How Promotional Products Work & How Promo Apparel Amps Up The Impact

May 22, 2024
How Promotional Products Work & How Promo Apparel Amps Up The Impact

When it comes to effective marketing, promotional products have a unique power to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression. They can easily grab attention when done right. Such products, often referred to as “swag,” are now seen as a cost-effective tool for marketing, capable of even driving engagement. 

But their effectiveness doesn’t just lie in giving them away to promote your brand. Understanding the psychological principles behind promotional products and getting them customized strategically can turn them into valuable brand ambassadors and the recipients into loyal brand advocates. Awareness and engagement will be the byproducts. 

The Potential of Tangibility: Why Promotional Products Work

Looking at them psychologically, they have the ability to tap into the human desire for ownership and belonging. Receiving a free item, especially one that’s well-designed and useful, creates a sense of positive reciprocity. People are more likely to remember and have a favorable impression of a brand they’ve interacted with in a tangible way. 

Let’s take a deep dive into the seemingly trivial aspects that make promo products so potent.

The Mere-Exposure Effect: Simply seeing a brand logo repeatedly makes the brand familiar. People tend to trust something the more they see it. This sustained or repeated exposure also ensures high recall for your brand, even after just one interaction.

The Law of Reciprocity: Now this is a little complicated. American people are not hesitant to return favors. Assuming most of the recipients of swag products feel obligated to return a favor, you can expect them to consider giving your brand a shot when making purchase decisions.

Emotional Connection:  Obvious and underrated. Not everyone thinks building an emotional connection with a customer is that big a deal. The right promo products create a positive association with your brand. For instance, giving them even blank full-zip hoodies from a top apparel brand instead of customized ones, can evoke trust. They then see your brand differently. For you, that means a positive brand identity. 

Social Proof: Do you know any brand that was originally recommended by one of your friends? In such cases, people are more likely to trust the referral and choose the brand that was recommended. Generally, people engage with brands their circle of friends, acquaintances or relatives are familiar with. It’s more like a subconscious validation of your brand.

Hitting The Sweet Spot With Your Promo Products

Now that you understand the “why” behind promotional products, let’s check out the “how” of getting maximum impact. Take the following into account when designing effective promotional products, especially promotional apparel.

Who you are trying to reach: Understanding your target audience’s demographics, interests, and lifestyle is crucial. A construction company targeting blue-collar workers might choose high-quality, durable work shirts, while a tech startup might opt for on-trend custom hoodies.

Giving value:  Promotional products should be useful and something the recipient will actually find valuable.  A super soft promotional t-shirt or a custom trucker hat instead of cheaper, clichéd goods like water bottles and can holders have more inherent value, because they can be used in a lot of scenarios.

Quality:  That brings us to the quality of what you want to hand out. Cheaply made promotional products can backfire. That can hit your brand hard. Invest in well-made apparel or wholesale custom clothing to save more out of your budget. Handing out quality stuff reflects your brand’s professionalism and indirectly showcases how you value your customers and prospects. A fast-fading t-shirt that doesn’t fit with your logo on it will only be the opposite of your brand’s message.

Subtlety wins almost every time:  While brand recognition is important, swag items shouldn’t be “loud” ideally.  A tastefully placed tagline or quote on a piece of apparel can be far more effective than a giant, garish logo that simply overwhelms anyone who sees it. Desirability is part of the value you are giving. You can even weave stories on the products that convey something interesting about your brand. Such narratives actually help your brand build trust in its customers. 

Call to Action: This is something that’s neglected very often. Just showing them your brand’s logo doesn’t mean you’ve given them a calling card. Sometimes a little push can take your brand many miles ahead. Just pop in your web address or Instagram handle on the item somewhere. A QR code is a long shot, but people still have succeeded by adding them on the item.

There’s a unique advantage to using promo apparel. People wear them. There aren’t many limitations to apparel unlike promo mugs, promo laptop bags etc. The recipient can wear a t-shirt at the gym, at the beach or during social gatherings. This way, your brand is reaching new audiences without any additional effort. 

One Interaction. Lasting Results.

The impact of promo products isn’t easy to measure after a giveaway. Many businesses in the USA, small and big, have used promo products to spark conversations about their brand or generate a buzz in social media. 

~60% of consumers that received a promo product would then research about the brand that gave it to them at some point.

A good majority of consumers wish to get promo products more often from brands they are associated with.

Over 45% of recipients keep custom t-shirts they received from a brand for two or more years.

53% of people use a promo product at least once each week.

And it doesn’t stop there. Using promo products for branding and marketing is more cost-effective than conventional advertisement techniques, and even online advertisements in some cases. They can be used within a business to boost employee morale or to promote bigger events for businesses. Subtle messages on these products can tap into the aspirations and values of people like no other advertisement technique can. 

Understanding the psychology behind promotional products is how you can transform them into effective tools that drive brand awareness, customer engagement, and ultimately, sales. Research shows that promotional products can increase brand recall by up to 80%.  A well-designed “put-on” can take your brand places. 

Choose them wisely, customize them creatively, and use them psychologically.

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