Saving our planet; one bag at a time

June 5, 2010

World Environment Day!

It’s been 38 years now, this being the 39th, since the United Nations General Assembly stepped forward in an effort to make our planet a better place to live in; an effort to promote environmental issues that if taken care of would guide the present to a sustainable, prosperous and safer future; an effort to awaken the people of the world and make them contribute to the betterment of our environment; an effort that has been immensely adulated and has only earned more and more of appreciation all over; an effort better known as World Environment Day (WED).

As time matured, the 5th of June not just attained importance in the minds of people but also gradually made them understand the reason behind the constant arguments put forth by environmentalists all over the world. Now, people are well aware of the fact that they themselves, by their constant unsustainable actions, are putting their home at stake.

We took cognizance of this fact and decided to help the cause in the best way we can. This led to the establishment of our company, Norquest Bags in the year 2002. We’re a modest little company in India that makes and ships eco friendly bags to customers all over the world and believe that one day there can exist a world without plastic bags. We constantly strive to achieve this reality by working with natural fabrics like cotton and jute.

We’ve recently come up with a fabric called recycled waste cotton and another one called, juton. Juton, which is a unique blend of jute and cotton, has already bought in tremendous response from customers all over. Cotton which is rendered as waste during the spinning, weaving and cutting processes, and even discarded cotton clothes are reused and yarn is made out of it; the fabric weaved out of this yarn is recycled waste cotton.

We hope that with our existing line of products (www.badlani.com/bags) and the new ones we’ve recently introduced, we continue to serve our existing customers and every new one to the best we can and do our little bit, to save our planet, one bag at a time.

May 29, 2009

And the winner is recycled cotton!

With all the debate going on about what is really most environmentally friendly and what is less so and what is just greenwashing (where eco-friendliness is exaggerated or lied about. Sadly lots of people and companies are doing greenwashing. You keep reading ads about “recyclable” polypropelene, for example. Yes, in theory it is, but in practice not even 1% actually gets recycled), I just read an article which said

Cotton is good

Organic cotton is better, and
Recycled cotton is best!

So, folks, ask about our recycled cotton bags (write to me at Rajiv at Badlani dot com).

Not only are their really eco-friendly, but they also have a very, very attractive feel and look!

May 14, 2009

A reusable bag you will never forget

As an environmentally concerned person I tend to read news about plastic bags. One of the most common things I encounter are people who agree that plastic bags are bad, but lament the fact that it is difficult to remember to carry your reusable bag. Well, here’s a simple solution. Just tuck a couple of these into your pocket or purse, put a few into your car’s glove compartment and you’re always equipped to shop and not use any plastic bags.

We make tote bags, backpacks and overnighters as part of this range, all of which fold into convenient little pouches that you can easily carry wherever you go.

These aren’t on the website yet, but write to me ar Rajiv at Badlani dot com if you’d like prices and things. Do also look at the rest of our range at www.badlani.com/bags.

May 13, 2009

Branding. Essential and simple.

Trends, says futurist John Naisbitt, are like horses, easier to ride in the direction they are going.

Who would argue with this? Don Quixote perhaps, but marketing wisdom says go with the flow, it makes more sense.

The flow is going the ecological way. Most markets that have matured passed the novelty of the neo-capitalistic fascination with gimmicks and toys have become increasingly tired of novelty for novelty’s sake. Utility and common sense and good taste are back in fashion.

Studies show that most consumers prefer not to receive and carry home unnecessary packaging, and actually choose products based on the ecological impact of what they are buying.

Under these circumstances it makes sense for you to consider including cotton bags as part of your marketing strategy.

Like these savvy folks did. In the picture above you see a small selection of the branding activities we’re proud to have been associated with.

Here’s why. They get re-used as many as 500 times. Every time it gets re-used it acts as a walking billboard for your brand or for your message. In addition to just doing a passive reminder job like other stuff – for example a billboard – can, it also makes a proactive statement that the consumer who is carrying your bag endorses your decision to use a cotton bag as a promo device rather than some flippant giggle-once-and-throw-away thing.

Whether it’s a product or a service brand you are promoting, or an event, a fund raiser or a rock show, the same logic applies: Do stuff your audiences respect you for. Show that your actions prove your attitude.

Makes sense doesn’t it? David Ogilvy hit the nail on the head when he said “Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.”

Lets go on from there and agree that everything you do should meet with approval by your target audience. People don’t like what plastic is doing to their world. They approve of people who work towards solving this problem. You can plug into this by using a cotton bag as par of your communication.

But aren’t they expensive?

Not if you buy them direct from us in India. Come see our range at http://www.badlani.com/bags and discover to your delight how economical they are.

April 14, 2009

The Green Marketing niche grows during recession also

Advertising Age recently carried an article about how green marketing as a niche was saving advertisers and consultants from the overall recession. The green marketing area is a growth zone at the moment and Cincinnati based HSR B2B reported revenues growing by 30% in this zone.

Ogilvy North America has formed a new practice called the Greenery, which is helping clients such as DuPont, IBM Corp. and Motorola Inc. with green marketing initiatives.

“So many of our clients are ready for green,” said Carla Hendra, CEO of Ogilvy North America. “So we designed a total offering around helping clients associate their brand with the mission of being better at environmental management and policy, as well as promoting green products.”

But, Examiner.com’s Lisa Booth says greenwashing is becoming a growing concern: “Some companies are sincere in their efforts and want to make a positive impact by becoming more eco-friendly. However, there are businesses that have figured out that making consumers think they’re doing good can be just as beneficial. This dishonesty is known as “greenwashing.” Greenwashing refers to a marketing technique whereby a company falsely claims to have taken environmentally friendly actions.

The most harmful effect of greenwashing is that it takes away from those who are making difference by feeding growing green consumer cynicism. Eventually all eco-friendly companies might be placed under the same umbrella and our confidence in green maybe undermined”.

I see so many bag manufacturers use the word recycled and recyclable in relation to nonwoven polypropylene bags. This is an example of greenwashing. None of the bags are recycled and while they may be potentially recyclable, almost none are ever recycled in actual fact.

At Norquest we always advise customers looking for a green image to choose from a variety of nature based products we offer – cotton, organic cotton, recycled cotton, and jute. See the range at www.badlani.com/bags

April 3, 2009

Every celebrity endorsement helps the cause of reusable bags

Though it sounds so simple, a lot of people still have to catch on that using a reusable bag really makes a difference to our environment. 

It helps to have any form of publicity that promotes the idea and celebrities endorsing good ecological sense is a very useful step. 

Texas-based grocery store H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (H-E-B) is launching an April ad-campaign featuring Eva Longoria Parker discussing the impact of recycling and using reusable shopping bags. 

It will make so many indifferent people sit up and take notice and will definitely influence many star struck young girls to follow suit. 

In addition, H-E-B stores will be selling Longoria Parker-themed reusable bags at each of its locations, while also collecting plastic bags from customers for recycling. 

Way to go H-E-B, and way to go Eva! 

Lots more businesses could benefit from using reusable bags to promote their brands by showing their ecological concern. See www.badlani.com/bags to see how affordable and economical they can be.

February 3, 2009

Perception IS reality. Good guys DO finish first.

People judge you by what you do, not what you say.

Close your eyes for a moment. Now think of Rolls Royce. Or Mercedes, or Nike, or Toyota.

Each of these names evokes very clear thoughts, feelings, and images. They all have a strong corporate identity, or brand, associated with their name, and it is no accident. These companies have spent a lot of money getting you to conjure up specific images and feelings when you think about their business.

So the idea of creating a brand for your business is really quite important. While it might seem that creating a brand is beyond your reach, that branding is a concept for the “Big Boys,” think again. Branding is something you can, and must, do too.

Now think of your favorite hairdresser, or restaurant. Chances are that the images are equally clear. That’s what makes them your favorites. They know what they are all about and have taken the trouble to make sure that you share the same perception.

What this proves is that you don’t have to be a big multinational to build a successful brand.

Here’s why: Boiled down to its basics, a brand is the essence of what makes your business unique. It combines your name, logo, and purpose into an identifiable whole. Are you the friendly lawyer, the holistic market, the geeky computer consultant, or what? Without a brand, you may find that instead of being all things to all people, you are nothing to no one. A brand is a hook to hang your hat on, so that people remember you, which is probably more important to a small business than anyone else.

You begin to create a brand by carefully thinking about what your business is, what makes it unique, who your customers are, and what it is they want. Deciding upon a brand is vital because many other decisions will hinge on this one. Your name, logo, slogan, even the location you choose and your pricing structure depend on the brand you are trying to create. A discount motorcycle warehouse will put things together far differently than a Harley showroom.

You want to create a consistent theme through your ads, pricing, logo, etc. which reinforces the image you intend to create.

But branding goes even beyond that. Since your brand is based both on how you want to be perceived, and how you are in fact perceived, it follows that the other half of brand building is creating positive perceptions based on substance as well as style. How?

1. Discover what you do best and do it, again, and again, and again: A brand is a promise which essentially boils down to: ‘If you buy from us, and you know what you will be getting’ e.g., Volvos are safe or Atkins helps you lose weight. The key is consistency.

2. Offer superior customer service: All your hard work creating that cool brand will be a waste of time and money if it isn’t reinforced by happy customers. Customers should find it easy to work with you or buy from you.

3. Be a good guy: If your business practices good ethics, your brand grows. While good looks may get you a date, being a good guy will get you a mate. Pay invoices on time. Do more than asked of you. Do things when not asked. Help out in the community. That also builds your brand.

Remember, the two keys to establishing a strong brand are developing a specific identity, and then communicating that identity consistently. Do that, and your small business will have a hook that is memorable.

In today’s world when plastics are now perceived universally as being harmful, using a reusable cotton or a canvas bag to promote your brand immediately positions you as being a good company that cares about its environment.

Wouldn’t that be expensive? Stop by at www.badlani.com/bags and see how economical they can be.

Remember that bags have been proven to be the best bang for your promotional buck. Read this research to know what great value they can deliver.

January 31, 2009

Research proves that promo bags give you the best bang for your advertsing buck!

According to a new research study conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), among businesspeople over age 21, revealed that advertising specialties beat out all forms of TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available. The average cost-per-impression of an advertising specialty item is $0.004, making it less expensive per impression than nearly any other media. According to Nielsen Media data, says the report, the CPI for a national magazine ad is $0.033; a newspaper ad is $0.0129; a prime time TV ad is $0.019; a cable TV ad is $0.007; a syndicated TV ad is $0.006; and a spot radio ad is $0.005.

Among key findings, results indicate that:

* 84% of people remember the advertiser on a product they receive

* 42% have a more favorable impression of an advertiser after receiving an advertising specialty

* 24% indicate that they are more likely to do business with an advertiser on items they receive

* 62% of respondents have done business with the advertiser on a product after receiving it

81% of all promotional products were kept because they were considered useful. Guess what’s considered most useful? Bags, of course!

Reason For Keeping Ad Specialty Item (% of Respondents, Multiple Response OK)
Ad Specialty Useful Attractive Information Reference Other
Bags

91%

34%

0%

20%

Writing instruments

91

12

5

18

Wearables

89

39

0

17

Glasswear/ceramics

86

26

6

24

Desk/office/business accessories

83

14

3

16

Calendars

77

31

6

16

Caps

76

37

1

32

Shirts

74

39

1

33

Recognition jewelry

31

38

0

54

Recognition awards

23

15

0

69

Source: Advertising Specialty Institute, January 2009

Additional findings included:

  • More than three-quarters of respondents have had their items for about seven months
  • Bags were reported to be used most frequently, with respondents indicating that they use their bags on average nine times per month
  • Bags deliver the most impressions, with 1,038 impressions per month on average
Number of Impressions Per Month
Ad Specialty Item Impressions/Month
Bags

1083

Caps

476

Shirts

365

Writing instruments

363

Desk/office/business accessories

294

Glassware/ceramics

251

Calendars

227

Recognition awards

221

Other wearables

64

Source: Advertising Specialty Institute, January 2009

Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of the Advertising Specialty Institute, concludes that “…  this research advises marketers and business owners to invest in advertising specialties now more than ever… Ad specialties provide measurable results for a… reasonable investment… (and) are gifts that break through the information clutter, reach consumers on a personal level, and provide real impact in a creative way.”

And now, the best news: Come to www.badlani.com/bags and surprise yourself with how affordable these attractive bags can be! And as a bonus, earn extra goodwill as our bags will position you as being environmentally sensitive!!!

January 20, 2009

Want consumer loyalty? Give your customers a canvas bag

Stanford marketing Professor Baba Shiv who was declared the Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow for 2008-2009, conducts research into consumer decision making processes.

Guess what his research established: According to surveys done by his graduate students, many shoppers say they are less likely to carry a retailer’s branded reusable bag into a competing store. “What these bags are doing is increasing loyalty to the store,” he says.

I just read this at an interesting blog called Murketing (the Journal of), who is focused on the concept of unconsumption, which is what you do with products once you’re through using them. Much like the blog I earlier wrote on the cradle to cradle concept, where once you’re through with a product, it should become raw material for another product, not have to be thrown away.

Every time your customer leaves his house carrying your canvas bag, he’s acting as a walking billboard for you, as a walking testimonial that he agrees with your intelligent decision to give away a reusable cloth bag and save your city’s environment from plastic bags.

January 13, 2009

Secret revealed: How to conquer the world

Can’t do it overnight, you’ve gotta work at it, one bag at a time, one customer at a time, but it pays off and pays off handsomely.

Not only does it earn you money and all the goodies that money can buy but it also gives you the satisfaction of being good human beings, able to earn the liking and respect of other human beings.

The formula is simple, you’ve got to love what you do and the folks you do it for. If this seems like effort, you’re in the wrong game. Do yourself a favour and switch to doing something you enjoy and love.

This isn’t about CSR. CSR is reactive, while to do this you have to be proactive. CSR is mechanised, while this is about love, for which there is no software available except all the software humans are blessed with, mainly the ability to love.

We practice this every day and get much joy from it and love it when a customer writes in tells us that they could feel it too.

Thanks Natalia, for reminding us again today what we stand for.

And thanks again, Kaajal and Arjun and Disha for communicating this love to our customers, and thanks again Sanjiv and Alpesh and Jayendra and all the other folks at the factory and the office for making sure our customers get the products they like and that our logistics team get them to the customers bang on time.

Here’s what Natalia wrote when she sent in her picture from Italy:

Dear Kajaal,

Here you have a picture of me holding the bag and a picture of the bag in itself.
and here our comment:

The bags looks very nice and the quality is good as well!! Thank you so much for the good collaboration.

Best wishes, Natalia

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