Branded gifts: how to create value
Gifts are an eminent opportunity to create value and strengthen relationships with customers, partners, and investors. But are we making the most of what a physical object can offer?
The last quarter of the year has arrived and with it one of our favorite challenges as a strategy-led studio: thinking about our clients' physical and material expressions. After a long period of working with screens, contemplating how a brand can go beyond its core product and make an impact in its customers' lives is refreshing, and we look forward to it.
The main product and supplier possibilities, however, seemed to overlook an important premise to us: the individuality of each company. Despite scaling being a necessary and oftentimes indispensable resource in the industry, we frequently prefer to take a moment and understand the message behind each project.
Here, we share a few questions that guided our decision-making process alongside each client:
Does it help to tell the brand story?
When we think about the possibilities for gifts, many of them ready-made, several options seem exciting and visually appealing. But, when entering the decision criteria, it is essential to understand how the choice relates to the brand, and how it helps to tell the story. If you own a tech company, for example, a notepad with no context might not do much for your brand narrative.
Does it make you want to keep it?
Many of the gifts we receive throughout our lives end up forgotten in the back of a drawer (if not in the trash can). This can happen for several reasons, from the low quality of the materials to the lack of distinctive appeal. When we talk about the life cycle of a product that we are placing in the world, it is our responsibility to understand its role beyond the occasion in which it concerns.
Does it evoke an enjoyable experience?
Asking this question attempts to understand the object as a channel to stimulate a particular activity or experience. It is from that moment on that we can go beyond the commonplace, and understand how this client, partner, or investor can incorporate this gift into their own life, and, consequently, the brand it carries. Exploring the five senses is often a valuable hint.
With that in mind, we invited a longtime studio partner to join the conversation. Bárbara is the founder and head artisan of Jasmim & Boldo, a botanical printing atelier inspired by plants as an instrument to inspire genuine human connections. Check out some excerpts from our conversation below.
1. For you, why are we experiencing a re-signification of craftsmanship?
Looking at the story, I see three important moments.
The first moment when it was customary to have everyday objects made by hand. It was part of our culture since large-scale productive means were not available for all. So, one could have a chair made by their uncle, a coat made by their grandmother, and a natural fiber basket made by their mother. Objects naturally had an origin and anchored affection.
The second moment arises with the development of the industry, practical objects, and collections. There are cost-effective objects for all to buy and easily replace. The space in the house is equipped with them and the clothes go out of style in a flash. The items exist in everyday life but have lost their depth of meaning and intimacy.
The third moment comes with the return of the manual, now no longer due to material needs, but due to the need for connection. Since we don't know how to live without symbolic information, it is our human nature to seek to belong through meaning. We segmented objects into practical and affectionate, and we are rediscovering the importance of telling the story of what surrounds us.
2. On natural processes and raw materials: What are the benefits and challenges at the micro and macro levels?
The challenges of processes such as dyeing and botanical printing are in durability-stability. They are closely connected to nature and its cycles and suffer interference. But that doesn't have to be negative: the difference from the conventional process is that, for example, the fading action doesn't make them ugly or damaged.
One of the benefits of organic materials is to allow constant contact with nature, its textures, patterns, colors, and smells. In addition, the close relationship between time and materials modifies our own view of life. Despite the apparent subtlety of these benefits, contact with nature alongside a different perspective on time can be a powerful ingredient to our well-being.
Another crucial point is that natural processes call sustainability closer, inviting creativity and curiosity. Once we are one with nature's cycles we begin to create not for eternity but to make the moment a true present.
3. Beyond fashion, what products can be customized for a brand?
A brand is a body in motion that longs for accessories that enrich it. Its story is told through the objects, and it is up to the people in charge to make conscious decisions that expand its symbolism.
I like objects that inspire people to live fully, and that can be inserted into their daily lives without implementing a ready-made lifestyle. Goodies that are detailed but still set the tone. I also think about the moments when we can create a sense of well-being and adapt to different experiences.
For intimate moments, special stationery packs encourage the exchange of affection and booklets of wisdom from the world that the brand talks about.
For versatile moments, we have branded teas, aromatic candles, and notebooks.
To insert in everyday life and celebrate the brand, we have handkerchiefs, blankets, paintings, dry bouquets, perfumes, and pendants.
Finally, we have interactive goodies, which provide new experiences, inviting the customer to strengthen ties with the world of the brand, such as dyeing kits, ink, and vegetable chalk.
In my view, the main requirement is the insertion of the brand naturally into everyday life.
Thank you, Bárbara! And a special thanks to Matheus, the dearest friend who opened his home to us ☻
You can find her and learn more about Jasmim & Boldo at @jasmimeboldo, and check the online shop at www.jasmimeboldo.com.br.
Sala is SCHARF's newsletter, an invitation to the curious ones.