By Tom Gust

Everyone has enough free branded pens, tote bags, and plastic water bottles to keep them set for an apocalypse. Don’t be that brand that gives out the same old promotional junk. Offer products that are useful and memorable. Or else, what’s the point in spending so much money on branded merchandise? Promotional giveaways cost money, so you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang per buck.

Done right, a branded product giveaway creates a more favorable impression around a brand. It can help characterize your brand as playful, tech savvy, innovative, family-oriented, or whatever you might be aiming for. Alternatively, lame product giveaways —ehem, pens and plastic water bottles— signal that your company is old fashioned.

Choose a playful giveaway that’s interactive, useful, or tech oriented in order to maximize positive associations with your brand.

Interactive Products

Many people are tactile, or hands on, learners. They need to be doing something physical to learn your brand name, so give them a product that requires action.

Fidget Cube or Fidget Spinner – These work especially well for kids and restless adults, but in general, people like to be doing something with their hands. Both cubes and fidget spinners are unconventional and inexpensive, so they’re an easy way to place your brand literally at your customers’ fingertips.

Frisbees and Outdoor Toys – Create playful associations with your brand by giving away toys such as foldable frisbees and toy balls. Customers can take these home to play with their kids, dogs, or family members. Every time they play with it, they’ll be repeatedly exposed to your brand name and develop positive associations with your brand in the context of fun and games.

Stress Balls – Like a ball or fidget spinner, stress balls are effective because people can manipulate a product that has your name on it and be constantly reminded of your offer. If your brand is geared towards health or wellness, a stress ball giveaway is especially relevant.

Useful Merchandise

Choose swag that will be used rather than tossed in a junk drawer in order to increase exposure to your brand name. According to marketing philosophy, prospects need to come across your company name or offer at least seven times before they start to seriously consider it. Maximizing exposure is key, and that can’t be done if your giveaway is useless.

Foldable Water Bottle – Reusable, collapsible water bottles are all the rage for athletes and eco-friendly consumers, making them great giveaways for outdoorsy, athletic, or green brands. They come in various models and colors, making it easy to choose one that matches your company vibe. If you’re stuck on giving away water bottles for your promotion, at least upgrade to this nifty, modern design.

Koozies – A less pricey and more fun option than the water bottle is a koozie or drink insulator. Sure, it’s been done before, but for good reason. You bring a koozie out at a party and everyone can see it. A single giveaway exposes your brand to multiple people and in a fun, laidback setting.

Tech Giveaways

A technology oriented giveaway creates a strong set of impressions around your company and offer. Tech products are practical and popular, they indicate high quality, and they make a company seem more savvy and up to date than a company who gives out pens.

Portable Chargers – Portable phone chargers are incredibly useful. In fact, there are very few people who would turn down a portable charger in our phone obsessed world. People spend hours staring at their phones every day. Land your brand name a spot right next to a phone screen. It’s prime real estate.

Screen Cleaners – In the digital age, you can’t go wrong with phone or screen related giveaways. Some screen cloths even have adhesive to stick to the back of phones so that the cloth is always stylishly attached to the phone. A branded screen cleaner with a trendy design or logo looks like decoration yet has a practical alternative use.

When it comes to promotional giveaways, think outside the box. If you give them another branded pen, it will just sit there next to fifteen other branded pens. Make your company stand out by giving away something that can be seen and used often to attain max exposure and impact for your brand.

Tom Gust is a freelance writer who works with Pristine Screens, a custom technology accessories company.

Branded products stock photo by Africa Studio/Shutterstock