Monday 17 September 2018

Promotional Products - Beating the "Fake News"

Watch the news these days and you’ll see many versions of the “truth”. It’s not just in the worlds of politics and current affairs that people find it difficult to know what to believe. In the new business digital world, consumers also find it harder than ever to work out what is true. Now with everyone pointing the finger and screaming "fake news” everyone is confused. 

So how in this era of uncertainty can marketers reduce the general level of cynicism about marketing offers made online?

Investing a proportion of your budget in promotional products is a proven way to sidestep this confusion. When holding something real in your hand it’s impossible not to reach a subjective opinion of its practical value or make an emotional judgement about its impact. These impressions, both good and bad combine naturally to form an overall attitude towards the brand the product carries. 

Unlike other forms of business communication which rely on emotive impact to manipulate and control perceptions, branded merchandise creates a direct connection with consumers and allows you to reduce the rising cynicism amongst consumers in these days of "fake news”.

Managing consumer perceptions of your brand is what promotional marketing is all about. Billions of dollars are spent worldwide every day on advertising messages, but the final results can never be trusted to work out as planned. 

Research has proven that promotional products marketing, when overlaid against more traditional forms of brand marketing, has the potential to reinforce positive perceptions - particularly in this day of digital communication when few people who do business meet face-to-face. Adding your logo to something as simple to a good quality printed pen and giving to to people with whom you do business is a way of escaping the negative filters which drive so much on-line discussion and debate.

So how can an attractive, good quality product with practical value create a negative impression with the person using it? 

A good example of successfully overcoming consumer cynicism is the way in which companies use branded, physical products to reinforce claims of “eco-friendliness”. Many companies claim a clean, green reputation but again, in this era there is a great deal of doubt about such claims in the marketplace. The simple expedient of actually offering business contacts and consumers a promotional product which reflects brand values and is made from recycled materials is more convincing that any number of claims made in advertising. The reality of promotional merchandise cannot be denied. In a marketing world where bluster and misinformation is the norm, the simple expedience of placing a branded item  in the hands of consumers creates an impression that no amount of online advertising can replicate.

The temptation exists for all marketers to spend their budgets online. It’s easy to manage,  analyse and assess; and can be scaled up or down in minutes. But keeping a foot in the “real" world is a proven way to leverage your online exposure. 

As we spend less time engaging with each other and more time engaging with a screen, the simple expedient of offering your clients and business prospects a thoughtful branded gift is a more powerful way to build and maintain relationships than it’s ever been.

Author Bio - Bill McGrath is the founder and Managing Director of Fresh Promotions, one of Australia’s leading promotions agencies with dozens of the nation's top 100 companies as long-term clients. With many years experience in retail and trade promotions clients have come to depend on Bill’s advice in sourcing promotional products in Australia which enhance the values of their brand.

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