Replacing Events with Branded Merchandise

I got a frantic text from one of my best clients just the other day.

“Can you meet me today or tomorrow?”  she asked.  “One of our events got cancelled and we need to do something quickly.”

To most of us, this is an all too familiar story.  With the Coronavirus scare, conferences, meetings, festivals, sporting events and even small gatherings are being cancelled left and right.  It is most likely the right thing to do for public safety, but it is wreaking havoc with businesses.

For businesses, these events and conferences are a chance to create relationships, form bonds, network, educate and, ultimately, sell.  We host and attend these events because they give us something that emails, phone calls and even social media can’t.  They represent true connection.  These events can help to create brand affinity and growth.

During this time, when events are being cancelled at record rates, branded merchandise can help fill this gap.

“We had an event scheduled to welcome students who had committed to come to our university.  We need a Brand Box, like you sent us,” she told me.  “Cancelling the event is a bummer, but we are excited about this!”

As it turns out, Hasseman Marketing recently decided to send some of our top clients what we called a “Brand Box.”  This box of Marketing Joy consisted of a very nice t-shirt, vacuum water bottle, a charging lanyard, lip balm, a pen and more.  The items had the message “Be Kind.  Give First.  Work Hard.  Repeat.”  We curated the products with the idea of spreading some joy and to say “thank you” to our clients and prospects.  It definitely helped us do that.  And, as some of our clients have realized, this use of branded merchandise has created a brand affinity for Hasseman Marketing that they want to create with their clients and prospects.

My guess is, your company or organization has already been affected by the cancellation of events.  If you haven’t, you will be.  So what do you do?  Instead of lamenting on social media and complaining to family and friends, I suggest you take a pro-active approach and take the #marketingjoy to your customers.

What will taking an approach like this do for you or your brand?

Surprise and Delight

Done right, a marketing box of joy like this will surprise and delight your customers or prospects.  We don’t get a lot of mail these days that delight.  This has a chance to turn the relationship upside down…in a good way!  And because most of your competitors are not going to want to invest in this way, it will surely separate you and your brand.

Creates Brand Affinity

When you surprise and delight, you bring joy.  And when you bring joy to your customers, especially in times of stress and need, you vault yourself to the top of their list.  They don’t HAVE to do business with you…they want to!

Creates Long Term Value

Finally, if you select quality branded merchandise that will be used for a long time, you create marketing that works to further your story each and every day.  Though everyone has to be conscious of budget, this is not the time to hand out new items that will end up in a landfill.  Select items that create long term value to the customer, and you will create long term value to your brand.

I think we all would agree that we hope the Coronavirus quickly becomes a thing of the past.  But in the meantime, officials are being rightly cautious.  So while event after event continues to be cancelled, we can still create marketing and relationships that matter.  Promotional products and branded merchandise continues to be the only marketing you you create where your customers will thank you.  This is the time to leverage that tool to go on offense during these strange times.

For more information on how to create a Brand Box like ours, please contact us.  You can reach out and email us at…or you can head to our Promo page and find out more.

Written by: Kirby Hasseman

Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing & Communications. Kirby hosts a weekly Web show called Delivering Marketing Joy where he interviews business leaders from around the country. Kirby has published four books. His most recent is “Fan of Happy.” His book, called "Delivering Marketing Joy" is about doing “promo right” and is perfect for people in the industry and customers. He also wrote “Think Big For Small Business” and “Give Your Way to Success. All are available on Amazon.