I cannot really describe myself as being new and shiny anymore but that is how I was when I started in the promotional merchandise department of The Printed Image back in January. Coming from a sales administration and customer care background, it was daunting to come into a new field, but I took it as a challenge and an opportunity to learn about a fast moving and fun industry.

I have always been an admirer of how a company would market themselves and their products. This was usually from the eye catching and alluring packaging and POS they used to bring the customer in. What I did not realise was how important that little (or sometimes not so little if you are lucky) giveaway or promotional item was. Brand exposure is everything for a company, whether it be the pen a customer writes with or the cotton shopping tote they carry around. It is not just about a consumer buying the product from the shop anymore but the consumer becoming a brand ambassador for the brands they choose to purchase and align themselves with. How many people will that consumer interact with on a given day, how many people can be exposed or catch a glimpse of their brand? How many other consumers might they interact with around your brand? This exposure can easily have a cascade effect of advertising or appealing to new consumers.

We all know the usual items that companies lean towards when buying branded merchandise, but what surprised me when I started, was just how creative or technically, some companies were thinking.

An interesting line I have heard recently is that “The world is run by millennials” and we all know they love their up to date technology. It is true now that we are a technology driven society and I’m clearing seeing evidence of how many non-tech companies have taken this on board and embraced it. There is now a race to keep up with technology from a promotional stand point. Not just in the standard items, but how a consumer’s life can be made more convenient, supported or enhanced by a product.

As is tradition in these circumstances, an item cannot just be one thing anymore but it needs to be able to do multiple things. A pen is no longer just a pen, now there is a need to also be a stylus for a tablet or phone. What is particularly interesting about this is there does seem to be more of an element of fun put into these items along with more health and lifestyle driven items.

Sunglasses with Built in speakers

Who would have thought of this? Be ready for summer. Your speaker needs are sorted as simply as connecting your phone to the 1W speakers – it also includes a mic and pick up function so you can answer calls and not be interrupted too much.

Powerbank and Wireless speaker

Given that nearly everyone has a powerbank either in their bag and a wireless speaker in their home, it really is no shock that these two would be combined. So now you could charge your phone twice or listen to your tunes for up to 6 hours.

Hydration Tracking Bottle

Some may think this is not as exciting as the other two but when I first saw this bottle it blew my mind! May sound like a throw away idea but there are those (myself included) for whom this is a dream item as they may monitor how much water they take in.

I’m excited to see what the next generation of branded merchandise will bring and I’m excited to be bringing this to the market!

 

Ceire Hoey Daly ceire@tpi.ie