NONPROFIT BRANDING: When Pennies Count, Dimes Rule. Then You’re In Trouble!

Success and Failure Green Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.By using production shortcuts, almost any imprinted promotional product, or a close copy, can be made for a lower cost. That means almost any product, or a close copy, can be sold for a lower price.  In an effort to save a few hundred dollars on an order of logo-products, responsibility for budget sometimes trumps responsibility for brand integrity. 

That puts the brand at risk. Saving money can be very expensive for a nonprofit that depends on the kindness of strangers. This is what you need to know….

This post is about production shortcuts and resisting temptation.

We can agree on two things: You are ethically responsible for protecting the brand and enhancing public affinity for the mission and the programming represented by that brand. Equally important – you are also ethically responsible for conservative management of financial resources.

These two responsibilities can spawn a devilish conflict when ordering imprinted promotional products for station marketing and fundraising! Here is the fact vendors of imprinted branding products don’t often tell civilians:

…there are plenty of ways factories can save a penny here and a dime there. Just about every promotional product is available in apparently similar versions, but at different price points and at different quality levels.

That fact causes blunders to be made in the name of cost-savings. Understand the relationship between production shortcuts and the price/quality equation. Here’s a simple example of the way things work:

Assume you want 240 forest green T-shirts imprinted with your red and white logo. The vendor may ask you to choose between a shirt made of standard cotton yarn, ring-spun yarn or a natural fiber/poly blend. The blank shirt may be made with different levels of reinforcement at stress-points and in the collar. At the seams there may be wide variance in the number of stitches per inch. The shirt may be made of fabric Senior Woman Looking Over a Wall - Isolatedwhich weighs 4.5 or  6.5 ounces a yard – or any weight in between. Sizing may be consistent – or not. Quality control at the end of the assembly line may be rigid – or lax. The cost of a blank, un-imprinted shirt, is determined by these factors.

Smiley Lady points to this truth: in the beginning, those inferior blank shirts may look just about the same as the higher-quality ones. But in a few weeks differences in comfort and endurance will appear. Soon shirts with fine logos end up washing the family car. Production shortcuts reduce product quality, product durability and owner satisfaction! This applies to any product, whether made in the USA or off-shore.

That’s just the product. Now let’s talk about your red and white logo. It may be imprinted on your shirt by a labor-intensive small hand press. It may be imprinted on a large automated 12 head press. Differences are possible in the caliber of the screen grid and in the rigidity of the frame that contains each screen. Those variances create variances in ink coverage, ink penetration and permanence of the imprint.  And they will affect cost. 

When imprinting your 2-color logo on the dark shirt you chose, the screen-printer will make choices regarding underlayment, butt-registration or edge overlap, ink selection and more. Just as construction and fabric specifications affect wear and comfort of the shirt itself, these factors will affect the durability and quality of the imprint on that shirt. These factors, too, will affect cost.

Variables in labor and materials determine both production cost and purchase price of any branding-product. Those variables are hidden or barely noticeable. They determine quality, durability and performance.  In time the result is owner’s level of satisfaction with the product that carries your logo.

BOTTOM LINE: The basic cost/quality dynamic is this: when pennies count, dimes rule. When dimes run the show, quality may be sacrificed to price

You want your constituents to be proud to own and flaunt a product with your logo. When you order imprinted branding products, don’t let budget pressure cause you to inadvertently undermine the value of your brand. Budget control is valuable. Constituent affinity is priceless!

2 thoughts on “NONPROFIT BRANDING: When Pennies Count, Dimes Rule. Then You’re In Trouble!

  1. Pingback: FUNDRAISING PREMIUMS: How & Why | nonprofit branding blog

  2. Pingback: How To Measure Media Cost & Results When Promoting Your Nonprofit (TV, Newspaper, Billboards, Branding Products, etc.) | Nonprofit Branding Blog

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