14 Tips for Custom Branded Swag for Parades
It seems like it is almost always that time of year again, time to prepare for the parade! Here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, our next one is the Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 18, 2018. As a business or organization planning to participate in the parade, there are several things to do to prepare. Having a great looking float complete with banners, music, and passionate people is very important and most groups spend most of their time concerned with putting as much time as they can afford into this part of the preparation. While your float will leave a temporary visual and you can score some goodwill points with your community by throwing out candy, your group can really wow folks and leave a lasting impression through careful selection of what is given out, namely something with your organization’s name on it! You can really leave your mark by handing out products that are memorable, useful, and it doesn’t have to be much more expensive than the usual candy. Below are some tips for choosing the right promotional products for your parade as well as some general points to consider.
1) PACE YOURSELF aka DO THE MATH
You don’t want to be reduced to handing out the last couple slices of pizza you bought for yourself (though popular) or targeting what you hope to be coffee drinkers with single serving creamers at the end of the parade (both of which I’m guilty of in the past). So, you’ve got to pace yourself. Try to find out your parade’s length and the approximate number of attendees. You can use a 2.5 mile per hour estimate for your parade speed if you don’t know how long it usually takes.
By doing some simple arithmetic, you can determine what you might need.
Let’s use Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade as an example:
Length: 1.1 miles or 5808 feet
Travel Speed: 2.5 mph or 3.7 fps
Parade Route Time: 26.4 minutes or 1584 seconds (this is not the same as total parade time, just the length of time for one float to pass by – important difference!)
If you were hoping to target 10% of the people at the parade, you would need 800 items and need to throw one out every 2 seconds.
To compute: % of attendees targeted X total attendees / parade route time (seconds)
If you have multiple people giving out things, multiply the throw rate by the number of people. So, three throwers targeting 10% of the attendees would mean each float-goer would throw one item every six seconds. Throw faster than that and you will run out earlier, slower and you will have stuff left over!
2) DON’T THINK YOU NEED TO THROW ENOUGH FOR EVERYBODY
You don’t need to throw something to everyone. People are in groups and if you throw something unique, they will show it off to the people around them, getting your group even more great exposure without additional cost. Also, you can whip them into a frenzy of desire for your awesome giveaways, but only if there is a limited supply.
3) STAY IN YOUR BUDGET AND GET A ROI
It is easy to spend $500 buying enough candy to help advertise for the candy company at the parade. Don’t do that just because that’s what everyone else does. Stand out! Once you’ve got an idea of how much swag you think you might need and you know your budget, you can figure out what your group can afford to do and decide what might give you the best return on your investment!
4) MAKE SURE YOUR GROUP’S LOOK IS COHESIVE
Wear branded apparel like shirts, hats, sunglasses, shoelaces, socks and use banners to get your message across!
5) PICK A PRODUCT THAT HAS TO DO WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION
Think about your colors, your mascot, the needs of your customers or community, the type of business you operate. Choose something relevant to your work and that you want people to have!
6) PICK SOMETHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH THE EVENT
Stick with the theme and the colors of the event to get instant use out of the product. Think shamrocks, Irish flags, pots of gold, horseshoes, green hats for St. Patrick’s Day.
7) PICK SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE APPRECIATED AT THE PARADE
Is it going to be hot? How about something that cools you down like a cooling neck wrap, beverage coozie, visor, or fan? Is it going to be cold? How about earmuffs, mittens, or hand warmers? Raining? Ponchos or Umbrellas. Dry and windy? Lip Balm! Bright? Sunglasses! If it goes into use immediately, there are a bunch of people there to see it right away and advertise for YOU at the parade.
8) PICK SOMETHING THAT GETS PEOPLE’S ATTENTION
Think bright colors, loud, highly visible, large or unusual!
9) PICK SOMETHING THAT HAS UTILITY
And that people don’t already have or need more of. Think tools, first aid, flashlights, key rings, hygiene products, etc.
10) PICK SOMETHING THAT WILL BE SEEN REPEATEDLY
Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on something that will be quickly digested, thrown away, or left on the ground. Pick a product that the person will look at over and over, like mouse pads, bags, calendars, pens, office accessories, and apparel.
11)PICK SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN USE AGAIN FOR SOMETHING ELSE
Do you go to trade shows, have your own events, regularly give your customer’s gifts or the like? Buying in larger quantities will save you money in the long run!
12) ENLIST FRIENDS IN THE PARADE TO THROW OUT YOUR STUFF
At the parade, most of the people on the floats are going to be throwing out generic, unbranded items. If you have more than you need, get other folks to throw your product for you! They will more than likely to be happy just to have more stuff to throw. With everything flying around, parade-goers rarely know who threw them something, which is why it is so much better for it to have your logo and contact info on it.
13) MAKE SURE YOUR INFORMATION IS INTRIGUING AND THEY CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU
Make sure that there is enough info on your product to spark interest and enable contact. You need your logo, what you do in very few words and website or phone #. Don’t overwhelm with text, but get them curious!
14) ASK FOR HELP
There’s no one-size fits all product out there that is right for everyone, which is why there are MILLIONS of products to choose from. Use resources like the brand managers and promotional consultants at Identify Yourself to come up with a solution to your parade needs! We want you to come out of the parade thinking that you had a blast and improved the health of your business at the same time.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
I’ve listed a few budget-conscious items below to get your creative juices flowing (all 75 cents net or less at 800 piece quantity):
Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Pocket Sprayer, 70 cents
Custom Labeled Andes Chocolates, 35 cents
Who it’s For and Why it Rocks: Groups that have an established presence, but just want to remind the community they exist; colors gold and green are great for Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, and Christmas Parades, silver goes with everything; it is quality, name-brand candy; Andes are chocolate and freshen breath at the same time, the Kisses might spark more than profits!
Round Stress Ball, 70 cents
Tape Measures, 75 cents
Who it’s For and Why it Rocks: Construction Trades, Tailors, Arts and Crafts, Schools, Undertakers (j/k); utility reigns supreme, even if this isn’t their best tape measure, it will probably get saved as a backup in a secondary location; sends a message of accuracy and pride in your work!
Silicone Wrist Bands, 50 cents
Who it’s For and Why it Rocks: Causes, Groups with Bright Colors, Promoting Future Events, Charities; Harmless and Fun to Throw.
Silicone Bracelets Options
Seed Packets, 70 cents
Who it’s For and Why it Rocks: Nurseries, Eco-Minded Groups, Daycare Centers, Towns and Communities, Vacation Rentals; Parents appreciate this gift as they can use it with their children, people will fight over this and will want to know what it is! When the flowers bloom (pick something with your group’s colors) and people think about your group, that is a good connotation; price is less than retail!
LED Flashlights, 70 cents
Who it’s For and Why it Rocks: Camping, Emergency Preparedness, Vacation Rentals, Travel Agents, Insurance Providers; these look great and extra flashlights and keychains are always well received. This one is both!
Branded Kazoos, 65 cents
Branded Coozies, 75 cents
Who it’s For and Why it Rocks: Almost anyone can use these; they are harmless to throw; most people are drinking something at the parade and can immediately put this to use and begin advertising for you! If it’s hot out it keeps your drink cold, if it’s cold out, it keeps your hand warm.
Branded Bandage Holder, 70 cents
Pet Toothbrush, 70 cents
Who it’s For and Why it Rocks: Veterinarians, Dog Groomers and Walkers, Animal Shelters, Pet Stores; Do you have a toothbrush for your pet? Hardly anyone does, so this will be the best one they have; you won’t feel bad about not throwing out enough for everyone; good aim guarantees you reach your target audience.