Is embroidered logo apparel advertising?

l420-polo-shirtMany people seem to think that wearing or purchasing some kind of logo embroidered apparel like a polo shirt, cap or jacket is advertising for that company.  That idea stands to reason.

Some believe any exposure of a logo or brand to others is a form of advertising for that company.  In a very simplistic way that is true.  But if you look at the definition of advertising, is wearing logo embroidered apparel really advertising?

Advertising, by definition, is to “describe or draw attention to (a product, service, or event) in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance.”  If one only looks at the first part of that definition, the answer to the question would be, “Yes.”   But take a look at the last 5 words, in that definition- “to promote sales or attendance.”

If advertising is meant “to promote sales or attendance” that means advertising has a specific call to action in the message or advertisement.  The advertiser is encouraging the public to make a purchase, visit a website or store, call today, etc.  Advertising wants and demands someone to do something.

When was the last time you saw a custom logo embroidered polo shirt that said, “Call today and save 30%!” embroidered on the left chest?  That is a call to action that  fits into the definition of advertising. Even placing a phone number under a logo would suggest a call to action and be considered advertising.

When you think of something as advertising, it demands that you apply certain conditions or expectations.  You expect to be able to calculate a return and thereby justify the expense. For example, you expect some level of return on the investment.  You expect to make a sale.

When viewed in that context, calculating a return on investment can be nearly impossible.

k420So if logo embroidered apparel is not advertising, what is it?

The real purpose of logo embroidered apparel is that of branding.  Branding is defined as the process of building awareness for a company, organization or product.

One of the outcomes of branding is to create a top-of-mind awareness of a product, service or company.  The idea is that when a potential customer needs that product or service, they will think first of that specific company.  Staying top-of-mind is important so when the time comes to make a purchase decision, the potential customer thinks first of that company.

So the answer to the question “Is embroidered logo apparel advertising” is really “yes and no”.  In a very simplistic definition of advertising the answer is yes.  But really, wearing logo embroidered apparel is not advertising it is about brand building.

So don’t make the mistake in thinking that wearing custom logo embroidered apparel is going to drive a specific and calculable return on investment.  And it shouldn’t.  However, you can expect many other things including better top-of-mind awareness, as well as a building of brand and reputation in the mind of potential customers.

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