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What is Branding Products with Purpose™, Really?

Shoppers have always cared about value, but in the 2020s, they care much more about brand values. What your business believes in is just as important as customer service and product quality. Today, you’re expected to put your greater purpose on display, going beyond traditional branding by intertwining your core values and mission into your brand story. 

In other words, it isn’t just about what your products do or the services you offer, but what they stand for. 

More consumers want to see their values reflected in the brands they support. This new consumer mindset makes purpose-driven branding no longer a nice-to-have but an essential ingredient for effective promo marketing campaigns. 

Brand Love moments are the gold standard, but these purpose-driven points of connection aren’t easy to find. In this guide, we’ll demystify what it means to be branding products with purpose™ and offer three tips for implementing purposeful promo marketing.


How Purposeful Branding Works

Traditional branding is all about color palettes, tone of voice, and logos. Those things are still important, but purposeful branding focuses more on the meaning behind these choices. You focus more on reflecting your core values and mission, going deeper than aesthetic appeal. With purposeful branding, you imbue your promo products with a story, cause, or belief that resonates with your audience. 

Let’s say you’re a vegan beauty brand. Instead of passing out branded frisbees at a trade show that have nothing to do with your mission, a more purposeful approach would be to gift attendees Fair Trade pineapple leather-bound notebooks. That’s much more in line with your brand mission, right? 

Purposeful branding will help you choose strategic promotional items that fit your audience’s expectations. It doesn’t hurt that it also: 

  • Differentiates you in a crowded market
  • Connects you on a deeper level with cause-conscious Millennial and Gen Z consumers
  • Improves employee engagement and excitement

With a purposeful approach, it’s critical to choose branded T-shirts, sunglasses, or socks that match your mission. That might require taking a different approach to promo altogether, but you’ll get more results for your hard work. 


What Brand Love moments look like

Brand Love is the ultimate expression of purpose-driven promo marketing. It’s the ultimate spark of connection between brands and consumers, transforming a relationship from a transactional chat to a loyal, enduring bond. 

Brand Love moments aren’t easy to find, but you can cultivate more of them with thoughtful branding strategies that go beyond standard promo. For example, grocery store Sprouts gives out promotional items like plantable pencils and journals made from apple pulp. This approach not only boosts the brand’s visibility but also deepens the consumers’ emotional connection with the brand’s mission of sustainability and organic living. 

Experiences are also a great example of branding products with purpose. Instead of simply giving people promo, turn it into an unforgettable moment of connection. That might be through a branded box experience, which is perfect for engaging folks virtually, or a gift-of-choice pop-up at an annual event.

The more engaged your audience is, the more likely they are to pay attention and feel something when interacting with your brand. That’s what branding products with purpose is all about.


Three tips for purpose-driven marketing

1. Embrace sustainability

Seventy-eight percent of consumers believe sustainability is important—and a whopping 84% say they would feel alienated from brands that hurt the environment. Everyone cares about the environment, whether you target Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, or Gen Z. 

Branding products with purpose start with caring about what your audience cares about, and they definitely care about the environment. Sustainability is a smart and surprisingly easy way to brand with purpose, too. 

First of all, choosing effective promo that your audience will use over and over again is the best way to be sustainable. The more folks use the products, the more exposure they get to your brand—and keep promo out of the landfills. It’s a win-win!

Second, it’s never been easier to choose sustainably-minded promo items. Manufacturers make everything from bamboo battery banks to branded beanies made from sustainable fibers. Boundless has plenty of these products available in our shopping portal, and our Brand Consultants are also seasoned pros at sourcing just about any product under the sun—sustainably—so let your imagination run wild

2. Choose products purposefully

Promotional marketing is a great offline marketing tactic, but ROI starts with a solid strategy. All of your promo products should align with your brand, products, or mission. 

A branded game of Bananagrams is a fun giveaway, but does it make sense for, say, a local credit union? Gifts like a money tree, piggy bank, or branded USB with links to financial resources might be more appropriate if your mission is to support the financial health of your community. 

Need help deciding which products to choose? We’ve got your back. Tap a Boundless Brand Consultant to identify your purpose-driven brand values (every company has them!) and match them with custom-tailored products for your audience.


3. Tell a unique story

Create Brand Love by building an emotional connection. There’s nothing wrong with hyping up your audience with a fun giveaway, but when authentic connections matter, go with promo that tells a story. 

Try to tell the story in a compelling, interesting way. That might mean creating a hybrid campaign where you give out branded T-shirts showcasing customer success stories, with QR tags linking to the customer’s full video interview on your website. These little moments of delight and connection are essential to branding with purpose, and we guarantee your audience will go wild for unexpected surprises. 

Go from brand to icon with purpose-driven marketing

Your customers stick with your brand for a reason. While customer service and product quality are always great differentiators, how you tell your brand story also matters. In a crowded market, investing in purpose-driven branding that creates authentic Brand Love moments has never been more important. 

You don’t have to do this alone, either. Our expert Brand Consultants are here to guide you every step of the way, from defining your purpose-driven values to selecting the perfect promo strategies. It’s time to move the needle: See how Boundless gets you ahead by branding products with purpose™.

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