I have always been of the opinion that corporate gifts should be useful, something the recipient can use everyday until it wears out or breaks, or better yet something that, with adequate care, will not break at all. This is always preferred by most recipients, myself included. Promotional items must always have a practical reason for being. Usefulness always outweighs (and outlives) novelty.
This may spell the difference between the branded pen and the branded lanyard. Each may both advertise your products, but the pen is more likely to break than the lanyard, and the pen will definitely run out of ink before the lanyard breaks, and the lanyard is more visible when it is worn around the neck compared to the pen which is kept in a pocket or in a bag.
In the corporate setting, promotional products may be allocated according to the recipients’ business type. Mugs may be more welcome than USB drives in an office that is not focused on the use of computers. The usefulness of a USB hub is lost in an office that does not have any practical use for it. There are universal gifts such as umbrellas and caps, useful as the weather calls for them.
Some companies go for the easy way out when choosing promotional items to help memory recall for touting their products. It’s the discerning company that goes with the best ideas for keeping their products embedded in their audiences’ consciousness.