The fact is there are a lot of terrible promotional products you can buy. Something like 900,000 products can be imprinted with your company’s brand, but how many would you really feel comfortable putting you logo on? What about a custom whoopee cushion or a stress brain?
What makes a good promotional product? Does cost factor into your decision on what to buy? Usefulness, size or quality? And if your hope is for the end-user to actually keep the product and use it, how does that play into what you ultimately choose? There are many reasons for buying a particular product and from my 25 years in this business, here are the four I see most often.
Useful & Practical: Statistics show people will keep and use a promotional item they receive if they find it useful. Are pens useful/practical? Sure they are, but who needs another pen? Finding a product that ties in with your brand and is useful may take some time, but is well worth the search. I believe it’s better to spend more per item and buy fewer than to have a bunch of cheap items that no one wants. That’s not to say there aren’t inexpensive items that are useful so put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and ask, “Is this something I would keep and use?”
Unique: The best way to ensure someone keeps your product is to combine #1 and #2. Useful and unique is a surefire way to spread your brand’s message via a promotional product. I found this Silicone smartphone holder recently and absolutely love it. How many times have you had to plug your phone in and leave it on the ground or if the cord is too short it has to hang there and you hope it doesn’t fall? For less than $2.00 you can give a product that most everyone can use and is still unique enough for people to say “wow, that’s cool.”
Tie-ins: I work with a lot of clients to find products that will tie in with a theme, a branding campaign or a contest. The College of Business at a university client wanted something to give to students during finals week to help, even in a small way, reduce their stress. They chose a stress brain in their school color (orange) with a clever tagline that was an instant hit. Another university hosting a 75th Gone With the Wind exhibit reproduced old telegrams they owned from the stars of the movie on reusable cups that were given out on the opening night of the event. Here’s a link to more case histories that might give you some ideas for your next project.
- Quirky: Remember whoopee cushions, the things you fill with air and when someone sits on them they sound
like a fart? Shrek the Musical created a custom whoopee cushion in green with two “ears” that tied in perfectly with the fact Shrek likes to fart. Or the tote bag for a nail-biting medicine printed full color with a face and when you put your fingers through the hand hole, it looks like a mouth is biting your nails. Quirky gets attention and a custom quirky promotional product can bring your brand long-term exposure.
Promotional products help cut through the clutter of traditional advertising and studies show people like receiving them. Traditional advertising like TV or radio ads, billboards, magazines, newspapers and even digital advertising are here and gone. But a useful, well thought out promotional product can keep your message and brand in front of customers and prospects for months on end. And what could tie in better with today’s hottest fad than a selfie-taker, a device that holds your smartphone and allows you to be self-indulgent all day long. Say cheese!