The Promotional Products Industry's Unlikely Secret Weapon: Selfies?
The term itself may be cringeworthy (to say nothing of the finished product, in this writer's case), but the selfie is universal. We’ve all taken one, whether we want to admit it or not, and most of us take them frequently. AOL reported that the average millennial will take 25,700 selfies over his or her lifetime. And, according to Quartz, Google statistics showed that people worldwide take 93 million selfies per day. That was in 2014—and on Android devices alone—so you can only imagine what the 2018 number would be with iPhone users included.
That brings us to this story from The Times of India, headlined “Selfies Boost Sales of Logo-Based Apparel.” The article mainly focuses on how big sportswear companies—Adidas, Puma, etc.—are experiencing massive growth in apparel featuring large and prominent logos. The reason? What else: the selfie craze.
“The influence of social media such as Instagram and Facebook is prompting youngsters to dress up and present themselves in a unique manner,” Rohan Batra, managing director of Fila India, told The Times. “Most heritage lines of sportswear-makers have distinct logos and prints, and by wearing them, consumers feel they can stand out in the crowd while posting selfies.”
This, of course, is fantastic news for the promotional products industry. There’s already plenty of data showing how effective promotional products are at generating brand exposure, but the selfie generation has the potential to take things to a new level. That logo T-shirt isn’t just soaking up impressions on the streets—it’s getting blasted out on Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.ly and hundreds of other social networks you’ve never even heard of.
If you're still skeptical, consider this. The "Adidas" hashtag on Instagram has 43 million posts, most of them most of them specifically highlighting an apparel item. The "Nike" hashtag has 69 million. Supreme, a niche brand by comparison, has almost 13 million. None of these account for variations on the hashtag (#adidasrunning, for example, has 1 million posts of its own). Now consider the way those posts can multiply in reach when you factor in the number of followers for each user who posted an image of their cool new gear. That's a lot of reach.
That’s powerful stuff to present to clients. And it’s enough to maybe reshape the way we think about promo. Some of the world’s largest apparel brands are changing up their strategies to put logos front and center. Fashion brands like Zara and Louis Vuitton are doing the same.
As these brands are discovering, social media is practically built to showcase logos. There's a whole digital world out there with the infrastructure and culture already in place for amplifying a brand's reach, and people are using it, voluntarily and often, for that purpose. That will only grow as millennials and younger generations continue to take over the market.
If that’s not proof-of-concept that branded apparel and other items work, we don’t know what is. It might be time for the promotional products industry to start taking selfies seriously. Just, please, no duck face.