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Inject passion into your rewards program with custom branded promotional products, apparel and corporate gifts.


Rewards and incentives are currently a $125B business. Much of that investment is spent on program infrastructure in the form of communications, automated experiences and loyalty point systems.

And somewhere in there lies a branded merchandise budget for company golf day shirts, wine glasses, beer mugs, beach towels for the summer season. Sound familiar?

A quick Google search brings up endless links to companies that specialise in corporate/marketing branded gifts and promo items. All important to the engagement machine. But there’s very little literature on strategic and creative ideas behind these items.

Why is that?

Dreaming of the gold watch era

Many would argue that people have lost interest in marketing merchandise. Back in the day, valued employees were given an engraved gold watch and that would do it. But the company men of the Cold War era were basically the unicorns of employee engagement. They spent their entire working lives in the same position at the same company. And when it came time to retire, they eagerly awaited recognition for their good and loyal service (the aforementioned engraved, gold watch). Their wives were the ideal customers. Uber loyal and needing little more than a coupon to keep them coming back for more.

Today’s landscape

Today, you’re faced with a workforce that is constantly shifting because people don’t stay long in one job. Customers are incredibly savvy, even owning their own space in the path-to-purchase.

We’ve plugged into a digital age and have access to data that’s telling us to cater for different tastes and preferences. Ours is a global marketplace. Endless opportunities, extreme competition.

But people still like free stuff

Yes, even Millennials. A survey by Dotcom Distribution in 2018 showed that even a free sticker can create loyalty across multiple generations.

We know that the gold watch has definitely lost its iconic appeal. So to make the most of your promotional gifts and corporate gear you should approach them like any modern rewards endeavour – anchored in a holistic strategy that speaks to the needs and behaviours of your audience. You do that by sticking to these 3 rules:

  1. Always personalise
  2. When in doubt, go digital
  3. Focus your aim on experiences, not loyalty

Here are our top 6 branded merchandise ideas:

  1. Flash drives – you know what they say, ‘no one buys a flash drive’. That’s because most people have a collection of branded ones. So yes, this is not a new idea. But what is new is the drive to find exciting and engaging branded content to go on the flash drives you hand out. For example; if you’re hosting a golf day you could film the golf swings of all the people playing in the event. Load that content on a personalised drive so players can watch themselves and improve their games.
  2. Mobile charger – how often does your phone battery die at an event or conference? Giving out a branded mobile charger shows that you understand the needs of your guests. What’s more, they’ll use it after the event so you’ll always be front of mind.
  3. Food – the way to anyone’s heart is through their tummy. Better yet, find out their favourite food and you’ll make a soul connection. This reward is as simple as giving out meal vouchers for an employee’s favourite restaurant. All you have to do is ask, and find out what they love.
  4. Lifetime supply – sounds scary, but it doesn’t need to be a massive outlay for your company. A young man called Carter asked Wendy’s how many retweets he needed to get a year’s supply of chicken nuggets (their answer was 18 million). All it took was 3 tweets to start the #NuggsForCarter revolution that resulted in 3.4 million retweets. Wendy’s leveraged the power of social media to create a massive customer appreciation campaign and they only had to give away one year’s supply of product.
  5. Create a collection – people find collecting so satisfying. Think soccer cards, wine bottle corks, stamps, coins, garden gnomes…Jones Soda tapped into that culture with their Caps For Gear reward system. Been there, done that you say? The difference with the Jones Soda rewards is their cool factor. Customers can earn a Diamondback BMX bike or a GoPro just for collecting bottle caps.
  6. Appareldid you know that employees generally loathe the branded gear you produce? Most of it doesn’t fit in with personal style. So why not tap into retail brands that you know your workforce really desires? Continental Tyres has had incredible success with their corporate gear, which includes Nike Dri-Fit jackets and windbreakers.


To position yourself as a leader in the customer experience space you need to make your reward merchandise stand out. You do that with style, a deep understanding of your audience and next-level, strategic thinking.

Don’t just slap a logo on it. Select every reward with care. Think creatively. Leverage the power of the cool factor. Listen to your audience and find out what products are on-trend and on their radar, so you can turn those into rewards.

When in doubt, find a partner to curate, source, select, package, deliver and distribute for you. GET Rewards offers exactly that kind of end-to-end reward service. Plus, we analyse people data, and help clients choose branded rewards that are meaningful and memorable, personalised for employees, channel partners and customers. Contact us today to explore how we can set you apart from the crowd with branded rewards.

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