When we had Barefoot Wines, like many companies, we used logo products to get our name and image out there. These included T-shirts, tank tops, polo shirts, corkscrews and visors. We always chose the best quality, most long-lasting items we could find to put our logo on.
We started to get push back from our own staff who cited the high cost, and pointed out that we could get 2-3 times as many logo items for the same investment. This is a common argument most companies succumb to. In fact, many logo wear vendors push the discounts for bulk purchases to get the unit costs down. They even compete with prices that are dirt cheap. It’s just logo wear you may think, so why not save a few bucks?
In order to help build your brand recognition, your logo wear must be worn – and worn often. Folks have to like the product your logo is on enough to wear it; and you don’t want it to wear out quickly, or fade and look cheap after a few washings. Not only will they stop wearing your logo wear, they might associate your logo with poor quality. So, it’s not about getting the lowest dollars per item, it’s about getting the most impressions per dollar.
We had one vendor offer us T-shirts that were a buck apiece. You could see right through them when you held them up to the light. How many wears and what kind of an impression would that make if we wanted to convey an image of quality and dependability?
Here are some tips for shopping for logo products that we found useful:
1. Quality. Look for items that will stand the test of time and favoritism. Look for items that you would wear anyway, with or without a logo. It not only improves the likelihood that it will be worn, but worn for a long time. It also sends the wearer a message of quality that can’t help but reflect favorably on your company.
2. Sizes. Offer a selection of logo wear that reflects the range of customers you want to attract. One size doesn’t fit all. We found that sizes that were hard to fit got the most wears when they found their rightful home. Their new owners appreciated getting something, finally, that fit them.
3. Style. We found that women made up the majority of our buyers. When we started to provide women’s style logo wear in a selection of colors, our logo wear became very popular. Other companies simply offered the typical male T-shirt, which many women liked, but a woman’s T-shirt sent a targeted message of appreciation.
4. Contact. By putting our contact information somewhere on the logo wear, not only did the wearer know where to get more, but so did their friends.
5. Placement. Where do you put your logo on the T-shirt? Some people prefer it on the back. We’ve seen it on the sleeve and plastered all over the front. However, we think the old standard tends to work best; over the heart below the left shoulder. The most common place people look when talking to another person is at their face. Putting your logo close to where they are looking will get it noticed more often.
By putting some research and strategic thought into your logo wear, you can get the most bang for your buck. Make sure it’s worn often, and not just worn out.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders