Grow and Differentiate Your Brand with Promotional Products

“Promotional products have often been overlooked, but savvy marketers realize the impact promotions have in reaching a specific target audience,” – Jodi Rudick

Businesses can choose to deploy small items – such as pens, pencils, T-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, etc. – branded with a company logo or a corporate slogan to promote their products and services. Entrepreneurs, brand owners, brand managers, and marketing men use promotional products at trade shows, conferences, and business meetings to broadcast a brand name among potential customers and members of the public. The logic of the promotional approach to marketing lies in dispersing the means that spur brand recognition in the public eye. This in turn leads to brand growth and differentiation. Enterprises must take care not to inflict mechanistic brand promotion strategies on consumers, but to invest significant thought and effort into the conception of such strategies. An overtly cheap plastic accessory may damage a brand image; therefore, the material that is used to create promotional products should be durable and must conform to certain standards of product quality. When marketing campaigns premised on promotional products are conducted adroitly, the outcomes may include an enhanced mind share among customers, customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and higher goodwill towards a brand.

Consider this: a real estate management agency that is working to establish its commercial moorings can craft a marketing campaign through the use of promotional products. The motive behind the use of the said strategy is to establish the agency’s brand identity in a competitive market and to acquire clients for the business. The small items stated could be manufactured in substantial numbers at lower costs and embossed with the agency logo. These items can then be dispersed in public areas, such as shopping malls, commercial buildings, railway stations, construction sites, cinema houses, etc. Additional means of raising public awareness may include the creation of small pop-up kiosks in public areas, newsstands, shopping destinations, outdoor festivals, etc. We note that these activities help the real estate management agency to create and sustain public awareness, while helping to shape a distinct brand image among members of the public. This approach to marketing also signals the brand’s arrival to competitors.

Every brand, whether of long standing or recent vintage, should allot a section of its annual marketing budget to the creation and distribution of promotional products. We note that this strategy is essentially a low cost approach to raising brand awareness. The various items that can be embossed with a brand logo or a company slogan can help to refresh the brand image in the public eye. Most of the promotional products tend to have a marked utilitarian value and therefore customers and members of the public can use these products in their daily lives. This helps to create repeated brand exposure in a variety of settings and circumstances, thereby raising the prospects of creating a larger pool of customers. Further, we must bear in mind that the competitive markets of modern times offer an endless variation of brand names, products, and services; this makes it mandatory for most brands to work harder in their brand promotion efforts to boost brand recall and brand recognition.

Modern technology has enabled human life in a multitude of ways in the present world. In light of the above, we may note that not every aspect of promotional products needs to be restricted to material objects. For instance, an anti-virus software maker can create a promotional strategy around electronic coupons. The compact disc-borne merchandise of the said manufacturer can be affixed with a short code that buyers can enter into their computer systems. The said code can help enhance the functionality of the anti-virus software. The electronic coupon can be said to bridge the ‘digital divide’ because the printed sticker affixed to the compact disc represents a material object, while the functionality operates in cyber space. We note that this is another instance of a promotional product (the low-cost piece of computer code), which can help the software maker to re-affirm customer confidence in its brand.

Automobile makers generally create and market a wide range of automobiles to the full spectrum of customers that populate the market. This industry is subject to ‘cycles’ and is sensitive to a whole range of market conditions, such as the fluctuating cost of raw materials, the government policies of the day, regulatory interventions, customer demand, import policies, fresh competition, etc. We note that automakers can resort to using promotional products such as exactly scaled desktop replicas of popular automobiles to gain and enhance the customer’s mind share. The creation of high quality scale models of upmarket vehicles for presentation to select customers can be considered as an escalation of the said strategy. The outcomes of such business strategies can be significant. However, the costs of creating such desktop models may considerably outstrip the costs of mass-producing plastic freebies, but automakers may consider this as one of the costs of doing business in a competitive market.

Promotional marketing campaigns should be designed to create a clear co-relation to the promotional products and the business enterprise. For instance, a holiday tour operator may choose to invest in a marketing campaign centred on quality pieces of headgear for vacationers headed to sunny destinations. The brand logo on the product can help to broadcast the tour operator’s brand, while the quality of the said product can shade vacationers from the sun. This case is a clear instance that demonstrates the working relationship between a brand’s business and its choice of a promotional product. The business case here hinges on the fact that a brand must not be careless in terms of selecting a promotional product, because such carelessness can erode brand value and in the worst case scenario, may promote brand confusion.

Niche market operators need to operate within the confines of their selected market. For instance, a manufacturer of high quality women’s cosmetic products – such as make up and lipstick – may choose to provide a fillip to its brand name by offering a first rate vanity mirror to its customers. This is an instance of using promotional products to combat the market competition. This is true of manufacturers who operate in a crowded market, which caters to a limited target audience. The said campaign hinges on the vanity mirror and may boost merchandise sales in the short term, but the quality of the promotional product and the brand name of the manufacturer is sure to resonate in customers’ minds for a considerable length of time. We may state that this presents a classic instance of matching the product to the promotional merchandise; it can also be inferred that market competitors may try and duplicate this marketing strategy, but the said manufacturer retains the first mover advantage in any case.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined some of the strategies through which a brand can deploy promotional products to reinforce its brand image. Timing the promotional offer and giving away a quality product should be the ideal planks on which businesses must activate this strategy. Every business enterprise can use such strategies to boost business outcomes, but must be careful to invest sufficient thought and resources to harvest the full benefit from the market.


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