Can Swag Be Cool?

guitarsBefore we can determine if there is such thing as cool swag, we should first consider what the word “cool” represents, keeping in mind that what is considered cool changes over time, and varies among cultures and generations.  What was cool in the 1960’s would certainly not translate into the same for today.  One consistent aspect however is that cool is widely perceived as positive and desirable.

In addition, even with the subjective, ever-changing nature of what it means to be cool, it clearly represents individuality – a conscious decision to avoid conformity.  When we think of mobile phones – Steve Jobs, an industry rebel, created what most people consider to be the first truly cool phone.  Is there any cooler car than James Bond’s Aston Martin?  or singer Pharrell Williams’ Grammy hat created by Vivienne Westwood?  All these examples have one thing in common:  none of those items were common when they first came on the scene.

So, back to cool swag.  Yes, branded promotional merchandise can be cool.  But that doesn’t mean it has to be a product no one has ever seen before, or wouldn’t use.  After all, we had phones, cars and hats long before the aforementioned folks introduced their personal styles to the world.  The trick is to choose appropriate promo items that can be decorated with the corporate brand in a way that avoids conformity without ignoring the brand guidelines.

Creative graphics incorporating the company logo can be used on practical items like playing cards, socks, notebooks, glass water bottles, custom-shape flash drives and – one of my personal favorites – guitars!  The product is useful, and the presentation is unforgettable.  And speaking of presentation – don’t forget the impact of custom packaging, personalized print collateral and kitting items together to make a cool statement that is as individual as your brand.

Swag can definitely be cool!  Giving cool swag is all about the mindfulness of your approach to selecting the right product for the audience, and decorating the item in a creative manner that protects the brand identity while delivering that “wow” factor.  Keep your mind open to the different branding possibilities – your customers will notice!

(Image courtesy of Brand O’ Guitar Co)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Embracing And Improving Brand Equity

5864p_groupIn order to embrace brand equity, we should have a good handle on what it means.  Simply stated, brand equity refers to the value of a brand.
That value and its power are derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time – which in turn translates into higher profits.  According to an overview of brand equity in Investopedia, “Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable, and superior in quality and reliability. Mass marketing campaigns also help to create brand equity.”
It is within the framework of these mass marketing campaigns that promotional products can be most effective.  Rather than just giving away more stuff with logos on it, products and packaging that reinforce brand equity can contribute to the long-term goal of increasing brand awareness and improving customer loyalty.  Custom packaging, in particular, adds a higher level of strategic awareness to the brand, elevating it beyond just the value of the promotional product inside.  It becomes part of a strategy to boost the integrity of a brand, rather than being just another giveaway that goes into the trade show bag.
First impressions are important.  What consumers take in during those few seconds before choosing a product helps shape subsequent judgements about the brand.  Companies that sell their products in retail environments have always known this, and have been designing better packaging solutions for years.   They fight for shelf space and are consistently changing and improving their packaging in an effort to catch the consumers’ eye in a crowded market.
Although it takes a little more time to design – and adds a little more cost to the product – custom packaging for promotional products will catch the eye, and attention, of your audience.  Try it the next time you have a high profile marketing campaign with a customer you want to impress – it works!

Good Things Come In Custom Packages

pkg picOK, the classic quote actually talks about good things that come in small packages, but the same concept applies when considering the impact creative packaging brings to a branded product.

Packaging can vary as much as the product itself, but particularly when the item is part of a larger marketing campaign, it should mirror the graphics and message of that campaign. It should complete the brand picture.

Consider the happy effect the Tiffany blue box has on the lucky recipient – or think how the anticipation rises before opening one of the subscription gift boxes like Birchbox or Mantry.  The packaging is all part of the gift experience, and when it’s done right, increases the value of the gift to the recipient.  And, the best part is, custom packaging doesn’t need to break the budget.  Examples of custom packaging ideas, from modest to spectacular, should get your creative juices flowing.    All options can be printed with your logo and/or custom full color graphics.

  • Cardboard box:  holds everything from lip balm & pens to coffee mugs & clothing –  $1.00 to $10.00
  • Corrugated mailer box:  sturdy enough to ship even the most fragile items – $5.00 – $20.00
  • Metal tin:  shapes like cars, movie reels, pill boxes and lunch boxes – $3.00 – $10.00
  • Poly pouch:  holds coupons, pens, notes – $1.00 – $2.00
  • Fabric bag:  if it’s an odd shape and lightweight, this is a good choice – $5.00 – $25.00
  • Wood wine presentation box:  $20 – $25

When launching a new product, introducing a new campaign, or thanking a good customer, when first impressions are important, the memory of creative packaging will keep your brand alive for longer.  Next time you are looking for that “wow” factor, ask about custom packaging for the next promotional giveaway.