How Promo Tools Can Foster Community and Culture in a Virtual World

A completely digital world is quickly becoming more of a reality each day. As we embark on a national month-long quarantine, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, our lives are going to move further into the digital realm whether we like it or not. 

As suppliers and distributors, it’s not easy to shift perspective overnight—especially if you’ve been in the promotional products game for a while. You know what works and what doesn’t, but now you’re faced with a completely different challenge—isolation. 

With non-essential businesses closed, gatherings limited to groups of five or less, and an unknown recovery timeline, it’s imperative that you start looking at ways to keep your business top of mind for customers. Though it might seem tough to encourage customers to invest in promotional products, it’s actually in their best interest at the moment. 

As we all shift to living lives of social isolation, everyone will be looking for ways to stay connected. Whether it be to the people we love or the brands we adore, keeping audiences engaged will prove to be the most valuable marketing tool during this time and long after this is over. Thus, finding the tools that empower such a connection is where distributors, like you, can help customers find steady footing in a landslide market. 

Simply put, promotional products are going to be a major key to fostering communities and culture in a growing virtual world—here’s why.

Company culture breathes life into a business

Like every business, your customers are focused on their customers, which of course, are the people that pay the bills. What often goes overlooked is their internal team—the ones keeping the machine running day-to-day. 

Every strong effort begins internally, with the team they’ve put in place to run their business. Research even suggests that 90% of employees believe a company’s culture is directly linked to financial success and perceived value in the world. Essentially, having an engaged team helps companies survive and thrive. 

How does one do that when employees are at home? 

Now is the perfect time to help your customers bridge the gap COVID-19 has caused. Leverage products like calendars, notebooks, pens, mouse pads, and more to aid your customers in their effort to create culture from afar. Sometimes, we forget how a fresh notebook opens up space for new ideas and better solutions. Check out how Numo makes office supplies look and feel like personal pieces.

Keeping your company culture alive and well also means reminding employees that they are part of your team. With people on their screens all day, it’s easy to lose that connection and feel like you’re siloed. Branded items such as mugs, cups, blankets, tote bags, and others are reminders that you’re part of something bigger—even if you’re miles apart. 

The last and most important thing your customers can do to boost company culture is show appreciation. Sure, everyone likes a fist bump and some words of affirmation, but social distancing and screens are preventing us from doing so at the moment. If your customers really care about their employees, showing them they are valued goes a long way in growing a healthy company culture. You can help them do this by sending self-care items like essential oils, stress reducers, even fun kits that let you escape the mundaneness of the workday. 

Now that your customers’ people are covered, let’s talk about your customers’ customers.

Community keeps brands alive and thriving. 

We are all going through the same storm at the moment, as a drastic shift in business has moved in-person exchanges online. This shift was inevitable and has proven to be a challenge for many promotional product companies who were unprepared to make the jump. If you’re one of those companies stuck in operational purgatory, don’t fret, there are easy ways to connect with your customers and get your promotional products into their hands.

Focus on what people need. 

As we all know, there is a shortage of hygiene essentials at the moment, and most of us are just trying to secure a few rolls of toilet paper and some Clorox wipes. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, health is going to be every consumer’s focus for quite some time. Leave the hand sanitizer and wipes to the medical professionals and start doubling down on health products like water bottles, home workout tools, and hand towels. These are all go-to items for the everyday consumer, which bodes well for your customers if their customer’s favorite workout water bottle or chapstick has their brand plastered across it.

Little things make a big difference

Whether it be the sticker on your laptop, a patch on your backpack, or the magnet on your fridge, little wins are everywhere in our lives. Your customers may be hesitant to drop significant dollars on merchandise right now, but these little items are invaluable for maintaining connection and community. Help your customers get creative with little items that keep their brand front and center with their most cherished customers. Enough of these little wins will add up to some healthy revenue for your business. 

Serve the virtual community.

The promotional products industry is driven by trade shows, conferences, events, and pretty much anywhere people can gather—which right now is nowhere. This doesn’t mean brands won’t adapt—Microsoft is hosting its largest event of the year virtually.  

Don’t let this brief intermission turn into a full cancellation.

The show must go on and brands are going to need to get their promotional products to virtual attendees. Every epic conference and event has shirts, hats, lanyards, and bags. Now more than ever, your customers will benefit from creative products for conference attendees. 

We’re all in this together. 

Promotional Products can have a major impact on brand reputation and recognition when executed correctly. As suppliers and distributors, you are the catalyst that connects brands to their audiences. You empower them to build and foster communities in a growing virtual world. Now get out there and make it happen.