Nonprofit Branding: Cost, Impact and Use of Tote Bags

We’re identifying products that work for you . We’re also reporting on how broadly they display your logo, their cost per impression compared with other media, their ability to enhance affinity. And more.

The last two posts reported on imprinted T-shirts and on logo-mug.

In this post – #3 of the series – we’ll report on tote-bags.

There is good news plus a couple surprises in this product category.

Keep in mind that the tote bag category covers a huge range of products, styles and price-points. At one end are $550 leather backpacks with brass fittings and debossed logos. At the other end are scads of inexpensive bags, some of which we refuse to supply to our clients because of quality deficits.

But at the low-cost end there is also an exciting new category. The VisABILITY staff strongly endorses bags made from recycled water bottles. WATER BOTTLES! More about these products later in this post…..

Examples of Fully and Partially Customized recycled grocery totes we supplied to (from left) Lyons, Colorado Chamber of Commerce, KCRW-FM, A Prairie Home Companion and NPR’s Car Talk.

DATA: One way to measure the value and impact of a branding product is the number of impressions it generates – the number of times your logo catches a pair of eyeballs.

When evaluated by impressions, a tote bag is the most productive imprinted product available. During its average 7 month lifespan an average tote bag will expose your logo to 7224 people.  That makes tote bags 2.4 times more productive than the next highest producer of impressions – caps and headgear.

Let’s compare return on investment. An average $10 tote bag’s cost per impression is $00.001 – one hundredth of a penny! An impression generated by radio spot costs 58 times more per impression, a cable TV impression costs 5 times more and a newspaper impression costs 29 times more. The only cost per impression remotely close to that of a tote bag is an internet ad– which is 3 times more expensive.

When considering the above, remember that internet, print and broadcast ads are momentary. On the other hand, an average tote bag is schlepped several times a month for over half a year. And that gets us to another measure of impact – frequency. (It refers to frequency  of impression.)

Your constituent, by using the bag several times a month, is not only generating impressions, he or she is exposed to a series of repeat impressions. Here is your tote bag bonus: that frequency enhances his or her affinity for your mission.

So, a tote bag is not only the most effective, least expensive method to put your organization’s identity in front of the public, it is a great way to build a stronger bond with the supporter who carries the bag.

OBSERVATIONS: Enough about the numbers. Let’s get to the fun stuff.

Price/Quality Range: Earlier I mentioned the high-end $550 logo-debossed leather bags. Don’t be alarmed. They exist, but they are not a factor in our lives and probably won’t be in yours.

The important thing to understand is that tote bags are available in an enormous range of price, quality and function. Whatever you want IS available, even if your vendor has to have it custom-made to your specifications. That said, the average bag used by our clients probably costs about $8 and I suspect we never supplied one that cost more than $30.

Quality/Satisfaction Relationship: Quality of fabric, engineering, assembly and functionality determine perceived value and pride of ownership. Inexpensive totes are (pardon me) a mixed bag.

Be careful of the low-end options. There are so many ways to cut costs when producing fabric or assembling a bag. Each cost-savings trick contributes to bag failure and owner disappointment. The general rule is that as you move down the price scale you also move down the quality scale until you end up with a bag that undermines your brand in the eyes of the person it is supposed to satisfy. But there is one great option.

Great Low Cost Eco-Option: LARGE FULL-CUSTOM ORDERS: In quantities above 5,000 and at a ridiculously low price, you can order eco-friendly bags with your custom full-color imprint covering all surfaces – even the bottom. Each of these is made from three recycled water bottles! SMALL SEMI-CUSTOM ORDERS: At quantities as low as 100 you can purchase recycled bags imprinted with a generic production design that will leave room for a custom-imprint of your logo.

There is magic in these inexpensive recycled bags. (Examples in the photo above.) Seldom does a product so perfectly correspond with emerging public values and preferences as this. People are now so aware of the importance of reusing products, rather than throwing them away. As a result eco-friendly bags have become a powerful way for values-conscious nonprofits to display and enhance their brand.

Backpacks: Models made to sell by price are unsatisfactory. Higher price ones are great. But the backpack may be a style that has hit its peak and is slowly falling out of favor.

Unisex-Bags: The tradition of the woman’s purse influences both bag design and bag use. Many guys want absolutely no part of a tote they associate with feminine gear. It appears intensity of that aversion is diminishing with the appearance of the Man Bag, also known as a “Murse”. (Say it with me….”MURSE”. I am not making this up.)

The reason for this new and unlikely shift is that notebooks, iPads, Kindles, gym gear, car keys and assorted other items migrate so effectively to a carrying and storage unit that men have never had before. Besides, Indiana Jones carried one!

So, if you want to identify a tote bag that will be appreciated and used by both men and women, consider features like these: metal fittings; wide zippers and shoulder straps, dark colors, styling that emulates the functionality of military or backpacking gear or the styling of a messenger bag or the bare bones functionality of a shopping bag. The right choice can be as appropriate to men as it is to women.

A good bag – well designed, well made and carrying a great logo – will provide more visibility for your brand in the marketplace – and more satisfaction in the life of your supporter – than nearly any other branding product.

One thought on “Nonprofit Branding: Cost, Impact and Use of Tote Bags

  1. Pingback: WWW.JUSTINFOHUB.COM | Custom Tote Bags

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