When considering product choices for corporate branding, the trend is as much about the story behind the product, as the product itself. Consumers are questioning if they are manufactured in a responsible way, can they be recycled, is it USA made.
From cotton apparel to electronics, whatever brands do to embrace the consumers growing demand for more information on the products they receive, will help build brand loyalty. It is more important than ever for corporate buyers to consider products that will engage their customers with things to think about and stories that will inspire them.
One of my favorite stories comes from the USA manufacturer of casual cotton clothing, American Apparel. Founded in 1989, with manufacturing based in Los Angeles, it is one of the few clothing companies exporting USA made goods. To its credit, it promotes labor policies that excludes use of clothing manufactured in sweatshops, and with the current worldwide attention on the horrors of the Bangladesh clothing factories, this story is one that will resound with every person who receives that branded t-shirt.
Another example of a product supplier with a story worth telling is Gary Line, a manufacturer of plastic molded products such as bike bottles, stadium cups and ice scrapers. Since the 1960’s, long before recycled products became such an industry trend, they used trimmings and rejects from their molding department to produce recycled products. Today, using both their own waste and other post-consumer recycled plastics in their USA manufacturing process, Gary Line can offer products that support a cleaner environment and a facility that fosters the call for more USA made merchandise.
These stories, and all the subtle facts behind the other branded products that are distributed to increase brand awareness, could be just the thing that differentiates your t-shirt or bike bottle from the dozens of other logo products every consumer receives. Your ability to get people thinking about more than just the giveaway, will also make your brand more interesting. Next time you’re in the market for promotional merchandise, ask about the story behind the product!