A promotional item is a very important representation of your brand and company when you give it to a prospect or client. You want to make sure that your printed promotional item is of high quality and conveys the message you want in a clear, legible manner.

I can’t tell you how many times a client requests us to include too much information on a promotional item. Yes, you need to include your logo and a call to action (phone, web address) so the recipient knows how to reach you, but do you need to include your tagline, all the services you offer and location address? In my opinion, no. Why hand something out if you need a magnifying glass to read it!

Reinforcing Your Communications

Think about a billboard as you are driving down the highway. What do you see? Maybe an image, a catchy headline and then the call to action – NEXT EXIT, TURN RIGHT or CALL 800-GET-FREE. An effective billboard conveys the message quickly – in just a few seconds or the opportunity is lost, literally (because you have now passed the sign).

Keep the Message Short

Benefits Stated

Your printed promotional item should be considered as a mini billboard. You are not trying to tell your whole story, you are providing a means to be remembered with your contact information easily accessible.  Your goal should be to reinforce all your other communications and be useful so the promotional item is kept and used regularly. You want to stay with them – securing key desk space or briefcase space.

Another aspect of making your promotional item effective is to recognize the information isn’t being printed on a piece of paper. These items have contours and textures so allowances need to be made. The type font size might need to be increased or the spacing between the letters increased because the surface may cause the print to fill in and become unreadable.  Also you need to pay attention to the imprint area. Just because an item might look big, the area that can be imprinted may be very small.

For instance, flashlights can be very difficult. I’ve seen imprint areas as small as 3/8” x 3/8”. You can’t include much in that amount of space and be legible. If you have a distinquishable logo that can stand alone you might consider it, if not, I would recommend a different item.

Pens are another good example where space can be limited. Some pens have a “wrap around” affect with their printing so you can include a good amount of information, others do not. We recently did pens for ourselves and had to eliminate our logo, just our name and web address was able to be included.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are many promotional items that have large imprint areas that allow you to include more information. However, you must consider how important it is. Again, just because you can doesn’t mean you want to include everything about your company.

Notebooks, notepads, self-adhesive pads all provide the opportunity to include more extensive information about your company and how to reach you (so do bags and umbrellas – but really, is someone going to read a lot on an umbrella?).

We recently did a series of adhesive notepads for a sales organization. Each notepad not only had the company logo and web address but includes the sales person photo and contact information – it’s like having a business card that sits on the desk and attached to documents every day.  Talk about staying top of mind!

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More