Brand management is vital for the success of any organization. It affects every aspect of a brand’s products, communications and marketing. The corporate brand manager is the on-staff gatekeeper for your brand, but what about all the companies you partner with to help you get the word out?
Ad agencies, social media marketing firms, and promotional products suppliers are all in the business of promoting and protecting your company’s brand. Anyone who has accepted the responsibility of reprinting your company logo; communicating the value statement for your products and services; or promoting the newest marketing campaign must also have the same enthusiasm and passion for your brand as you do.
Like an over-protective parent, the gatekeepers of your brand should continually be monitoring the execution and the output of the information. Spotting new trends and understanding how they can help increase the brand visibility is important, but ensuring that those trends are in line with the established corporate brand guidelines is vital.
Always asking, “What else can we do”, should be a common discussion between you and your gatekeeper partners – the end result will be a brand respected by customers and coveted by your rivals.
According to Merriam-Webster, athleisure is defined as “casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use.” It represents the general dressing down across our culture, with high fashion brands turning sweats and tees into big ticket items, and retailers selling more performance apparel than ever before.
Now, at the intersection of athletic wear and luxury, we have athluxury – fabrics and styles that give a luxe feel while delivering a reliable performance piece of clothing. Jackets, shirts and footwear are all being offered in up-to-the minute colors and styles that are creating excitement for corporate brands that want to ignite their audience.
More of an evolution than a trend, athleisure – or, on the higher end, athluxury – apparel can be worn in most offices and social situations without anyone thinking twice. Many styles merge business casual with sportswear, which is a natural evolution of the trend towards health and fitness. As a bonus, this category of clothing is generally more durable, with properties like wrinkle and odor resistance incorporated into its tech-infused fibers.
Adding a corporate logo in a color and decoration method that compliments the item will bring attention and respect to the brand, and nearly ensure the continued use of the item at the office and at home. Sample some of the latest options in this popular clothing category for the next trade show or team-building outing at the ballpark. Your associates will happily accept, and your customers will notice.
The U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, and nearly half goes to China. For decades, China has used recyclables from around the world to supply its manufacturing boom. But it has recently declared that the waste coming from other countries includes too many other non-recyclable materials that are “dirty”, even “hazardous”. Therefore, in an effort to develop their country more like a world power rather than the world’s dumping ground, China has instituted strict restrictions on the amount and type of recyclable waste it will accept.
What does that have to do with corporate branding efforts? In a world that has dwindling options for all the trash that is created, corporations trying to increase brand awareness while supporting a cleaner planet can win on both fronts. Distributing logo products that promote less trash, like refillable beverage cups and bottles; reusable acrylic or stainless steel straws; and non-woven grocery totes is both responsible stewardship of our earth and savvy marketing foresight.
Many popular promotional products are available in biodegradable materials that are easy to recycle – balloons, pens, bags, and coffee cups to name a few. Other products like lunch coolers, drink coasters and reusable sandwich bags promote reducing and reusing rather than relying on throw-away packaging. These items are an example of how the world of branded merchandise is responding to the need, and the market demand, for more eco-friendly options.
Keeping and using an item with a corporate logo increases brand awareness and improves customer loyalty – the ROI is clear. Distributing environmentally conscious products helps to reduce waste – the benefit to the planet is clear. It’s time to get serious – ask about products that protect your brand and the earth at the same time.
The mobile accessory market is still relatively young, and getting better all the time. The demand for these portable phone accessories is growing due to the continual rise in the smartphone market along with the preference for comfort and simplicity. Items like portable speakers, headphones and battery chargers have become standard “must-have” items for even the most casual consumer.
That’s good news for the corporate marketing teams looking for a home run with their customer base. The variety of products in this category available for logo branding is growing, and the quality of those products is improving.
A few examples:
- Micro Bluetooth Speaker: Small size unit (1″x1.25″) with maximum sound
- Solar Panel Phone Charger: Produces a high-powered solar charge with a single USB hub
- PopSocket: Media stand for your device; a photo or texting grip; lower it for video chat
- WiFi Smart Plug: Connect the plug to wifi network and control your devices from your smartphone or tablet via an App
- Power Bank: Digital display of charge level on UL-listed dual USB output power bank
The price points vary, which makes portable phone accessories the perfect choice for all budgets, in most marketing campaigns. Give a few of these items a test drive – you will have a difficult time deciding, but your customers will thank you for the effort.
With few exceptions, every company has many competitors for the product or service they want to sell. Each one feels their product is different, better. Unlike all the others. But with so many other companies saying the same thing, no one is paying attention.
How do you cut through all the noise? The answer is branding. But having a successful brand is easier said than done. One good place to start is by studying the six essential traits shared by the world’s top brands.
- PASSIONATE: 64% of consumers who said they had a strong brand relationship with a company cited “shared values” as the primary reason. (Corporate Executive Board)
- DEPENDABLE: Marketing consistency pays off; 87% of consumers who interact with a company daily feel loyal to that company (Strativity)
- RECOGNIZED: 89% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is their most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation. (Content Marketing Institute)
- CONSISTENT: 45% of a brand’s image can be attributed to what it says, and how it says it. (Landor Associates)
- AUTHENTIC: 80% of consumers said “authenticity of content” is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand. (Pardot)
- CUSTOMER-CENTRIC: 48% of Americans expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs. (Microsoft)
Other valuable branding habits include audience engagement, company storytelling and pinpointing a target audience. But using the above six traits as a springboard for your corporate branding policy will enable you to start 2018 with a renewed focus on increased brand visibility and improved customer loyalty.
Incentive programs that promote wellness are always in style. These programs exist because healthy employees mean greater productivity, lower absenteeism and reduced healthcare costs. Biking, with its growing popularity, would be a perfect addition to any wellness program.
The number of cyclists saw a big increase between 2012 and 2017, increasing from around 51 million riders to slightly more than 66 million riders in 2017. More than double the number of bikes are sold each year than passenger cars, and where passenger car sales are on the decline, bicycle sales have been steady or slightly increasing since the 1990s.
However, does it make sense to plan for a spring/summer wellness program initiative in December? Of course it does! It especially makes sense if you want to incorporate a custom-designed bike, with longer lead times, as part of your program. Customizing that bike can be as simple as adding a logo to a stock unit, or you can get creative with a full blown custom bike, using any colors and graphics package you desire
In either case, giving a bike as a door prize at a wellness event, or offering branded bike accessories as incentives for meeting targeted health goals, will serve to build excitement and participation for the program. If you consider the evidence that 30 minutes of daily cycling saves $544 per person in annual medical costs, it’s easy to understand the return on investment is real. So start now, and be ready for the 2018 cycling season!