Research shows that promotional products offer the highest rate of return on an advertising investment because they reach out to customers and clients directly, offering a more tactile and immediate experience on a regular basis. For instance, when it comes to advertising recall, promotional products win over other traditional advertising methods with a recall rate of 82.7 per cent and the Christmas and New Year gifting period is a great opportunity to capitalise on this.The rise of digital in the workplace has accelerated the growth of the age of personalisation, but this growth is not limited to the online, digital world. Coca Cola?s recent “Share a Coke” campaign for example ? which saw the company produce personalised bottles of the famous drink ? was the brand?s most successful marketing campaign and sparked a frenzy across the nation. This concept is ripe for replication on corporate branded products for marketing purposes and promotion. Whilst producing personalised branded products used to require either a huge budget or a massive production run, this is no longer the case. It is also important to plan your purchases carefully and ensure they are part of a well thought through strategy as no matter how economical you are, any spend will be wasted if you do not purchase wisely. Here are five tips to ensure you purchase branded products that work for you: (1) Think about the end user ? it is important to make sure that you choose branded products and business gifts carefully, and that they are something your customer will actually want to use ? not something that they?ll simply open and then immediately drop into a drawer, never to be seen again. We are all consumers after all, and no one wants to use a product that is poor quality, or looks tacky. A good starting point, is ask yourself, “would it delight you?” (2) Stand out from the crowd ? so often we hear people say, “I was at an event the other day and everyone had these items so we want some”. While such widespread use of an item might be an indicator of what to opt for, popularity with givers doesn?t automatically equate to popularity with receivers! Don?t select something that is likely to become undervalued due to its popularity or go out of date quickly. (3) Match product to brand ? it sounds like common sense, but it?s important to select a product and customisation technique which mirrors your brand. Whether your company is a creative agency or one with a lot of family heritage, it?s important to reflect this in the product. Something far removed from your company?s ethos or industry is likely to be misunderstood and undervalued. Don?t forget that the packaging needs to complement the product and your brand too. It undermines your message if, for example, you give a high quality notebook with a classic, heritage look foil print on and hand it out to recipients in a cheap, modern plastic bag. (4) Keep longevity in mind ? For the best return on investment, select an item that will be used more than fleetingly as you want your brand message to remain at the forefront of the customers mind. For instance, a high-quality branded leather iPad case is going to last longer and be used much more than a branded packet of mints that will get eaten within days! It?s also likely to be seen by more people at meetings, while travelling and by colleagues in an office. (5) Personalisation is key ? the personal touch can make a real difference when it comes to boosting that brand awareness, making you more memorable from your competitors, demonstrating your company?s attention to detail and how you can go that extra mile to achieve something truly special. You should think about whether your branded product is going to make the individual receiving it feel valued by you. One of our customers really focused on this by having an individual, personal thank you message to each recipient on the first page of a notebook. Still lost and not sure what to opt for? If you find yourself a good supplier, they will be able to help with all of the above and advise on the best ways to achieve your objectives. This could be as simple as selecting the right item for you, or advising on the best way to customise your product in line with your brand, in ways that you might not have even thought about. By getting it right, you will be able to develop a strong and reputable brand, which is imperative to raising your profile, and ultimately your bottom line. Laura Turner is co-founder of Noted In Style.
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