May 3, 2015

Promotional Products Speak for Brands

Submitted by Kelly Glass

Last summer, business blogger Andy Johnston dared to make a pretty shocking recommendation regarding promotional items for SMBs. In The Event Manager, he said that just handing out promotional items without a strategy isn’t a great move.
“Just giving people . . . office supplies is a wasted opportunity,” Johnston wrote. This goes for trade shows, client visits or any other event.
A Branded Jacket is Just One of Several Promotional Product Suggestions Provided

Now that doesn’t mean that your next move needs to be something grandiose like a multi-million dollar think tank study on how to improve your marketing. But it does pay to think about who your business serves and how promotional products can represent your brand.
This conversation around branding and SMBs isn’t exactly new. Forbes addressed branding for small business in one of its popular blogs called Money Wise Women in an article titled “How Important is Small Business Branding Really?” Along with advocating for smart day-one tasks like picking a meaningful name for your business, author Jessica Bosari, wrote that SMBs must develop their voice and use it.
Essentially your brand is your voice. As such, it is important to consider the items that you give away as well as how they look. If your specialty advertising items — and the containers or bags that hold them — look boring, or are plagued by careless design, then your brand gets lost in the shuffle. So too does the impact of your marketing.
Likewise it is not only important to catch the professional’s eye, but to have elements within your brand that set a good impression and get remembered. Here are a few suggestions on promo products.
Tech Toys and Fun Stuff
As high technology becomes more and more a part of our everyday, tech-related promotional items have become some of the best and most favored choices for specialty advertising items for anyone interested in really pushing their brand. Inherently, too, it seems that tech items imply innovation.
According to sources like the Upstart Business Journal, accessories like earbuds — which are used today by everyone from music lovers to on-the-go execs driving during a conference call — have become a leading choice for marketers. Also popular are logoed iPhone and Android phone covers as a useful and protective option for today’s $500+ smartphones.
As for desktop items, Bloomberg says that mini-car replicas at the auto shows were almost as popular as the real cars that guests pay admission to see. Even if your company is not an auto maker, consider something similar that is a fun grab for little ones, or that makes a coveted desk trophy.
Wearables and Seasonal Items
Since windbreakers and outer jackets are popular in the spring and fall months, they enable company logos to be seen by many more people than those who wear them. And whether someone is a runner or just a spectator, caps keep the sun out of your eyes and act as mobile billboard, exposing a brand and logo wherever they go.
However, consider geographic location. Don’t hand a prospective customer a logoed fleece or winter hat in Miami or Albuquerque. They might ask you, “What’s do I do with this?”
Not everyone you encounter in business is a sports fan. But even people who don’t keep up on daily scores enjoy sports-related items. Just like wearables, classic items like Frisbees or branded balls get collected and used for fun too.
Some might argue that big time sports have taken SMBs’ lead on using promotional products. According to Sports Business Daily, Major League Baseball clubs gave fans nearly 2.6 million bobble-heads in 2013 on game days alone.
Additionally, promo items like insulated lunch bags, water bottles and sunglasses make up the everyday giveaways that businesses and non-profits like Autism Awareness are putting in peoples’ hands. A quick look at the Chicago Cubs’ promo schedule gives us a glimpse how diverse marketing with promo products has become.
Also, as we mentioned in the Idea Customs Solutions blog back in February, golf items such as tees and carry bags are wildly popular with businesses who aim to promote their brands with items people love.
Just Everyday Use
Toys, sports and tech things may be the most fun pieces, but don’t forget useful everyday classics. Pens and mini-staplers may not be your lead item in grabbing attention but — as something people use daily — they can act as a constant reminder of your company’s brand. Still, aim to differentiate with good choice in color and design. A timeless item like coffee mug will be a keeper if it comes in eye-catching color and with quality visuals.
Ultimately, you should use your own common sense as a consumer. Think about what you pick up, what you would use and what you would keep.
Idea Custom Solution can partner with you to help match customers’ needs with the best in graphic production. Look to us for fast embroidery digitizing and vector artwork to help your customers advance their brands through promotional items. On top of that, our image editing,  virtual samples and marketing materials can make proposing your ideas easier and give your business extra polish.


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