Robert Moffett (Technical Director, Combilift), Martin McVicar (Managing Director, Combilift), Emer Conlon (Author)
With Combilift’s unique portfolio of forklifts, the company is revolutionising the way businesses handle and store materials, especially long and awkward loads, or when space is limited. Employing more than 600 people in their headquarters in Monaghan and with customers in more than 85 countries, Combilift is a formidable force in the Material Handling Industry. Innovation permeates throughout the company and this has now been extended to capture children’s imaginations at grassroots level.
At first glance, the pairing of a children’s book and one of the largest indigenous companies in Ireland, may not seem like a likely fit. However, when asked about this, Emer explains, “I approached Combilift just over a year ago, with a view to proposing a novel, unique way to communicate with existing and potential customers, as well as being involved in the education of the next generation. The idea was to write a children’s book which
‘cartoon-ises’ the main Combilift products and transforms them into characters that children will love. I wanted to also use it as a marketing tool for the adults and so I used the USPs of the actual forklifts and turned them into the superpowers of the characters! That way both adults and children would get something from the book!” Emer continues, “Martin McVicar (MD of Combilift) really liked the idea – especially the educational aspect for children and as a result of his astuteness, we proceeded with the book and CombiKids was created. So Combilift, is ‘Lifting Innovation’ and now CombiKids is ‘Lifting Imaginations’ “
According to Emer, When writing the book, “The Forklift Trucks and their Secret Superpowers”, it was important to achieve a balance between Combilift branding and creating a story featuring endearing characters that children would fall in love with. The Combilift adventure is a real page turner, filled with drama and excitement. The book also has a couple of ‘baddies’ – these are not Combilift trucks I may add! It is a wonderfully appealing story for children. For further enjoyment, there is a three-page Activity Section at the back of the book which includes something for all age groups. There is a mix of one-off activities (i.e. Join the Dots and a Word Search Puzzle) and activities that can be completed again and again (a Maze, Spot the Difference and a Map of the World). These will add to the engagement and interaction that children will get from the book”.
Martin explains, “We believe it was very important to be involved with the education of the next generation and to that end, we already have a number of programs including, apprenticeships, tours, etc. However, our new CombiKids initiative will involve even younger children with Combilift. The idea is that little ones, would 'buy-into’ the Combilift brand when they are young by creating an association with it – thus encouraging future engineers and lots of other budding talent, as well as motivating children to read. It is a great way to highlight Combilift to a wider community that may not be overly familiar with it”.
The CombiKids book highlights overcoming difficulties, the importance of friendship and that bullying is unacceptable. Needless to remark, the hero is always a Combilift truck who 'saves the day’. Also as the forklift trucks are all different shapes and sizes – there is an element of, no matter what someone looks like or what shape or size they are, it is important to be accepting of others and of differences.
Combilift is a proud member of Guaranteed Irish, and the CombiKids book very much reflects this. Supporting local businesses and the importance of Irish jobs – particularly during Covid19 – is incredibly important to the ethos of Combilift. With that in mind the book is printed by Winters Print, Drogheda, illustrated by Jon McCormack, Kildare and typeset by idesignworx, Monaghan. In addition, Combilift is also very mindful that charities are really suffering during the pandemic in terms of support and donations and has committed to donating ALL proceeds from book sales to the incredibly deserving charity, Make a Wish. To purchase the wonderful CombiKids’ book or for further information on the characters, visit www.Combi-Kids.com