From forgotten to fantastic: Giveaway items that reinforce your brand

One early autumn morning I attended a hot air balloon festival in the mountains of Utah. The temperatures were frigid and the locals were dressed in winter gear, huddled together in clusters, wrapped in blankets and waiting for the balloons to rise. As soon as I stepped out of my car I realized that I was underdressed and underprepared. Fortunately, however, the sponsors of the festival, a local bank, had anticipated my needs. Everywhere I looked there were thermoses with steam rising from them, blankets, hand warmers, ear warmers, even balloons to keep the kids entertained…and all of these items donned the local bank’s logo.

Any giveaway or promotional item can help to get your name out there and in the public eye. But when that item fits the 3 criteria below it will not only give your brand face time, it will reinforce your brand identity. In the end, what you want is for consumers to have an emotional experience or connection with your brand.

  • Creative/Stands out: Can you remember the names of the businesses you have received free pencils, or pens, or water bottles from? While these types of items are useful, they do not usually have long-lasting impact. You might, however, remember the company that provided the portable mobile mini fan. Or perhaps you remember the company that provided the packet of wildflower seeds – perhaps you thought of that company all summer long as the flowers bloomed. Or you might remember the company that gave you your first Popsocket. If your item is not terribly unique, perhaps you might consider presenting it in a creative way (see the Nike Blood t-shirt, image below). Think creatively so that your giveaways aren’t just one more item in the tradeshow bag.
  • Ties in with your business: For example, a woodworker might provide such items as hand-crafted wooden business card holders, or a small wooden puzzle, or wood-toned sunglasses. An accountant might provide a magic answer ball, or a calculator, or money clips, or smart wallets. A technology company might consider power adapters for phones, or cord organizers, or LED screen cleaner brushes. If the consumer is using your item while engaging in activities that you could help them with, chances are good they will think of you when looking for solutions.
  • Evokes an emotional response: Whether your item is filling a need, sparking a memory, or inspiring a smile, if it gets a response from the receiver you can be sure that they will remember your brand. Ever since my experience that cold morning at the hot air balloon festival I cannot see the local bank’s logo without feeling just a bit warmer.

Need help coming up with the perfect branded giveaway item?