Company Branding: Traditional vs. Innovative Promo Items

According to a study by L.J. Market Research, 52% of participants who received a promotional item ended up doing business with that company, and the remaining 48% were more likely to do business with that company in the future because of it. Furthermore, Schreber & Associates found that 39% of those who received a promotional item in the last 6 months could remember the name of the company that gave it to them.

Branded promotional products can help your business to gain new customers, showcase your product and services, and engage customers in your brand. These products can range from traditional – pens, notepads, and t-shirts – to the wildly out there and innovative.

Traditional and non-traditional products each have their own advantages and disadvantages; be sure the type that you choose is the one most likely to create a positive impression of your business.

Keeping it Traditional

Promotional items are a form of advertising that relies on customers keeping and using the object over a period of time. The longer they use the product or expose it to others, the more of an impression your brand makes and the greater your ROI. Traditional promo products include: pens, notepads, other office supplies, and t-shirts.

  • Advantages: These items tend to be cheap to produce and easy to distribute in a variety of mediums – trade shows, business meetings, store counters, etc. Their utility to the customer means they’re unlikely to be thrown out, but instead are used (and seen) regularly. The average pen, for example, changes hands 7 times in its lifetime – so if you hand out 100 pens, you’re potentially reaching 700 new customers.
  • Disadvantages: Check your desk drawer. How many logo pens do you have rattling around in there? The market is easily flooded with branded office supplies, so traditional promotional items are less memorable – and have less staying power – than their more innovative cousins.

Innovative Ideas

Nearly any item available can be turned into a branded promotional product with a little ingenuity, and it doesn’t have to take much expense. One company distributed branded running socks when they learned that their target audience consistently self-identified as health-seeking.

The item was successful because it was innovative, useful, and directed at their target audience – and cost about as much as giving out free t-shirts.

  • Advantages: Creative items can get you more attention for your brand than more traditional promotional products. When it comes to making your business stand out, the more unexpected and memorable the item is, the more staying power it will have.
  • Disadvantages: With innovation comes risk. When choosing your promo items, no matter how out there, you need to keep in mind that these items need to accurately represent your business brand and be directed toward your target audience. Otherwise, recipients won’t associate the item with your brand and won’t be motivated to follow up with your company.

Whether you choose to promote your business with products that are traditional or ones that are more creative, keep in mind what that product will say to your clients and prospects. You want them to retain a positive image of your business, and to associate the product with your company brand.

Avoid obsolete items like mouse pads or letter openers. Be sure that whatever product you choose is of good quality, as low-quality items, no matter how useful, will end up having a negative impact on your brand. The best promo items have a high staying power, represent your business, and garner you a positive ROI.

Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for ResourceNation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as direct mail campaigns. Follow Resource Nation on Facebook and Twitter, too!