Promotional Marketing and Brand Marketing: It All Starts With a Logo
April 18, 2011 6 Comments
We work in a multi-billion-dollar industry with many acronyms of what our industry is and does. Some of us refer to our profession as “advertising specialty distributors” or “suppliers.” Few categorize our business as “promotional marketing”: and even fewer call what we do “brand marketing.” Further convoluting our identity are the industry associations to which we belong: the Advertising Specialty Institute and the Promotional Products Association International. Our educational paths are a mismatch of everything from Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) to Master Advertising Specialist (MAS) and the new educational entries BASI and MASI certifications. There are no formal degree programs for the advertising specialty/promotional product industry.
In contrast, most of the companies we sell to and the people we assist all have direct monikers relating to what they do in their industries, such as CPA (Certified Public Accountant), M.D. (medical doctor), D.D.S. (doctor of dental science), CFP (certified financial planner) and many more.
We all love what we do every day. Suppliers try to pinpoint what the distributor is trying to accomplish with their end users for sales or marketing success, such as placing ad specialties and/or apparel to build brand recognition and establish quantifiable returns on investments for marketing. Distributors are committed to identifying and meeting needs customers have to increase sales, launch new products or services, incent sales teams, increase trade show booth traffic or provide missing pieces in the puzzle for successful marketing plans.
While plowing through the daily minutia of helping our customers in this wildly successful and exciting business we excel in, we sometimes lose sight of the basics. One such basic is usually the foundation of our business and the businesses that we serve. Everything we do on a daily basis starts and ends with a logo.
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. They can be symbols or icons or are composed of the name of the organization, such as IBM, Coca-Cola, Apple, and The Girl Scouts of America. All these logos bring attention to the branding of the company Once we understand the brand identity of the companies we want to do business with, or continue to do business with, we place ourselves in a unique position to offer marketing expertise.
The logo must adhere to strict marketing guidelines. Have you ever asked your clients for their brand identity guidelines? You may find very helpful hints to avoid catastrophic errors when logos are not the correct color, size or orientation. Plus it helps you understand how the logo should look on products, apparel, marketing collateral, flyers and brochures.
Also think about how the logo looks against the background and in the product. A logo that looks great on a blue brochure may not work so well on a black t-shirt or a green tote bag. Ask the client about that before you embroider the logo on all 100 shirts!
Once you hone your skills around using logos (complemented by quick and responsive customer service), you will establish yourself as the go-to person for clients’ marketing and promotional needs. Then, in the absence of formal industry designations, you can call yourself an MBS (master branding specialist)!