Promotional Products as an Engagement Strategy: Part 1 of 3
Promotional products are a communications tool that can engage all five senses. They are a creative way of not only informing, but for interacting with an audience by providing a sensory experience. Promotional products can be any tangible item usually imprinted with an organization's message, branding or promise.
Unlike other advertising media which interrupt the recipient, promotional products engage an audience. They are often the beginning of a relationship. They are the one communication tactic for which people say "thank you" when they receive it. Practitioners like to point out that promotional products are the original medium of engagement and the very beginnings of the industry indicate that it was born to engage people.
While promotional products in America can be traced back to commemorative buttons for President George Washington, and there were some advertising calendars, rulers and wooden items prior to the forming of the industry, it was a printer in Coshocton, Ohio by the name of Jasper Meeks who is considered the father of the industry. Meeks was able to convince the local shoe store to buy book bags imprinted with the store's message and to give them out for free to the local school. Soon, a competitor picked up on that idea and soon they were selling all kinds of items imprinted with the messages of local businesses.
Each item imprinted with an organization's message stimulates some basic human gratification factors. The act of giving and receiving is the basis of a relationship and engenders goodwill, trust and loyalty. The law of reciprocity comes into play, as the recipient desires to return the positive feelings to the giver. The high perceived value creates a high pass-along rate as well. The PPAI Promotional Products Awareness and Usage Study found that 88 percent of recipients recall the advertiser and 62 percent recalled the message on promotional products received in the past twelve months!* A recall level that would suggest strong affinity and appreciation for the giver.