As a promotional products distributor, it is hard not to be offended when a successful entrepreneur known on a certain hit pitch TV show, Mark Cuban, shares a list of rules for new start-ups and one of them is to avoid buying swag (stuff we all get – AKA promotional products). Obviously we love custom apparel and promotional products and believe everyone can get a boost from distributing them on occasion. Just visit ASI’s research page to check out all the promotional products stats and it won’t take long to realize there is definitely something great about using branded products. On my recent reflection of Mark Cuban’s anti-promotional product stance for company start-ups, his advice does make some sense. Allow me to explain. The situation Imagine someone gave you a really great quality t-shirt with a logo on it that you knew very little about and felt no passion for. You end up using the shirt occasionally at the gym or when you’re running out of clean clothes. You like the shirt well enough that you hold onto it and wear it over a few year period. Unfortunately every single time you wear it someone inquires about the company logo wanting to know who they are and what they do and in response you have very little or nothing to say other than you got the shirt for free. What could have been a golden opportunity to share a passion for that particular company may have turned into
Distributing promotional products is often a win-win situation for both the givers and receivers. Organizations are anxious to give out products that will spread their message and brand, while almost anyone will accept a great promotional item. Some people, in fact, will not only happily accept a great promotional item, but they might even go crazy over it.
What is it exactly about promotional products that people have come to love?1 – It’s free. This is obvious and probably the reason people go crazy over it. It is natural human instinct for people to enjoy getting something for nothing. 2 – It’s an unexpected bonus. Whenever we have zero expectations for something, it is easy to feel satisfied even when given just a little extra something. Several months ago I completed my usual shopping trip at a local retailer and was informed at the checkout that one of my purchases came with a free bonus product. I never would have bought the bonus product on my own, but after trying it out at home I completely fell in love with it. But really, who doesn’t love an unexpected bonus? 3 – You feel singled out. Not all promotional gifts are handed out to every person who walks in the door. When there is a limited supply of gifts it takes being the right person in order to get one. Becoming a recipient means you’ve been identified as someone who would be valued in some way—maybe you won a contest
Apparel is evolving and learning to care for itself. There has been an influx of new products on the market aimed at making clothing maintenance as simple and labor free as possible. Exhibit A: Scratch-n-sniff jeans When you don’t have time to throw a load in the washer, why not just scratch your jeans instead? These jeans remain fresh by emitting a minty sent when scratched. Personally I’m not sure this will make the jeans feel fresh too, but I can imagine how this feature might be attractive to the average college student. Unfortunately, the scent only lasts through 5 washes—although who am I kidding? The person who wears these jeans isn’t planning on washing them often anyway! Exhibit B: Detergent infused t-shirts http://youtu.be/sDRzDWYbvhg Everyone has to wash their clothes at some point; there is no getting around that. But what if I told you that you could eliminate one step of the washing process? Believe it or not, today there is a way to use detergent infused ink when printing on apparel. These t-shirts in particular already have Tide laundry detergent built into them for the washer. All you have to do is put the shirt in the wash and start it—no detergent required. The downside is that no one has figured out how to make the detergent ink last longer than through one wash. Exhibit C: SILIC stain and sweat resistant shirt http://youtu.be/1U7QdFMN3-g Although these t-shirts are still in development, the future for this technology is promising. Some sprays in the past have been marketed