If you own a business, then you probably use promotional products as one way to get the word out about your business. For decades, business owners have been using items that have their business name on them as a way to keep that name in front of customer’s eyes. But in recent times, the industry has seen some changes. For instance, it used to be considered stylish to wear tee-shirts with a corporate logo blazed across the front of it, especially for tech startups. But recently, a men’s magazine published an article that made clear the fact that it’s not considered fashionable any more.

In addition, with all of the inexpensive and stylish coffee cups around, it’s not likely that your coffee mug with your corporate logo is going to be the first one people reach for when they want some coffee. So what’s the answer? After all, you still need to create goodwill with your clients, and nothing sparks that kind of loyalty like a gift.

Consumers Expect Environmentally Friendly Gifts

In a 2015 study by Cone Communications and Ebiquity Global CSR, consumers had a lot to say about environmental responsibility. To start with, 81 percent of those interviewed say they would make personal sacrifices to address social and environmental issues. But they didn’t stop there. Nine out of the ten interviewed say that they expect companies to act responsibly with both social and environmental issues. On a global scale, 84 percent of consumers say that when shopping, they actively seek out those companies and products that act responsibly.

What Does That Mean for Promotional Products?

If consumers expect environmental responsibility from the companies they deal with, that means that the image you portray must adhere to their expectations. That can be difficult to do with promotional products because the very nature of the products means they won’t likely be used because they are largely a method of advertising. This perception of waste may lead some of your customers to question your environmental ethics. For instance, if you give them a reusable shopping bag that has your company logo printed across the front of it, how many of them do you think will actually use the bag? No many, unfortunately.

How to Make Your Promotional Products Environmentally Friendly

Business everywhere are reinventing the way they use promotional products to advertise their business. For instance, wine is in vogue right now, and so some business owners are creating their own wine labels with their company logo on them. But rather than simply giving the recipient the bottle of wine, which would appear highly promotional, they are placing the wine bottles in cute little  reusable tote bags that are shapes like grapes. This instantly gives the gift an air of environmental responsibility because the user will use the bag over and over again. And in addition to changing the way your promotional gifts are viewed, it will also cause the customer to think of your business every time they go shopping and use the bag to haul home their groceries or other items—even though your corporate logo isn’t splashed across the front of the bag.