HOW TO PICK A HAT

  • Jun 25, 2018

How can you use hats to drive performance?
The short answer is, “give it some thought.”
Four examples will illustrate how to think about your hats.
 
Example 1) a group of executives from around the country were gathering to do some work for a non-profit organization and it’s employees in their industry.  The group’s purpose is to encourage new talent.
We selected hats they would wear while working as a team.  Everyone, executives, employees and volunteers roll up their sleeves and work together in teams.  Hats are a common item to be worn in this environment.  Hats were chosen to help make everyone feel like a member of the team instantly.  Subtly it conveyed to everyone that they were team members, just like everyone else. 
Which hat to use from among the large selection of styles?  We chose a branded, top quality cap brand so that executives would be as inclined to wear them as everyone else and so they would take them home to wear. Then, we selected several styles that would be very slightly faded, rather than looking brand new. This would make them look like a working team right from the start.
Then we took the styles under consideration to people at the non-profit.  We used the cap that was chosen by the people who would be wearing the caps.
The program is a great success.  The cap is a team builder, creating a sense of belonging.  It also is an outward symbol of participation and support for the project in press interviews and upon return home.
 
Example 2) A manufacturers product is installed by re-sellers in the field.  The installers are independent and can specify the product and manufacturer of their choice.  The manufacturer was looking for a way to stay top of mind (No pun intended) and gently encourage the specification of their product.  It was decided that one of the ways to reach the installers was to include something for them in the installation package.
Tools would not work because installers already have everything they need.  Hats provided a one size fits all solution in an appropriate price point with lots of room for logo and messages.  Once again, the target audience was considered when selecting style.  The installers usually have a hat, but it is dirty and well worn.  The new hat is appreciated.  Initially the hats were a surprise.  Now the installers look forward to receiving the hat.
A nice extra, it turns out that installers actually talk to one another, which generates new business from other installers.
 
Example 3) A well known promotional strategist (With a head too big for his own hat) uses hats when he has speaking engagements that require audience interaction. 
He starts with a story: “This is the ASA thinking cap.  Many clients tell me they come up with the most creative money making promotions while wearing it.”  Then audience members are given a hat when they participate.  It is self-serving in a humorous way.  It gets a laugh and more importantly people respond with enthusiasm to win one of the prized hats.  I’ve seen that ball cap perched on top of executives who from the neck down are dressed in formal business attire, I’ve seen it prominently displayed on book shelves in their offices and one texted me a referral from the golf course while wearing it.  One actually told me he wears it because it works “to make me think creatively”. 
With minor changes the cap could be used at sales meetings and education conferences.
 
Example 4) You could select to give a high-end name brand gift hat that co-brands your logo with another brand such as Nike’.  Which brand you choose should be determined by considering the purpose and your recipients.
 
Whatever your objective, you can follow this formula.
  1. Decide what you want to accomplish.
  2. Determine what people need to think, feel and do to help you achieve your goal.
  3. Select a theme or overriding idea. (Brand the organization event or project)
  4. Select an item that does at least one of two things. A) meet recipient needs and desires, B) promotes the theme or brand.  If you can do both it is a bonus.
  5. Consider how it will be delivered.  (Logistics, packaging and story impact)
Each use above had a major purpose but generated side benefits as well:
  • Team building (Example 1)
  • Introduce humor to spur participation and acceptance. (Example 3)
  • Recognition of contribution (Example 1 and 3)
  • Public awareness Example (1, 2, 3) (note: it is targeted awareness)
  • Emotional belonging to a cause (Example 1)
  • Business generation (Example 2 and 3)
  • Gift and recognition value (Example 1 and 4)
  • Incentive to act (example 2 and 3) 
Selecting the right hat to promote your organization and advance your objectives is a bit more than picking a hat you like.
 
One last word: Have fun when you create a promotion.  If you are going to work with a promotional products strategist, pick someone who understands or is willing to learn what you really want to accomplish and what will create emotion and motivate action from the right people. It could be a hat but often is something else.
 Bruce Reissaus, MAS