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You may have noticed that over the years, you’ve kept some promotional products while others went straight to the trash.  The difference is very likely a function of quality, and whether something is a brand name item.  On a deeper level, the reason has to do with psychology – specifically, the psychology of brand names, and the messages which are already, quite conveniently, built into those brands.

Likely, you’re already in agreement on the value of promotional products. (If not, take a look at our article on the ROI of promotional products http://proformasi.com/how-to-prove-roi-for-promotional-products-to-your-vp/). And you can certainly put branded materials into the hands of your customer, visitor or employees at very low cost. But the question is: Should you? 

Today’s marketer knows that customers are vigorous consumers of information, being almost continuously bombarded with messaging and information. We also know that a successful brand image is built on consistency of messages across many, many channels and touch points. Promotional products are no different, with the added dimension of helping deliver a message that lingers, long after an event or promotion has concluded. The importance of brand image in promotional advertising is paramount.  We did some research into the psychology of it all to find the answer to the following question; “why do people buy name brands?”

 How Brand Names Trigger Something Inside Us

Whether you decide it was Abraham Maslow’s 1943 Hierarchy of Needs, or Aristotle’s Seven Causes for Human Action which is more accurate, the interpretation tends to be the same: we, as humans, are guided by basic needs and emotions.  And we’re driven to satisfy those needs. Deep within the subconscious lie triggers to certain thoughts about how we feel, how we view ourselves, and then how we behave.  A recognizable brand name can be one of those triggers.

A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”

Marty Neumeier – author, The Brand Gap

Consider what else we know about the psychology of brand names:

  • Relying on a brand name is efficient. It’s a source of information which comes complete with a back-story and a brand reputation.
  • People want to fit in. For that reason, they sometimes buy brands because those brands will lead to social acceptance.
  • Some people will buy a certain brand to support their personal or professional image. It makes them feel important.

A well-known brand comes with a packet of features you expect to get: quality, value, a feeling about yourself. It’s pre-programmed, built-in, ready-to-go. The work has already been done to script what’s being said when that brand speaks. The messages are largely already resident in the consumer’s brain. A recognizable brand represents to the consumer what he or she has already absorbed, probably over years of impressions about the company.

Then comes the link to price. Generally speaking, consumers are prepared to pay more for a brand they recognize because they have come to trust that it provides value. The world’s most successful brands have, for the most part, distinguished themselves based on undertones of value. Mercedes, Rolex, Apple, Under Armour have, over time, all created a perception of consistency, quality, and value. And beneath it all, emotions are being evoked. The odd performance scandal aside, the best companies earn that reputation over years of consistent performance and delivery.

Promotional Products

Branded Products Hang Around

It’s a myth that promotional products are throwaways. Branded materials which are perceived to be high-value, can be kept for up to 4 years. That’s 4 years of exposure to your brand. http://proformasi.com/true-or-false-myths-of-promo-products/. Your product may actually get extra exposure simply because it bears the Under Armour, Adidas, or Reebok name.

Often consumers make split-second decisions about a company. So seeing a brand name, together with your logo, tells them a lot about what they’ll get and by extension, and about who you are.

Consider these findings from a study of high versus low-end promotional products, conducted by the PPAI:

  • Consumers were more favorably disposed toward a promotional product if they believed the item they received to be higher-priced.
  • Quality and brand name elevated recall of a promotional item.
  • There was a correlation between greater satisfaction and higher-priced promotional products.
  • The real value of branding surfaces when the product’s reputation is factored in. Most respondents indicated they’d look more favorably on the giver if the promotional item were a familiar brand.

PPAI: High end, Low End “Which Promotional Products Work Best?”


Promotional materials that are clearly low-cost, break, or fit poorly, risk sending a negative message.

Brand reputation is formed from every single experience, interaction, and message an audience receives. Branding isn’t restricted to what your company delivers for a fee. It’s part of what you offer and give away too.

Use the Psychology of Brand Names to Speak to Your Customer

Your customer’s perception of the promotional products you choose will become his perception of your brand as well. Do you want to deliver the message to customers that you’re trying to save money when you have to spend it on them?

Brands with a pre-programmed brand reputation, can cut through the noise of information that consumers are bombarded with today. Value stands out, impresses and pays off.

Our advice is this: Send the message that you appreciate value. Show your customer they’re worth a high-quality promotional product. It appeals to them on many levels.

The job of planning branded promotional products is tough – there are plenty of choices and decisions to make, and certainly many ways to save money when you put materials in the hands of your customers or employees.

But if you’re trying to get the most out of your promotional products, why not put more into them? Do what you can to ensure your branded materials survive and thrive, enhancing your brand reputation. The correlation is proven, and the results will be long-lasting.  How important is brand image?  It takes years to create it and five minutes to ruin it.

Proforma SI can help you manage your promotional products, with high quality choices and ordering tools to make a consistent, high-quality, emotional connection to your brand.  


SCHEDULE MY MEETING NOW !  I’d like an expert to help me find the perfect promotional product.




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