Leveraging Promotional Products to Shape Culture & Build Brands

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If your organization’s culture is not a significant factor in achieving your business goals, you have a problem.  Business culture is a reflection on what is occurring on the inside of the company, which all too commonly, is not in alignment with how the company wishes to be perceived by consumers.  Building a strong brand requires a positive business culture that actively identifies with, and supports, the values and norms of the organization.  According to Peter Ashford, CEO at Live Possible, business culture is the company’s true fingerprint and, unlike “products, strategies, and marketing,” it cannot be replicated.  The unique business culture is what can differentiate, and elevate, one business from its competitor.  Why are promotional products an important consideration when an organization is striving to shape culture and build their brand?  The simple answer is that distributing branded merchandise to employees can have a substantial impact when creating a positive workplace culture, as well as, overall enhancing the organization’s marketing efforts.  Not all promotional products have equal impact.  Read on to find out how to maximize the advantages.


Building a Company Culture

Businesses without an established culture have a higher turnover rate than those who do not.  A large percentage of, both executives and employees, respond to questionnaires that they believe their workplace culture actively contributes to business success.  There are several ways that supplying employees with branded merchandise contributes to the development of a positive workplace culture, including:


1.  Welcoming New Employees to the Organization
Onboarding kits often include employee handbooks, water bottles, coffee mugs, and t-shirts, and can also include work items, such as a laptop, notebooks, and building key.  These kits reveal what the business culture is like and can go a long way in easing the discomfort often felt by new employees.


2.  Unifying Internal Teams
Businesses strive to unite their internal teams so that they can communicate and work well with each other.  Company swag, such as unique t-shirts which are specific to distinct offices or projects, can encourage employees to take pride in, and become personally invested, in the overall business culture.


3.  Boosting Employer Brand
Branded products are often the first impression that someone has of a business.  Company swag can be highly beneficial to enhancing an employer brand if it is useful and high-quality.


4.  Promoting Company Values
Many businesses have found ways to include their values and mission statements in printed form on company swag items to help employees become familiar with them, and thereby increase their engagement with the company.  T-shirts, for example, serve as a reminder of these values, every time they are worn by the employee.


Promotional Product Facts

  • Eight out of ten consumers have between one to ten promotional products
  • Six out of ten consumers keep their product for up to two years
  • While 55% of consumers have done business with the advertiser before receiving a promotional product, 85% of consumers do business with the advertiser after receiving a promotional product
  • Eighty-nine percent of consumers remember the name of the advertiser of a promotional product they have received in the last two years
  • Seventy-seven percent of consumers say that a product’s usefulness is the number one reason that they keep it
  • When promotional products are added to other marketing media efforts, the advertising effectiveness is increased by 44%
  • Promotional products increase referrals up to 500% from satisfied customers than appeal letters alone


Leveraging Promotional Products

There are a variety of promotional products on the market scene. However, some have been found to work more effectively than others.  These product facts include:

  1. Branded bags produce more impressions than any other promotional items, with an estimated six thousand impressions per bag
  2. Of U.S. consumers, 31% own a promotional bag
  3. Promotional bags and writing devices cost one-tenth of a cent and are the cheapest promotional products available in the U.S.
  4. Wearables are the number-one product category, followed by writing devices, calendars, and mugs
  5. Fifty-seven percent of consumers recalled the advertisers displayed on branded mugs compared to 32% of consumer recall from that of radio or television advertisements


Promotional Product Trends

Maximizing the advantages of promotional products includes weighing the cost of the item versus the effectiveness and also considering the shelf-life of a product.  The most effective products include:

  1. Well-designed t-shirts worn by employees or customers are walking billboards even though they are more expensive than other promotional items
  2. Customized mugs that everyone can use and everyone around them can see
  3. Mobilized phone wallets that are convenient and carried around everywhere
  4. Customized hanging calendars
  5. Personalized magnets


What business doesn’t want to be remembered?  Promotional products can facilitate memory, and if it is a desirable, useful, and high-quality reminder, employees and consumers will have a consistently positive impression of your business – over and over again.