Sometimes you’re short on money. Or you’re short on time. And you’re seriously thinking about using blank promotional products and supplies for your upcoming event. But you’re worried that doing so will hurt your brand, something that you’ve invested heavily in building.
Stop worrying! Occasionally hosting or participating in an event without using logoed event supplies and giveaways won’t kill your brand instantly. In fact there are ways you can promote your brand even without the presence of your logo on everything. People are looking at your entire promotions and marketing package. Is it consistent all the way through? Is it in line with your message and values?
Example #1: At a recent Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) Show, I was struck by how the show producers used a wealth of elements to extend their branding, even though these elements did not always include their logo. In particular, their red, white and black branding color scheme was consistent all the way through. Their top male executives wore dark charcoal or black suits with white shirts and red ties. Female team members were garbed in black collared shirts and slacks. Several team members also wore no-logo red cowboy hats to help them stand out from the crowd. White welcome desks were adorned with red roses in vases of black marbles. Aisle carpeting and drapes were red, too.
Example #2: Though they broke with tradition at this year’s local business expo; one of our area auto dealers always had their sales crew donning tuxedos for this event. They are a class act, and this was a way to convey that to potential customers and fellow business colleagues. This year, though, their crew all dressed up as superhero characters. While I missed the tuxes, the message was clear: “We want to be your car buying superheroes.”
Contrast these examples with a networking event I attended once that was held in an open-to-the-public restaurant. No one, including the hosting organization, wore anything that would even connect them to the group—not even write-on nametags! I had to guess who was here for the party and who was a local patron just enjoying a drink. Event fail!
Three quick tips to no-logo branding success at your corporate meeting or event:
- Set a dress code – As in the ASI Show team example above, create a dress code for your onsite staff. Specify type of tops and bottoms you expect. If your crew does not have these items in their wardrobes, set up an allowance for them to purchase the required components. Give them time to pull it together! Don’t tell them on Tuesday that at Wednesday’s show you’ll expect them to wear purple shirts. You may want to buy some blank shirts for them so they’re all alike. It will save you money and time on logo team wear, but still maintain a consistent image.
- Be creative – Like our car dealing superheroes, could you convey an important message about your company and your brand by just having your crew sport an inexpensive costume or accessory?
- Colour is key – Colour is probably the most critical element in maintaining branding in a no-logo environment. For example, my logo colors are green, black and white. Ironically, as a promotional products distributor, I often don’t wear shirts with my logo. For some events I attend, it just isn’t appropriate. So I have a lot of green non-logo shirts, black slacks, and my large branded name tag for those situations.
Remember “no logo” doesn’t mean “no plan” and “no brand!”
About the Author
Heidi Thorne is a promotional products marketing expert and speaker who has a background in the tradeshow and hospitality industries. She is also editor of the Promo With Purpose Today blog (www.PWPToday.com) and author of SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business, available through major online booksellers or at www.BuySWAGBook.com.