Ideas & Inspiration

5 Creative Ways to Promote your Brand in the New Year

January 22, 2020

As we head into the new year, how will you make your brand stand out in an increasingly competitive market? Here, we outline five creative ideas to promote your business in 2020, from guerilla tactics that can instantly change brand perception to classic strategies like partnerships and events to the idea of just giving a little back to your customers. In all cases, the right branded merchandise can help ensure success and a higher return on your promotional investment. Any one of these ideas — or a combination of all of them — would be a wonderful way to boost your brand in the new year.

1. Go guerilla

Guerilla marketing tactics are a great way to build buzz without a massive budget. Look for opportunities to leverage creativity and originality to help your brand stand out. Successful guerrilla marketing tactics share a few key traits: they’re unique, often one-time-only, location-specific, with an element of surprise and, hopefully, are capable of being memorable or even going viral.

Major brands have been finding success in creative guerilla tactics for some time. Restaurant chain Taco Bell, for example, played its signature “ding” sound in the Westminster area, but in a way that mimicked the sound of Big Ben, making it sound as if the Taco Bell chime was coming from the iconic clock tower. 

But you don’t need a massive budget or a savvy sound engineer to pull off a great guerilla campaign. Instead, start small and focus on your key customers. One thing to keep in mind is that people love freebies. Why not design and hand out branded tote bags at a key retail store, festival or other large public event? Or, build buzz by handing out custom cosmetic bags as part of a product launch, filled with a few free samples. Or, if you have just a bit more budget, you could rent a small space for an actual (and temporary) pop-up location. It works, too! Years ago, Ebay made a splash when the typically online-only store opened a temporary pop-up shoppe in London, just in time for holiday shopping. More than 2,500 customers visited the pop-up store over a few days.

2. Get social

Stepping aside from the pavement and in-your-face guerilla marketing tactics, social media is perhaps the best platform to engage potential and current customers, staff and partners. If you don’t already have a presence for your brand on key platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest and Reddit, among others), please make this a focus for your team in the new year. When done right, the ROI on social media campaigns can be tremendous.

Think about how you can improve your engagement on these channels. What does this mean to you? Perhaps this means increasing your total number of followers, or maybe you wish to solicit more positive comments from customers. A great strategy to boost engagement is to host a social media contest and giveaway campaign. When you’re ready to move on contest prizes, consider custom bags for life — these make a great giveaway item as they’re not just functional, but also easily folded and shipped.

One example comes from the well-known publisher Simon and Schuster. The company hosted a quirky Instagram contest playing off the title of a new book, Make Trouble, asking people to share their fun trouble-making stories. Winners received not just a copy of the book, but also a matching tote bag, bookmark and pins.

promote your brand

3. Partner up

Another way to promote your brand in the new year is in tandem with a trusted partner. Teaming up with like-minded businesses or individuals is a great way to boost awareness, reach new audiences and build off one another’s success. Look for partners who complement your product, service or brand, but don’t limit yourself to a company that does exactly what you do. Cast a wider net and consider your manufacturers, retailers or suppliers. Or what about a local celebrity, sports star, business owner or public official? 

A great example comes from UK-based Drop Dead Clothing, which recently teamed up with Universal Studios to create a unique range of clothing and accessories inspired by the movie “Jurassic Park”. The line, Drop Dead x Jurassic Park, is tied to the 25th anniversary of the iconic film. We were honored to help design a line of cool patches and keyrings to celebrate the launch of the new line, which was one of the brand’s biggest licensed collaborations to date!

promote your brand

4. Be real, be helpful

The new year is a time to make and keep resolutions to better ourselves and those around us. Why not resolve to offer your customers something a bit more this year? Beyond boasting of your brand and offerings, consider giving prospects and customers something of actual value. This might be how-to information, educational tools, loyalty gifts or functional, earth-friendly giveaway items like reusable cups, utensils or bags. Think about what will resonate the most with your specific audience. 

For example, if you work in the health and beauty sector, perhaps you can design and gift a limited-edition cosmetics bag that comes with a few 2020 makeup application tips, printed on a matching card placed inside the bag? You could even extend this to the digital realm and offer the same tips in a fun online video on YouTube or another social media platform. Other ideas include online FAQs or forums, which may be especially helpful for any technology-related item or product that needs to be assembled. It’s a relatively affordable strategy that won’t go unnoticed amongst your increasingly savvy customer base.

5. Consider events

Our last tip is to plan the perfect event to get your product – and your people – in front of others to forge deeper and more meaningful relationships with prospects and customers. Today, this doesn’t mean a budget-breaking gala and months of planning. We see a range of successful events for all budgets and goals, including trade shows, online-only webinars or smaller, more intimate and in-person customer appreciation events.

With event planning, be sure to consider the nuances of your brand. If you’re introducing a new item this year, maybe you plan a celebratory and very public product launch event. Are you in arts or travel or work with a high-end lifestyle brand? Perhaps you host an art or design exhibition at your company and invite the public to visit your headquarters. You also don’t need to stick to any one prescribed “type” of event. Combine a social media contest with an in-person award ceremony or organise a corporate run on behalf of a local charity and invite participants, staff and volunteers to a picnic celebration following the race.

Whatever event you plan, consider giving away a bit of branded merchandise as a goodie bag or token of thanks to attendees. It’s an affordable, sure-fire way to show appreciation and keep your event top of mind long after it ends. Branded tote bags are a great choice — and here’s a few more ideas to think about, including keyrings, pin badges and memorable little gift bags

promote your brand

As you lead your brand into 2020, we hope you consider these creative marketing strategies. What other ideas do you have? Or who out there is doing it right? We love hearing about unique examples of successful (or not so much) promotional campaigns. Please get in touch with us today to put together a plan for the best year ever for your brand!