Corporate gifting has been a part of the budget of most companies for a very long time. Being able to present a client or partner with an item that is thoughtful, usable and branded is a triple win.
The expense that is incurred in producing or procuring the item is easily offset by the goodwill and future business that is generated. But in order for the expense to be justified there needs to be a significant degree of thought applied to the item. You can’t just stick your logo onto any old item and expect it to bring value.
The last thing you want is for your branded item to end up in the trash – if that happens it is not only your money that has gone to waste, there is also an unspoken suggestion that your company or brand is being trashed as well. With this in mind, here are some ideas for items to brand in 2021.
Little more than a year ago the idea of working from home and the prevalence of online conferences and Zoom meetings were quite foreign to most people. Now however, if you haven’t partaken in a Zoom meeting or attended some form of online seminar or conference, then you are almost certainly in the minority.
In the pre-Covid days it was common practice to receive goody bags and branded items at conferences – so why not look to replicate that in the virtual space. Writing on the respected GoDelta.com website, marketing guru Cathy Houston stresses the importance and relevance of producing branded items for virtual event giveaways.
She stresses that if chosen right the branded items should not only help to make the event more engaging but that they should also be items that can be used in or during the online event. In suggesting items like wireless headphones or notepads made from recycled paper, she stresses that if done right, you will not only activate your brand but also bring attendees together even while they’re physically apart.
Research shows that a corporate gift, done well, can increase sales or brand interactions by as much as 45%.
In the time of lockdown and isolation research shows that people want to see people. It makes sense really if the only faces you see in the flesh are your curmudgeonly housemate and the delivery guy that there will be a craving for new faces in your daily interactions.
As a result of the above one of the most notable trends in branding to emerge over the last year has been the incorporation of imagery of people on branded items. Design site 99Designs.com notes that this applies particularly to faces, and faces with personalities.
So, in getting items printed, keep this in the front of your mind. Whatever it is that you choose to print on, be it a t-shirt, salt and pepper shakers or a simple notepad, if you incorporate a face into the design you will be winning.
Add to this, if you find the right printing partner you can also ensure that you reduce printing costs at the same time. The branding experts go on to explain their thinking, saying ‘faces humanize a brand very well, and a lot of branding trends in 2021 lean towards this overall humanization.’ If you are in any doubt include a personal message from yourself and include your image - either a simple photograph or perhaps a caricature. But ensure that it is personal - it is not just a gift, it is a little bit of you!
Sometimes branding is a long term play. How about a play where you arrange to get a car or cars branded. Perhaps offer your staff some extra cash to act as moving billboards for your company.
In terms of win/win solutions, it is a pretty tidy option. Extra money for the staff. Good exposure for your brand. And overall an enhanced feeling of unity and togetherness for your team.
While it is very important to know what the trends are, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. If you have had success in the past with specific branded items, then you might just want to continue with the items that have stood you in good stead in the past. Especially at this time of year items like calendars or bottles of alcohol with specially printed labels come to mind.
If you are going to go with something like a calendar, make sure that it comes with beautiful imagery (incorporating the latest trends), and that it includes more than just dates of public holidays.
Include some calls to action that are specific to your company or brand - perhaps some hidden discount codes on key days throughout the year that will give your clients something to look out for.
The modern trend is to get people interacting with brands. But how exactly do you do this when talking about branded items? How about connecting with a local print on demand company who can offer a bespoke solution for you? Done right, and with the correct partner, you could be on your way to a great activation and a successful campaign.
But how exactly would it work? Let’s use caps or t-shirts as an example. Build a website whose details you can send to your clients. On it, they walk through some simple steps. They pick a style and a colour from the options you provide. Then they upload an image of their choice. You finish it all off with your company logo and you ask your printing partner to take care of the shipping and delivery.
In short, each job is bespoke or individualised. It is a print-run of one. Might sound onerous but if you work with the right partner you will find that you have a seamless and unique solution that ensures your client is happy and that your branded product is used. The days of printing companies needing to do large batch runs are a thing of the past – individual, print on demand items are now both easy and cost-effective to produce.
A few years ago it was considered quite novel when companies printed their own labels and attached them to wine bottles. Now, it is easy to go a step beyond that by partnering with a craft brewer or micro-distiller. Develop your own limited edition batch of gin or beer with tastes or fragrances that can speak to what you are about as a brand.
Print up labels and distribute as required. Or, if you prefer, host a party where your beverages are served. Everyone loves a party and if you have done the job right, your unique range of beverages will be a talking point that has everyone interacting with and enjoying your brand. If you do go this route, make sure that the drinks taste good and that the bottles look good as well – print labels that are stylish and which drive home the message of what your brand is all about. Or, find an outfit that is able to do industrial printing and print directly onto the cans or bottles - you don’t need to be old-school about this!
Given the current state of affairs with regard to Covid-19 and the lockdown, it is worth bearing in mind that there might be some issues with alcohol distribution and transportation – but it remains a winning idea and one that can easily be implemented when the lockdown eases.
The key here is two-fold. Firstly you need to make sure that you stay up-to-date with the latest branding and printing trends. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to identify the right partner to work with. Find yourself a reliable, flexible and creative print partner who will help you to achieve your goals.