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Give This, Not That - Branded Promotional Items

Branded promotional items are a mainstay of corporate giving. On the surface, it's a simple enough endeavor. Logo some pens, Frisbees, or stress balls and you think you're good to go at your next trade show, but the science of corporate giving is a bit more complicated than that.

The Promotional Products Association International did a study in 2011 of over 730 buyers and recipients of promotional products and found that recipients tended to be more favorably disposed to givers if they perceived the item to be more costly. That being said, most recipients of branded promotional items tended to value the usefulness of the item most of all. Keeping that in mind, it's no surprise that the most frequently branded items are pens. They're cheap and useful, but do they serve the ultimate purpose of of branded items? Will the user think of your company every time they pick up that pen to write a note or sign a check? Probably not.

So, here are some alternatives to the classic mainstays of promo products that might get your company the attention it deserves...

1. No more calendars or note pads

If these items are in your promo line-up, you already know that they aren't popular. Most calendars and to-do lists are digital these days and with more and more companies going green, some are reluctant to pick up a paper-laden item that they just won't use.

Instead, try a Personalized Gift Card App will brand digital gift cards from tons of national retailers including brands like Visa, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Staples, and Belk. App gift amounts start at $10. also offers discounts and cash back on your purchases. This is a great, GREEN, gifting opportunity that your potential clients will love.

2. Ditch the USBs

Okay, I know that they're the cheapest branded tech item and some people still enjoy getting them. They make sense because you can pre-load them with marketing items and price lists, but the younger your clients are, the less likely they are to actually use a USB. With the advent of the Cloud, USB drives are quickly being rendered obsolete.

Instead, try a Power Bank

Rechargeable power banks are a great, lower cost tech gift that clients will keep on-hand. Clients on the go are always looking for a spot to charge. This item allows them to do so without being tethered to a wall outlet. They're great on planes and in meeting rooms.

3. Toss the Stress Ball

Stress Balls are an old stand-by for the promo item industry. They're cheap to make in bulk and are the first items to find your client's trash bin. I mean, what are you supposed to do with it? Let it roll around on your desk for a couple of days until it annoys you into giving it a squeeze?

Instead, give a Turf N Tin

These brandable wheat grass growing kits were designed to live on desks. There's tons of scientific evidence touting the benefits of live plants in the workplace. They are believed to relieve stress, improve productivity and mood, and even increase creativity.

4. Give Up on the Desktop Puzzle

Ah, the old mini Rubik's cube! Is there anything more likely to waste my time while undermining my confidence? Yes, you can put your logo all over it and it SEEMS fun, but there's a more entertaining alternative.

Instead, Try A Magic 8 Ball

They're entertaining, but not consuming or frustrating and totally desk-friendly. This client gift will definitely stand out at a trade show and runs a low risk of being trashed.

One study concluded that the average woman owns five coffee mugs imprinted with company logos. Which tells us that it's important to be unique in your branding. Try to tailor your giveaways to match your corporate brand. Or at least give your clients something they will actually use. While he products here cost more than the typical branded pen, you have to ask yourself if the benefits of brand recognition outweigh the discounts of your ball-point?

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