Kevin Kourafas

SWAG Specialist

Expert Series: Advantages of Promotional Products for Branding

SWAG Specialist

Did you know the US was recently named the world’s largest advertising market? With each country spending billions of dollars each year aimed at influencing consumers, America leads the way with about $298 billion in annual ad expenditures.

But, what’s the most effective form of advertising?

In years past, advertising focused on making convincing arguments to their consumer, and achieved great success by promising a more efficient product. It was a simpler time even just twenty years ago, when online marketing was in it’s infancy and broadcast remained king.

Today, however, advertisers are moving towards a more personal approach via the use of promotional products (aka SWAG).

Any successful company in 2019 would tell you it’s imperative to build a relationship with your audience. The traditional method of advertising is thought of as “intrusive” by today’s consumers, and 87% agree there are more ads in general today when compared to just a few years ago. Conversely, promotional products are a surefire way to cut through the clutter, make your statement, and begin to build upon that vital relationship with the customer.

The Disadvantages of….

-Broadcast advertising: relies on consumer watching the right channel
-Print advertising: relies on the consumer accessing the material, coming across the ad
-Mobile advertising: requires the consumer to download the app in which ad was placed
-Online advertising: needs to initiate a load onto a browser to count in reach calculation.

Cultural differences in generational gaps make advertising to a broad audience more difficult than ever; however, Millennials, GEN Xers, and Baby boomers all agree – SWAG is the most welcomed form of advertising. It’s also the most effective, since they allow for your brand’s message to reach both the desired audience and anyone that’s yet to hear of your company. According to a study done by The PPAI (The Promotional Products Association International):

“Promotional products are used daily, and 83% of consumers use them more than once a day. The longer a promotional product is kept, the longer a brand’s message is communicated. And if a recipient does not want or need the promotional product, eight in 10 pass it along (nearly seven in 10 give it to someone they know, and one in three will donate it) ultimately furthering the brand’s reach.”

There’s no better form of advertising than word-of-mouth or personal recommendations. When a person uses your promotional product or gives it to someone they care for, they’re essentially saying they stand behind your brand and support your message.

Plus, SWAG remains the most effective tool to keep your brand top-of-mind in a world full of choices. The fact is that if a consumer doesn’t recall the name of your brand – or has never heard of it – then they can’t or won’t ever become a loyal customer of yours. Promotional products’ advantage over other forms of advertising comes in it’s ability to “heighten consumer memory”. Put another way- when you give a consumer a branded product they’ll use everyday, they’re more likely to fondly remember your company and make a purchase with you in the future.

The PPAI study shows nine in 10 consumers recall the branding on promotional products they have received—and it’s 67 percent higher than broadcast advertising and 78 percent higher than online, print and mobile advertising. It’s clear that promotional products pave the way for brands on the consumer path to purchase.”

But perhaps the most compelling stat in favor of promotional products is the following: 83% of consumers say they would be more likely to do business with brands advertised on promotional products. 

To successfully market your brand via promotional products, one must pay close attention to trends and know what will connect with the audience, taking into account the give-away setting and your audience’s demographics. Engagement is king, and giving away products will lead to stronger loyalty towards your brand; but it’s important to remember, however, that not all promotional products are created equal. Slapping a logo on any old, boring product won’t achieve your desired outcome.

When you give away useful, valuable, and unique promotional products, you’re not only showing the recipient how much you value them, but you’re also investing in the most effective form of advertising and building a relationship with the people most important to your bottom-line. Your audience doesn’t need another pen, so be sure to do your research or enlist a professional to help you out!

Kevin Kourafas is a Certified Incentives Professional and SWAG Specialist currently working for the most creative promotional product company in the industry, SOBO Concepts. A lifelong resident of a small town just south of Boston, his passion for marketing is matched only in his love for Boston sports (he currently writes for a Celtics affiliated website, as well). He’s constantly looking for new ways to improve customers’ experience and ensures that everyone loves doing business with SOBO. You may reach him via email at or call 305-503-9772.