What Makes a Promotional Product “Keepable”

  • Jul 9, 2020


By Tom Gudekunst

Growing up, I spent years going to tradeshows with my mom and Grammy and around the office. I have been working in the promotional products industry for the last fifteen years. From my experience, I have developed a pretty good understanding of why people keep certain promotional items. I’d like to share that information with you.



Everyone loves a useful item.  Pens and sticky notes might be useful for the back office but if your target demographic are golfers those items won’t be as helpful.  Your audience would probably rather have a special golf tee or a cooling towel … maybe a water bottle or some sunglasses.

Providing an item that will be useful to your audience is key. No matter how much money you spend on a promotional product, if it doesn’t fit the audience, the money is wasted.



A high-quality item will always be more valuable to your audience than something inferior.  I often get requests for “The cheapest pen you have” and I sometimes cringe. Associate your brand with quality and consider getting something a little nicer. For instance, we have a farm client who wanted to purchase an inexpensive lighter was gently persuaded to buy brand name Clipper lighters. Clipper lighters are known worldwide for their design and high quality.   We have been told that their lighters are coveted by their customers and I must say that they are very nice. The flame always works and the flint holder pulls out so you can pack your cones with it.  These are maybe 30% more costly than the cheap ones, but they elude to high quality and position our client alongside a well-known and high-quality retail brand.

You may also choose to gift your best clients with a higher dollar value item. For example, this speaker can print with a full-color photo hiding your logo subtly in the background. We used a photo of Mount Hood to make sure the speaker was attractive, but also included our logo, printed in transparency, floating in the lake. See for yourself.




Sometimes people like to keep a product just because it’s cute, fun, or otherwise attractive!  Our donut pens are a great example. A nice cartridge and heavyweight in the hand, the rubbery donut-shaped topper is the pièce de résistance! I have handed this off and everyone has asked me for a second one or told me how much they love it. These have nothing to do with our business but I know they are being kept and used. Our URL is getting out there because we chose to brand this pen, and people are holding on to it because it’s cute, colorful, and works well.  The price point isn’t bad either!

Taking this same idea to apparel and uniforming; you could take any hat and simply apply your full corporate logo to the front panel.  Since most people will not want to wear a hat that simply has a corporate logo on the front, use the icon to appeal to a wider audience.  


Take your hat from this.

To This.



 Let us sew custom printed tags so the recipient can always remember where they got it. The hat on the right is both more attractive and more wearable since it doesn’t scream a brand name. 

Making sure the items you choose to promote your brand are keepable is very important.  This is a great opportunity for your customer to build a lasting memory of and connection with your brand. Not to mention if it’s being used then the chances of it being seen by others are high. Talk to your promotional consultant to ensure your swag is likable and retained.


Tom Gudekunst has helped organizations purchase promotional products since 2005. He achieved his Certified Advertising Specialist designation in 2012. He enjoys spending time with his family, including two cats, two chickens, two children, and his wife.





Higher Promos
7105 SW Varns St. #150
Portland, OR 97223



P. 503-676-3420
F. 503-624-1364


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