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| Updated: November 18, 2020 4 min read

Lasting Impressions

How one company showed authenticity using branded promo items

Posted: October 13, 2020 | Updated: November 18, 2020 | Joshua Grover-David Patterson 4 min read

FEH Design employees seem to always have pen and paper in hand. The architecture, engineering and interior design team with multiple locations in the Midwest, carries padfolios while on the go. But the firm’s marketing team noticed a problem: Many of the padfolios were branded promo items from other companies.

“We go on a lot of site visits and take a lot of notes,” Creative Communications and Campaign Leader Katie Stork said. “Our marketing team pointed out that we had people carrying padfolios with other company’s brands, or that they bought themselves. But we didn’t have any swag of our own.”

Black Executive Padfolio

Executive Padfolios

To correct the problem, FEH Design purchased Executive Padfolios for all employees. “We wanted something professional to represent us when we went to meetings,” Stork said. The new meeting giveaway became an opportunity to share the whereabouts and personality of its company. The company created a Facebook® photo album called FEH: On Location and started sharing photos from its site visits, often using the padfolio as a prop.

The photo album—and frequently updated social media posts—have given the organization opportunities to share its work and personality in a fun, authentic way.

FEH Design’s padfolio travels to work locations and beyond.

woman in construction hat with the portfolio at job site

Share the real you

FEH Design did what many of us are looking for in brands—showed a genuine side of the company that isn’t focused on selling. Brand authenticity is becoming more and more important—91% of consumers say they want brands to be authentic in their social media posts, and 63% of them say they are more likely to buy from an authentic brand.

91% of consumers say they want brands to be authentic in their social media posts

What’s more, one study revealed that there’s a correlation between a company’s authenticity and the likelihood that customers will become advocates for that brand.

By sharing content that reflects your brand’s personality in a genuine way, you’ll be able to better connect with current and future customers.


Get authentic with your customers

Changing a social media presence from “marketing” to “authentically sharing” can be a tricky concept to grasp. Think of authentic sharing as a peek behind the curtain that helps customers understand your business’ personality and work style.


How to be authentic with your customers

  • Find your balance
  • Talk to your followers
  • Show off your team


Find your balance

While sharing engaging stories and images is an excellent way to be authentic, it’s also important to keep your social media presence professional. As Forbes® notes, anything posted online lives forever—so be sure to find a balance between brand personality and professionalism.

FEH Design found multiple ways to use its branded promo item and social media presence to share different aspects of its personality. FEH’s photos frequently show off current and past projects, location tagged to demonstrate the scope of where the company works and the kind of projects it does.

And the company showed that even its meeting giveaway needs a break. Among the pictures of construction projects and the padfolio in meetings, there are also shots of the padfolio by a drink and a slice of pizza with the caption “Pit stop!”

padfolio in a warehouse, in a car, at a construction site


Talk to your followers

Although sharing your brand’s personality so customers can “like” it may sound like a one-way relationship, in reality, social media is all about conversation. When
people comment on your posts or otherwise try to engage you, take time to reply.

A small amount of online human contact can have a huge impact. For example, 83% of people who sent a tweet to a company and got a response said they were more likely to do business with that company.


Show off your team

Your products and services don’t give your business its personality—your team does that. Sharing information about your team members gives you the opportunity to give your posts a human touch.

“It’s interesting to see how people compose their photos. It really reveals their personality,” Stork said. Staff personalities come through in the padfolio photos, with shots ranging from a fun picture of a coworker on a construction site to shots of favorite projects.

FEH Design also shares employee anniversaries and spotlight posts that shine a light on individual team members.

By pairing its story with a branded promo item, FEH puts real faces on all the hard work that happens behind the scenes.

“It’s fun to show both to our clients and to our internal staff members where our team is traveling to,” Stork said. “With four locations, it’s nice to know where everyone’s going and the projects they’re working on.”


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