The Startup With The Promotional Products πŸš€

In the picture above, we see Conrad Praamsma, co-founder, and CEO of CBJ International Trading Corp. He is one of three co-founders that seek to shake up an old and dusty 23.3 billion USD dollar industry – and change it for the better. Since the startup's initial launch in 2020, the Toronto-based company has undergone tremendous growth in the promotional products space. They sell apparel, drinkware, bags, unique self-designed accessories, and high-quality promotional accessories for large corporations (even some on the Fortune 500 list). But their ambition doesn't stop there; they are just getting started.

March 16, 2021 Β· Jacques NΓΈrbo

But How, You May Ask? 🧐

It would be reasonable to assume that promotional products have become outdated in the modern and digital age. But research has proved that train of thought to be false. It has been revealed that promotional items still hold great value to a brand by improving brand equity and steer customers and prospects to buy. In fact, a study conducted by PPAI Research show that branded mugs are more effective than radio and television advertising and that 73% of people prefer promotional products over any other form of advertising. Say what? Promotional items are one of the oldest advertising strategies known to man with an enormous psychological impact. Think about it. If you give a human being a gift, you evoke a feeling of reciprocity. The natural response is a desire to give something back. If utilized correctly, promotional products can be a great tool to raise brand awareness and generate quality leads.

The Power of Brand Repetition 🌠

When people interact with an object consistently, they build up a bond with that object. Things are solely tools to us humans, and if an item finds a way into our lives, it's because it helps us achieve something. When an item succeeds in becoming an integrated part of a person's life, the value-consistency will trigger a shot of dopamine and generate positive emotions. The 'thing' will become a symbol of something good β€” something of value. The reason why promotional products are so powerful is that the portrayed product logo on the object slowly will be associated with that value by your subconscious mind. Jedi mind tricks. 🀯

Let's give an example: Assume you drink coffee from a mug with a Coca-Cola logo at work. The cup is reliable and serves its role as a mug to perfection: It has a nice touch, superb ability to keep your coffee warm, and is easy to clean (or whatever your specific mug preferences are). You find yourself increasingly gravitating towards the mug and select it every time it's available. You get used to the particular feeling and experience it bringsβ€”the feel of the handle, the appearance, the smooth edges, the familiarity. Before you know it, you would prefer if no one else in the office space use it. You don't even know it, but you have entered into a relationship with that Coca-Cola mug. Even though you don't even like soda much, it would often be a sufficient 'nudge' to affect your consumer decision next time you have to choose between Coke and Pepsi. As humans, we like to consider ourselves super-advanced, sophisticated, and in control. But our subconscious ape-descendent mind still plays a significant factor in our decision-making (That is, if we like it or not). Brands can leverage this phenomenon: If they successfully can add value to a person's life with promotional products, they can influence the persons' perception of their brand and strengthen brand recognition. 

Look at that beautiful mug, and tell me that you don't want to lick it?...


The Industry Issue

The promotional products industry is a humongous 23.3 billion USD dollar industry. The problem that has unfolded in the market is that most promotional companies have downgraded product qualityβ€” And quite substantially. (Which is kind of logical considering that they are in the business of free giveaways). But the industry has misinterpreted where the actual brand value lies. It is not enough to offer people promotional products; you need to make them use them and appreciate them. Because of that, most promotional products on the market are failing their primary purpose. They contain cheap and non-sustainable materials, have a short durability, are terrible for the environment, and are manufactured under horrible and unethical conditions in sweatshops in the developing world. To top it off, they don't even add value to the end consumer's life. Why would any company in their right mind even attach their logo to that?

The CBJ Solution πŸš€

CBJ has identified a gap in the market. Creating a sustainable and long-lasting product line from high-quality materials can make sure the end consumer will be able to use their products for 10+ years. The price point is obviously above their competitors, but so are the value and the impact of their products. They are going upstream and breaking a very boring trend in an old and dusty industry. By understanding the end user's needs and the underlying psychological benefit promotional products need to fulfil, they move the needle in a more positive direction. It creates value for the end consumer, is much better for the environment, and drives a heavy production away from the sweatshops. That is innovation at its core and a prime example that you don't need to reinvent the wheel to create real-world change.

We're very impressed by the young company's approach and vision and can't wait to see them make moves in the promotion products industryβ€” and hopefully change it for the better. We're happy to assist them further on their startup journey.

πŸ›£ To be continued!

Facts about Promotional Products
The first printed promotional product was created in 1789 when George Washington used promotional buttons in his presidential campaign.
Promotional products have the highest advertising recall, surpassing print, television, and online advertising.
About 60% of calendars at home and 76% at businesses are promotional giveaways offered by companies trying to raise brand awareness.
More than 50% of consumers have a favorable impression of an advertiser after receiving a promotional product.
About 58% of consumers will keep promotional giveaways for 1 to 4 years.
Final Logo CBJ rectangle layout
CBJ International Trading Corp (CBJ)
  • Website
  • Headquarters
    πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Toronto, Canada
  • Founded
  • Employees
    1 - 10
  • Industries
    Promotional Products
  • Stage
  • Funding situation