Meet Melissa! A 20 year promotional products veteran! She started her career as a sales assistant focusing on flags and signage to car dealerships. She has grown her business into servicing high profile clients with a wide range of needs and offerings. Below she gives her take on what promotional items for Gen Z mean to them as we all navigate the new norm of branding through technology but still relying on physical goods to get our companies message across!
As each year goes on, another generation takes control in purchasing positions and the landscape changes. As this season of buyer evolves, we have to learn to grow and expand with the younger generation with product offerings that really resonate with them. So how do we do that? What makes a promotional item the way to go? Through this article, I will give suggestions on how to connect with younger buyers, as well as some product categories that connect with Generation Z and the purchasing agent that is new to the merch world.
One of the great things about promotional items that I LOVE is that they deliver a much more personal, physical form of communication with a brand tailored to the consumer needs. These products can then carry the connection with the consumer online!
I have been in the industry for over twenty years and have learned to adapt to the younger generation, being able to communicate through social media channels such as Snapchat and Instagram. Social media has driven the expectations of consumers to constantly connect with their favorite brands. Daily postings and updates keep you in their face and top of mind. So how do we do that using promo and swag?! I have found that using the right products and anticipating their needs will encourage brand engagement and help you to stand out.
Connection is key! The younger audience stands out in the way that they want to connect and resonate with a brand. They may pay more to wear a certain brand of shoe because of the charity that the specific brand supports. Or they may select an eco friendly tote bag, because of the recycled materials it was created from. When presenting, I always try to make a personal connection to something that is important to the buyer. Who is their target audience and what are their interests? This will help to suggest items that will motivate their clients to keep their brand top of mind. As always find their needs and advise them on how merch and swag can help to achieve their brand and marketing goals. Entice the younger generation effectively by creating that personal connection. The younger generation needs brands that stand out and motivate encouragement. Evaluate your market like you normally would, but the younger generation needs you to let them know how promotional products can improve their physical marketing needs. Better placement and quality products that stand out.
As technology changes around us every single day, so do the expectations of our buyers. They have more knowledge, more creativity and higher expectations. The younger generation is up to speed on everything digital and has a higher level of power to influence others. It is important to stay on top of that. Appealing to their interests with a promotional tech item helps stand out as a relevant, fresh, and valuable to help promote their company or event. So how do you do that? Keep in mind where people are spending their time, and that is where you want to put your brand and message. Did you know a recent study found that Generation Z touch their phones over 150 times a day? I don’t know about you but I would like my brand to get 150 impressions a day! Think of the branding power that gives you. Select promotional items for Gen Z that puts your logo in their hands that often. PopSockets, cell phone stands, phone cleaners, charging cables….just to name a few!
Social causes are another great way to connect with your audience through promotional items. Nothing is more personal to a buyer or recipient of a promotional item than knowing a cause behind it. Many awesome brands take their items to tell the story and support a cause. From eco friendly materials, to giving back to a wounded warrior project, there are tons of options to make your promotional item go a step further and do good for your favorite cause. This can be one through wearable, promotional items, swag and merch!
And finally – turning your product or swag into a way to promote your brand on social media or event. From trying to gain more followers or someone attending an event, you can take your item to entice engagement and consumer interaction. Some of my favorites are sending one sock with the direction to do something to get the other sock in the mail. Or taking a microfiber cleaning cloth and handing it out at an event with a map or directory listed.
I have come to find that the younger generation are very aware of the world and the environment. Through promotional products, you can display that you are a responsible business or individual that you care about the environment and that sustainable promotional products show you are in tune with the world around you. It is important to connect with the consumer through the products you give to them. Whether it be an employee uniform or thank you gift, or a hand out at a trade show, connection is key to getting your brands message across!
Links to promotional items for Gen Z that are: