In our digital age many advertising budgets now allocate a sizeable proportion of the funds available to web-based marketing, and so it is easy to forget the power of a real and physical product that will be used time and time again, in spreading a brand message. Items such as a pen, key ring or canvas tote bag are however an invaluable form of branding.
There are numerous reasons why these small promotional products are powerful, not least because of the aforementioned tangibility, but also because they offer a great cost per impression value. Studies have proven that the effect of such items is a positive one, possibly more so in fact than advertising through the media, including radio, TV and the Internet.
Physical Products or Media Advertising?
An American study from 2010 entitled Global Advertising Specialities Impressions (http://www.bpma.co.uk/CMSPagePicture/image/new%20pdf/Ad%20Spec%20Impressions%20Study.pdf) looked in to the business results of promotional products versus advertising via the media, throughout various cities worldwide, and found that the former comes up more favourably. The initial reason for this is an obvious one: cost. The cost per impression of small products over advertising is vast; advertising (particularly on the radio or TV) is costly, often with minimal impressions. Even the Internet, which usually has more impressions, offers far less value for money. This makes it a more democratic and inclusive form of advertising, favouring smaller companies as well as larger PLCs.
This is even before taking the return on investment in to account. Because physical products are used by the customer, usually repeatedly, this type of branding becomes a lot more active than simply seeing or hearing a message. The study found, in fact, that such items reinforce positive connections with the brand. The study found that 41% of those interviewed in the U.S thought of a brand in a better light once they had received a promotional product from them.
Everybody Loves A Freebie!
Aligned with this is the fact that everyone loves a freebie; there’s no doubt that at trade shows people will naturally gravitate towards stands that have free promotional items on offer. Not only then does this product have an immediately positive effect, drawing people to your stand, but it also has an ongoing positive impact when the product is taken away and used.
The crux in establishing and reinforcing any brand is with customers recognizing and identifying with it. This study found that 83% of those who owned a branded product could identify that brand. When you consider that the study also found that such a product is kept, on average, for just under 6 months, and used up to 20 times per month, the power of using such promotional tools becomes clear.
All companies, regardless of size, would clearly benefit from using promotional products. In fact, given that the cost compared to other advertising channels is so small and, it can be claimed, the results are better, it seems the use of such items is essential in increasing brand exposure.