How to Choose Promotional Products to Generate Brand Awareness

Utilize trusted experts within the printing services industry to find the right strategy

The impressions that companies leave upon customers extend beyond the services or products purchased.  To create brand awareness that is long-lasting, it is necessary to cater to the mental image that reflects the beliefs about the brand.  This includes many elements, from the perceived culture of the company to the emotions and associations prompted by all encounters people have with it.  “Branding is recognized all around the world. And since we live in a culture of many different languages, sometimes the logo speaks louder than the name. Everybody likes to see their name or their company name in print and when it’s done nicely they like it even better. Our centers take pride in the quality of the products that we produce and for that reason we get a tremendous amount of repeat customers,” stated Jim Galasso, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice-President for NY/CT/NJ.

The most insightful business people are always on the hunt for new ways to enhance their brand’s image, and promotional products targeted for this purpose have repeatedly proven to work wonders when it comes to lasting impressions, causing a decline in the neutral or negative and a sharp increase in the fruitful or positive impressions.  It is only logical, then, to view an investment in promotional items as a necessary tool for building brand awareness that yields an enormously strong return, if done correctly.   Review and take advantage of the long history branded promotional products have as far as increasing brand awareness and building more trust.  The wonderful thing about these items is their range, from the trusted yet useful, to the newer technology choices.  Even the smallest business can make big strides relative to their means, right along with medium and larger-sized businesses.

“First you have to know your customer base as they are the ones you are targeting. You will want to give them something that is practical and useful. The more times customers use the product you gave them, the more they are seeing and remembering your name and the more they will buy from you. Then, you must figure out how you are going to get these products into the hands of your customers. Will you be distributing them at a local community event, trade show or arranging to mail them? This is the type of professional service that Minuteman Press franchise owners review with their clients in order to facilitate the most productive results,” said Nick Titus, Marketing Representative, Minuteman Press International.  With this understanding, here are five ways to use promotional products to generate brand awareness:

1. Fatten an existing product with extra features or offer an extra service in addition to the item (coupon, perhaps). This will help instill loyalty to the brand and maybe a greater willingness within people to refer your business services to their friends and colleagues.

2. Put a spotlight on new services that may be available. Distribute branded clothing, USB drives and flyers in a variety of settings such as local trade shows or sporting events to help potential customers learn more about your brand.

3. Keep current customers and encourage past customers to return with boldly printed branded items from pens, writing pads, t-shirts, high-quality hats to “techie” items like smartphone cases and laptop stands. You can send these gifts their way as a surprise greeting and a reminder that you care to maintain a relationship that will mutually beneficial. It costs less to keep a current customer than to be forced to replace them, so showing appreciation is an easy way to encourage them to stay.

4. Loyal employees will be happy to help spread the awareness of their brand and can do so by distributing cool things at community events in their communities or at conferences. They can hand out pens, retail-quality tote bags or branded clothing, for example. This perceived generosity will pay off, starting with grateful recipients as no complaints come when “free” is the cost, no matter what the item.

5. Let nothing get in the way of a good reputation. In fact, part of building brand awareness that matters is dependent upon imprinting that brand into the minds of current and potential customers through what is considered a gift. Craft a plan to highlight a reputation within the relevant business services industry that is thoughtful, even charitable.  Touch lives by donating branded notepads and pens to schools or daycare centers.  Check into creating and offering gift baskets to local children’s hospitals, or perhaps for new mothers in the maternity wing.  Sponsor youth organizations and humanitarian groups for even more good reputation “credit”.

Consider that something as simple as a branded pen, logo proudly displayed, is not expensive to secure and it packs a long-term punch:  Every time these individuals sign their name, they will think of the brand that stares back at them as they do it.  At every new handout, the brand displayed branches gains more and more range. Many of them will be passed around eventually and the message it bears will spread in ways not originally planned, but always beneficial. It doesn’t matter if the selected product for distribution is a water bottle or a keychain, with properly printed business information and a nice logo display, the exposure gained is constant.

Further, it has come to the point where people anticipate these gifts in the business world and maybe even consider it a ripoff when they are not presented in many situations.  They will definitely be more inclined to return with their needs to the name and image they have grown comfortable looking at and handling in these various ways. Plus, getting something for in exchange for nothing in return, the company responsible will automatically be seen in a more positive light, as generous.  And everyone loves getting something free, no matter if it’s a cell-phone charger or branded hand sanitizer; they will take them, use them and maybe even pass some on to friends.  In fact, it has been studied and observed that promotional items cause people to remember business information about brands long term and many of them are naturals when it comes to migrating from user to user, blanketing a wide area with the awareness of the brand they carry.

Upon review of multiple studies, promotional products have shown an enormously positive impact on brand awareness, revealing the fact that people receiving them show a decline in negative perceptions and have a more positive image of the company than those not receiving branded items. The difference is significant as it proves that people receiving these items (as opposed to people who don’t) are absolutely more likely to:

  • Recommend the business featured upon it to others
  • Perceive the company’s image, overall, as more positive
  • Maintain a more positive perception of the business
  • Patronize the featured business sooner and with more frequency

The Minuteman Franchise in Cambridge, MA, owner Peter Reed knows it’s important to maintain a working relationship with his customers with regard to utilizing the best promotional items for particular situations.  He shared, “Who doesn’t like getting a useful gift or a high quality piece of clothing to wear? Why not turn your employees, customers and prospects into advertisers for you and making them happy along the way. We like to work with our customers to identify interesting opportunities throughout their course of business to give such gifts. Once the opportunities have been identified, it is pretty easy to come up with a list or appropriate items that fit the moment and the receivers. Then it is all about quality – sourcing an item and branding it with the right image or message. Like anything, using promotional products to generate brand awareness takes planning, creative thinking, and a dedication to quality. Please avoid rushing the process, shooting from the hip when selecting items and making decisions based on price – such behaviors will be apparent in the final product and reflect so on your brand.”

Experts in marketing strategy, such as those at The Minuteman Press Franchise, agree on the fact that companies are ahead of the curve if they can build lasting brand awareness as it accomplishes main objectives necessary to increase sales.  Yet a campaign intended to build this awareness must remain flexible depending on how the company evolves and changes, so things can be adapted as needed.  While customers tend to determine what is valuable in ways that are known only to them, a common theme is that these varied gifts work to bring the message of every brand home, where it belongs.  Patience through this process is important because it’s an evolution of sorts and it will take time to identify what is working and it will be necessary to continue tracking the progress of each brand awareness campaign.  For this reason, it is fortunate that printing industry growth includes the area of marketing strategy and the most competent of those can be found at Minuteman Press centers in communities around the globe.

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