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Can promotional products ever make great gifts?

Ever wondered how promotional products are perceived by the consumer once received?

Well, if you happen to go through PPAI’s 2016 findings, you will be surprised by the amount of positive data available.

But one interesting thing stands out from all the data PPAI gave-

A Cheap Promotional Product Promotes a Cheap Brand

During the 2016 PPAI expo, there was a general consensus that investing into high end promotional products is the best way to go.

Why?

A cheap promotional product promotes a cheap brand. Instead of giving away low quality items that will break within minutes, companies are now employing the use of longer lasting, more rewarding promotional products in their campaigns.

One player in the industry that is already employing this strategy is T-Mobile.

Under their weekly Tuesday campaign “Get Thanked”, the company offers free t-shirts, coupons and movie rentals to their esteemed customers.

The end result?

The customers who get awarded get to appreciate the brand more. Below you can see a tweet from one of their customers who got rewarded with a free movie ticket. His renewed enthusiasm towards the T-mobile brand is as clear as day.

Surprise movie tickets from t-mobile in response to twitter queries

Image Credit: T-mobile

Did you know customer appreciation when given a branded gift isn't the only factor pushing companies to invest more into merchandise?

The Power to Change Consumer Behaviour

Unknown to many companies, promotional products have the power to change the mind of the consumer.

Staggering statistics from PPAI show that, despite 55% of consumers having already done business with the advertising company before receiving a promotional product, once promotional products are introduced an increase of 11% is experienced.

Why so?

Consumers are willing to change their brand just for the sake of receiving a branded gift. No wonder 85% of consumers who receive a promotional product end up doing business with the advertising company.

The Consumer’s Choice: What do they value most?

The greatest challenge when it comes to giving away promotional products is understanding what the consumer really looks for in a branded gift.

Well, the answer is quite simple; usefulness.

A survey was carried out and it was found that seventy seven percent of consumers would take and keep a branded gift if it were useful.

Quite an interesting reveal, but not useful to your company if you do not know what the consumer deems “useful”.

For that reason, here’s a short list to help you with that.

Printed Mugs

Mugs are designed to hold liquids but when given to a consumer as a branded gift, they hold his/her mind.

The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) conducted a study where it was revealed that consumers tend to keep a mug longer than any other promotional product given to them.

This tagged along with an interesting PPAI reveal that logoed mugs are a more effective form of advertising than radio and television. As a matter of fact, 57% of consumers were able to recall the advertiser on a mug than on radio and TV.

With these statistics at hand, it’s inarguable that consumers love having mugs given to them during giveaways.

The fact that they tend to keep mugs longer and thus offer a more effective tool for brand recognition, clearly portrays the consumer’s love for them.

Branded Bags

Bags are used by almost anyone and everyone; no wonder consumers would love having them as branded gifts. An interesting survey on promotional products revealed that 31% of US consumers own a promotional bag.

The same survey also revealed that bags offer the largest impressions in the US, reaching more than six thousand.

So, what’s the deal?

Bags are amongst the best ways of gifting your esteemed consumers. Not only do they offer useful day to day use, they also impart useful impressions to other potential consumers who come across them.

Promotional Wearables

From smart watches meant to simply connect you to your Smartphone, to smart fitness devices wrapped around your wrist, wearables are fast gathering pace in the promotional product arena.

Well, some proof?

As per PPAI’s survey, wearables are becoming the most popular trend amongst consumers. 32% of product sales have already been reported to fall under this category.

You might be asking, “Why the fast pace?”

Running under the umbrella of technological devices, wearables are perceived to be classy and trendy. This perception by the consumer is what drives them to prefer wearables when being given a branded gift.

Basically, these three products are what consumers love being gifted with. But the rewards are usually not for your consumer alone.

Re-gifting passes on your brand

An average consumer stays with his/her promotional product for about six and a half months. But what happens when they want to get rid of it?

They re-gift.

This consumer trend was noted by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). Under one of their surveys, it was found that 62% of consumers who received a promotional product gave it away instead of throwing it out.

In essence, this translates to invaluable increase in impressions. Apart from the number of people who saw the promotional product through the original holder, the person to whom it has been passed on to will also create equally large impressions from the same promotional product.

This re-gifting behaviour amongst consumers is what makes promotional products have on average the least cost per impression as compared to TV, Radio and Newspaper. The full statistic can be seen in the image below.

Image credit: Brandwatch

So what's the impact?

Promotional products are with no doubt powerful when gifted to the consumer. They are able to change consumer behaviour, effectively market a brand and when re-gifted by the consumer, they yield huge impressions that promise great ROI.

The trend is also being felt by promotional products suppliers. Riding under the popularity of bags, promotional products supplier GiftSelection have had some of these branded gifts such as bags, being their best sellers.

As part of the overall marketing mix, promotional merchandise is generally underutilised. That's why there's more power for the companies who recognise the impact of putting their brands in front of customers in a tangible way.

Why Marketers should integrate personalised experiences into every campaign

Want some figures? Seeing your name in an email does the following: It increases open rates and click-through rates by as much as 26% say Experian and SilverPop, a top provider of marketing software.

It reduces unsubscribe rates by more than 60%, according to AgilOne, the predictive marketing platform.

It may increase your revenue and hack your costs, because your material is being read and your emails opened.

Experian Marketing Services found that subscribers who receive personalized content tend to follow through six times more than those who don’t.

The logic is simple. People are biologically primed to respond to their names.

Why adults never stop being babies

From earliest on, people respond to their names. In 2010, in the University of Barcelona, Spain, researchers, Eugenio Parise, Angela D. Friederici and Tricia Striano tested two groups of five-month-old infants.

One group heard their own name. The other group heard names of strangers. Brain imagery showed that certain neural areas flashed when infants heard their own name, but these same areas remained passive when they heard the names of others.

The brain areas that triggered by the babies are the same ones that light up when a person’s interested in something. There’s no coincidence that hearing your name prods you to pay attention.

As Parise and her friends put it: “By 5 months of age infants not only detect their name, but also use it as a social cue to guide their attention to events and objects in the world.”

Adults are the same. Research done through the years in different countries show that certain brain areas trigger when you hear the names of strangers and that a different batch of neural regions turn on when you hear yours. The latter batch also triggers when the person’s happy or confident. For marketers, this may mean that when you mention someone’s name, you elicit a feeling of pleasure and are more likely to get them to listen to you.

Using personalisation and promotional products boosts sales

Promotional calendars from Printkick

Multiple studies show that using a name in an email subject line will improve open rates, raise conversion rates and increase the reader’s brand loyalty, since the reader assumes the email is coming from a trusted source.

Companies can go further still and create a raft of personalised experiences for their employees or customers. Examples could include great looking writing pads branded with your customer's artwork, or personalized calendars with names merged into the print. These examples of promotional products have a greater likelihood to be kept and used, rather than thrown away.

Some major healthcare companies do that to great effect, where they provide specific marketing materials that are relevant to the client based on preference data, condition, or demographic data, or based on key terms that the individual provides.

This healthcare example shows how people find intrinsic value in products printed with their names, which also helps to build the company's brand.

It also shows how personalising just based on names isn't enough. You need to do more to keep your customers engaged.

Personalisation only works in certain situations

Jun-ichiro Kawahara of Hiroshima University, Japan, found that people only tended to respond to their name, if the post or product spoke to their needs, opinions and interests. Names could be gold-embossed or attractively styled on flashy mementos, but unless the relic echoed your client’s needs and tastes, your money would be best spent elsewhere. 

No wonder, then, that study after study shows that including names is insufficient. Yes, recipients may open your emails or buy your customized products. But if you don't personalize the entire email or product, you're unlikely to achieve the 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns that marketing research website, Campaign Monitor, says you can get.

The bottom line

A year ago, VentureBeat surveyed 506 marketers and found that four in five marketers used clients’ names in their emails. These 70% reported higher open-rates and improved revenues as a result.

Dale Carnegie was right: “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

A person’s name is powerful. Use it for all it’s worth.

Spread these names on your customised marketing products, and you'll raise the profile of your brand in your customers eyes.

Why Gen Z doesn’t care about your B2B sales pitch, and how to change it

Generation Z, born after 1995, will account for over 30 percent of UK and European consumers by 2020 and already represent £25bn in spending power in the US.

They’re a challenging market. They’re skeptical, attuned to social media probably far more than you are, have short attention span, and know how to find information, which means that they're resilient to your sales pitch.

One way to reach them is through experiential marketing.

Gen Z are hard to reach precisely because the classic AIDA model no longer applies to them. Classic marketing taught that individuals could be hooked through Attention, Desire, Interest, and Awareness.

The AIDA model appealed to the linear mindset of a pre- digital tech age, but Gen Z opened their eyes in a period awash with ipads, ipods, tablets and smartphones, which, according to many neuroscientists, may physically alter their minds.

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How to Improve Your Brand: The Psychology of Colour

Imagine Facebook without blue, Apple without white, and Orange without… well, orange.

Struggling?​

That’s because colour plays a huge role in creating a successful brand, from physical products to online design.

Different colours mean different things to different people this article won’t promise you floods of ‘optimistic’ customers if you add a splash of yellow to your website. Because it’s just not that simple.

Instead, it will provide you with expert opinion on marketing and psychology.

This knowledge will empower you with the information to strengthen your brand through colour.

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