The Little Emblem That Could
It's not always the biggest or the strongest that comes out on top, at least, if children’s books, films with pat resolutions or Underdog can be believed. Small is subtle. It quietly swoops in and saves the day, sans the big, lumbering persona and flashy fanfare. All that jazz is simply unnecessary.
Convincing end-buyers to abandon the tired notion that bigger is better, however, will be a slow, uphill battle. Finding success in showing a smaller, but mightier, product relies on that product’s level of versatility. Proving that brand messaging can still be duly supported is the ultimate challenge. Distributors, do you think you can?
Three Times a Lapel Pin
Despite the fact that over the past few years, emblematic jewelry has fallen by the wayside in favor of more bells and whistles, the category represents a triumvirate of inherent usefulness: marketing medium, jewelry and recognition product. It’s quite the one-two-three punch for such small item. After all, “Most people in our industry, when they’re thinking about emblematic jewelry, they’re probably thinking about lapel pins,” noted Len Hornstein, CEO and founder of Parsippany, New Jersey-based Avaline.
Jarod Johnson, vice president of sales at Bloomington, Indiana-based Indiana Metal Craft, agreed, contending that while it’s not the category it was 15 to 20 years ago, “In our small little sliver of that universe, we are seeing it come back.”
Though both Hornstein and Johnson admitted that lapel pins might very well be throwbacks to suit-and-tie days gone by, Hornstein was quick to add that these products are certainly still relevant to today’s industry—the key is finding an angle. “People are starved for ideas in this world,”
Make it a Medium
These big ideas, Hornstein said, are particularly useful when the item is being positioned as a marketing medium (emblematic incarnation No. 1). A lapel pin has less surface area than most traditional promotional products, and thus, it must be used creatively in order to get a brand message across. Perhaps most surprising is Hornstein’s insistence that lapel pins are not meant to be “walking billboards.” Instead, he affirmed, “What you want to create is a ‘talking billboard.’”