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By Richard LeCount by USB4Photographers.

It would be only logical to think that in the age of digital, promotional products have become outdated and overlooked, but a new Sage report has proved that train of thought to be false. It has been revealed that promotional items still hold great value to a brand, having the ability improve brand equity and steer customers and prospects to make purchases. In fact, it was found that branded mugs were more effective than radio and television when it came to advertising.

Of those individuals that had been given a promotional item, 53% still use it at least once a week and 60% admit to keeping it for two years. 55% of people had previously been a customer of the company before receiving their item, while 85% went on to do business afterwards – proving how much power these items have.

With many businesses choosing to direct most of their budget towards a digital presence, promotional and branded items are often ignored. However, they are an extremely effective tool when it comes to increasing brand recognition; 89% of people concur with this, declaring that they could recall the brand of a promotional item that they had received in the last two years.

Promotional items are one of the oldest advertising strategies and enormous psychological impact. When we are gifted an item, our natural response is to give something in return; often this results in a sale, or in modern society, this also means a brand mention on social media – expanding their reach.

Marketing professionals are embracing this omni-channel response, with 83% stating that they plan to increase their spend on promotional items to support their efforts. It’s time for you to consider the ways that your business could be using branded merchandise, find below some tangible reasons.

Brand Awareness 

74% of respondents in the survey acknowledged that the key reason for using a promotional item in a campaign is to raise brand interest and awareness.

The thought process behind this is straightforward, being given a gift conjures up feelings of gratitude, which is associated with the brand that provided the item, increasing brand awareness. Once an emotional connection is established, consumers are motivated to increase their spend with a brand; this connection has been reported to double a customer’s lifetime to a business.

Providing Useful Items 

Be honest – when we think about promotional items, we instantly think about that pen that fell apart or the stress ball that lived in your draw.

But this doesn’t have to be the case; by investing in high-end and useful products, you can add real value to your audience’s lifestyle.

Consider your target audience before choosing your product, what would naturally fit into their lifestyle and engage with them? Notepads, USBs, smart phone chargers are all wide reaching and used daily, providing the user with a regular touchpoint with your brand.

The items that you give will undoubtedly bear your logo and it is of the utmost importance that they are high quality. In the same way that items can summon positive connotations of a brand, items of a poor quality and design will have the opposite impact, providing little return on investment and turning potential customers away from the brand.


Remember those personalised bottles that Coca-Cola create each summer? This ‘share a coke’ campaign is one of the most successful in the company’s history because the personalisation connected with consumers on an emotional level (the words are also a powerful call to action – something else to consider!).

Personalised items forge deeper connections, improving results in a big way.


An integral part of the promotional operation. The way in which you choose to distribute the items to your audience will have a significant bearing on how successful the campaign is.

Many businesses use promotional items to give as takeaways while at trade shows or exhibitions where they have a wide range of people to reach and establish connections with; in these instances, the items chosen need to have a mass appeal.

Another method is to choose to use items as part of a customer relations and retention exercise, the beauty of this is that you can use your businesses data and current knowledge of the customer to reach out to them in a bespoke way.


On the flip side of these campaigns is to underpin them with a digital presence too. Looking to the ‘share a coke’ campaign, there was a social media element that invited consumers to share images of them using the items, while this may not be applicable to your business, it provides inspiration.

Your gifts also do not always need to be a physical item, instead, taking the form of a personalised email campaign or social media post, invoking the coveted emotional response.

It’s important to consider the desired perception of your brand and design your campaign and items around achieving this. Simply put, a promotional item that is useful and of high quality will behave as a daily reminder that your brand has a lot to offer to the consumer.

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