When developing a promotional product strategy, make every division of your company part of the plan.
Promotional products are a great way to build value in your company—and organizations can use these products in innovative and effective ways that you may not think of right away. Although some people assume that promotional products are the business of only one or two departments, savvy leaders understand that a promotional products strategy should take every part of an organization into account.
After all, promotional products are a critical part of your marketing strategy, and marketing isn’t just about what you tell potential customers—it’s responsible for the internal and external maintenance and development of your brand.
To avoid wasting budget dollars and missing out on an opportunity, consult this breakdown of promotional product uses by organizational division. Taking a high-level view will help you make the decisions that best suit your company’s needs.
Objective: Cultivate a productive and satisfied workforce.
HR oversees the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff and serve as an intermediary between an organization’s management and its employees. They also work hard to make sure new employees stay on board and that the company can actively recruit talented and skilled individuals. This means that HR has a lot of use for products to build connection, say thank you and help create a stronger sense of company culture.
These can include service and tenure-related recognition as well as collateral for employee events, training, or wellness-related programs. HR can also include onboarding materials and new employee welcome items.
Solution: For example, human resources might launch a wellness program specifically tailored to the challenges of working from home. This program might give each employee an ergonomic keyboard, a set of exercise bands and a foam roller for at-home exercises, and a stress-relief tea.
Objective: Represent your brand externally and internally.
Marketing departments promote your business and drive sales all while helping to grow your brand’s reach. They require promotional products around new product releases, brand campaigns, trade shows and conferences, point of purchase materials, and client gifts.
Solution: Marketing might celebrate a brand campaign by issuing new branded stationery, logoed apparel, office supplies, and business cards internally and by gifting top customers with unexpected brand vehicles like logo-bearing socks or cookies iced in brand colors.
Objective: Leverage reputation into conversions.
The sales department consists of a set of activities that support business strategies and objectives—which often means serving as a point of contact for customers or vendors and representing products and services externally. A sales team uses promotional products for tradeshows and promotions, gift-with-purchase programs, and awards and incentives for both clients and the sales force.
Solution: Sales might celebrate a new product launch by gifting top customers with samples in custom branded packing, perhaps along with a small seasonal thank-you gift like gourmet cocoa or some on-the-go sunscreen. Sales gifts don’t have to be expensive, but they should be thoughtful and memorable. You want to provide your team with the tools they need to create an impression that turns into a conversation or a sale.
Objective: Monitor and advocate for the bottom line.
Finance departments are responsible for acquiring and managing funds. They can use promotional products to manage investor relations and as a part of analyst meetings and annual reports.
Solution: Instead of just emailing a PDF, finance can generate interactive investor reports by including models. To make an impact, get creative with physical representations of key metrics. For example, you might offer a bag of 28 chocolate covered espresso beans to represent your 28% growth as compared to the same reporting period last period, or represent an increasing market share with cookies of various sizes. Consider also including creative print collateral that centrally features high-level takeaways—these can make a much bigger impact than an on-screen chart.
Operations & Manufacturing
Objective: Ensure that goals are met safely and efficiently.
Operations ensure that your systems run as efficiently as possible. This can include strategic thinking about systems and on-the-ground management. Manufacturing oversees total quality management, safety programs, training, and supplier recognition. Both of these departments have use for training materials and company-branded workplace gear.
Solution: Operations might give employees PPE and other occupational safety wear or send an experience box to each employee attending a virtual training to make sure that the lessons of the training feel concrete.
For key investors or hard-working executives, consider VIP gifts like canvas weekend travel bags, a crystal decanter or tumbler set, a custom leather briefcase, or a new techy treat like the latest wireless earphones. These are also excellent gifts for employees within the ranks of a company who distinguish themselves through excellence, loyalty, or effort. These people put in a lot of time—and a luxury gift is a great way to say thanks.
Big Picture Wisdom
It can be challenging to take a high-level view of your organization when you are embedded in the daily work of solving problems—but using your organizational chart can prompt you to consider the big picture.
You can apply this technique to any expenditure. For example, you might ask yourself “Am I maximizing my employee development funds?” and discover that you are overtraining your senior administrators and neglecting junior staff.
The same can be asked about office supplies, travel budgets, technology expenditures, and so on. After all, the bigger an organization is, the harder it is for one hand to know what the other is doing—which is why executive guidance becomes so critical.
Seeing the big picture is particularly important for marketing departments because their efforts are critical to maintaining the value of a company’s work. To maximize your marketing budget (and the effectiveness of your promotional products strategy), take a step back and consider your company as a whole.
From new hires to trusted vendors to potential customers—the opportunities to leverage the power of promotional products cut across divisions and classifications. You’ll be glad you made the time to take stock.