Do you want to get your brand name and logo out into the wild? If so, promotional products are your golden ticket. Why? Because according to ASI, promotional products are the most effective use for your marketing dollars. In other words, it's the holy grail of marketing opportunities.
But not all swag is created equal. If you aren’t careful, prospective customers might remember your company for all the wrong reasons.
The Power of Promotional Products
California marketing and communications consultant Gretchen Barry still has the most interesting piece of swag she ever received. It's sitting on her desk and she's gotten plenty of laughs about the branded promotional product.
"A small square box was delivered to my office one day. It was from a company that creates promotional material, so I figured it was a sample of some kind.
As I flipped the lid open, there was a small card at the top concealing the contents inside. The card read, 'We can help you get your foot in the door.'
I removed the layer of packing paper and inside was what looked like a baby's severed foot."
Barry never did business with the company, but she never forgot the box with the "baby's foot.”
So, how do you pick merchandise that aligns with your brand? Look for items that reflect its values and make an impact on your audience. Here are five valuable tips to get you on the right path.
What Does "Swag" Mean, Exactly?
Before we get into these helpful tips, let's clarify the term "swag." Swag is a common slang term for promotional giveaways, products and merchandise. No doubt you've also heard the term "merch" – short for merchandise. Whatever you call it, it's essential to choose excellent swag to represent your brand.
Five Tips For Choosing Crave-worthy Swag
1. Be Guided By Your Brand Values
Your promotional products are a physical extension of your brand, so your brand values are excellent inspiration for your promotional giveaway purchases.
Let's say your business values sustainability. In that case, you wouldn't want to pass out single-use plastic or anything the recipients are likely to throw away. Unfortunately, swag can end up in the landfill if you don't choose products people want to keep.
Apparel like branded socks, hats and backpacks are excellent options. So are reusable flatware and seed packets.
In other words, be thoughtful with your choices and try to pick items that your audience would want or that will biodegrade if they toss them out.
2. Avoid Low-quality Products
Let's face it; marketing can be expensive. And if you're a stressed-out CEO with no time or have a tight marketing budget, it can be tempting to choose a cheap trinket to get your name out there. But cheap swag can diminish your brand's value in the eyes of potential customers.
Choosing quality items doesn't mean you have to give out thousands of pairs of branded Air Jordans. Choose the highest quality version you can afford that reflects your brand well.
3. Be Unique
Being original can be challenging in a highly competitive marketplace. It does require effort to think outside the box. Sometimes, it seems like no matter what brilliant idea you conjure, someone else is already doing it.
Fortunately, there's memorable merchandise available that you rarely see. Contactless door openers are just the thing for pandemic-wary consumers who want to open doors without sharing germs.
Portable UV light sanitizers are another product that’s right for our times. Seed paper has been incorporated into everything from matchbooks to greeting cards. Ask your promo merchandise partner for ideas; they are guaranteed to have suggestions that make you smile.
4. Give Merch Your Clients Want
To choose promotional merchandise that people adore may seem obvious. Still, a surprising number of companies fail to think creatively about their promotional marketing campaigns.
On the other hand, if you deliver a branded piece of swag potential customers want and will use, you'll get more bang for your marketing buck.
So, what's the best way to discover your audience's wants and needs? Do a little research or send out a survey.
For example, ASI's 2020 Ad Impressions study showed that 46% of consumers have a more favorable opinion of a brand that hands out environmentally-friendly promotional products. That means people want products that can help save the planet.
Also, recipients keep and wear branded apparel for approximately 14 months. That means your brand is getting more than a year of exposure. Since people keep branded apparel for so long, it's an obvious indicator that it's an item they want.
5. Promotional Gifts for Parents and Pet Lovers
Is family one of your top priorities? If so, you’re not alone. Most people are thrilled when brands acknowledge their love of children and pets. And no matter your audience's demographic, it’s highly likely they have one or both. So, give promotional giveaways that your customers can then give to their children or pets.
- For pets, consider branded dog bones or portable water bowls.
- Kids love coloring books and crayons and reusable sippy cups. And there’s the always popular stuffed animal they can cozy up to at night.
If you choose to go the family route, have an alternative promotional product for recipients who are child- and pet-free so they don’t feel left out.
Promotional products are the most highly regarded form of advertising. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, 85% of individuals worldwide remember the business that gave them branded swag.
People are even willing to pay for promotional swag they love. So don't be afraid to purchase high-quality promotional products and offer them for sale. Be sure, however, to do a little research and discover what items will sell well to your audience — that way, your investment pays off.
Remember, swag will create a memorable impression of your brand. Make sure the image your customers take away is positive.