Bags of Ideas very purpose is to help businesses find the promotional or branded bags they need, not only by offering the best range of products, but also providing the most accurate and relevant information to ensure customers make the right choice.
In this, the first of a two-part blog, we're going back to the basics of branding and promotional product marketing. We want to show why bags really are the most effective promotional product, and how to get the best out of your marketing investment, no matter what budget you're working to, or what industry you're in.
We actually touched on this topic in an earlier blog, but this time we thought we'd delve even deeper.
Historically, bags have always been one of the best-selling promotional products. In 2015, businesses spent £103million on branded bags in theUK, relegating the next biggest selling item – promotional pens – to a poor second place, by a clear £40 million.
Four years on, the promotional product market has grown rapidly, but bags are still far and away the number one product with an estimated expenditure of £140million, or just under 15% of the total market.
At Bags of Ideas – the most clued-up suppliers of branded bags online – we believe there is one simple reason for these impressive figures: branded bags are just the most effective promotional product, offering the highest impression rate and the widest geographical spread for brand awareness. In addition, bags don't suffer from shifting consumer tastes to the same extent of other products, nor are they a seasonal offering.
So, what is a branded/promotional bag? Simply put, it can be any type of bag that has been personalised, be it a company logo, a sports crest or any other form of imagery, representing an organisation, society or institution.
Bag styles – and branding methods – vary greatly, from screen-printed supermarket plastic carrier bags and branded tote bags and conference bags, to engraved or debossed specialist laptop or hiking bags, and everything in between. Bags of Ideas can meet all of your needs, however niche.
So let's first look at the reasons why promotional bags are used, whether they be branded freebies given away at trade shows or university fairs, or a retail product sold on the high street.
A key factor for investing in any promo item is maintaining or boosting brand awareness.
Practically speaking, it doesn't matter if your business is B2B or B2C, a pen in a pocket, or a bag in the hand will ensure your message is not forgotten, and increases visibility and awareness to potential customers.
But the exact level of impact depends more on the choice of product.
For starters, to gain the best exposure for your brand or message your chosen vehicle should be practical and reusable.
Pens are certainly practical: every desk has a pen on it, and almost everyone carries one in a pocket or a ... bag. And they also get re-used until they run out of ink.
But how far do they travel?
And if you received a branded pen, how many other people would be exposed to the brand it bears if it's hidden away in a shirt pocket?
On the other hand, bags tick all the boxes – using your promo pen, perhaps? Bags are undeniably practical and re-usable, but they also travel as far and wide as their owner, and in plain sight too.
Choose the right bag, and the potential visibility can be huge.
Imagine the scenario; your company hands out free printed cotton tote bags at their next event, and all 1,000 are eagerly snapped up. That means 1,000 branded conference bags travelling around the event all day, and then on hundreds of different routes home as delegates leave the location at the end of the day.
That means 1,000 portable brand ambassadors advertising your message on public transport and in surrounding areas.
On their arrival home they become the shopping bag for a late trip to the supermarket, or for some post-show chilling in the park, or for a stretch at the gym. In effect, your brand has been seen on its first day by more people than a pen might over the course of its entire life.
If you've have chosen, for example, sturdy branded canvas bags, they could end up anywhere, from a beach in the Bahamas to the subway in New York.
And while the low unit cost of a promo pen may make them seem more cost effective than a shopper style bag in the short term, over time how much more use will a printed bag get than a pen, and how many more times will it be seen? After all, the raison d'être of any promo item is visibility.
A 30p pen may go no further than the bottom of the briefcase of the original recipient, equating to a cost of £0.30 per impression – one pen costing £0.30 being seen by one person.
By comparison, a £2.00 promotional tote bag seen by as few as seven people is already much more cost effective than any pen.
Industry statistics clearly show bags are the single most beneficial investment in promotional product. The perceived value of a good bag is high. Compared to cost, it will simply last longer than almost all other promotional items.
And the best thing in these environmentally conscious times is that eco-friendly reusable shopping bags are even becoming a status symbol. Paper bags are certainly "green" but for durability, canvas/cotton, jute or non-woven bags are even fashionable.
Practically speaking, your brand exposure can only increase as people want to be seen using an eco-friendly shoulder bag, rather than throwaway branded plastic bags for day to day tasks.
One directly-related benefit to using bags as a marketing tool is customer loyalty and brand strength. Because branded reusable bags are long-lasting – offering continuous function – they stay with the recipients for a long time.
Customers see a reliable and durable giveaway as having value, and suggesting strength in an organisation. In turn this promotes loyalty. This also applies to prospective customers; a long lasting, practical tote can encourage inquiries by helping to put out a strong perceived image of your brand.
An added benefit is consumer confidence.
Pens, for example, are known as a low-cost promotional product. With bags however, companies offering a well-made range of printed bags with desirable designs suggest financial strength, reassuring not only customers but also new prospects of your stability.
Versatility is yet another strong selling point. Perhaps you need to promote a new concept or logo that is more than just a single-colour print. Because bags offer a larger print area, they allow for more creativity.
Edge-to-edge, high-resolution full-colour printing means designs can be achieved easily and efficiently. And the longevity of the printed design is much higher than other alternatives.
Most other promotional products tend to lose print with normal use – a pen being held, clothing going in the washing machine, a bottle opener on the key ring. Gift bags don't suffer from this issue: they're carried over the shoulder or in the hand and any wear is inside the bag, leaving the exterior in better condition.
A print that stays intact maintains brand value, as opposed to a print that starts to fade, wear or chip.
So how can you the strengths of a promotional bag in your marketing efforts? In part 2 of this blog, we'll look at a range of bags, strategies and solutions – from low cost giveaways, to retail and for staff usage and motivation.