Everything can be made as gifts. It can ranges from something cheap or even something free that you create and make yourself, flowers, hampers or it can even be something very exclusive and premium such as jewelleries. However, the term “gifts” is normally referred to an item in general, or as a category or something special and unique not easily categorized in specific genre of products. Hence when people search for “gifts” normally the person does not specifically know what they are looking for yet. Popular searches would include “Corporate Gifts”, “Gifts for Men” or “Birthday Gifts”.
There are generally two distinct gift industry category in Malaysia, namely the corporate market and the retail market. The main difference is that the corporate gift market purchases items in bulk and will typically need personalization of the company brand on it while the retail gift market involves purchase of products invididually. The summary is shown on the table below.
| Corporate Gift Market
|| Retail Gift Market
- Targets the corporate and government sector
- Quantity purchased in bulk
- Used for promotional activities
- Typically requires logo printing and branding on the products
- Companies involved: Corporate premium gift suppliers, silkscreen and pad printers, specialized products distributors (T-shirts, Umbrellas, Caps, Pen Drives, Bags, Trophy & Awards, etc.)
- A big industry in Malaysia and involves many types of companies and operations are typically not in expensive retail areas
- Targets individuals
- Quantity purchased individually
- For personal use or to give out to an individual
- Typically does not require logo printing, if yes only printing of a name
- Companies involved: Online retail gift shops, wedding favor wholesalers, florists, hamper suppliers, souvenir shops, greeting cards & wrapper shops and other specialized retail gift products.
- Smaller industry in terms of sales volume but shops are s typically situated in high traffic areas such as shopping malls.
Whichever market your company is in, the gifts industry is definitely a growing market especially in a fast developing country in Malaysia. A rough estimate will put this industry is not less than RM1billion in this country alone. Plenty of opportunities for everyone.
If you have read our previous 2 posts, you would have now learnt that there are various types of methods to personalize your gifts and souvenirs with the logo you require. The various types of product printing methods available is not just to suit the various types of material available but also the size as well and shape of the products. The following are the printing suggestions for various surfaces:-
- Rounded Surfaces – This will typically involve pad printing as silkscreen printing involves a need of a screen placed on flat surfaces. Typical examples are golf balls.
- Rounded Bottles/Mugs – For a symmetrical rounded cylindrical surfaces such as bottles and mugs, silkscreen method can also be applied using a roll-print contraption where the screen rolls the bottle on the screen.
- Large Areas – For large areas, silk screen is the preferred method of printing and is only limited by the size of the screen you can make.
As shown, may different types of gift materials are available
A few more factors besides those mentioned above and previous posts that affects the choice of printing method includes the following:-
- Number of Colours – As screen printing involves printing one colour at a time, if the screen printer has no 4 or 6 colour machines available, it is printed and manually adjusted spacing one at a time. Any misallignment will cause inaccurate printing of the gift products. For flat surfaces like tshirts, there are available machines (at a high cost) that are able to process 4-6 colours but is not available easily for uneven surfaces. As such, pad printing is used. The only problem is now, pad printing area has a limited size and may not be able to print cylindrical surfaces nicely.
- Print Quality – As mentioned earlier, some materials can be applied different types of product printing methods on its surface. However, the quality for each of it is different. The best example is frosted glass mugs. Both silkscreen method and decal heat firing method can be used. Heat fired mugs are much higher priced than silkscreen printing but the printing is much longer lasting.
- Desired Effect – Each individual has a preference for a certain type of logo branding. For example, on flat metal surfaces such as name card holders, some people like to have it laser engraved but some does not like their logo to be monotone. Hence some will laser engrave and some will do silkscreen print with colours.
This ends the series on branding/personalized gift products. Coming up next – Packaging and Presentation of Gifts.
Guide to Successful Gift Marketing – Logo Branding 1
Logo branding on promotional gifts is somewhat complex and the supplier needs to be very clear on what method to use when printing on various materials. The general printing method includes silkscreen printing, pad printing, decal heat transfer printing, decal sublimation printing, laser engraving, emboss/hot stamping and embroidery. Other newer technologies includes UV Cure Flatbed Inkjet printing.
Printing on Various Materials
To be a successful wholesaler of corporate and premium gifts, you need to be very clear on the logo branding methods on a wide range of materials. Clients do not always understand why certain printing method can be done on certain products while some cannot. You need to highlight to them all the limitations and problems in printing for each material. The printing method used for the various types of materials are as follows:-
- Plastic - Plastic is one of the easiest to print as they can use various type of methods including pad printing and silkscreen printing to create your logo. Ink is easily bonded on plastic products so just the normal ink will do for printing. This includes plastic pens, plastic containers, mugs, etc. For plastic, laser engraving is not preferred as the effect does not look as good as metal.
- Metal - Metal products are fairly easy to print, but not as easy as plastic as a special type of ink together with a ink resin hardener is required to be mixed together to create a permanent bond on metal items. If you use the normal ink for plastic, the printing will easily comes off. As such, the cost of printing is slightly more expensive than for plastic materials. Uses also the pad / screen printing method or can be laser engraved as well.
- Ceramic/Porcelain/Glass Items - These materials are one of the toughest material to print as inks does not cure easily and be permanently affixed onto ceramic and glass products. This includes ceramic mugs, glass cups, vases and other glass and ceramic ceramic items. To fully print a permanent and long lasting logo onto your souvenirs, the best way to print is via decal printing with heat firing process, that is fired in a kiln for 1 hour or so at temperatures around 400 degree celcius. This will create a permanent bond on ceramic items. This method of printing is much more expensive compared to the rest.
- Leather/PU Leather - As silkscreen printing does not look very classy on leather products, embossing with a hot stamping machine and die is the preferred method for leather products. If colour is required, a foil in colour can be used (typically gold or silver) to stamp your logo on the leather gifts. This method is called hot stamping.
- Silicone - Silicone material is one of the hardest material to print as most ink do not bond on silicone. As silicone is also flexible, there tend to be flaking if the silicone is stretched. For printing on silicone, silk screen printing can be used but they must use a special type of silicone ink to be fully cured.
- Cloth/Fabric – For fabrics, heat transfer and silkscreen can be used to affix your logo on the product. Even though expensive, thread sewn embroidery is typically the preferred method of fabrics such as tshirts, bags and towels as they are very long lasting even when washed many times.
- Paper/Cardboard - Paper is the easiest to print on and most methods can be used (except those with firing). If they are in a sheet form, it can even be printed using a home inkjet printer. For items such as gift boxes, foil hot stamping and silkscreen is the preferred option.
Stay Tuned for Part 3 – Logo Branding
This guide is the 2nd article in a series of guide for successful gift marketing for the promotional gift products.
Sample Logo Branding on Sticky Notes
Logo Branding or Personalization of Gifts
Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier for the corporate gift industry if the client does not require logo to be printed on the products? Of course! However, this is not the case for this industry as for promotional items, logo branding is essential for the gift items to be included a company name, logo, slogan on the item. Each product with different shape and sizes use a different method of printing and depending on material, type, size and location. There are many issues and limitation arising regarding the logo printing on promotional products including:
- Material of Product - There are certain issues arising from the wide range of materials available of promotional products, including plastic, metal, ceramic, glass, silicone, etc. You must be aware the material of the product to determine the printing method and ink you use.
- Size of Product - Some products such as those with large print areas will require different method of printing as compared to small items such as pens. If you are new in this industry, there are some headache on which type of printing methods to use.
- Shape of Product - Sometimes if the shape of the gift is odd or rounded, there is limitation in printing especially rounded surfaces. If the shape is odd, there may be a maximum print size that is applied or sometimes cannot even be printed at all.
- Printing Quality - Most of the time client reject the items is because of low quality printing including crooked logos, peeling or easy coming off of logo and incorrect colour.
- Number of colours - Not all logos are easily printed on products especially if they have many colours on the logo. The traditional pad printing and silk screen printed methods uses a print-one-colour-at-a-time method and may be highly troublesome if there are overlapping colours.
To ensure printing issues doesn’t happen you must be aware of each of the issues above when meeting client and highlighting the issues to your client even before they confirm the logo required for printing. Please stay tuned to our gift resource blog for each of the limitations highlighted above.
This guide is mainly suitable for the gift marketing of corporate and premium gift suppliers. It is applicable to those that requires logo printing or personalization/customization of the gift items ordered.
Sourcing of Gifts
Gift sourcing is one of the most tedious and difficult part in the corporate premium industry. Most of the time, clients does not have a clear idea what type of products they want to give out to their targeted market. In many cases, they will have a budget per piece and quantity (e.g. $2.00 per pc for 10000pcs) but have no idea where to start. It is essential for any gift company to be extremely resourceful in searching for the required goods they need. It is easier if your company has a wide range of selection of goods, but it only helps a little bit if your gift client is very demanding. There are some issues in choosing the right product even if you have a large available ready-stock because of the following constraints:
- Quantity Required – The client may want a quantity that is not matching to the items available in the country (ready stock).
- Colour - Certain companies with strong corporate branding may require the items to be in a particular colour of their choice because of branding policies, and the stock may not be available in sufficient quantity for the colour they require.
- Uniqueness – Clients may think that the stock available is not unique as the gift items is already available here, and prefer something very unique that other companies do not give out.
- Deadline – In general, most clients wants the goods as soon as possible, and many last minute orders with personalization is required. These may benefit ready-stcok companies as they can meet their deadline but not necessarily the first three constraints mentioned earlier.
So the tips here for corporate gift companies for sourcing of products is as follows:-
- Resourcefulness – Due to the constraints as mentioned above, it is very difficult to get exactly what client wants unless you have all the gift products in the world. So you will have to be very resourceful and well-equipped by knowing as many gift stockist as possible in your area or country. Do extensive research on websites, or go to gift and premium exhibitions locally and throughout the world to learn about available products and once you get to know every products, the sourcing becomes much easier.
- Network with Other Stockist/Wholesalers – Even if you are yourself a stockist, you must also be closely networked with other gift stockist to meet the client requirements. Better still if you can get a good reseller price from the other stockists.
- Sourcing agent from source countries – You need to also rely on good sourcing agents from the source of the product, mostly from manufacturing countries such as China, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Better still if you have source from local manufacturers.
Stay Tuned for Other Topics of Guide to Successful Gift Marketing coming soon including:
- Branding/Logo Personalization on Gifts
- Packaging and Presentation of Gifts
- Delivery of Goods
Please contact us to learn more from GIMC, your preferred web business networking for gift association.