What’s one creative idea for a company-branded giveaway or promotional product?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Coffee Cups
As I look at my cabinet, I have nine different branded coffee cups that I got from various conferences. This is probably the only branded swag that I have kept. For myself and all the other coffee drinkers, I can tell you that branded coffee cups are awesome.
2. Bobble Heads
I love bobble heads. I’m a big fan of one-off promotional products that are specifically created for my target. All the mass-produced promo items like pens, mugs, etc. make you blend in with all the other noise. You have to be unique, and a custom bobble head is something that continues to make an impact every day it sits on the recipient’s desk.
3. Specialty Food Items
We’ve created some gifts for our clients that have lasting power: the first was a trio of white-labeled hot sauces from a friend who has a pepper farm in North Carolina. This year we made a box set of spices that really got our clients excited. Going above and beyond the norm has worked really well for us.
4. A Product That’s Delivered Creatively
As a product-based business, Gumball Poodle uses creative methods of giving away our goods rather than just handing out product because experience creates memories. For example, we regularly give out gift-wrapped pairs of our socks to total strangers — a “pay it forward” gesture to brighten someone’s day. It’s simple, it works, and our staff enjoys doing it too.
5. Business Cards
Most individuals take a business card, but then never look at it again. Invest in your business card and make sure it stands out. Make them hard to throw away or forget about. For example, Campus Commandos has metal dog tags as business cards.
6. Really Nice Pens
This isn’t very creative, but I still say pens are the top of the game. If you want it to be a memorable promotion, follow the example of the pharmaceutical industry and make them really nice pens. I’m convinced all those visors, frisbees and stress balls are in the trash within a week, but most people don’t throw away a pen, and it just keeps showing up again.
7. Custom T-Shirts With Logos
T-shirts with the company logo and slogan work well. I give them to my employees, clients and some friends. I buy good t-shirts, then order iron-on stickers and have my friend do the rest. It works great and is always less than $15 per t-shirt. Everyone who sees the t-shirt asks about the company, so it’s a good way to generate more business.
8. Unique Towels
Our tagline is “Do you sweat red?” So, we went around town with towels dyed red in certain spots. It was a little quirky, but got people’s attention.
Shirts with inspirational sayings or aspirational outcomes are an emerging trend. Of course, you have to tie in your company with the item. People also love wristbands with inspirational words. They have an old school, cool value — especially when there are energetic or stress-relieving benefits. Wearables also can’t be put “out of sight, out of mind.”
10. Fortune Cookie With a Custom Message
We’ve just recently ordered a custom fortune cookie through Fancy Fortune Cookies. There will be a cookie inside with an internal fortune of “With love from Orange Mud,” and on the back a coupon for a future purchase. Who doesn’t like a fortune cookie and where else can you get a 100 percent open rate in advertising and a treat?
11. Branded Power Banks
Branded power banks are a good idea for people who are always on the move and may have forgotten to charge their device before leaving home. They will always remember you for being what saved them.
12. A Gourmet Lunch
Taking over a food truck with your company’s branding and bringing it to key customers or clients is an effective way to build buzz and engage your target audience. Since millennials value experiences over material items, bringing your company to life through a food experience is one of the best ways to leave a lasting impression.
13. Coffee Beans
A bag of coffee beans with your company name on it will last at least a few weeks, and your name will be looked at each and every day. Plus, everyone loves coffee.
14. Donation to a Nonprofit of Their Choice
Rather than giving away schwag that will end up in a trash can, offer to donate the value of such promotional products on behalf of the company to a cause the person care about. Making it personal can help build a stronger relationship and give you a reason to follow up in future conversations.
15. Branded Earbuds
Branded earbuds worked very well for us at our last event. While no giveaway or promotional product will close a deal for you, I do recommend something interesting that everyone needs in order to break the ice. It’s awkward for both parties to stand at a booth and approach booths at tradeshows, so make sure your booth is stocked with something fun for everyone.
16. Branded Dog Treats
For a SaaS company, provide customers with something that provides goodwill, like branded dog treats if you know your client or customer has a dog. A creative idea for a promotional product is something completely unrelated to the industry, but relevant to the life of your customer.