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Are Free Giveaways a Sound Strategy for Your Brand?

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Are Free Giveaways a Sound Strategy for Your Brand?

“Free” has always been a very powerful word. For businesses, “free” can attract a lot of publicity, but be warned: it can sometimes come with a price tag, especially when a brand’s reputation is at stake.

For decades, trade shows have been overrun with free giveaways and trinkets, but giving away branded promotional items at such events has become such a standard practice today that it raises the question: is it really the best way of getting your name out there?

Image Courtesy of StudentUniverse.com

Image Courtesy of StudentUniverse.com

The Perks

In terms of marketing, giveaways provide businesses with a low-cost solution for collecting leads, acquiring return customers, and generating product awareness. Trade booths can gain a lot of attention with promotional items – you might even be surprised at the amount of instant brand awareness they can bring to the table (literally).

To make your giveaways even sweeter, you can also take the extra step in enlisting influential promoters to advertise your brand with prizes. The majority of companies today actually select their winners in order to ensure that someone with significant influence wins. It might sound like a scheme, but when you really think about it, when people win prizes, they usually talk about it online, which means free advertising for your brand!

But these giveaways don’t necessarily need to be featured at trade shows. If you have a new product or service you’re trying to promote between events, you’ll certainly need to conjure up some ideas as to how you’ll reach potential customers for the product or service. Free samples can be a huge hit into getting everyone interested. If you’re able to offer people an easy way to try your product or service, chances are they’ll respond very well.


When you sum up the benefits of giveaways and tchotchkes, the approach sounds like a wonderful idea to promote your brand and increase sales. However, when taking a closer look, how valuable can these leads really be? If you’re not careful with your giveaway strategy, you run the risk of acquiring poor quality leads, which can ultimately undermine all of the benefits.


On Second Thought…

While “free” can be an enticing term, especially in today’s economic climate, it may just be the wrong one to use when it comes to developing a promotion strategy.

For example, when looking back on KFC’s recent promotion, it’s simple to see how this kind of strategy can go awry. The Oprah Winfrey Show has always been well-known for its promotions, so when KFC teamed up with the show to promote their new Kentucky Grilled Chicken, you bet they expected a high amount of attention, but as it turned out, the amount of customers the promotion brought to its restaurants was too much for them to handle. Nearly 10.5 million people downloaded KFC’s free coupon and within only two days, 4.5 million free meals were given away. The result? Not only did KFC have to offer rain checks to millions of customers because they ran out of food, they also had to deal with an endless line of angry customers.

Free offers can certainly give your brand much-needed publicity, but it must be limited. If you extend an offer over time, the customers that continue to return will only be coming to your business because its nonexistent price tag. If you want to attract new customers into your stores and keep them there, the offer should be discounted just enough to encourage customers to try your product or service out.

The price of advertising is an important factor — there’s no doubt about that — but it’s equally important to consider how different your product is than the competition.

Today’s guest blogger is Ivan Serrano, a passionate writer who enjoys sharing his research on marketing, branding and business communications. On his blog, 1800NumberNow.com, you can also see more of his writing, which covers global communication, VoIP and business globalization.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

30 Responses to “Are Free Giveaways a Sound Strategy for Your Brand?”

  1. Elisa says:

    Great observations! One of the best ways to strategically use promotional products as a part of an effective marketing campaign is to involve a promotional products professional in your developmental phase. These pros should know their industry and be able to bring options to the table that will complement your brand message and engage your target market.

  2. Dave Whalley says:

    Great read, very informative. Thanks for sharing. Promoting is one way to market your brand. If you want to have some good brand awareness you can use some promotional items in support to your advertising campaign. Promotional products are cost effective marketing tool, having your company name and logo on these items guarantees lasting brand recall for your business. For promo items from Australia you may also visit http://www.davarni.com.au.

  3. Austin says:

    This is just wonderful;but i think an idea i call “give ‘n’ get” in my own marketing philosophy can be good.The idea is giving away a bit free for bulk purchase or a piece free for a pack purchase; this means a free taste of what you’re buying separate from sales content.

  4. I always enjoy your article, Ryan Eisenacher. You have a gift for discussing such inspirational topics in truthful yet amusing ways. Your articles help us realize that our problems are typical, and we can solve them in constructive ways. Thank you and keep these good articles coming.

  5. Jayden Chu says:

    there Ryan! There are a lot more different ways to promote your products by
    the use of “free” without putting your company in jeopardy because
    of it. A better marketing strategy is what it needed.

  6. Jon says:

    We have tried the free giveaway approach in our marketing strategy numerous times. We always seem to expect better results than what we actually get. Maybe we just haven’t done it right or don’t have the right target market or product for it. Saying that, I am sure we will try it again.

  7. Katrina says:

    this helps me alot. thank you for this article

  8. Thomas says:

    Thanks for this nice article. I think free give aways are not bad. But you have to organize this very good.

  9. Great Post! Thanks for sharing! Very Informative.

  10. Jenny says:

    I agree! Even a small giveaway can make a big difference in marketing.

    Thanks for sharing this information.

    I got a lot of valuable insight!

  11. Mark says:

    Yes, giveaways can greatly help your clients remember you the next time they need the type of services you provide!

  12. salena says:

    i own a app development agency working on the marketing but i am not sure if giveaways will help my niche of work to grow.

  13. 92branders says:

    good article

  14. ali says:

    bingo on point

  15. Itechx says:

    100% correct

  16. Jimmy says:

    Absolutely yes. It’s the best way to let people know about your brand’s quality without paying.

  17. you such a post nice articles about “Are Free Giveaways a Sound Strategy for Your Brand?”

  18. faye says:

    There are a lot more different ways to promote your bussiness by
    the use of “free” without putting your company in jeopardy, yeah it works sometimes but if you are confident in your product/service then there is no need of free/giveaways until you are having a good day and you want to spend some money on your customers.

  19. Heyne says:

    What is a branding strategy and how can it help a company to better position themselves in the market?

  20. jacob brown says:

    free Giveaways does attract traffic but there are so many scams these day, i have seen brands offering free giveaways but asking for so many things in return, thats not marketing but scam.

  21. Morgan Arron says:

    Branding strategy certainly includes the instinct side of your brain. Be that as it may, you can likewise utilize information to manage your direction. One approach to comprehend if your brand is in good track in its Branding strategy is to think about your Branding strategy as a story you are telling.

  22. anime heaven says:

    The benefits of giveaways can bring you a return on your investment as much, if not more, than any of the aforementioned marketing channels.

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    Valuable information. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident, and I am stunned why this twist of fate did not happen earlier! I bookmarked it and will wait to read the other new blogs. Really informative blog.

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  25. The instinctive part of your brain plays a part in branding strategy, no doubt. Nevertheless, you can also use the information to direct your efforts. Consider your branding strategy as a narrative you are telling as a way to determine if your brand is on the right track with it.

  26. Ivan says:

    Informative article!

    My take, I agree that using giveaways can promote one’s brand because it can reach a wide range of potential clients.
    But I think giveaways now should not just be pretty but useful and personalized to make it work.

    Thanks for your insight, Appreciate it!

  27. Michael Kim says:

    Your article is very interesting. Your level of thinking is good and the clarity of writing is excellent.

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