Wednesday, 26 February 2014

WHOOSH, up in flames!

An experience, from well over 10 years ago now, of going to see some fabric being tested at a BSI test centre (British Standards Institute) left a lasting impression.

My initial reaction was one of shock as the piece of material being tested literally vanished in a mighty swoosh of flames.

The next reaction was of laughter as the tester (clearly a technician at the top of his game) was a great performer with terrific comic timing. He turned to the group of us immediately the material burnt up and said “Well, that went up like the Hindenburg!”

That dark humour breaks the ice is sometimes a good thing and he judged his audience well as he now had our undivided attention!

This was all to show that there are some things unseen that we all take for granted. We don’t ever think about whether the clothes we are wearing, or the sofa we are sitting on will go up (very quickly) in flames when unexpectedly put to the test.

                                 Bad, very!!                               Good
Fireproofing is one of those unseen things.
“Why would I want my banner fabrics fireproofed when I only use them outside in the rain on this wet Island?”
Not an unreasonable question you could argue. However, we don’t know you will always use our branding solutions outside so we have to make sure there are no unexpected and unwanted surprises for you.
So, we treat all our fabrics, while we are making them, to the most stringent standards, easily passing the B2 test required at the European level.
Yet another example of our, this time unseen, attention to detail.
A pity some of our competitors don’t think like this!!!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I don’t suppose I can buy replacement parts?

Ah, a question that gets asked more frequently than we’d ever have expected, together with the slightly less familiar “what's the least number of these I can buy?”

This is one we can't even blame on the Bankers. You know, those that caused the global meltdown and made us all tighten our belts and see where we could make economies and make do!

We can't blame them because; we've always been asked these questions.

Our answer has always been unwaveringly, boringly and predictably the same.

“You can buy as few as a single banner. In fact you can buy less than one banner because we will sell you individual components”

This is not a sales ploy. It's just the way we've always been.

We understand that occasionally, things get broken by accident. 

Items can get lost or mislaid, through no-ones intentional fault.

The MD decides a change of corporate design is needed (normally after you've just taken delivery of some new banners and you were not included on that memo!!!)

 A ground-stake and quick-connect pole section.
These are the most frequently replacement requests for ‘lost’ items. The ground stake, because someone forgot to take it out of the ground(!) and any one of many pole sections. This one just happens to be a quick connect base section pole with our Quality Control imprints on to determine batch and date of manufacture.

We got to this level of service not because we were dragged kicking and screaming to it but because, from the outset of our business planning, we believed (and time has borne this out) this is what you as the customer would want and need.

So if you need a replacement pole section or even a new fabric for what you already have, you can feel comfortable in asking for it, so please give us a call.

We can also advise on caring for your banners to make them last longer, which will be a later blog but, feel free to ask us about that anytime.

It's just a shame some of our competitors don't feel the same about your needs!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Higher still, and higher

Sometimes banners at events, whether they are Teardrop, Flying, Feather, Wing or whatever shape imaginable, don’t do the exact job the event organisers are after.

Therefore, some years ago one of our longest standing clients told us that they liked the height of our large banners but didn’t want or need the amount of print area that went with that larger size.

They did however really like the size and print area available on the medium size banners.

“We don’t suppose you have anything that might combine those elements for us. Also, we have looked elsewhere for something but nobody has anything!!”

Two things came out of this.

Firstly, we know that clients will ask around and that’s a good thing. It keeps us on our toes and invariably has a client coming back to us for a solution.

Secondly, we had the solution all along; if only the client had told us they had this issue!! (We do always ask if there’s anything we can do and if the solution fits the bill. If we forget, please remind us!)

The solution was to put the medium Flying Banner fabric onto a large pole set. Simples!
                            The Great Swim                                    Hard Rock Calling

It’s actually a bit more technical than that for us as we have to extend the banding on the banner edge, which is a tapered piece of material (to mirror the tapering of the poles as this makes a better fit, smoother operations etc but, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, this is our attention to detail!) and make some other very minor adjustments but, for the client, it’s that simple.

Oh, nearly forgot to mention, it’s a more cost effective option for the client too!! 

We’re quite pleased our competitors don’t offer these types of client solutions. 
Medium fabrics on EXTRA LARGE pole sets!!  

Yes, there really are some banners in this shot!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Do we need to get that technical? Yes, it’s attention to detail.

It's a funny thing, but when everything is going along tickety-boo, people don't seem to want to know any detail.

As soon as something breaks, we all want to know why, how & what in minute detail, whether we're going to understand it or not.

I'm no different.

However, the smallest details can make a significant difference in how well something does, or doesn't work.
Knowledge and expertise combined with a willingness to look for solutions in places that we wouldn't normally look make those little differences.

We notice these differences with our competitors, who for many years have copied our simple products but, haven't really looked closely enough or, properly understood why we do it that way. They just look for the cheaper, quicker solution for them. Not for you, but for them.

For example, on our Flying Banners (teardrop shaped), we include a thing called a leech line in the straight edge of the material. What does this do, I hear you ask. (I have a vivid imagination)
The leech line exposed

Well, it has a twofold purpose. Firstly it stops the printed banner material being in continuous and varying tension, which is not good for the shape of the print or fabric. Secondly, it stops that straight edge oscillating (I was going to use flapping but I like this word more!) in squally winds and thereby reducing the life of the banner.

                        Nicely tensioned banner        Another nicely tensioned banner

What is it? It's a piece of very tough braided cord that is sewn into the seam of the leading edge of material. A vital small element that's there for the wellbeing and longevity of your banner.

So, do we need to get that technical?

Yes is the answer.

Because if we don't, no-one else, including our competitors, will bother. (To give you the product you deserve!)