Swag has long been a component of many companies' overall marketing strategies; t-shirts, stickers, ink pens and other customized items have been used as "freebie" giveaway items for decades, mostly in an effort to get consumers to remember a company's name or for branding purposes. Often times swag items are given away at a grand opening or other event. For as long as marketing and promotion have been around, swag has been an affordable way for companies without a lot of startup cash to get noticed by potential customers.
Today, the internet has become an integral tool for nearly every company that wants to get in front of a big audience. Online marketing is essential for companies that want to stay competitive and profitable, and traditional swag in combination with marketing on the internet can be a highly effective combination. One mistake many companies make when they invest in online marketing, is forgetting about more traditional methods of advertising. Swag messaging (t-shirts, mugs, caps, etc.) can be a great way to send people to your website or online store, or even to entice them to connect with you on Facebook and other social media sites. Your company logo, name, even your website address can be used on these items to increase awareness of your brand and make your company more memorable.
One Iowa company, Sigler Companies, recently launched a new entity designed to help businesses of all types with startups - BrandSquid, a company that offers creative marketing and branding solutions.
What is BrandSquid? One of the company's goals is to help startups create and strategically distribute creative swag. Some of BrandSquid's clients are impressive indeed, and include TechStars and Facebook. Amazingly enough, the whole idea basically evolved around Foursquare, which was running a branding campaign and was in need of promotional materials. Sam Schill of Sigler Companies essentially completed the deal, which started a chain of events that led to the development of BrandSquid. People became curious about Foursquare's store and who made their "stuff," which led to interest and demand for Schill's expertise.
BrandSquid can assist companies with everything from one-time promos to large scale integrated marketing campaigns. Many companies simply don't have the time or the staff to develop swag; BrandSquid handles brand strategy as well as web design, online stores, incentive programs, procurement, special events, copywriting, screen printing and more.
According to Schill, there are similar companies that handle startup t-shirts, stickers, and other swag such as CafePress and Zazzle, however BrandSquid takes it a few steps further by offering other services in addition including in-house marketing guidance, design resources and fulfillment capabilities. Even though BrandSquid has only recently launched its services, it appears this Iowa-based company is taking off in a big way.
For companies looking for even more cost-effective solutions for startups or branding, there are do-it-yourself options. State Line Bag Company, a Leawood, Kansas company, specializes in muslin bags and backpacks that can be customized with rubber stamps, screen printing, fabric paint, fabric markers and other methods for product packaging, use as giveaways, and more. While DIY methods typically do not yield the same results as professionally created marketing materials, a DIY solution could be a great way to test the concept.
From local Kansas City painters to Silicon Valley tech giants, businesses of all sizes should consider proven (and cost-effective) marketing solutions, such as those offered by BrandSquid. By weaving traditional marketing strategies with newer online marketing techniques, many companies are experiencing incredible results.