Put Your Name on It and ‘Ignite Your Brand’

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Rummage through your desk and you’re likely to find a few things given you by another business.

The pile might include pens, USB drives and a water bottle. Whatever it is, the company that gave it to you wanted its name in front of you so that down the road, you’d remember it should you ever need its services.

“Promotional products are probably the most important part of a message. They’re the leave-behind, if you will. It’s something people will keep,” said Brian Governor, sales executive at Safeguard. “We talk about it in impressions. If you put [your name] on a bag, we know that bag will be seen about 3,700 times in a year.”

Safeguard, a promotional products company with offices in Youngstown, Streetsboro and Greer, S.C., hosted the Ignite Your Brand trade show Thursday at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Racecourse. The show featured 25 vendors that put logos on everything from the traditional pens and water bottle to phone chargers, Bluetooth speakers and umbrellas.

Inexpensive items such as pens, pencils or notepads — even phone chargers — are more commonly given out a trade shows as a way to get your company in front of potential customers, vendors said. But what’s really taken off recently has been higher- end products such as Bluetooth speakers, backpacks and apparel.

“People aren’t going buy a thousand of these and give them to everybody. There’s cost involved,” said Matt Eysoldt, a representative for Origaudio, Innovation, Callaway Golf and Badger Sportswear. “This is more of a targeted approach for an existing client or to recognize an employee.”

These items are designed to be highly customizable, down to sublimated patterns on the bill of a hat made by Badger, Eysoldt adds. One product gaining popularity among real estate agents is an eight-inch speaker by Origaudio that can have a picture printed on the front.

“They get a picture of the house for the family and then they put the family name and the date they moved in,” he says. “Lasting items are the key thing.”

All Origaudio products are one-piece and have no minimum on order size, Eysoldt added. Among his company’s other products are backpacks, portable phone chargers and an ultraviolet-light phone cleaner.

In the same vein of keeping your company’s name at the forefront of clients’ minds, Chocolate Inn has found a niche by combining marketing and food. With a table full of jelly beans, hard candies and, of course, chocolate, this vendor’s display was one of the more popular booths at Ignite Your Brand.

Whereas most promotional items engage touch and sight, food adds taste and smell to the equation.

“They’re the ones that create recall the best,” said Midwest sales manager Ryan Schafman. “A lot of people are worried about the one-and-done, where people get the food, they get rid of it and the message is gone. But it creates recall because you’re tasting and smelling it.”

There’s also the wow factor of giving a client a stack of boxes filled with candy that bear your name. At the back of the table was a two-pound Rice Krispies treat emblazoned with the logo of the Golden State Warriors.

“How many times have you gotten a two-pound Rice Krispies treat? People will remember getting that and they’ll remember it for a long time,” he said. “That’s really how to use this category.”

But the old standards still top the lists for many vendors. Writing utensils, drinkware and T-shirts remain the best-sellers, as they have for years. A PowerPoint presentation at the Ignite Your Brand showcase showed that 45% of consumers have a promotional USB drive, half have a promotional pen and 41% have office or phone accessories.

“If you can get product placement on someone’s phone, they’re probably going to keep that until they get a new phone,” Eysoldt said. “It’s about finding that unique piece that’ll stay on a desktop or in your pocket where it gets used for repeated exposure of your brand.”

One thing changing, though, is a buyer looking more toward name-brand products, says Quinn Park, regional manager for Bic Graphic.

“They like to get something with the Bic name on it or a Koozie product. It’s really focused around branded merchandise,” he said. “Everyone knows what a Koozie is. We own that name. We’re brand-oriented here at Bic. We have branded merchandise from Taylormade and Adidas in golf and Jam speakers in the technology industry.”

Those items, Safeguard’s Governor added, are popular for a reason and they’ll be sticking around.

“Trends do come and go. The staple products are still the No. 1 seller,” he said. “Pens are still around. A pen goes through seven hands before it dies and everyone still uses pens.”

‘3 Minutes With’ VIDEO:
‘Ignite Your Brand’ Showcases Promotional Items

Pictured at top: Brian Governor, sales executive at Safeguard.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.