As a marketer, you’ve probably been asked to produce branded promotional items for an event, seminar, customer visit, or some other activity. And if you’re like most, you quickly discovered there are lots of items to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and advantages.
Choosing the right promotional giveaway for your business, event and audience is equal parts art and science. You want something that is appropriate for the occasion and budget. You want something that will create a stronger connection with your brand while accurately reflecting your corporate identity and messaging. And you want something that will be used and therefore provide greater exposure for your brand over time.
Budget constraints will probably play a critical—perhaps even over inflated—role in the selection process. You want to maximize ROI and impressions (the number of eyeballs that see the item) without compromising quality. The size of the expected audience must also be considered; a smaller event with fewer attendees allows you to spend more per piece. Finally, you want to tailor the giveaway to the audience itself; a technical crowd will be more interested in gadgets while sales and marketing groups might prefer, say, apparel, office supplies or kitchenware.
This blog will explore the various categories of branded merchandise and how they might help you achieve your overarching goals.
Types of Branded Promotional Items
Custom branded apparel is a popular choice for businesses looking to promote their brand. Not only is it practical and wearable, items such as T-shirts, hats and jackets also serve as walking billboards for your brand. They can be worn outside the event, which means they continue to promote your brand long after the initial distribution. Branded apparel can also be used as a “uniform” by employees, creating a cohesive and professional image for your company.
Tech gadgets—everything from branded USB drives to wireless chargers—are increasingly popular as promotional items. Not only are they practical; tech gadgets also have a high perceived value, making them a great way to show your appreciation. Best of all, tech gadgets are associated with innovation and the latest trends, so your business benefits by the association with such appealing merchandise.
Drinkware such as water bottles, coffee mugs and tumblers are practical items that are perfect for businesses looking to promote a healthy lifestyle. Typically made from durable materials like stainless steel or high-quality plastic, drinkware can withstand frequent use over a long period of time, providing extended exposure for your brand and maximizing the impact of your promotional efforts.
Bags & Backpacks
Branded bags and totes are ideal for events and trade shows. In addition to being extremely practical, they also offer a large surface area for branding. And since they are often reused by customers long after the event, these items provide long-lasting exposure and more impressions for your brand. Bags and backpacks are often seen as fashion accessories, so offering a stylish and functional design will help your customers or employees make a fashion statement while also promoting your brand.
Pens make great branded promotional items because they are practical, affordable, customizable, and have a high perceived value. They can be purchased in bulk at a low cost per unit to distribute widely at large events, increasing impressions. For valued customers or employees, pricier sets are seen as thoughtful and practical gifts that reflect well on your brand.
Notebooks, Journals & Notepads
Notebooks and journals make nice event giveaways because they are practical, portable, and have a long lifespan, which ensures ongoing exposure for your brand. Notebooks and journals are also highly customizable, allowing you to create a unique and eye-catching design that aligns with your brand. identity. Best of all, notebooks and journals suggest a certain level of sophistication and elegance—an impression that benefits your brand.
Phones are ubiquitous. That means branded accessories like cases, chargers and PopSockets are highly visible, increasing brand awareness among potential customers. Phone accessories also align your brand with technology and innovation, positioning your company as modern and forward-thinking—important in today's fast-paced, ever-changing digital world.
Kitchenware makes for highly practical and useful promotional items that will be seen and appreciated well after the event. Typically made from rugged and high-quality materials, kitchenware has a long lifespan and will be used for years to come. And the variety of items—from cutting boards to cooking utensils—gives you lots of opportunities to find the perfect promotional gift.
Food & Beverages
Food and beverages are highly popular and appreciated gifts. Frequently shared and consumed in social situations, branded food and beverage items offer tremendous exposure and establish a positive association with your brand. The only drawback: they tend to be consumed quickly, which limits brand impressions over time.
Home & Comfort Products
High-quality home products associate your brand with pleasant qualities like comfort, relaxation, and happiness. From blankets to candles, home and comfort items are typically made of high-quality materials, which means that they have a long lifespan and will continue to be used for years to come. And because they used every day, your logo will be seen and appreciated often.
Beauty & Bath
Everyone enjoys feeling clean and refreshed. High-quality branded beauty and bath products will link your brand to positive aspirations such as cleanliness, self-care, and relaxation. These products include a wide variety of options, from soaps to lotions, allowing you to choose the perfect item that best aligns with your brand and promotional goals.
Toys & Games
High-quality toys and games associate your brand with fun, creativity, and enjoyment, making them highly appreciated gifts. Enjoyed by people of all ages and demographics, toys and games are highly versatile promotional items that target a wide audience and will be enjoyed for years to come.
Branded desk accessories are practical items that are typically associated with professionalism and productivity, creating a positive brand impression for your company. Almost everyone has workspace, whether at home or in the office, so desk accessories have wide appeal and can be targeted at a highly diverse audience.
Health & Fitness
Health and fitness products capitalize on the growing trend of health consciousness, providing long-term benefits to the user by promoting positive habits and a healthy lifestyle. By offering branded health and fitness products, you can associate your company with the same qualities of health, wellness, and vitality.
Outdoor & Camping
Outdoor products appeal to more active audiences. Typically constructed of durable material, outdoor products can provide long-term benefits to the user while maximizing the impact of your promotional efforts. By associating your brand with adventure, exploration, and outdoor living, you capture the minds of people who enjoy outdoor living.
Awards & Recognition
Awards like plaques and trophies can be used to celebrate an achievement or milestone by a customer or employee, showing them that you value their hard work and dedication. Awards and plaques are often associated with prestige and honor, creating a positive impression of your brand. And since they are kept and displayed for years, awards can provide long-term exposure for your brand.
Car accessories are used by drivers daily, providing a practical, useful, and longtime promotional opportunity for your brand. Car accessories are particularly relevant for companies that promote automotive products.
“Kits” is a generic term to describe a collection of items in a single package that can be used together or individually. Kits, which can be assembled for everything from emergency preparedness to first aid, are highly flexible and customizable, allowing you to add your logo to elements of the packaging, to individual items within the package, or all of the above.
Travel products are practical, useful, and highly appreciated items that are particularly relevant for companies that cater to an audience that travels frequently. Products like cosmetic bags, luggage and luggage tags are only some of the options for travel related products that offer tremendous opportunities for long-term brand exposure.
People have a strong emotional connection to their pets, so offering branded pet products seems an obvious way to create a positive association with your brand among pet owners. Pet products come in a variety of forms—collars, leashes, food and water bowls, toys—making them a versatile way to target a wide range of audiences while getting your brand noticed and remembered in a positive light.
The Right Item for the Right Event
Choosing the right branded promotional item depends on your business goals, target audience and budget. Different items appeal to different audiences—for example, tech gadgets may appeal to a younger demographic while bags and backpacks might be more appreciated by professionals.
The right choice will help you create a lasting impression and build a strong brand identity.