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Messaging, call-to-actions, and why it’s important to include them on promotional merchandise

22 November 2019

Previously we’ve written about why promotional merchandise itself, and why having branded items in plain sight on your customer’s desk, are of huge value to your business. What can we say, we’re slightly biased. But, even if we weren’t, there is good evidence to say that promotional merchandise speaks your message without you having to say a word. Branding and messaging on promotional products, whether that might be a pen, mug or event banner, all offer the same benefit – an opportunity to reach your target audience with maximum results, and with minimum effort.

Messaging on promotional products works in two ways. There’s the obviousness of your brand getting free promo through visibility, but there are also the subliminal benefits too. This includes someone seeing your brand info, or a call-to-action (more on this later) or simply your brand colours, which encourages them to think of your business without them even realising.

Now whilst this might sound like some serious mind-altering psychology, we’re not suggesting your promotional mugs have the same powers as Derren Brown (at least not yet, but it’s only a matter of time for science to catch up). However, there’s a lot of evidence to say that “subliminal”* promotion does increase sales with studies going back to 1957 on how subliminal messages or adverts affect not only what people buy, but how much they spend.

An example would be if you’ve you ever found yourself craving fast food and wondering why. And then you realise earlier that day on your way to work you saw an advert for that brand at the bus stop. But did you see an ad on the website you were browsing your phone whilst you waited for the number 22 to arrive? Or maybe you saw the brand promoted in a magazine, that someone was reading across the aisle from you. Or maybe you saw a product image on the side of the bus itself!

These are big and prominent forms of traditional promotion. But often when we’re distracted and just going about our daily lives we’re not really paying full attention to what’s going on around us at all times, otherwise, our brains would be overloaded with too much information to process. That’s why it’s important to include a brand message or CTA on your promotional merchandise. So that you are placing your brand in front of your target audience at all times and so that your brand is front and centre in your audience’s mind when they think of your product or service.

A call-to-action (for example “Visit our website.”, “Find us on social media” or “Sign up online”) coupled with a URL should prompt or encourage a response from your customer. And if it’s printed on a product that sits on your customer’s desk, then all the better, as it will be doing all the hard work for you to strengthen your brand’s reputation, leaving you with more free time to work on other parts of your business.

*Subliminal advertising has been coined often meaning the messaging is hidden and not apparent. In this example, we take subliminal advertising to be “visual, auditory or other sensory messages that register just below our level of conscious perception and can be detected[1]”, but are not deceptive in nature.

[1] Excerpt taken from Buyology: How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy Is Wrong by Martin Lindstrom, 2008

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