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Promotional products have really stood the test of time in the marketing world. You know them: they are those branded gifts that have your company’s name and or logo on them. They are one of the oldest forms of marketing, advertising, and branding. However; they are still effective marketing tools even in today’s digital marketing world. The strategy for making promotional gifts an effective part of your marketing arsenal has three keys. You may think of promotional products as something that is only used at trade shows or conventions, but they can be effective tools for branding and promotion anywhere and anytime.

Research Shows the Positive Impact of Promotional Products for Businesses

There is an entire organisation dedicated to the promotional products industry. It is called the British Promotional Merchandise Association. They periodically survey recipients of promotional merchandise to evaluate their effectiveness and see what works best. They publish this research to help companies understand the power of promotional products as part of their advertising and marketing mix. Here are 5 reasons based on their research and surveys why you should at least try out a promotional product campaign in the near future.

  1. Promotional products are less expensive, yet more effective for brand recollection than other types of advertising, including: print, radio, and television.
  2. 79% of promotional product recipients are likely to do business with that company.
  3. 66% of recipients could remember the name of the company or brand that had given them a promotional product.
  4. 60.1% of promotional product recipients feel a positive reaction to this type of advertising. That is almost double all other mediums combined.
  5. 34.3% of promotional product recipients agree that they have a favorable impression of the advertiser.

The 3 Keys for Effective Promotional Products

Sure, everyone likes getting free promotional gifts, but certain branded merchandise works better than choosing a generic type of promotional gift. Of course, general promotional products are often most popular. Pens, notepads, USB drives, reusable bags, etc. are popular and they are often kept for a long period of time. However, as far as the best way to ensure the most success with branding and making a memorable impact, these are the three keys to go by when choosing a promotional product.

  1. Useful to the recipient
  2. Relevant to your brand
  3. Must represent your company well

Here is a breakdown with more information on each of our three “rules” for choosing effective promotional products.

Useful Promotional Products

In order to be able to be effective in advertising your company or your brand, a promotional product must be useful to the recipient. By useful, we mean something that they will hold onto and continue to use on a regular basis. The research from the British Promotional Merchandise Association has shown that useful promotional products can be kept for anywhere from one to three years on average, and that keeps your logo and company name top of mind for a very long time. When products are kept for a long time, there is a good chance that other colleagues, friends, and acquaintances might see the product and some transference can occur. On the other hand, not all promotional products have to be kept for a long time to be effective.

Promotional Gifts Should be Relevant to Your Brand

Whether it is an inexpensive pen or a more expensive item, the risk is the same. Just because you spend more on promotional merchandise doesn’t mean it will be effective. Plenty of inexpensive pens make it to a recipient’s desk and are used often; however, does it remind them of your company? That is the key point here. The item should be relevant to your brand in some way. This will help them remember your company when it comes time to buy your products or services. Here are six examples of relevant promotional products to give you some ideas of what we mean:

  1. Branded hand sanitizer from a doctor or hospital.
  2. Sunscreen with your logo on it for a dermatologist.
  3. Recycled or reusable promotional products for an environmentally conscious company.
  4. Branded roadside assistance kits for car insurance companies.
  5. Promotional drinkware or aprons for a restaurant or food company.
  6. Branded pet products if you are a veterinarian, groomer, or a dog trainer.

Promotional Products and Gifts Must Represent your Company Well

It makes sense, but this is a key step for promotional products. Oftentimes companies will chose the least expensive item to cut costs; however, if something is poorly made or doesn’t function the way it is anticipated, it can do more damage to your company’s brand than good. Even though this is a free gift, in general recipients will become disheartened or upset if their received something that doesn’t work right and is obviously cheaply made. This is why it is important that your promotional gifts represent your company well. Not only should they be useful and relevant to your brand, but the branded merchandise should be of good quality too.

Summary and Takeaways for Your Company

Choosing to use promotional products to advertise your business is a great way to promote your company. In order to be more effective with this choice of advertising, follow our three keys to success for efficient branding when using promotional products. The three rules for branded merchandise are that the product should (1) be useful to the recipient, (2) be relevant to your company or brand, and (3) must represent your company well. When promotional products meet these criteria, they can often be kept for a long time, can positively influence recipients’ impression on your company, and make them more likely to to do business with you.


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Richard Larson

About Richard Larson

Richard Larson is Brand Manager for GoPromotional.co.uk, leading supplier of promotional gifts in the UK. He enjoys sharing business and marketing tips, both online and offline.

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