Building Blocks to Success
The sum of a trademark equals a whole lot more than just its legal implications. By today’s standards, it’s what makes someone or something unique. Think golden arches, the swoosh or the doughboy. The corresponding brands shouldn’t be too far behind.
In the case of commercial printing, such talk of “differentiation” has grown proportionately with each new-and-shiny improvement in technology. As in-house production becomes more a reality than ever before, print brokers have been looking for a way to diversify their offerings to maintain brand equity in a turbulent business environment.
In growing numbers, manufacturers have been adding promotional products to their lines as the long-awaited solution to a general leveling off of form sales. Plus, according to Tim Bayne, marketing analyst at New Century, Kansas-based Stouse, there’s yet another benefit: differentiation. Ad specialty items not only provide a unique selling proposition today, but they also help a company secure a niche for the future.
Theories of Evolution
When describing the addition of promotional products as a viable upsell, Bayne said, “It is not necessarily due to diminishing markets as seen with the forms industry, but as an expansion of current business, or due to a fear of business loss to competitors. The thought being: ‘If I can’t provide it, someone else will.’” And perhaps it isn’t such a stretch for printers to consider bringing promotional products into the fold. The items aren’t that different, after all.
Since forms manufacturers already are selling printed products, advertising specialties seem to be the next logical step in the process. Regardless of what the “vehicle” is, the purpose of virtually anything with a company’s logo and branding is to promote an image. “Is there a similarity to selling a high-end paper versus economy paper, [or] a high-end mug or cheaper giveaway,” Bayne asked. At the end of the day, both the printed product and the promotional item carry the same message. “There are businesses already using the promotional industry to complement their existing products or to pick up additional sales. … It adds value and revenue,” he continued.
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