Just like content that is tailored and personalised to meet consumer needs and wants, a well-thought out creative gift is impactful and memorable. And with the holiday season just a few weeks away…
The first question is, why give a gift, rather than, say, an information pamphlet or a traditional advert? The answer is that they have various benefits. Improving a brand’s image and perception, for example. And the generation of leads leading to increased sales. How about the maintenance of customer loyalty, and building B2B relationships?
Another advantage is the support it offers sales people. It opens doors for them to see their clients, and if you came up with a really good idea where you have to go back and there’s a repeat action involved, it’s another chance of getting back into the client’s office.
Finding a gift relevant to a brand’s objectives is crucial. But it must also be useful and long lasting (so it’s a constant reminder of the brand) for the receiver. Discovering this balance is the first step.
Ideaology is a company that strives to deliver this kind of service. “Instead of just going to buy a mug off the shelf, which everyone can do, we try and find out the message they are trying to get across, who they are trying to get it across to, and we try and find a gift that matches that message or has a unique way of carrying that message across,” says managing director, Michelle Pretorius.
With South Africa’s promotional gifts industry growing as fast as it is, people are receiving a lot of items. Just like content, brands need to find a way to stand out from the rest with their gifts. “Unless you’re unique and it lands on the client’s desk with some sort of impact, you’ve lost the client,” Pretorius says.
Merging promotional gifts with creative
This industry has gone beyond businesses simply focusing on promotional goods. Creative and advertising agencies are developing their own gifting divisions, which merge the two spaces, making the gifting more effective.
“More relevant gifting is often associated with a design idea or a creative idea,” comments Pretorius. “We are more than just a promotional gifting company. We’re an advertising agency with a promotional arm. And the advantage for clients buying promotional gifts from us is that we’ll try and find a creative idea that links to the gift, as opposed to an agent who just buys promotional gifts and all they do is put a brand on it.”
Gifts can cause a buzz in various ways. They can be completely different from anything a person has seen before, an off the shelf buy can be revamped to make it different, or the gift can be packaged in an interesting way, for example, a brand could wrap their gifts in their own branded wrapping paper. Another approach is themed gifts, something that appeals to people who support greening, or a snack box that gives a person, who is conscious of their health, the recommended daily allowance of various treats based on the diet they are following.
More expensive, but worth the cost
Creatively customised promotional gifts are more expensive than ordinary ones as the creative idea should be paid for.
Asked why people would pay extra rather than just buy a cheaper plain gift, Pretorius answers, “It’s going to be far more memorable than just a gift with a brand on it. You are making an impact and you want people to talk about it. You want to generate conversation around it and you’re not going to do that by buying a gift off the shelf with a brand on it.”
Some of Ideaology’s work highlights unique and creative gifting ideas. The company added a unique twist to plain notebooks by covering them in Shwe Shwe material (left). “When people see a gift landing on their desk, you have to make them say ‘wow, this is so different, I’ve never seen this before’, that’s how you get your brand across in a more impactful way and to break through the clutter of what everyone else is doing,” says Pretorius.
Not just external receivers
Brands are no longer only giving gifts to their clients. Internal gifting, with employees as the recipients, has become big business. “Make sure internally, you treat them just as you would your customers, make sure it’s useful and relevant to them and different,” advises Pretorius. Incentive programmes, which see employees taken on trips as rewards, require many gifts to be given to the employees.
Another part of the promotional gifting industry that is increasing in prominence is conferences. Creativity and innovation can flourish in this space, as giveaways and tokens at the conference have gone beyond a simple goodie bag.
Getting brand managers and marketing managers to think just beyond a gift is now a crucial factor in the promotional gifts industry. It has to come with a brief with objectives and a message for the brand and a target audience.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
Disclaimer: Ideaology is part of the Iconic Group, the same company as The Media Online.