Usually dismissed as an old-hat marketing technique, are promotional products making a comeback? In the world of ephemeral digital connections, could it be that a tangible product is actually a great way to promote your brand? Let’s look at how you can leverage promotional products as part of your brand strategy in 2016.
The power of the tangible
Behind the resurgence of promotional products is a backlash towards the information overload and relentless brand noise of the digital era. A physical and tangible product that people can touch, see, taste, and smell, has become a beacon in a marketing land of likes, follows and DMs.
Catching people off-guard
Sending business associates or potential clients a nice surprise in the post is guaranteed to peak their interest. The rise of subscription and online shopping means that people are used to receiving little branded packages. Imagine if your promotional parcel could be one of those little packages that people are so happy to see?
Taste of more to come
If you are selling an actual product as well as a service, then reaching out to people with little tasters and samples makes total sense. It’s an easy way to get someone hooked before they’ve even purchased a thing!
Even if you are not strictly able to send a physical taster of what you do, you could send a product that evokes your service. A wedding hairdresser could send a little bottle of hair treatment or a vintage comb, or an accountant could send out some gold coins or a novelty calculator. Gimmicky promotional products might seem tacky, but they do work! Just make sure the overall package and offering is still consistent with your branding.
Providing real value with your products
One way to get people’s attention is to give them a product they are likely to actually use and need, either at home or in the office. Imagine people reaching out in their hour of need and finding your product just there, ready and waiting for them! What about a quality ice-scraper for cold climates, a porcelain travel mug for city-slickers, or a computer screen cleaning kit for tech geeks?
Telling someone’s story with your product
Connecting with people emotionally through a promotional product isn’t as hard as you might first think. A clever way to tell a positive brand story with a product is to send out seeds or small plants to people, inviting them to track their own milestones through the growing plants, whilst you simultaneously share one of yours. An inspirational employee or charity story is also a good basis for a promotional product- people respond much better to real stories. Try to see promotional products as part of your brand story, not outside it.
Conversational piece to open the dialogue
A product you’ve sent out is also a great way to open a dialogue. Maybe it was something a bit quirky, or something that is likely to divide opinions? When doing a follow-up or courtesy call, mention the product and ask what they thought of it. It’s an easy conversation opener.
Promotional products are very useful at large trade show events like exhibitions. They give people an incentive to come to your stand, and picking products up whilst browsing makes people feel less self-conscious. Have the promotional products front and center and within people’s reach.
Promotional product pitfalls
But promotional products aren’t all good; done wrong they can be a waste of money too. Here are some promotional product pitfalls to avoid:
- Inconsistent branding: too many loud colors, or competing messages and products, disrupt brand harmony.
- Cheap tat: focus on quality products that people can actually use, or products with quirky off-beat value.
- Don’t overbuy: approach promotional product buying cautiously.
- Get lots of opinions: test your products and designs out on colleagues and focus groups.
How promotional products are changing
- The quality of promotional materials will increase as people get sick and tired of cheap pens and whistles.
- Businesses will spend more time and money on designing key promotional brand pieces, or then investing in quality products that people actually want.
- People will increasingly choose and customize their own promotional products.
- We will see more cross-brand product campaigns.
Author: Joseph O’Brien is a curious freelance writer who has a strong interest in SME business and marketing. He’s especially interested in branding and productivity. The information credit for this post goes to KN Office.