Tuesday, July 2, 2013

You Can Do What The Big Guys Do

One of the most difficult tasks in marketing, both off line & online, is achieving positive brand recognition. Every time someone sees the Coca-Cola logo, for instance, they automatically recognize it regardless of whether or not they like the drink, itself. The same thing is true of the single bright red star that has become identified with the Macy's brand.  There's also the black "swoosh" for Nike, the two intertwined C's (one reversed) for Chanel & the blue & white sphere for AT&T.  Achieving that kind of brand recognition is tough & requires a huge advertising budget.

There's constant exposure on TV--but how many people actually sit through an advertisement? And if they do, it's usually considered an inconvenient interruption. Ads in popular magazines--the bigger the circulation, the bigger the cost to advertise. And how people even look at the ads or remember them later? Billboards, online advertising......all of these methods are so expensive they are out of reach for most companies.

While the average business owner will not be able to achieve such exposure, they can still get some significant recognition at a reasonable cost by distributing promotional imprinted products. This definitely works because the same businesses--the fortune 500 companies--that can afford the costly advertising also uses promotional custom products.  They do it often & regularly. And so can you.

Before you even start to think about ordering promotional items, think first, how your brand represents you. Don't just pick a design for your logo or colors that you like & think that's it, you're through with this stage. Your logo, colors & tagline will tell the world what you're all about & the message they get may not be the one you want them to receive.
  • Make sure your brand name is consistent across all platforms of communication. You want customers to be able to recognize your company & product immediately.  Uniformity is the best way to accomplish this. If you have a logo & tagline, you should use it in conjunction with your company name & marketing at all times.
  • Put your customers first all the time. Remember, you're trying to reach them with your message so establish content that resonates with them in a positive manner.  It's not about what you like best, but rather what will make people connect with your business.
  • Make sure your message is something that will stand out from the crowd. Don't do what your competitors do. You don't want someone to get you mixed up with them. Show you're different, unique. While watching TV, if you see a gecko you know you're about to see a Geico commercial or that the talking sophisticated baby represents E-Trade.
Once you have a logo, tagline & colors that represent your company, you should start to think about promotional custom products.
  • Don't go for the cheapest just to have something to hand out. You're better off handing out nothing. The customized promotional item you distribute with your company name on it will represent you--it will show how much you care about your business & the services or products you provide. What will someone think if they get a pen that doesn't write consistently or breaks as soon as it's being used?
  • Make sure your product is relevant to your business & at the same time useful to the recipient. The whole point is to have your company in front of your customer or prospect at all times. If your promotional product is useless to them, it will get shoved in a drawer or thrown out & they won't think of you at all........unless they associate with that piece of junk they didn't want.
  • Once you have your product, HAND THEM OUT. Don't save them for a special occasion or for someone special. You'll most likely forget about them & when you do want to use them, they may show their age. If you keep them in the storage closet the only way they'll be seen is if you invite the public in to rummage through the boxes.
If you keep all of these things in mind, you should see a significant improvement in brand recognition.  Good luck!

Ronni Sherman


  1. Maybe we can do what "the big guys" do but while we're buying .40 pens they are handing out 4.00 pens.

    1. Not necessarily, Jeff.

      I sell to Enterprise Rent-A-Car & they buy pens from .35 - .50. They buy a number of things--usually in the price range of .35 - .85.

      The important thing is buy something that stands out & doesn't blend, that is good quality (even at a lower price), is attractive & is something your target audience can use.