Keepsake Tchotchkes & Trade-show Takeaways!

Posted by Phil Coles on

keep·sake (ˈkēpˌsāk) noun : a small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or originally owned it
tchotchke (/ˈtʃɒtʃkə/ CHOCH-ka) : small bauble or miscellaneous item

As connoisseurs and curators of impactful promotional products, we like to believe that the tchotchkes that we hand out to promote our brands should be memorable to eventually become a keepsake. Even the ones that are given out at trade-shows. We have a fancy word for these called promotional products. The Promotional Products Association International or PPAI defines promo products as “branded products typically imprinted with a company’s name, logo or message and given at no cost. Promotional products literally include any one of tens’ of thousands of items able to display a message, ranging from pens to clothing to electronic equipment”. But not all promo products are created equal!

A recent campaign by Holy Cow Promo Products (HCP) raised an important question to some trade-show participants:

Cow tradeshow toolbox

“What is in your tradeshow toolbox?”    

We received a few responses including fidget spinners, lanyards, flash drives and the usual suspects.

‘Usual suspects’ being the operative phrase here.






  • By handing out fidget spinners booth after booth at trade-show after trade-show, what is the value that we are trying to create for our brand?
  • What is it that you are trying to achieve with your trade-show giveaways?
  • What is it that you want your visitor to takeaway from your booth?
Just another gift for their children or something more impactful that will convert promo products to profit? Don't believe us? We have included some facts to support our study.
Fact Check: The Advertising Speciality Institute (ASI) Impressions study 2016 reveals that 63% of the promo products are passed on to someone else and the rest thrown/ filed away.

Marketing budget cow callout

The cows at HCP have been pondering over these questions. We have done some research and have a passion for doing things differently. True to our tradition of doing things in threes (remember, our 3P-price system), we feel that the tradeshow giveaways should CONNECT with the users at three different times or with three different R’s:
      Resonance:  Love at First Sight 
      Reaction:     Memory that lingers 
      Referrals:     Life Long Love and Nostagia 
PS: Partnerships are a lot like true love to us (or maybe its just February is all).
Anyhow, let us being...

RESONANCE aka Love at First Sight
Reaction time: Instantaneous, 10-20 seconds of receiving the product & lasting unto 4 hours.

  • These are exciting and distinctive products that have never been seen before or evoke a memory in the receiver's mind
  • The visitor wants this product with your company's logo
  • The visitor who is cool-hunting has hit the jackpot with you
  • The product is a conversation starter and has the booth visitor more than interested
  • They want it so much that they are ready to work with your company because they are so intrigued
  • In fact, they want it so much that they want to use this product as they are walking the tradeshow… thereby doing your advertising for you
  • This product will not go straight in the bag with your competitor’s logo

    Resulting action: Just by having a distinct and unique tchotchke,  you have made a contact who will not forget about you. 
    Fact check: PPAI 2017 fact sheet reports that promo products that created resonance with 82% of the receivers had a more favorable impression of the brand.

    Cow callout mouthpiece

    REACTION aka Memory that lingers
    Reaction time: Short-term, 2-3 weeks of receiving the product.
    The trade show has ended and everyone is back at their office and ready to hand over the business cards to the admin assistant who manages the rolodex along with some chotchkies. Probably all… but one! Their first love. 

    • They will ‘keep’ the unforgettable promo product for themselves
    • They might even keep checking what tradeshow you will be attending and what other cool products you may have
    • They will also make it a point to contact the manager of the company who gave them the product.
    • They will share the contact info with their company and vouch for your company
    • In fact they will keep visiting your site and will not rest till they can partner with you

      Resulting Actions: Partnerships and brand following
      Fact check: PPAI Fact sheet 2017 ranked memorable promotional products as the #1 most effective form of advertising to prompt action across all generations from millenials to Gen Xers to baby boomers and the silent generation.
      The study also reveals that after receiving a memorable product, 79% receivers researched the brand and a whopping 83% more likely to do business with you!

      Cow infographic about business stats

      REFERRALS aka nostalgia aka lifelong loyalty
      Reaction Time: 6 months – 1 year after tradeshow and lifelong connections. 
      It all started with a warm hello, a smile, and a memorable promo product. Now your companies are doing business together and the promo product where it all started still sits like a badge of honor on the receiver’s desk.

      • The receiver who still raves about your company.
      • The receiver who still advertises and markets your company
      • And the receiver who brings you new contacts by being your cheerleader

      Coming a full circle, the tchotchke that you gave has now become a keepsake.

      A tchotchke that was not a usual suspect. A tchotchke that was not a fidget spinner for the kids!

      Fact Check: 2017 PPAI study reveals that 81% of the receivers keep memorable promotional products for more than a year. Sage World study reveals that impactful promo products draw as many as 500% more referrals from satisfied customers. 

      And finally, the ASI study asked 2000 people the emotions that are evoked when they receive a promotional product. Happy, good, and grateful were the top three responses. A tradeshow giveaway can be your best marketing tool to convert connections to sales and profit and make people appreciate the good in your company.

      Do not underrate the power of a tradeshow tchotchke and do not giveaway what will be thrown away.

      If your trade-show goal is to increase & create brand awareness, drive sales, and make lifelong connections, contact us today!

       Thank you from Holy Cow Mooovers  for reading!

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