It has been a while since any exhibitions have taken place, but now with an end in sight of lockdown people had started talking about the return of trade shows and the event industry. A client had asked for promotional giveaway ideas to Wow attendees and their next trade show, so the Wow Merchandise team were discussing their favourite promotional gifts for exhibitions during their weekly Zoom meeting.
“So, what’s your favourite branded item to giveaway at events?” Michelle asked Grant, the company founder.
“I’m not sure about favourite – I’ve seen so many great ideas over the years,” Grant scratched his head. “Once, I saw this promotional Bluetooth speaker being given away. It looked like an old-fashioned radio – which I absolutely loved!”
“What’s so good about that?” Danny asked.
“Well, the speaker had a memory card in it and the company had a product launch press release they wanted to publicise.”
Danny edged closer to his computer screen.
“They had the press release professionally recorded and uploaded on the memory card inside the speaker,” Grant explained. “So, whoever had the speaker listened to the press release.”
“Wow,” Danny seemed impressed. “but did it deliver the results they wanted?”
“The company said the response was great. No one had ever been that interested in anything they had done before. For the next three days, people and press were coming up to their exhibition stand asking for a speaker.”
“Maybe they just wanted the speaker?”
“Maybe, but their new product was featured in over 15 industry publications – the most coverage they’ve had to date! They also had hundreds of enquiries for their new product flying in for months.”
“That’s brilliant!” Danny jotted down something in his notebook. “What about you Michelle, do you have a favourite trade show giveaway?
“Last year I saw an internet security firm give away personalised Lightsabers.”
The Wow Merchandise team stared at her.
“Did you just say a Lightsaber, like in Star Wars?” From her computer screen, Michelle could see Danny’s eyes shining with excitement.
“Yeah,” Michelle smiled. “They had branded the tube bit with their logo and were having Lightsaber fights all over the place. I could hear the noise of the Lightsabers going off here and there whilst I was walking around. I remember really wanting one, so I searched for the stand that was giving them out. It was all about internet protection and how their product was a gatekeeper for your company.”
There was silence as everyone waited for Michelle to continue.
“Their stand was so busy it was unbelievable, but they weren’t giving them away to everyone. The sales team had pre-qualified people with a lead generation form and were making sure that they were only given to prospects. If you were just there to snatch the product, you were given a light-up branded pen – which was still great and kept with the stand’s theme.”
“Which did you get?” Danny asked.
“Well…” Michele reached to her left and pulled out a red Lightsaber, “they now do our database security. I went for the red one, like a Sith Lord!”
“That’s amazing! Why have you only just told me about this?” Danny couldn’t contain his excitement. “You better bring that into the office when we go back!”
“What about you Aimee?” Grant asked. “Anything that stood out for you?”
Aimee was a little circumspect. Of course, she had seen dozens of good branded merchandise ideas throughout the years; apples that were laser engraved for a sports company and light-up branded t-shirts in the education technology sector. She loved seeing Wow Merchandise mugs being used by the company’s staff and clients.
“I’ll be honest,” Aimee began, “the one that always stands out for me is the luxury yacht company who charged £1000 a night to stay onboard their superyachts.”
“Why? What were they giving away?” Grant asked.
“Cheap contour printed pens,” Aimee replied.
“That’s your favourite product?” Danny questioned, slightly confused why she had chosen such a simple promotional product.
“I loved it.”
“Why? Branded pens don’t exactly have the Wow factor?”
Aimee remembered being at the travel exhibition where 3 of her clients attended. It’s an unwritten company rule that if a client is exhibiting and you could get to the show you should. It’s always good to check first-hand how the team’s ideas are going down and to catch up with the client.
It had been a great day; all 3 clients were happy. Aimee took the chance to see what her client’s competitors were up to. That’s where she had tripped over the luxury yacht company. She got excited about the idea of staying on a superyacht. Of course, she couldn’t afford to, but it was always one of her dreams, so she started talking with them.
That’s when they gave her one of their pens, cheap, plastic, and printed badly with their logo in 1 colour.
“You see,” she continued, “their promotional merchandise supplier hadn’t spoken to them about what they ordered, and this was their first time at an exhibition. They ordered online and had no account manager, so they didn’t realise what they were getting.”
“I still don’t understand,” Grant said, “how is the Contour pen your favourite product?”
“Well,” Aimee smiled, “they are one of my best clients now. Not the biggest in terms of revenue, but we talk all the time about ideas. They’ve realised we can help them come up with merchandise that will make their clients say WOW, and they said they’ll never use anyone else again.”