Case Study 2
New City College was created by the merger of Hackney Community College and Tower Hamlets College in 2016 and with Redbridge College in 2017, making it the largest college in east London.
New City College reflects an organisation that is meeting the changing skills needs of its city and wider region; an outward-facing, proactive and responsive organisation, well-placed to prepare its local communities for the wider skills demands of business and industry.
Importance of promotional merchandise
New City College uses promotional gifts at open days when local pupils are invited to visit the colleges and overseas exhibitions when they are looking to connect with International students.
It’s very important that the merchandise reflects the essence of the college.
Event coordinator, Hilda Nyoni says, “Our open days often coincide with other local colleges and it’s important that the gifts we give our prospective students shout out ‘we are different’ and ‘New City College is an exciting place to learn.”
The products that go inside the high-quality gift bag must be carefully chosen. Hilda says, “All three colleges were graded ‘Good’ by Ofsted in our most recent inspection, and all have a strong reputation for innovation and excellent support for students. The quality and inspiration behind the choice of promotional products must reflect this. It’s a pleasure to see the excitement on the students faces as they receive their gift bag.”
Sourcing promotional gifts
The college must demonstrate they are in touch with their students, so sourcing items that are appropriate for 16 – 18-year olds is key.
New City College source majority of their promotional merchandise through Calver Limited. “Andrew Calver is always on the ball with the latest trends. This helps us source items that are appealing to the students.” says Hilda. “When Fidget Spinners became the must have toy, Andrew suggested these might be a great addition to the gift bag and was able to point us straight to a range of the latest gadgets in their catalogue.”
Before making the final decision on any product the team at Calver arrange samples to be delivered. This allows a small focus group of staff and students to provide their feedback and the marketing department to make informed decisions.
When Calver first started working with Tower Hamlets College in 2013 then Redbridge College a little while after, the gifts were presented in a drawstring bag, which were ‘a bit hit and miss’ with the students. Since the formation of New City College, a high quality executive style gift bag is used. This supports the new branding and is much preferred by the students.
Benefits of working with Calver
Communication between the marketing department and the Calver team is key to the relationship.
“We wanted a little notebook” Hilda remembers, “The one we initially chose wouldn’t have worked with our logo, so Andrew came up with some alternatives, showing us exactly how the final printed item would look.”
Ordering is straightforward. When Hilda places an order, a Calver team member will come back with any questions and give an example of how the printed product will look. Understanding the budget is key and once the best price has been agreed the order is confirmed.
Hilda says, “It’s hugely helpful that the merchandise is delivered to each campus, rather than one delivery to me.”
“We’ve worked with Calver for several years now and we are really happy. We can trust that the correct branding is followed, and the right product is sent to the right college. The whole process is very easy.”
It’s not only the students that are important to New City College, but also the wider community. Relationships with local businesses are important as many students will join them as apprentices or be taken on for internships. GPs regularly refer adults to enrol on ESOL (English as a Second Language) courses.
The student gift bags are a huge success and extremely well received. They are a great way to share New City College’s message. The plan is to create similar high-quality gift bags with thoughtfully chosen promotional items to accompany the corporate brochures and use these to engage with other key stakeholders in the community.
About Calver Limited
Calver was formed in 1995 by Andrew Calver who admits to being a promotional product enthusiast. It’s this enthusiasm that drives the company to offer a superior service and build a solid understanding of their clients’ requirements; New City College being an excellent example.
Andrew Calver says, “We wish for our clients to be delighted with every item that is purchased from us. To ensure this outcome, we endeavour to understand for when and what purpose the promotional products will be used and what the client is aiming to achieve. We can then advise on the best possible products, that also fit within their budget and timescales.”
Andrew Calver – Managing Director, Calver Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 1689 898 828