Introduction to the Series.

You really want to get some promotional products made up for your your marketing strategy, or even for a campaign you are running. Sitting at your desk, you have a few options ahead of you.

1. You can pick the big catalogue, that a lot of distributors send out, off the shelf and scan through each page.

2. You know you can get it far cheaper talking to the factories yourself, buying directly to save yourself every penny.

3. You can talk to a specialist, a company like Pavilion, that does not rely on the quick sale or throwing 300 pages of options at you.

The big companies might have the name, but they too will come to a specialist like ourselves, and whilst you might be prioritising quality items, there is no way for you to judge what they are quoting on. Similarly, contacting  the manufacturer directly may not be such a good idea, with some serious pitfalls. This is what our series of blogs is going to be about.

Why is Quality Important?

It's a fair question, but there is a reason why we make sure that the balls you print on are arguably some of the best promotional sports products you can get. Every marketing effort you make is done to serve your brand vision. You know exactly what you want your brand to convey. It's the reasoning behind the way the company behaves on social media, to the tone of your advertisements. If you want to make your brand look as incredible as it can, then promotional products need the same attention. If your customers received a really poor product, one that looks cheap and tacky, that's how they are going to see you as a company to work with. You don't want that.

Quality Test 1

Have you been out to the manufacturers in India/China? We have and we have agents on the ground. We know which companies are genuine manufacturers, which have proper quality processes and testing and do not use child labour.

If you do an internet search for a football manufacturer in Pakistan – you will find them. But be warned, many of these sites, even those showing pictures of their factory, are local sales people who are lone agents using multiple factories and home workers with zero quality control.

Quality Test 2

Before anyone ships across the globe, you need to ensure you have seen samples and for large orders, pre-production samples with your logo. Sample testing is more than just appearance. You need to even do some basic testing: making sure the American footballs actually spin like they are supposed to when thrown for example. Personally we have gone from manufacturer to manufacturer trying to actually get an American football that spins the way it really should. Something that simple could be holding you back and how long will it take before you find the right manufacturer?

Appearance is important, but think also about the actual print itself. What if you ordered a hundred footballs only for the blue in your logo to be closer to green? Quality in terms of the product is important, but so is printing. These are not just promo giveaways, these are meant to represent part of your brand's identity. If they look bad, you look bad.

Quality Test 3

Ensure you are working with manufacturers who have been audited – if you cannot audit yourself, there are internationally recognised companies who will do the audits and provide detailed reports. If you are buying small quantities and this is just not economic – then deal with a specialist importer. Even simple things like when buying a football product we insist that they are inflated and left for 24 hours to check the valve and bladder integrity. We have been through it ourselves. We ordered footballs and because they weren't checked properly by the manufacturer, the balls collapsed in on themselves and were less spherical and more discus shaped.

Quality Test 4

Does your local distributor have the product shipped directly to you? Or do they, as we do, bring them to our UK warehouse and have someone inspect the product before on-ward shipment.

If you are in charge of distributing promotional footballs or rugby balls to every branch your company owns in the country, do you have space? You could be ordering in the thousands. Are you able to check them over? Are you stuck behind a desk or do you have a warehouse? It might seem like something really small but imagine if you ordered thousands of balls, delivered across the country and they all turned out to be awful quality... what would you even do next?

The Solution

The mass distributors might not care about quality and the manufacturers are just going to present you with a list of potential problems. If you use specific, dedicated companies like Pavilion, then they are going to be able to put your needs of the brand first, and have already been through the problems, have tested and refined the process. This makes companies like us cost-effective and an ideal partner to help your marketing needs.


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