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Think thoroughly about the purpose of your promotional gift


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Step # 1 Towards a Perfect Promotional Gift: Think thoroughly about the purpose of your promotional gift

“Let the secretary deal with all the gifts stuff!”. How often can such a phrase be heard at corporate marketing meetings? Probably all too often, because the importance of business and promotional gifts as the marketing tools of the company tends to be underestimated, and the task is often delegated to the junior personnel. If they are aware of the corporate goals, what the promotional gifts with a logo are supposed to convey, and which message is important, then all is well. However, it is not wise to order just anything. The reason is very simple: a corporate gift with your business name and a good message usually "works" much longer than any other marketing tool!

What is the role of your business gifts in the company's marketing and sales strategy?

Is it that the inclusion of a promotional gift with a purchase makes the perceived price of the product lower, as the buyer receives the gift as if it were free? Or do you support sales with promotional giveaways by adding campaign messages or invitations. Or offer added value, or encourage greater consumption in the style of – free gift when you buy three products? With an advertising gift, the consumer can be directed to the right sales channel and, in combination with labels, signs and adverts, ensure that your product or even the entire store can be found in a larger retail outlet.

Employees also need branded workwear to represent their employer with dignity and pride. Gifts with a logo and slogan, meant to remember, thank or motivate employees, have become a natural part of organisational culture in many companies. As the process of production or offering a service often involves subcontractors, suppliers and business partners, giving business gifts is a good way to thank them and enhance good relationships.

In the field of virtual business and services the advertising gift is the only way you can physically show your product portfolio. For example in the insurance sector the customer often only comes into contact with the service provider when signing a contract and renewing it once a year. Obviously, no business wants its brand to be known only by the regular invoices sent to the customers. A practically usable thank-you gift that supports the company's values and field of activity is a good opportunity to create a much softer and caring image.

All in all, a business or promotional gift provides an additional opportunity to introduce your products, being a specific extension of your brand for the consumer. As the brand often tends to be only an abstractly perceived value in the mind of the consumer, then a business gift is a good opportunity to create a tangible embodiment of it. But its success depends on having a carefully considered goal.

Possible goals for promotional products or business gifts:

  • to raise awareness of the company, brand, or organisation

  • to gain support for an idea (for example, an announcement of a product or a product launch)

  • to guide the recipient to do something (by running campaigns and bringing customers to the sales channel)

Your company's business or corporate gift is a tool that supports the company's communication, sales, and marketing. However, in order for an advertising gift to achieve the expected results, its message must be logically related to the company's activities and its marketing strategy. The message is not just a slogan, but also the gift’s characteristics, usability, quality, and many other aspects.

For example, it makes no sense for a fitness club to send to their business partners rich cream cakes, or for importers of expensive cars to send to their business partners cheap T-shirts that can endure only one washing cycle. Gifts and their quality convey the values of your company (whether you contribute properly and make decent gifts that also last, or rather carelessly distribute memorabilia that break immediately or do not work properly).

Advantages of business gifts over other marketing channels 

Usually, a single distribution of promotional ballpoint pens with a logo is not enough to achieve your goals. A much more thorough plan is needed.

Therefore, already in the planning phase, it is strategically important to take into account the advantages of promotional products over other marketing methods:

  • Precisely defining your target audience, and have flexibility: when giving a business gift you can usually control exactly who receives it, ie. who sees your particular brand or advertisement.
  • Repetitive and long lasting visibility: when an advert is in a widely readable newspaper or portal it reaches a large audience at once, and is forgotten after the campaign ends, but a thoughtful and practical gift with a great message can be used by a potential customer for months or even years to come.
  • Increasing traffic in the sales channel: a promotional QR code or even a personal password can be printed on a promotional item, leading to a surprise or an offer that is meant for a specific customer on the company's website or point of sale. It provides an opportunity to measure and monitor the activities of gift recipients.
  • Creating an immediate emotion: a smart gift to thank, reward, surprise, or remember anniversaries of customers, employees or partners creates a positive emotion and strengthens partnerships. When handing over a gift in person it is possible to experience this primary emotion directly, and use the feedback when necessary. A first impression can only be made once - a good emotion for the gift recipient means that he or she will probably pass it on to his or her friends (in the style of you know what message I received with this gift! or it's pretty good what company X did with its gifts!).
  • Creating a wider voice for the brand: when the brand and the company are only imaginable for the customer in the field of service provision a promotional gift gives the opportunity to create a physically tangible presence.
  • Increasing subconscious brand loyalty: receiving a gift creates a subconscious desire to give something in return, as the feeling of being in debt is usually psychologically uncomfortable. From the recipient's point of view, this does not necessarily mean making a counter-gift, but remaining a customer of the company, making a new purchase or order, continuing with your employer, telling a friend about the company, etc.

Studies show that gift items are usually preserved when they are practical, usable on daily basis, or they look beautiful*. When these criteria are met, 88% of the recipients of a gift remember the name of the company advertised on it and the message of the gift. To be strategically successful, a brand must be as visible as possible. But at the same time, it is wise to take into account that business gifts have significant advantages, and they last longer than any advertising campaign. A positive surprise gained from a business gift is irreplaceable when growing your brand’s image, at a post-sales meeting with the customer, or when seeking additional sales.

*PPAI, “The Influence of Promotional Products on Consumer Behavior”, 2012.

Written by Mari-Liis Vaher

Blog post is based on the book “10 sammu ideaalse kingituseni” (Ideal Gift in 10 Steps, authors M-L. Kallismaa, R. Vaher, 2017).

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