11 Questions to Ask Before Adding Custom Embroidery to Your Marketing Mix
Branding often begins with a business card, a tiny piece of advertising you place into other people’s hands. Even the newest, lowest-budget businesses usually find the money to invest in business cards. Why? A business card tells customers what you sell and helps them find you again when they need your products or services. The next piece of advertising most companies invest in is a website; it’s become fairly obligatory in an age when people have their faces buried in phones so much of the time. Somewhere in this process, companies realize they need a good logo, a visual method of connecting the look of the business cards with the look of the website. Your logo becomes the “peg” on which people hang their cumulative impressions of your brand, wherever they see it, from printed fliers to digital banner ads. Once the public gains some familiarity with your logo, it may be time for your company to consider Adding custom embroidery marketing to your mix of marketing tactics.
Custom embroidery brings a real-world dimension to your brand because it’s one thing to see a logo on a phone screen and entirely another thing to see that logo on a person. It suggests credibility when other people believe in a brand enough to wear it on their bodies. Maybe they’re customers or employees, maybe they’re volunteers for a company cause, maybe they’re the company softball team; they are demonstrating a belief in your brand that influences others in a way that’s impossible with online advertising.
But is your organization ready to benefit from custom embroidered company apparel as a marketing investment? Let’s break it down into a series of self-survey questions …
1. How Would My Company Use Custom Embroidery?
This is the first question to ask because branded apparel comes in many forms, from digitally printed t-shirts to the more permanent, high-end look of embroidery. If you plan to put branded shirts on 100 volunteers who will assist you with a one-time community project, a simple t-shirt may be the answer. But if you plan to put your shirts on people who will wear them often and over a long period of time, embroidery may be a better answer because of its durability. Embroidered logos also have dimension and texture, a look we associate with team jackets and polo shirts. An embroidered garment often has a more business-casual look than, for example, a silk screened t-shirt.
This classier look can also be appropriate for giveaways to top clients or hot prospects who have not yet decided to do business with your company. Give them a well-made, attractive garment carrying your company logo, and at the very least, they’ll see your logo every time they open their closet. If they wear that garment anywhere, even to the grocery store, other people will see it. It’s hard to measure the ROI of this kind of advertising, but again, the human factor lends it a validity that can’t be bought any other way.
Textron Aviation/ Cessna Aircraft Embroidered Part Covers
2. Is My Logo Well Enough Known to Benefit from Company Apparel?
It’s difficult to pinpoint the time that people start recognizing your logo, but it will happen if you stay in business long enough and make the logo a part of everything people see and hear about your organization. If you’ve been meeting random people who say, “Oh, yes, I’ve heard of your company,” it’s probably safe to assume that branded garments will enhance and magnify your brand recognition, which ultimately leads to higher profits.
To appreciate the power of a logo, try to imagine the world without the bitten, white Apple; or the golden arches; or the red and white Target. It’s difficult because these logos are woven into our social identity as deeply as are the smiley faces and peace symbols that emerged from the Hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s; from the symbol of the holy cross to Winston Churchill’s “V” for victory at the end of World War II, humans are wired to respond to visual symbols.
The same is true of your logo. The more you put it in front of people, the easier it will be for them to see your brand as part of the social fabric of your community, or perhaps within your industry.
Lane Enterprises/ McDonald’s Embroidered Apparel
3. Will My Custom Embroidered Apparel be Worn Mainly by Employees?
Many companies choose custom embroidery for employee apparel because it’s durable and presents an image of quality. The natural inference is that, if your employees are well dressed, you must take pride in your brand.
Not to say that a silk screened t-shirt doesn’t have its place. If your work environment is extremely casual, or you’re creating branded apparel for a one-time event, the higher-end look of embroidery may not be necessary.
If you’re considering giving the branded apparel to potential customers, and your customers aren’t t-shirt-wearing types, don’t give them t-shirts; give them polos or jackets or hats. This will add a touch of class to the mental image they’re building of your brand.
4. Is Custom Embroidery the Best Option for Team Uniforms?
Embroidered uniforms made of high-quality apparel are the best option if your uniforms need to last multiple years or seasons. Same with jerseys, jackets, hats, and gym bags; get it embroidered, and it will look nice for a long time. But if you’re just throwing together a softball game at the annual picnic and want to provide team apparel, a screened or digitally printed t-shirt with the event name and company logo should suffice.
5. What Kind of Embroidered Garment Should I Use for a Giveaway?
Polo shirts? Jerseys? Hats? The question is this: what do your customers wear? If they work in the ag or trade industries, a ball cap may get more use than any other garment. If they dress business-casual, a polo shirt or nice jacket may see the most use. And of course, you have to calculate how much income your company may potentially gain from these brand exposures. If you’re looking for a gift to give a huge potential client or opinion leader in your industry, put some money behind it and give them something they’ll be proud to wear.
And remember: if your customers live in a cooler climate, a jacket or jersey will get more exposure than a polo shirt throughout the year. If your customers are in southern Arizona, keep the garments lighter.
6. Should I Consider Custom Embroidery on Something Other than Shirts, Hats, or Jackets?
A traditional piece of apparel is not the best option for all situations. If your company sells kitchen or grilling products, an embroidered apron giveaway may fit well with your brand. Sports products? Give them an embroidered towel they can take to the gym. Do you sell to a young, urban audience? An embroidered beanie may be a better choice than a ball cap. Know your audience, and give them something they’ll use.
The more places your logo pops up in people’s lives, both online and offline, the more they will accept your brand when it’s time to make a purchase decision. And, yes, this extends well beyond apparel. The goal is always to give people a promotional item they will hold onto. Branded coffee cups make great giveaways for office dwellers, and this keeps your logo on top of the desk, visible for all to see. Anyone who works with computers will be grateful to receive a branded flash drive; those things seem to get lost like single socks in the dryer, so most people appreciate picking up a spare—and they’ll probably put it to use in front of other people, multiplying the brand exposure.
7. How do Promotional Giveaway Items Help My Marketing?
All business owners like seeing their logos on stuff, but is it a good marketing investment? There’s no Google algorithm running in the background when people have a conversation at the grocery store or at a trade show, no electronic counter that records the brand exposure on a computer server when you give away a ball cap. Promotional apparel branding is not a digital process but an organic one, so while its ROI can’t be quantified into a spreadsheet, it nevertheless engenders a deeper brand connection than can be bought online.
Even beyond apparel, the same is true of any promotional item, whether you’re giving away key chains or beer koozies. People are masters at ignoring advertising, but it’s different when another person puts the advertising in their hand. Promotional items often stay on people’s desks or in their pockets long after you’ve given them away. This kind of ongoing brand exposure happens in the real world and can’t be “clicked away” from. Your logo becomes a part of their environment.
8. Will Embroidered Apparel Help with Internal Marketing and Morale?
Humans are social creatures who like to feel included. When you give embroidered garments to your employees, it tells them that you believe in the team, and that you’re willing to make this extra gesture to help them feel more a part of it. It also says, “Our brand is something to celebrate. Wear it proudly.”
9. Is it Time for Company Uniforms?
If your employees don’t already wear uniforms, the fact is that you’re missing an easy advertising opportunity. Uniforms provide another brand reinforcement for the public, and the fact that your employees have a consistent look suggests that the quality of your products or service will also be consistent. Most customers, of any stripe, are reassured when they see an on-brand, coordinated look among employees rather than a rag-tag collection of workers who don’t appear to be attached to any company or its mission.
Again, the question becomes What kind of uniform? Embroidered shirts, hats, jerseys, and jackets are more durable and slightly classier than t-shirts; it all depends on what fits the culture of the work place and personality of your brand.
10. How Much Does Custom Embroidery Cost?
There are four basic costs associated with embroidered apparel: design, setup, sewing, and garment costs. You may or may not need design work, but if you want to embroider additional graphics or messaging with your logo, a US Logo designer can help you create a pleasing layout. If you’re just putting your logo onto the fabric, you can skip the fun sessions with the designer and go straight to setup, the process in which your logo is translated to a computer format that can be used by the embroidery machines, and the machines themselves are configured to sew your project. That usually amounts to a nominal fee, in the range of $20 to $50. The actual embroidery process depends on factors like the number of thread changes, thread counts, and so on. It also depends on what type of garment is being embroidered and what quantity you’re buying. Cost can range from $5 for an embroidered ball cap to $10-$40 for a jacket or polo.
The Tap of KS Embroidered Caps
11. Will My Logo Look Right When it’s Embroidered?
Most, but not all, logos translate well to embroidered design. If your logo has lots of tiny details in it, you may want to consider using a simplified version for embroidery. This could mean removing fine components from the image, increasing font boldness, or choosing a completely different font that reads better. If your logo doesn’t hold up when stripped down to its most basic elements this way, it may also not be reading well in other applications. If you need to consider a logo/branding redesign, our customer service reps can help guide you through the process.
Supplement World Embroidered Apparel
Timing is Everything
Like any other marketing tool, it’s important to deploy embroidered apparel advertising at the right time in your company’s growth. The cool part is that you can start small, putting a few logo shirts and hats on your employees, then expanding production as your word-of-mouth audience grows. You’ll know if it’s working, over time. Put the right custom apparel in the right places at the right times, and more people will buy from you. You can explore US Logo’s huge collection of apparel advertising for sale by giving us a call at (316) 264-1321. We’ll get some catalogs into your hands and offer suggestions on how to best utilize custom garment marketing as part of your arsenal.