Branded Merchandise: An Effective Medium to Create Awareness & Influence Behavior

Marketing professionals are given many choices to increase brand awareness and responsiveness including print advertising, digital advertising, TV, radio, social media content and event sponsorships. This essay explores the effectiveness of promotional products and branded merchandise as an alternative advertising medium. Consider the following1:

  • 76.2% of recipients of logoed giveaways recall the product, advertiser and message from items received within the past two year period.
  • Of the recipients of promotional products who were surveyed 91% had at least one item in their kitchen, 74% in their work area and 55% in their bedroom closet or storage area.
  • 55% of those surveyed kept their logoed items for one year or longer.
  • Brand impressions are considerably higher for logoed merchandise than conventional advertising.

Not-for-profit case study: Heartland, a national parenting ministry mails a $3-$5 item every year 2 months ahead of the December 31st year end giving deadline. It’s a coordinated and strategic activity which has proven to be a very effective part of their development campaign accomplishing several things:

  • Provides a tangible and useful reminder of the brand and business or ministry that will be seen throughout the year
  • Demonstrates a willingness to ‘invest’ in donors
  • Differentiates the brand from those competitors who only solicit using email or US Mail.
  • Communicates dedication and commitment to the mission or enterprise.
  • Uses a touchpoint to move a candidate from prospective donor to committed donor.

Promotional products are an effective marketing tool.  They compliment more traditional forms of advertising by creating awareness for your brand and engendering good will with your donor base.

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Having a concerted strategy and well-honed process for selecting branded merchandise is important for any Best Practices 150x150 Emerging Branded Merchandise Best Practices organization that wants to maximize results from their promotional efforts. Rather than guessing what logo products and related marketing mechanisms might prove effective, discern in advance what has been successful for other companies in the same, or comparable, industries.  With this effort you’re sure to uncover some best practices worth emulating…and be sure to document and continue improving upon best practices of your own.  [click to continue reading…]

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food gifts1 Promotional Food Products Cook Up Tasty SalesPromotional food products offer something for every taste, season and occasion, making them a nearly perfect marketing tool.   In the realm of edibles, there is something for everyone – from salty to savory to sweet. So, next time you’re considering a promotional item strategy, consider offering sustenance to boost sales.


Top Performing Promotional Food Products

Hungry for some ideas to put on the marketing menu? Try adding these logo-friendly food products to your promotions plate and see how many bite:


  • Custom Candy and Chocolate: From individual packages of mints and hard candies to chocolate selection trays and imprinted chocolate bars and wrappers, this promotion will satisfy every sweet tooth and have them craving more.
  • Snacks and Popcorn: Help satisfy the munchies by providing your clientele with an afternoon delight of popcorn in various flavors like salty, caramel, or cheese. Or, tempt them with a wide array of nuts, raisins, cookies, dried fruit, peanut brittle and brownies. Much of the packaging here may be customized with brand messages and logos.
  • Gift Baskets and Tins: When you can’t decide on any one promotional food product, then consider a gift basket, gift tin, or gift tower full of goodies. This is also an effective way to thank a group of people like a small company or department. Food gifts can include a wide assortment or they can be themed – such as specialty basket categories like healthy, coffee and treats, and chocolate – to suit the recipient’s individual tastes.
  • Seasonings and Condiments: There’s nothing wrong with spicing up a relationship or even getting a little saucy with your branded food product selections. Gourmet ideas include salsa, steak sauce, rubs and seasonings, a selection of spices, hot sauce and even some tasty marinades. All the labels may be customized with your brand message and logo to keep you visible in the kitchen.


In Review

There is a bountiful selection when it comes to using promotional food products in your marketing mix:

  • A long favorite of fundraisers, branded candy and chocolates will also win fans among potential and existing customers.  These sweet delights are also effective at tempting and motivating employees.
  • Snacks are an easy and low-cost way to promote via the palate. Packages can be labeled with brands and logos, and offer a wide assortment of non-perishable products to place in them like popcorn, nuts, dried fruit and baked goods.
  • Promotions sizzle with sauces and condiments, which regularly remind customers and employees about the brand every time they cook or barbecue.
  • Gift baskets, tins, and towers are a great way to include many people with one grand gift sure to make a statement.

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 dollar squeeze 150x150 Penny Productivity: Effective Branded Products under $1


Budgets are tighter than ever during this tough economy, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise your promotional efforts with ineffective promotional items you can procure on the cheap. It simply means you have to search for a company that can help you strategize lower cost methods that will help you achieve your goal – optimally one that offers a wide range of effective branded products under $1.


Popular Promotional Items for Less than $1


You might be surprised to learn how many items are available in this particular budget range – and how effective they can be at keeping your brand highly visible, transportable and top-of-mind with prospects, customers and employees. Consider this assortment of low-cost picks proven to pull:


  • Pens: Whether for business or personal use, pens are always in demand. After all, they are always being borrowed and passed around, so why not make sure that the pens you share are those that have your company name, logo, and contact info? These baseline branded products under $1 come in a seemingly infinite variety of styles, sizes, and ink colors so you can find one that matches your style, business philosophy, and desired messaging. There are also all types of pens available, including ballpoint, highlighter, marker and stick pens.
  • Magnetic Business Cards: Make sure your business sticks in the minds of clients by giving them all the information they need to stick in a place where they will be sure to see it—like the refrigerator—rather than the traditional business card that is easily misplaced.
  • Tote Bags: With society going “green” and the phasing out of the plastic shopping bag, it’s great to have plenty of tote bags for groceries or other shopping trips, so your clients and employees will be sure to enjoy this practical, yet low-cost, promotional item.  These also serve as a rather large and visible billboard for your brand.
  • Calendars: Whether for the office or the home, a calendar is an ideal way to keep your business on the mind of customers throughout the year. These branded products under $1 come in various styles, including the traditional hanging calendar, the peel and stick calendar, vinyl calendar and the magnetic business card calendar.
  • Notepads: From lined to plain to sticky, notepads are practical promotional items that help everyone stay organized or enjoy great doodle space. But, branded note pads do offer a way to keep your company name and logo in front of your target.
  • Accessories: There are a range of other great low-cost life accessories that are less than $1 a piece and offer a great way to promote what you do. These include everything from lip balm, key chains, soft kickballs and pins to mints, tokens, golf tees and hand fans. For such items, there is a plethora of colors, sizes, and styles to suit your business personality and fit into your overall promotional budget.


In Summary

Promoting your business doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. Here is a summary of the great ideas found in this blog post:

  • There is a wide range of promotional items to suit every kind of business niche and need.
  • Traditional promotional products, including pens, note pads, magnetic business cards and calendars are available in a variety of styles and sizes.
  • Tote bags are one way to stay on the “environmental” track without spending a lot to be “green.”
  • Accessories offer fun and variety at a low price, including key chains, lip balm, mints, golf tees and more, helping you stand out with more unique, personalized promotional items.

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messy desk 150x150 Organization Essentials: Branded Products to Reduce ClutterIt’s a new year – the quintessential time to simplify and de-clutter our spaces for greater productivity and less stress. Helping clients and employees achieve these goals is easy given the wide array of organization promotional products available for the home or office that can not only help them cut the clutter but also keep your brand and message top-of-mind.


Top Organization Promotional Products

To help keep YOU productive and organized in your promotional efforts, here we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the top organization promotional products now available that will help you help others while also achieving strategic marketing communications objectives:


  • Wall Calendars and Monthly Planners:  Having a large reminder of what you have to do with plenty of room to write appointments, deadlines, and important events is an excellent way to stay on top of everything you have to do in your personal and professional life. It also helps you mentally track how it will all get done and allow you to look ahead for what is to come for more effective time management. Plus, it’s great to cross things off and see how much has been accomplished.
  • Storage Totes and Bins: These portable organizers take organization with you from office to home or on the road and back again. They work great for folders and paperwork or if you have to carry product samples. The large space on all sides for a brand also makes it a great marketing vehicle for travel. These totes and bins are also just as much at home in an office as they are on-the-go, helping to keep papers from engulfing your desk.
  • Storage Cases and Bags: Don’t lose all the little things that are large on importance to you. These handy organizers will keep track of things like memory sticks and flash drives (you know, the ones that have all those important documents and pictures), keys, tools, and electronic devices or cords. These cases and bags can be kept in drawers or travel in suitcases, briefcases, and handbags to keep all that you need, organized and within reach.
  • Binders and Padfolios: When you need to track important projects and documents, binders are a great way to keep everyone on a team or in a family organized and up-to-date with all the information they need. Padfolios take it a step further and offer a way to take notes on the go while also keeping vital paperwork in a place you can find quickly.
  • Trunk Organizers: These organization promotional products are great for the person who may need to get that junk in their trunk in better order. From the mom-on-the-go who is shuttling kids to various sports to the salesman on the road who lives out of their vehicle, a trunk organizer keeps items in the trunk from shifting into one big pile and offers a way to spot and grab what’s needed.


Your clients and employees will love these handy organizers that are sure to be put to good use. And, you will be happy knowing that the items are clearly displaying your company logo, name, or message. Such values as productivity and efficiency may even be perceptually attributed to your brand – always a good thing.


In Review

Here are the main points from this blog post:

  • There is a wide array of organization promotion products, including items for the home, office, and vehicle. These include trunk organizers, storage cases and bags, storage totes and bins, binders and padfolios, and wall calendars and monthly planners.
  • Storage and organization products often have ample room to advertise and promote your brand.
  • Clients and employees will appreciate your desire to help them get organized and it will offer a way to promote that you are a productive and efficient company in the minds of those who see your organization promotion products.

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tradeshow 150x150 Event Essentials: 5 Promo Products That PullFrom trade show “goody bags” to more informal takeaway items, promotional products are an essential ingredient for attracting booth and table traffic and establishing a corporate image while also ensuring your brand stays top-of-mind well after the event is over.  Events are a well-honed channel for branded merchandise for one simple reason: they work!  They key is offering promotional products that are high quality, memorable, and suited for the audience at hand. This is with respect to gender, industry, and interests.

Many companies prefer to think outside of the box, beyond standard offerings like candy, pens, and pins.  Here are examples of giveaway ideas that have been especially popular recent months and have proven to be successful as an event-based promotion tool:

  • Car Coasters: These innovative promotional products serve a practical purpose while also keeping your name in front of customers every day. These ingenious items keep vehicle cup holders dry from all those cups of coffee and other drinks that are kept at hand on commutes or around town. There is even a handy finger slot that makes it easy to lift out the cup holder for cleaning. Plus, it can be imprinted with a full color bleed to best showcase your imagery and company information.
  • Purse Hanger: Despite its name, this is a great item for either women or men. Offering both convenience and portability to trek with ease, this unique polished metal purse hanger features a sturdy hook, allowing a handbag, briefcase, computer bag or shopping bag to hang free from the floor. It’s a great idea to keep belongings safe, clean, and at hand. These promotional products include an emblem that accepts a four-color process printing and even come with a handsome gift box.
  • Ear Buds: With so many devices now offering portable audio capabilities, event attendees gravitate toward these ear accessories since they work with MP3 devices, iPhones and other cell phones, laptops and more. Ear buds have become truly indispensible, and one never has too many for use at home, the office, the gym and during leisure activities. These often come with a carrying case to help them avoid getting tangled.
  • Cell Phone Holder/Stress Reliever: Now here’s a cute item that does triple duty. In addition to clearly brandishing your brand, this promotional product also keeps your cell phone well at hand. When stressed, just give it a few squeezes to release some tension. Available in a range of shapes and sizes, some of which resembling sports equipment or comfy furniture, this is novel event merchandise that’ll have ‘em talking.
  • Pedometer: When working toward fitness goals, every step counts. Count them with promotional pedometers, which come equipped with a belt clip, a top-view LCD display, and an energy auto shut-off feature. Whether attendees are tracking their steps around the block or at the conference center, these dandy devices will keep your company close to their heart.

In Summary

Here are just a few of the many popular and inventive promotional products that are serving their purpose well at events and trade shows:

Effective promotional items provide convenience and solve problems like a car coaster that keeps vehicle cup holders clean and dry.

  • Popular promotional items also relate to top technology trends like ear buds and cell phone holders.
  • Everyone values gadgets, including those that help with personal goals like health and fitness. Clip-on pedometers score a win on all fronts.


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Post image for My 5 Favorite Promotional Products for 2019

Source: My 5 Favorite Promotional Products

Working for the industry’s leading distributor makes me pretty hard to impress when it comes to promotional products, but there are 5 types of items I never turn down:

  1. Drink ware: Though I’ve always been a collector of coffee cups, my stockpile has exploded in the past few years in both numbers and variety. In addition to traditional mugs, it now includes insulated and fruit-infusing water bottles, reusable tumblers and whimsical cocktail glasses.
  2. Notebooks and writing instruments: These two go hand-in-hand, and I never have enough of either. Bonus points if the product serves more than one purpose. For example, a pen that’s also a stylus or a notebook with a built-in calendar.
  3. Beach towels: Great for picnics, the pool and even to use around the house.
  4. Things that are just plain cute or clever: Like Phil the piggy bank or Pete the business man (both pictured here). Provided they don’t take up too much space, products like this seem to make people smile.
  5. Food: Especially at an event or tradeshow where you’re running around and might have forget to pack a snack. If you give me an energy bar or a piece of chocolate in such a situation, I will remember you forever.

For feedback from a much wider study group on the products they like, check out the latest ASI Impressions Study.

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Promo Products Rule ROI

by Woody Kaye on November 11, 2015

Post image for Promo Products Rule ROI

With an often limited budget to put toward marketing and advertising, companies are regularly challenged with deciding which channels or vehicles will deliver the most ROI. For their part, promo products are often compared against traditional forms of marketing such as television, radio, print advertising. It has been found that promo products actually deliver the best return for investment—one that extends beyond just reaching existing clients.

The Return from Promo Products

Findings published in Advantages magazine indicate that the majority (60%) of people who receive promotional merchandise then decide that they will do business with the granting company, and experience an overall increase in their favorable impression toward that company.

Also of benefit is the fact that promotional products often commonly get passed on to others if not used by the original person rather than being thrown away. This actually provides a viral way for the company to reach more of its target audience and beyond without having to do the work or pay for additional impressions.

Even better is the fact that this strategy is so much cheaper than traditional marketing and advertising mediums, offering a considerable payoff for what can be as little as half a cent per impression than, say, a few dollars or more per impression utilizing the traditional route.

In order to get the best return, however, it is recommended that a company does its homework and get an idea of the individual preferences among various demographic groups that may be targeted as part of such as promo product campaign. Some promotional items are more attractive to certain groups than others and it’s imperative to strategize accordingly.

Promo Products that Fare Well

In listing those items that appeal to the largest audience and deliver an attractive return among the many choices of promotional and branded products, the most ROI was gained from:

  • Bags, backpacks, and totes
  • Caps and headwear
  • Writing instruments like pens and pencils
  • Shirts of all different styles
  • Calendars, diaries, and planners

These are practical items that most anyone can use so the recipient is likely to hold onto the item and even wear it if it’s apparel-related. In turn, become walking billboards for the company whose logo and information are on them, which enhances the potential ROI. These items also have considerable room to put critical contact information, including name, address, phone, email and website address.

In Review

Here is a summary of the key ideas about promo products and why and how they deliver a significant return on investment:

  • They cost less per impression than traditional marketing channels like television, radio, and magazines, which immediately drives up the return.
  • Those that receive them either keep them or pass them on both of which have been found to leave the recipient with a positive impression of the company and a greater likelihood of buying from them.
  • Promo products should be suited to certain demographics but the overall products that do best are bags, headgear, writing instruments, shirts and calendars.


Source: Advantages Magazine, Feb 2011, p. 107

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piggy bank1 300x199 Branded Merchandise Must Haves Under $10

Branded merchandise doesn’t have to eat up your entire marketing budget, and one can look beyond pens and magnets for low-cost options. Check out these top ten low-cost promotional products that can effectively help you achieve strategic goals:

trans Branded Merchandise Must Haves Under $10Brilliant Branded Merchandise Below $10

  • Apparel – While you may think apparel is off-limits at this price point, there is an array of wearable branding available like t-shirts, hats, and headbands
  • Golf accessories – Golf is the ultimate relationship sport, so branding some favorite accessories for current or prospective clients is a great way to keep your logo and messaging top-of-mind
  • Drinkware – Whether it is a wine or champagne glass, beer stein or coffee mug, you can satisfy your customers’ thirst for a great brand and fill their mind with your corporate messages.
  • Health and safety – Offering something practical and personal can equate your brand with customer care and concern.
  • Sporting goods and outdoor products – Appeal to your client’s leisure interests with bargain items like stadium cushions, Frisbees, grill covers or coolers.

Penny Promotional Items Under $1

Then there are those branded merchandise items that are well under $10, but still allow you to build your brand with clients and prospective customers:

  • Food and drink items – One of the best ways to a client’s business and loyalty can be through their stomach. From chocolate boasting your company name and logo to custom-labeled water bottles or refreshing breath mints, these items will leave clients and prospects “hungry” for what you offer them.
  • Pins and tattoos – These have the benefit of sticking to your customer, making them a walking billboard, or provide a way to have your logo in plain sight.
  • Stress balls – Help clients unwind with this fun, affordable, and practical item that can be kept on a desk. It’s a reminder that you are on their side to help them feel better.
  • Business supplies – From desk pads and address books to bookmarks and letter openers, branded business supplies will be put through the paces and remind clients you offer practical solutions.
  • Fun or silly products – Business marketing doesn’t have to be stuffy. Why not make your clients laugh or smile with a banner pin, blinking ball, or flying torpedo?


Consider these takeaways on how to build your brand through branded merchandise for less:

  • Be creative and find items that are memorable and practical for your clients and prospective customers.
  • Pick items that can be displayed somewhere so that others can see your company name, turning your merchandise into a mobile billboard.
  • Select a branded products company that can offer a wide range of items to choose from, especially with a large variety under $10 and even under $1.
  • Consider offering different seasonal items throughout the year, which clients and prospects will consider relevant.

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