The internet has changed the face of marketing. With instant access to clients, interaction through social media, and advertizing personalized to each consumer, there is no longer a need for printed promotional materials.
Or is there?
Printed promotional materials are a unique marketing tool that can still reach a good deal of the market share. And promotional products are still a top choice for successful businesses for a reason.
Promotional materials are an ideal way to get your brand name in the marketplace. They allow potential consumers to recognize your brand and associate your company name with your product or service. The more that people make that association, the more successful your business will be.
Think of some major brands and how they’ve built their brand.
- Just do it.
- It’s finger-lickin’ good.
- Like a good neighbor.
It doesn’t take but a simple slogan to draw to mind Nike, KFC, and State Farm. Promotional materials are like a good slogan.
Negative Brand Associations
Companies want to make sure that positive brand associations are developed for their products. Sometimes, however, negative associations are formed, requiring excessive PR and marketing to repair the damage.
For instance, Nike attempted to avoid negative media by dropping Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcon’s Quarterback, as their spokesperson after he admitted his role in a dog fighting ring. Subway underwent some major advertising headaches after their long-time spokesperson, Jared Fogel, faced criminal charges. Ray Rice, a former running back with the Baltimore Ravens, gave the National Football League a black eye after a video was released on social media which revealed the extent of the domestic violence against his then-girlfriend, Janay Palmer. The NFL took steps following the case to remove any bad press through their Say No More campaign.
Negative association to a brand can even come through advertising by a competitor. For instance Paul Marcarelli became famous for his “Can you hear me now?” commercials with Verizon; however, in 2016, he was hired to represent Sprint, where he informs the public that he switched.
How are brand associations formed?
Brand associations can be formed through customer contact with the company and its employees, word of mouth, advertisements, price point, celebrity endorsement, quality of the product, and point of purchase displays or experiences.
Companies should work towards developing a brand reputation that is durable, marketable, and reliable. First impressions are important, but a positive lasting impression matters most.
How To Choose The Right Promotional Materials
When choosing a promotional product, you’ll need to consider what your business sells and what your budget is. While these are the two main influencers in choosing a promotional material for your business, companies should also try to stretch the limits of their imagination to choose inventive, humorous, and unique product options.
Companies tend to use the following types of promotional materials in their advertising:
- Stationery: Notepads, postcards, pens, pencils, erasers
- Business items: Business card holders, address books, laptop sleeves
- Desk accessories: Mugs, calendars, paperweights
- Clothing: T-shirts, hats
- Fun: Stickers, puzzles, door hangers, magnets
Keep your target audience in mind when determining your promotional materials. A t-shirt may go over well for a fitness brand, while a corporate niche may need something business related, such as desk supplies. However, sometimes it’s best just to be practical in your promotional materials, relying on pens or notepads. Since those are things that everyone uses, you know that your brand will be in front of the public eye, rather than in a desk drawer – or worse, a secondhand store.
Creative Promotional Campaigns
Here are some real-life examples of fun and creative promotional product campaigns that caught the eye of consumers and competitors alike.
Y+ Yoga Center
A local yoga center in Shanghai, China got people interested in stretching by passing out bendy straws at a fruit juice bar. Imprinted on the straw was a person posed so that when the straw bent, they looked like they were holding a yoga pose.
In Thailand, Colgate gave out ice cream and cotton candy during Oral Health Month. Seems against their brand, doesn’t it? Well, after the treat was gone, all that was left was a toothbrush-shaped stick with the words “Don’t Forget” and the company logo.
Brazil-based detergent company came up with a great campaign when they handed out packets of it’s stain remover in packets shaped like a ketchup stain. The packet read, “Stains. Hard to avoid, easy to remove. Vantage stain remover.” They passed them out in restaurants and snack bars in and around the city of São Paulo, and all 100,000 packets were gone in three days.
When properly executed, a promotional product marketing strategy can be successful for sales as well as for brand reputation. People love getting free things, so offering them something with your logo and contact information is a great way to make them aware of your product and services.