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How Creative Promotional Products Boost Your Marketing

How Creative Promotional Products Boost Your Marketing

a yellow rocket ship representing creative promotional products blasting off into a colourful galaxy.

Bored with your promotional products?

If you are, you can bet your customers and prospects are too.

Branded merchandise is an essential piece in your marketing tool belt. The classic trade show pen or cause tee are great at increasing brand awareness with your customer base.

But sometimes your marketing just needs a little more oomph. And that’s where creative promotional products step in to steal the show.

How do they do it?

Creative promotional products differ from traditional branded merchandise in that they expand your customers’ perception of what’s possible. By, sometimes literally, breaking the mould of what a promotional product is.

When paired with creative promotional products, your marketing strategy will have a greater reach and resonate more effectively with your audience.

But how?

Creative promotional products catch the eye

Awareness! 

Whether brand, or product, your marketing’s purpose is to get the message out to the right people at the right time.

Top- and bottom-funnel strategies benefit from creative merchandise because promo that stands out gets the impressions and attention you’re looking for.

Additionally, your merchandise can create conversation with something your audience has never seen before. Like the racer-back wine cooler we created for ASICS, for example.

Unique merch works because it cuts through the mundanity of your competitor’s campaigns with a laser focus on your unique brand and message. 

They bring your message to life

Creative promotional products are a real-life reminder of your brand. A physical token of who you are and what you’re about.

From studies we know that tactile experiences improve recall. Turning touchable branded elements into a marketing tool is called tactile marketing and it is super effective in our digitally-driven world.

Explained simply, whenever your prospect holds your promotional product, they remember your brand and how they felt when they received it.

These emotional connections, facilitated by branded merchandise, encourage your audience to act. Whether that action is to make a purchase, book a discovery call, or consider a change – like our Choose Tap clients.

They create a community

Human connections are powerful.

If your marketing strategy is to move away from a transactional relationship with your clients, you need to deepen your brand connection. You can do that by building a community around your brand. In turn you’ll increase the number of returning customers, brand ambassadors and ongoing referrals. 

One way to create a community is through shared, on-brand experiences.

Picture this: It’s Australia Day, 2015. You’re on Cottesloe beach, WA, along with 2,210 others attempting a world record with inflatable flip flops

The Havaianas Thong Challenge was described as one of the most “enduring examples of experiential marketing.”

Thousands of promotional Havaiana inflatable flip flops at a beach on Australia Day.

Except it wasn’t just experiential. These unique marketing strategies are unifying.

Havaianas customers weren’t only interacting with the brand, but with each other. And they took away both a physical reminder of the event, and the positive memories they shared.

How to boost your marketing

Now you know how they work, how do you incorporate more creative promotional products into your marketing?

First: Define your moment.

At Impact, we’re big believers in the key moments when your brand comes to life for your customers and clients.

For Havaianas, it was the Calendar-Based Event – Australia Day. Their customers are out in the sunshine, enjoying the beach, a barbeque with family and friends. They know that their brand shines in these situations, with Australia Day being the ultimate opportunity.

For Choose Tap, their moment is in Educational Campaigns. And ASICS, Rewards.

Most brands have at least two of the eight key moments. Click the link below to find out more and identify yours.

Secondly, you wouldn’t be a great marketer if you didn’t understand your audience and what they want in these moments. Your marketing campaigns and strategies are already designed to tap into those wants and needs and present your brand as the answer.

This is also where your creative promotional products can help.

Whether by enhancing the brand experience, answering your audience’s questions in new and exciting ways, or creatively solving any one of their problems.

What are the best creative promotional products for my brand?

It can be easy to get caught up in this question. The great thing is that your options are endless. But that can also lead to analysis paralysis.

We have a few resources you can use to narrow down what you’re looking for. We’ve written an article and a shot a video to nudge you in the right direction.

But if you don’t have the time to flesh out the campaign, plan the event, and juggle the merch all on your own – let us do the leg work. 

Just click on the Merch Matcher™ link below and answer a couple of questions about your brand and objectives. Make sure you answer is “5” or “6” on question 4 and we’ll come back to you with our recommendations and pricing.

Or, you can book in 15 minutes to talk to our experts face to face (or screen to screen). Creative promotional products are our speciality and we’d love to help.

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What is Print-Ready Artwork?

What is Print-Ready Artwork?

A desktop computer with print-ready artwork on the screen and bright background.

Print-ready artwork is an image file that a commercial printer uses to create print materials. That includes your promotional products, brochures, catalogues and business cards.

A print-ready artwork includes all the important information the decorator needs to produce the right image.

With the right colours.

In the right size.

Here’s how:

Print-Ready Artwork File Types

You should provide artwork in .EPS, .AI, or vector format.

These are universal files that a decorator’s printing machinery reads.

When your designer creates the image, its details are written into the file with mathematical formulas. This is different to raster images – JPEG and PNG formatted – where the information is stored in each pixel and can degrade if resized.

After receiving your artwork, the decorator’s software reads your vector file and communicates the image and its specifications to the printing machine.

With the correct file type your artwork is reproduced exactly as designed, which is crucial for overall brand integrity.

Ideal Resolution

Print-ready artwork measurements are in dpi, or “dots per inch”.

The perfect resolution for your artwork is between 300dpi and 450dpi shown at its original size, or 100% zoom. This ensures your final product has a high level of detail, retains the original artwork’s quality with a sharp and clear print.

Image Colour Settings

Print-ready artwork supports CMYK (print) and RGB (on-screen) colour models. This means that the colours in your design remain consistent across all applications. Such as:

  • Online documents
  • Printed documents
  • Web pages
  • TV advertising
  • Staff uniforms
  • Promotional products

In vector formatted artworks, the colours are coded into the file, rather than stored in the pixel data, as mentioned above. The formulas describe your artwork colours dynamically across shapes and sizes.

This feature makes vector formats ideal for artwork that require precise colour matching, i.e. your logos and branded materials. Correctly formatted artwork ensures your colours are consistent no matter the scale or output device.

Why do we need it?

Like we’ve stated above, print-ready artwork is necessary to produce the best decoration on your branded merchandise and create a truly on-brand experience.

Providing us your artwork in vector format ensures a clear, correctly coloured, on-brand print. This, in turn protects your brand’s integrity across all of your assets, both internal and external.

Additionally, our decorating partners require us to provide print-ready artwork that their software and machinery can process. You can also read more about how products are printed in our article.

Finally, it’s important to note that without correctly formatted artwork or images, we cannot guarantee a quality decoration.

When do we need it?

Ideally, we would love to see your artwork at the time of quoting. That way, we can give you the most accurate costings. We can also make recommendations to help you achieve the results you’re looking for.

We understand that there can be hold ups though, or that your processes might not allow for this.

In these cases, it’s important to have your artwork ready and in vector format as soon as you’re ready to order.

With your artwork ready to go there will be no delay in the production process and we can have your promotional products underway in a matter of days.

Where do you get it?

If you’ve had your artwork created by a graphic designer, they should be able to provide you with the vector formatted image. Particularly if the artwork was created in Adobe Illustrator.

If you don’t have access to these original files, we also offer a redrawing service through our in-house designers. This service incurs a redraw fee of $150 an hour for a minimum of 2 hours. However, we provide you with the final vector image for all your future use.

At Impact, our purpose is to bring your brand to life with quality promotional products and branded merchandise. We’re here to provide you with the best product to carry your message. What you put on those products is what makes the connection between product and branding. In essence, your  artwork is what makes those products truly yours.

Got your artwork ready to go?

Let’s find the right product for your brand.

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Winter Apparel: Your Buying Guide

Winter Apparel: Your Buying Guide

Red winter apparel hoodie on bright colourful background.

Branded winter apparel is a perfect addition to your seasonal campaigns or calendar-based events. As explained in our branded apparel article, wearables were the most popular promotional product of 2023. And not for nothing! 

Including, but not limited to the below, winter apparel gives your brand the opportunity to add warmth to the colder months for both your audience and your teams. There are so many styles of each of these for you to choose from and every one comes with a different price tag. 

  • Jackets
  • Coats
  • Beanies
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Sweaters
  • Pullovers
  • Puffer
  • Hoodies

How winter apparel is priced will determine what you can achieve with your budget. From quantities to the details of your decoration, each will influence the number on the bottom of your quote. So let’s go over what factors you need to consider…

Why is some winter apparel cheap?

Like all apparel, the quality determines the price. And vice versa.

Cheap winter apparel is usually made from inexpensive materials, such as fleece, nylon, acrylic or polyester. Also, the garment may be thinner, with fewer layers or linings.

These options are great for your budget and will work well for quick brand awareness campaigns or promotions. However, if you’re equipping your team for the winter months, or are located in a particularly cold climate, higher-quality winter apparel will make an impact on your audience.

Another consideration for promotional apparel, is the size and quality of the decoration you’re looking for.

For example, a one-colour screen print on the left chest of your promotional hoodie is an easy, low-cost option. It gets your brand out in the world on a cosy, cost-effective piece of merchandise.

Decoration pricing varies so widely depending on your requirements. That means there’s a method for everyone. How do you choose the right one for your brand?

Our printing article might help.

Why is some winter apparel expensive?

As the above describes what makes winter apparel cheap, the opposite can be applied to demonstrate what makes it expensive.

Made from high quality materials, like wool, linen, down, leather, recycled, weather-proof and tech fabrics – expensive winter wear can last longer and keep your audience warmer in the cold months. These fabrics cost more, but return more in brand perception and perceived value.

This is particularly important for your teams who are out in the field. Exposed to the elements year-round it is vital that your people are comfortable. In these cases, it’s your branded apparel that can affect the effectiveness of your teams.

This is where the quality is put to the test.

Branded winter apparel also has the opportunity for decoration types not seen in other merchandise. For example, custom jacquard patterns in knitted products, leather patches, and custom zip pulls.

Every detail accentuates your brand, but each can add to the cost of your winter apparel.

What pushes our price up?

All the extras we’ve mentioned can increase the price of your branded winter apparel. Things like the below will also add to the order total:

  • Low order quantities – bulk buying is the best way to keep the cost per unit down.
  • Multiple decoration locations – a simple embroidery on the left chest is great. You may also need us to embroider a message on the right chest; or print across the back. These subsequent decorations will increase the price.
  • Folding and poly bagging – how your apparel is presented when you open the box is important. Instead of mixing all the sizes together in a pile, we can fold and polybag the items individually. This is reflected in the pricing.
  • Multiple delivery locations – freight to one location is free. However, if you’d like us to distribute your winter apparel to multiple branches, we’ll include that in the quoted pricing.

What pushes our price down?

Keeping things simple will help you stick to your winter apparel budget.

If you only need a small, one-colour print on the back of those gloves to get your brand out there, go with it.

It’s also important to note that wardrobe basics are mostly always classics and will amplify your branding with ease. For example, your customers and clients will wear a simple, subtly branded scarf year after year, lowering your cost per impressions as its lifetime increases.

The Advertising Specialty Institute found that outerwear gains 7,856 impressions over it’s two year lifetime. This makes its cost per impression approximately half a cent.

That’s a solid statistic for the marketer in you.

Why is winter apparel essential to your brand?

Winter apparel is not just for your audience.

Cold-weather uniforms are an essential piece of your team’s kit that ensures they’re able to perform their best when the weather is the worst. There are also all the reasons we mentioned in the adjacent post.

Additionally, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) went into depth about how branded winter apparel can benefit your brand.

“For outdoor workers, such as those in the postal, construction and forestry industries, and those who make house calls, such as service technicians and some beauticians and health-care professionals, having a first-rate jacket and matching accessories as their cold-weather uniform can help ensure that workers are able to sufficiently perform their jobs, and convey that the company cares about its workers’ health, safety and well-being.”

Even a well-timed hoodie, paired with a pair of cosy socks is enough to make a difference in your teams’ productivity and mental wellness. 

Consider a winter warmer employee pack to help them get through the darker months.

Whether you’ve got the budget to go all out next winter, or you’re keeping it tight to keep it cosy, there is a perfect piece of winter apparel for your brand. Match the product to your values and message for the biggest impact and watch how it brings your brand to life.

Our team has over 20 years of experience sourcing real products that deliver unreal results. Why not complete our Merch Matcher and let us get the process started.

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Impact Update: Your EOFY Budget

Your EOFY Budget

EOFY can be stressful. Make every last bit of your budget work for your brand with products that connect with your audience and bring your brand to life.

Read more about optimising your marketing budget with effective promotional products this EOFY in our article.

Campaigns & PromotionsCase StudiesGifts with Purchase

Guzman y Gomez

Educational Campaign Merchandise Client: Choose Tap Partners A Choose Tap Case Study BRIEF Help partners promote the Choose Tap movement in schools and communities with…

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Impact Update: Your Event Merchandise

Your Event Merchandise

Your trade show and event merchandise a business card with a greater purpose. You need to make yours stand out when competing for attention at a tradeshow or exhibition. Aim for these three things and you won’t go wrong.

Read more about optimising your promotional products this event season in our article.

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Are Promotional Products Effective?

Are Promotional Products Effective?

Are promotional products effective. A retail shelf with hanging cotton tote bags and drink bottles.

Are promotional products effective? Short answer, yes! You were probably expecting that from us. But we have good reason. We’ve seen promotional products deliver huge results for our clients. You can see some of what they have achieved in our case studies. But we’ll also dive into a couple examples here, along with statistics from the Australian Promotional Product Association (APPA) and Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).

TL:DR – Promotional products are an essential marketing tool for all industries. As well as being a physical representation of your brand, promotional products bring your brand to life in yours, and your audience’s meaningful moments. Which, in turn, leads to increased engagement, market share and conversions.

Who should use promotional products?

Promotional products are so versatile that almost all businesses in all industries benefit from their use. They’re just another channel to carry your branding, message, and values to your customers and prospects. It doesn’t matter who you are, there is a promotional product to fit your objectives. Here are just a few examples.

Retail and E-commerce: Promotional products can be used as freebies or incentives to encourage customers to make a purchase or to increase brand loyalty. They can also be used as part of a referral or rewards program.

Real Estate: Enhance the brand experience that leads to return clients and referrals, and strengthens your market share. As well as pens and fridge magnets, effective real estate products can include door bows and deluxe keychains presented in a walk-through video box.

Healthcare and Wellness: Healthcare providers, clinics, and wellness centers can use branded merchandise to promote their services, educate patients, and encourage positive experiences. With branded pill boxes, reminder fridge magnets or custom health journals, all their key areas are covered.

Non-profit Organisations: Promotional products that raise awareness, thank their supporters, and promote their cause are most effective for non-profits. Items like t-shirts, wristbands, or tote bags help spread the message further and engage a larger community in support of meaningful issues.

Startups and Small Businesses: Branded merchandise is a cost-effective way for startups and small businesses to increase brand visibility. Onboarding packs for new staff and clients are another way to differentiate themselves from competitors. Simultaneously building and demonstrating their brand values in the process.

Hospitality and Tourism: Brands in this industry can enhance the guest experience, promote local attractions, and encourage repeat visits with promotional products. Custom puzzles, caps and homewares are effective reminders of their experience and make great gifts, extending your brand’s reach.

Education: Universities and education providers use branded merchandise to promote community and relationships, recruit students, and reward academic achievements. Common promotional products for the education industry include hoodies, tote bags and drink bottles.

You can use promotional products or branded merchandise to hit almost any of your organizational goals. They’re the best way to increase brand awareness with 86.5% of people agreeing that promotional products are a good way to learn about new businesses in the area. But why are they so good at it?

Why are promotional products effective?

Adding your logo, values or message to a product creates a powerful tool that gives your brand dimension. What makes promotional products effective is their ability to cut through all the noise of advertising and connect with your audience. For example, APPA reports that 85.4% of people would rather receive a promotional product than a promotional e-mail. And while a freebie is always appreciated, branded merchandise does so much more for your brand.

Demonstrate brand values through actions.

As we like to say, anything with your logo on it becomes a representation of your brand. You may use a promotional product to launch a new service, reward your staff, or thank your corporate partners after a successful year. In giving a piece of branded merchandise, you are demonstrating what is important to your organisation.

Essentially, that promotional product is a physical representation of your brand values.

As such, the product you choose must align with what you stand for. Environmental and social issues, family-friendly and innovation-orientated can all be conveyed in your branded merchandise, which makes it the best billboard your customers or clients can carry with them.

Encourage reciprocation and referrals.

We’ve talked about how motivating receiving a gift is in our Gift With Purchase article. You may have read that giving your branded merchandise as gifts taps into your customers’ emotions. Namely, gratitude and appreciation.

Your branded merchandise has the power to engage and motivate customers to buy. So much so that 3 out of 4 people would likely switch brands if they received a promotional product from a brand they had not done business. After that initial purchase, your promotional products continue to work by generating a feeling of reciprocity. One good turn deserves another, so to speak. Your new customers become repeat customers and can even bring more into the fold through word of mouth referrals. 

Promotional products can help you build a community around your brand. 

Amplify your message with tactile elements.

Did you know that 83% of people are more likely to remember an experience if it involved a promotional product? While that can be because your brand is just so memorable, it might also be because of the physical product they have in their hand.

Advertisements and messaging often happen in the audio/visual. TV, radio, social media and print, for example. Promotional products are effective because they use real, tangible branded elements to carry your message.

If you want to bring attention to single-use plastics, branded silicone straws and stainless steel drink bottles make your message so much clearer. Similarly, an on-brand onboarding pack with all the first day essentials demonstrates the welcome you and your team give your new hire.

“Making promotional products work for your brand is a matter of using the right product at the right time.”

When are promotional products most effective?

Over our 20+ years of branding experience, we’ve learned that the most effective brands connect with their audience in similar key moments. These moments may vary across industries, however we’ve narrowed them down to the eight most common.

You may find that your brand’s focus is just one of these. Or maybe your brand finds the most success in three, or five, or all of them. Which ever it is, the key moment is when your brand has the most impact for your customers or clients – when your message is the most powerful. 

  • Events and trade shows: Attract attention, engage with attendees, demonstrate your unique selling point and leave lasting impressions at scale. 90% of consumers believe receiving a promotional product makes event experiences more enjoyable.
  • Campaigns and promotions: Add real world elements to your above-the-line campaigns.
  • Point of sale presence: Ensure that you’re seen when it really matters.
  • Gift with purchase: Increase conversions, engagement and even upsell to get the most out of your merchandise.
  • Educational campaigns: Gain and hold the attention that inspires action and benefits the whole community.
  • Onboarding: Make the right first impression for members and employees that sets them, and your brand up for success.
  • Rewards: Celebrate your members’ and employees’ key moments. 62% of employees feel appreciated when they receive a promotional product from their employer.
  • Calendar-based events: Make an impact on the dates that mean the most to your audience.

We’ve created an eight-email series that describes each of the key moments in detail, including real-world applications and product inspiration. After the eight days, you’ll be fully equipped to reinvent your marketing strategy to bring your brand to life in the moments that mean the most to your organisation, and your audience.

What are the most effective promotional products?

Branded merchandise that drives your audience to action has done its job. In the case of the Guzman y Gomez socks, a new design each year is enough to get their social-media followers to order via delivery service. And in 2023, they’ll be downloading the GyG app to spend their money there and receive a pair with the latest design.

Guzman y Gomez socks promo image.

However, your promotional product’s effectiveness also depends on its quality and relevance to your audience. Did you know that 59% of consumers agree that the product’s quality is more important that the quantity they receive?

Cheap and cheerful merchandise like silicone wristbands and novelty pens are a great way to get attention and convey your brand’s sense of fun. They’re the right products at family events or in your education campaign, for example. However, co-branded tech items or luxury drinkware make more sense for your executive gifts and internal team rewards. 

Our client, Aston Advantage, gives away a sturdy cooler bag to each of their mining trade candidates. This particular product has the quality to withstand harsh job site conditions and is the perfect thing to equip their clients with for their new workplace. Its quality and clear relevance to their clients demonstrates how well Aston Advantage know and understand their clients’ needs. Which, of course, is another key benefit of effective promotional products.

Promotional products are an effective marketing tool for all industries. The right branded merchandise will demonstrate your brand values and create on-brand experiences both externally and internally. Make it quality and relevant to your audience and you’ll have a product that attracts attention and leaves lasting impressions. 

Do you need help finding the perfect product? Try our Merch Matcher below, or contact our team today.

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Calendar-Based Events: Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments For Brands

Calendar-Based Events:
Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments For Brands

Calendar-based events shown as wall calendars and a pencil on a blue background.

Generating consistent interest in your brand over the whole year is a mission. You may be fighting gaps in your marketing calendar or industry seasonality. Leveraging the holidays and seasons significant to your brand and audience is the key to making timely, consistent impact that carries your brand further. Calendar-based events are an opportunity to bring your brand to life in meaningful moments throughout the year.

Below, you’ll uncover how to use calendar-based events and promotional products to deliver unreal results for your brand – and win this key moment.

What are Calendar-Based Events?

Calendar-based events are the common holidays and seasons that are relevant to your brand.

Universal seasons, like spring and summer; and dates celebrated on a global scale, like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, can be leveraged to focus your marketing efforts. Alternatively, marketing toward other common dates, such as International Women’s Day and Clean Up Australia day can help you connect with your customers and clients based on your shared values.

“There are endless #World, #International and #National holidays, and awareness days, weeks and months, which all present great marketing opportunities for businesses in any industry. Taking advantage of these milestone dates can lead to increased customer interaction, lead generation and brand awareness.”

Deciding what calendar-based events are relevant to your brand and your audience is the first step to creating an effective marketing calendar. You should include your own brand milestones and consider any dates that help to counteract seasonality in your industry.

Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments

What are they?

Over our 20+ years of branding experience, we’ve learned that the most effective brands connect with their audience in key must-win moments. Now, these moments vary across industries, however we’ve narrowed them down to the eight most common.

  • Calendar-Based Events
  • Gift With Purchase
  • Point of Sale Presence
  • Events and Tradeshows
  • Campaigns and Promotions
  • Educational Campaigns
  • Onboarding
  • Rewards

You may find that your brand focus is just one of the key moments. Or maybe your brand finds the most success in three, or five, or all of these. Whichever it is, if you can bring your brand to life in these key must-win moments, you can make a meaningful connection with your audience.

Why are calendar-based events one of the key must-win moments?

Have you ever needed to create content to fill a gap in your social media schedule? Or needed a blog that would relate to a large audience? Searching for “International Day of…” can be a lifesaver when the creative juices just aren’t flowing. This is because calendar-based events provide a wealth of content creation opportunities.

Blog posts, social media content, videos, or infographics around these events are a creative way to educate, entertain, or inspire your brand’s audience – and stay top-of-mind for customers.

Ultimately, calendar-based events give you a strategic framework to plan on-brand marketing activities, engage with customers, and drive business growth. By leveraging these events, you have a perpetual schedule that helps you stay relevant, increase visibility, and create meaningful connections with your customers and clients.

So how do you get the most out of your calendar-based events?

There’s one way that we know.

“During seasonal transitions or the holidays, seasonal marketing creates a unique feeling of excitement and fear of missing out for customers worldwide, leading to encouraging actions, like purchases.”

How to boost your calendar-based events with promotional products.

Find customer-brand alignment

Calendar-based events provide your brand with opportunities to align your marketing efforts with specific dates or seasons relevant to your target audience. For example, Boxing Day, Mother’s Day or International Literacy Day may be important dates for your customers. By engaging meaningfully with them around these events, you can create timely and relevant marketing campaigns that resonate.

Top these campaigns off with creative branded merchandise to facilitate lasting connections that increase brand loyalty. You might consider giving away a natural product pamper pack to your contacts in the education industry for International Teacher’s Day. Or perhaps you’d add a free full-colour neck gaiter or cooling bandana into your fitness club membership for National Hiking Day.

On-brand promotional products amplify your brand values and communicate them to your customers. By showing that you understand the dates significant to them, you demonstrate compatibility that results in greater conversion and target market engagement.

Make it limited edition

Calendar-based events create a sense of urgency. Optimise that with limited edition branded merchandise. When customers know that a product is only available for a limited time or in limited quantities, it heightens FOMO. Which, in turn, drives customers to make a purchase quickly before the product is no longer available. Additionally, putting a limit on products also raises its perceived value. When something isn’t easily accessible to everyone, it’s exclusive and special, leading your customers to pay more for it.

Your limited-edition merchandise could include premium cocktail sets for the festive season, or a full-colour sublimated shirt to commemorate the key day.

Apparel – like these hoodies we created for the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service NAIDOC Week march – makes for effective calendar-based event merchandise. Their low cost is budget friendly, and they are highly repeatable. Change the design each year and you could build a fan-base who engage with you each year just to get the whole set.

Conversely, limited edition promotional products can also serve as a way for you to test new product concepts without committing to a full-scale incorporation right away. By releasing stock in a limited quantity around your calendar-based events, you can gauge customer interest and gather feedback before deciding whether to add the merch into your general product offering.

Create on-brand experiences.

Think of brands like Harrods or Coca-Cola around Christmas, Starbucks in autumn, and Meat and Livestock Australia (or more specifically, lamb) on Australia Day. These brands have created a distinct, traditional feeling that has become synonymous with the season. To the point where they suggest that you cannot have a true “insert holiday or season” without their product.

Such is the strength of their branded experience.

Your give-aways, rewards or point-of-sale products should be what your audience look out for when the season rolls around. Because with your brand, their calendar-based event will be all that it should be.

Again, wearables are very effective when you want your clients and customers to make memories that include your brand. In our article about branded apparel, we explain more about how clothing and accessories act as mementos of significant events.

Does anyone you know have a Christmas shirt? Or their favourite hat to wear while they barbeque on ANZAC day? Your promotional products may not always look like much on their own, but they take on more meaning when they’re used to participate in the activities that your audience enjoy on these key dates. Creating positive branded experiences.

Employing creative promotional products for use in calendar-based events gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers in a more effective way. You can supplement your interactive campaigns, contests, or special event offers with merch that encourages your customers to participate and interact with your brand. This engagement fosters a sense of community that translates to greater conversion and brand loyalty.

Forbes has compiled some advice about how to leverage holidays in your marketing.

And you can read about how calendar-based events can impact the timeliness of your promotional products in this article, and make sure you don’t get caught out next season.

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Rewards: Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments For Brands

Rewards: Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments For Brands

Two hands hold rewards trophies on a red background

How does your brand acknowledge an individual’s exceptional effort? Do your members feel like their milestones are important? A strong rewards program turns customers and employees into brand advocates. Not only this, but customer acquisition, talent recruitment, competition cut-through and staff retention are all impacted by your rewards program.

You need to keep your rewards program fresh and exciting. All while tailoring your approach to your brand and the individuals that make it successful.

Below, you’ll find out why rewards are important for your brand. As well as how to win this key must-win moment with creative branded merchandise that brings your brand to life.

What are Rewards?

Milestones and achievements that drive your business forward need to be recognised!

Rewards are about celebrating your members’ and employees’ key moments. There are many ways to incorporate rewards into your business.

Whether it’s through a loyalty program for customers, tracking team goals or member perks, rewards are an opportunity to express your brand’s appreciation for continued support, advocacy and a job well done. 

Acknowledging the achievements of your team goes a long way toward theirs, and your brand’s future performance as well.

“According to the 2015 Employee Recognition Report by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce, values-based employee recognition significantly contributes to bottom-line organizational metrics and helps create a stronger culture and more human workplace.”

Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments

What are they?

Over our 20+ years of branding experience, we’ve learned that the most effective brands connect with their audience in key must-win moments. Now, these moments vary across industries, but we’ve narrowed them down to the eight most common.

  • Rewards
  • Onboarding
  • Point of Sale Presence
  • Events and Tradeshows
  • Campaigns and Promotions
  • Gift With Purchase
  • Educational Campaigns
  • Rewards
  • Calendar-Based Events

You may find that your brand focus is just one of the key moments. On the other hand, your brand might find the most success in three, or five, or all of these. Whichever it is, if you can bring your brand to life in these key must-win moments, you can make a meaningful connection with your audience.

Why are rewards one of the key, must-win moments?

Rewarding employees and customers is essential for building strong relationships, fostering loyalty, and driving business growth. After all, achieving your brand objectives could not be possible without the people that make it happen.

An effective rewards program creates a win-win situation where employees and customers feel valued and appreciated, leading to long-term success for the organisation. As a brand, you want to reward the behaviours that drive your business forward, both internally and externally. Those behaviours could be long-term membership, repeat purchases, long service within the company, outstanding sales numbers or implementing game-changing processes. Rewards help you incentivise personal and professional growth that benefits the whole organisation.

On the other hand, rewards offer your customers and members another positive brand experience.

So how do you win this moment and make it key for your brand? There’s one way that we know.

 “Each reward is an opportunity for customers to get excited and share their experiences with friends, family and social media followers.”

– Zsuzsa Kecsmar

How to improve your rewards with promotional products.

Make it memorable

When employees receive branded merchandise as rewards, it creates a sense of pride and belonging in your organisation. It also serves as a tangible reminder of their achievements and can help foster a positive brand culture. Your rewards should be a memento of their accomplishment or a token to commemorate a membership milestone.

Lapel pins are a classic place to start. Keep it simple with your logo or exclusive achievement design; or add colour with vibrant enamel filling. These small gifts are symbol of excellence and are a subtle way your customers, members or employees can display their accomplishments…without being too braggy.

It can be tempting to buy your rewards in bulk. You’ll get a better price per unit. However, it is important to consider your audience’s preferences and interests when choosing branded merchandise as rewards.

The more personal, the more meaningful and the more your reward will be appreciated. Try rewarding your team with something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Like a mixologist’s cocktail set, or a nostalgic backyard cricket set for their whole family to enjoy.

Consider co-branding

Adding another name to your merch is an opportunity to borrow credibility. We broke it down in detail in our Co-Branding article. One of the key takeaways we describe is how the weight of the product’s well-known brand flows on to yours. If your team knows the brand well and enjoys their products, you already know that your reward will be well-received and valued.

Camelbak drinkware is an easily identifiable brand in the drinkware space. For the adventurous among your members, adding a co-branded Camelbak drink bottle or tumbler to your rewards would easily provide incentive to reach higher and hit targets.

Moleskine has a long history of quality journals and are synonymous with bringing ideas into reality. Their durable covers and cream pages will capture the imagination of all the creatives in your team. Not to mention how printing your brand right there next to Moleskine will raise your profile and separate you from other brands.

Finally, Skullcandy has the reputation of delivering modern, music-driven and experience-orientated personal sound solutions. For the musos on your team and client list, these headphones, branded with your logo are a great motivator.

Just remember to make sure that your values align. As we said in the above article, “aligning with a brand with clear values and a stance on social issues can change the way your audience views your brand.” Be sure that it is for the better.

Create on-brand experiences

Thoughtful rewards, gifts to celebrate a job well done, show just as much of yourself as it does of the recipient. Inject your brand into your rewards with gifts that reflect your values, like the ones above. Then make it a big deal.

Half the excitement of rewards comes from the hype around the achievement. Being clearly on-brand in these moments creates meaningful connections. So, include your branding in the details of your rewards.

You may send a branded gift box filled with goodies in the mail to reach your outstanding individuals at home.

Alternatively, you could pull the team together for a couple of minutes in the designated, branded up, rewards area.

For the achievements that made the most impact on your business, you should go all out. Host a rewards night and kit the place out in your brand.

Make sure your team feel the extent of your appreciation and celebrate your great company culture together.

Rewards are a tool your brand needs to incentivise engagement both internally and externally. Staying on-brand with what you give to your high achievers increases positive brand perception, brand loyalty and can set you apart from competitors. Look after the people who support your brand and celebrate your wins together.

 For some more reward program inspiration, have a read of this article by Entreprenuer. We really enjoyed it!

Articles

Onboarding: Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments For Brands

Onboarding: Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments For Brands

Colourful sticky notes saying "Welcome to the team" on a pin board to represent company onboarding

According to Harvard Business Review, 88% of employees feel that their organisation’s onboarding practices could be improved. Meanwhile, in the member organisation realm, almost half of surveyed individual member organisations are losing 40% of their first-year members. Appropriate onboarding saves money in recruitment and productivity. So, it is worth it to invest in strategies that make your new members and employees feel appreciated, welcome and prepared.

Branded merchandise is the perfect accompaniment to your onboarding strategy. Below, we’ll show you how to incorporate real products into your onboarding practices to make the best first, and lasting impression.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding is how you introduce new employees and members to your brand. For employees, onboarding processes introduce their new workplace and teammates, and familiarise them with brand policies, processes and the work they’ll be performing.

Essentially, thoughtful and thorough onboarding demonstrates your brand’s commitment to your employee’s success.

In the same vein, effective onboarding of members new to your association demonstrates your commitment to providing the most value for their membership. As your members are orientated to your organisation, its processes and benefits, they should receive insights into your brand identity. Familiarity and trust then leads to a longer-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.

“A strong start gives you an advantage in facilitating long-term happiness and success as part of your community... How you welcome new members to your association sets the tone for their overall membership experience, so don’t neglect this important part of the process.”

Impact’s 8 Key Must-Win Moments

What are they?

Over our 20+ years of branding experience, we’ve learned that the most effective brands connect with their audience in key must-win moments. Now, these moments vary across industries, but we’ve narrowed them down to the eight most common.

  • Onboarding
  • Point of Sale Presence
  • Events and Tradeshows
  • Campaigns and Promotions
  • Gift With Purchase
  • Educational Campaigns
  • Rewards
  • Calendar-Based Events

You may find that your brand focus is just one of the key moments. On the other hand, your brand might find the most success in three, or five, or all of these. Whichever it is, if you can bring your brand to life in these key must-win moments, you can make a meaningful connection with your audience.

Why is onboarding one of the key, must-win moments?

You know that first impressions are incredibly important. While onboarding is not the first time your employees or members encounter your brand, it is their first look behind the curtain. As such, onboarding sets the tone for their entire experience. How they’re onboarded influences their perception of your brand.

Effective onboarding also helps your members understand the value and benefits of your brand. It ensures they have a smooth transition into accessing your services, reducing the likelihood of confusion or frustration. This, in turn, increases member retention and engagement, as they are more likely to continue using your service or participating in association activities.

Joining your team or community is a critical moment. You can improve your onboarding and win this key moment with the help of branded merchandise. Below are some examples.

“Organizations with strong onboarding practices improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%.”

Rebecca Zucker

Harvard Business Review

How to enhance your onboarding with promotional products.

Equip your team

When your new hires start it’s likely that they’re not starting fully equipped. Whether they’ve been in a similar role or not, they’ll need to be completely set up to make them feel comfortable and prepared. Promotional products, or branded merchandise can help them feel like part of the team.

A uniform is the first thing you might think of. You can read about uniforms and branded apparel in another blog, but the idea is that everyone on your team is on-brand. Uniforms, or any branded apparel, facilitate that feeling of belonging.

Backpacks are another common onboarding product. They’re functional and diverse, with styles and features useful to any industry. If your new starters are commuters, a backpack with hi-vis elements or anti-theft functions would be a great onboarding gift. Equipment that makes their work-life easier is a great place to start with onboarding products.

Mugs, mouse mats, notebooks and pens are other common onboarding products. They can be used on site and in the home-office. But if you’re looking for something more functional, or more unique, consider a branded laptop stand or wireless charging desk clock.

Welcome your members

Show your new members that they’ve made the right choice. Firstly, by thanking them. Promotional products make great thank you gifts. Exclusive gifts, just for new members, makes your promotional products even more desirable. For premium sign-ups, you might like to give them beautiful, branded glassware that they can’t get anywhere else.

Secondly, your onboarding goal might be to add value to new memberships. Not only will you be making your services available, but your members will also be rewarded for signing up. Sweeten the deal with bonus merch to increase member satisfaction and engagement. This type of onboarding pack would include fun and functional products like stress items, stationery and tech products.

Finally, what’s a warm welcome without an introduction? Facilitating a community is a key method to increasing initial engagement that leads to future engagement. As stated above, uniforms are a great way to create a team. Matching t-shirts are the equivalent in a member organisation environment. They don’t need to be wearing them at the same time, or even in the same place. Just knowing that others have received the same helps to build a community that your new members are a now a part of.

Create on-brand experiences.

Whatever your onboarding goals, aligning with your brand identity is key. So what is on-brand for your business? Are you fostering a “family feel”? Or perhaps a professional network niche? You can show more of your brand personality through the welcome gifts and branded start-up packs you give.

Is your brand about warmth and building relationships? You could be the grandma that sends socks through the mail.

Or the trusted advisor that forsees any issue and always has the just the thing. For your new hybrid worker, it’s a multi-device charging dock.

Finally, your brand might be the industry leader who understands members’ needs and fills them with custom, industry specific merchandise.

Whatever your brand, promotional products can amplify who you are. They’re tools to enable on-brand interactions and create memorable experiences in your key moments.

Onboarding can be done better. Welcoming people into your brand is a key moment. It should give them everything they need to be successful. Whether that’s knowledge of your processes and systems, an introduction to their new support network or the equipment that can make their work-life more enjoyable. It should also reflect who you are and how much you appreciate the individual investing their time and energy with you. You can express your thanks and provide more value with promotional products.   

For more insights, have a look at a few of the articles below.

Three Ways to Leverage Your Branded Merchandise to Support Hybrid Employees – Forbes

Onboarding Best Practices – Forbes