Using Promotional Gifts to Brand Your Business

Thursday, February 14, 2008 by Mistlee

Chris Crum
Using Promotional Gifts to Brand Your Business
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008

If you've ever gone to a business conference of any kind, you have likely been given or at least seen company-branded novelty items.

Not that you have to go to a conference to find such items. There's a good chance you own things like this. Pens, coffee mugs, shirts, etc. Giving away promotional gifts is a branding strategy that has been around a long time. That is because it can be very effective.

What Kinds of Items to Use

The most effective kinds of items are ones that could potentially be used frequently by the person who receives them. This is why pens are one of the most popular objects for this type of marketing strategy. Some people lose pens all the time and won't be affected by your branding as much, but then there are people like me who use the same pen for months or years - until the ink runs out, seeing the brand every day. On the other hand, lost pens tend to be found by others too.

T-shirts are another really popular item, but then you're looking at other variables like different sizes and personal tastes in clothing.

You can really use just about anything to stamp your brand on and give out to people. Being creative is the fun part, and being unique in this regard may make people remember you better.

We've received all kinds of promotional gifts at our office, like branded Kool-Aid packets and branded action figures. Fox Searchlight gave away branded hamburger phones to promote the movie Juno and now even the unbranded hamburger phones are selling.

I think the key to the success of a promotional gift is finding the right balance of potential use-frequency (something that will be seen a lot - free advertising) and creativity (unique items like the Kool-Aid packet tend to stand out more than ink pens).

Distributing the Items

Conferences are a great place to hand out your promotional gifts, because they will be targeted at people in your niche (unless you're at some random conference that has nothing to do with your business). Send them out to customers and/or relevant companies. As I mentioned, we get promotional gifts from companies sent to our office all the time.

If you operate a Brick and Mortar store, hand out your gifts to customers as they check out, or have an area at the front where they can grab them. Maybe you don't want to make them purchase something first. The whole point is to advertise your business.

What kinds of promotional gifts have you given away? What methods did you use to distribute them? How effective do you think they were?


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