Branded Items Foster Connection During Turbulent Times

We're all adapting to new circumstances affecting our daily lives, including the way we do business. Whether it's handling student orientations or commencements virtually, exploring virtual options for conferences, or helping employees navigate remote working, promotional products are a great way to bring a bit of joy to these uncertain days.

Below we share some tips for fostering connection during this changing landscape.

Q: Educational institutions from grade school through the university level are reacting to the potential that graduations and orientations may be rescheduled or cancelled. Some are considering going "virtual" through videoconferencing. Since these events are traditionally an opportunity for students to celebrate success and show school pride with awesome swag, what are some of the ways promo can still be included?

The Class of 2020 is feeling this in a significant way. Now, more than ever, swag will have a strong emotional connection and can be a great way to connect incoming and outgoing students to their school, at a time when connection REALLY matters.

Q: As people rethink large gatherings, many conferences and events are considering going "virtual" through videoconferencing. Since conferences and tradeshows are historically distribution centers for promotional products, what can be done?

Now, more than ever, event organizers will need to maintain their connection with attendees and exhibitors, even if they aren't meeting together. Delivering a special "swag bag" to participants ahead of an event or after a virtual conference is a great way to connect and maintain top of mind awareness.

Journals are a great option and can be populated with the content for the conference, uplifting thoughts, and areas to take note of important ideas. Often paired with a pen, some of the top-selling journals include a tech option that includes images that can be scanned with any smartphone for instant access to digital content.

Q: The number of employees working from home has sharply increased. How will this shift influence the types of promotional products that are in demand?

Companies have a great opportunity to support their employees and build the company brand with a workforce that has suddenly shifted to a work-from-home solution out of concern for employee safety. Gift packages are a great idea to connect a remote workforce. Including branded home office essentials such as charging cables, Bluetooth ® headphones and wireless charging pads, as well as versatile branded apparel like half-zips, knit jackets, and polos reinforces connection.

Q: Are there any other upcoming product trends that should be on our radar? Anything related to "social distancing"?

A heightened concern for cleanliness will likely be the new normal. As we've all seen, this means an increase in hand sanitizers, especially those attached to carabiners for easy access while on the go. Also, look for an increase in employees bringing beverages and meals from home. Coolers, food and beverage containers, really anything that protects food from exposure will see greater use.