24 Jun

The Business Behind the NHL Draft SWAG

Posted in News, NHL, Promotional Products on 24.06.16 by John Meloche

Yesterday we discussed the NBA draft and the extraordinary value that promotional products bring to their brand. Well the same can be said for tonight’s NHL Draft. Yesterday’s blog really focused on the sentimental value created by these items, today let’s really focus on what it’s all about… dollars and cents!!

While these promotional items at their core resonate a lasting memory, they also serve as lucrative business strategy. These items help capture all the feeling behind these events and as a result they become wanted, not only by players, but by everybody. Draft hats are a great example of this. Kids look up to these players and aspire to become hockey players themselves. These hats allow them to enhance their imagination and can help them recreate their dream to become a professional player. Not only that but these hats can be a reminder; these kids are working towards a common goal: to wear that hat for real. This is a highly effective marketing campaign as according to nhl.com, overall merchandise sales gained 15% of the league’s revenue. It’s cited to say “growth was driven by strong category sales in lifestyle apparel, headwear, etc.” These promotional items contribute to a lot of growth and sales, and will continue to do so as long as their reputation is maintained.

The draft is a special time, it’s a chance to get your career started and make your dreams come true. These small items are the quintessential symbols for hope, perseverance, and hard work; all the ingredients needed to make your dream a reality. Good luck to all the draftees, congratulations on being able to finally wear that hat.

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22 Jun

The Branding of Vegas

Posted in News, NHL, Promotional Products on 22.06.16 by John Meloche

With the NHL Awards taking place tonight and with the much anticipated announcement of an expansion franchise in Las Vegas, we’re digging deeper into the Vegas scene. What happens in Vegas is not staying in Vegas for this blog. Vegas is a hub for promotional products. More specifically, Casinos are a mecca for promotional products. These items have been used to to strengthen their brand amidst a deluge of competitors. With 25 casinos all being located in one concentrated area, you have to compete that much more to put your name out there and keep it there.

When you walk into a casino, you’re essentially surrounded by branding items. The t-shirts, the pens, the hats, everything. Casinos are masters of swag, and they have to be. How do you reinforce your brand in such a highly competitive city like Vegas? You put it everywhere. That’s what these promotional items do; they give the brand life in places where it would otherwise be non-existent. They allow the brand to flourish and grow by branching it out to places all over. That t-shirt you got from a Vegas casino serves a purpose. Not to clothe you, but to serve as a lasting memory of your time from Vegas. Since you’re not supposed to tell anyone about your time there (What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas), your shirt serves as a lasting link to the good times you had. Also it serves as a reminder that if you want to have fun in Vegas, you have to go back to that casino. A great promotional product serves as a memory, a memory that connects you to a certain place and binds you t
o a brand. So whether it’s the MGM Grand or John’s Auto, that hat you are wearing creates loyalty.

Behind all that Vegas flash and fun there are some serious business tactics. While it may not seem like it, promotional products contribute to a large part of a casino’s marketing strategy. While your stories should probably never leave Vegas, your Caesars t-shirt does.

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15 Jun

Mr. Hockey: A Legendary Brand

Posted in News, NHL on 15.06.16 by John Meloche

Today is truly a sad day as we mourn the loss of one of the greatest hockey players of all time. Gordie Howe was an unbelievable hockey player and an even better person. While people tend to focus on his playing career (deservedly so), they neglect the business acumen possessed by Mr. and Mrs. Hockey. Gordie and Colleen Howe built the Mr. Hockey brand together. Colleen was actually a very prominent figure in this process as she was Gordie’s business manager for decades. In doing so she was in charge of running their enterprises and charitable ventures.

Colleen was a business genius as this brand has become huge today. And what do you do when you want to preserve your brand? You trademark it. That’s right, in August 1993 the couple had trademarked “Gordie Howe,” and “Mr. Hockey,” with the US Patent and Trademark Office. “Mr. and Mrs. Hockey,” soon followed in 2005.

Even after his playing career, Gordie, with guidance from Colleen, took part in many business endeavors. Bill Shea from Crain’s Detroit Business went on to describe Mr. Hockey’s business proceedings as he once served as a “sports adviser for Canada’s now-defunct Eaton’s department store chain,” in addition to doing promotion work with a Detroit car company, co-owning a string of hockey schools, and even selling insurance at one time.

The Howes were truly an amazing couple. Their impeccable business skills has allowed them to not only preserve the name of one of the greatest hockey players of all time, but allow his legend to live forever. Goodbye Mr. and Mrs. Hockey, you will be missed.

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13 Jun

The Stanley Cup: A Great Marketing Campaign

Posted in News, NHL, Promotional Products on 13.06.16 by John Meloche

What a crazy series. This Stanley Cup final could’ve been one of the more exciting series in the past decade. A big congratulations goes out to the Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. They proved that hockey is in fact a team sport and that you need a strong team all round to win a championship. That being said, the Penguins weren’t the only team that won last night.

Did anyone happen to notice what all the Penguins players got right after the game ended? The Stanley Cup? No. The Conn Smythe Trophy? No. They all received their stylish and commemorative Stanley Cup Champions hats. And this is where the other winning team comes into the play. Those classy hats served as a final victory for the effort that is the NHL marketing campaign. Those hats serve a purpose: they add to the brand that is the NHL. Every Stanley Cup champion team receives their hats first, and every player on that team wears that hat during the celebration. What does that do? It becomes a part of the Stanley Cup image, a part of the celebration, and now a lucrative part of Stanley Cup tradition. Not only do these promotional items serve as an integral branding tool, but they also serve as a hot sell for the league. The epitome of such a situation occurred last year after the Blackhawks had won the cup for the third time in six years. Not only did all this Stanley Cup gear help the NHL but it also strengthened the brand of the Chicago Blackhawks. Danny Ecker of Crain’s Chicago Business mentions how the strengthening of the Chicago brand after that championship translated into “eye-popping apparel sales numbers.” These numbers also keep on increasing from final to final. Mr. Ecker also mentioned how sales of Stanley Cup Final gear more than doubled through the first week of sales this year, compared to the championships series before in 2014. This just expands on the growing popularity of these items and their effectiveness as branding tools.

So another congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the NHL for their strategic and advanced use of promotional items.

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