When It Rains, Promotions Pour In
Chances are you've been unlucky enough to be stuck in the rain without an umbrella. Some people are even unluckier, and a tiny black rain cloud follows them everywhere and just continually soaks them from right above their heads, basically like they're Eeyore. Either way, having a good umbrella can make a big difference. Here are some tips for choosing the right one.
Hold Onto Them
Umbrellas make great promotional giveaways because of how useful they are in daily life. Richard Meth, vice president of sales at Rainkist Umbrellas, Edison, N.J., described the many promotional opportunities that umbrellas present. "I always like to say umbrellas are a great corporate gift or incentive because the truth of the matter is that no one ever seems to go out and buy themselves an umbrella," Meth said. "When was the last time you woke up and said 'I'm going to go out and buy an umbrella?'"
But it's not just that some people may not think to buy umbrellas themselves. Meth added that users typically hold onto umbrellas for a long time. "People don't just throw it away," he said. "They use it for their house, their office; the perceived value is there. It's something that people do use."
Dan Edge, national sales manager at Peerless Umbrella Co. Inc., Newark, N.J., echoed this statement. "It's usually an emergency purchase," Edge said. "You're usually looking for a cheap umbrella just to get you to your next point, but those don't last."
Edge said his general rule is that people should have three umbrellas: one for the car, one for the office and one for home. Having an umbrella at a moment's notice is important, because, as Edge puts it, "Murphy's Law will have it that your umbrella is never where you are when you need it."
Great for Advertising
In terms of logo visibility, a well-placed logo on an umbrella is just about the next best thing to someone carrying around a sign to advertise a company. "[An umbrella] is like a walking billboard. It's great logo exposure because not only can you be loud with your logo, you can also be very subtle," Meth said, noting different color combinations and background can that make a logo stand out.
Due to their size, umbrellas allow for high logo visibility. Compared to smaller items, like pens or water bottles, umbrellas have a much larger space for advertising and logo placement. "You look at the most popular items in our industry-and I'll say pens-but your imprint area on a pen-think about how small it is," Edge said. "When you think about even our smallest umbrella, the imprint area is 7" wide by 5" high, so umbrellas become [moving] billboards. People are walking down the street, and the logos are very visible."
For Every Occasion
Umbrellas can be used for promotions for a long list of uses, such as corporate gifts, conferences or car dealerships, but both Edge and Meth said that golf outings are one of the most popular occasions for promotional umbrellas. "I think that an umbrella is a great insurance policy for a golf outing. Typically apparel is given out [and] hats are given out, but if it rains on the day of the event, the event is going to happen rain or shine, so an umbrella makes for a great insurance policy for the outing," Edge said.
Meth agreed, noting that umbrellas have always been a popular promotional giveaway for golf outings. "The great thing is that they are a staple item," Edge noted. "[Umbrellas are] not male- or female-oriented, there are no sizes to worry about, and again, everybody needs an umbrella. Whether you're in New England or Chicago or Dallas, it rains everywhere, even in the driest climates. It's an item people will use, as opposed to many promotional products that will sit in a drawer."
In addition to the large variety of sizes and designs, umbrellas can also feature helpful and innovative add-ons. Jeffrey Nanus, president of AAA Innovations, Norwood, N.J., described a new technology aiming to improve umbrella sales. "We've developed a mobile app called RainAlertz. This is a mobile app that will be available on any umbrella that we offer in our line," he said.
The app works like this: a RainAlertz tag hangs on an umbrella, and a special code is included to download the app. Each code is coordinated with the end-user. The app alerts users if there is more than a 60 percent chance of rain in their area, using theNational Weather Service and their phones GPS. "So if it's Travelers Insurance, we have a code that every Travelers Insurance umbrella will have," he added. "You'll get an alert on the phone with the Travelers Insurance logo and it will say something like, 'Your friends at Travelers Insurance have you covered. Looks like it may rain today. Don't forget your Travelers umbrella.' It's a great message and, as a promotional item, it's a great advertising tool."