Small But Mighty: Custom Branded Patches Pack a Punch at Trade Shows

If you’ve ever attended a tradeshow, you know that pencils, coozies and lanyards are nothing new. In fact, these types of disposable branded items are so common that they’re often forgotten soon after they’re acquired.

And that’s the exact opposite effect of what branded materials are supposed to do.

As an agency, you need to design memorable materials that ultimately help your customers close deals and ramp up business. To make sure your clients stand out, here’s how they can incorporate custom patches into their next trade show booth.

Why Patches?

Ordinary promotional materials, like branded pens and mugs, have very little impact on people. In fact, Marvin Amberg of startup Caseable says that pushing these lackluster items on people can actually be frustrating for them. After all, how many pens do they really need? Carrying around an armful of junk isn’t exactly the most pleasant experience.

Instead, Nimlok Louisiana says brands should give away something unique and memorable. It should be something that’s relatively inexpensive to make, yet it should still be high quality.

Then, these items can be customized with a company logo to create customized, memorable giveaways that have an impact on attendees. Imagecraft Exhibits suggests thinking of things that are useful to people throughout the conference and even after they leave. So instead of ordinary pens, enter the next greatest trade show giveaway: custom patches. There are many types of custom clothing patches, including sew on, iron on, and peel to stick, but the right patch for your brand depends on your intentions.

Emphasize Your Brand

When planning for your booth and choosing swag, it’s important to remember that you’re marketing your brand, not your product. Post-Up Stand explains that trade shows aren’t necessarily about selling your services and closing deals. Rather, they’re about selling a mission, solution and story. When a customer resonates with what your brand has to say, they’ll be more likely to remember it when the time is right for them to purchase.

River North Business Association adds that it’s also important to be specific with your tradeshow booth. Concrete ideas and images are easier for people to grasp and recall later. Whether you choose to include a specific concrete word or an associated image, custom patches are a helpful way to reinforce the ideas set forth in your booth.


Show Your Logo

As you inform potential customers of your brand, having your logo visible is a must. AllBusiness recommends putting your logo everywhere possible: signs, display backgrounds, business cards, and promotional materials like patches. This repetition will make your logo seem familiar and approachable to customers.

James C. Gibson of Metro Exhibits adds that promotional materials that show your brand are an easy way to extend your booth’s reach. Patches are something that people put on their clothing, bags and other belongings. Here, they’re in a space where they attract attention from others. This creates a sense of intrigue, and other attendees of the trade show will wonder where the colorful, creative patches came from.

Make Your Patches Accessible to All

No matter how great your patch is, your booth is the very first point of contact between you and potential customers. Don’t make it a barrier.

Trade show expert Vern May knows it’s crucial to get visitors into your booth. Rather than putting a table between you and them, he says make people come in to get their free patch or pair of sunglasses. This opens up more opportunities for conversation while visitors browse your product offerings. Self-adhesive patches are a fun, easy way to get people wearing and talking about your brand. They can easily be stuck to clothing or bags during the trade show, helping your brand stand out from other booths who have sub-par giveaways.

Create a Theme

It’s important that your patches send the same message as the rest of your booth. One way to make your brand more memorable in people’s minds is to design your booth, patches and other giveaways around a certain theme. Perhaps you’ll be in an interesting city or at a popular annual event. Classic Exhibits Inc. suggests creating a relevant theme that your patches and other products can center around. This will make it easier to catch people’s eye and people will have something to associate your brand with.


Create Eye-Catching Designs

When designing booth elements, portable trade show maker Skyline Exhibits says that brands shouldn’t shy away from bold elements. Readable text, bright colors and flashy illustrations are all ways to draw positive attention to your corner of the show. It’s also important to consider quality versus quantity.

The same design sensibilities should be used when creating a custom patch.

This can be used to great advantage if you have fewer items in your booth. More space means you have more room to make elements, including patches, large, bright and eye-catching. For tips on which colors to include, Catalyst Exhibitions suggests opting for warmer colors. If a brand already uses reds, yellows, pinks or other colors nearby on the color wheel, these should be played up in patches and other items. If a brand is cleaner with white or grey elements, consider adding warm wood accents.

The strategy behind a bold booth and product design is simple: people come for the visual appeal of your booth theme, patches and swag, and leave with a memorable experience.

Step Away from the Booth

It’s easy to hide inside your booth and wait for customers to come to you. But, that isn’t the most effective way to attract customers. John Ruhlin reminds brand marketers to step away from their booth and mingle out on the tradeshow floor.

The great thing about patches is that they’re intriguing and different, and they provide a great conversation opener for people who are walking around and exploring booths. When you approach someone and engage in natural conversation, it also helps people see your brand as more human. And even if you don’t bring patches along, wearing them clearly on your shirt or a sleeve is a subtle but powerful way to make an impression.

Eco-Friendly and Evergreen

Another benefit of patches is that they’re a durable product with a long shelf life. Rather than small items or those made from plastic, patches have more value. Iron and sew-on patches are particularly valuable because they become a permanent logo emblazoned on an item of clothing. Patches are also more environmentally friendly because they last much longer than peel and stick patches. They don’t require packaging, so you can reduce the amount of plastic your brand uses and gives away.

This fits into the growing trend of virtual swag (like coupon codes and online brochures). As The Trade Group explains, virtual swag is a completely waste-free way to market your brand. If you still want to have one physical item for visitors to hold and take home, patches have longevity and quality that make them perfect for an eco-conscious booth.

Finding the right bag for your products can also help you reinforce your brand. The Better Software Company explains that if it’s an eco-friendly message you’re aiming for, biodegradable bags or reusable fabric totes can enhance your message further. Creating a bag that has the same color, logos or theme of your patches can also help reinforce your brand message. This is also an important element to consider if you’ll be handing out swag bags with multiple materials included.

Images by: Bruce J. Hadley, Purple Gillian, Petra

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