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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-

Perceived value and utility matters more than the quantity of merchandise

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


Super budget promotional items (while often great as low cost giveaways) don't do much to improve the image of a brand. 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.

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.

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.

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