In today's competitive business world, it is more important than ever to stay true to your brand when buying custom promotional products (and in all your other marketing channels as well). For best effect, the promotional products you purchase should be completely consistent with your company's branding. Here are a few tips on how to achieve this, borrowing an example from our friends at SolarCity, who have a great logo:
If you have a written branding guide, share it with your promotional marketing company!
If you don’t have any documentation of your branding rules, provide a sample of how you like your logo to appear. Keep in mind that colors don’t display consistently on computer monitors or on desktop printouts. So either reference Pantone colors, or provide a sample of something that is “your” color.
Adapting Your Custom Logo
Give clear direction on how your logo may be adapted for reproduction on custom logo apparel and custom promotional products. Can it be simplified? Can the colors be reversed? Can it be printed in one color? Most good graphic designers will make sure your logo works in one color as well as full color. If your logo can’t be simplified, your production costs may be higher, and your selection will be limited to products that can accept a full color imprint. Let your designer know what your priorities are, and be as candid as possible. And keep an open mind. It’s common to have two versions of your logo for different uses – one with lots of detail and color, and another simpler version. But both should look substantially similar.
Color Choice - Stick With Your Brand
This may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked: try to stick with custom promotional products that come in your branding colors. Color helps improve recall by 80%, so it pays to use color consistently whenever you can. If your brand color is a little unusual, you may have difficulty finding products in that color. In this situation, look for white or neutral color items, and print on it in your brand colors. Most imprint inks can be color matched to your exact shade for a small additional fee.
Consider the size and shape of the imprint area on the custom promotional product you are considering. Does your logo fit? Is it legible at that size? Sketch what you are proposing to print – but draw it to scale (actual size). You don’t have to be a talented artist; just a very rough sketch will serve the purpose as long as you measure the size precisely. This exercise will give you a good idea of whether your branding is going to look good in the available imprint area.
Did you know it’s possible to get a pre-production sample of most custom promotional products? A pre-production sample is when we make just one of an item, including imprinting or engraving your logo on it. This process takes time (typically it doubles the amount of time to complete an order), and you have to pay all the art & setup costs that apply to the full order, but it can save you from making a huge mistake. If your timeframe allows, consider getting a pre-production sample made before placing a larger order.
Overall, the key to staying true to your brand when buying custom promotional products (or doing any kind of marketing, really), is…consistency, consistency, consistency. Keep your colors and the appearance of your logo as consistent as possible in all your marketing channels. Consistency improves brand recall – and that’s what we all want - to be remembered.