Standing out from the competition is among the biggest concerns of every business and nonprofit organization, from the largest corporation to the smallest charity. How much should an organization spend on marketing and how should those dollars be allocated?
While much attention is focused on websites, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media, never under-estimate the impact of more traditional ways of communicating with existing and potential customers or supporters.
In this age of information overload, one often repeated marketing rule, “Communicate seven times, seven ways” is especially important. An efficient, effective branding and marketing plan includes a good mix of online and in-person strategies and tactics.
Your Customers Love a Parade
Minnesotans love a parade, and why wouldn’t we? Parades and community festivals are a great way to pack as much
outdoor activity as possible into our fleeting summers.
Parades and community festivals are also a great place to communicate with your existing and potential customers: from successful business owners and busy moms to stylish teens and civic-minded voters. Even better, you can communicate your brand message seven different ways at one event.
Seven Ways to Communicate Your Message
Vinyl Banners can be carried by your staff or volunteers as they walk or drive the parade route. Get even more exposure by arriving early at your assigned spot in the parade lineup, displaying your signs, banners, t-shirts, vehicle graphics and rally fans for hundreds of spectators, parade organizers and others passing by. Keep your message short, memorable and easy to read, with professional attractive photos and artwork.
Coroplast Signs Ask relatives and friends who plan to claim some space along the spectator boulevard to stake a Coroplast sign with your logo and message in front of their lawn chairs. Post a few more at your spot in the lineup, to help your own group find you.
Car Magnets, truck wraps and vehicle lettering are a great way to advertise your message along the parade route and as you drive around the community in the months and years to come. From doors and tailgates to full vehicle wraps, custom sizes are available for every size and shape of vehicle.
Bumper Stickers can be used on parade vehicles and also handed out to staff and customers for their personal cars and trucks.
Decals can be handed out to spectators to wear on their clothing or bags, promotong your message to the others for the rest of the day. Rolls of decals are easy for your team to manage and hand out as they walk the parade route or before the parade starts.
T-Shirts are a must for every person who walks or drives in the parade on behalf of your organization. They’ll be worn proudly all summer, further spreading your message and brand recognition.
Rally Fans are inexpensive, easy to carry and a practical, useful item on a hot day.
Planning for Success
Staff and volunteers are critical to your success. You want to avoid showing up at the parade with just two or three people to represent you, while other groups include a dozen people or more. Follow these best practices for best results:
1. Recruit them. Start early to recruit employees, family, friends and volunteers. Ask those who commit to bring others. Employees’ children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews are often excited to participate in a parade.
2. Inform them. Communicate clearly the time and place to line up, the parade route and expected length of their commitment.
3. Appreciate them. Provide t-shirts with your logo and message for every participant. Ask for their sizes and order the shirts well in advance to avoid any delivery delays.
4. Prepare them. Don’t just walk in the parade carrying a few signs. Try colorful costumes, unique choreography, memorable music or other fun ideas such as roller blades or skateboards. Be sure to check the parade rules before planning to bring pets or anything that might be restricted for safety reasons.
4. Feed them. Bring a cooler full of bottled water and a bag of pre-packaged snacks like crackers, raisins and trail mix.
5. Share them. Take plenty of photos to share on your website and social media pages. Be sure to maximize the search engine optimization potential by attaching keywords to all Internet posts.
6. Thank them. Send a personalized thank you note to every participant along with a photo of themselves enjoying the event and each other.
ProSign Branding Solutions can help with everything from designing a logo, message and signs to producing and delivering a complete parade package. We have more than ten years experience participating in parades all across Dakota County. Call us today and put our experience to work for your company, campaign, church or nonprofit organization.
Stand out. Be Remembered.