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Have you ever been at an event and spotted cool swag you were dying to score? But when you finally got your hands on it, it turned out to feel cheap, clunky, or crappy. And how quickly did that ruin your perception of the brand stamped across it?

This is a dilemma that companies of all sizes face when commissioning promotional products for sales and marketing. How do you produce something nifty that reflects well on your brand?

The Top Swag

While odd-ball items like a bungee rocket or hydro-powered water clock may be eye-catching, an ASI Central (Advertising Specialty Institute) study finds that apparel is still the most popular promotional product category. T-shirts account for 12.5% of distributor revenues alone, with polos and caps drawing just over a combined 14%. Bags, such as eco-friendly totes, account for 9% and drinkware accounts for 8.1%.

A great promo product has the possibility of staying in a recipient’s possession for years, so be sure to think about producing something that is going to be captivating rather than thrown in the trash.

How Cheap Swag Compromises Your Brand

Imagine receiving a t-shirt from a company, such as a bank after you’ve signed up for a new account. Except the shirt feels scratchy, has a no-name label, and the printing cracks and peels after a couple of washes. Inherently, this poor quality will impact your perception of the brand as well as the trust you may feel in the bank. “If they’re cheaping out on their t-shirts, where else are they cutting corners?” you may ask yourself after tossing the cheap swag in the trash.

Consider the impression made in this scenario. The last thing a business man sees as he tosses a cheap, leaking pen into the trash after ruining his custom Italian suit is your logo.

Thinking about drinkware?  Wise choice, if you select a high quality piece that won’t spill hot liquid even if turned upside down.

The more popular the item, the more critical it is to produce high-quality options. In this day and age, everyone has received a ton of promo marketing items. So in a sea of t-shirts being handed out by dozens companies, how can you help yours stand out? One way is to look for vendor partners that offer brand name, high-quality options. For example, favourites we often deal with include Under Armour, Nike, and American Apparel. A person who receives your company shirt with a co-branded Under Armour logo will instantly associate your brand positively with performance and quality. Name brands and swag – go together like peanut butter and jelly. Whereas the no-name t-shirt leaves a lot to be questioned.

Trusted Distribution

Another example is receiving the ever-popular eco-tote, used for errands and grocery trips by anyone and everyone. A great billboard for promoting your brand, a tote bag can be the hero or the villain depending on how durable the quality of manufacturing is. It either sustains the weight of your shopping trip – or breaks and sends your eggs crashing to the ground.

The Bottom Line

Working with a partner that understands the importance of brand image and one that can source tried and tested products, such as through our infinite Proforma network, delivers a peace of mind that your recipient won’t be cursing your bag. Instead, you’ll be the hero! Having the experience of knowing what works, what doesn’t, and how to find the best quality/price balance helps us promote our customers in a way that reflects positively on their brand – and results in long term eyeballs on their t-shirts, totes, caps, mugs.

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