I love gift-giving. That’s probably one of the reasons why I founded Blezoo; since promotional products and branded apparel are essentially gifts that companies distribute!

I’ve always wondered though, why some promo items are held onto for years and others get tossed the next day. 

Well, I’ve got a theory about that, and I’ve created the ‘Promo Love Matrix’ to help visualize that theory. Ready to geek out with me?

First, before we get to the full matrix, I think it’s important for me to explain what the X (horizontal) & Y (vertical) axes represent. 


The horizontal X-axis represents your affinity, or natural liking, for the brand(s) represented on the product. Further to the left signifies a low affinity, and to the right, a high affinity.

Here are examples of high-affinity branded products:

  • Your alma mater
  • Super hip company (like Blezoo) you do business with
  • A place you’ve visited that you like to represent
  • A memorable concert you went to

Here are examples on the low-affinity side:

  • Rival to your favorite sports team
  • A company with a bad reputation
  • An irrelevant place you have no connection to
  • The company your ex works at


The vertical Y-axis represents your perception of the product’s quality. Further to the bottom signifies low quality, and further up represents high perceived quality.

Here are examples of perceived high-quality branded products:

  • Soft tri-blend t-shirt
  • Nike polo
  • Weighted pen
  • 10,000 mAh power bank

Here are examples of perceived low-quality branded products:

  • Unisex boxy t-shirt
  • Generic off-trend hat
  • Cheap plastic pen
  • Plastic sports bottle

Now that we understand what we’re looking at in both axes, I’ll walk through the quadrants so I can explain what each zone represents.


Low product quality, Low brand affinity

This is the worst of the worst. It’s not good quality and it’s not related to a brand you like. Complete waste of money that could have been put towards something more meaningful. Unfortunately, this is where a promo gift can end up when it is not thoughtful in the least.


Low product quality, High brand affinity

Have you ever received something from an organization/company/person that you loved but it was just low quality? Or have you gone to a concert for your favorite band and got a t-shirt but the imprint fades after one wash? (I see you, Taylor Swift!)

Yeah, these are the things that you want to love but they are low quality and you’re torn. They end up getting stored, forever! This is your bin of items that you can’t get yourself to throw away, and you keep seeing it every time you move. This is a lost opportunity.


High product quality, Low brand affinity

This is the prime re-gifting zone. The product is high quality but you really could care less about the brand, so you begin your mission to re-home this premium item to someone who can appreciate it more than you.

I actually have a bin for this type of thing so that I can re-gift quality items every year! Too nice to throw away but the lack of enthusiasm for the brand feels palpable.


High product quality, High brand affinity

Annnd.. just like that, we’ve arrived at the sweet spot of the Promo Love Matrix. If you receive a high-quality item that you also have a high affinity for the brand it is attached to? You will use it like crazy.

I think about the t-shirt that I’ve been wearing 3 times a month for years, or my favorite water bottle that I ride out as long as humanly possible. If you can give promo items, and gifts in general, in this zone then you are absolutely nailing it.


Know your audience & invest in high-quality gifts. Less is sometimes way more. 

You may never ever hear a promotional professional say this out loud, but, sometimes it’s better not to buy promotional products for an event. There, I said it.

Think about your audience and what they would like to receive. Are you about to give out something at a trade show that you’re embarrassed to give? Roll that budget up into another budget and do something more impactful! It’s not always necessary to buy something if it’s stretching you too thin.

As with gift-giving, promotional products are a great way to show your love. Hopefully, this matrix will help guide your gifts into the upper right quadrant! ↗

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