Digitalisation has produced information overload: we are exposed to a vast quantity of information and messages every day through various media. To deal with this infinite barrage of advertising, we subconsciously reduce our attention levels, only looking at and listening to things that match our tastes and interests and ignoring the rest.
Since many people consider corporate gifts to be useful items, they can overcome these cognitive filters, and foster communication and brand recall in those who receive them. In addition, promotional gifts are the only form of advertising that can stimulate all five senses and therefore appeal to individual emotions and feelings.
By becoming a possession, the most useful gifts manage to insert the brand into consumers’ everyday lives, becoming a ‘long-term advertisement’. Take, for example, a customised mug or USB drive: both can become part of one’s everyday routine, and so build a long-lasting link with your audience.
According to a 2021 study by PPAI (Promotional Products Association International), 94% of consumers like to receive promotional items and three out of four would be inclined to purchase from a new brand if they received a free gift. These data show that corporate gifts are excellent marketing tools and can be used to increase a brand’s visibility, build relationships with prospects and increase customer loyalty.
When to use corporate gifts
Events, conferences, trade shows, meetings, prize draws, promotional campaigns… There are countless opportunities for giving customised gifts to potential or acquired customers, employees or suppliers. These objects grab the recipient’s attention and create a better and more memorable brand experience. Take a trade fair, for example, where visitors are interacting with hundreds of different stands and exhibitors. Handing out original and useful items can arouse their interest, get a specific message across and foster new contacts.
The three characteristics of the perfect corporate gift
If they are to avoid ending up forgotten about at the bottom of a drawer, gifts must above all be useful and aesthetically pleasing. It is also important that they are coherent with the company’s identity and core business, to improve its reputation and make it easier to remember. Finally, if the aim is to attract new prospects or build the loyalty of existing customers, it is worth making distributing customised items part of a wider marketing strategy, as this will convey a stronger message and increase the chance of the initiative being successful.
The Italian firm Sercom coined the term neurogadget to describe a personalised item that takes advantage of customers’ and prospects’ emotional side.
By applying the principles of neuromarketing to promotional marketing, the new generation of corporate gifts can easily be traced back to the brand and builds a stronger and deeper bond with the audience, fostering positive emotions. Each neurogadget is developed individually to suit the target, the business and the message it wishes to convey; it could be a simple pen or a more sophisticated item, depending on the aims of the campaign and the type of customer. Unlike standard promotional items, neurogadgets can create a connection with the recipient, establishing a close relationship and therefore helping to encourage customer loyalty.
We will end this article with a few examples of original corporate gifts that match the characteristics of their target audience perfectly. The streaming platform Netflix showed how well it knows its customers when it designed ‘smart’ socks equipped with sensors that pause the programme if the spectator falls asleep.
Budweiser also managed to appeal to its customers’ passions with these special gifts handed out during the ice hockey game between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs. When synced with spectators’ mobiles, people’s glass lit up every time their favourite team scored a point. The initiative got so much visibility on social media that other hockey teams created their own personalised glasses too.
The first example teaches us that even the most boring object can become an unusual corporate gift that perfectly meets the audience’s needs, while the second shows that customised objects can become genuine collector’s items. The challenge for every brand is to combine careful analysis of their specific target with a dash of creativity, and so come up with a gift that is both useful and original.