Signs, banners, tackers and wearables help draw new customers to your business.
Build your customer base with point of sale items like wearables.
Today’s competition for share of mind and share of stomach is becoming more intense as more breweries and cideries open their doors for business. Signs, banners, and wearables can help you stand out and draw attention to your brand and get customers to try a new product: yours.
Signs and Banners
Banners are a key link in your branding strategy and can be used for a variety of occasions. Whether marking your booth at a festival or an upcoming event that needs something extra, it might be time to invest in some banners to help you display your brand.
The first place to check, if you have one, is with your wholesaler. Many distributors will have their own print shops on site. Even smaller distributors like Point Blank Distributing, where I work, have a banner printer. Your wholesaler won’t be looking to make a profit on their banners. They’ll be looking to cover their material costs and the labor associated with the production of the banner. If it’s a joint event, your wholesaler may even co-op the costs and split the total. If your distributor doesn’t have a banner printer, you’ll want to seek out the services of a professional print shop.
Mike Tankersley of Boise, Idaho’s Signs-2-U suggests you do your research: “Using the same company for as much of your promotional materials, print materials, banners, vehicle graphics, and signs is a really good way to build report. That being said it is also crucial that you find a company that you feel comfortable putting that much trust in. As with all things in life, do your research. Make sure the company has an actual graphic art team (many sign companies will say they can do design, but are not actually capable). Talk to the employees at the company, ask for reference, etc. Treat your sign company like you would treat an employee, they are going to be touching the image of your company and nothing is more important.”
There are a variety of banner materials available to you that will run a range of costs and have various advantages and disadvantages. Knowing what you actually need before you go in will help you narrow your search when it is actually time to consult with your banner professional. Here are a few of the questions you’ll want to think about:
- Is this for a one time or short term event?
- Is this a permanent item you’ll want to use at multiple festivals?
- Will this banner only be used indoors or will it be used outdoors?
- Will it be exposed to moisture?
Mike also addresses some other issues you should take into consideration when both hiring your banner shop as well as figuring out what kind of banners you’ll need produced: “There are as many different materials as there are beers. We keep a wide range of stock but our 'go to' banner material is a 13 oz synthetic material (which comes in both gloss and matte). It's the most cost effective option (it's cost effective) so it works well for short term (less than a year) usage. We also keep a very green option in stock that is made of a partially recycled material and is fully recyclable when sent back to the manufacturer. It is very good for super short term usage (a few days) but the cost makes it prohibitive for promotional usage (it's almost double the cost of the lower-cost stuff we keep in stock). There are a few important questions you need to answer when ordering a banner: 1) what type of printer are they using; UV inks are incredibly bad for the environment, Pigment based inks are not weather safe, Solvent based inks are bad for the environment, while Eco-Solvent inks are weather safe and the best option for the environmentally conscious customer. 2) Are the banners hemmed on all four sides? Many sign companies will save money by only hemming the ends of the banner. While this is acceptable for very short term usage it really is not ideal. The reasons why: hemming all four sides (which in essence means using either a special double sided tape, or a sewing machine the sign companies folds the banner edges over and attaches them to the back of the banner) is important because it more than doubles the strength of the banner. It also makes for a more finished look, which is important for professionalism.”
The next important thing is what do you want on your banner? Obviously, your logo is probably the most important piece of information to include. You want your banner to really project your branding. To that end, you’ll want to make sure your logo is banner ready and can handle being blown up to fit on a format larger than a computer screen. The rest of the information is entirely dependent on what you’ll be using the banner for. But I’d caution you, from experience, keep the information as basic and as short as possible.
Too much text renders the banner difficult to read and will reduce the size of your lettering making it harder for consumers to see your details from far away. You’ll also need to check with your state’s liquor control board or commission regarding rules and laws governing alcohol related banners. Some areas don’t allow any prices while others restrict advertising when it comes to “happy hours” or other promotional pricing. Before laying out money on banners, be sure you won’t have to immediately take it down if state asks you to, or worse; pay a fine.
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time. You’ll want to give your banner shop time to design and print your banner so you don’t have to pay for a rush job. This can lead to more expense and possible errors. Then you’ll need to have 2-3 weeks to use the banner if it’s for an event. Spending money on a banner that doesn’t have time to advertise your event won’t help you grow your brand plus it can leave a bad taste in the mouth of whoever you’re working with for the event.
Tin tackers are a classic piece of bar and shop point of sale. They’re often the entry point for “permanent” point of sale for many breweries and cideries. They’re inexpensive, sharp looking (if done well), easy to place in smaller spaces, don’t require a plugin like a neon, and collectible amongst fans of your brand. Another added benefit is their flat construction makes them an easy item to store a lot of in a cramped production facility.
Achieve a brand boost with an inexpensive tin tacker.
Today’s craft market has created a lot of peripheral businesses catering to producers of craft beverages. This includes people focusing their business on producing point of sale in smaller quantities. However, the trade off may be that they don’t have as large of a selection of shapes. For instance, what if you want a tacker shaped like your canned beer? A company like Portland’s Brewery Branding is already set up to make this style. But what if you’re looking for a bottle cap shaped tacker? Well, instead of paying your current vendor to build a mold for that and increasing your expense, seek out an alternative vendor that can already make these, like Cask Branding.
There are several factors that will come into play when deciding what kind of tacker is going to work for you and how your logo will work. Perhaps your logo is already in a simple 2 color format. This will certainly keep your pricing down. If you already use your logo in a square or round format, these are default shapes for many producers so you don’t have to pay for a custom cut.
If you’re feeling fancy though, you can always pay extra for a special design. Producers like Cask Branding can produce a small batch of custom tackers, however this will cost significantly more than a batch of 100 rectangle shaped tackers.
Don’t forget shipping! Tackers are pretty heavy in quantity. Your good deal could be eaten up with shipping costs if your vendor is thousands of miles away.
Wearable items; T-shirts, hats, hoodies, and such, are another way to use your branding to interact with your consumers and fans. It also creates walking billboards and a potential free brand ambassador. Your product range can vary from very inexpensive items to higher end items that retail for quite a bit. It all depends on your end goal. If you’re looking for good looking gear to sell out of your brewery or pub, you’ll want to ensure the quality matches your price point. Selling something for a high price tag that doesn’t last will disappoint your customer and may lead to diminished loyalty.
When it comes to wearables, you should ask what other benefits your producer has. For instance, Brewery Branding can actually be your online store portal from your website. Customers can visit your brewery/cidery website, go to your store and purchase gear which Brewery Branding will then box up and ship out. This allows you another way to reach customers without having to handle something you’re not set up to do easily.
Another factor to consider is your wholesaler, assuming you have one or plan on getting one. Many distributors will co-op such items as T-shirts and hats as part of the promotional budget for the brands they represent. When selecting your merchandise, consult with your brand manager. While they may be willing to co-op the price tag, they are probably very unwilling to do this if the price per unit is exorbitant.
If you’re looking to provide wearables to your wholesaler’s employees, find out what they like and ask for a size spread. Some wholesalers have a dress code requiring a collared shirt. You’ll want to invest in some polos or perhaps a work shirt style option. Others are very informal and like T-shirts. The one thing you’ll want to pay attention to is the color of your shirt. If drivers, merchandisers, and sales people are wearing the gear, they’ll be handling dirty cases and kegs. A white T-shirt is pretty much a one time use item in the beer world if you’re working with boxes and kegs. Invest in a dark shirt and your wholesaler partners will show off your branding throughout their work day. Remember to offer sizes for everyone - most companies offer a wide selection of sizes and women’s cuts.
Branding Beyond Your Brewery
Banners, tackers, and wearables are a way to extend your beverage’s branding arm beyond your own brewery. Making the right decisions can set loose a whole host of brand ambassadors that help share your story when you’re not around. Finding the right partners to create this merchandise will help your company put an important piece of the puzzle in place for the long term success of your brand.
If you liked reading this article, you may also like: Top 5 Considerations When Selecting Craft Beer Promotional Products.