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NMOA Direct Marketing Article
Brand Promo - It's More Than A Logo On A Pen!
By Anne Von Dyl, Senior Director of Sales

Studies have shown that, on average, we see over 3,000 ads or brand messages each day. Look out your office window and you might see a billboard urging you to visit the nearest fast food restaurant. Check your email to find dozens of ads that pop up in conjunction with the last topic you searched in Google. Grab the pen you are using and most likely it will have a logo of a company staring back at you. While these traditional promotional techniques may have worked in the past, in today's "noisy" marketing landscape, traditional just doesn't cut it. Because of the ever-growing amount of brand messaging we are exposed to everyday, businesses find themselves challenged to find new promotional techniques.

One developing promotional technique to break through the clutter and reach your target audience is product personalization. Personalization is providing products to consumers in a format that is relevant to that individual's preferences. This new trend gives consumers the power to purchase an exclusive product, designed specifically for themselves or, even better, by themselves.

Product personalization enables marketers to promote their brand on highly visible items. I don't care what company you work for; giving out laptops has never been in the promotions budget. Imagine having consumers walk around with your company's branding on their most prized possession - their cell phone - all because you gave them the opportunity to design a personalized case that included your logo. Do you have a mobile workforce? Ensure that your logo is on your employees' laptops by enabling them to design their own case with the logo on it. By enabling customers to play a role in the design of personalized, promotional skins or cases for mobile devices, your company brand can break through the clutter.

Personalized skins and cases allow each individual to become a brand ambassador on devices that are used daily. Mobile device accessories are now more than just protection but a fashion add on - if leveraged could be the most powerful platform for a company's brand or message. How often does a person wear the same shirt out each week versus carrying their mobile phone or tablet out?

With personalized design, protection and high-perceived value - the future of brand promotions is leveraging product customization of cases and skins on mass scale. The next presidential candidates should be giving out mobile device cases or skins rather than buttons.

Wireless provider, Sprint, used personalized promotion tactics to show appreciation for employees by allowing them to personalize their Blackberry smart phones. Employees were e-mailed codes to redeem for Blackberry skins with premium designs to choose from, all which included Sprint's logo. The personalized promotion solution allowed employees to feel appreciated while they were also walking billboards for Sprint.

Not only does personalization help promote your company to potential customers; it also builds loyalty with your current customers. In fact, many consumers admit that they are more likely to use products for a longer time if they played a part in designing the product. For example, Dan Ariely, a prominent behavioral economist, published innovative research demonstrating just how much impact personalization can have on the perceived value of a product. In what they call the "IKEA effect", participants were asked to engage in a variety of construction tasks including building IKEA products, folding origami, and building Legos. The research shows that in at least one experiment participants valued their creation twice as much as the same product created by another participant. This trend is quickly developing across all industries and, with today's technology, it is possible for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of product personalization for promotions.

Personalization in the promotions industry can help drive brand loyalty through more engaged customers. As a pre-sale promotion of the Twilight New Moon Blu-ray DVD, the film series added their own spin on personalized promotion. They added an incentive by giving customers who purchased the Blu-ray DVD in advance a gift card, redeemable on a custom mobile skin site for a free, unique Twilight skin cover that included the new DVD's title and logo. Even though consumers probably didn't carry around the DVD, they were walking billboards with the movie logo on their phone. Additionally, the promotion resulted in the largest advance sale on record for the big-box retailer.

With the amount of brand messages bombarding your target audience each day, it is clear that companies can no longer settle for traditional promotional techniques. Brand messages must grab and hold an audience's attention. Companies need a solution that targets potential customers while also driving brand loyalty with current customers. A unique, successful technique for companies to achieve both goals at the same time is personalized promotion.

About the Author:
Anne Von Dyl is the Senior Director of Sales at Skinit. Anne has a diverse management background in business development with achievements in generating year-over-year revenue growth and cultivating strategic relationships. With over 15 years in consumer goods; Anne has managed multi-million dollar P&Lšs representing a variety of product assortments and services. She has lead cross-functional teams that sold to and supported national retailers in the big box, specialty and wholesale club markets. Her consultative and collaborative approach earned her awards and recognition in prior companies. Anne attended college at Parsons School of Design in New York and New York University. She recently completed a Leadership and Management program through the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.


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