Promotional products are a wonderful marketing instrument for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s a strategic tool that can help build your brand recognition within your target audience. Promotional products are also one of the lowest cost per impression when compared to other advertising options– assuming you avoid the throw-away give-away category.
Today, consumers are “going green” faster than ever, and businesses are following suit. It’s not just a passing trend or a niche market idea, as sustainability concerns become mainstream. Through the use of eco-friendly promotional items, you can increase your brand’s recognition as being an environmentally friendly business by demonstrating your commitment to the cause.
Of course, printing an Earth Day slogan on a plastic tchotchke isn’t going to send the right message, and could reasonably come off as cynical and out of touch. To show your green cred, make sure your promotional items are useful and reusable, recycled, biodegradable or sustainable.
1. Useful and Reusable
Perhaps the most common utilization of a green promotional product is the reusable shopping bag, usually also made of recyclable materials. Easily display your company logo and you have a walking advertisement for your business, as well as a reminder to your customer that they like your business, every time they use the bag. You’re helping them make an easy eco-conscious choice.
While the recycled shopping bag is practical, it is also becoming very common, so make sure yours is a good quality one that lasts (a more sustainable choice, too!)
Running, cycling and triathlon race sponsors have been among the early adopters for truly useful items, donating running hats, gloves, sport bottles, swim caps and other daily-use logowear to participant swag bags. It’s important to recognize that such promotional items aren’t cheap– people have to enjoy using them for a long time, in order to create the right brand experience.
2. Recycled and Recyclable
Stationery and notebooks, bottled water, mouse pads, paper bags, floor mats… more and more items are being made from recycled paper, plastic, rubber, glass and metal. You don’t necessarily have to broadcast the source of the materials, but a symbol that designates the items as recycled does get noticed.
In fact, you might say people readily notice when give-away items are not made from recycled materials. If you’ve already settled on the kinds of promotional items you want to purchase, take some extra time to investigate their sources– it’s a detail that matters.
3. Biodegradable and Plantable
Of course paper and natural fabric items are biodegradable. However, giving away items that people don’t expect to be biodegradable can make a unique and memorable statement. Materials are evolving, and previously wasteful items like balloons are now be manufactured from greener choices. The same is true of pens, mugs and other plastic items that used to live for thousands of years in landfills.
Providing customers and prospects with something that is unexpectedly biodegradable makes for an interesting discussion piece, and something they can feel proud to use.
Greeting cards that double as seed starters and small potted plants in biodegradable pots are very cool ways to project an image that proves your eco-consciousness.
You can truly get creative with the use of sustainable promotional items depending on your industry. For example, if you are a local gym you might give away solar-powered pedometers or organic cotton t-shirts. You might place a collection bin for used running shoes in the lobby– this is not a promotional item per se, but the daily reminder of your sustainable choices serves a similar purpose, and you could give away a promotional item to those who donate.
Locally-sourced items are a great way to show your understanding of sustainable practices, which include both environmental and economic choices. So is charity in general. Contributing to charitable causes both locally and globally is another way to showcase– and of course to be– a more sustainable business. You might use promotional items to broadcast a percent of profits going to certain causes, planting trees or buying carbon off-sets.
No matter what you choose, incorporating reusable, recyclable, biodegradable and sustainable practices into your marketing strategies will be better for the environment and showcase your brand in a positive light.