The Age Of Environmentalism

eco-pencil-1000We have a new generation of buyers.  Buyers that are concerned about the environment; buyers that care about human rights; and buyers that look for the same in the companies they work with.  And those companies that demonstrate an overarching message of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are winning the affection and trust of those consumers.

According to an industry study, in the age group 18-35, 58% of end-users are more likely to have a favorable opinion of companies buying and distributing eco promotional products – more than any other age bracket.  And it’s not just what the product is made of that this generation cares about.  You can’t just say your stuff is eco-friendly because it’s a mug and not a one-time use paper cup.  Most people of the millennial generation are smarter than that.  They want to know about the product materials; the ability to recycle the item when it’s outlived its use; energy usage; and even fair labor practices.

Their concern with the environment is part of their culture, and as they enter into the upper echelons of the workforce, millennials are poised to stoke the growth of the eco category as buyers of all types of products and services.  So what types of promotional products would appeal to this audience without killing the corporate marketing budget?  See below for a few of the many eco product ideas that work in the office or at home.

  • Reusable, recyclable tote bags
  • Bamboo flash drive
  • Reusable, recyclable travel mug
  • Recycled organic cotton t-shirt
  • Corn plastic letter opener
  • Recycled microfiber cell phone stand
  • Recycled polycarbonate sunglasses

The values shared between customer and company are the building blocks of long-term partnerships.  If your company wants to win over this growing customer segment, consider eco friendly promotional products as one more tool to help support your branding message.

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Kickin It Up A Notch

soulkixCustomers always ask ,”What’s the newest product trend in promotional merchandise?”.  Today, one of the best answers to that question is custom printed canvas sneakers.

A growing desire for one-of-a-kind goods continues to drive the market for custom-designed footwear.  This trend is spurred by millennials on one end and baby boomers on the other, making it a very appealing marketing tool for companies in any industry.

The fact that there are few promotional merchandise options that are truly unique, custom  printed sneakers stands out as a way for companies to set themselves apart.  It’s a gift that lends itself well to team recognition or as a creative way to drive traffic to a trade show booth.  If you sponsor an in-booth drawing that awards 10 people each day with a pair of custom branded sneakers, you get their contact information at the same time you get their shoe size!

Custom printed sneakers may not be the answer for a large-scale giveaway, but it’s new, and it’s hot, and it definitely shows your company is kickin it up a notch when it comes to increasing brand awareness.

 

 

Marketing To Young Buyers

y_zThere are 93 million millennials – otherwise known as Generation Y – in the US.  That group now represents the largest segment of the American workforce.  With the oldest members being in their mid-30’s, they will be a dominant force for a long time.  But right behind them is Gen Z – with 70 million members in the college and high school scene – which will soon be a factor for any company looking to promote and sell to that market as well.

As with any customer demographic, there is a unique dynamic to these young buyers.  Marketing through emails and videos; giving youthful products that appeal to this tech- savvy group; and keeping the retail styles in mind when picking out headwear and apparel are all solid guidelines for appealing to the under-40 crowd.  It’s a matter of giving something that is “cool enough”- the latest and greatest – and not something that they have received multiple times in the past (swap the white cotton tee for a bella+canvas black heather tee).

The stats – courtesy of Pew Research Center – that support the theory:

  • By 2020 40% of all consumers will be from Gen Z
  • About 40% of Gen Zers say corporate offices are their preferred workplace
  • The average GenZer has the attention span of about 8 seconds
  • By 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce
  • 90% of millennials check their emails, texts and social media accounts before getting out of bed
  • More than 60% of millennials stay updated on brands through social media
  • 77% of millennials participate in loyalty reward programs
  • Millennials consistently spend more than other generations on fitness-related products

Young buyers are the future – prepare to understand what they want, and avoid what they don’t – if you don’t, someone else will!

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!

T-Shirts! We Love Them, We Wear Them

Classic-T-shirt-Design-I-love-NYIt would not be much of a stretch to say that t-shirts have become the most popular outer garment in the world.  The fit and style options of today’s t-shirts can accommodate a conservative audience with classic taste, or can appeal to the younger crowd looking for body-hugging shirts that are longer in length and softer to the touch.  The fabric choices range from 100% cotton to varying degrees of cotton blends, color choices are endless, and with the right graphics, this apparel staple can become a wardrobe statement piece.

Originally worn as an undershirt, the popularity of the t-shirt as an outer garment started at the end of WWII when soldiers began incorporating them into their casual wardrobes.  The demand further surged thanks to Marlon Brando and his 1951 role as Stanley Kowalski in A Street Car Named Desire which featured Brando wearing a tight fitting tee.  Not long after, businesses like Walt Disney recognized the marketing appeal of these shirts and began putting designs on them to boost their brand.  That idea turned out to be genius!

Branded t-shirts are everywhere.  According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) Global Study, 48% of U.S .consumers own logo shirts, with men being more likely to own promotional tees than women.  57% of U.S. consumers feel more favorable about the company that gave them the shirt and the vast majority of them, especially in the Midwest (95%), know who gave it to them.

Depending on the quantity of shirts and intricacy of the design, a branded tee can cost anywhere from $5.00 to $10.00 – possibly less with large quantities sporting single color imprints.  And just because the imprint is 1-color, doesn’t mean it has to be boring.  The right graphic designer can incorporate a logo into a cool, single color design, printed in one creative location that would generate interest from anyone who sees it.  Up the arm, at the hem, on the back collar bone, or vertically up the front side – creative placement of a single color logo can be as dynamic as any multi-color design.  It just takes some imagination and an open mind.

The average number of impressions for a promotional shirt is 2,450.  Considering the mileage you get from such a small investment, choosing to give a well-designed branded tee as part of your corporate marketing strategy – especially with the warmer weather upon us – would be a simple choice to make.