How Dunkin’ Donuts, MAGA Hats, and Marathon Runners Are Driving Promotional Product Sales

I trained for over a year, fought through injuries, and suffered for 4 hours to finish my first marathon. What am I looking for after I finish? Well, donuts and beer to be honest, but then I want a handful of hard-earned 26.2 mile stickers to slap on my car, water bottle, and computer. I might as well grab a 26.2 mile hat, shirt, and backpack as well. I need everyone to know I’m now part of the marathon club. 

That 26.2 mile decal is more than a sticker, it’s a statement about who I am, what I value, and what I’ve accomplished. It’s also an opportunity for savvy marketers who understand the power of what we call statement pieces. 

This marathon example is just the tip of the so-called iceberg. Statement pieces come in all shapes and sizes. These are the products that make a statement by supporting a specific community, cause, political opinion, social movement, or lovable brand. There are plenty of catchphrases that support various topics. Politics, race, athletic achievements, and donuts are just a few that pop to mind. The one thing all statement pieces have in common is declaring what community you belong to and support. 

We’re going to focus on a couple of examples in this article. Our purpose today is not to advocate for any one political position or social movement. We’re spotlighting the power of a statement piece when executed properly. Keep reading to learn how today’s social climate is ripe with opportunity for logo’d products and how you can use these pieces to bolster a community and boost sales.

Make Revenue Great Again

Timing is important when picking and using statement pieces. With the 2020 election still months away, there’s plenty of time for you to hop on this hot topic. However, you’ll want to start promoting these events two to three months prior to the actual date to give buyers ample time to order.

Products like MAGA hats or “I’m With Her” mugs and stickers popped up everywhere in the leadup to the 2016 election. There’s no doubt this election will be filled with catchphrases and political products.  Keep an eye out for trending hashtags or repeated phrases during this upcoming election, and consider what trends may rise out of their use. 

Whether you love President Trump or hate him, you can’t ignore his red MAGA hats. Unless you’ve been living on a deserted island with Tom Hanks for the last four years, you know what a Make America Great Again hat looks like. People who support Donald Trump proudly wear their bright red hats. People who don’t like Donald Trump wouldn’t be caught dead in one. 

MAGA hats ignited a trend many companies rode to nice revenue boosts. ‘Make America Great Again’ went from campaign slogan to product catalyst. Parodies of this phrase have popped up across our society in all different forms including (“Make America Gay Again”), (“Make America Deep Again”), and (Make America Hippy Again). 

In the promotional products industry, these politically and socially charged topics and catchphrases can be leveraged into trendy statement pieces with a little creativity. If nothing else, Trump’s hat is effective messaging that can be tweaked to voice support for a different cause or organization. Keep this in mind, and see if there are ways to adjust other trendy political catchphrases that start popping up as we approach the 2020 election. 

You Don’t Have To Go Political 

Afraid your favorite aunt may unfriend you on Facebook for selling products that support the wrong side? No worries, you don’t have to pick a side on a sensitive topic in order to attract a niche market of people and create that sense of community. 

As humans, we have a deep need to belong and be accepted by members of a group. Our drive to belong is a strong motivator and influences our behavior. Use this psychological fact to help your customers create their own community. 

Dunkin’ Donuts has mastered this approach. More precisely, Dunkin’ Donuts (with a creative execution boost from, BAMKO) has used timely pop-up digital stores and creative promotional products to help foster an army of donut lovers. Their success can be traced to three key factors.

  1. Empathy – Dunkin’ Donuts understands their customer. They don’t sell products their executives love, they sell products their customers love. There’s often a drastic difference between the two. Help your customers identify what their customers want, not what they want. I seriously doubt Dunkin’ executives are rocking the one-piece pajamas that were in their pop-up shop, but that brings us to point #2. 
  2. Creativity – They didn’t open the shop and sell the same things every other brand sells in their company store. Instead of predictable products, Dunkin’ came out swinging with guitars, one-piece pajamas, scented wrapping paper, and lunchboxes. Creative concepts mixed with thoughtful design execution lead to products that have a retail appeal.
  3. Urgency – The final ingredient is one anybody can use. Dunkin’ understands that limited supply means more demand. Dunkin’s store doesn’t stay open indefinitely. They open it for seasons and roll out limited quantities of seasonally appropriate merchandise. Limited quantity combined with limited time translates into an overwhelming sense of urgency for those one-piece pajamas you never knew you had to have.

Understanding these principles is an important starting point when determining your marketing strategy and answering the question, ‘What do people (and more specifically, what do my buyers) want?’ In the promotional products industry, tapping into the human desire to belong to a group may be the spark your sales need.

Go Make A Statement

Statement pieces are an opportunity to start conversations, engage with a large group of people, and create a community around a brand. With a little empathy, creativity, and urgency the limits of what you can do with statement pieces is nearly endless.

Need a little friendly reminder to keep your marketing and sales on track with these upcoming political events? Sign up for Trends by ZOOMcatalog, where we remind you exactly what to promote and when each month. We’ll make sure you don’t miss any of these opportunities to sell more promotional products.