Experiential Design: the Importance of Cohesive Event Branding

Today’s Guest Post is by Tori Atkinson – Enjoy!

Event branding offers companies, organisations and collectives a chance to massively amplify awareness – using experiential design best practices to offer an impactful and unforgettable experience. Through the power of distinctive, dynamic design, businesses can harness the immense potential of event branding – but it’s only through an intelligent and cohesive approach that you’ll experience the full effect.

Here’s how it’s done.

The Campaign Trail

The success of any event depends on how you execute the countdown. This phase is often neglected by businesses and organisations during the run-up to the big day – but taking the time and initiative to plan the preliminary elements, with a focus on cohesive design, is the key to ensuring the best possible results on the day of the event.

A strategic approach to event branding involves the creation of elements designed solely to build awareness and maximise the hype prior to the event itself. Considering how professional event design could enhance your invitations, tickets and even social media pages during the proverbial drumroll will generate as much interest as possible – boosting attendance and creating some welcome buzz around the event during the weeks or months beforehand.

Try it: bring some design cohesion to your event campaign materials by using one consistent tagline across the invite emails, print media and physical or online tickets to create a sense of recognition. Using one core aesthetic theme throughout, like one unifying symbol or colour scheme, adapt and embellish this as you see fit across the various design elements so that all materials are complementary without being visually identical.

From the Drawing Board to the Big Day

Event branding is an involved, ongoing process that starts with the drawing board and develops and evolves continually until the day of the big event. A sense of cohesion is crucial to experiential design – as no event will have the aesthetic or conceptual impact it should have without some harmony among its various parts. From the initial design stages to the production of event elements, the overarching concept should ring loud and clear across the campaign.

Ensuring that the unifying idea behind your event isn’t forgotten along the way will prevent the core message from being lost or diluted. So whether it’s pre-event advertising, the all-embracing branding or the experiential design itself, keeping a firm grip on the concept of the event will guarantee that it’s cohesive, connected and delivers on every promise.

Our work with 100%Design involved creating a holistic campaign design and carrying this concept throughout all elements made to support, promote and populate the event. Settling on an idea of ‘inspiring connections’ that tied everything together, we were able to guarantee total cohesion across the event branding.

Try it: keep a rigid focus on the overall purpose and concept of your event and create every element with this in mind. Promotional materials give you a chance to hint at your concept in a more abstract way, whereas the event itself is where you can bring these abstractions into the tangible, three-dimensional world.

‘Inspiring Connections’ was a theme that simultaneously offered inspiration for the pre-event promo design and informed the way the actual event was populated and presented. All elements of the event served as a translation or physical representation of this key concept.

Photo by Shaw+Skerm

Photo by Shaw+Skerm

Attendee Journeys

Creating a sense of togetherness throughout your event branding is especially important where the attendee journey is concerned. Whatever the ultimate aim of your event is – whether it’s to increase brand exposure, raise awareness on a given topic or drive sales and subscriptions – the journey an attendee takes from entrance to exit needs to be subtly and strategically designed.

With all elements of the event working in synergy, the journey from A to B should be seamless – that way, your audience will have the most immersive and engaging experience possible. Maintaining a sense of perspective throughout the event branding process guarantees results. It’s by keeping one eye on the big picture, exploring how different elements interact and how they work to communicate your core message, that you’ll deliver a meaningful and memorable event.

Try it: when designing the event itself, keep all primary components connected by enforcing one overriding aesthetic theme – whether that relates to colour, form or the message your displays communicate. Guaranteeing that all elements contribute to the central theme in a way that’s clear to all attendees will ensure you leave a powerful and lasting impact.

Tori AtkinsonTori Atkinson is a creative design blogger for Shaw+Skerm – providing professional event branding services to SMEs and organisations throughout London.

How to Make Your Brand Matter

Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Georgie Gallagher, Enjoy!

Every business has a brand – even if it thinks it doesn’t.

Your local coffee shop has a brand. Your local accountant has a brand. Your local vet has a brand. And your business has a brand.

I can see you rolling your eyes. Isn’t branding just a lot of 90’s marketing hype? Does a brand really matter in today’s world?

Yes, your brand does matter. In fact, it matters a lot. Why? Because in a world where we’re bombarded by thousands of messages a day, your business needs to stand for something to set it apart from the pack. What’s more, understanding your brand means that you control how people experience your business. This is your brand, and you’re in the driving seat.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s begin by understanding what a brand is.

What is a brand?

Here’s what it’s not. It’s not your brand name. It’s not your registered trademark. And it’s not your great logo you spent $10,000 on. It’s much more than that.

I love this definition by the father of branding, Al Ries. It’s stayed with me through the years while working with B2B and B2C clients.

“A successful branding program is based on the concept of singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no product on the market quite like your product.” – Al Ries

I like to think of it as that little piece of someone’s mind that you own – it’s all that person’s collective thoughts and experiences that pop up when they think of your business. We have the same process when we think of people. Some people make us happy. Some challenge us. Some are downright annoying. You want your brand to be one of the good guys.

Your brand is the look and feel of your business. It’s how people experience you as a company. It’s your promise to people – a kind of silent understanding about what you’ll deliver when you do business with them. And it helps create your unique identity.

But aren’t brands just for big business?

Absolutely not.

latte coffee on wood with space.Take the café that’s buzzing. It’s interesting. The guy taking orders gives you a great smile and good-humoredly banters with you. The girl making coffee is an artisan at her craft. Everyone’s busy. The tables are packed but clean. The service is fast and fun. There’s atmosphere. There are great magazines. There are quirky and fun things to look at. And you feel like you’re a part of something special, part of a club.

What you don’t necessarily realize is that this is all crafted as part of a well-orchestrated brand.

These guys know exactly what they stand for – great coffee, great food and great service in a fun, quirky atmosphere that people just love. EVERYTHING in their business is about delivering on this brand promise. From the quirky service and funky music tracks to the handwritten thank you with a chocolate-coated coffee bean on your bill, every detail has been attended to and shapes your experience.

Building your brand

So how can you go about creating your unique brand? What’s your business’s unique stamp on the world? How are you going to build a business that gets talked about and referred?

Here are four guiding questions that may help you develop your brand.

What are the real benefits of dealing with you? Do you deliver anything unique or special? Is there something over and above your competitors that you could offer? I’m looking for REAL benefits here. Think like your client or customer – why are they using you?

What’s your brand style? Are you professional, aspirational, quirky, fun, friendly or something else? How can you deliver this style with every client interaction and communication offline and online?

Branding - sign series for business terms.What are your brand values? You may value professionalism, the environment, people, your community or something else. How will your business live up to these values? How will this alter your clients’ experience with you? Be honest and true. Today’s social media savvy consumers will not tolerate falsehoods.

What is your essence? What is your reason for being? Why does your business exist? This is the toughest question you can ask business owners. But if you can nail this, you really do have a driving force that can shape your entire business offering. It’s a very powerful thing.

Once you answer these questions, then you need to work out how you can deliver and create a seamless brand experience.

There are some fantastic ideas on delivering on a brand promise for a huge variety of businesses in this eBook created by some very clever marketers at Duct Tape Consulting – download it now.

Until next time…

Georgie GallagherGeorgie Gallagher is the founder of Wildmoon, a specialist consultancy focusing on brand development, marketing strategy, marketing communications and strategic content marketing for SMB’s. Georgie’s a Duct Tape Marketing consultant and a CPM of the Australian Marketing Institute.

Like this article? Follow her on her blog here, or connect with her via Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Grow your Personal Brand to Benefit your Business

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing – Enjoy this post from Chris Bibey.

Growing your personal brand is easier said than done, however, this can go a long way in benefiting your business.

What can you do to set your small business apart from the competition? If you are just another “egg in the basket,” you will find it difficult to take your company to the next level.

Rather than rely on the “same old” marketing strategy as the rest of your industry, it is time to take a unique approach. And for some, this means putting more resources into growing their personal brand.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are approximately 23 million small businesses in the United States. If you don’t have a strategy for outdoing your competition, you could find yourself treading water for years to come.

Your Personal Brand

If you are the face of your company, it is essential that you grow your personal brand. Doing so will go a long way in showing your market that the person in charge knows the business inside and out.

Here is the question you need to answer: what are the best ways to grow your personal brand? There are many answers, with these three sticking out in the crowd:

help others

1. Go out of your way to help others. If I could only choose one strategy for growing my personal brand, this would be it.

You won’t always get paid for going out of your way, but this has nothing to do with the results. I am never shy about jumping on a phone call, connecting with an interested party via email or even meeting in person.

Simply put, this generosity will pay off in the long run.

2. Build your online following. In today’s day and age, there is no better way to grow your personal brand than through a strong online following. This has treated me well in the past, despite the fact that my social media presence is anything but robust.

Remember, you don’t need tens of thousands of followers, friends, or connections to grow your personal brand. What you do need is the ability to provide guidance, advice, and information to those who care about what you have to say.

Many years ago, back when I was first getting started with LinkedIn, I took the time to strike up conversations with every new connection. Doing this eventually led me to a conversation with the founder of Brosix, an instant messaging company. Shortly after that, the team reached out to me after checking out my experience online, and it led to a strong business relationship.

3. Always provide value. Remember, everything you “put out there” is going to reflect on both you and your business. If you aren’t providing information of value, you might as well take a step back for the time being.

This doesn’t mean every tweet and blog post should be earth shattering. What it does mean is that you should think twice before you update your social media profiles or blog. Also, don’t throw around advice, such as on a phone call, without thinking about what you are saying. The other party is likely to implement the advice you suggest. Do you want to steer him or her down the wrong path?

Final Thoughts

The time has come to strongly consider the benefits of growing your personal brand. If you follow the three tips above, it could have a profound effect on your business in 2015.

chris bibeyChris Bibey is a corporate blog specialist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in providing content and consulting services to organizations of all sizes, ranging from start-ups to publicly traded companies.

Building an Exceptional Brand Begins with a Purpose

Today’s guest post comes from Alan Twelkemeier – Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.59.34 AM

(L) Always® – Like a girl   (R) Hardees®  – Au Natural

If you watched SuperBowl 2015 you might have noticed a shift. Not in the momentum of the game, or in one of Katy Perry’s wardrobe changes. The shift was in the marketing. There were more brands talking less about product and more about family, people and social impact than ever.

The starkest example came before the big game when GoDaddy pulled their controversial puppy sale ad and replaced it with an ad supporting a business owner who was missing the game because he was hard at work. In fact, according to USA Today’s Admeter, 8 out of 10 of the SuperBowl’s top ads (including the no. 1 and no. 2 spot) had inspirational or awareness-related themes. This inspired some cynical ad critics to call Superbowl XLIX the “Touchy Feely Bowl”.

This shift in advertising isn’t just about sugar and spice and Daddy’s that are nice (see Dove’s Real Strength). It’s about an attempt to connect with people where brands have always sought to live – in their hearts. Because when you have someone’s heart, you have their mind and when you have both, you have their money. If this sounds like a diabolical plan to take advantage of the consumers emotions for the sake of profit, you might be right.

However, for some brands this shift isn’t occurring because they are only driven by the almighty dollar. They’ve also recognized that communicating why they do what they do can power great profit and great profit can power a greater purpose.

This isn’t the kind of growth that is built around a purpose and measured with YouTube views and social shares. You can get that kind of short-term brand equity with string bikinis, dancing babies and screaming goats.

The connection between a company’s profit, its maturity and its brand perception is irrefutable. More and more organizations are following in the footsteps of industry leaders like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Apple because they recognize that the power of their profits lies in the translation of their purpose.

This kind of brand equity is built on top of an organization’s purpose. It’s constructed slowly through awareness, emotion, and ultimately the loyalty of both the employees who produce the goods and services and the consumers who choose ‘their brand’ every single time because they understand the why behind the product.

Most brands still find it difficult to turn “touch feely” into brand equity because they are missing a key ingredient. Creating an ad that makes a potential customer feel good in that moment doesn’t work if they can’t relate the message back to the brand that made them feel that way.

However, organizations that have the vision to align their products and services with a purpose will experience extraordinary growth in Profit, in Culture, and in Impact. These companies are more than profit driven organization or purpose-driven organizations, they are Growth Driven Organizations.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.58.03 AMAlan Twelkemeier is a co-founder at UnityMark, a marketing consultancy and ad agency that helps develop Growth Marketing Strategies for companies and non-profits that want to make an impact.

 

How You Turn Your Employees Into Brand Marketers

Think for a minute about your best customers. Not only do they represent returning business, but the best customers refer you to their family, friends and business partners. They rate your business highly on Google and interact with you in social networks. Essentially they are marketers for your business, helping promote you and maximizing your marketing efforts. Everyone can use more customers like these.

Brand Ambassadors

photo credit: via photopin (license)

But your best customers are hard to come by, and even the best companies occasionally have customers that aren’t happy. What if I could tell you there is a surefire way to increase your number of people that are assisting your marketing efforts, much like your ideal clients?

Look around you, all of your employees are resources that you can use to maximize your marketing efforts. We at Duct Tape Marketing believe in many simple principles, one of which is that marketing is everyone’s job. Whether you are in finance or HR, you’re representing and marketing your company. It doesn’t even take a conscious effort; just a positive viewpoint on where you work goes a long way.

That is why you should engage your employees and co-workers in your marketing efforts. Your employees should be your best customers and your biggest fans. Here are some easily implemented ways you can engage your employees and turn them into your brand marketers.

Promote a Positive Work Environment

This seems like a no-brainer, but can be difficult to achieve. You want your employees to love working for you, so they can’t wait to tell their friends and family about what you do and what makes your company special. Create a positive work environment by offering great perks or promoting after-work activities. If you’re a product-based company, offer free or discounted products to your employees and their family and friends. Even something as simple as branded T-Shirts or coffee mugs for your employees can turn into conversations outside of the workplace.

Show Your Employees What It Is Like To Be your Customer

At Duct Tape Marketing, we ask companies to examine their customer journey; the path every customer takes from the moment they discover your product through the sale and post-sale support. Visually, this should look like an hourglass; customers get to know, like and trust your company before buying, and then eventually repeating and referring you.

I suggest you walk each and every one of your employees through this process, treating them exactly as you would any other customer. That way, your employees will not only know what makes your customer journey special, but also how to describe it to anyone who asks. You can even do this during the new employee on-boarding process.

Social Sharing

Businesses are always looking for ways to keep their employees from wasting time on social media, but are always looking for more social sharing of their business posts. Why not ask your employees to follow and share your social media posts? Not only is this a great way to expand your audience in general, it hones in on your employees’ friends and family who are likely to have a positive existing view of your company.

Have Everyone Blog

Blogs are a great way to draw in good leads, but sometimes it can be tough to create enough content to keep your blog up-to-date. Try asking your employees to assist you in writing posts, or even set up a monthly or weekly employee post program. Regular blog posts from your employees can help give your blog a different viewpoint and voice while strengthening your readers’ connection to your company. In addition, ask your employees to share their posts with their friends and family in person or on social media.

These are just some simple thoughts I had to turn your employees into marketers. I know many of these reasons are why I love working at Duct Tape Marketing. Have you had any employee marketing efforts that have been effective? Let me know in the comments below!

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

How to Maintain a Consistent Brand Identity Across Social Networks

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing – enjoy this post from Xavier Davis

When social media marketing first began it was rather easy to maintain a consistent brand identity. This was due in large part to the fact that there were only a few social networks. Oh, how things have changed! Today it is common, if not necessary, for business to be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Youtube — just to name a few. Each one of these networks provides businesses access to a unique demographic of current and potential customers.

The strategies required to excel on each of these networks is very different, which creates a dilemma. How can a business maintain a consistent brand identity while active on several, very different, social networks? We are going to dive into this dilemma and figure out how to master a consistent brand identity on social media!

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.28.27 PM

Understanding your business’s audience is the most important aspect of social media marketing success. It is nearly impossible to have any success if you are blindly posting without first understanding who your audience is, why they are following you and how your business can bring value to them. Imagine putting on an amazing heavy metal rock concert only to find out the audience was hoping to hear classical music. It is also important to keep in mind the audiences for each social network are different. For example, LinkedIn users will expect content to be more professional than Twitter users. Sharing the same content, but in a form that is appropriate for the specific network is crucial for success.

Create a Familiar Look

Before you even worry about posting, make sure your business looks the same on your different social networks. Each social network has a different layout, but make sure items such as your profile image and bio are consistent. If possible, your social accounts should be consistent with your company website as well.

Choose a Brand Voice

How will your business interact? Will you use a lot of humor? Respond using we or I? There is not a right or wrong way to approach brand voice, other than it should be consistent. Your brand’s voice should also reflect your business as a whole. Social media is about showing off who your business is, so try to embody it in your voice. Understanding your audience should also make it easier to decide what type of voice your brand should have. Do you have a favorite business you follow on social media? Study their brand voice and see if you can apply aspects of it to your brand’s social media presence.

Post Consistently

Creating a consistent brand identity requires consistent posting habits. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Nothing hurts a business more than creating social media accounts and then not posting to them. If a potential customer searches for your business on Facebook and sees that you have not posted in a month, they could easily assume you went out of business. Terrible, right? Investing in a social media management tool will help you to plan out posts ahead of time and make sure that your brand is posting consistently.

Repurpose Content 

Time is such a crucial asset for small businesses. Repurposing content WILL save you time! Repurposing content is taking existing content and putting a spin on it. Most of the time required for creating content is spent researching facts, finding relevant pictures, etc. Why put in all that work and then only use it once? Review some of the content you have already created and see if you can repurpose it! One example would be turning a text-based blog post into an infographic. You can use all the same statistics, but visual content will resonate with a new audience. Another example would be turning that epic “List of Amazing Facts About…” blog post you wrote into smaller, more in-depth posts.

Final Thoughts

Being consistent at anything in life requires proper preparation, active experimentation and commitment by everyone that is involved. Make sure anyone that will be a part of your social media efforts is trained to understand how to maintain your business’s identity. When a business is noticeably consistent, customers begin to trust them and want to buy from them!

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.31.48 PMXavier Davis is the Social Media Superhero at eClincher, a single platform which allows businesses to efficiently manage and track social media and website activities with insightful, actionable, and meaningful real-time reports. Companies can view, plan, manage and analyze social media activity and online advertising campaigns and, crucially, understand the impact of that activity on the business website. When Xavier takes off the cape, he can be found watching basketball, playing Xbox or enjoying the outdoors.

Be Everywhere: Connecting Social Media to the Real World

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Jeremy Miller – Enjoy!

duct-tape-be-everywhere

photo credit: flickr

Social media is a powerful set of tools for marketers to connect with prospects and clients, but social media has its limitations.

Not all of your customers are active on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And not all of your customers are allowing social media to affect their buying decisions.

Go beyond social media. Engage your customers on all fronts, and create the impression that your brand is everywhere.

Make your brand highly visible

Marketing sets the condition for the sale to happen.

As John Jantsch says, “Marketing is essentially getting someone that has a need to know, like and trust you. Of course then you must turn that know, like, and trust into try, buy, repeat and refer.” This is what he calls the Marketing Hourglass.

Moving a customer through the Marketing Hourglass is accelerated and enhanced with repeat exposure. An experience with your sales team can be heightened and reinforced with social media, and vice versa. Each interaction with your brand builds upon itself and moves the customer through the seven stages of the Hourglass.

Create the impression your brand is everywhere

Let’s move beyond theory and consider a company example from my upcoming book, Sticky Branding.

Brilliant is a rapidly growing staffing firm with offices in Chicago and Southern Florida. The company specializes in recruiting accounting, finance, and IT professionals for mid-sized companies.

The firm’s marketing strategy is to be everywhere. Jim Wong, CEO of Brilliant, says, “I want us to be everywhere, or I want people to think we’re everywhere.”

To create the impression the brand is everywhere, the firm employs three core programs to engage its customers:

  1. Sponsorship: Brilliant sponsors events and associations that serve small- and mid-sized companies in its geographic markets.
  2. Content Marketing: Brilliant publishes weekly email newsletters that are tailored for its audiences. The company has four business units, and each one has corresponding email programs.
  3. Social Media: Brilliant places the most emphasis on Facebook and LinkedIn, because these are the social networks that both employers and job seekers are actively involved in.

Sponsorship is Brilliant’s primary vehicle for participating and supporting its communities, while content marketing and social media are designed to reinforce and enhance that investment.

Jim says, “It builds confidence in our brand. It’s like, ‘I saw them online, and then I saw them sponsoring our conference last month. They’re everywhere.’ Popping up everywhere leads prospects back to us, and it sets the condition for a sale.”

Promote with purpose

To move customers through the seven stages of the Marketing Hourglass — know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, refer — requires marketing with purpose.

The question, or the challenge for your business, is what else can you do?

Where can you engage your customers with purpose? Facebook and LinkedIn are a great way to engage your clients online. What about in person?

Like Brilliant, develop three to five recurring programs that engage your customers over and over again to create the impression your brand is everywhere.

When your customers see your brand again and again they will think of it first when they have a need. And being considered first is a powerful position for your brand.

JeremyMiller_150x150Jeremy Miller is a Brand Builder, Keynote Speaker, and president of Sticky Branding — a brand building agency. After rebranding his family’s business, Jeremy embarked on a decade long study of how small- and mid-sized companies grow incredible brands. He knows what it takes to grow a Sticky Brand and how you can do it too. His upcoming book, Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers and Grow an Incredible Brand, will be published in January 2015.

How to Create the Happily Ever After with a Genuine Business Referral

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Lisa at PA Promotions – Enjoy!

photo credit: flickr

photo credit: flickr

Once upon a time, an apple was a crunchy fruit available in red or green, but now ‘Apple’ is a global brand that has changed the way people communicate. It is a brand we all know and appear to trust; it currently sits proudly as the number one business at the top of the Interbrand top 100 brands. Apple has been referred to as one of the most valuable companies of all time, it has changed our lives and we enjoy their products and appreciate the fact that they continue to innovate.

So what has this got to do with your business? The truth is everything, even though the Apple management team has undergone significant changes at the top, the business continues to thrive and keep close to its brand ethos, continually delivering even more impressive and up to date technologies. As Steve Jobs’ once said about Apple its “brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it.”

You Might Not Be the Next Branson

I’m guessing if you are reading this you aren’t Richard Branson or Lord Sugar, and the size and stature of Apple is not something your business has achieved… yet. But you can still learn from them and adapt the same type of transparencies to your brand so that you can enjoy repeat business and create a strong system to generate valuable referrals.

Everyone in business is looking for the same thing, a client who will commit to using their products or services. A chance to develop a long lasting relationship with their clients and hopefully an opportunity of third party endorsement which will mean a strong referral scheme and a chance for your business to grow.

Firstly, of course you have to entice the client into your brand, your shop, your showroom or your website. How do you do that? You create a relevant imaginative name, invest in the design of a logo which will appeal to your target audience and make sure you stand out from the crowd. Brilliant, if you have done this well you can sit back and enjoy the rewards, right? Wrong.

A pretty logo alone will not ensure that your business grows or that your relationships develop. For that to happen the client needs to get a sense of your brand. What is it that your company stands for? Are you eco friendly looking to launch a new widget which will make recycling more convenient for end users? Or are you a reliable boiler engineer that will ensure once serviced your boiler will live to survive the long cold winter?

Whoever you are, whatever sector you operate in, you need to be more than just a logo. You need to have a personality that people can connect with, trust and enjoy dealing with. Every interaction with your brand needs to reflect the brand promise, if you are a health care provider, make sure your offices are decorated combining the perfect mix of cleanliness and professionalism if you are a tattoo artist display your work using your walls as your portfolio.

Let Your Brand Do The Talking

Once you have created your logo, don’t just leave it static, confined to your website, newsletters, and business cards. Lift your logo and take it to your target audience, if you can’t afford TV advertising or billboard campaigns then consider your target audience and send them a gift which you are confident they will find useful. The gift will then enjoy a shelf life and even be passed on to third party end users, who will go one step closer to ensuring a business referral.

To make your brand talk to your customers and encourage more referrals consider the following:

  • Be seen, be noticed, be on a product which will not necessarily stay with the end user but travel to hit a wider audience, for example the popular pen or pencil.
  • Create a collection of merchandise that reflects your brand, and ensure each product will enhance the image of the company. For example, if you don’t want to see your brand in the bin always choose a quality ‘stormproof’ umbrella.
  • Consider subtle branding, create a range of promotional items which are subtly branded alongside an attractive pattern so that the end user is more likely to use your mug rather than somebody else’s’.
  • Understand your target audience, what would they genuinely find useful and therefore keep? For example, a trolley coin, a keyring with a torch or a bottle opener.
  • Send them a sweet treat to thank them for their business, let them know you appreciate them.
  • Be creative with the materials that you choose, consider using pencils made out of recycled bank notes or notepads made out of tyres to create an eco friendly feel.

A survey commissioned by the bpma, British Promotional Marketing Association in 2013 found that the UK is a nation of freebie hunters and that brands who use promotional products as part of the marketing mix will reap the benefits. The research found that 3 in 10 consumers had purposely changed their regular brand in order to receive a promotional product.

So while you are waiting to see what amazing new device Apple will create, take a look at your own business, give yourself a brand health check and consider how you can strengthen your relationship with your customers and encourage that all important brand referral. Establish your own brand guidelines, personality and budget to buy products which will lift your logo and encourage brand loyalty.

A final thought from the leader in creating a leading and long lasting brand, Steve Jobs once said: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that is what matters to me.”


Lisa-Author-small
About the Author – Lisa is Creative Director at PA Promotions, she has a passion for content and marketing. PA Promotions have been supplying promotional products and corporate gifts to businesses for almost 30 years.