Friday, April 13, 2007

Stick it to them

While reading The Marketing Blog today I found an article on eco-friendly, wooden USB sticks from a company called Eco Incentives. The company sell these memory sticks as eco-friendly business gifts and as such, they can be personalised with your corporate logo.

I’ve heard of USB sticks being offered as corporate gifts before, in fact, I have received one myself. I can imagine also that in the current climate many companies are trying their best to appear eco-friendly. But ‘wooden memory sticks that have been “manufactured from the windfall branches that have fallen to the forest floor” before having a USB added to them’ is a new one on me. Nice idea though.

As well as these memory sticks, the company also offer mouse mats, organic clothing, jute bags, recycled glassware, biodegradable pens and even bamboo computers. Yes - bamboo computers. Well, not the whole computer, just the monitor, but still pretty impressive.

Switching now from marketer to consumer, I doubt I am the only one who feels a sense of satisfaction and warm glow of ‘doing the right thing’ when I purchase something fair-trade or eco-friendly. I feel as if I am helping, just a little bit, to support and save the planet, I feel as if that little bit extra money I may have spent on the item was justified and is going to a good cause, and most of all, I feel I’m a good person. Being the giver of eco-friendly business gifts, I’m sure I would feel the same. And, as a receiver, it would perhaps lead me to view the giver more favourably, perhaps…

I care about the environment, but I know that I don’t do enough. For example, I use energy-saving lighbulbs, I recycle my old papers and magazines, I re-use plastic bags, I switch things off when I’m not using them (most of the time) and I try to buy ethical products. But, I still take plastic bags when I don’t always need them, I charge my electrical appliances longer than necessary at times, I sometimes buy from companies with less than squeaky-clean images… I could go on. And as a business too, AME Marketing cares about the environment, but again, we don’t do enough.

Sometimes it’s hard to always do the right thing by the environment. Sometimes it’s too expensive. Sometimes we’re just too lazy. But when we can be ethical so easily, we should.

I love the idea of these quirky objects, not only do they come guilt-free, they also stand out. Corporate gifts are often an effective way to keep in the minds of your customers. As with any of your marketing activities though, its important that its relevant to your company / product. If you operate in a B2B environment then this type of gift may work very well. Your customers are likely to use such gifts and each time they do, your name can catch their eye. And, they will know that you are a company who cares. Perfect.

(Note to self: Next week plug our products, not someone else’s…)

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