Beyond The Imprint - Monarch and Company

Looking Ahead: Our Trend Predictions

Anna Nguyen

While the road ahead is unknown, one thing we know for sure is that we will see ongoing challenges from this pandemic and we expect to be faced with inventory shortages, lack of new product, and everything in between. It will be so important to shift the narrative from “what products are shiny and new?” to “which products will make the greatest impact?” And we hope that sticks. 

We’ve spent the last month chatting and debating with the brightest minds in our industry and have shared our on-the-ground predictions for shifts in trends and product positioning and the opportunities we see to make a bigger impact with marketing initiatives moving forward.

1. Shared Is Out, Personalized Is In

Will you think twice before grabbing a communal pen to fill out that form? Opt for bringing your own lunch to work? Trade your favorite shared office mug for a tumbler you can confirm is yours? Our guess is yes.

In the near term future, we’ll see experiential ball pits replaced with hand sanitizer stations, shared water coolers and cafeterias removed for precaution, and products that were once communal transformed into giveaways or higher-end keepsakes.

Personalization is way more accessible and affordable than it used to be and we see it playing a key role in promoting safety and peace of mind moving forward. When producing items, think about incorporating a personalization or a printed name plate. This small addition shows you are thinking ahead and makes each gift that much more special.

2. Sustainability Is Here To Stay, But May Look Different

Budget cuts and safety concerns may make it tough to reach previous sustainability goals, however, we’re finding opportunities in unlikely places that keep our planet top of mind while focusing on your bottom line.

Upcycle: Have apparel and signage that’s already been produced for a canceled or previous event? Upcycle those t-shirts into unique and meaningful masks for your team. Transform those polyester banners into keepsake totes that remind your attendees of when you were together last and that you are thinking of them. The emergence of domestic cut-and-sew gives us the opportunity give new life to products that may have been once destined for the landfill.

Packaging: There will be a need to individually package giveaways for safety precautions, but we have a choice in what materials we use to accomplish this. Many of our suppliers offer single-use plastic polybag eco alternatives and packaging filler made from recycled materials to achieve both safety and social responsibility.

Great Design: People keep gifts and giveaways that are thoughtful, beautiful, and meaningful. Let’s all work together to ensure we are actively spending budget on products and designs that will make the biggest impact, rather than a shiniest newest gadget that will likely end up in the next trashcan down the aisle.

3. Connectedness Will Be Craved

Event Attendees: Virtual event fatigue is real and attendees will be looking for a value proposition to attend and then engagement to stay. Incentivize attendees to spread the word before the event by entering those who repost or use a certain hashtag into a contest for a limited number of beautifully crafted gift bags. Encourage engagement throughout the event using virtual badges and consider having different meaningfully branded prizes awarded throughout the event to encourage attending sessions, participating in discussions, and interacting with others. 

Virtual Teams: Team members who remain virtual will also look to be engaged and appreciated. Have a big win to celebrate with your team? Send a virtual cheers in a box and include all the tools to celebrate and feel connected virtually. Consider hosting your next office social hour using Goodhang, a new platform where you can support your local bars and restaurants while you sip.

Clients: When lunches and happy hours are off the table, seal the deal with your next client meeting by sending them a “surprise and delight” cookie tin beforehand. Invest in good design and add a personalized element to make your gift stand out. 

4. A (Much Needed) Spotlight On Mental Health & Wellness 

Finding ways to care of your team and yourself in more meaningful way will show that you are invested in their well being and likely will produce healthier, happier, and more engaged employees.

Host a book club for your team focusing on a topic of interest and discovery. Read a chapter every few weeks and bring discussion questions that trigger conversation, self discovery, team connectedness, and growth.

Keep your team moving by delivering exercise bands and forming team challenges with incentivized awards for achievements along the way.

5. Community Focus Will Stick

There’s been so much good that has emerged through this and we expect the focus of taking care of those around us in our community and on the front lines to stay with us long after the virus is in the rearview mirror.

Donations of medical supplies to frontline workers and branded takeout supplies to restaurants who have shifted to takeout models will continue to be important.

We can also show our support by purchasing from companies that have corporate social and community responsibility built right into their DNA like Miir or Soapbox. So many brands are emerging with one-for-one donations or portions of their proceeds going to help those in need. Actively inserting those brands into your upcoming initiatives will be something recipients will remember and provides a meaningful opportunity to give back. 

In closing, we hope you add these ideas to your toolbox as you continue to reimagine what’s next for your upcoming initiatives. Whether it be welcoming your team back to work, preparing to work remotely for good, or launching a multi-city virtual event, there is an opportunity to share a meaningful message through thoughtfully crafted promotional merchandise and you’ll stand out when you stand up for something.

Let’s keep shaking things up together.

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