Author Emily Stone Co-founder Gilded Bee
For many companies branded merchandise is a staple of their marketing mix, which is perfectly understandable. We believe however that careful consideration should be given to items that you plan to give as a gift.
Let’s explore this further:
I have a personal pet peeve of branding that detracts from the design of the item. If you are gifting an attractive item such as a bauble or beautiful tea set the last thing you want to do is slap your brand all over it. Consider two things 1) does the item really need to be branded? 2) can you brand it in a stylish and discreet way? An example of this was when we worked on a bespoke bauble for a client a few years ago. They originally approached us asking for a ceramic bauble, with their red and purple logo on it. We didn’t think this would look great and most importantly be appreciated by the recipient, who wants a branded bauble? We pushed back and suggested a bespoke illustration pulling from their brand of a reindeer on a bone china bauble, with a gold top and their logo on the back in black and white to be in keeping with the rest of the bauble. This way the logo was still present, but the bauble was beautiful in its own right.
If you’re giving a practical gift or perhaps an item of clothing, you should consider, ‘will the recipient wear/use the item if you brand it’. I’ve personally been given branded polo shirts, fleeces and water bottles and if I’m honest, most are probably sitting in landfill somewhere, the only one I still use is a fleece from when I worked at Forrester, which was branded, but in the same colour cotton as the fleece and therefore very discreet. As I worked there 10 years ago, this just shows if done correctly that branding these sorts of gifts can sometimes be OK.
I had a really funny conversation with a neighbour only today who was talking about how her husband went on an internal business trip and was gifted a pair of Adidas trainer with his organisations logo on it. I mean who wants to wear trainers with your company's logo on? The second that logo was stamped on to them the value of the probably £60 pair of trainers shrunk to almost nothing. The neighbour in question was feeling really chuff with herself as she managed to work out that the logo could be scrubbed off and the trainers therefore worn. Is this the experience you want your gift recipients to have, thinking up creative ways to remove your company brand on the item you have given them? It’s probably not the best return on investment for you. She joked, you should make all your gifts with ‘scrubbable logo’s
If the recipient of your gift perceives the gift to be a blatant marketing piece, it doesn't matter how expensive or how much thought you put into it, they are not going to value the gift as much as you would have hoped. Let’s be frank here, you devalue the item as soon as you put your brand on it. To avoid this, you can brand the gift boxing, card or keepsake box instead of the actual gift or gifts themselves. This still gives you an opportunity to tell a narrative and get your brand in their hands, without giving them an item that they are unlikely to value. Perception is something that you should never forget when giving gifts to colleagues or customers.
Branding items can be costly if you are only having a few pieces branded. Therefore ask yourself is it really necessary and why do you want to brand the gift? Could you get your brand in the hand of the recipient through a personalised and customised gift card instead?
When is it OK to brand a gift?
If there is any worry about briary, presenting a gift, which has been branded can help over-come this. Many large companies that we have spoken with who have strict guidelines on receiving gifts over a certain value are happy if the item is branded.
Token low value items with branding on them, can be a nice detail especially when coupled with a larger item as part of a set. For example our branded bespoke metal clips are a great way to get your brand into your customers or prospects hand and work particularly well when sent with books.
If you enjoyed reading this, take a look here to read more about how we can help with our bespoke service.