When you think of a cola-flavored soft drink, you’re likely to think of Coke. Coca-Cola is a product so well-branded, we also call generic versions of its product “coke”—an honor few products can claim (two notable exceptions are Kleenex-brand facial tissues and Scotch-brand cellophane tape. You might not have these specific brands in your possession, but if someone asks you for a Kleenex or a roll of Scotch tape, you know exactly what they’re talking about.)
How do you get YOUR brand to become so famous, it has imitators—so famous it becomes synonymous with the product itself? The process is called “branding,” and it involves getting and keeping your company’s name in front of people who might buy and use your product.
Promotional items are ambassadors of your brand
Nothing makes a bigger impression than a name that we can see. We are primarily visual creatures, and your name (and logo) can have a significant impact, especially if they are part of an item that’s used every day. Promotional items are little gifts that a potential buyer is likely to use frequently, so they keep seeing that name and logo. Whether it’s stamped on a calendar or printed along the edge of a pencil, a the visual impact of a company’s name lasts longer when it’s stamped on something the customer can hold in their hands. Potential customers might forget the billboard they drive past, but they’ll remember the person who gave them their favorite pen. A printed ad will end up recycled and discarded, out of sight – but the calendar bearing your company’s logo is likely to hang around (literally) for an entire year! That’s a lot of branding mileage for one item.
Choosing branding items wisely
To keep your company’s brand in front of potential customers, you’ll want to choose items that last. Associate your name only with high-quality promotional materials. You do not want your company’s brand to come to mind connected with a lanyard that helped someone lose their name tag or a pen that leaked in their purse. It’s great if you can pick promotional items that relate to your business in some way, even if you have to stretch a little (example: An umbrella printed with “If the rain is making your grass grow, call Lulu’s Lawn Service.”) But everyone needs pens, paper pads, and keychains. Thumb drives might be the perfect promo item for computer service, but every business can use portable digital storage. And every time someone uses that drive, there’s your company’s name—branding itself!
The latest in promo materials
Measuring tapes, first-aid kits, and water bottles are perennial promo favorites, but within the last few years, a few surprising items have also surged in importance. Face masks and hand sanitizer keychains are more useful than we might have imagined a decade ago, and your potential customers might appreciate those transparent plastic cases that hold vaccination cards. You can have your company’s name and logo printed on just about anything—so stay aware of trends and always think branding!