How do we ensure promotional materials are sustainable?

12th May 2022

During the pandemic, there was a rise in the merchandise sent directly to consumers as webinars did not provide the consumer with the same interaction as they were used to, and shops could not create an experience for consumers. Since the pandemic, we have continued to see many webinars and brands looking to reach consumers with personalised gifts to draw them back in. However, the already conscious consumer became even more aware of the impact each of us has on the environment during this period, which has been felt across businesses. 

Whilst sustainable merchandising has been favourable for many years; it is now more important than ever to consider your brand’s social responsibility to the environment and showcase this to consumers. This post will share why a sustainable approach to merchandising is beneficial to your brand and share GottaBe!’s top sustainable promotional materials!

Do we need to be more conscious about making marketing materials eco-friendly? 

Brands have a social responsibility to do all they can to reduce their impact on the planet where they can. But it is not only the planet that benefits from a brand taking its social responsibility seriously. A study found that 94% of consumers expect businesses to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues; if brands do not meet this expectation, consumers will look elsewhere. By living up to social responsibilities, your brand purpose will be recognised, and you will be seen as a trusted source. 

There are many steps we can all take to reduce the impact of our business on the planet, but one small step businesses can make is to prioritise what they buy and where it comes from. Brands have changed a lot of things and how they are done to be more sustainable, but something which can be overlooked is promotional materials. 

Price vs quality comes into play for brands of all sizes as promotional materials can take up a portion of your marketing budget. Whilst it may seem simple to choose a promotional product, there must be thought into what this says about your brand, what message you want to put out there and how you want your brand to be remembered by consumers. When gifting merchandise to consumers, whether B2B or B2C, it is essential to think about the gift and its purpose. Thinking sustainably, we must ensure that the gifts are made from sustainable products or are a product that will be used and not sent to landfills. This should be the main priority as although a sustainable approach may have a higher initial investment; the longer-term return will be more beneficial to your brand. 

Sustainable promotional material is more important than ever and has many benefits for your brand. We have outlined the top benefits of merchandising below. 

Longer-term promotion

Items that are reusable and valuable to a consumer will repeatedly remind the consumer of your promotion and brand and extend your promotion longer term. 53% of people admit to using a promotional product at least once a week. If each individual did this, your activation could be shared for months or even years with various people. Making your promotional merchandising campaign both sustainable and profitable.

Increases leads

Items such as water bottles and tote bags are prime examples of valuable materials. As consumers reuse these items, they will take them into public places, becoming a walking advertisement for your brand. When a consumer uses your promotional material, it tells others that your brand can be trusted. The long-lasting impression your promotional materials make will continue to generate sales long after the activation.

Increases brand purpose 

Your brand purpose will be more solidified when you hand out sustainable products and put the environment before cost. Aligning your messaging to ensure what you say and what you do matches shows consumers you are trustworthy and true to your word. 

People like free things! It is simple, by gifting your consumers, you are telling them you care and are thanking them for their business.

GottaBe!’s top sustainable merchandising options

Water bottles

An excellent reusable option for brands. Consumers want to make small changes to be more sustainable, and using reusable water bottles is a simple task for them. There are many materials which can be used that are more sustainable than plastic if you wish to avoid this altogether, such as metal and bamboo. A water bottle is an excellent choice to gift as promotional material. Even if the consumer does not use it directly themselves, their friends or family may, or they will be kept for when necessary; either way, they will be appreciated and well used.

Other drinkware options such as reusable coffee cups are also a hit with consumers. 

Tote bag 

The tote bag has been a classic choice for marketers for years due to its multipurpose capabilities. However, to ensure your consumer uses the gift and does not become another item on landfill, your brand should not make the design too bold as you want them to reuse it repeatedly. 

Seeds in a canvas bag

By giving an experience consumers will remember past the initial gifting, your brand will be more memorable to them. Environmentally responsible items that are an experience connect you with consumers building the bonds and raising brand infinity. Once the plant has grown, the consumer will still think back to its origin and have a positive reminder of your brand. 

Metal or bamboo straws 

A nod to eco-friendly choices through reusable items will show your consumers you care for the environment. A reusable straw is not typically an item consumers choose to buy for themselves, so gifting these will be a nice surprise and slightly different from a typical pen. Again your brand will have a raised awareness as consumers share where these items came from with friends. 

Laptop camera covers 

Again another item consumers may not buy themselves but are wanted. Useful items that will be seen (people working always looking straight at the screen) are a great way to increase brand recall. Each time the consumer looks at their screen, they will be reminded of your brand and activation in which they were gifted. While such items are more industry-specific, many consumers will appreciate an item they may not think to buy themselves. 

Charity donation

On your consumer’s behalf, your brand could make a charitable donation. If you wanted it to be more personalised, it could be a sponsorship that comes with a card to see what difference they are making. According to a study by Clear Channel, 87% of Millennials were influenced to purchase something based on whether the company had made a social contribution. Some brands have utilised software that allows consumers to scan the promotional material and choose where their donation goes, making it more personal.

How to ensure that promotional materials are reused?

Your content must be easy to digest and simple to get the most out of the merchandising. Ensuring that slogans and logos are visible but not garish will remind consumers of your brand and not put them off using the product. 

When providing a sustainable product, your brand must ensure that the packing is also recyclable or multipurpose. This confirms to consumers that you genuinely care for the environment as they will see you have considered all aspects. 

GottaBe! can help you provide your consumers with sustainable promotional materials that effectively deliver your message. Contact the team to discover the merchandising solutions we can provide.