Fashion, Fun & Function
Speaking of the company's Chinese Laundry line, Traiger highlighted some promotions that were finding success. "We see the line being used in loyalty programs, sales incentive contests, service awards and recognition programs to name a few," he said. "We are in some of the largest casino and credit-card loyalty programs that exist."
In terms of customization for higher-end, higher-fashion items, the branding options go beyond embroidery and screen printing—end-buyers can actually create exclusive products. "We can make an exclusive style and color for a customer for as little as 200 pieces," Traiger said.
"The trend in backpacks is to have one you want to carry, something that looks fashionable and put-together," said Margit Fawbush, marketing manager for Indianapolis-based Norwood Promotional Products. "Features and functions are also important—in this iPod era, everyone needs easy-access pockets for cell phones, headphones, digital cameras, laptops [and] netbooks."
Speaking about the company's new ful (pronounced fuel) line, Fawbush noted that the designers find inspiration in anything that brings them joy, be it bass guitar or Monty Python. "ful bags are created with quality materials and a fashion edge. ful bags were born in Memphis, Tennessee—home to the blues, Elvis and barbecue." For distributors, such an approach to design helps to keep the product fresh and takes the promotion far past the simple black compu-tote.
To keep the line fun, Fawbush explained, "The bags are named for musicians, songs, famous Memphis hot spots and guitars."
While fun is important, substance is critical. A promotion based solely on a flashy looking bag with a high wow-factor but low usability is ultimately a failed promotion—the too-small purse or uncomfortable backpack that ends up hung on the back of a door isn't promoting anything to anyone. Said Fawbush, "ful bags are designed to offer function, convenience, organization, simplicity and comfort. They come in classic shapes with modern lines. The look and function should complement each other."