How Creative Promotional Merchandise Can Increase Your Brand Exposure


Companies have been using branded promotional merchandise for many years in an effort to increase brand exposure and make sure that key customers and suppliers don’t forget about them. Having been in the promotional merchandise industry for over a decade, we can safely say that the most popular promotional products are mugs and pens. Companies are very comfortable with using these to promote their business, and they fulfil two of the most important criteria for promotional products: usefulness and longevity. However, the promotional item industry has come a long way, and a bit of research and creativity can create a memorable corporate gift that will achieve much more for your brand exposure.

The characteristics of an effective branded promotional item
The best branded merchandise is useful, memorable, compliments your brand and is well-targeted to your ideal customer. All of these characteristics are important; if something is useful it will be kept over a long period of time, memorability increases the impact of your branding and makes it more likely that your message has got across.

A promotional product that has been carefully selected to be in line with the company brand will also increase the power of the brand message, and ensure that there is no “cognitive dissonance” as a psychologist would put it. Cognitive dissonance is low level mental discomfort caused by an expectation not being met, or a contradiction with an established thought pattern. For example, if a company promotes its eco-friendly credentials as a primary selling tool, and then brands thousands of Styrofoam cups for exhibition giveaways, that runs contrary to the brand message and creates cognitive dissonance in the people who are interested in the company. Finally, if a promotional item has been well-targeted to the recipient, the item is more likely to be useful, kept longer and also create a positive association with the company brand.

Our top three favourite useful promotional items

Keeping in mind that critical characteristic of ‘usefulness’, we’ve collected together some of our favourite useful promotional items to demonstrate how far the industry has developed past the simple mug and pen. (Of course, mugs and pens should never go out of fashion as they are so very useful, but we would love you to try something new too!)

Branded sim card back up device
This is our current favourite, this gadget saves sim card contacts simply by plugging the sim card directly into it and saving the data to the device. If the mobile phone is lost or stolen, all of the contacts can be loaded from the device onto the new sim card. With practically everybody owning a mobile phone, and its critical role for many business people, this is guaranteed to be a highly valued, useful corporate gift that will have good longevity. It will also have extra impact if your company brand has an image of forward planning, security, common sense and related ideals – the fact that you have provided something in line with those ideals will reinforce your brand message in a very powerful way.

Branded Memory Stick
A similar product to the sim card back up device and just as useful. USB memory sticks are used in so many business meetings nowadays. They provide a quick and easy way to exchange information particularly if you are away from an internet connection. As a give-away promotional product they can also be pre-programmed. So you could add a digital log, corporate video etc. the moment it is first plugged in.

Branded pedometer
This item is something that many health conscious people are buying for themselves anyway, so if you can give your customers a branded pedometer for free, they are likely to keep it, reinforcing the recognition of your brand every time they use it. Of course, if you know that your target customers are the last people in the world to worry about health and personal fitness, you need to consider something else!

Branded travel items
Are you targeting sales personnel and people who often travel for business? If so, there are three excellent promotional items that perfectly fulfil the need for usefulness: travel mugs for those long car journeys between sales meetings, travel alarm clocks and passport wallets with extra pockets for money and flight tickets. These items will be used again and again, and if they are branded thoughtfully, people will not only be happy to use them, they will appreciate your company all the more for such a useful gift.

Other useful promotional items
There are many, many promotional items available for business branding which are often overlooked. Why not consider a penknife, a key ring torch (those simple plastic key ring fobs pale in comparison to the latest branded LED torch key rings!).

Branded merchandise for seasonal promotions
If you have a seasonal business, there may be a particular item that would work better at a certain time of year in line with your sales cycle. One example is a branded ice scraper. Whilst it won’t be used in the summer, it will be kept in the car, and used extensively in the winter months; if winter and spring are key seasons for your sales cycle that may work to your advantage. Ice scrapers are used in the morning before the trip to work – what better time to put your logo in front of a potential customer?

Creative uses of well-known promotional items
Memorability can be increased by tying the promotional item in with a key aspect of your brand. A great example of this idea is the huge range of stress toys that are available for corporate branding. There are so many designs available now that a little time taken to explore the ranges available could result in something that will make your customers laugh and think about your company every time they see it. What if your dentists gave you a stress toy shaped like a large tooth to hold when you have a treatment? If you take it away with you, you can bet every time you squeeze it, you’ll think of the next check up – and with the number right there on the front, it’s so easy to find…

Eco promotional products
When selecting promotional items for your business, there is absolutely no need to sacrifice your own ideals – you can find eco-friendly giveaways and corporate gifts that are just as high quality. You may also find that if you tell people that the gifts are eco friendly it will improve the perception of your brand, as they will see that you stand by your ideals within the corporate arena, without compromising your effectiveness.

Our favourite eco-friendly promotional items
Recycled paper pads are already well known, but you can get many other promotional items that are made from a variety of recycled materials. One of our favourites is a simple ruler; eminently useful, easy to brand and each one takes 9.5 vending cups out of landfill sites.

Along the same lines are pencil sharpeners made of recycled cardboard (but they look like they’re made of wood!) and frisbees made of used CD covers, perfect for the business that wants to associate their brand with fun and social activities.

The branded ice scraper we mentioned before can also be made from recycled materials, so your seasonal message can be eco-friendly too. Paired up with a branded Frisbee, that would cover most weather eventualities without further harm to the environment.

Quirky can be good!

Hopefully we’ve managed to convince you that there is more choice in the world of promotional items than pens, mugs and golf umbrellas. If you are inspired to look for something quirky to ensure that your brand is really memorable, we’d recommend the amazing Mr Grass Head; a little porcelain figure that has real grass growing from the top of his head that can be styled and then grow again! It’s such a quirky item that office staff love to keep them on the windowsill on full view in their office. And with your business logo on his chest, it does the branding job nicely too.

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