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  • Writer's pictureBill Petrie

Promo as a Vehicle For Good

How to build a brand at the speed of trust

  • Giveaways

  • Trinkets & Trash

  • CPS (Cheap Plastic…um…..Stuff)

  • Landfill

  • Promotional Junk

  • Tchotchkes

These terms have been used for years to negatively describe and, frankly, deride promotional products. While I could sit here and write a tome on the effectiveness of promotional merchandise, how the cost-per-impression is off the charts, and that it’s the only form of advertising where the recipient says, “thank you,” but I’ll assume you already know all of that. If you don’t, feel free to reach out to me as I’ll be happy to extol the greatness of promotional marketing as an advertising vehicle.

What I DO want to write about is something that’s been gaining traction over the past few years in the promotional products industry: the power of promo to do good in the world. A few weeks ago, the book Red Goldfish: Promo Edition was released, sharing this exact approach to the world. Before I go much further, I feel compelled to be forthright with a few things:

  • I am good friends with the authors of the book I’m discussing in this blog

  • I am friends with the person who wrote the forward to the book

  • I am thanked in the acknowledgments section of Red Goldfish: Promo Edition

  • I fervently believe in everything this book stands for

One of my favorite marketers, Roy Spence, once said, “it’s not what you sell; it’s what you stand for.” I love that quote so much I can often be found repeating it while always giving credit to Mr. Spence. Red Goldfish: Promo Edition goes into great detail how one can – and should – use the power of promotional products to not just show your audience what you stand for, but why you stand for it. The book is broken down into three sections:

  1. The Why – This section describes how in a world where what you stand for is becoming much more critical, that purpose is “the new black” and how it creates a win-win-win between employees, clients, and shareholders

  2. The What – Sharing many real-world examples, this section shares the eight purpose brand archetypes the authors discovered, including the Protector (Patagonia), the Advocate (Panera), and the Master (Warby Parker)

  3. The How – In this final part of the book, the authors show how to develop a purpose statement and implement it by building your action plan.

While all of that is fantastic information – and it truly is – the best part of the book is that it contains well over 250 case studies showcasing the different ways businesses in the promotional products industry are making a difference by spreading good. Companies like Peerless Umbrella, SanMar, Fairware, Allmade, Redwood Classics, and so many others share compelling real-world examples of how promotional products CAN create good in the world.

Next time someone devalues the power of promotional products by calling them CPS, tchotchkes, or trinkets and trash, do them a favor and buy them a copy of Red Goldfish: Promo Edition. It’s not only an excellent opportunity to give the gift of learning, but also helps elevate the entire industry.

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