Promotional products - a good idea if done properly (article)

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In this article, Derek Stockley discusses the importance of good promotional products and how they can help or hinder the development of a positive company image.

I have a comprehensive collection of pens.

No, I am not a silly, irrational collector. I use (lose) a lot of pens, so I pick up the pen and paper provided to me at the conferences and training sessions I attend/conduct.

Any good conference or training venue will provide pens and paper for participants - it is expected. It is the base standard.

I am often surprised at the quality of the pens provided.

I remember one incident particularly. I was setting up for a training course when I received a phone call on my mobile (cell) phone. I picked up a pen to write down some details and pushed down on it to position it. It splintered in my hand, causing me some difficulty with a potential client.

The pen was marked with the logo of a major motel chain. It looked cheap and nasty. It did not match the prestige of the venue. I have been to other four and five star venues where the pens look like they would fit well with a two star establishment.

Other venues provide high quality pens. They match the image the venue is projecting.

I cannot see the logic of providing a poor quality pen, particularly pens that do not work or last only five minutes. A good promotional pen should last a long time. The company name, website address and/or telephone number should be visible and prominent for a long time.

I am regularly reminded of quality venues by the good pens I use.

The cost differential is marginal - a good pen only costs a few cents more, particularly for bulk purchases .

I believe that if you are going to use promotional items, they should be long lasting. They should be a constant reminder. They should also be high quality.

I reported the splintering pen to the catering supervisor. Again I was surprised by his reaction. He said something to the effect: "I suppose you cannot expect much from a cheap import". He did not have much respect for the promotional pen. Yet it proudly bore his company brand name.

In the same vein, I cannot understand a venue providing pocket sized notepads with a small number of pages. Such pads do not match a full day training/conference event. An A4 size pad (A4 is the standard size in Australia) is far more practical. Any unused sections are likely to be used 'back at the office'. Again, they have a promotional impact.

Summary and conclusion

If you are going to use promotional products, you should believe in them. They should reflect the quality of your brand and product or service.

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