A bag is one of those rare promotional products that everyone can use. Plus, bags boast a massive amount of branding space, so they’re a no-brainer marketing medium for your clients. Get a primer on why bags are the perfect promo item for almost every client, and see how two top decorators and digitizers create get-noticed, multimedia styles.
4 Reasons Branded Bags Are Great Promo Items
A bag is a great promotional item to pitch to clients, since it’s an item everyone can use and will keep. Share these four reasons about why choosing a promotional bag is a smart marketing investment with your clients.
1. Decorated bags are affordable promo items—that make a big impact.
When you give employees, customers or prospects an imprinted bag, they’re more likely to use it every time they leave the house. In fact, a Sage World study found that bags generate more brand impressions than any other promo product in the U.S. The study also showed that 30% of consumers own at least one promotional bag with a logo on it. As more states move toward banning single-use plastic bags in retail locations, more of us will have a need for multiple imprinted bags, making now a great time to pitch bags.
“When you’re working with duffle bags for school sports teams, pick the largest decoratable area on the bag. If you’re doing embroidery, this allows easy access for your hoop. Plus, you can stitch a large design that gets noticed for team recognition.” Justin Armenta, JA Digitizing Studios
2. Decorated bags offer a lot of room for branding.
You can embroider or print your client’s logo, artwork or message in a large format on one or both sides of the bag, or on a large pocket or pouch. The large imprinting space is a big selling point for the bag, since you can imprint a tagline, catchphrase or longer branding message.
3. Decorated bags are environmentally friendly.
Most of the single-use plastic bags we use get thrown away every year, with Americans discarding 1 billion plastic bags into landfill. As more consumers and businesses become more conscious of this massive waste, logoed reusable bags are a great giveaway for customer gifts or event attendees. When companies give (or sell) a tote bag, duffle or backpack to people, they demonstrate their commitment to the environment—and give recipients a quick and easy way to reduce their carbon footprint. Plus, there are many bags made from organic or recycled materials to show your clients.
4. Decorated bags stick around for a long time.
Industry studies show custom decorated bags earn almost 6,000 brand impressions throughout their lifetime, making them one of the best branding choices. People keep useful promo products around, for at least a year or more. Recipients will likely use the bag daily or at least a few times a week, keeping brand recognition top of mind.
A ‘Big Bang’ Bag in the Streetwear Scene
Artem Ionitsa, president of Logo Unlimited, headed up his team’s efforts to decorate upscale travel bags for Monsieur le Chaos, a new streetwear fashion brand. “Most of the pieces are custom made, but they chose this particular high-quality wholesale bag to be part of the new collection,” he says. “The streetwear brand wanted subtle decoration, so we avoided embroidery and instead chose laser etching and debossing as the go-to techniques for the bag.”
Ionitsa’s team used a special Galvo CO2 Laser Machine for the brand name and other text, which he reports is significantly faster than plotter lasers he’s used. “Plus, it would be very inconvenient setting up a bag inside the plotter laser, with an hour of production time per bag,” he says. “With the Galvo, our turnaround time for each bag was less than 3 minutes.”
Logo Unlimited debossed the gun image using an emboss press. “Think of it as a big hydraulic heat press so that we can achieve your desired pressure,” Ionitsa says. “We used a custom-made magnesium die of the client artwork and applied it with 15 seconds of press time.”
The streetwear brand provided the unique “Bang Bang” artwork. “We’re the company that brings our clients’ ideas to life,” Ionitsa says. “I love this artwork, as it’s fun and unique and will help this new brand stand out in the streetwear market.”
A Cheer Duffel That’s the Cat’s Meow
A high school cheer squad wanted to showcase their school Wildcat mascot in a unique way, without using their traditional logo. “I created this multimedia take on the mascot design, focusing on the eye section of the face, with the “cats” nickname underneath,” says Justin Armenta, owner of JA Digitizing Studios (@jadigitizing) and moderator of The Embroidery Nerd Group on Facebook.
Armenta took a different approach to making the 44,885-stitch cheer team mascot stand out. “Typically, you see bold, solid-colored designs in school sports,” he says. “Instead, I added some artistic touches and used multimedia elements like glitter flake vinyl applique and 3-D puff embroidery for a more realistic and dynamic rendition of this 4.25”-by-7’wildcat mascot.”
He used STAHLS’ Glitter Flake Heat Transfer Vinyl for the eye applique. Three-dimensional puff embroidery added dimension and depth to the cat’s eyebrows and nose. Armenta used different stitch techniques to create a realistic fur texture and dimension.
If you want to embroider a realistic design, Armenta advises moving away from the typical flat fill stitch areas with simple bold satin borders and detail. Instead, try using several different stitch techniques and types to build layers of texture and dimension. For the wildcat design, he digitized the design in Wilcom EmbroideryStudio e4.5 with some specialty stitch options:
- The hand stitch effect came in handy on fill areas. “This randomizes the stitch pattern to look more rugged and uniform,” Armenta says.
- The randomized stipple stitches mimicked a fur texture when Armenta used the correct mid-density settings.
- The jagged edge effect randomized one or both edges of the stitched fur areas, giving them an unfinished, feathered look.
“Overall, I approached this design using lower density stitch patterns and layering to achieve texture, shading and a more dimensional look,” Armenta says.
The other key to producing a decorated bag that gets used and noticed is choosing the right spot to imprint. “When you’re working with duffel bags for school sports teams, pick the largest decoratable area on the bag,” Armenta says. “If you’re doing embroidery, this allows easy access for your hoop. Plus, you can stitch a large design that will get noticed for team recognition.”
5 Promo Bag Styles to Share
There are so many promo bag styles to choose from, so you can easily match the right style for each client’s event or usage, whether it’s heading to the gym, the game or the grocery store. Here are a few styles to keep on your radar:
Tote bags: With tote bags, the sky’s almost the limit. There are so many sizes, colors, materials and styles to choose from, to exactly match your clients’ and end-users’ needs. Tote bags are affordable and easy to customize on one or both sides. They’re great to hold welcome gifts for new employees, trade show attendees, or summer camp goers. Retail stores or restaurants can sell totes or give them away with a certain order dollar value. The bottom line: You can pair a tote bag with almost every client you serve.
“For a streetwear brand that wanted subtle decoration, we avoided embroidery and chose laser etching and debossing as the go-to techniques for the upscale bag.” Artem Ionitsa, Logo Unlimited
Shopping bags: These bag styles might be larger or have reinforced handles or bottoms. If you’re going with an eco-friendly theme, choose an organic material or color to better communicate your client’s sustainable message. These bags make great gifts, along with an enclosed letter about safeguarding the planet.
Duffel bags: These larger, heavy-duty bags, which hold a lot of gear, are great for frequent travelers and gym goers. School teams are another great candidate for decorated duffels. These bags create unity among team members and pack a big branding punch because of their large imprinting space.
Backpacks: Like duffels, backpacks are great for adults and young people on the go. These sturdy bags are great for branding, since they’ll stand the test of time and go everywhere with the recipients. With so many styles, colors and patterns to choose from, you can find the exact right fit for every client.
Cooler bags: This is another bag style that everyone can use, whether they’re headed out for a picnic, camping trip, the stands, the beach and beyond. Pair your client’s logo with good times, and recipients will have a favorable impression of the brand.
What to Do Today
Don’t forget this important industry statistic: 83% of people like receiving useful promo products like a bag, and are more likely to do business with the brand that gave the bag to them. Everyone can use a decorated bag, so you should include an appropriate bag style in every promo package you pitch to your clients. Plus, similar to a t-shirt, a bag offers huge real estate for your client’s logo, branding and message.
Laurie is part of the marketing team for the leading supplier in the industry, alphabroder. During her free time, Laurie likes to ride horses, sail and spend time with her husband and her two children. Reach her at Lprestine@alphabroder.com