When branded promotional items first made their debut, they were all the rage. Back in the infancy of promotional marketing, it didn’t take more than a pen or stress ball to give customers and employees a little thrill. But branded products are everywhere today, making them far less special than they used to be — whether you work for the company or not. Now, jaded professionals may just shrug if you offer them yet another T-shirt!
Ultimately, professionals understand that the point of a branded item is to promote a company. In other words, no matter how much you spend on the item, there’s still a perception you are being selfish by placing your logo on something you are giving away. Instead of abandoning your promotional items though, you can start to have a little more fun with them. By varying your approach, you stand a better chance of getting the impact you want. Consider the following tips to bump up your efforts.
If your office already does casual Fridays, you may want to switch up the week with casual Mondays. Let employees wear a branded polo or T-shirt on Mondays if they don’t feel like wearing their standard business casual clothes. This perk is a good way to give employees a break at the start of their week with some added comfort. Plus, it gets your business name out there to all their fellow commuters.
If you don’t currently have a casual Friday, you can offer this benefit in lieu of a standard casual Friday. Make sure you choose fabrics that can survive a number of washes. Bright colors and strong materials send a message to both employees and onlookers that your company cares about quality.
Fun Freebies for Existing Customers
Handing promotional tech items out to everyone at a community event, regardless of whether they need your business or not, can end up being less effective than you think. People may look at the gift, put it away, and then forget about it entirely. The next time they do look at it, they’ll have no idea who gave it to them or what the company does.
But if you send your existing customers a mug or duffel bag as a thank you, they’ll likely appreciate it far more. They already do business with you, so this is a good way to remind them of how much you care about their patronage. Add a handwritten thank-you note, and your customers will come to associate you with excellent customer service.
If you’re planning on spending a certain amount of money to thank your top customers, consider customizing their gifts. Giving all of your customers a branded box of chocolates — especially when half of them are on diets — will only serve to frustrate them. When you take the time to learn more about what they need, you have a better chance of forging a stronger connection.
For example, if one of your clients is always cold at the office, consider offering a branded fleece jacket. If you’ve noticed that a customer’s coffee tumbler looks a little tired (presuming it doesn’t have sentimental value), you can replace it with something a little more modern. This tactic is a great way to show your clients that you care more about them than promoting your business.
Funny Gifts for Employees
Has your sales team been looking a little restless lately? Get them a few branded fidget spinners! Has your IT team been feeling overworked since you switched software? Supply them with branded mugs and a chamomile tea packet. Have you noticed that employees are trying to cut down on paper waste? Hand out branded tote bags to make their mission even easier.
These gifts are more than “cute” — they’re a way to show employees that you’re paying attention. Employees are the heart of your business, but it’s all too easy for them to get lost in the mix. This tip may even lead to more honest conversations about what’s going on within the company.
Keep Up on Trends
Depending on your business’ marketing budget, you can really make a splash at your next trade show if you can get the hottest tech for attendees. Find out what people are really looking for, whether it’s tablet stands, payment widgets or portable chargers. It won’t take long before the whispers start to ripple through the throng.
Consider offering upgraded gifts (e.g., fitted jackets, caps, etc.) for qualified attendees who schedule a five-minute consultation with you. Whether your goal is to just get your name out there or to connect with a select few people, this tip can get you the buzz you need to be noticed in a very large crowd.
Adjusting your strategy when it comes to using promotional items definitely takes more effort, but it also gives you more bang for your buck. You won’t be able to calculate the exact ROI from each dollar you spend on promotional items, but you can look at them as an investment in the long-term reputation of your company.