Designing an Exceptional Promotional Product
Promotional gifts are a great medium for engaging with your clients on an intimate level. USB drives, pens, cups, tote bags, and other inexpensive treasures are valued by the community and can serve practical purposes as well as well as aesthetic ones. But with so many companies catching onto this trend, it’s now necessary more than ever to produce a promotional item that is both unique to your brand and eye-catching to your audience.
by Megan Vaughan
I often work with well-known graphic artists to develop unique styles for our promotional products, and through the years I’ve gained a lot of insight on great design, logos, and branding techniques incorporated onto the products to make them extraordinary. We’ve already discussed some unusual things to print on your promotional products, so let’s take a practical look at what would make them truly exceptional.
Focus it on your Target Market
You have to really delve into the minds of your target audience above all else. It’s not about what you want to sell to your customers, it’s about pin pointing what they actually want from a promotional product and then improving it. Thoroughly researching your target market is not only a fundamental step for your promotional product strategy, but for your entire marketing focus. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why exactly will your target market be attracted to your promotional product?
- How will you deliver your company brand and products to your target market?
- How will you gather valuable information from your audience?
Having a great design will certainly get your clients interested, but you have to keep the main goal in mind. Deliver your products, brand identity, logos, and contact information and associate it with the niches in your industry. If you’re in the travel business, how will your promotional product effectively communicate that idea? Give them a promotional item shaped like an airplane or a flip flop perhaps.
If your industry is geared towards a younger audience, then you should try adding flashy colors or interesting features on your promotional products that could be considered trendy or fun. Depending on how young the age group is you’re dealing with, audiences might be much more interested in the look and feel of the promotional product than the information provided on it.
If you deal primarily in the business-2-business (B2B) industry, you might want to consider that your audience will be much more interested in developing professional, working relationships than simply buying a product. In this case they want the relevant information presented in a unique but practical way. Sure you can go for an edgier experience, but don’t forget that your primarily objective is to make sales and gather client information.
Adapt it to your Environment
Designing an exceptional promotional product always involves your environment. Where you’re handing out promotional products is as important as what you’re handing out. If fact the two go hand-in-hand. When choosing the design for your item ask yourself where you’re going to be handing these promotional products out. How will you audience find them practical and relevant to your direct environment? In the case of a trade show or a business meeting, this might not seem like it matters much, but in fact it actually does.
Promotional events that are one day or on a limited time frame are often a hectic, stressful experience. On the other hand, they’re a fast-paced and exciting way to interact with new people and experience different things. Single-use or disposable items are usually your best bet for these venues. People can find immediate use for them while they’re there and they’ll right down anything significant to look up or research at a later time. The tote bag is one such promotional product that gained popularity because people could use it at trade shows to hold all of their other promotional items and product packets.
For short term promotional products, choose bright coloring and imprinting that shows off to the customer. You have a limited time frame here so don’t worry about the quality of the product itself or whether or not the ink or sticker will stay on long term. Focus on creating a design that is flashy, out there, and include one to two relevant pieces of contact information like a web address or a phone number. If possible, make a logo right out of your web address. The point is that you focus on making a grand first impression.
For business meetings, client negotiations, and all in-house communications, choose promotional products that are built for long term use. You want your customers to take these items and use them throughout their daily lives. USB drives are a great example of this. Clients use them to store their own personal data or transfer digital files. In terms of design, keep it modest and clean. You’re allowed to be yourself and showcase your spectacular logo design, but bear in mind that if you really want people to keep these on their person, in their office or at their homes, then it’s going to have conform to a semi-neutral look at some point. Carrying around a bright neon green bag at a trade show for a weekend is fine, but you won’t see anyone lugging that around the office any time soon.
Don’t forget about Delivery
Some of the more eccentric, unconventional promotional product designs should always be delivered in person. In fact, a big part of designing an exceptional promotional product involves adding custom designs, blending colors and presenting your contact information in a quick but noticeable way.
However, if you’re delivering these products by mail, you might want to take into account the costs. Big, bulky, and gimmicky promotional products can really give off unique and memorable first impression, but delivering these bad boys will cost you a fortune in packaging costs alone. Opt instead for a more lightweight, regularly shaped promotional product in these cases.
Design is an objective study for the most part, and the marketing industry is no exception. However, to create an exceptional promotional product, you have to take into account your surroundings, audiences, and logistics in order to make it work in a practical sense. Creating an exceptional promotional product is all about giving it a little flavor, but it’s also about knowing when you’ve added too much salt.
About the Author!
Vincent Clarke is a marketing analyst for USB Memory Direct, designing and delivering promotional marketing tools to businesses for 10 years. Vincent knows the ins and outs of B2B marketing, and understands how to make physical branding fit into your overall marketing strategy. You can connect with him on Twitter @_vhclarke.