Not all branded promotional items are quick and easy. In fact, most of them aren’t. We’re not talking about sorting out 2000 t-shirts for your fun run or 500 pens for a workshop that you’re hosting. We’re talking about the cup that you drink out of at Vida E, or the Richelieu mountain bike that was given away at your local Spar. We’re talking about the beach balls and air mats at the Sky Vodka beach parties, or the Ferrari watches that you’ve seen some of your friends wearing.

These are items that don’t merely bear the icons of our clients: they carry their values, ideals and core messages. Selecting a collection of items that will empower and enhance our clients’ brands is a deeply involved process that spans a journey of several months and lasts for several years.

At Promo Connection, we’re not just about slapping logos on caps, t-shirts and pens for the sake of a once-off activation. We focus on engaging with our client’s existing brand identity and creating a roadmap and product portfolio to drive and carry them forward, ahead of their competition.

But what does this really mean? Neville Isdell, former CEO of Coca Cola, gives an encouraging account of how he led the turnaround of a declining Coke brand. It also speaks to the depth and integrity of a brand identity that is constantly communicated through a vast range of media. This is that we work with.

As the story goes, Isdell took over 100 of his top managers at Coca Cola and put them in a room for three days to discuss the negatives of the brand. His reasoning? “We need to stay ahead of the game by looking at the changing external environment before positive brand changes can happen”.

At the time, the brand was trying to be hip and modern, which wasn’t Coca Cola. It lost support, brand trust and equity. They looked at engagement survey data and spoke to managers as to what negative feedback the consumers were giving.

The spoils of this three-day focus-session created the bedrock for the next six months that was spent developing the Manifesto for Growth.

This document articulated their vision; the framework for their roadmap that would guide every aspect of their business by describing what they needed to accomplish in order to continue achieving sustainable, high-quality growth. They focussed on six “P’s”.

People: Be a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.
Portfolio: Bring to the world a portfolio of quality beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy people’s desires and needs.
Partners: Nurture a winning network of customers and suppliers, together we create mutual, enduring value.
Planet: Be a responsible citizen that makes a difference by helping build and support sustainable communities.
Productivity: Be a highly effective, lean and fast-moving organization.
Profit: Maximize long-term return to shareowners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.

Isdell believed and proved that the last P comes naturally with the other five in place. He also recognised that the world is changing all around us, all the time.

To continue to thrive over the next decade (and beyond), businesses must look ahead, understand the trends and forces that will shape our business in the future and move swiftly to prepare for what’s to come. All of this is crucial to developing and building a brand identity.