I was visiting a client’s offices recently, and whilst waiting in reception, I noticed, to my dismay, a competitor’s brand staring back at me. There, neatly positioned on the coffee table, amongst the magazines and flyers, was a little square box, emblazoned with their brand. On a closer look, there was a sign stating that one could charge your phone. The box was a portable USB charger. I looked down at my dwindling battery life and had to steel myself from making use of the very convenient charger.
I was gutted. Besides the meeting going really well, I couldn’t get that damn charger out of my mind, never mind the competitor’s brand.
It got me thinking about how powerful promotional products can be. I had been, for a while, debating over whether to brand some promotional goods, and if I did, what product would I choose. Clearly, I debated too long, at least for that client. Well, I supposed I could come up with something even more innovative. I know that Fancy Inc. has plenty to offer me. This led me to do a little research on promotional goods and I was very surprised to see that the South African market spends over R10 billion on promotional goods per year. That must mean it’s doing its job, right? I mean, why would companies keep buying and branding promotional goods for their clients if it was making no impact, if it wasn’t bringing in revenue? Then I took a closer look at the types of products being branded. This varied from your traditional diaries, although I can’t imagine that being very popular, given the digital world we live in, to office stationery and clothing. The more popular items were digital in fact, being that damn cell phone charger to USB memory sticks. These options are more pricey, but they do seem to make a bigger impression.
Many companies would brand an item that directly represented their industry. A pharmacy opted to brand little test tubes neatly seated in a tray and filled with paper clips, push pins and binder clips. A coffee company chose, of course, to work around coffee, and produced a little box equipped with a portable coffee mug and a sachet of their own instant coffee granules.
Wine companies have a real spread of options, from bottle chillers to bottle openers, and bottle carriers. Always useful and of course, always visible.
Further, history has shown that promotional items have been used for many, many years. The age-old adage, “I give you something – and you give me something back” still stands in business. While one shouldn’t give for the purposes of wanting to receive back, lets face it, we all want something back.
And, if your promotional product is useful, as in the person receiving it can find daily use for it, hopefully whilst engaging with other people, then you have killed so many birds.
Let us go to a worldwide brand, Tupperware. It has been around for over 70 years, and while we all seem to avoid Tupperware parties like the plague, we cannot name one single person, including ourselves, that doesn’t have at least one Tupperware item in their cupboard. And, what do Tupperware ladies always make sure of before you walk out the door, besides ensuring you have signed up for a party? They ensure you walk out with a Tupperware labelled product. Even if it’s a little trinket, such as a mini bowl with a lid, big enough to store your headache pills in; or a tiny spatula, perfect for scraping out those last dregs of peanut butter. A brilliant marketing plan, methinks!
A few key areas to consider when deciding to brand some promotional items:
The item should be relevant to the client, as in, they could make use of it within their business, thereby always having your brand exposed to them. Or, it reminds them of your company as it is an item that they can use regularly. Think of Tupperware’s ingenious way of leaving a useful product with you.
There is nothing more satisfying than having your own name noted on a gift. This won’t work for every industry or even every person in the company, such as the CEO. He may not appreciate his name on a pen, for example. But, let us take a recruitment company, where their files have their name neatly presented alongside their own company logo and yours. As, they see clients often, this will ensure their name is remembered every time.
As with those few examples I gave before, be innovative with your product idea. Perhaps you want to get business from all the gyms in the area, think about this nifty water bottle that allows you to store your phone and other small items, all in one area.
What about supporting the saving of water, as it is a crisis in the Western Cape at present, consider a paper growing plant, such as this one. This would do very well on the receptionist desk or waiting area coffee table. Not a cell phone charger, but it surely will get you noticed.
Branding items that are “throw-awayable” are not ideal, for obvious reasons. Disposable water bottles, paper bags, and any other item that isn’t “keepable” is really just a waste of money. Save plastic. Make sure yours can be used over and over again.
There always is a trendy and funky gadget going around. Get in on the bandwagon and push that trend with your brand alongside it for all its worth. They generally are short-lived, so make the most of it.
Here is a useful infographic outlining some tips on making the most of your promotional gifting: