if from a UK stock). Bespoke promotional merchandise is made specific to a client brief and project.

Standard Gifts

We have access to over 100,000 standard products within our supply chain. This can be multiplied by a factor of 10 when you take into account colour, trim and other options that can be used to tailor a promotional gift for your campaign. Pricing will always be cheaper with standard products and the lead times shorter. As promotional gifts are generally matched to a company logo and corporate colours, even if two companies within the same industry distribute the same promotional gifts, it is highly likely that they will not land on the same day and their colouring and final specification (including logo and imprint) will be different.

Bespoke Projects

At Redbows we have a specialist team who handle the bespoke or custom side of our business. The team will work to a client brief and provide ideas and input to help develop a specific bespoke promotional product for the project. The process does of course take longer than the supply of a standard product and may involve working with other stakeholders including a graphic designer, mould/tooling supplier and manufacturing partner. This is before we achieve a final product for printing. Associated with the supply of bespoke items is that of packaging which will add to the cost but will also be necessary for safe transportation.From our experience, for a bespoke gift project to be viable the following should be considered:

  • Tooling: the cost of a custom tool or mould to make your design can be prohibitive. Moulds are typically made with a manufacturing volume life span after which they need to be reworked or scrapped.
  • Volumes: for a bespoke project you need to make sure that there is a high enough volume to manufacture. If not the unit cost will be high.
  • Lead Times: a typical project can run from 4-8 weeks including design sign-off, manufacture and shipment.

Examples of bespoke projects include: custom designed stress relievers in the form of a speed camera and logo shaped flash drives.

General Promotional Gift Notes

Promotional gifts are generally supplied with an imprint. When customers cannot supply their artwork in the types of file formats needed we turn to our Design Studio who can generate artwork from scratch or take a file and convert it into the types we need.

Generated from your artwork the imprint may consist of: a logo, marketing message, advertising strap line and call to action, and general contact details including phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and website URL.

Another name for these types of products are ‘branded products’. The alternative ‘unbranded products’ have no imprint. At Redbows can do supply unbranded products to clients as requested. They may decide to have them printed by their own printers for example.

Multiple Gift Campaigns

Care also has to be taken when ‘bagging’ promotional gifts together which have different print processes and case materials. For example a client may elect a USB flash drive with a smooth aluminium body and a leather bookmark. The two gifts have different textured surfaces which can lead to differences in the final imprint. When ‘bagging’ gifts we recommend that you select gifts with similar textured surfaces to get a uniform print quality.

Advertising Gifts and Print Quality

Gift themes are a great idea when you can select two or more complimentary gifts together such as branded golf balls and towels. Gifts can also be tied into the theme of a marketing programme such as disposable using USB flash drives to launch new brochures at a seminar or exhibition. Packaging can also influence the overall quality and value of the gift itself and for some products Redbows recommends gift set packaging.

It is important to consider the stakeholders involved, the event and desired outcome (or return on investment) when selecting a gift. Typical stakeholders include:

  • Consumers
  • Business-to-business customers
  • Potential customers
  • Suppliers
  • Press and media contacts
  • Employees
  • Club and associations membership
  • Local government contacts

Employees and suppliers are also stakeholders in the business and when ordering gifts it is usually worth while ordering extra quantities to pass along to these important groups. The right gifts can be used as a motivational ‘thank you’ and to bring the team together.

A key aspect with business orientated gifts is the price and event. There are literally thousands of promotional gifts available. As part of a reseller reward program gifts should range from low cost to high cost items dependent on the level of spend achieved. When running key events like golf days it is always worthwhile spending a bit extra on a short run of specially engraved crystal awards for the winners and gifts to everyone who took part.

Timescales, Milestones and Key Calendar Dates

It is important at the start of a bespoke project to consider the final delivery date required. Your promotion may be timed to coincide with a key calendar event (sports) or a seasonal holiday (Christmas). The final delivery date provides and end date to focus the whole custom process on. Different products and customisation will have different lead times and processes and a timescale (Gant chart) can be worked out for your particular project showing key milestones to be achieved in order to guarantee your delivery date.

Pricing and Budgets

Product pricing is aways volume dependent. For certain items, especially those using computer memory and or when priced in US dollars from the Far East, prices can change daily. If you are working to a set budget it is always worthwhile letting Redbows know your ideal theme, ideal gifts, budget spend, total number of items wanted and delivery dates. We can then use our expertise and supply chain to put together a proposal.

If you are considering a bespoke promotional gift it is very important at the start of the project to define your budget. This is important for a number of reasons. A custom or bespoke gift will always cost more, as there are expenses associated with the extra design and any associated tooling process. Cashflow for custom projects can be important (for all parties) and stage payments may be required. Another consideration is the number of print runs you will want. Moulds and tooling do have lifespan limits and its important, if you want a low unit price to recover the cost of the moulds and tooling over the greatest quantity and multiple manufacturing runs.

Title and Ownership

This area of the project may not be important to the client or any other third parties involved but it is important. A custom or bespoke gift means that Intellectual Property (IP) has been created and the title (ownership) of this needs to be clearly defined in a written agreement. It may also be important to consider a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for all parties.

Custom and bespoke promotional gifts require large volumes to be financially viable and for this reason the industry generally works with standard off-the-shelf merchandise which can be quickly selected and printed with your logo and imprint.