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The Ultimate Guide to Promotional Products

Would you wear a Lidl Christmas jumper?

Whether it’s a classic Sports Direct mug or a Lidl Christmas jumper, promotional products are everywhere. Branded with a company’s logo or message, these products are distributed to target audiences as part of a marketing or advertising campaign, often free of charge. They serve as a tangible and lasting reminder of a brand or message, and they work: 75% of people are more likely to buy from companies which have given them promotional products. 

The history of promotional products dates back to the 18th century when commemorative buttons were created to celebrate George Washington’s election. The real boom in promotional products, however, occurred in the late 19th century with the emergence of printing technologies. Businesses started using promotional items like calendars, pens, and promotional cards to advertise their products and services.

In the early 20th century, the industry continued to grow, and more diverse products became available. The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), founded in 1950, played a significant role in standardising the industry and providing a platform for businesses to source promotional products.

Today, the promotional products industry is a multi-billion dollar global market, offering a wide range of products that cater to various industries and promotional needs. The evolution of technology has also allowed for more innovative and personalised promotional items, contributing to the continued popularity and effectiveness of promotional products in marketing strategies.

Popular Types of Promotional Products

The best thing about corporate promotional products is that you can make them out of just about anything you can think of. The more relevant to your business and industry, the better – fashion brands, for example, see much more success when distributing stylish tote bags as opposed to stationery as it fits their target market. To give you some inspiration, here are some popular types of promotional products:

  • Custom apparel, including t-shirts, polo shirts, hats, and jackets featuring your company logo, a mascot, or your tagline
  • Stationery items such as pens, customised calendars and planners, sticky notes, personalised crystal paperweights, memo clips, and penpots
  • For companies with a focus on technology, customised phone stands, mouse pads, and wireless phone chargers all make good options
  • Reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, travel mugs and even glassware
  • Various forms of bags, including totes, backpacks, laptop bags and duffel bags, all with company logos
  • Fridge magnets, car stickers, and 3D engraved crystal keyrings

Benefits of Using Promotional Products

Coca-Cola is no stranger to the use of promotional products – the first custom merchandise they ever produced were vintage calendars over 130 years ago!

Increased Brand Visibility

Promotional products serve as tangible representations of your brand. When people use or see these items regularly, it helps to reinforce brand awareness, as well as putting your name, logo or message in front of potential customers you may not otherwise reach. Items like pens, T-shirts, and mugs with your logo act as mini-billboards when the recipients are out and about, reaching a wide audience and increasing the visibility of your brand.

Enhanced Customer Loyalty

Giving away promotional products makes your customers feel appreciated! People often respond positively to receiving free items, creating a positive association with your brand, and encouraging them to continue buying from you. In fact, as much as 83% of consumers say they would experience a strengthened loyalty to a brand they currently use if they were given a promotional product. This is particularly true when brands provide useful and quality promotional products, as customers are likely to continue doing business with a brand that has made a positive impression on them.

Cost-Effective Marketing

Promotional products can be a cost-effective marketing strategy when compared to other forms of advertising, such as TV or radio commercials. The cost-per-impression is much lower, largely due to the massive staying power of promotional products: whilst an advert will stop running, more than half of consumers report keeping various promotional products for over 5 years, and 40% say they’ve kept some for more than a decade. On top of that, ordering promotional items in bulk can result in lower per-unit costs overall, making it an affordable option for businesses of all sizes.

Targeted Marketing

Promotional products can be tailored to specific target audiences, ensuring that your marketing efforts are reaching the right people. For example, if your target demographic includes outdoor enthusiasts, providing branded water bottles or camping gear can be a thoughtful and relevant approach. 

Designing Effective Promotional Products

Promotional products are known to be an effective marketing tool, but that doesn’t mean you should slap a logo on a baseball cap and call it a day. To really get the most out of a promotional product marketing campaign, you should think carefully about your target market and the types of items they’d like to receive. You should then consider the design of your item: some items will benefit from a more complex design, whilst others will work with a simple logo on and nothing more.

Both Heinz and Ben & Jerry’s, as well-known brands, have opted to create promotional apparel with entertaining messages in lieu of their official logos. 

Choosing the Right Items

To choose the right items to use in your promotional campaign, some market research is in order. You may already have relevant data about your target market, particularly if your business sells products, not services. For example, a stationery company may already know that their customers buy lots of pencil cases at the end of August before the school year begins. They may decide, therefore, to give away promotional pencils, rubbers, rulers, or other handy school stationery items around this time. 

If you don’t already have this information, conducting both primary and secondary research can help give you a good idea of what your target market will value the most. Gain some insight by looking at what your competitors are doing, as well as businesses similar to yours in different areas. You can then run surveys amongst your existing customers as well as amongst people in your target market to directly get the important information you need before you plan your campaign.

Customisation and Branding

The ideal design of your promotional products depends on your campaign goals. If you’re aiming to get the word out there about your brand, increasing brand awareness and recognition, make sure you feature your logo prominently in your design and keep your colours and fonts consistent with the rest of your brand identity. Adding some sort of messaging will also promote a strong brand identity – if you’re a casual, quirky company, add something to show this such as a tongue-in-cheek phrase or pun, or a simple illustration.

Try to invest in high-quality products that reflect positively on your brand. Items that are well-made and durable will leave a better impression and have a longer lifespan, increasing the chances of extended brand exposure. Items which fall apart or otherwise stop working will have a negative effect. You want your customers to know you’re passionate about quality!

Where possible, personalise items with the recipient’s name or other details. This can create a more intimate connection and increase the likelihood that the item will be retained and used. This is also particularly effective when gifting promotional products to employees; the bespoke aspect of the item can make them feel more valued than a cookie-cutter version.

3D Engraved Crystal Promotional Products

Chamonix Crystal PaperweightCrystal LED Light Keyring


Nothing says quality quite like a crystal promotional product, whether it’s in the form of a paperweight, a keyring, or other desktop accessories. At Laser Crystal, everything we create is bespoke, which means we can create something completely unique to your brand for any occasion. Each crystal promotional product can also be individually personalised for each recipient!

Our sustainable promotional products are 100% recyclable – they’re made from flawless, optically pure glass and we carefully etch our designs into the crystal through the use of 3D engraving lasers.

There’s no limit to how much you can customise our glass promotional products, and once you let us know what you’re looking for, we’ll provide you with a selection of different crystal shape ideas along with your quote. We only need a rough design idea for your 3D engraving along with your personalisation requirements, and then we can support you with creating a fully developed and unique design. Our creative design team will produce some 3D visuals for you to review from different angles, and for large orders, we can even provide a pre-production crystal piece for final approval.

Ready to get started?

Contact the Laser Crystal team for further information, to receive a quote or if you’d like a sample. Alternatively, pop us a call on 01202 675000 and we’ll be happy to chat to you about your project!

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