Cheap Products Promote A Cheap Brand

Paul wearing custom sunglasses given to him over 4 years ago.

Here’s one of the many trends out in the promotional products landscape - purchasing higher quality promotional products!

Here are a few reasons why:

  • You want your customers and prospects to have positive thoughts and feelings about the promotional product you just gave them.
  • You also want the recipients to have positive thoughts toward your company.
  • A return on your investment (ROI). The longer a promotional product is kept and more importantly, USED, the better your ROI.

If you’ve found yourself purchasing cheap promotional products, here’s something you might not want to hear – now more than ever, recipients of those products are judging the promotional item they receive, making a direct correlation to the company handing them out.  Unsurprisingly, giving out cheap items says that your company didn’t put much time and effort into gifts for their customers or prospects.

During a recent presentation, I was talking about this idea and gave out a $0.13 pen and asked someone in the audience this…."If you saw my company for the first time at a trade show and I gave you this pen, what would be your thoughts on this product?"  One person in the audeience said, “The pen is all plastic and light-weight which makes me think it’s cheap.”  I then followed up and asked what would be her thoughts/feelings about my company giving you that pen?  She said, “I’m thinking you could be a fly-by-night company.  And, if this is how you are representing your company, what would be the quality of work I would receive as your customer.” (Bernita Everett – First City Bank).

Keep in mind it’s also not one time that someone will see the cheap promotional product.  Brand impressions are defined as anytime an ad is viewed or seen. Every car insurance commercial you see during the 7 o’clock news is one brand impression for each person who sees it. The same is true when someone sees your promotional products - it’s an impression.

If you don’t have a large budget you would be better off spending your budget on a lesser amount of higher quality promotional items, like 2 coolers versus 250 $0.13 pens, which can prove to be more effective when attracting quality leads or delighting customers.

Another great way to attract quality leads to your trade show booth is by utilizing your high-quality promotional products as part of your booth display, but first give them a more inexpensive item to start a conversation.  You can then explain that to receive the higher quality item, like a power bank, the prospect must provide some information to make for a quality lead.  The information can be a name, company and contact information.

Don’t get me wrong, handing out inexpensive useful items is important for generating brand recognition, but attracting qualified leads with higher priced gifts is even more important.

How to increase the number of brand impressions per promotional product:

To determine how to increase the number of impressions you’ll get for your promotional product, it’s helpful to know the reasons your customers will decide to keep a promotional product in the first place.  Here are a few tips to increase the likelihood that people will keep and use your promotional product:

  • #1 Reason – Usefulness: Customers prefer promotional giveaways that are handy and can be used immediately. They tend to keep such products for longer periods. In this case the products need to be high quality.
  • #2 Reason - Attractiveness: Have a professional graphic artist create the artwork for your custom imprint.  We have two graphic artists on staff right here at Perfect Imprints!
  • #3 Reason - Enjoyment:  There is no guarantee that each promotional product you give away will receive a certain number of brand impressions, but you can boost your numbers significantly by making sure that the product you give away (or sell!) are better than the average bear!

Bottom line, recipients want a quality item that they’ll use, so cheap items just don’t cut it!

Promotional products are kept an average of seven months – that’s over half a year of continued use in people’s homes and offices. Having a product that long means reinforced brand exposure over a good stretch of time.  If you want that longer time of brand exposure, you’ll need higher quality items that will stand the test of time.

Most people pass on their promotional products.  Some people even give their promotional products to someone else when they no longer had a use for it. That means your brand’s message goes beyond the initial market and hopefully it’s not around the $0.13 pen because of the possible thoughts/feels that can give!

When I was done with my presentation three people in the audience came up to me to talk about three products they still had from Perfect Imprints.  One item was from 2013 and two others were from 2014.

I wanted to figure out how many possible impressions Perfect Imprints received with the sunglasses given out in 2013.  I took some data I had on a comparable item that someone would wear outside like a cap.  A cap can give you on average of 3,136 impressions over the 7-month average period someone keeps a promotional product.  Given that Paul Singleton, Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Extraordinaire, kept his sunglasses for 4 years, I figured on the average Perfect Imprints received 21,917 impressions from one product!!  Now Paul is our Perfect Imprints Ambassador (see photo above)!


The benefits of purchasing higher quality promotional items are many.  I encourage you to take a look at our website to check out our higher quality collections like our Duet Collection, Continued, and Traverse.

Nothing denigrates your brand more than a bunch of low-end items with your brand name attached to it. One high-value item however, speaks volumes about the investment you make in your own business and the importance of the customer or employee relationship you are celebrating with that promotional item. It's important to choose a promotional product which will stand the test of time, will be used regularly and frequently and represents a “wow!”

Our Affiliations

PPAI Code of Conduct for Promotional Products Distributors   Check out the A+ Better Business Bureau rating for Perfect Imprints Perfect Imprints is a proud member of the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce Perfect Imprints is an active member of the PPAI (Promotional Products Association International Destin Chamber of Commerce Member - Screen Printing - Graphic Design - Promotional Items Promotional Products Association of Florida (PPAF) Perfect Imprints is member of the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) - 293567