When COVID first began in March, I don’t think many would have believed it would last into the fall. Now it’s looking like we’ll have to ride it well into 2021. Below are some of the industry trends that materialized during the pandemic that we think will stay with us long after we eventually return back to our “old” normal;
With non-essential travel brought to a halt, it might be some time before we see a return to the heyday of the business conference. It’s not just client engagement as a new challenge but also employee engagement – and so the enter the rise of virtual meetings. We are talking about the meetings themselves but the engagement before, during and after these online events that is creating opportunities to stand out and be heard. Not simply in selecting quality gifts and presenting them in a meaningful way but also in creating online opportunities to ensure they are switched on during your time together. Gift kits and mobile engagement are great incentives to get and hold participants’ attention and reduce zoom fatigue. Looking for a little something personal? We also offer special packaging such as hand-written notes, custom colored tissue, bows, ribbons and much more.
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Individual Drop-shipping to the Home
Many companies such as Facebook, Twitter, etc made headlines after announcing that employees will be able to work from home permanently going forward: even once the pandemic has ended. This trend from some of the more progressive companies cuts down on commercial real estate / rent costs, in the way of overhead for employers while allowing employees more freedom (not to mention the time saved commuting!).
For those clients with international audiences we have been creating regional meeting kits with gifts, merchandise, and literature, all produced and shipped just about anywhere in the world. Depending on the size and volume of potential projects, we have also set up in-region distribution with our global partners to serve local markets directly, saving duties, freight and avoiding potential customs delay. With 50+ partners servicing 100+ countries BrandVia is happy to offer help wherever it is needed.
A Shift from Brick-and-Mortar Shops to E-stores
Some clients are also creating on-line storefronts for gifts that used to be purchased on campus or on site at a pop-up store at an event. These clients often subsidize the merchandise price and/or shipping costs to ensure a lasting impression for those who use the store. Another way in which our clients are using merchandise is through on-line redemption of product as a reward for passing a quiz or learning a new skill during the conference. In this case we often issue a number of unique codes to the main customer who then passes them out as needed with the eStore URL for quick and easy shopping. Creating online shops is also helpful to the admins or employees who’ve been tasked with ordering swag for their company, as these interfaces can be designed to capture, organize and keep track of the many details / data that they’d otherwise be expected to keep track of on their own, manually. Let us help you keep track of your inventory, drop-ship details, payment details, and more for you through our e-store platforms!
Demo our virtual engagement here
Globalization of the Workplace
With many larger organizations having a variety of locations across the globe, being able to produce and distribute gifts worldwide is essential, especially now with international travel restrictions in place to reduce the spread of COVID. Sending a uniform gift to all employees, across all campuses, is a great way to keep company culture strong and foster a sense of community when traveling and seeing our coworkers face-to-face is not an option.
With nearly 75,000 employees across the globe, Cisco came to our team looking for the most effective way to recognize their engineers here in the United States and in India. Not only did they need an online platform to host these prizes for selection, but they also needed the products to be available for recipients in both countries. With our online shop capabilities and connection to suppliers all over the world – what seemed like a major challenge to them, was a fast and easy to use solution for us.
Our first step was to hunt down the resources we needed for these products. Since we needed to accommodate for the engineers based in India, we turned to one of our agency partners to ensure that all engineers received the same experience from beginning to end.
US Pop Up Shop
US Pop Up Shop
Thanks to our partner in India, we had vendors that were able to produce the entire kit domestically in-country. Once this piece of the puzzle was solved, we then developed an online shopping experience where recipients could select from one of four items: a desk lamp, Bluetooth earbuds, a cutting board set, and a cozy plush blanket. Both shops were created to meet the unique needs and address format of each country.
Once the engineers selected their preferred prize, our fulfillment centers in the U.S and India packed, shipped, and delivered directly to our recipients’ front doors. Our friends at Cisco wanted to include a little surprise in this expected gift. Upon opening their gifts, recipients also found within a no touch tool, masks, and a door hanger.
India Pop Up Shop
India Pop Up Shop
As international borders eventually ease restrictions, we think our global clients will continue to embrace the strategy of having the items produced domestically in each country rather than ship internationally both for the cost savings as well as the positive corporate social responsibility.
Germaphobes rejoice: we don’t think the hand sanitizer trend is going anywhere anytime soon! We saw many suppliers introduce new antibacterial products into their lines when COVID first began and they don’t show any signs of stopping. Mousepads, Pens, Phone Sanitizers, UV Wands, Self-Cleaning Bottles: what’s next?
The pandemic has forced many industries and companies to find new ways to work in order to adapt to the changes we’ve seen in 2020. Being forced to learn new things leads to innovation.
BrandVia and it’s team create brand engagement. Now more than ever our team’s skills and expertise are helping our clients reconnect, and engage with the clients and team members who matter most to them. Whatever your budget, wherever your audience, let us help you with the art of corporate gifting.