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Almost everyone in the country has at least one promotional product on their desk or in their home. Companies realized the value of giving gifts to their customers centuries ago. When they print their logo design, company name, or saying on the product, it makes an excellent branding tool. But it’s important to adapt to the occasion and the times.

A Short History of Promotional Products

The first promotional item came a lot earlier than most people realize. In 1789, a commemorative button was made for George Washington. It was a century later when Jasper Meek of Coshocton, Ohio, turned promotional products into an industry by printing advertisements on burlap bags. Meek gave bags to children with “Buy Cantwell’s Shoes” printed on them to use as book bags. The campaign was a success, and Cantwell’s got lots of new customers.

Branding with Promotional Products Today

Burlap bags probably wouldn’t be nearly as successful at promoting any business today. But the same idea is what makes promotional products work so well. They create a positive customer experience that they will want to share with others. If you choose the right product for the occasion and the times, you will create a unique experience and build your brand at the same time.

Common vs. High-End Promotional Products

For most businesses, some occasions call for bulk items. The things you give out to larger numbers of potential leads aren't personally chosen for the recipient. Instead, they are likely to be something that appeals to a broad range of people.

Some of the most common products used include:

  • Pens
  • USB drives
  • Calendars
  • Tote bags
  • Stress balls
  • Water bottles
  • T-Shirts

These are some of the best-selling promotional products available today. The reason they top the list of common items given out by businesses is that they are readily available, and they meet the five essential characteristics of what every promotional product should be including:

  1. Is it useable? – Any product that someone takes home and puts in a drawer is a waste of your money and their space. Even worse, they might toss it into the trash. Items like those listed above are highly useable for customers in almost any walk of life.
  2. Will it be visible to others? – You’re trying to create a better customer experience for everyone who receives one of your products. At the same time, you want to make an impression on everyone else who sees it. Imagine how many people will see them wearing a t-shirt with your business name. If they work in an office, a pen, USB drive, stress ball, or memo pad with your logo is the ideal branding product.
  3. Is it a bargain or high-quality? – Quality always matters for two reasons. For one, no customer is going to have a good experience if their new gift falls apart or stops working before they get home with it. The last thing you want is to turn a positive experience into a disappointing one. For another, you want your recipient to feel good about the product and share the experience with others. No matter what the occasion, choose products that will stay with your customer for a long time to come.
  4. Does it align with your brand or the promotional event? – If it doesn’t, you’re defeating the purpose of using promotional products. Think about the features that set your brand apart from the rest. If you have a theme for the event, connect it to your promotional products.
  5. Does it accomplish your main goal? – Forget the logo or company name for a minute, and really think about the item. Will it make your customers feel special and proud to display your company name? Always make creating an exceptional customer experience your first priority.

High-End Promotional Products and Gifts

High-end promotional products don’t necessarily have the same characteristics as more common ones. These aren’t usually the products that you pass out at trade shows or promotional events. Instead, companies often use these items as gifts for special clients or for employee appreciation. Sometimes they are given for reaching certain milestones. For example, you might give employees increasingly luxurious gifts with each additional five or ten years they stay at your company.

Some companies offer their new clients high-end gifts when they complete their first transaction with them or join their club. They might randomly give them gifts of appreciation that make them feel important.

When you choose a gift for an individual client, it gives you a better opportunity to make a personal choice. Learn what the client likes and how they spend their time. Are they an avid golfer? Consider giving them a promotional golf bag. Do they travel a lot? They will probably enjoy a promotional duffel bag. Nothing means more than a high-end gift that was personally chosen for the recipient.

Presentation Isn’t Everything – But Almost!

Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

Participants at tradeshows or other promotional events aren’t usually picky about handing out their products. The entire reason for being there is to make their brand more visible to potential customers. They want people to take their products with the hopes they will follow up by contacting the company. Putting everything out on a table might seem like the simplest way to accomplish this. Unfortunately, this isn’t the way to create a good customer experience.

Fancy gift wrap isn’t practical at this type of event. But you can make presenting items seem more like receiving a gift by simply placing them in the person’s hands. The act of “giving” them something is a lot more special than making them ask for it or leaving it out as part of a display.

When you give out promotional items as gifts as part of a special event, you can and should think about the presentation, too! The wrap or container is what makes a good first impression. There are many fun, sophisticated, and creative ways to present almost any promotional item. It adds to the experience and makes it more memorable, too.

Trust EVOKE for Creativity and Attention to Detail

At EVOKE, we know how important it is to get the details right. We have the creativity and resources to present the perfect promotional products for any occasion. We can even help with the packaging! Contact by phone at 469-879-4222 or fill out the contact form on our website.

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