Follow the Leaders
This Member Chat episode was recorded on April 23, 2020.
In this VACEOs CEO Series Chat we meet Todd Mawyer, President of TK Promotions. One of the ways Todd and his team have responded to this crisis is to find ways to help others. His company soon partnered with Trolley House Refreshments to assemble and deliver goody bags to front line health workers at a local hospital. Todd is determined to find the positive and “face the storm like a buffalo.” Listen in as Scot McRoberts, Executive Director of VACEOs, checks in with this CEO.
Well. Hey Scot McRoberts with Virginia Council of CEOs here. I’m back for another CEO chat and today I’m talking with Todd Mawyer. Todd is owner and CEO of TK promotions. Thanks for being with me. Todd. Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us what you do for a living?
Thanks Scot. Appreciate you having me. TK promotions is a promotional products branding firm based in Innsbrook and we are in the reputation business. There are a lot of ways to brand yourselves as a company and we have chosen the promotional products niche as an advertising medium to focus on and really try to focus on helping clients build their brands and their reputations within the marketplace. We have several segments of business. One is the, the government as well as another segment is a higher end market as well as corporate clients that we work with. Both locally and nationally.
Yeah, I’ve seen some of the work you’ve done for JMU, my Alma mater. Always happy to see, see that logo on stuff. And you’ve done some work for Virginia council of CEOs as well. So yeah, I appreciate that. I think it’s pretty critical that you get your brand on a, a lot of stuff and particularly in these days where we’re using a lot of this video and this visual medium I’m going to have to do a better job of getting our logo onto people like you, the CEOs in our community. So I’ll be talking to you about that here. So tough times for most businesses in the marketing space. Is that true?
It’s certainly a tough time. I think in general, certainly in the marketing space as typically marketing is one of the first budgets to be cut when revenue drops. There’s a story I heard recently about how to change how, you know, face different storms and it was basically a cow will run away from a storm and it basically elongates the ability for them to face the storm by running away from it as opposed to a buffalo that runs into a storm. It phases it quicker, but it gets through it faster.
And what we’ve chosen to as a company and what we’ve advised our clients on is facing the storm in a way that, that looks at it, but then it gets through it faster by developing marketing strategies some of which might be digital marketing and different things like that, but some of it might be thinking of your clients in a way and touching them to where they, where they are today and that’s at home and interacting with them through a tangible promotional product.
And so we’ve been educating a lot of clients and having lots of conversations on what that looks like for their specific need. And that’s the kind of the approach that we’ve chosen to do as a company. And invest more in marketing during this time, invest in our clients abilities to do that for themselves.
Well, that’s certainly what we’re doing, that’s facing the storm as the way to go. A lot of our Members I’ve seen them doing some more additional marketing or different kind of marketing or facing new markets. So I think that that’s brilliant. Now one of the things I saw you did was you use your resources, which is the tangible product, promotional product kind of space to provide some support for our healthcare workers. Can you tell me about that project?
Yeah, so I’ve been viewing the critical care employees in the healthcare community just as much as I view soldiers going overseas and being deployed for military service. They’re sacrificing their own lives essentially to care for others.
We work with HCA, which is Chippenham hospital and Johnson Willis Hospital in South side and had thought about how we can provide a positive impact for those on the front lines and devised a goody bag project that we worked with Trolley House Refreshment — Scott Halloran and Cat Carbone at Trolley House — to get a number of their products that they had an inventory some of which might be needed to be moved due to expiration dates and things like that. So we were utilizing some products from them to put in a bag that would give critical care employees, something to kind of keep them moving throughout the day as well as some tangible promotional products. And a thank you message of just a sincere gratitude for their service. And we kitted them all together and took him over there to the hospital and they distributed them to all those folks on the front line and really got some good feedback from them and a lot of appreciation for what we did.
That’s a great thing to do and a great example of just partnering with likeminded business owners. That’s fantastic. Thank you for doing that. Yeah. So life is, is really odd right now. I’m in my living room. You happen to be in your office. Are you working out of your office most of the time or what’s going on?
The first three and a half weeks I spent at home as we watched all this unfold last week I chose to come into the office for a few days and I’ve done that as well this week. Just for a different change of perspective and it’s allowed me to accomplish the same work with the same amount of isolation, but with a brand new hat on. And it’s it’s allowed me to think more creatively. It’s allowed me to have some, probably some extended conversations with, with folks in my quote unquote normal environment at work. And but also balance out with going home. As you can imagine.
You know, working from home is got its own challenges but working at the office when I’m a wife and three kids are at home by themselves also provides its own challenges. So I’ve tried to balance that as best as I know how. And fortunately I have a very strong wife at home that’s been very good with our children.
Awesome. Now how about your staff, your employees? You’re a sales and marketing organization and a lot of what you do is consulting with your clients to help them advance their marketing objectives. What are your people doing? Are they talking to your clients? Are they prospecting or what are they doing?
A lot of what we have been doing the last several weeks Scot, certainly engaging our clients in a new way. Engaging them as human beings and not just engaging them as prospects and clients. And just kind of providing a space that that they can talk openly and just talk with our team about life.
I have had a number of Zoom calls and Microsoft team calls with clients. Just checking in kind of talking about life, their challenges, working from home with kids talking about canceled and or postponed events when they might be happening, if they’re going to be rescheduled. And really just kinda getting a better idea of the landscape of which our clients are faced with now.
Some of them are still unknown. Some of them have become more clear in the last couple of days but really just engaging them and engaging our team. We spend a lot of time devising new marketing strategies internally with, with some accounts. It really tried to clean house as far as clean up the way that we do business, why we do it the way we do and kind of strengthening some of the processes that we’ve been operating under, but making them even more impressive as we go back to market when things turn around and be even better than we work for.
Fantastic. Well, Todd, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I’ve got some takeaways here about, you know, branding yourself and your organization, and particularly, I admire the way you like the Buffalo facing the storm, getting through it faster, probably coming out stronger on the other side. So, good job. Thanks for your time today.
Absolutely. It’s good to be with you, Scot.
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