Everyone loves a freebie – Branded items

Everyone loves a freebie – Branded items

Photo : Our awesome Inclusive Networks badge pack

As a network group, one of your key priorities is to attract and engage with new members and increase your membership. There’s no better way to engage with employees, potential new network members and to leave a long lasting memory of your own network event or an event you’re a part of than a branded freebie. Some are definitely more interesting and useful than others. It’s always nice to receive something a little bit different that also has a use.

There’s no denying that we all love receiving something for free, it doesn’t happen very often does it!

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your items either. We’ve found we’ve paid a lot more using previous ‘preferred suppliers’ where we’ve worked in the past and have found cheaper and often better quality alternatives online. Often your hands are tied and there is no way around this if your organisation is paying for the items, unless you’re able to put the purchase through expenses (always following your company policies of course). If you do have some freedom, a supplier that we’ve used and would recommend is awesomemerchandise.com – there are many more out there too.

Quirky and fun giveaways leave a lasting impression. People will remember your network every time they see your magnet on their fridge, the dog playing with the branded stress ball, when they’re popping their loose change in your branded money-box or when they’re taking a sip of tea from your branded mug.

Stickers are a cheap way to get your branding out there and are visible if photos are being taken, they’ll stand out in the pics but are pretty useless after that. They’re great for events and having a visible short-term presence. And everyone loves a sticker. You’ll hate them if you purchase them as singles and you need to peel the back off each one. We’d recommend purchasing them on a roll for big events and parades etc.

Budgets are tight (or non-existent for many networks) but if you do have some resource we’d recommend investing in some branded items. They also help add the buzz factor and are a great sign that your organisation supports and invests in the network, seeing the value of your work.

WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR NETWORK GROUP BRANDED GIVEAWAYS. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE THEM WITH OUR READERS AND HELP INSPIRE OTHER NETWORKS, WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. WE’RE LOOKING FOR EXAMPLES FROM NETWORKS COVERING ALL DIVERSITY STRANDS. CONTACT US HERE.

We’ve brought together a selection of network group branded merchandise and giveaways to offer some inspiration – items that stood out and we’ve had visibility of.

ITV : ITV PRIDE

Lanyards for their members and allies to wear. A great way to unconsciously promote the network and start conversations about the network. What is itv Pride….? Other networks that use branded lanyards include the Fujitsu Shine LGBT+ Network and the Health & Social Care (Northern Ireland) LGBT Staff Forum.

TESCO : OUT AT TESCO

A popular giveaway for charities and community groups are branded silicon wrist-bands that come in a spectrum of colours and can be personalised with your branding. The OUT at Tesco network are one of the few networks we’ve spotted who have their own wrist-bands. A great way to identify your members at events!

CO-OP GROUP : RESPECT

Sweets and food items are always popular but bespoke branded items can be a bit on the expensive side for a freebie but worth producing for a special event or goody bag. These branded Haribo Jellybeans are a great giveaway and the branded furry-bug is sure to end up adorning a PC screen, bag or frame.

RBS : RAINBOW NETWORK

This giveaway is one to save for a more targeted audience, such as a celebration event or awards ceremony. We got ours in the goody-bag at an awards event and it’s been on our desk ever since. The rainbow design embodies the networks name. A practical item that is sure to be used time and time again.

TFL : OUTBOUND

The branded oyster-card holder is something that will get lots of use, especially for those that travel on the tube and public transport. The design is fun and vibrant and the addition of the networks Twitter account handle and contact details is great publicity for the network and encourages engagement.

AVIVA : AVIVA PRIDE

This is one of our favourite network group branded giveaways. The branded card box houses a candy lollipop. What we like about this item is the card box includes not only network branding but the branding of their charity partners Stonewall and Albert Kennedy Trust – great promo for them.

PWC : GLEE & CO-OP GROUP : ASPIRE

How many cups of tea or coffee do you drink a day? A branded mug is a powerful way to put your network in the minds of the drinker and anyone who spots the cup whenever it’s in view. It’s one of the more expensive branded giveaways, but most effective. Adding your social media and contact details ensures anyone who sees it knows where to go for further info.

FUJITSU : SHINE LGBT+

You either love them or hate them but they are very popular in offices all over the world – post-it notes. Branded network post-it notes will find there way on to desks all over the organisation and people will be fighting (politely) for them. Adding your logo and social media accounts is great promo too.

SOME CREATIVE WAYS TO CREATE YOUR OWN NETWORK BRANDED GIVEAWAYS :

[ 1 ] If you don’t have a budget for branded giveaways you could speak to your marketing or communications team who are likely to have stock of your organisations standard giveaways – ask them for some. For items like notepads you could design and print a branded sticker/label and place this on the front or back of the notebook (like you would with an address label). We once attended an event and added a printed sticker with our network logo and contact details to the back of chocolate bars, it worked a treat with some follow ups after the event.
[ 2 ] Make your request (and business case) for branded items known to the relevant person or team. The next time your organisation is due to do a re-print of a branded item, ask them if it’s possible to get some extra stock printed with your logo, or if your logo could be added to the existing design. This way the item becomes a stock item and you should be able to re-order them more easily. The items will also reach people who may not engage with your own network events.
[ 3 ] If you have a stall at an event sweets are always popular and they’re relatively cheap to purchase (especially from a cash and carry or online wholesaler). Purchase some small clear bags, fill them with sweets (or popcorn) and seal with a printed label with your network logo and contact details on them. This will be substantially cheaper than purchasing the equivalent online.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS, ADVICE AND BEST PRACTICE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER NETWORK GROUPS? CONTACT US HERE.

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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