Here’s How to Buy Green & Still Promote Your Business
Hawaii recently banned sunscreens containing harmful chemicals that pose a serious risk for the coral reefs. The bill, which will go into effect in 2021, bans the sale of sunscreens containing specific toxic chemicals in an effort to sustain the coral reefs and protect the environment.
That’s great news for Hawaii, but you’re probably wondering what this has to do with your company’s promotional swag. Quite a lot, actually. We know from doing our own research (and owning a company dedicated to corporate swag!) that the future of promotional products is strong. Companies will continue to use branded items to promote their business, despite the rise in social media and other avenues of marketing. This equates to more and more products being manufactured, some of which are, quite frankly, not good for the environment - both in terms of the type of materials they’re made out of and how easy it is for prospects and clients to toss it in the garbage.
As advocates for the environment, we’re ever conscious of the growing need to offer eco-friendly promotional products. We want to ensure that your company is at the forefront of corporate swag, keeping in mind not only the needs of your clients and prospects, but also the needs of the environment. You might even say that we are ahead of the sunscreen ban in Hawaii, offering a sunscreen-free lip balm, which is a top seller with hospitals and our assisted living clients.
In an effort to help you choose the most effective corporate swag while still upholding your environmental and social responsibilities, we’ve pulled together a guide to purchasing eco-friendly swag that will make you think twice before ordering one thousand plastic cups. The power to drive change through your buying habits is absolutely doable, and we’re going to show you how.
3 Tips for Buying Eco-Friendly Company Swag
Marketing your business is a big deal, with a lot of factors thrown into the mix. Choosing to promote your company with products is just one piece of the puzzle. You then have to decide who and what and when and, most importantly, why.
- Who will receive your corporate swag?
- What product will best represent your business?
- When will this product be used (trade shows giveaways, holiday thank yous, employee incentives)?
- Why are you using products to get your message across?
If it’s just a reason to have something with your corporate logo slapped on it, we encourage you to think again. Here at PROMOrx, we’re all about intentional buying, and this extends to your client as well as the product. Truly sit down with your marketing team and ask why and to what extent this promotional item will help your branding needs. Often times, investing in a better, higher quality, more environmentally friendly product will reap benefits that a cheap, disposable product just won’t.
Here are three tips to guide your next promotional products purchase towards more sustainable, community-centered swag:
Tip #1: Pick the Right Product
The promotional products industry is estimated to bring in $24 BILLION dollars each year. That’s a lot of manufactured products; a good portion of which end up in the landfill. Not only are the materials to make the products wasted, there are other factors to consider, such as the energy it takes to create the product and the resources it takes to get the product to this country (and then to you, the customer). With over half of these products coming from China, those numbers are increased, taking a pretty heavy toll on the environment.
Solution? Do your homework, and buy as green as possible. For example, buying a product made with post-consumer recycled materials is going to be a better option than buying pre-consumer recycled material (when the scraps from a product being made are reused). Post-consumer recycling takes your used soda bottles and yogurt cups and turns them into “non-woven polypropylene” tote bags (as an example), and therefore truly recycles waste without creating new materials. In buying with intention to both the end user and the environment, your company will come out the winner.
Tip #2: Ask Questions
In order to make responsible promotional purchases, you need to ask questions and do some research. For example, that free t-shirt you thought was a good idea? Yep, even that will eventually end up in the landfill. Once you identify your marketing plan and target your client’s ultimate needs, it’s time to consider the following before you hit the “buy now” button on yet another koozie.
Solution? Ask the following questions to get an overview of the product and its impact on the environment.
What is the product made from? Companies claim to produce sustainable products, but our experience has shown that far too many of these companies mistake the three arrows symbol, further confusing consumers.
What most people don’t realize is that the three arrows symbol simply means the product’s packaging can be recycled. This does not mean that the product is made from recycled materials. Something to keep in mind when purchasing eco-friendly promotional items.
- Where is the product made? This has been a hot topic for several years now, with more and more consumers wanting to buy products made in the U.S. Unfortunately, a vast majority of products for the promotional swag industry are still made in China. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that purchasing promotional items made overseas expends way more energy than buying something from, say, Oregon. PROMOrx does feature several products made in the USA, such as this Tervis-style tumbler .
- How is the product made? This is an often overlooked question that end users don’t consider. For example, are you purchasing products made by suppliers who are using solar energy to power their machines? What happens to the excess waste created in making the product? How much of that also ends up in the landfill?
PROMOrx Suggests: Bamboo is a sustainable choice for many reasons, including its ability to actually improve the health of the earth when harvested, and you’ll find just about any promotional item made from this sustainable material.
Tip #3: Buy with Intention
We can’t stress this enough. When it comes to buying sustainable promotional swag for your business, you’ll not only need to consider a product your clients and prospects will use, but how you can extend the life of your giveaway. Choosing eco-friendly swag that will be used over and over again is not only a win for the custom logo you’ll add, it also ensures the product won’t end up in the trash. And, that’s the ultimate goal.
Solution? Determine what’s important to you and whether you’re interested in serving your business, clients, and Mother Earth in conjunction with each other. If the answer is yes, then you’re probably already set to buy awesome, eco-friendly promotional swag for your company.
PROMOrx Suggests: Reusable water bottles save plastic water bottles from being thrown in the trash, and are a great way to show clients you’re on top of current trends and ready to put your marketing dollar where your mouth is (literally!).
With these three tips and some bonus product suggestions, you should be well on your way to building brand loyalty and reducing waste in order to promote your business in a positive way. So, make your marketing dollars count for the good of your business and stand out to clients as being the company that cares.