THE MARKETING POWER OF A T-SHIRT
By: Cameron Herold, BackPocket COO
When it comes to marketing, a lot of entrepreneurs focus only on swinging for the fences and hitting a homerun. This usually ends up in a lot of expensive, often ineffective, marketing efforts such as TV commercials and magazine ads.
While these types of marketing endeavors are sometimes called for, a smart entrepreneur will know that the biggest solution isn’t always the best one. In today’s ad-choked media environment, sometimes simpler, more direct marketing efforts yield the best results.
Here’s a simple exercise to illustrate what I mean. Next time you’re at the mall, take a moment to look around at what everybody is wearing. Count how many shirts you see with brands like Nike, Adidas, GAP and other popular bands on TV and movies.
You’ve just been marketed to—many times over.
At the end of the day, you and your employees have got to wear clothes, so why not put them to work marketing your product or service? It’s an easy win for your company, and in some instances, such as at networking events and conferences, corporate clothing will help you stand out in a sea of suits. I’ll give you some examples to show you what I mean.
At one conference that had roughly two thousand attendees, the four of us from 1-800-GOT-JUNK? each wore a shirt with a huge corporate logo on the back. We really stood out, so much so, in fact, that many people thought there were at least twenty of us walking around because they saw our logos so often amid the masses of suit jackets.
At South by Southwest, startups have even been known to pay people to wear their T-shirts and walk around the venue, which instantly builds a brand army.
Organizers of fundraising races hand out T-shirts branded with the charity and sponsors of the event. Runners proudly wear these shirts and are free, walking billboards for these brands.
Why do companies do this? Simple. It’s cheap, effective and creates a tribe of devoted fans and employees who become brand ambassadors everywhere they go in the community. It’s a small investment for more business.
When people think of branded clothing, they sometimes think of boring corporate polos. But that doesn’t have to be the case. You can be creative with your clothing, but the most important thing is to create conversation.
For some brands, this has to do with being part of a tribe. For instance, when I wear a Cubs hat, I get stopped all the time by people who want to talk about the team. I’m not a Cubs fan, but I like the hat. By simply wearing the hat, I attract big fans of the brand that want to talk. That’s powerful marketing.
But you don’t have to be a big, classic brand for this to work. Every time I wear branded clothing, someone comments and asks me about my company.
Most companies will tell you that their biggest challenges are creating revenue and recruiting talent. Besides helping market your brand to potential customers, branded clothing gives you the added benefit attracting talent.
Even as far back as College Pro Painters, our painters wore shirts emblazoned with our logo so that while they were up on ladders people would see our brand. This also proves helpful when recruiting new employees. For instance, one summer I had my painters wear their company shirt to the university pub. I bribed them with free beer to do it, and needless to say, it helped me find new painters every time.
You can even put your clothing to work while you’re not wearing. While building 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, I would place my branded jacket on the outside of chairs so it would be seen while I was sitting down. On planes, I’d fold it in such a way that the logo stood out even when placed in overhead bins. I was relentless in getting my name out to prospects.
The point is simple, every opportunity is a marketing opportunity if you’re paying attention and thinking outside the box. And some of the best marketing opportunies are cheap, easy, and fun. So, start dressing in your brand today.