The secret to keeping your business on your customer’s mind is to keep your brand constantly under their nose. Unlike a newspaper ad, which is tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapper, you need to put your brand on items that your customer is likely to use repeatedly or keep in their immediate vicinity.
Your business card is the best example of this. If it is eye-catching (has a clever shape or unusual feature), functional in some way (e.g. has a calendar on it) or is personalised (has a hand-written message on it, such as an exclusive offer), your customer is more likely to keep it in their wallet, rather than throwing it out with all the other business cards they receive.
These can be seasonal, such as Christmas or personal (knowing your customer’s birthday is always good information to have). While they will probably only get read once, they are sure to spend time on the mantelpiece or sideboard during the period of celebration and if your logo is prominently displayed on them (without being too commercial), this is free advertising within your customer’s inner sanctum, which is worth its weight in gold.
Things such as mugs, coasters and key rings are items that could conceivably be used every day, if they were to be adopted by your customer in place of whatever they currently use. This will only happen if the item is particularly attractive, comical, useful or unique in some way. Promotional items don’t just need to be functional, they also need to fulfil some other need, such as making your customer smile, or feel wistful or important or proud. Your logo on the promotional item will then be associated with this feeling.
Getting your customer to wear your brand is the ultimate in personal-space advertising. Tee shirts and caps are mobile billboards, something that is not lost on major brands, who queue up to rent space on the clothing of celebrities and sports stars. Another good way to get your name under people’s noses and into their psyches is to sponsor a local sports team. This splashes your logo all over the local scene and also gives you lots of brownie points for investing in your community.
While brochures don’t normally make it as far as the inner sanctum, if your customer is toying with the idea of a purchase or comparing products and prices, a brochure can make it as far as the kitchen sideboard or even onto the study desk and have a fairly long shelf-life there. Unlike a flyer, which advertises a single offer or event, a brochure is a more thoughtful presentation of all that your company has to offer and it can be kept by a customer for some time and read more than once, if considered useful to them.
The ultimate aim of advertising is to get your brand inside your customer’s head (and heart) and branding that achieves this by living with your customer on a daily basis is some of the most effective advertising there is.