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ByLeo Victor

Why Use Promotional Products For Brand Awareness

Whether you’re a massive corporation or a small local business just starting out, growing your brand is a key part of a successful company. Of course, traditional advertising plays a big role in raising awareness. But have you considered using promotional products as a more interactive marketing technique?

Unlike stuffy broadcast ads, promotional products offer a hands-on experience that recipients tend to appreciate. Who doesn’t like freebies, after all? When chosen right, they can truly leave a lasting impression. If you do it right, using promotional products can significantly boost your brand recognition in a consumer-friendly way. 

Are you curious how this might work for you? Dig in as we explore why you should leverage promotional goods in your marketing strategy and how to get started. 

What Are Promotional Products?

You’ve likely seen or received them before – those pens, water bottles, or bags decorated with a company’s logo. But have you ever thought about what exactly promotional products are and how they work? Simply put, promotional items are tangible, branded merchandise and goods businesses use to advertise and market themselves.

Anything from the humble ballpoint pen to a tech gadget like a portable charger can qualify as a promotional product when customized with your company’s name or graphics. Essentially, a promotional product takes any everyday item people use and transforms it into a walking billboard for your brand. It gets your message directly into the hands and homes of potential customers in a hands-on, interactive way.

Whether you choose consumable promos like snacks or drinks or durable items like apparel or bags that can be reused long-term, the goal is the same. You want your promotional products to get maximum exposure by remaining visible and in use long after the initial distribution. That daily reminder of your brand makes the key difference compared to more transient traditional ads.

The Power of Brand Awareness

In this age we live in, consumers have more choices than ever before. With so many companies vying for people’s attention, standing out from the crowd has never been more important. That’s why developing brand awareness is very important.

Awareness is the first crucial step toward a customer engaging with your business. If they don’t even know your brand exists, you have no chance of earning their business in the first place. However, just being a name people recognize isn’t enough on its own. You need to cultivate positive associations that people recall, too.

This is where promotional products come in so handy. By distributing tastefully branded merch and gifts, you’re consistently exposing new audiences to your company logo over extended periods. Thanks to the daily use of items like pens, water bottles, or bags, your brand gets hundreds or thousands of impressions organically. 

While awareness may be challenging to track initially, its power on conversion rates and loyalty cannot be overstated. It lays the groundwork that future marketing campaigns can then build upon for exponential growth. 

People Remember Promotional Items

Why Use Promotional Products for Brand Awareness

No meaningful marketing can occur without first establishing awareness of your brand. So, let’s explore several reasons why using promotional items can serve as a powerful tool for raising awareness levels.

Promotional Products Get Your Brand in Front of New Potential Customers

A significant advantage of using promotional items is the sheer reach they provide. Whenever you distribute branded merch or gifts, those items act as mobile advertisements wherever they go. This means any customer who receives a giveaway from you literally carries your name with them from that point onward.

Now consider all the different scenarios where someone might encounter that promotion on the move. A colleague at work notices their coworker’s branded water bottle on their desk. A family member wears a hat with your company logo on an outing to the park. A client brings your USB drive along to an industry event. In each case, your promo just exposed your brand to a whole new set of eyes through that passive interaction.

Low Cost Compared to Other Marketing Methods

One of the biggest promises of promotional merchandise is that you get a high return on ad exposure for relatively little spent. Traditional advertising mediums like TV, radio, print, and billboards carry massive production and airtime fees. And that’s before even knowing your ROI. 

Meanwhile, a basic promo like a pen or USB drive may cost just a dollar or two to customize with your info. You then distribute these items once for promotional purposes at little to no additional cost. 

But it’s what happens next that really sets promos apart. These giveaways continue working on your behalf virtually free of charge. If you multiply this across hundreds or thousands of units in circulation, it gives you a substantial advertising equivalent.

Customers Keep and Use Promotional Products

One mistake some businesses make is choosing promotional items that don’t serve an actual usefulness. So they end up collecting dust in the back of a drawer, and that doesn’t do much for your brand over time. However, the marketing magic happens when you take the time to select promotional products that solve real problems or improve daily routines.

Think about it. How often do you use your wallet, water bottle, or laptop case daily? Probably a lot. The same goes for everyday carry objects like pens, USB drives, or notepads. These items have practical functions that can be incorporated seamlessly into habits, giving them high keep rates. 

Your recipients also quickly realize their value and start permanently featuring your logo as part of their lifestyle wherever they go. And once assimilated, people don’t easily ditch a promotional object that became a habit unless it wears out.

Positive Brand Associations and Impressions

While raw branding exposure through promotional items is invaluable, their other magic lies in the type of connections they help forge. Positive experiences and sentiment are what keep customers loyal for the long haul. And promotional products have a unique power to generate goodwill towards giving brands.

When someone receives a gift like a useful pen, water bottle, or notebook from your company, it leaves a naturally pleasant impression. Appreciating such a thoughtful freebie conditions that person’s brain to connect happy, uplifting feelings to your company name from that point forward.

Every time they reach for that promotional item after, whether it’s a mug in the morning or a stress ball at their desk, your logo gets reinforced in a positive, almost subconscious way, without coming across as an overt ad. It then cultivates a fondness and affinity for your brand over weeks and months.

Boosts Brand Loyalty and Recall

Any awareness or impressions are meaningless unless they translate to actual loyalty and lasting preference for your brand. Once recipients become accustomed to reaching for a branded water bottle, pen, or bag daily, something interesting happens neurologically. Due to the continuous exposure and use of your promotional item over weeks or months, your brand details become strongly embedded in their long-term memory. 

This strengthened familiarity often nudges people towards your brand when shopping. Once they recognize a name, customers become more inclined to consider that option first. And the more reliably they formed a rapport with your company previously, the greater the customer loyalty dividend.

Wide Variety of Product Types for Any Budget or Audience

When choosing a promotional product, the options can seem overwhelming, given how much variety exists nowadays. But this abundance is actually one of the biggest benefits, as it allows for precise targeting.

Whether your budget is large or small, there are promotional items for nearly any demographic. Do you need economical options? Basic giveaways like pens, sticky notes, or USB drives start around a dollar. Have more to work with? Cooler items like duffel bags, portable chargers, or clothing enter the mid-range. And high-end luxury promos involve tech, leather accessories, or personalized gifts.

You can even pair low-cost bulk promotional items like stress balls with premium branded swag bags as a bundle. This allows you to stretch your budget further to target various audiences simultaneously.

Camping Promotional Items

Getting Started With the Right Promotional Products

Now that we’ve explored the diverse benefits promotional merchandise can offer, it’s time to dig into choosing items the right way. In this section, we’ll cover important factors to weigh when starting your promotional product campaign.

Know Your Audience

One of the most important steps in promotional marketing is having a clear understanding of who you’re trying to reach. A product perfectly suited for one demographic could completely miss the mark with another. Take the time to define your target audience in detail.

Consider traits like age, gender, profession, interests, and location. Are they busy executives always on the go or eco-conscious families? Do thorough research into their typical tasks, needs, and pain points throughout a regular day. If you can find the intersection between a recipient’s lifestyle and the functionality of your promotional item, then you’ve struck gold.

Determine Your Marketing Goals

Before rushing out to buy anything branded, you need a solid idea of what outcomes you ultimately want to achieve. Are you aiming for more awareness? Lead generation? Sales increases? Loyalty building? Your goals should inform what products make the most sense.

Some products better facilitate sharing on social channels, thus expanding reach. Others improve recall when customers hit their purchase points. Consider common grounds where promos can directly aid your goals, as opposed to indirect branding alone. With an idea of your desired conversions or behaviors, you can carefully search for products that facilitate those goals. 

Consider Your Budget

When planning your promotional products campaign, it’s important to consider your budget. Take a realistic look at how much you can spend on the promo items versus other marketing efforts.

Do some initial research on pricing so you understand your options. Also, look at premium customized items alongside cheaper generic basics. You may be able to bundle different price levels to make them more appealing.

You can check if suppliers offer volume discounts for bigger orders. Putting together packs with a variety of products, like coasters and USB drives, is one way to benefit from discounts. Plus, consider the long-term costs like possible replacements down the road. Cheap items may seem safe initially but could undermine their retention if they break quickly.

Product Longevity and Usage

One key factor to consider when selecting promotional products is to reflect on how long the item will actually get used. After all, you want recipients to enjoy and engage with your brand gift for as long as possible. 

You have to ensure anything you pick is durable enough to withstand repeated use for weeks or months. Nothing frustrates people more than a promo item breaking after just a few uses. That wastes your marketing dollars. 

Also, evaluate how regularly the product might be incorporated into someone’s routine. The more often it gets handled or seen daily, the more advertising bang you get for your buck. For example, a reusable water bottle is a great choice because most people need hydration daily.

Custom Drinkware Kept 12 Months

Popular Item Categories

If you’re new to choosing promo items, it can help to look at categories that tend to work well across different industries and audiences. These “evergreen” types reliably deliver branding impacts that are worthwhile. For example, writing instruments like pens are an eternal classic for a reason. People reach for them multiple times daily. From basic to high-tech styles, pens suit any event or gifting need.

Portable electronic accessories also rank among the most widely applicable. People regularly use phone chargers,  headphones, and USB drives at their desks or on the go. You can also go for drinkware, as it can promote continual branding as people stay hydrated. Durable water bottles or insulated tumblers fit various professional and lifestyle niches, too.

Customization Options

These days, there are countless possibilities for putting your unique brand stamp on promo items. And creativity can go a long way to spark recipients’ excitement levels. Something as simple as imprinting your logo on standard merch allows for personalization. For instance, imprinting custom shapes or patterns besides the regular logo on gear like bags or apparel gifts gives it added allure. 

You should also note that there are different styles to suit various markets. Customizing your messages can enhance your items’ relevance by tailoring what the imprints read. These tailored texts can be done to welcome new customers or thank loyal clients.

Measuring Success

Like any good marketing campaign, it’s crucial to have a plan to evaluate how well your promo product efforts perform. After all, you want to demonstrate real value and ROI and refine your approach for next time. 

Start by defining clear metrics tied to your original objectives, such as increased site traffic, sales conversions, or event attendance. Make sure they’re quantifiable. For awareness goals, you can carry out surveys on brand recognition or promotional product spottings. You can also tie your promotional items to discount codes and then analyze redemption.

Put Your Brand Front and Center with Promotional Products

When it comes to getting your brand top of mind, promotional items are one of the most effective ways to do it. By giving out useful day-to-day items or personalized gifts, people will be reminded of your business wherever they go. But you must take the time to truly understand your audience, craft clear goals, and present promos that fit naturally into people’s lives. Long-lasting, high-quality pieces strengthen the bonds between your brand and customers over months and years of reliable usage.

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