Last week I attended an event where I got another tote bag from a well-meaning sponsor. Aside from the fact that we now suffer from an influx of coffee mugs, water bottles, and toe bags (much like we did five years ago with frisbees and mousepads), I was struck by the incredible poor positioning by the company.
REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc) has a longstanding reputation in the Pacific Northwest as being a purveyor of contemporary outdoor equipment and merchandise. From your high-tech sleeping bag, nordic-rated tent, to even a campfire espresso machine, REI regularly impresses customers with the latest and greatest for the outdoor enthusiast. So WHY, please tell me WHY, did they choose to put their orginating date on their bag. AND WHY did they choose a tote bag to convey that message?
Marketers -- we have to stop being stupid and stop choosing the easy way. How does a generic tote-bag further the brand or position of REI? How does putting the only message on the bag your company's origination date reinforcing the image of contemporary -- and even high-tech -- equipment?
The next time your company has the privilege to reach out to a group of people when you sponsor their event, make that thing you give them useful and relevant to your brand. As well, ensure that it reinforces your position in the market as not only the best choice, but the ONLY REASONABLE choice.
-- David Kinard, PCM