Advice: Choosing the right 'brand ambassador'

Long after an advertisement has been read and forgotten or a brochure received and discarded, a well-chosen piece of promotional merchandise, aimed at the right target audience, can remain with the recipient for a lifetime.

Danielle RobinsonBy Danielle Robinson, director, Love to Brand.

Not only will it prove to be the hardest working form of advertising you can find, it will also increase your brand awareness by putting your name in front of your customer all day, every day.

The key to achieving this is choosing the right product, so here are my 'top tips' to ensure you make the right choice and gain the best return for your investment.

Define your objective; are you aiming to promote a new product, incentivise customers or increase traffic to your website? Clear objectives will ensure you select the right product to achieve that all-important ROI.

Know your target audience and keep them in mind when making your decision. Think about your own experiences; maybe you have a favourite keyring, t-shirt or even the golf brolly in your car. These items were intended to advertise a message and create a bond between you and the brand; if you're still using them, they have succeeded in their purpose.

Think about who you're targeting, what the lifetime value of that client is worth and that should dictate the budget!

Think about the message you want to portray. Mugs can be a great choice for office-based companies, but if you specialise in outdoor clothing, you might want you customers to associate you with a like-minded item such as a thermal mug or sports bag.

Make it functional and worth keeping. A ballpoint pen ticks the first box but is it worth making space in the desk tidier for? If not, your 'brand ambassador' will quickly find itself out of sight, and your brand out of mind.

If budgets are tight, take a more targeted approach. Instead of trying to satisfy 500 clients on a £500 budget, just look at your top 50 clients, ie your big-budget spenders. This will allow you to buy something far more in line with the long-term value of the client. PLAN AHEAD. Don't restrict your choice of items because you left it too late to order. Your choice of product should be just as high on the agenda as designing your exhibition stand, choosing your venue or planning the entertainment!