Watch the news these days there are many versions of the “truth”. And it’s not just in the worlds of politics and current affairs that people find it difficult to know what to believe anymore. The business digital world makes finding the “truth” more difficult than ever for consumers as an ever growing avalanche of data can act to conceal the facts rather make them easier to find. But recently with everyone pointing the finger and accusing each other of promoting “fake news” things seem to be more confused than ever. So can marketing companies cut through this noise and reduce the general level of cynicism about marketing offers made online in the “Fake News” era?
Allocating a proportion of your budget to promo merchandise is a popular way to sidestep this growing confusion. When you’re holding something real in your hands it’s hard to avoid a subjective opinion of its practical value. People will always make an emotional judgement about the impact of something they observe and these impressions, both good and bad combine naturally to form an overall attitude towards the brand the product carries. Many forms of business communication rely on emotive impact to manipulate and control perceptions but by using branded merchandise you can create a direct connection with consumers which allows you to reduce the rising cynicism amongst consumers who can make a genuine personal judgement based on lived experience.
Consumer perceptions of your brand are critical to the success of your marketing. Around the world billions of dollars are spent every day on promotional messaging but the final outcome can often be the opposite of what was planned. Research has proven that promotional material marketing, when overlaid against more traditional forms of branding has a higher than expected likelihood of reinforcing positive perceptions. In this day of digital communication when few people do business meet face-to-face, adding your logo to something as simple as printed coffee mugs and giving them to people with whom you do business is a way of escaping the negative filters which seem to dominate so much of the online world. Think about it…. how can a good quality product with genuine practical value create a negative impression with the person using it? And once your logo is added your brand can absorb some of the reflected glory.
A good example of successfully overcoming modern consumer doubts is the way many companies use custom printed products to reinforce claims of “eco-friendliness”. While many companies make bold claims about their environmentally friendly reputation there is a growing doubt about many of these claims amongst consumers. The simple expedient of providing business contacts and consumers with a promotional item which reflects brand values and is made from recycled materials is more convincing that any number of claims made in advertising. In a marketing world where bluster and misinformation is the norm simply placing a branded item in the hands of consumers you can cut through the doubt and questions to create a genuine impression no amount of online advertising can replicate.
These days the temptation exists for all marketers to allocate most of their advertising budget to online lead generation. Adwords budgets are easy to manage, simple to analyse and assess and can be scaled up or down in no time. But at the same time, the evidence is clear that keeping a foot in the “real” world can help to leverage additional sales and brand equity from your online exposure. The less time we spend engaging with each other and spend staring at a screen the more effective offering your clients and business prospects a thoughtful branded gift becomes. More than ever, even in this world of “Fake News” branded products have a place in building and maintaining our business relationships.