How promotional gifts can build your brand

I came across a brilliant way of using promotional gifts to build your brand on a recent trip up North to see my mum and dad. At breakfast, my mum put out a couple of cereal bowls on the table (below). When I commented on how attractive the bowls were, my mum pointed out they were gifts from the Jordans Cereals brand. On closer inspection, I saw that the bowls had been created in partnership with the well known pottery brand Emma Bridgewater. The Jordans brand has a special place in my heart, as I spent a couple of years working with the brand team, posting here on the brand back in 2009.

In this post, I look at the potential benefits from using promotional gifts as more than just a tactical, short-term sales driver.

1. Reinforce brand image

The bowls are beautifully made of high quality porcelain. This reinforces the image of Jordan’s being a premium, top quality brand. I also love the humorous wording (“Hands off my breakfast!”). This cleverly reinforces the idea that Jordan’s makes delicious cereals. And it brings to life simply but effectively the brand’s friendly, caring personality

2. Positive brand partnership

The bowls are not just any old bowls. They are created by Emma Bridgewater, a well-known brand famous for creating attractive, well-crafted pottery kitchenware with colourful visual designs that I posted on here (see below). The Emma Bridgewater brand also shares an association with the countryside, evoking images of tea and cakes in a country cottage. In this way, Jordan’s is leveraging “borrowed memory structure”. Some of the positive associations with Emma Bridgwater rub off on Jordan’s. 

3. Keeping brand top of mind

The Jordan’s bowls are a form of what I call “in-kitchen POS” (point-of-sale)! They keep the brand top of mind at a moment of truth: when people are putting their cereal in their bowl. What a great way to remind users about how much they like Jordan’s or encourage lapsed/non-users to buy the brand.

4. Self-funding

The final smart point about the Jordan’s bowls is that I expect they were self-funding. The quality of the bowls, the creative design and the partnership with Emma Bridgewater makes me think Jordan’s would have charged people for them plus postage and package. Given that Jordan’s would hopefully get the bowls at trade price, my guess is that the incremental gross profit would be enough to fund the marketing campaign. Who knows, maybe even a small profit would be generated!

I remember this being the case with Ryvita, another brand I worked on (part of the same business as Jordans). The brand sold attractive tins for storing the crispbreads in the kitchen. This was pure genius. It created in-kitchen POS, getting Ryvita out of the cupboard. It kept the product fresh. And the tins were so popular people paid enough to make a profit which helped create additional marketing budget!

In conclusion, free gifts can be much more than simple tactical giveaways. If done well with care and passion, like the Jordans bowls, they can be a cost-effective tool for brand building.

A final question for the Jordans team. Will they plan to maybe bring back the Emma Bridgewater breakfast bowls at some point?!