Take your branded merchandise to the next level with these 7 tips.

How to Take Your Promotions Campaign to a Whole New Level

A good promotions strategy is a fantastic way for customers to interact with your brand on a daily basis — but how do you figure out which branded products to roll out? Keep these tips in mind as you plan out your next campaign, and you’ll find the process will be a lot more fun and rewarding.


1. Pens are cool, but think bigger.

Pick for impact. You don’t need to come up with a whole new invention to make a successful branded product — though that would be cool — but whatever you decide needs to elicit a “Whoa, never seen that before” reaction. It’s exactly the reason we partner with great brands like MiiR. On top of that, take some time to rethink the way an object “should” look, and change its shape, material or finish — all it takes are a few customizations to make an everyday item really novel and memorable.


2. Be useful.

The most successful branded products are the ones that get used. This probably accounts for the popularity of the ordinary pen, but again, we’re trying to think bigger here. This usually means something that has staying power, but it doesn’t have to be. Coloring books, which happen to be really on-trend, might have an inherently limited lifespan, but they invite repeated engagement. Better yet, portable battery packs offer a solution to an everyday problem — and each use is another touchpoint.


3. Stay ahead of the curve.

Figuring out the next big thing might be easier than you think: trends in the promotions world tend to follow retail trends by six months. (Speaking of which, check out our Summer Look Book when you get the chance — it’s not too late to get started.) Also consider that the campaign timeline should account for planning, execution, and distribution. If you’re already ahead of the game, it’s better to stay that way, so plan accordingly.


4. Get a second opinion.

Research is good, but more research is better. Branded merchandise and promotions experts do exist (we know, CI-Group is one of them), and they have the resources and industry knowledge to really help flesh out a campaign’s direction. It’s also a huge bonus when they take on a boutique perspective and can accommodate totally custom work. This means they can be instrumental in identifying not only the hottest trends, but also the best vendors for any given product. If they’re really good, they can pitch totally new ideas and concepts for your campaign too.


5. It’s a budget, not a limitation.

Take the opportunity to consider tiered pricing, not just for the cost savings, but because some unique or larger items might have surprisingly low quantity requirements. If you’re determined to roll out something that’s more experiential or flat-out more memorable, this can be great information to have right off the bat.


6. Clear brand, clear messaging.

This probably goes without saying, but it’s always worth underscoring: execution needs to reflect your brand’s excellence. As with anything that has your name on it, it pays to be detail oriented. Ensure that a quality control process is in place, especially when reviewing prototypes. Consider the product’s ease of use, graphic presentation and even its packaging.


7. Plan to follow through.

Every marketing campaign should have some sort of follow through, and promotions is no different. Inventory levels and order reports, both of which are readily available, could offer some insight into which products perform the best for your brand; on the other hand, surveys take more effort to collect, but they can ultimately provide more meaningful data. Either way, positive feedback could suggest not only a bigger promotions budget, but also new directions in which to take future campaigns.


The bottom line: Every touchpoint is a new conversation, so make them positive and engaging. If you can see your branded merchandise differently, your customers just might see your whole brand differently.

If you’re ready to start throwing ideas around, let’s get in touch! Our promotions team can help move your ideas from words on a page to a prototype in your hand.

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