‘Twenty-five years have passed since Interimage first began trading. During that time the promotional products industry has seen many changes. Twenty years ago, clients would be impressed if a cap could be produced in the same colours as the company logo. These days, to achieve a similar effect you would have to show them a cap that can play a jingle and has a 3D print.’
‘Still, one thing has remained the same, at least it has for me. I know a good product when I see it. I'll think to myself: Wow!
Premium products should have that same effect. Clients will not think and then think some more to decide whether something is interesting or appealing to them. If it takes too much time to convince a consumer, the product will already have been bypassed or left in a supermarket bin.
The instant in which the decision is made to pick up a premium product or not is the opposite of the lengthy process to achieve the wow effect. As with everything in life, if you want to achieve a good result, you must be prepared to invest the time and effort, to show discipline and to show determination in the face of setbacks.
I learnt about tenacity while playing tennis. I am of the same generation as top Dutch players Krajicek, Siemerink and Eltingh. Only the no. 1 spot would do, but as you can guess, I did not top the list. If so, you would have seen a different person drop to his knees on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
But top-level sport taught me a great deal. It all comes down to preparation. Things can change, even when you are far, far behind. And you shouldn't look to anyone but yourself in defeats.
All of this also applies to the world of business. Don't look for excuses if a company decides to go elsewhere or if your supplier delivers poor-quality products. Only when you have given it everything will you have the best chance of achieving that wow effect.
At Samsung, saying “this can't be done” gets you fired. I am not willing to go that far. But if our team has come up with a promotional product that we feel might become a success, we will do everything we can to make it happen. If we need to, we'll even change the manufacturing process in China.
In my view, that is how Interimage has been able to achieve the growth that it has in the past 25 years. We are always looking to try something new and to improve. To someone outside our business, it might not seem significant that you can have an embossed print rather than a standard print on a sports bottle. It is details like that however that can achieve the wow factor.
My father, who taught me all about the promotional products industry, was responsible for introducing clickclacks in the Netherlands. It is a toy that can still be found on many attics. Another famous premium product is the range of hand puppets resembling characters from ‘De Fabeltjeskrant’ (The Daily Fable) which Interimage developed.
That is what makes me passionate about this industry. Creating appealing products that even after five years have passed will provoke comments such as: “I had one of those. They were cool!” And that's exactly what we want to keep doing at Interimage for a long time to come.’
Owner of Interimage