Benefits of Brand Recognition Gained Through Company Swag

Thomas Hilton

Thomas Hilton

Team Merch

For decades, promotional products – often called company swag – have been a prevalent marketing tool. Most people have some branded pens or plastic cups, even if they're not the type to keep promo t-shirts around. In fact, nearly 90% of consumers in North America and Western Europe report owning promotional writing instruments. Think hotel pens, bank pens – anything with a logo on it.

Company swag is nothing new. If you were to dig through your grandmother's closet, she probably has some vintage swag from way back in the day – at least mine does. If granny does let you pick through the closet at the top of the stairs for treasures, maybe you'll find company swag for brands that aren't even around anymore but that she could tell you about.

Just because company swag isn't something new doesn't mean it's a marketing strategy to disregard. As one of the most affordable marketing strategies resulting in long-term consumer impressions, company swag can be the "branded metal straw" that broke the metaphorical camel's back, tilting customers your way and away from your closest competitor. "The branded metal straw that built the brand back up after the pandemic" might be a better idiom.

How Company Swag Builds Brand Recognition

Great Swag Acts like a Business Card

Giving out swag to potential customers can be even more effective than a business card, which many people toss in a drawer, never to be seen again. Moreso than a piece of paper, a quality promo item will often leave a lasting impression on a consumer, making them much more likely to remember your brand when the time comes they need your product or service. The effect is the same as a business card, but the consumer will likely appreciate receiving a gift, however simple, if it's a quality, useful item.

Low-Cost Per Impression Marketing Tool with Long-Term Effects

Many types of company swag, from t-shirts to coffee mugs, pens, hats, and bags, are incredibly cheap to produce, and due to the continued consumer impressions of swag when used over time, ends up costing a fraction of a cent per impression.

Free Swag Can Change Consumer Behavior

The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) has conducted surveys and research that directly correlates marketing through promo products or swag and positive business results. The survey shows there's both an improvement in brand recognition and an increase in sales, each in no small part.

The BPMA found that many consumers are willing to switch their typical brand choice of a particular product – say, coffee or a sports drink – to another brand that provides a similar product offering a "free gift with purchase."

If throwing in some company swag with a purchase will result in a new loyal customer, the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for their repeat business was well worth the investment. It doesn't need to be that expensive for swag to be effective. One of the most cited reasons for a consumer to keep a promo product long-term is its usefulness.

Foster and Reinforce Customer Loyalty

Besides swaying consumers from one brand to try yours for the cost of a swag item, promotional items can also build up and reinforce loyalty in existing customers. A good strategy here is to give your customers swag that is high-quality and useful, as you should when choosing any promo item, and make it something that complements your brand's products or services.

For example, if you sell high-end camera lenses, your customers would probably really appreciate a camera bag. Yes, even with the logo, perhaps even more, because it identifies them as a photographer experienced enough to be a preferred customer of your brand.

See how that works? Your brand gets exposure, and your customer feels valued and appreciated. A customer that feels appreciated is likely to remain a customer.

Watch the Benefits of Brand Recognition Grow Your Business

The benefits of brand recognition gained through company swag are easy to see and achieve if you put some thought into creating promotional products that people want to keep. With a cost per impression of typically less than a cent per item, can you really afford not to put company swag to work building your brand recognition? Remember, you don't have to commit to a huge, sweeping order right off the bat. Give swag a shot and see how it works for your business.

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