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Brand Matters: Business as Unusual

Dare to be uncommon 

Ordinary business practices lead to ordinary business.  

We all know print and promotional products are effective forms of advertising – that’s how they drive a $28 billion industry. But with so many companies selling the same shtick, how do you compete? 

Sometimes it can come down to what it is you’re selling. Pens are great, everybody uses them, but take a minute to think about your own life. How many pens have you received from different companies in the last month? How about the last six months? The last year? If you go back far enough you may realize you have an entire drawer full of branded pens, thereby lessening the advertising value of each one. 

Now ask yourself how many branded popcorn poppers you have. You probably didn’t have to think very long because you either don’t have any or you only have one. 

In this post, we’ll explore the value of uncommon promotional products and how they can set your business apart from the competition. 

Getting lost in the crowd

Let’s revisit the pen example. We’re by no means saying that a pen can’t be an effective promotional tool or that people are going to become disinterested by receiving another pen. But consider the fact that 20% of consumers own more than 10 promo writing instruments. Your brand’s pen is in that drawer swimming around with more than 10 other brand’s pens, and unless there is something super unique about your pen, it becomes white noise. 

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd,” the brilliant Albert Einstein said. “The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” That’s just a profound way of saying that uncommon goodies can help prevent your product from getting lost in the crowd. 

Business as unusual

This isn’t just about ordering a one-off, branded pool float or ice cream scooper. It’s about creating a culture of unusual. What can your business do to stand out on a regular basis? Ask yourself how you can pair your distinct selling proposition with an exciting or different promotional item to grab an audience’s attention. This kind of thinking is not only a great way to promote your own products and services, it also sets a great example for your employees. Encouraging employees to come up with new ideas that transcend the norm will result in more creative and motivated employees that will move the company forward. It’s a win for the consumer, a win for the employees, and a win for business owners. 

Stay relevant to your customer’s business

When considering what promotional products to choose, it’s important to keep your clients’ business in mind. If possible, choose an item that relates to their industry. For instance, instead of adding another mug to a client’s probably-already-full cabinet of mugs, maybe provide a restauranteur with branded magnet menus or branded spatulas. Items like these keep all the focus on what the business does, and the end consumer is reminded of the company every time they go into the kitchen.  Avoid recommending branded Styrofoam cups for an environmentally-conscious tech group. Make sure the promotional products you’re offering work with the company’s vision and don’t contradict it. 

Keep your products useful

People love stuff. It’s so easy to accumulate dozens of branded products from dozens of companies, but those products are only effective if they’re useful. Don’t get so lost in the idea of offering unique products that you make something nobody is going to use. 53% of people use a promotional product at least once a week and that usefulness is the key. It’s why pens and bags are so popular.  

When considering what products to choose, stay on top of the trends and identify what is important to your consumers. A branded pickleball set stands out and could be used regularly by the consumer, considering it’s the fastest growing sport in America. The ultimate goal is to brand a product that the consumer sees and uses on a regular basis, but that they also can’t get from every other company. 

Print can be uncommon too

The unusual and unorthodox isn’t limited to promotional products. Sometimes what your customer needs is an out-of-the-box way to approach print materials. When you think of print, there are obvious examples like banners, business cards, or envelopes; but what about something really out of left field? How many businesses are incorporating services like dimensional popups, packaging/promotional services, or webkeys? In fact, 50% of people say that branded packaging makes them more likely to recommend the brand to their friends, and 61% say that branded packaging makes them more excited about receiving the product (4). The average customer may not even know these things are available to them, but offering unusual elements like these can help make you a premier name in your industry. 

The Takeaway

Nobody wants their company labeled as boring. There is a time and place for widely used classics like t-shirts, pens, and notepads, but don’t overlook opportunities to think outside the box. Adding some uncommon goodies that are useful and relevant to your client’s business will help set them apart and give them that extra leg up in their industry. Uncommon print materials like vehicle wraps and 3D animations can be that element that propels you to the top of your industry. So don’t be afraid to try something new! Maybe take that right turn when everyone else is going left. Your clients will ultimately thank you for it. 

Originally published on proformablog.com.

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