THE BRANDING OF AN INDUSTRY
Adding to its expanding portfolio of branded
products, this month, Leed’s became the exclusive supplier of Zippo brand products to the promotional products industry—making Zippo its 15th such retail-brand relationship since 2003. Through Leed’s,
distributors will have access to Zippo’s line of multipurpose lighters, its classic windproof lighters as well as non-flame products spanning a variety of categories.
Supplier credibility aside, Brown said the popularity of branded products allows the industry to innovate differently. “Historically, the industry has either designed on its own or taken inspiration from different places,” he explained. “What we’re really doing here is taking proven entities and bringing them into a new channel, which can garner new users, applications
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The partnership between Leed’s and Zippo, Bradford, Pa., resulted from a
common business relationship with Polyconcept North America, the parent
company of Leed’s and Zippo’s longtime joint venture partner in the European
Bill Galey, national sales manager for the promotional products division of Zippo—renowned for its products sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and other fine retail stores—noted the end of a long and
successful stint in the promotional products industry. “Over the past five years, we’d made a decision to close our promotional products division because we weren’t seeing the growth, sales and profits we
wanted,” he explained. He added the partnership with Leed’s allowed both
companies to maximize their strengths—Zippo’s being the designing and manufacturing of flame products and the strong marketing arm of Leed's, not to mention the company's reputation in the promotional products industry. “Everybody … looked at their own expertise and … we felt that this is the direction that we should take,” Galey said.
MAKE THE CONNECTION
According to Brown, in order for any business partnership to work, there must be a certain level of chemistry between the companies involved. He offered a three-step process Leed’s uses for each prospect: “First, there must be a strategic fit in terms of the categories that we are currently offering,” he said. Secondly, Brown stated the partnership must offer clear expansion opportunities. And finally, he said, both companies must have a thorough understanding of each other’s business needs. “[We consider] if they understand our industry and [if] we understand them,” Brown said.