With a headcount of around 40 employees, Effect is not only one of the largest promotional products agencies in Portugal, the company also pursues an unusual strategy. This comprises of subsidiaries in Angola and Mozambique as well as specialising in digital printing, sign making and visual communication as an additional pillar.
In the face of the crisis stories that have been dominating the media coverage from Portugal for some time, the positive pieces of news often took a back seat. Even though there are indeed some success stories in spite of the difficult economic situation. Effect can certainly claim to be one of these: “During the crisis many of the market players, especially small companies, had to file for bankruptcy. Over the past four years, we have experienced a growth rate of 10% every year and are one of the biggest promotional products agencies in the country today,” reported CEO Ricardo Jorge. “A lot of work went into this development, but our broad strategic alignment also contributed significantly towards our growth.”
Effect’s roots date back to the year 2001, however Jorge and his wife and co-shareholder Eugenia Flamino didn’t join the company until 2007. Both of them had gained comprehensive experience in the industry beforehand. “In 2007, we bought 50% of the shares in Effect – at the time the company had four employees,” reported Eugenia Flamino, “then one year later we took over the company completely.”
Whereas at the beginning Effect purely operated as a promotional products agency under the new owners, in 2010 Eugenia Flamino and Jorge expanded the spectrum of services to include visual communication. “By expanding our offer of services, we were able to tap into additional market potential and created a USP compared to pure promotional products agencies,” explained Eugenia Flamino. “Since then, we have been able to offer the companies haptic and visual marketing solutions from one source. This integral approach is also reflected by the subtitle of our company’s name – ‘comunicacao e marketing‘ (communication and marketing).”
A further milestone in the company’s history was the foundation of the subsidiary Effect Angola in the year 2011. In 2013, a further branch was opened in Mozambique. “Effect Angola and Mozambique are autonomous companies with their own invoicing and management,” explained Jorge. “The expansion into Portuguese-speaking Africa helped us enormously during the crisis. In the meantime, Effect Angola turns over the equivalent of around 3 mil. Euros.“
Concepts for famous customers
The Effect group serves renowned companies today, such as the banks Santander and Credito Agricola, the chemical group Repsol and the recycling firm, Sociedade Ponto Verde. In 2014, according to own accounts, the turnover of Effect Portugal was 4.5 mil. Euros. 20 employees work in the sales, marketing, development and design departments, a further 20 people are responsible for the production. The company headquarters in Amadora, near Lisbon, spans approx. 2,000 m2, and comprises of offices, the production plant and warehousing space as well as a spacious showroom, where Effect presents its product portfolio and examples of the fields of application. “We always endeavour to take on a conceptual approach and deliver the customer with an optimal product for his campaign target,” stated Sourcing Manager, Filipa Costa. “This is why we often produce custom-made designs. We work together with manufacturers and importers from all over Europe, and we have excellent networks to the Spanish and Portuguese industry thanks to our Fyvar membership.” Effect’s portfolio also includes a famous retail brand: Namely, the company recently became the exclusive representative of Hugo Boss on the Portuguese and Angolan promotional products market.
In addition to the product development and sourcing, Effect’s design and graphic department also carries out design services and artwork on behalf of the customer. The company disposes of cutting-edge machinery for the customisation of items, including a state-of-the-art glass fibre laser, as well as CO2 lasers, digital, transfer and offset printing. The printing department is at the same time the centrepiece of the second business unit: “In the advertising technology sector, we offer everything that is possible with digital and offset printing as well as laser cutting methods – from flags and roll-ups, to two or three-dimensional signs, through to carpet, window and vehicle decoration,” underlined Eugenia Flamino. A second showroom, the floor, walls and exhibited furniture of which are individualised, demonstrates these competences just as impressively as the intricate decoration of the entire premises with inscriptions and slogans. Plaques and trophies are also produced in Amadora: “We can cut any imaginable shape out of acrylic or Plexiglas using lasers – so the customer receives a 100% individual product even for small volumes at an attractive price,” explained Filipa Costa. Effect has received many awards for its entrepreneurial performances and innovativeness. The company is particularly proud of the double award it received last year, it was namely conferred with the “PME lider” and “PME excelencia” by the IAPMEI (Public Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation), a body that reports to the Portuguese Ministry of Economic Affairs, which supports small and medium-sized companies. A further chapter in the continuing success story.