Promotional Products: If It Ain’t Broke, Leave It Be
I wrote recently in this space about swag that went wrong for Goldman Sachs at a conference for women in tech. In fact, the comments on that post continue over in the Promo Marketing LinkedIn Group (If you’re on LinkedIn, and you aren’t already a member of this group, you should be—there are some very interesting contributors and some great discussions).
While some of the comments on the original post suggest that the gender kerfuffle over giving nail files and compacts to female attendees is little more than a molehill, but certainly not a mountain, it got the contrarian in me thinking. When it comes to sourcing promotional products, do you always try to “break it” to get your clients’ attention? Do you avoid ideas that have worked well, just to be that “idea” person? Is something new for “news’ sake” always a good idea?
Remember when Coca-Cola launched New Coke? If you do, you probably remember the Cola Wars that the brand was entrenched with against rival Pepsi. Coca-Cola was struggling against Pepsi’s campaign known as “The Choice of a New Generation,” and its answer was to toss out a 100-year-old recipe in favor of a product that had done well in focus groups doing blind taste tests, but was unproven at retail. You probably know how that worked out. Under much public pressure, Coca-Cola wised up, embraced the original, which was the core essence of the classic brand (and conveniently called it “Coke Classic.”). It not only regained the ground lost in the cola war, but it also managed to increase its market share.
How about the Edsel? Or Betamax? Does the fact that the Betamax disappeared despite being a better platform than VHS resonate with you? And the McRib? Well, let’s not even go there.
Jeff is executive director of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA). Prior to that, he was responsible for developing safe and compliant brand merchandise for Michelin. He has worked with brands in publishing, consumer products, broadcasting and film for over 30 years. Follow Jeff on Twitter, and QCA on Facebook.