Before you place an order for yet another batch of mugs with your company logo, take your time to think if the money you will spend for this type of promotion could be spent better. Let’s take a wider look at business gadgets and see how to choose the right one.

Production hints for ordering gadgets:

  • place the order in advance, especially if the order is big (sometimes it may take a few weeks to import the right amount of goods)
  • check what colors are available. If you want to have particular company color, provide the supplier with the right parameters so that they can check if it’s available (e.g. in CMYK).
  • don’t forget about print limitations. Sometimes the logo can only be printed in one color or as a very small engraving, which won’t work in the case of a logotype consisting of tiny elements. And here the next point follows:
  • ask for samples. This means additional cost, but in many cases it’s worth seeing what our gadget is going to look like (e.g. to check if the logo is printed well on the material)
  • remember that the chepest producer does not always equal the best one (luckily in Aude we can find the best provider :) 
  • tell what budget you have. The producer will be able to help you choose the product range and parameters within that limit.
  • remember that food products must contain information from the producer (ingredients, storage conditions, expiry date, etc.)

Goal and meaning

A business gadget’s task is to prolong the positive association or awareness of something good, to be an element of celebration. “The recipient must want to keep the gadget” emphasizes Ula Radzińska.

For this reason the gadget has to be nice and manufactured with care, especially if it’s addressed to a group of demanding recipients. It’s perfect if it is also functional and practical. For instance, clothes should be of good quality and of the right size. If you decide on a notebook, choose one you would want to use yourself. To keep it visually nice, the logo must be incorporated skillfully, but not loudly. “This emphasizes the brand’s strength, which does not need a large print. If the employee identifies with the company he or she will want to wear the T-shirt” says Ula Radzińska.

Magdalena Drabek from PepsiCo tell about the advantages of business gadgets without hesitation:
“Offering gadgets for promoting internal initiatives for employees has a positive impact on improving engagement and makes the initiative more visible. Such ‘message enhancers’ can make the project stay in employees’ awareness for longer. The gadget should carry a message. The best gadgets are practical at work or in life.”

If we understand all this, we can see there is no place for coincidence. Buying business gadgets should not be a way to spend leftovers from you annual budget.

Ula Radzińska advices: „Don’t invest in gadgets when you don’t have money to spend. If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it at all. What you give must be inventive, harmonize with the context and be pleasant to use.”

Gadget examples
(implemented or simply observed by us)

  • coach’s set: notebook, pen, pointer, USB key (as a thank you for employee training)
  • runner’s set: backpack, towel (for the start in a sports event)
  • chocolate by Merck “Tasteful reading” (as a forerunner of the new issue of their internal magazine)
  • Twix bars by Henkel (feedback campaign, promoting the idea of sharing and a trigger for discussion)

  • ING Bank calendar with origami pieces depicting pearls of wisdom (a tested gift for the beginning of the year, but with a creative touch)
  • water bottles by Aude with refreshing fruit water for the Power of Content Marketing summer conference, which the guests were able to take home (the slogan “Source of fruitful ideas” referred to the character of the event)

  • reflective bands (handed in during a safety campaign)
  • documents pad, car air freshener for suppliers
  • power banks with a logo (practical especially at conferences, just like bags)
  • thermal mug
  • mobile laptop cleaning tool

It’s also worth mentioning that such a gadget can be a specially arranged space at events, e.g. lawn chairs with a campaign logo at a company conference or stands with good coffee – an idea implemented by Facebbok at the Websummit. The idea was to provide participants with space to relax and talk.

Key(s) choices

Concept and context thinking are key in choosing a promotional gadget. One for a business event should draw attention. It should have a message (that reflects, associates or relates to the broadly understood circumstances of the event) and fit the character of the event, e.g. topping up the event pleasantly. The choice is easier when you know the event and its schedule very well.

It’s always worth following the trends and finding something that is the latest fashion (as the case is e.g. with the design of bags). In the recent years the eco character of gifts has been clearly visible. One interesting example is a branded can containing a seed, which grows into a plant after opening.

Paweł Jurczyk admits that the business gadgets market is rather composite today, although customers pay attention to pragmatism and like tested, almost timeless solutions.
“One of the important purposes of using business gadgets is to build brand awareness by choosing everyday products that we often have a chance to look at. These include e.g. ceramics, clothes or seasonal goods referring to the time of the campaign, such as car scrapers, chapsticks or baseball caps. The business gadget market is divided into three basic sectors: gadgets distributed in large quantities, cheap and mass produced (for short-term use); gadgets from clients-traditionalists – goods such as a wallet, briefcase or fountain pen, where the quality and packaging depend on the budget. In the case of exclusive, personalized products these are goods made of high-quality leather or quality watches, and the engraving is discrete and elegant.

The third sector includes gadgets from a modern client, i.e. electronic devices. Sometimes they can be very sophisticated and with a large usefulness potential, such as USB key bound in leather or with 3D engraved glass and a 32GB memory card, or 10000mAh powerbanks. Exclusive gifts (both from a modern and traditional client) are usually wrapped up elegantly, which is a good beginning for the product inside.

Very often two similar products aren’t equal. Even though many of them are produced in China, one can have e.g. quality RAM or a good and tested battery cell, while another one, which looks almost the same but costs much less, will have non-brand RAM or a cell of poor quality. For this reason it’s not a good idea to treat price as the only criterion for selection. The customer will not be happy with the gadget and this effect is contrary to what we intended. Don’t forget that quality is never cheap.”

View catalogues, respond to seasonal needs and expand your gift range, which will let you keep your employees surprised.

Sometimes it gets more complicated. Such a special case is the choice of exclusive gadgets for well-paid top management. Here you can choose something that is not so easily available in (even luxury) stores and carries a symbolic value. “For someone who can afford more, different things will be impressive and meaningful. They can appreciate, for instance, a book with the author’s dedication” Ula Radzińska explains.

And never worry the money invested will not pay back. A well chosen gadget will draw attention, will be memorable and will be conveying your “message” to the recipient every day.