Marketing is perhaps the most crucial part of running a successful business. Even businesses that sell a lousy product or perform a subpar service manage to do well because of smart, thorough marketing. But your product isn’t lousy, and your service is great. All you’re missing is brand awareness.
If brands are plants, then awareness is water. Your goal in marketing your business is making as many people aware of your brand as possible, to increase the chance they will choose you – rather than someone else – when they act as consumers.
There are many, many ways to advertise your brand, but unless you really know what you’re doing, it can be a bit of a gamble. Newspaper, TV, and online ads are expensive, and not as effective as you might think, especially if your business is locally-focused or inhabits a niche industry. That’s where branded promotional products come in.
Branded merchandise isn’t usually the first thing that pops up in conversations about brand marketing strategy. These days, it’s all about the internet, with Google and Facebook’s ad platforms stealing the show, but ask yourself this: how many pieces of branded gear are in your room, or your office, right now?
Promotional products are ubiquitous, and that’s part of why so many business owners don’t think about them – they mistake ubiquity for unoriginality, and equate unoriginality with ineffectiveness. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Here is the major strength of branded promotional products:
When you purchase an ad on Facebook, or on television, or on a billboard, it’s not ineffective. People see it. People acknowledge it. However, it goes away. Eventually, that billboard contract will become too costly, or that Facebook ad campaign will end. With digital advertising especially, it doesn’t really matter how long of a campaign you run; anyone can hit close, or put their phone back in their pocket, and there goes your brand awareness.
But a physical, tangible item bearing your brand isn’t so easy to ignore or deny, and unlike ads that expire or become too costly to maintain, a branded product will theoretically live on forever. It can be used and be seen in use. It can be re-gifted or passed on to someone else. It can stay on someone’s desk for years. And there’s no “close” button.
The Advertising Specialty Institute’s 2019 Global Ad Impressions study makes a few key suggestions about the effectiveness of branded products.
Yep, you read that correctly. Those branded tote bags you see wherever you go, the ones that always seemed destined to end up in a pile in your storage closet, are now more like a secret weapon. There’s a pretty good explanation for it, too: groceries. The increase in grocery store chains and city governments cracking down on disposable plastic shopping bags means the classic tote is back in vogue, now more direly needed than ever. And every time someone uses yours, or sees someone else using it, they’ll see your brand.
Wow! The implication here is twofold. This highlights the acceptance in our society of logos and branding in our everyday lives. But further, according to Gareth Parkin of GoPromotional, “The key takeaway here is that branded products aren’t necessarily disposable, throwaway items, but rather items that stick around for years and see in frequent use. Think about the pens and travel mugs around your house. Every time you go to work with your morning coffee, you’re reminding the people around you of someone’s brand and reminding yourself, too.”
Compared to internet ads, branded products increase the likelihood of people viewing your band positively
The internet is great, but the truth is that we’re all just a little burnt out on it. Screens aren’t exciting anymore, and a big part of that is just how good advertisers have become at their jobs. People expect an ad-filled experience when they open their phone or their computer, and they are frankly quite over it. Because of that, they’re 2.5 times more likely to view your brand positively if they encounter it in the physical world, rather than on their phones.
This is a big deal, and relates back to the previous stat. People under 55, which includes those of us who grew up with the internet in our hands, gravitate toward branded products. They know that internet advertising is a required, standard part of business marketing, so they expect it, but a tangible gift breaks through their expectations, leaving them with a positive impression of your brand. Plus, the younger and less established someone is, the more they enjoy free stuff!
If you’re struggling to achieve that marketing edge, you really should look into branded merchandise. The bottom line is that it simply works, and it always has worked. Branched products place your brand squarely in the real world, where people are more willing to notice it, take it seriously, and remember it for later. And even better, it won’t cost you nearly as much as an effective, penetrative online ad campaign, so you won’t strain your budget. That’s real brand marketing power.