The foundation of any business marketing program worth its salt is branding. This includes the development of a name, logo, and slogan combined with consistent fonts, typestyle, and colors. This branding is then used consistently with signage, business cards, print and web based advertising. One effective but overlooked way of communicating one’s brand is through the use of promotional items such as bumper stickers, buttons, key chains, and pens.
Northwestern Bank here is Traverse City has used the slogan “I can do that!” for several years now. The bank’s staff prominently wears simple label buttons with the slogan, creating a subtle and effective way of convening its company image both at the bank and at public events. The slogan is also well integrated into all of the bank’s marketing and advertising including brochures, interior signage, and web pages.
Michelle Bak of Bay Area Buttons in Elk Rapids is a great local source for buttons and other specialty items. Building from a small home based micro-business into a regionally known advertising specialty company has been a challenge but Michelle’s persistence and networking have created larger accounts that now reach far outside the Grand Traverse region.
Buttons and bumper stickers may seem like a nice add on form of advertising but consider the case of Lizzie Och of Lake Leelanau. Och is a student at Northwestern University north of Chicago but still considers Leelanau County her home. Back in November Och and some firends started a Facebook site called “Leelanau, my home is your vacation”. The site in a few scant months has over 1000 members, a community of like minded individuals who are primed for the planned roll out of bumper stickers, buttons, and t-shirts with the same “Leelanau, my home is your vacation” moniker. Suddenly a new business is born. So what’s the bottom line? Rethink the way you brand your business and don’t forget the buttons.
Program Note: Don’t forget to join us online or locally at 1270 AM for “Small Business Focus” on WMKT radio’s Vic McCarty Show, Wednesdays from 10:30-11:30. Each week we feature a small business and small business topics from the Grand Traverse Region.