Giving Is Gaining – The Promotional Product Psychology

Posted on Mar 3 2014 - 9:55am by Lana Wilde

To appreciate the act of giving is to accept a certain level of warmth and competence. These two traits are vital for companies to behold in order for consumers to lend their trust to. Promotional products, which remain as one of the earliest tangibles in company advertising, give brands the power to offer these characteristics in physical form. With businesses in American markets, for example, pumping in over $20 billion a year giving away free products, it’s no wonder that the business of ‘promotional products’ is one that undoubtedly makes a remarkable difference in brand visibility.

Why are Promotional Products Effective?

The psychology of promotional products is unique, in that it opens up the initial relationship with customers and clients by the simple act of giving, and hopefully leads to the act of receiving – a single-direction gesture that is attempting to convert into a two-way street. Humans, by nature, will generally feel the need to reciprocate the action of giving if they have been given to. There is an instinctual desire to reward “good deeds” and what makes this significant is that it is a natural tendency which transcends across all cultures and generations, all over the world. In other words: human nature.

Companies are aware of this and go to great lengths to make sure they are making the right impressions on the right people. Unlike visual ad campaigns, promotional products put a physical item directly in front of your potential clients. Not only can they see it, they can interact with it. And depending on the cleverness of your approach, it can mean the difference between night and day.

Finding the Promotional Product That is Best for You

Think about the particular types of situations and places where your target audience will be thinking about utilizing your product or services.

If your main customer base consists of office or corporate-types, why not consider the ‘tried, tested, and true’ approach of sticky notes? These items sit on desks all day and, more often than not, get used by people on a daily basis. If you’re considering a product that is less common and slightly more fun however, something like a stress ball can be a welcome addition to anyone’s desk.

Picture this scenario: A retail company that specializes in dealing cameras, giving away company branded USB thumb drives to potential clients.

This makes perfect sense since photographers generally spend a large portion of their time editing and transferring files on their computers. The USB thumb drive additionally functions in a multitude of useful ways and the company receives the daily subconscious impressions of their brand’s logo in the user’s everyday life. It’s a win-win!

Define your general brand message and convey it in a way that sets it apart from the competition.

In other words, think outside the box. Most companies (the ones that get lost in the crowd) will play it safe with the typical branded pens and stationery. But it’s the ones that go beyond the scope of the norm that leave lasting impressions.

If you’re a company with a less formal-demeanor, why not try utilizing metal business cards that double as a bottle opener? Sure, it may cost a little bit extra, but think about how many people would toss that card in the garbage bin. Probably not many. It also sheds a light to the client as to what your company’s personality is like. If you mix fun with the aforementioned warmth and competent characteristics, it gives off a much more attractive aura to any future clientele.

Find a product that isn’t disposable, but instead, something that will have shelf life

Typically seen at countless corporate tradeshows and conferences are the predictable branded bottles of water. Hydration is the essence of life, but since it only outputs an impression lasting just mere hours (or less considering thirst levels), consider it best to invest in a product that can be used repeatedly.

A smart and popular tactic is to distribute reusable sport water bottles (instead of regular bottled water) or reusable grocery/tote bags. Not only do these sorts of products give meaningful purposing to the end-user, but they boost your brand’s visibility every time they are put to use.

The Bigger Picture

Promotional products are a true catalyst for your brand and should help convey your company’s culture and philosophy. Consider them as informal invitations; an initial offering to extend a relationship with potential customers. The free gifts get them through the door, but it’s the warmth and competence of ‘giving’ that keeps them around.

About the Author

As an online researcher, Lana has seen numerous ways companies use in order to advertise and reach wider audience. Unsurprisingly, it turns out the custom of giving things away has withstood the novelties and remains one of the most effective strategies of offline advertising. You can check out Australian Corporate Essentials for fresh promotional product ideas.

  • Dave Whalley

    Great read, very informative. Thanks for sharing. Promoting is one way to market your brand. If you want to have some good brand awareness you can use some promotional items in support to your advertising campaign. Promotional products are cost effective marketing tool, having your company name and logo on these items guarantees lasting brand recall for your business.