The Power of Merchandise

Recently, PPAI published a study done in 2009 investigating positive product recall of using promotional products as an advertising medium versus traditional advertising outlets such as print, radio, television etc. Without going through all the details of their findings (which are found in this Incentive Magazine article), the main finding proved that the use of promotional products to promote your brand had a greater effect on the bottom line than traditional advertising avenues.

The main focus points of the study included reaction, recall and reach. While promotional products have an obvious disadvantage in regards to reach in comparison to mass media, they did show a huge advantage in regards to reaction and recall. Consumers had a much higher recall of a brand or service after receiving a promotional product and were more likely to buy from or become involved with that brand than they were after having more traditional advertising experiences.

At this point you are probably asking yourself: What does this have to do with my employees?

One message that this study has to offer is the power of merchandise. If there was any clear indication from this study it's that the use of merchandise in a promotional program resonates better with your audience and that there is more chance for the desired response to your "call to action."

This "call to action" in the PPAI case study refers more to a brand to consumer approach. However, isn't there a call to action in your incentive programs as well? The purpose of many incentive programs is to call employees to perform at certain levels to achieve company goals. Even though the merchandise is given after the action (instead of before like many promo-product giveaways), there is still a better recall with an item of merchandise than a cash reward. There is a greater trophy value associated with using merchandise as a call to action (or extrinsic motivator).

What do you think? Do you agree that there is a greater value in using products over other things (such as cash or nothing at all) to motivate employees?