March 20, 2018

Try a Bit of Subtlety in Your Branding

Submitted by Kelly Glass

Lynne Lambert, owner of Mapt Gear, has a revolutionary idea that may upend the promotional products industry. It’s kind of like anti-branding. Her company sells totes, messenger bags and a padfolio waiting for logos. However, the logos themselves are sometimes never seen on the products. Instead, she prints maps with pin illustrations to show the exact locations of companies’ headquarters (or specific locations or even event spots). The products are designed to arouse curiosity — promoting word-of-mouth marketing by leaning on the idea that others will ask about the bags or padfolios. Even better, they alleviate the hesitation consumers have about walking around with huge logos splashed across their belongings.

“Many of us are not comfortable being a free walking advertisement for a company,” Lambert told Adweek, “and many companies aren’t doing anything more than putting logos in big text across the products. So, I think there’s room for a very tasteful product to come in.”

PPAI noted in 2015 that company branded swag is a $20.81 billion industry and, with 9,000 trade shows in the U.S. alone each year, that’s a lot of heavily-branded material that could potentially end up in the trash. Lambert’s products do have spaces for smaller, subtle logos — and maybe that’s a tactic the industry should be taking up to ensure that promotional products are both kept and used.

Follow these hints to try this idea yourself and make sure your client’s customers are holding on to and enjoying all the swag they get.

  • Put Logos in Unexpected Places. FlipSidez manufactures custom flip-flops, but in a unique way. They put logos on the bottoms of the sandals in cutouts so that, when someone wears them, an imprint shows in their footprints in the sand (or snow, or dirt or anywhere else soft enough to pick up impressions).
  • Go for the Cute Factor. It’s just undeniable: putting anything on a critter with a furry face instantly makes that thing a thousand times cuter. Maybe skip human-based promo products altogether and instead opt for a product for someone’s furry friend. Like a bandanna or jacket for a dog or a decoratively logoed kitty collar.
  • Chop it Up. We know your customers worked very hard on their logos. And they are beautiful, really! But when it comes to shirts, everyone is kind of bored with the typical left breast placement. Mix it up some and it’ll increase the visual interest of the shirts themselves. Try moving the logo placements down to the hems or putting them on sleeves or collars. Shrink them and create new patterns. It may be even more appealing to consumers to chop logos up — go down to the bottom of the shirts like Calvin Klein did and only print parts of the logos.
  • Go for the Tag, Not the Whole Bag. Research from 2016 showed that handbags with logos emblazoned all over them are falling out of favor. Consumers are becoming more and more focused on individuality and showing their own personalities, not those of the companies they know. Try skipping visible logos entirely and put them on tag or small keychains inside bags or hanging off the straps.

Where- and however you choose to display your customers logos in promotional products, Idea Custom Solutions has you covered on the vector artwork and embroidery digitizing you need for production. And if you are game to get extra creative, tap our Custom Creative Services for innovative designs that will stand out.


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