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Promotional Product Ideas That Help Your Business Stand Out

Promotional giveaways. Branded swag. The single best reason to go to a tradeshow. Call it what you want, but the results are the same: promotional items with your company name on them are powerful tools for earning major brand points. Every item is an ad for your company, one that’s engaging and offers some level of value to every person you share it with. What’s more, depending on the item’s “shelf life,” you’ll continue earning brand impressions every time they look at or use your promotional item. This is a great way to build brand trust and familiarity. Studies show that most consumer buying decisions are based on memory: when someone needs what you offer, you want them to think of you first. The best way to do this is simply to stay top of mind. This helps you avoid getting lost in the sea of ads and brands that are fighting for your audience. Here’s how valuable promotional items can be to your business and our top picks for branded items and gear:

Promotional Products: The 411 on ROI

Measuring the success of your promotional products isn’t as straightforward as, say, ad clicks and conversions. A lot of promotional items' success comes from consumer sentiments and long-term relationships - things that can’t be fully quantified. When it comes to promotional products, ROI takes on a new definition: return on impressions. It’s not a matter of measuring dollar spend to revenue, but rather about making strong, positive impressions on the people who receive your gifts. There are some ways you can gauge whether promotional items are a good investment for your marketing budget. For starters, promo items make for low-cost impressions. Consider that one item equals at least one impression, so if a branded pen costs you 69 cents, then you’re spending 69 cents per impression. Now, imagine how many times your recipient will use that pen. Every time they jot down a note or sign their name with your pen, the cost per impression continues to drop. In addition, research shows that 69% of people will pick up a branded promo item if they find it useful, while six in 10 people keep useful promotional items for up to two years or more. When you choose items that have staying power, you’re more likely to get the ROI you expect - and then some. Need some inspiration for your next branded giveaway? Here are top picks for the best promotional items with staying power:

1. Hand Sanitizer

If ever there was a perfect time to choose hand sanitizer as a branded item, it’s during our current pandemic. This is an item that’s guaranteed to get the love and attention it deserves. People will love the on-the-go convenience of a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer. Plus, when the bottle is empty, it’s easy to refill and keep using (and seeing your brand!). Consider adding a silicone carrying case that makes it easy to strap to a backpack, laptop bag, or purse for easy access.

2. Phone Accessories

Just about every adult in the U.S. now owns a smartphone. They power our daily lives and have changed the way we communicate, shop, and do business. Things like low batteries, inaccessibility, or a lack of hands-free functionality simply aren’t acceptable in this day and age. That’s why phone accessories are such hot branded items at the moment. Microfiber screen cleaning cloths for devices are a great way to keep fingerprints at bay. Cell phone accessories like pop sockets help make it easier and more comfortable to hold larger devices. Or, grab some phone stands so your recipients can prop up their phone during calls and give their hands a break. You can also assemble your own branded cell phone technology kits, complete with a charging cable, USB adapter, earbuds, or other savvy accessories people will use.

3. Face Masks

Face masks are an up-and-coming promotional item, given the current state of the pandemic. Many people prefer a colorful, stylish fabric mask vs. the paper ones. You can add your name and logo to it and give them a fashionable alternative that they’ll actually use. Even better, offering a face mask is a subtle way to let your recipients know you care. The pandemic doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, so your audience might enjoy having an extra mask to keep in their car, laptop bag, or some other place that’s convenient for them. Plus, everyone who sees their mask will also gain an impression of your brand!

4. Pens

The classic go-to promotional item, no brand should be without a collection of company pens. This is one of the most useful branded items that no one can ever have too many. Most people won’t turn down a high-quality pen when offered to them. Even better, pens come in a range of different styles and price points. Choose bulk bargain pricing when handing out pens at trade shows and events or leaving a cup of pens on your front counter. Or, splurge for high-end pens to send as client gifts or employee recognition.

5. Travel Bottles and Mugs

Skip the plain old coffee mug and opt for one that travels well. Insulated travel bottles, travel mugs, and tumblers with lids and straws are a step above the typical branded cup. They’re more stylish, sleek, and functional, plus people tend to hold onto them for longer. And because they’re easy to travel with, they also add a layer of versatility: home, office, gym, school, on the go - there are tons of possibilities! Something to look for when choosing a travel bottle or mug is whether it’s dishwasher safe. Ideally, choose one that doesn’t require extra steps to wash or that might accidentally end up in the dishwasher and get ruined.

6. Umbrellas

If you’re looking to extend the shelf life of your promotional item, you can’t go wrong with an umbrella. They’re functional and can be “life savers” in a moment of need. They might get used every day, but that can also be a good thing since less use means they’ll last longer. Umbrellas are also seen as a high-value item. They’ll appreciate the extra thought and cost that goes into their gift and feel like they’re one of a lucky few.

7. Lip Balm

Lip balm is a welcomed promotional item year-round. In the winter, cold temperatures and winds can leave the lips feeling dry, so your branded lip balm can come to the rescue. During the summer, lip balm with SPF is a major win since people spend more time outdoors. Most lip balms contain Vitamin E, which nourishes sensitive skin and leaves it feeling moisturized. It’s a giveaway that makes sense for just about any brand or use case, from charity golf events to holiday parties to tradeshows and more.

8. Branded T-Shirts

Company T-shirts look good on everyone, regardless of skin color, body type, height, or style preference. This is another item that can help you spread the impressions beyond the people who receive your T-shirts. When someone gets a T-shirt from a company, there’s usually a story behind it. This gives them a chance to share with others how they got the shirt (e.g., won it as a prize, etc.), which means more chances for others to talk about your brand! Something to keep in mind when ordering branded T-shirts is choosing whether to spend a little on quality. Good quality T-shirts will last longer, won’t shrink or fade after just a couple of washes, and keep your logo looking sharp. Upgrading to a nicer fabric also reflects in your brand, and people will appreciate the extra thought you put into your promo item.

9. Cooler Bags

Though parties and get-togethers are largely on hold right now, cooler bags are still among the top promo items people love and want. A shoulder-sized cooler bag makes traveling convenient when you don’t need a whole cooler full of drinks and snacks. Many insulated cooler bags can hold up to 6-12 cans or a couple bottles of wine plus ice. Use it as a lunchbox, take it to a block party, or bring it along on your next camping or hiking trip. They also come in various sizes and colors, so you can choose a color that best represents your brand to build even more recognition!

10. Power Banks

There’s never been a better time to jump on the technology gift-giving trend than now. The power bank market itself is expected to top $13.4 billion by 2025, with hundreds of millions of units sold each year. Power banks continue to be a favorite promotional item among companies and customers alike. It underscores the importance of technology in our lives, as a low or dead battery can bring life to a screeching (yet temporary) halt. They’re perfect for getting a quick charge when a wall outlet isn’t available or during a dreaded power outage at home. Hands down, a power bank is something that will get plenty of use and continue making positive brand impressions, which means your small investment will pay off in spades.

11. Screen Cleaner Cloths

Touchscreen devices are the norm today, and fingerprints are a natural and unavoidable part of it. A convenient screen cleaner cloth can help avoid one of life’s little nuisances. The soft, washable cloth can fit snugly within a phone case and wipe away fingerprints and smudges with nearly no effort. Plus, they can also use their cloth on their laptop screens or other devices that need sensitive cleaning care.

12. Beanies

Snuggly warm beanies will always be a favorite wintertime accessory. They come in a variety of colors to match up with your brand and offer the warm, fuzzy feelings you want people to associate with your company. They’re also useful, giving your customers all the more incentive to hold onto them for a long time. If you’re giving beanies as a special gift, consider having the recipient’s name embroidered on them. It’s an extra layer of personalization they can’t help but notice, and they’ll appreciate you going the extra mile of making their gift special.

13. Notepads

If you want to be front and center on a client’s desk every day, a branded notepad is the way to go. Even though many offices are moving toward a paperless workday, most people still love the convenience of paper when jotting down a quick note or taking a message for someone else. Notepads are also an item that travels. Every time a note is passed off to someone else, your brand gets to make another impression. If you want to elevate those impressions, opt for a quality paper that blends texture with visual aesthetic.

14. Holiday Ornaments

If you’re looking for a gift-giving item during the holidays, ornaments are a fun choice. Colorful shatterproof balls, flat wooden discs, snowflakes, stars, and trees come in every color and size you can imagine. Add your company name and logo and a warm holiday message to make the experience more personalized. As you might have guessed, holiday ornaments won’t impress your recipients year-round, but they will offer cheer every holiday season. You instantly become part of their holiday decorating tradition for as long as they have your ornament. And that’s pretty special.

15. Journals

If you love the idea of a personal, useful gift, consider the benefits of a journal. A softbound journal looks expensive and gives them a place to record their thoughts and ideas. It’s perfect for busy professionals who have too many papers to manage and want to get organized. And who knows? Their next big idea might just make it onto the pages you gave them. If you give a journal as a promotional item, consider including a branded pen with it. It’s a complete gift set that’s thoughtful, unique, and will be very much appreciated.

16. Leather Portfolios

Along the same vein as a journal, branded leather portfolios offer a high-end look and feel that will wow your best clients and employees. Even though most professionals use their laptops and smartphones for business, the portfolio still holds a special place among many. Leather looks professional and expensive and will likely get used instead of being shoved in a desk drawer. If you’re giving a leather portfolio as a gift, don’t forget to include a personal, handwritten message on the first sheet of paper. It will skyrocket your gift’s value and show you put a lot of thought into the gift.

17. Golf Shirts

Offering a golf shirt as a promotional gift will give you instant luxury brand status. These shirts are of higher quality than your run-of-the-mill cotton T-shirt and are more likely to be worn by your very important clients and customers. If you know your recipients love playing golf (or simply appreciate the look and feel of a sporty golf shirt), then you’ve found the perfect promo item.

18. Bluetooth Speaker

Bluetooth speakers have come a long way in terms of sound quality. They can pack a lot of sound into a small device and can go just about anywhere. They make excellent additions to executive desks and kitchen countertops alike, giving users an easy way to amp up the sound on their smartphones. You can get Bluetooth speakers by themselves, or pair them in a technology kit complete with charging cable and power bank, all in a beautifully branded package that’s ideal for gift giving.

19. Hot/Cold First Aid Packs

Health and wellness promotional items are trending hot, and for good reason. They’re extremely useful, convenient, and inexpensive, plus you can find a variety of items in a color that fits your brand. Hot and cold gel packs are a great choice because they’re so versatile. Your customers or employees can toss them in a gym bag to use after workouts or keep a few in a first aid kit at home or when traveling. They can be heated or frozen for quick pain relief and are easy to clean and care for.

20. Compact First Aid Kits

Even though the items in a first aid kit are disposable, don’t forget that the case itself is likely to stick around for years. And since that’s the part that will host your company name and logo, compact first aid kits make an excellent promo item. These kits are small enough to fit into any bag or glove box and provide much-welcomed relief in a pinch. And once all the bandages, swabs, and wipes are gone, it’s easy to restock and use it again. You never know when a minor emergency might arise, and they’ll be glad to know you had them covered in a moment’s notice! How will you use promotional items in your marketing? Contact us today for inspiration, ideas, and free quotes on branded products!

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