Maximizing your small business brand: Premiums and sponsorships

We’re all trying to get the word out there about our brand, products, and services, and we should be paying a great deal of attention to how we use the many marketing and public relations tools out there. Is our website a good representation of who we are? Are our display ads, brochures, and other collateral materials true to who we are? Does our social media campaign best represent us? Are we getting the word out with well-crafted press releases? And, ultimately, are we getting a response?

If all of the above is in good working order, there are other things we can do to maximize our brand in a powerful way, while building a stronger relationship with our clients and customer base.

Premiums and novelties

Clients and customers like tokens of appreciation. Logo-branded gifts can show your appreciation and keep your brand in front of your client.

A nicely designed mug will remind customers of why they like your business.

A nicely designed mug will remind customers of why they like your business.

If you’ve ever listened to a public radio station in the last few decades, you know it’s all about mugs. “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” mugs, NPR-branded mugs, and local station mugs push the NPR brand every time they appear in a user’s hands. Some local stations, such as New England Public Radio, take the concept a step farther. They have local artists design their station mugs, with a new one each season. They support the local arts community by creating a collector’s item that people pledge good money to acquire, plus they get their name and call letters or website on them as a contact point. The NEPR branded mug is good business and good for business. Look at the items at the National Public Radio Store. A local premium provider can help you find similar items.

If you create an item for your customers or potential ones, remember that it should be classy and something worth wearing or displaying, as well as something with your contact information. A local travel company used to produce a Chapstick with their logo and website on the outside wrap…a great travel companion. A prep school client produces small flashlights with their logo. Those get passed around by recipients. They’re novel, and they’re useful novelties. Cafe Press has a variety of items that can be customized.

Environmentally friendly products speak volumes, and so do those made in America, or, even better yet, made in your local community. Quality is important. If a t-shirt shrinks and fades on first laundering, it doesn’t bode well for your good name. If a premium is too fragile to withstand shipping, and arrives broken, it says the same thing.

One other thing to keep in mind is shipping and storage. Do you have enough space to store a hundred t-shirts or a hundred coffee mugs (plus the shipping box)? Postage adds to the price you’ll pay for a premium. Some premium suppliers will handle the shipping and postage for you.

Advertise for a valued service

Audience research says that high numbers of public radio listeners and public television viewers can recall the underwriters of their favorite programs. Underwriting a program on your local NPR or PBS affiliate may be perceived as “advertising,” but it’s a sponsorship of a valued program, and the well-educated, well-heeled viewers of public broadcasting appreciate the support.

An advertisement in the playbill of a local orchestra, opera company, ballet troupe or theatre can have the same effect. You are helping a non-profit that depends upon advertising income to produce live arts; the audience members know that, too. And, you’re reaching a well-educated, potentially affluent audience. If your product or service lends itself to sports fans, consider an ad in one of the venues your local professional sports team may offer. Fans remember the signage around the hockey rink or ball park.

Sponsor a program of note

If you choose to go the sponsorship route and sponsor an event or performance, make sure you’ll be getting appropriate visibility. Some of the important elements you’ll want to have: name and/or logo recognition in all collateral materials from posters and newspaper ads to website, social media posts and more. Ask for exclusivity. If you’re a specialty baker, ask to be the only specialty baker sponsor. You stand out that way.

Avoid controversy in your choices of where to advertise and/or sponsor. Religion and politics create controversy. You’re best off aligning your business with a non-controversial partner.

Remember, as you reach out to build your market and build your brand, good marketing and public relations are all about relationships. Premiums and sponsorships help you strengthen your customer relationships and attract even more customers.


Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn.

1 comment

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