In 1789 the first ever recorded instance of promotional products marketing in the modern era was noted by the public and press. George Washington, running to become the first President of the United States produced custom printed button badges which bore his likeness and slogans. These buttons were eagerly snapped up by the public and became talismans and mementoes of a major point in American history as much as they were a cost effective and popular way to promote the candidate's campaign. It seems that some ideas never diminish in effectiveness and popularity as a crucial part of every political campaign in the USA is still the production of promotional button badges.
Many organisations, both profit driven and those who look to improve society have taken up the baton of promotional badge marketing over the centuries. In fact all through human history custom made badges have ben used as a means of identification and celebration of some aspect of human society. Archeologists suggest that amongst the first technical and societal advances in human society the desire for adornment became apparent. Amongst the first artefacts uncovered in archeological digs which did not relate directly to hunting and the provision of sustenance are small badge like designs which it is assumed people used as a means of signalling rank and personal interests. In thus respect not much has changed, as promotional badges today are produced and distributed for the purpose of promoting a cause or registering membership of an organisation or the wearer's support for a cause.
Take fo instance a normal community based organisation, such as a local sports club or a charity group which does good work in the local community. People want to support these organisations, generally because they believe there is a societal advantage which flows through to all segments of society in encouraging their work and activities. Of course for many people signalling their virtuous support is also a significant reason for making a financial contribution to promote the organisation. This is where an organisation can leverage significant value from producing custom badges. Because the process of manufacturing a badge is relatively straightforward and cheap in terms of final unit cost community organisations do not have to dip too deeply into their budgets which can be utilised for the real purpose for which the organisation exists. The other advantage a community organisation has in leveraging promotional badges as a means of promotion and reward for supporters is that badges are seen as a relatively high-value item, akin to jewellery in the eyes of many people. This is the "sweet spot" in promotional marketing which many people look for, a low cost item with a high perceived value and promotional badges are a proven way to deliver this for organisations in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
So as things seem to progress in truth the motivations and behaviours of people don't really change, they only adapt to the environment. While in this day and age we seem to exist in a world of constant change and over stimulation this is a strong reason for a company to invest in promotional badges rather than look towards a more complex electronic solution to the problem of building brand identity. While confusion and static seem to build through the marketing environment something as simple and timeless as a custom made badge bearing your company logo could be a way to create a point of stability in an otherwise tumultuous sea of promotional messaging.