Trends We're Following - Standing Out

  • Mar 25, 2024

We're constantly watching PROMO Trends, what's hot now may not be in a few years and what will be replacing those items when they've run their course?

Over the next couple of months, we'll talk about some of the trends we're watching in 2024 and it's fitting to start with STANDING OUT.

Over the last few years, there has been a push to being subtle with your PROMO, either making it look less like PROMO and more like a retail brand or as a strategy to be more humble with PROMO. In some cases, this is still the right way to go for your project goals but there will also be times when you want to stand out and be more obvious and memorable with your PROMO.

Here are five ways to stand out that we're seeing more of these days.



Until a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have known what the word "bespoke" was, let alone finding it entering my day-to-day vocabulary, but customization is where it's at! You see this trend in many things, not just PROMO. People want to feel like an item was created just for them.

bespoke - /bəˈspōk/ - adjective

made for a particular customer or user, custom made

By its nature, PROMO is always bespoke, but what we're really seeing more of is an opportunity to do more than just pick an item, colour and apply a logo. We're seeing full customization of an item, not just picking a stock colour but what specific colour would you like? Not only does your brand stand out but it looks like the item was specifically designed for YOUR brand. 

This has always been available, but it used to mean you were going to spend a lot of money, either because it was a premium price or because you had to buy so many of them, it was out of reach for many companies. That still exists in certain circumstances but there are more and more options to stand out with customization and not have to have a big budget.

Here's one of our favourite examples, it was part of our staff Christmas presents and I can tell you, even with its obvious Christmas design, we love them so much, most of us are still using them on a day to day basis! (And yes, we know it's spring, we just find them so useful and love them so much.)

The Weekend Tote has all of the things a person wants in a bag - deluxe lining, big zippered pocket, utility pockets, key clip and a durable 600D canvas exterior - AND this bag is FULLY customizable in design. We chose to copy the "Ugly Christmas Sweater" in design but it could be anything you can imagine!

We're also super excited about the decoration capabilities of one of our new suppliers, Levelwear. Some of the great custom elements you are used to seeing in major league items or top brands are also available for your brand! We love these options so much, we've placed an order for our PROMO and can hardly wait for them to arrive.

Check out the custom placket. Imagine your logo or brand messaging being such a part of the product that it looks like it was all designed just for your company! What kind of an impression would that make for your brand?



We're also starting to see a lot more use of the "Scarcity Principle", the concept that the rarer or more difficult it is to obtain something, the more valuable it becomes. Because we worry that something will not later be available, the greater the sense of urgency in acquiring it, the more I may pay for it and the more valuable it becomes to me when I have it.

We do get a lot of customers who try something new and when it becomes popular, reorder the same item year over year to meet the demand. But we are also seeing a lot of the other, switching it up frequently and making people wish they'd moved more quickly to acquire the item. We've used this principle with the recurring North Peace Gymnastics Association (NPGA) gear. 

Every year, we introduce a new design rather than printing the same logo. Perhaps you've seen some of our favourites around town.

Changing things up helps their online store see consistent sales every year rather than declining because only a few more people need them.



What's old is new again! Replaying a favourite from years ago or taking a nod from a past trend helps reconnect you to who you are (or were) and that feels like returning to somewhere safe. What you consider nostalgia can be different things to different people depending on how many trends you've lived through or what period you most want to escape to! Maybe it's tie dye, maybe it's 60's earthy tones or floral prints, maybe it's styles from the 80's.

Sometimes nostalgia appeals to those who didn't live through the time, sometimes it appeals because you remember the time. Regardless, nostalgia is definitely a trend we're watching (and enjoying). 

Here are some items that are pretty trendy now that many will remember from their younger days.

Yes, tie dye is back, as are bucket hats and elastic bottom sweat pants in classic athletic grey!



One of the great things about PROMO is that you put your BRAND right in their HANDS. PROMO engages and connects. Rather than just seeing your brand, they interact and engage with it. And while the recipient is using the product, it can engage others and give your brand more visibility. "Where'd you get that?" "What is that?" "What's xx brand?" PROMO can create a conversation between you and the recipient but also engages conversations when you're not around because the branded product stands in for you!

This is why we've called PROMO "Advertising they thank you for!". The more you can engage with your customers, employees and other stakeholders, the more they will remember you and your brand.

You've probably heard the term "gamification" and whether you knew it or not, it's highly likely you've participated. It's now used in everything from helping to build habits to engaging around learning and marketing.

gamification - /ɡāməfəˈkāSH(ə)n/ - noun

the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service

One of the original "gamifiers" (okay, yes, I'm making up words) was eBay. The concept of bidding (and "winning") items kept us on the edge of our seats when it was first introduced. We believe we were getting a deal because we were picking our price and then when we did "win" or sell our item, we raced to do all of the things we needed to do in order to ensure we achieve or kept our 5 star rating.

Facebook has added the concept with their "Top Fan" and "Top Contributor" ratings.

I'm sure you have a loyalty card in your wallet, yet another example of gamification.

PROMO fits in this space and helps you achieve your goals. From levels of giveaways to recognize contributions (prizes) or the use of QR codes, NFC (Near Field Communication - allows for wireless data transmission over short distances), scratch cards, you name it - we've got you covered. 

Here's a couple of our favourite examples and ideas:

Taking Brand and messaging and "copying" it on another product. Here's a water bottle branded to look like the actual brand product, housed in custom tubes that are created to look like Pringles cans.

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NFC chip on a journal: What if the journal you handed out at your next conference could link the recipient right to your conference feedback form, coupon or your website just by holding their smart phone close to it. NFC is available on all kinds of products.



And there's standing out just because you're different. Or new. Or unique. Something they haven't seen before. Something they didn't even know they needed until YOU gave it to them.

We are always on the lookout for new and exciting items to show you! We regularly meet with our suppliers, check out new suppliers and bring in new items to try. Whether it's a new decoration technique, a whole new line of products or just a new spin on a classic, before you just repeat the same order you've done for years, talk to us about your project goals and let us show you some of the great new items that could help your brand stand out.

Here are a few of the things we've been checking out this month (some are very new, some just newly discovered):

Not "new" in the fact that you haven't seen one before but what a great item to give someone that has utility and your brand. These charging stations expand the outlets to 3 but also have USB-C and USB ports for all of your charging needs. And with your brand on it, it is seen and appreciated every time something is plugged in.

Okay, a little goofy and not for every brand but these will definitely add a smile to your face! These are little pillows that unzip to be a pillow for the back of your head and eye mask on the front. Great for kids or those young at heart for travelling. 

We just saw this one last week, the newest edition from KUMA! This is the Yoho Bamboo Butterfly Chair. With a padded seat, bamboo frame and more of a laid back posture; not only is this lighter and easier to carry from place to place, it's super comfortable, sustainable and looks great!



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