The top promotional items in brand marketing

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Even in today’s digital age, promotional products still have huge value for brands wishing to gain awareness, build engagement and enjoy the benefits of immediate, memorable interaction with their clients – typically on a face to face basis.

The BPMA has found that 66 percent of promotional gift recipients remember the brand on an item received up to a year later. This provides a better ROI than outdoor and radio advertising and an equal ROI to print and TV. Furthermore, a whopping 79 percent of recipients would do repeat business with a company that invested in promotional products.

Promotional marketing acts a springboard which gets your target audience talking about you in the first place. From this point, you can engage further using digital channels such as social media. This shows how the offline and online approach can deliver enhanced benefits.

There are trends in promotional product marketing as there are in any marketing channel. In 2018, brand recognition is one of the most important aspects of value, with consumers automatically associating high-quality promotional products with high-quality brands and wishing to align their own purchasing decisions accordingly. This trend is being supported by social media and the power of social platforms to tell stories and to influence consumer decisions, especially in the B2C space.

Let’s look at some of the top promotional items used in brand marketing.

Travel mugs

Features are also important for great promotional items. For example, water bottles and travel mugs are extremely popular promo items and customers love high quality pieces with recycled materials, cork, excellent insulation and high-end user features. Click for a promotion items that are best for your business. Remember that performance, quality and design are key features that will ensure your promotional product continues to be used.

Digital tech

Traditional promos are taking a back seat as younger people move into the workplace. This means that innovative, unique and useful products are becoming more in demand and millennial influencers want to see items such as memory sticks and mobile phone accessories. If the item is creative and memorable and has real utility, then it is likely to be of interest. Remember that digital and mobile devices are a crucial part of our daily lives and items which enhance or make the most of these tools are likely to be heavily used and valued in the future – giving you sustained brand reach.


Having spoken about the rise of digital items, it’s important to stress that functional merchandise will always remain important and promotional bags are the perfect example. For the brand itself, they offer a superb opportunity to place logos and messaging onto a large space and to choose a material which is strong, durable and which represents the company’s credentials.

For example, a high-end recycled jute bag conveys sustainability and environmental awareness. A folding bag with a carry case that fits into a pocket shows a company’s nod to innovation and solution-finding.

Space savers and solution-finding products

Minimalism is a hot trend this year and a solution-finding promo product links into the trend for utility and quality. Today’s workers want to have minimal, uncluttered desks and aspire to downsize, whilst getting rid of things that don’t add value to their lives. So make sure the promotional products you give out don’t simply add clutter or purposeless waste to your recipient’s life.

Think about products that provide something useful or which are beautiful in their own right. Look at great colours, materials and features which are on-trend. These include cork, copper, wood grain, matte finishes and bold colour pops. Try streamlined pens or miniature multi-tasking pads. Look at digital promos such as charging cables, or miniature tins of mints.

Wellness products

One of the other big trends for this year is the rise of wellness and fitness. This offers plenty of opportunity for promotional products too, positioning your brand as a forward-thinking, healthy and ‘well’ brand with one eye on the trends. Think about sugar-free mints, branded water bottles, sports t-shirts and sports footwear bags as examples of where you can add value and brand visibility with a carefully chosen promotional item.

These are just some ideas to get you started. Remember, the more unique and quirky the product the more it will stand out and likely be valued by it’s owner. Just remember though that practicality always trumps design. However pretty it is, if it’s not useful it will quickly get thrown away or put in a drawer never to be seen again.

About the Author: Steve Hill is the Director of Bag Workshop, a leading UK supplier in promotional bags and custom branded bags. Having worked in marketing for over a decade, Steve stepped aside to found three separate companies supplying bespoke marketing products under the Wurlin Promo umbrella. You can connect with Wurlin and Bag Workshop on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.