GO BEYOND BASIC – A creative design overlay can make a great product something that really engages with an audience, says Graham Arnold

In more than 10 years in the merchandise industry I am often amazed at the missed opportunities by distributors for delivering real impact to the end user. Without design, a promotional product is just a product. A pen in an office drawer, a mug left on the shelf or a bag for life discarded to never fulfil its purpose.

Design offers distributors that one opportunity to create a promotional product that is not only used by its recipients but creates an emotional attachment in the end user to that product, and ultimately the brand it features. We all have our favourite pen (sleek design, subtle branding), favourite mug (‘No coffee, no workee’) and favourite bag for life (my wife doesn’t leave the house without her Sainsbury’s ‘Strong & Sturdy’ elephant bag). So many promotional products I’ve seen over the years have been bland and uninspired. A logo slapped on a product with a web address underneath is grabbing nobody’s attention and will deliver little return on investment for your client or your chance of winning a repeat order.

Imagine creating a promotional product so awesome that end users comment to your client how much they loved the item they received. Imagine that the promotional product created such an emotional attachment that the end user kept it for months, even years and became long-standing customers to your client.

Imagine that having delivered such an impactful campaign your client comes back to you every six months to place a repeat order or to create a follow up design for the same item. Imagine repeating that process over hundreds of orders every year. That, my friend, is how you vastly increase your bottom line. No chasing hundreds of new leads, no sacrificing your margins and most of all, no more boring products.

Challenge yourself and see which upcoming enquiries or past orders would benefit you and your client from a design overhaul. I’d love to see what you come up with.

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