The Importance of Promotional Products to Brand Your Business

the importance of promotional products

We love digital marketing, but we also love to partner with other types of marketing companies that can take your business to the next level. Samata Shah, the owner of Kopri Promotions, joins us to explain the importance of branding through promotional products and the added gains it gives your marketing strategy. **Join us LIVE every Friday at 8 AM CDT on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn! Follow us for the latest digital marketing tips, tricks, and trends.

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Read the Full Discussion Below

Glyna: Good morning!

Sarah: Hey, it’s showtime. No secret, we love digital marketing, but we really love to partner with other types of marketing resources that can help take your marketing to the next level. So we have the perfect guest for us today. They’re going to help us explain the importance of branding and using promotional products to help with branding and the added gains that it gives your business. So we’re going to get right to it.

Glyna: Let’s go.

Glyna: All right. Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Marketing Mix. Every week, Sarah and I are here to talk about digital marketing mostly. And we’re going to bring in a little bit of something today that can enhance all of your digital marketing, but let’s first look at where you can find our broadcast.

Sarah: All right. Every week we go live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Glyna: Woohoo!

Sarah: So happy, say hello to our LinkedIn friends out there. And you can catch the replay on Instagram and don’t forget about our podcast Marketing and a Mic. We have such great resources all available to you. And here we are, the main event. We have the perfect guest, as we said at the top of the show, that really is a go-to resource for us when it comes to promotional products. So we are ready to get started.

Glyna: Yes. I want to say welcome to Samata Shah. How are you doing this morning?

Samata Shah: I’m great. Thank you so much and good morning, everyone.

Glyna: Samata owns Kopri Promotions and if you’ve not heard of that, you need to hear about it. She has everything promotional items, clothing, and she’ll get into a lot of that here in just a minute. So let’s go ahead and get started, Sarah.

Sarah: =Yeah. So we are going to dive into a lot of the promotional products and how to set your business up and apart from using promotional products. But I really am curious and I’m sure the viewers are out there of how you got started and what is your background?

Samata Shah: So yeah, thank you so much for having me. My background is kind of different and unique. I was born and raised in India, and me and my husband and I both came here 34 years ago and we started from nothing. Each one of us had only $20.00.

Sarah: Wow.

Samata Shah: You can imagine what you can buy for $20.00. So, we started from there. We were lucky to be able to stay with my sister-in-law for the first three months, so that was very nice. And then my husband went to school and I went to work and have not stopped since then. We have two daughters and I decided to work from home when my second daughter was born and that’s how Kopri Promotions was established. Along with the graphic design, we started adding signs, and banners, and then added the branded products. Actually next year, we’ll be celebrating our 25th anniversary of Kopri Promotions.

Glyna: Wow. Oh, wow. That’s amazing.

Sarah: That is amazing.

Glyna: Unbelievable. Well, as I lean back a little bit, I’m going to show off. I’m going to sit like this so that I can show off this awesome shirt that Samata did for me and even, and I know we’ll get into more of it, but even our logo is difficult and I’ll be the first one to admit, we love our logo but look at this beautiful embroidery that they did. So anyway, I had to show that off just a little bit. So obviously, people see promotional items all over the place, but can you tell us what is really the importance of promotional products and what can it do for companies?

Samata Shah: Okay, so I’m going to give you an example. Let’s say you go to a networking event and you exchange business cards, right? And then you have a business card and a small giveaway. Who are you going to remember? Somebody who gave you something or a regular business card? Definitely, you’re going to remember that you got swag from Glyna. And then somebody is walking around with a portfolio that has your logo on it, it’s a constant reminder. In your car, you have a coaster, that absorbent coaster, it’s a constant reminder while you’re driving. So, by giving a very small swag, they remember you. And it’s all about how long, how much a company remembers you as well as your business. That’s all that matters and that’s how you build your business. So promotional product, no matter what, small or big is a very important part of your business.

Sarah: There’s so much value in what you were saying, Samata, about the whole reinforcement and that reinforcement of keep driving your brand and getting it in front of people. So along with that, do you have any stats that you share or that you keep that could help solidify the importance of that?

Samata Shah: Yes. It’s something I’m glad that you asked me because a lot of people will say, “Oh, swag doesn’t mean anything. It goes in the trash. People don’t remember.” Not true. If you look around your desk or any audience who is watching us look around your desk and see how many pens you have in your pen holder, or you have a coaster on your desk, or when you’re driving you have a key chain, in the kitchen you have a jar opener, it’s all there. And my industry stats are saying that almost six months to one or two years people keep the promotional items. So, imagine spending 50 cents or 30 cents on a pen or $2.00 on a hub station, it goes for two years. So, those things people really don’t throw away. Also, you have to remember, you have to find something that’s unique, that people are going to keep. So that’s what I have to say.

Glyna: Well, that’s so important though, Samata, and especially if you’re carrying that around to other places you go, you still have that logo. They’re spreading it around all other places for two years. What about like, I know if I find a shirt I like, if somebody gives you a shirt or something that you wear, I mean, I bet that stays around even longer than two years.

Samata Shah: Longer, yep. So, like the tote bags, or a backpack, or a drawstring bag, they call it a walking billboard, or a hat. A hat, my God, you’re going to always see somebody’s face and you’re going to see the logo, so those things are like a walking billboard.

Glyna: That’s exactly right. I know that I particularly have had hats for years, and years, and years, so yeah I can see how that would be a fantastic way of advertising. And I want to say good morning to Roxie Kelley. I think you know Roxie.

Samata Shah: Yes. Hi, Roxie!

Glyna: She’s saying good morning, this morning. Okay. So let’s move on to the next one.

Samata Shah: Okay.

Glyna: What makes your business stand out from other promotional product businesses? Because there are quite a few out there, for sure.

Samata Shah: Yeah. So what makes me stand out from the others is that, yes, we sell promotional items just like everybody else does, but what makes us different is that we find the unique item that fits their business. We talk to customers, we understand their business, and we find the product. We go to industry conferences every year, every six months, look for products that will fit Glyna’s business or a roofing company’s business and we find that product that fits. So it’s a knowledge-based sell and also as earlier I mentioned, that you can come to our shop, and look at our showroom, feel and touch the product, and that makes us very different. A small business would not need 250 tumblers. They can use 50 tumblers and we can offer that because we produce right here in our shop. We do screen printing, we do embroidery, and we do all the UV printing, large format signs, and banners, so that’s what makes us different. Yes, you can buy from our online store also, but you can come here and look at the products.

Glyna: I mean, it’s a huge difference because you don’t know what you’re getting a lot of times when you don’t know anything about the product and you just have to order it and it comes in and it’s like, that’s not what I was thinking it was going to be.

Samata Shah: Right.

Glyna: So, it’s a huge advantage to be able to come and visit you where you’re at. So Allen Young is also joining us this morning. And this is funny, Kelsi Nicholson said that she saw Roxie Kelley carrying one of her old promotional cups from EISI yesterday.

Samata Shah: Yes. True. See a long way… The promotional product goes a long way.

Glyna: She said she ordered those over two years ago and it’s still looked brand new too, so that’s an awesome thing.

Sarah:  So, with every business, you have to change obviously, and adapt, and grow, especially within these last couple of years. So have you noticed changes that you’ve had to make? Not only here recently, but just over the years with this business?

Samata Shah: Yes. So earlier, as I talked about, adding the manufacturing facility in our own shop, creating our own products did make a difference in my business, totally. I have a lot more customers because of that and during the last two years, because of the COVID, what we adopted is that people are staying home a lot. Employees are staying home a lot. Clients are out there, people don’t want to go to the office, and don’t want to meet, but clients and companies want to appreciate their employees, want to appreciate their clients. So, what we started doing is sending a product nicely packaged in a nice box and ship them to them direct. That helps our customers to stay in front of their customers. That’s something we adopted. Obviously, the mask was a big deal during our COVID year and it still is and branding masks was a big deal and that’s what we adopted also. The signs, oh my gosh, because of our own custom cut and large format sign printer and creating decals added so much business for us during COVID years because we can provide those signs, that social distancing sign and all that, so that really helped our business by having our own facility to produce all these.

Glyna: Yes, exactly, because you could go in there yourself and do what you needed to do and ship the stuff to the people. So, gosh, I’m just glad that, that’s something that you were able to continue during all of that mess and you adapted, like all of us had to adapt, so you can’t stay stagnant. That’s for sure. So this is going to be interesting, so we’re going to have you show us around your store a little bit and kind of brag about your different pieces of equipment. So let’s see how we can get this. Do you mind kind of taking us around? I’ve seen you do it before, so I know it’s possible.

Samata Shah: Okay. I’m going to try to stay as steady as possible so you all can watch everything. So here’s my wall of products that you can see. If I go a little too fast, please tell me.

Glyna: Okay. You’re good.

Samata Shah: So okay, these are some of the products that we carry and we have a wall of products. There is another wall with all the display products that we have. We can do table covers and display products, like a chair and all different items. I’m going to… Here are lots of hats that we can do. We can do 3D or embossed embroidery as you can see, some of these hats have been done. Yes. And then I’m going to walk over to our large format printer where we do the signs. I’m not looking at it, so please let me know if I’m not showing it properly. Okay, so that’s the big, large format printer and it… Yeah. And then here are some of the signs that we have printed. Those were all color correction and everything. And here is a wallpaper that this machine can print, look at that wall, and it’s all full color and it turns out the beautiful color. It can also cut the letters, so do you see the persistence word is printed and cut on that machine and it prints beautiful, vibrant colors. Now, I’m going to walk over to our screen printing. So pardon my walking, but here is-

Sarah: Wow.

Samata Shah: Here’s our machine. A lot of people say, “Oh, what is that octagon shape machine?” But it prints screen printing, it’s automatic. It prints on eight shirts at a time and four colors, so we can offer up to four colors on a t-shirt, on a bag, on multiple items. We even printed a baby shirt, a newborn shirt on this machine with a three-color print. Yeah, that was a really fun project. And here is one of the most unique machines that no one in Alabama has and that’s the UV machine. It can print not only on a flat surface, so this is the bed that it prints on, where you see the red 90-degree ruler thing that’s where the bed is. And then it also prints on these products. So look at these items, see this.

Glyna: Wow.

Sarah: Yeah.

Samata Shah: So it’s a two-in-one tumbler that was printed on, it’s all these different Yetis. It can print on a wireless charger like that.

Sarah:  Oh, that’s cool.

Glyna: Yeah.

Samata Shah: Yeah. Can print on Yeti Lowball, a photograph.

Glyna: Oh, wow.

Samata Shah: See? That’s me and my dad.

Sarah: That looks good.

Samata Shah: So yeah, it can print on wood, can print on metal, it can print on glass, can print on many, many, many different surface products. And here is our couple of embroidery machines that you can see. I have some that laid out here. We do a lot of uniforms. So you have a logo and you also have a name next to it. So we do a lot of those polos and then we do hats. Everybody knows Blue Rain, if they don’t, they need to. We do a lot of their uniforms. This is their newest edition of visors. So all this different embroidering work is done right here on these two machines. Some of the shirts are brand shirts that we carry. These are… See? This shirt is a Greg Norman shirt. It’s a beautiful material. Very, very nice material. And then here’s our machine that cures. One of the most unique projects that we’ve worked on is this. Look at this, shirts that were printed on our large format printer and then it can cut also, and then we heat press on the shirt. So, you can actually get a full-color heat press. Look at this.

Glyna: Oh, wow.

Samata Shah: Yeah, this project was something else. We had fun doing it.

Sarah: Golly, that’s amazing, especially with that fade that, gradient look.

Samata Shah: Yeah, look. And we do some hoodies, we do some shirts. And here’s the unique thing about our business or our place is that you can actually mix and match. So you don’t have to have a 24 of t-shirts or 36 of long sleeve shirts. You can actually mix and match. And here’s a large collection of our shirts that you can try on, and check, and check the material. Look at those.

Glyna: Yeah.

Samata Shah: That’s where we are different than others that you are able to… We do a lot of safety stuff. So you can see some of those safety wear. So the construction company needs the hi-vis shirts, right? So we print those, a lot of them. And we carry many different kinds because in safety wear people must wear it and it has to be comfortable to be able to wear all day, all the time. Right?

Sarah: Mm-hmm

Samata Shah: So, we offer those type of material that people will be able to wear them.

Glyna: That’s amazing. And I think that’s what Kelsi is saying here too, she said, “That’s awesome,” or “Those are awesome. The moral of this story people is that you can get anything you want with your logo on it from Samata, from one item to hundreds, or thousands. So, wow. You have an amazing shop there. I’m so excited for you because like us I know that you, celebrating almost 25 years, started with just you, and now you have all of this. So it’s so exciting and I’m so happy for you.

Sarah: It really is.

Samata Shah: It’s so funny because I always wanted to do this, but being an immigrant in the country and starting your life from nothing takes so much effort. I mean, I was not speaking any English. Can you believe that? Me, a talker. I didn’t have any words and so it has totally like adapt and change, oh, my gosh, have I adapted and changed. Oh yeah, ask me about that.

Sarah: You have perfected the adapt and change mentality.

Samata Shah: Not wearing this kind of clothes. Oh, my gosh, the mentality you have to change to be where you want to be something, right? So it’s a lot.

Sarah: Golly.

Glyna: It’s amazing. It’s an amazing story. [crosstalk 00:20:46].

Sarah: It is, it’s quite a story and might I add that, talk about perfecting, you perfected that walking video with your laptop quite well.

Glyna:  It was perfect.

Sarah: It was the perfect tour. It really was. So let’s talk about businesses that are just starting out, whether they be just an independent or a small business and they really have no idea what they need, so what would you… How can you help them get started on just some staple or common items that would help?

Samata Shah: So yeah, over the years I have realized as a new business what do they need. Right?

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Samata Shah: So, you got to have a business card, right? You got to have a small giveaway item, maybe a pen, maybe a magnet, maybe a calendar, maybe a jar opener, depending upon what type of business they have. Right? They got to have a decal or a magnet for their truck and they got to have a branded apparel because what branded apparel does its half of your introduction is done when you go to a networking event because you see Fusion One Marketing, you know right then that Glyna sells marketing. Right. Its half of your introduction is already done.

Sarah: Yeah.

Samata Shah: So why not use something like that? So I would say if it’s a starter business, make sure you have at least four or five things set. And then obviously, you go to Glyna and set up your website. That’s the must. Right? So those are the starting thing that you got to have. That’s what, over the years I have understood that and we offer all of that.

Glyna:  Well, and we’re talking about using these promotional products to boost your brand. What are some ideas that people can… What are some ideas that you have for people? How can they use these promotional products? I mean, obviously, I can wear my shirt around, but what’re some other things that I can do to kind of spread the branding?

Sarah: I wanted to mention, you did these really cool magnet name tags.

Samata Shah: Oh, yes.

Sarah: These are amazing.

Samata Shah: I’m going to talk about a project that we just worked on that will kind of help you understand. So, I met a person who does content writing, right? And then he has other customers. So, I was doing a show with all my products and he loved one idea of a video journal. Okay? So, a video card is, it holds… Here’s the video card. So we’re going to fully print front and back, right? And then we’re going to have when you open it, it has six buttons and it plays videos.

Sarah: Whoa.

Samata Shah: Yes, so it has six different videos that you can scroll through.

Glyna: Oh, my gosh.

Samata Shah: See these buttons? You just scroll and it plays another video, and you just keep on doing that. And you can upload your own video on this, so it’s not necessary that all of those videos are loaded and that’s it. That’s one of the cool new products. Another cool new product is a portfolio that has a wireless charger. Can you believe that? Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Sarah: That’s a wireless charger? Oh, right there on the… Holy cow, that is so cool.

Glyna: Oh, my gosh.

Samata Shah: Yeah, so that’s what I mean like a promotional product is not oh, it’s a giveaway item. No, it’s not just to giveaway items. It can be unique. It can be useful and that’s what we do.

Glyna: Man. Gosh, I can think of all these ideas like you can give business gifts, you could give gifts and it’s kind of subliminal. You’re putting your logo on it. It’s still a gift but is going to be in front of them. I think you’ve said even employee gifts?

Samata Shah: Yep.

Glyna: And obviously giveaways at trade shows, that kind of thing, and even incentives.

Samata Shah: So, one of our customers had their employee working from home and they wanted to appreciate all the hard work they’ve been doing, so the lady came to me and she said, “Can suggest me some things?” So we found them a really comfortable, but professional-looking hooded sweatshirt. They were blocked, so they had two colors and they were very comfortable, but they were very nice because people are the video calls, right? So that was something that we embroidered them, and we packaged them, and we shipped them. The other product was a selfie ring light. So we are all on the video calls, Zoom calls all the time and you can see my face, and sometimes you can see, sometimes you can’t see. So there’s a little ring light that is attached to your computer or you’re on your phone and it gives you just enough light for your face to show up properly.

Glyna: Wow. That’s just amazing. So I think if we go a few steps back, we were talking about brand new businesses, but gosh, I mean, I’ve been in business 10 years and I would need help coming up with some creative ideas. So you’re able to kind of figure out their business and create something that has something to do with their business to put into a promo product.

Samata Shah: Right. Right. A long time ago we worked with the Children’s Hospital and they needed a picture frame, and so the icon was one of the lion shape icons. And so I took those icons and turn into a picture frame that was a custom design, custom-made, custom-produced, and we got those picture frames, they turned out so good. And they had a 3D effect with all the cutout of the shape and everything. That’s where we are different because we have a graphic design background. We can come up with the, it’s a picture frame, well, we turned it into a custom item.

Glyna: Wow, fantastic.

Sarah: Yeah. Well, you’ve already shown a lot of examples of some promo items that businesses can get from you. Are there any kind of more popular ones right now or anything that seems to be working pretty well across the board?

Samata Shah: Yep. Wireless charger.

Sarah: Wireless charger, makes sense.

Samata Shah: Everybody loves that because we live on the phone, my God. And then the battery dies all the time.

Glyna: It does.

Samata Shah: Yeah, and you don’t want to keep on holding. So, the wireless charger that we carry is like a stand, so you put your phone on it, and it holds the phone, and it has a logo, and it’s charging at the same time. Also, the phone stands, like these are very popular. So you put your iPad or your phone, kids are studying from home so they need their iPad on it and they can write down, or business people they can make their notes while their iPad is here or phone is here. You get tired of holding the phones. Right? And then we can logo it right there.

Sarah: That is cool.

Samata Shah: The selfie ring light, the LED light is also a new and very popular item.

Glyna: Oh, I can imagine. Yeah, everybody needs those for sure.

Samata Shah: And forever scratch pad and pen is the least expensive item, but everybody has it, and everybody loves it.

Glyna: Explain that, are you talking about a notepad?

Samata Shah: Yeah, like a sticky or a four by six scratch notepad.

Glyna: Okay.

Samata Shah: That you write on. Yeah. Some people use it, like say if some employees is doing a great job, they have pre-printed stickers, that say “great job” and have a smiley face, and then stick it on their desk. So when they come in the morning, they see it, and they’re like, “Oh, thank you.” It brightens up the day of the person working and they want to work more.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s a cool concept.

Samata Shah: Yeah.

Glyna: Wow. So, they could come and just sit with you, make an appointment with you, and come sit with you, and just kind of discuss and talk through all of this, or do it like this, or on the phone, but it’s probably more important to come and see all of the things that you have.

Samata Shah: Yeah. That would be really good because then they can see everything.

Glyna: Yeah. Wow. One-stop shop. I think that you’ve shown us some pretty unique items. Is there anything else that you can think of that you’ve done that maybe somebody wouldn’t think about? Yeah, we’ll roll your information while you’re talking about some… Now, I don’t know that you can outdo that video book. Is there anything else-

Sarah: That was so cool. I have not seen that before.

Samata Shah: Yeah. Well, that video card, comes in three different sizes. It’s not necessary you have to buy this large because these are kind of an expensive item, right? It’s playing the video, so you hear the sound. And it has a little cable, so you can attach it to your computer to load the new videos on it. So yeah. Oh, yeah, for the summertime barbecue items are really good items. Yeah and I’ll show you one that. I don’t have an actual sample of it.

Glyna: Oh, cool.

Samata Shah: Yeah.

Sarah: That is neat.

Samata Shah: Yeah, so you can actually cut your logo in here, like a cut-out, because it’s a laser-cut, and then you can have an engraved logo here also, or are you going to have a print here. One of the mortgage companies had purchased some of these from us and it also has a bottle opener.

Glyna: Can’t forget that.

Samata Shah: Yeah. These are really cool items. We made this for somebody. Honestly, what happens and when I do these custom items, they go to customers and I never get to see it.

Glyna: Well, you’ve shown us so many cool things and we really appreciate you coming on today and your information was running on the bottom of the screen. It looks like somebody’s probably coming in wanting to talk to you. Aren’t they?

Samata Shah: Yeah, somebody just walked in.

Glyna: Okay. Well, we want to thank you again for coming on and you need to get in touch with Samata if you need anything with your logo on it or if you don’t even know if you need anything with your logo on it, go talk to her. She can give you some ideas. So that’s a wrap for us this week, everybody. And as always, we will be back again next Friday at eight o’clock to talk about some more marketing tips. So Samata, you have a wonderful day and we’ll see you all next time.

Samata Shah: Thank you. Bye-bye.

Sarah: Bye.