Every January our team has the opportunity to attend the PPAI Expo in Vegas where we get to connect with top suppliers, discover new products, and gain a fresh insight on how the promo industry is growing and evolving for the year. Typically, in this yearly recap blog post, I highlight what the brand new products were that we saw at the show. I could do that again as there were some cool new products showcased but honestly, what I found more valuable (and hope you do too) were three overall consistent “themes” happening within the industry. These three themes were prominent and spoken about in every meeting with every supplier and could be seen highlighted and promoted when browsing the showroom floor. Gone are the days of not being eco-conscious. Gone are the days of just slapping a one color logo on a product. Gone are the days of not going the extra mile to enhance the gift giving experience.
Theme #1: Sustainability/Eco-Friendly
The amount of times suppliers asked us if we had any clients who were passionate about eco friendly and sustainable products was equal to how many steps we walked each day…which was a lot! Okay, it wasn’t that many times but it was one of the first questions we were asked when sitting down and meeting with suppliers. Why? It’s a huge initiative for the promo industry to move away from the “brandfill” reputation and become more eco-conscious when creating and packaging products. It’s really inspiring to see the way companies are now taking a step back and re-considering how they can contribute positively to the industry and to the world we live in by ensuring their products are recyclable, reusable, and sustainable in some kind of way.
Theme #2: Enhanced Technology for Decoration
The industry has started shifting to taking products that have existed for decades and enhancing them with new decoration methods. In years past, promo has been known for putting a one-color logo on a standard colored product and that’s all it was. Nothing wrong with that - that still has its time and place in the industry. However, with how advanced technology has become now, the decoration capabilities and creative opportunities are endless. Promo is shifting to becoming more retail-inspired with how items are decorated. It’s a mind shift from what a lot of people are traditionally used to, however, with the right design and execution your brand can be elevated to new levels with customized products.
Theme #3: Customer Experience and Story Telling
When you create a design for a product, it’s equally important to think about what story you want to tell with that design and what kind of experience you want the receiver to have when receiving that product. We all know about influencer marketing on social media and how successful that can be for brand recognition and sales. The same concept now applies to promotional products. Your brand’s success with promotional products comes down to the quality of the products you choose, how you design them to tell a story, and how you package them to enhance the overall experience. If you’re not doing those things, your competitors are, and guess which brand the consumer will remember most for when they need your services? They’re going to remember the brand that gave them the most positive lasting impression.
With its constant evolution, promo is becoming even more influential in the marketing space. If you're seeking a fresh approach to enhance your brand and leave a lasting impact, consider utilizing promotional products. However, don't forget to incorporate these three key themes when distributing branded merchandise – it will make a tremendous difference!