It’s a question we’ve been asked countless times by lots of different clients. Our answer is always the same, “Well that depends…..”. Yes it depends on budget and how quickly you need the branded merchandise, but most importantly it depends on your brand values and what it is you’re trying to achieve. There are some hard and fast rules that always need to be abided by in our opinion; the item should serve a purpose and not be harmful to the environment. Beyond that, let’s dive deeper into why you want to buy promotional merchandise in the first place.
I want to give out promotional merchandise because everybody else does.
While this attitude may benefit our business, it won’t necessarily benefit yours. We have many companies that come to us saying they just need to give out “something”. This tends to be when they choose something simple or just budget friendly with little thought to anything else. It can be made of plastic, gimmicky and/or single-use. What you choose to give out reflects your brand and it may be what a client remembers you by. Merchandise is an important marketing tool and should never just be an afterthought. If you want something low budget like a pen, make sure it’s one that’s made from recycled materials. Useless items that end up in the bin are bad for the environment, offer little brand awareness and are a waste of your marketing budget.
I want to get people to my stand at an event.
Trade shows were few and far between in 2020 and the first half of 2021 but they are beginning to return and with people craving a bit of face to face time with customers, they’re proving very popular. Promotional merchandise is a staple at trade shows and a great way to attract visitors to your stall. It sounds simple, but choose to brand something people want and need. If you give them something useless like a car sticker, old stress ball or magnet, your gift is unlikely to make an impact and may end up in the bin. A reusable coffee cup or water bottle are products that are useful and more likely to be kept. Even better, they are great for the environment, helping others avoid single-use coffee cups and plastic bottles. However if you really want to stand out, choose something unique and something seasonal. Yes reusable water bottles are great but there may be a few people handing these out which may mean some people pass you by. Got an outdoor summer event? Why not hand out eco-friendly bamboo sunglasses or if the forecast is not looking great, how about upcycled umbrellas? You’ll have them flocking to your stall to save them from getting a soaking!
I want to show them we are a high-end, professional company.
This comes down to the quality of the merchandise chosen and the message it conveys. Higher quality items often have a higher perceived value and therefore increase the perceived value of your brand. Often this can be done with co-branding. If you have a company giving away branded Moleskine notebooks or Parker pens and another giving away plastic pens and spiral bound notepads, the former is going to appear superior. Co-branding clothing can even be worn by your staff.
It is also important that visually the layout of your stand or event reflects this same level of professionalism. Roller banners and branded tablecloths, while effective, are a bit old fashioned. Why not create a less formal area to relax and chat with clients whilst at the same time setting yourself apart from other stands. We can offer branded bean bags or deck chairs to make sure that you still get the brand awareness desired.
I want people to remember our brand.
You can brand something unique or you can brand something that will be used over and over again and offer repeated brand exposure. Here are a couple of examples…
Contact details are often swapped at networking events. Instead of giving someone a business card, why not hand over some branded seed sticks with your company contact details on the back? Especially if you are in hospitality and can choose seeds that have an association with your brand. Mint seeds for a gin company or chilli seeds for a Mexican restaurant chain. It shows you’re environmentally conscious and will help you to be remembered.
A brilliant promotional gift for the modern era. They still have a high perceived value so are more likely to be kept, there are options made from eco materials and they prove useful to the recipient on a daily basis. Best of all, these will be put on their desk or bedside table at home rather than put in a drawer, offering everyday, repeated brand exposure for a long time. You can be sure your brand will always be at the forefront of your clients mind.
If you have an upcoming event or trade show and want to discuss the right promotional items for you to be giving away, get in touch with one of the team members here at Brandelity for some expert advice. Email email@example.com or phone us on 01753 491470.