Promotional Products as an Engagement Strategy: Part 3 of 3
For effective use, the engagement professional will be strategic and thoughtful in the selection of promotional products as a communications device. Selecting the right products means knowing your communication objectives. It is critical to be intentional and to know what message you are going to deliver. Be specific. Focus on helping, enabling and informing your target audience.
Know your audience. When it comes to selecting effective promotional products, reverse the Golden Rule and use the Platinum Rule. It is not a matter of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you; do unto others as THEY would have you do to them. In other words, choose items based on their interests, their values, their lifestyles. Don't select them based on your personal preferences or biases.
Select items for longevity of message. Remember that it is better to spend more for an item that the recipient will interact with for years than an item that will be used once and forgotten. Remember, it's not what a product does; it's what a product means. You are not giving away an item; you are delivering a sensory experience. Choose wisely.
Do not waste money, damage your brand or weaken your communication efforts. Follow these guidelines for maximum results.
- Know the medium and use it to reinforce and complement your other engagement strategies. Decide on a communication objective and determine ways to reinforce the message and communicate it on a sensory level through promotional products. Use promotional products to increase participation in surveys and assessments. Encourage collaboration by creating a team atmosphere with shared and common apparel offerings, creating common colors and even branding among team members.
- Know your audience. Make sure the items that you use in your engagement and communication strategies are appealing to them. Select items based on the demographics, lifestyles and affiliations of your audience.
- Tell a story. Consider your options to script your experience and put an exclamation point on the total communication and relationship efforts that is being created.
- Have clear objectives and measurements in place. Adding a promotional product to your engagement strategy mix generates positive emotions and attitudes. (ASI Impressions Study)
- Give yourself sufficient lead-time. Plan your sensory experiences including promotional products at the onset. By planning ahead, the communications dollar is maximized, more creative options are available and rush charges are avoided.
- Work with a promotional professional who understands your objectives and find quality products, will follow sound practices to insure product safety and will protect your brand.
Promotional products are easily delivered at seminars, events, in direct mail and from person to person. It is a communications tool that engages an audience through touch, taste, smell, sight and sound and creates feelings of goodwill toward the organization that delivered it to them.
It doesn't stop there.
Those feelings recur every time the recipient uses the item. They can be the beginning of a relationship. They extend memories of a positive organizational experience by being the commemoration of a special event. The relationship of the promotional product to the recipient and the meaning that it represents create a value that is far and above the price. It moves into the next dimension of emotional connection infused with tangible memories, meaning, passion and an affiliation with a cause.
This is part 3 of 3 of a series that make up the chapter on promotional products in the new Enterprise Engagement curriculum. This text book teaches end-users and practitioners how to improve engagement throughout their organization.