Promotion: keep it simple
A promotion can be found on pens, mugs and wooden nickels. In today's age of technology, businesses have to figure out how to make their promotion and brand stand out. Instead of trying to outsmart the competition, just keep it simple.
The most effective promotion is one that is easy to understand. If the message isn't clear, the promotion won't work. It's easy to stick a company name or logo on anything, but is it effective? Would an architecture firm be well served by having company pens? Maybe, but wouldn't a company pencil stand out more? Architects work with pencils so creating one specific to the company would communicate exactly what the company does. This promotion would be different from other firms who give out company pens simply because it's a common business practice. This pencil promotion would stand out on a desk full of pens and represent something unique.
This is not stating that a promotion that centers on company pens is bad. Promotional pens are an important marketing tool. If you look on any account executive's desk in America, there will probably be a large amount of pens from an array of vendors. It's an easy and inexpensive way to advertise. A pen promotion, however, is not effective if the pen just displays a company name or logo. There has to be an association or brand awareness. This isn't something you can communicate with a pen or any small promotional item. There simply isn't room for a lot of copy to communicate a message. In order to be effective, the promotion must represent what the company represents. Whether that means personally handing out a promo or creating a promotion that is a representation of the company; like an ice company giving out free ice scrapers. The ideas have to be simple and effective. Otherwise, company dollars are wasted and a promotion will fail.