3 Step Process: How to Create Brand Advocates with SWAG

5 Minute Read

When was the last time you were in a charity thrift store? A recent trip to our local thrift shop gave us quite a shock when we came across a poorly-lit slat wall that can best be described as a graveyard for cheap branded drawstring bags. Literally.

Ok, real talk. Raise your hand if you’ve been given a bag like this at a recent event. Us too. Raise your hand if you still have that bag. Or, more likely, did you throw it away or donate it to your local charity thrift store perhaps? Guilty on the later. Now, raise your hand if you’ve been on the other side of this equation, and purchased this type of bag for an event. Yep, our hand is raised because we’ve sold a drawstring bag or two over the years.

The moral of the story here, is rooted in the power of product with purpose. This discovery is the perfect opportunity to have a candid conversation about our favorite subject and what it means for your brand and your marketing dollars.

So… what is product with purpose?

Product with purpose is something we talk about all the time as a core function of what we do and why we do it, but the concept is more than just function, it’s about intention. It’s creating meaningful products that add value to people’s lives, not noise, products that people actually want and welcome. For your company, nonprofit or event, it’s about building a community of advocates by giving someone a useful product that will become a part of their everyday life because your brand aligns with their values.

Case in point, the New Yorker tote bag is arguably one of the most influential and successful promotional products ever. The coveted tote is a given—free of charge—to new subscribers with distribution of well over 500,000. The publisher doesn’t claim that the tote is responsible for driving new subscriptions, but based on the rise in bag requests from existing and international customers and a 12.3% rise in new subscribers, we can certainly assume that the ubiquitous bag carries a lot of emotional connection for readers.

The New Yorker may not equate the tote bag to new subscriptions, but according to a recent Fast Company article—wherein, the author, Elizabeth Segran, simultaneously speaks out about the environmental impact of cheap disposable junk that makes up a good portion of promotional products while supporting the power of product with purpose—getting a new tote bag was motivation enough for her to cancel and resubscribe. For Segran, that bag is more than just a bag, it’s a statement about the kind of person she is and aspires to be, because she feels the New Yorker brand aligns with those same values.

So… How can you ensure that your bag—and your marketing budget—end up more like the New Yorker tote instead of on that sad slat wall at the charity thrift store?

Start with these three steps…

1.Who is your lucky recipient?

When you give someone the right product at the right time you turn them into an advocate for your company and brand. Identify the demographics and psychographics of the people who will be receiving your product.

2. Why are you doing this?

This is how you identify the purpose behind the product. What action do you want to evoke, and what message or feeling are you trying to convey? Giving something away just for the sake of giving it away will almost always guarantee that it ends up at that thrift store or in the trash.

3. What’s your vision?

Now that you know your WHO and WHY, start thinking about the WHAT. Big ideas don’t have to come with big budgets. Think outside the box!

At the end of the day, having a true partner who understands the impact of product with purpose is key to driving community engagement and success for your company, nonprofit or event. Let CREATIVE be your support partner from ideation and design to supply chain management and logistics. Let’s create something awesome together!


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