Give Your Logo Swag to the Folks at the Chamber

Many companies invest in promotional items to help market their brand.

Something I’ve noticed over time is that companies often do a poor job with these items that they invested their marketing dollars in. That’s because they order them without a strategy for using them.

If you order clothing – hats, golf shirts, pullovers… One of the easiest and smartest things you can do to get rid of them is giving them to the staff at your chamber of commerce or business association.

I’ve said many times in the past that I’d have the president of the local chamber of commerce looking like a NASCAR driver every time she did a press conference, with members’ logos pasted all over her outfit. Seems to me that every inch of a chamber rep’s clothing is saleable.

Think about it… These folks are in contact with a large percentage of your local business community throughout the year. They are among the best advertising opportunities you have – and they’re free.

The cool part is that they’ll wear your stuff. A mid-level staffer at a business association is probably making $40-$50K and loves to get free clothes. Especially if it’s cool-looking and good quality.

They are attending golf tournaments and community events and all kinds of places where the people that you need to get your brand in front of are. As long as you’re a paying member in good standing, they’ll be happy to show off their new duds. And a staff member wearing a logo that isn’t the association’s is sure to be a conversation starter.

Some companies get this. When I was at the chamber, I was visiting one member for a meeting and after the meeting, he opened a door to a secret room. Inside the room was every piece of SWAG you could imagine. He said, “Take what you want.” I think I left that day with two shirts, two hats and a blanket for my newborn (at the time). That’s good marketing.

Then, check this out. Recently, in my World Trade Center role, I had to an interview request from a local TV station on a timely news story. I was dressed casually, in a pullover I’d gotten from one of our members. It was nasty winter weather outside, so I wasn’t going to run home for a coat and tie (as I might do in nicer weather), so I did the interview as-is. At 5 p.m. that night, there’s our member’s logo on-screen as I gave my comments.

Portfolios are huge, too, because the nerds (I’m one of them, don’t be offended) who work for these organizations love this stuff. Pens, notepads, folders… We bring them to meetings. And during the meeting, we set them on the table in front of us so everyone else around the table stares at YOUR LOGO for the entire discussion.

Take it to the virtual world – in your next meeting, watch how often people sip from their water bottles. Wouldn’t it be nice if your logo popped onto the screen every few minutes when your colleagues and clients were thirsty? Personally, I try to wear a logoed shirt on every video call, whether it’s my own or one from a member or client. 

It works, and it’s free. My guess is that if you bought pens, shirts, hats, folders with your logo on them, somewhere in your office there’s a box full of them that you never gave away. You can do better than that. Give them to someone who will wear/use them, and who will wear/use them publicly.

In fact, do it tomorrow. Get that box out, call up your chamber of commerce or business association rep, schedule a meeting, and give them a polo shirt with your logo on it. Then, let the magic happen.


Need a strategy to help get your logo in front of the networks you’re paying to be a part of?
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