Nov 11, 2008

Creating the experience

A recent study showed that promotional "swag" is more effective than traditional advertising. Before you get too carried away with the findings, realize the study was commissioned by the Advertising Specialty Institute. That means the results are about as neutral as an internal tax audit at Enron.

If you have ever visited a trade show of any kind, you've noticed the number of people who go from booth to booth trying to collect as much swag as they can. But how many of them actually call the companies that gave them free stuff, hoping to do business with them? I doubt its very many. The effectiveness of promotional materials in and of themselves is limited. Swag can, however, help consumers remember the power of the (hopefully) positive memory of an experience they have had with your brand.

Perhaps the most essential part of developing a strong brand is creating the appropriate customer experience. All the advertising in the world will have little impact on someone who has had a poor experience with your brand. A brand's true power lives in the perception of the consumer, and nothing is as powerful on our own opinions about things in life as the personal experiences we have with them.