I would venture to guess that everyone has at least one piece of promotional clothing, be it a T-shirt with a fun graphic and logo of your favorite watering hole, custom embroidered shirts from your company to wear on casual Fridays or embroidered jackets that came in so handy this past winter. Your closet is probably full of more advertising and branding that you realize.

Promotional Clothing Positively Influences Preferences

And why is it that companies give so much promotional clothing away? Because corporate apparel is a very effective form of advertising for a company, brand, event or message. As a matter of fact, in the United States shirts are the second most common item given away for free to consumers in hopes of positively influencing their preferences right behind writing instruments (truly who doesn’t have a branded pen?).

Effective Corporate Apparel

Effective Corporate Apparel

You could also contend that bags are part of corporate apparel because you do “wear” it or at least are carrying it for all to see. If that’s the case then promotional clothing is the number one item given away.

The reason that personalized clothing is so popular is that people like to receive it, wear it and keep it. As a matter of fact, in a 2014 ASI Impressions Study they found that usefulness was the primary reason for keeping a promotional item. And what’s not useful about clothing? Of all the “wearable” type items, bags, hats, outerwear and shirts they were all listed as part of the top 10 for usefulness.

Promotional Shirts Help with Favorable Opinions

It’s something to consider when evaluating your promotional program and your goals for promoting your brand. As the study indicates, apparel is a big win for using and keeping an item and it doesn’t have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, the study found that 57% of U.S. consumers that receive a promotional shirt have a more favorable opinion about the advertiser as a result.

However, remember, quality is important as you are once again reinforcing your brand image with what you are giving out to your customers and prospects. You don’t want them to wash it and have it fall apart, do you? Because the study also found that shirts are kept on average 6.3 months and a little longer for bags at 7.4 months. Talk about staying power for your marketing dollars!

There are many custom apparel items you can get for under $5.00 that will appropriately represent you and your brand. Of course, consumers love those brand names. So if your budget can afford it and the marketing event/need warrants it, go for an established brand. Nike Golf, OGIO, Hanes, Gildan, Jerzees, Russell, Eddie Bauer, Adidas, Badger Sport, Champion, Bella, American Apparel and so many more are available for your programs.

Another consideration is the way you decorate your apparel. A silkscreen imprint is what you see on most T-shirts. Fun, cool graphics are will catch attention and for many will encourage them to wear it more often, having more of your prospects potentially seeing your message. Embroidered apparel is the most common for your collared shirts, those for casual Friday’s, trade shows, golf tournaments and more.

I am sure you have also seen many of the more unusual all over designs that seem to be very popular today. They are typically either a digital direct to print or a dye-sublimation print on the garment. The fabric itself is very important for those processes.

Just remember that this is your brand that people are wearing so make sure the promotional clothing shows your brand effectively with your message as well as the colors, style and quality of the item.

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More

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