The Power of the Free

We are all big fans of stuff… especially when it’s FREE! Think about it— How much promotional “swag” have you accumulated over the years from college, sporting events or even a trip to the bank? We’re sure your office/home/car is cluttered in pens, koozies and notepads from the Holiday Inn or Joe’s Heating and Air.  

The question here is: As a business, how effective is funding and distributing free promotional goodies? 

Answer: VERY effective. 

Promotional items can be anything that contains a company’s branding or logo that can be distributed as a free advertising tool to a group of people. Some examples of promotional items companies might use are: business gifts, giveaways, sweepstakes and our favorite…company swag (t-shirts, hats, stickers, and other take-home goodies.).

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Companies have been building brand recognition for many years using promotional giveaways. An estimated 20 billion dollars is spent every year on giveaways and promotional products to increase brand awareness. And it’s working.

According to surveys and research conducted by the British Promotional Merchandise Association, there is evidence of a direct correlation between brand recognition and an increase in sales after giving away promotional products. Consumers are much more likely to purchase goods and services from a company after receiving a promotional item from them.

When choosing which product to use to advertise your business, it is important to keep in mind exactly your customer’s needs (and wants!) Here are some do’s and don’ts in choosing promotional products:


·      Choose something that your consumer will be able to reuse often. Like this super bright and clever tote we got from a tradeshow from Hippeas!

Photo courtesy:

Photo courtesy:

·      Catch their attention. Make your design bold, but stay on brand. You don’t want to be someone you’re not. Nobody likes a liar.

·      Less is more. Having your businesses name and the slogan or tagline associated with your business is plenty. 


·      Limit yourself to only one promotional product. Diversify a little and invest in several different types of swag.

·      Hand out cheap items. The product you distribute is a reflection of your company. So if you want people to think you are cheap, go ahead and get the crappy pen. But our recommendation would be do invest the extra few cents and get the good click pen with the gripper.

·      Use products that are easy to throw away. The purpose of your product is to get people to hold onto them for a time so your company stays top of mind. If consumers are throwing the product away, you missed the target. Not to mention you’re literally throwing your money away.

The use of promotional products is an excellent way to get your brand in the hands of your target market and increase brand recognition. Think of it like 80s music for example. When you hear that certain tune, your mind automatically goes back and recalls your younger, bigger hair days. Just like an old song, a quality promo item will keep your brand in the minds of your consumers and when they have the need, they’ll think of you.