Walking Billboards: The Advertising Approach to Promotional Products

When you put all of your resources into traditional advertising, there's a good chance you are missing out on the power of custom promotional products. What some companies fail to realize is that both of these mediums are two sides of the same coin, both generating interest in your brand by using imagery to tell stories while building an emotional connection with your audience.

Well-crafted promotional products that are unique to your brand, such as screen printed t-shirts and custom hats, have the ability to generate thousands of valuable impressions per item. These products advertise your brand in the real world, enhancing consumers' lives beyond the reach of a website or magazine advertisement.

Eight out of 10 people own at least one promotional product. Make sure your brand is the one to give it to them. Read below to learn how you can approach your brand's promotional items with the same mentality that you apply to your advertising.

The Advertiser’s Playbook

Effective advertising takes time and multiple impressions. The majority of the most persuasive ads aren’t forcing an immediate sale on you the first time you watch them. This may seem counterintuitive.

When you think about the perfect ad, you may imagine a scene or message so compelling that it makes the viewer instantly jump up and buy the product. That’s a nice idea, but, realistically, rarely happens in real life.

Most ads are most effective by creating positive memories and feelings in people over time. For example, if somebody sees a commercial for Wal-Mart, they might not act upon it right away.

Instead, when they’re driving by the store at a later time, they might feel more compelled to stop in to buy a few things. While the ad didn't result in an immediate response to the call-to-action, it set the stage for a later visit by the consumer.

The foundation of a strong ad is a simple, memorable message. It's important to first come up with a creative concept that your advertisement intends to portray. This concept and the feeling you are trying to evoke in your audience will influence the font, color scheme, imagery and style of the ad.

Storytelling is a tried and true way to gain attention with your advertisements. Using an engaging story to convey your simple message will increase your brand’s mindshare over time. This same principle is applied to designing unique promotional products for your business.

Using Promotional Products

Your brand can apply similar strategies for crafting your promotional product campaigns. After all, promotional products are just a fashionable medium for advertising. While you can’t pay for advertising space on people’s shirts, gifting them with custom apparel that they want to wear will advertise your brand for you.

The challenge is to make your custom merchandise so good that people will really want it. Many companies resort to the cheapest options, like pens and pins. These items, although inexpensive to produce at mass quantities, are not going to make an emotional connection with the recipients.

Custom merchandise can be a powerful tool for making a strong impression on your audience when done correctly. Use your creative concept as the basis for designing your unique promotional product.

Don’t just make some t-shirts with your logo plastered across the front to “get the word out.” Make clothing and items that authentically express your specific brand message.

Take our client, House of Blues, for example. The design of their collection and the selection of each piece do a great job of speaking to the ethos of their brand.

Let the quality and design of the product speak for your brand. It is well worth the investment to partner with a branding agency that has the creative expertise - and bandwidth - to create something memorable that will resonate with your audience.

There is a basic tradeoff in quality and quantity with regards to what you can give away for free. Many brands find the balance in giving away some more affordable items, such as tote bags while merchandising screen printed hoodies and other high-end promotional items in their retail store.

Ideas Worth Remembering

If you want your ideas to spread, they need to be worth remembering. Don't foolishly skip the process of developing a meaningful message, and go straight to a catalog of meaningless promo items - or "tchotchkes" if you will. Take some time to consider the core values of your brand. How can unique promotional products be used to express those values?

Ready to get your promotional products campaign out the door? Skip the learning curve, and partner with our branding agency today. Collaborate with our team for a seamless design and production process.

References: theatlantic.com