This article is a guest post from Codrin Arsene, CEO of Digital Authority Partners, a current customer of Screen Print This. Digital Authority Partners has purchased custom T-shirts from Screen Print This for DAP, Healthcare Weekly and Hiresphere. In this article, Codrin Arsene reveals the benefits of ordering custom apparel for his businesses over the last three years.
Business shirts with a logo, company t-shirts with screen printing. We’ve all seen them. On the street, in public areas, at parties, at the club and everywhere in between.
People wearing polos, t-shirts, sweatshirts, formal shirts with the name of their corporate employer. People even wearing company t-shirts from companies they don’t work for or design shirts bearing logos of business competitors.
In fact, wearing branded company t-shirts is part of a new trend. Millennials, especially, have made wearing screen printed shirts a fashion. Whether subtle or prominent, simple or full of complex design, branded shirts are back in a big way.
But would you believe it if I told you that printing high-quality business shirts with a logo was one of the best decisions we’ve made as a company, leading to new customers, engaging conversations and better employee morale?
In a very short time, customized t-shirts have helped us reap at least 10 benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about how customized t-shirts and design shirts can support your brand, then this article is for you!
Why Digital Authority Partners chose to print company shirts & how we feel about the Screen Print This polos
Digital Authority Partners is a Chicago-based software consulting company working with various medium and large companies in the healthcare, government and financial technology space on their digital strategy, design and development projects. We help enterprises propel their digital initiatives into the future by assisting our customers to identify next generation ideas, technologies and platforms they should invest in if they want to stay ahead of their competition.
As you might guess while reading the paragraph above, we operate in a very crowded space.
We compete with literally thousands of other companies all over the US. That makes it difficult to stand out – for the purposes of attracting both new customers and future employees.
A few years back, in an effort to differentiate ourselves, we decided to buy customized t-shirts for our company.
Our original objective was simply to make our employees proud of what they were wearing. At first, we merely considered branded t-shirts to be a nice benefit. So when a new employee started working with us, each one was given a custom t-shirt, along with other branded products (pens, notepads, mugs, etc.) to celebrate their first day on the job.
I can now say without a shadow of a doubt that buying company t-shirts from Screen Print This was the best possible decision we ever made. It has led us to more business, happier employees and some other pleasant surprises (more below).
Before I talk about the specific benefits, I want to address my previous views on print shirts.
To be completely frank, I was originally quite skeptical of getting company shirts.
I owned about 10 print shirts from other companies. None of them were of good quality. The logos washed off in a fairly short time; colors bled and faded. Some had torn.
Without a doubt, the company t-shirts we bought from Screen Print This have exceeded ALL expectations — and they’ve made me a convert to company design shirts.
Let me be blunt: Screen Print This polos are simply the best quality I have ever seen; they are better than any polos I had previously bought for $60-$70. I’ve washed the Screen Print This polos hundreds of times so far with ZERO degradation. They don’t shrink and they’re wrinkle free — which I love, because I have zero time and would never, ever bother ironing them.
I can also tell you that I wear a Screen Print This polo EVERY single day of the year.
Now, I know I’m in the minority here and that most people don’t wear company shirts every day (more on that, later). Simply put, I think these shirts are amazing. And it’s not just because they look great and stand the test of time.
Let’s now talk about the 10 benefits that never would have crossed my mind before we received and distributed our customized polos, shirts and sweatshirts.
1. Inspires employee loyalty
This is the primary reason we ordered design shirts. We wanted employees to feel proud to work at our company and frequently wear their polos and customized t-shirts.
As it turns out, this isn’t just a nutty feeling or opinion we had. A comprehensive study conducted on 3,700 American businesses shows that employees proudly wear company apparel.
Here are some stats about the popularity of company t-shirts:
The print polos we ordered had a wonderful effect on all of our employees.
Two-thirds of our staff work from homes located all over the world. When the news broke that we were making company shirts, every single employee contacted the executive team and asked how they could get their hands on one of them.
We were incredibly happy to see this reaction! We were, of course, less happy about the UPS charges to ship 35 shirts to Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. But what else is to be done when your people are all over the globe?
2. Makes employees proud of the place they work
DAP Chicago staff at a company outing wearing our new custom branded apparel.
Every company in the world wants their employees to be proud of where they work. Pride leads to commitment and a sense of belonging within a specific organization. It leads to mutual trust among employees and happy feelings.
You can’t imagine the positive impact some custom printed t-shirts can have on employee morale until you see it in action.
We’ve ordered polos, t-shirts and hoodies from Screen Print This. We kept the polos simple — just the logo on the top right of the shirt and the company website on the right sleeve. On the back of the print t-shirts, we had our company vision screen printed.
Every single item we ordered was incredibly well-received. Both the print t-shirts and the hoodies disappeared virtually overnight.
The single most important reason this branded apparel was so popular? The quality. The fabric is thick and sturdy. They look sensational!
Another thing to note: While DAP chose branded apparel with a logo visible for all to see, we were impressed by the sheer number of branding options offered by Screen Print This. Much of what they recommended was far less obvious: black-on-black stitching of a company name, for example; a small logo inside the lining, cuff, or the back of the collar, barely noticeable to others.
This isn’t just regular screen printing; this is truly customizable apparel.
Bottom line: nothing was more popular than the screen printing shirts we ordered. Colors, style and quality all came together in such a way that everyone was happy.
Which leads to my next point.
3. Promotes your brand
The President of DAP wearing a DAP t-shirt on holiday in Utah.
When something like a custom shirt is done right, people will use it of their own accord, without management having to say anything about it.
When that happens, you gain an unintended benefit: people start promoting your brand. Some actively, some passively, but in the end the same effect is achieved - a great custom polo puts your brand out there.
This is something I know from personal experience.
As I said, I wear the Screen Print This polos every day. If you open my closet, you will see 7 polos, 7 shirts and 5 hoodies with the company name on each one. Every day, I pick a different one, and wear it to work or around town.
I cannot tell you how many times random people have asked me “So, what’s Digital Authority Partners?” simply because they looked at what I was wearing. This has happened at conferences and events, on the subway, or in line at Starbucks.
This is a very powerful marketing tool.
When random people ask you about the company where you work, they have an interest in learning more.
That can lead to new business opportunities or simply making new friends. Either way, one thing is clear: a business shirt with a company logo is useful because it makes people aware of your brand. Or, at least makes them curious enough to ask about it.
4. Business custom apparel turns everyone into a brand evangelist
Family friends of a DAP employee take a picture together after they received the branded apparel.
Promoting your brand is great! Still, another interesting thing happened when we gave customized business shirts to all our employees and to friends and family members. It turned them into brand evangelists, whether they thought about it or not.
After our employees started wearing our apparel, we saw an increase in questions from them about our brand. As random people started asking about what DAP did, our employees wanted to better learn about all the services we provide themselves.
To have company branded shirts make your employees suddenly become more interested in the company’s elevator pitch, just so they can be better prepared to answer questions… that is freaking awesome.
Almost over night, every employee became a salesperson for Digital Authority, even though most of them had no interest or desire to take on such a role in a formal way.
5. Free advertising
DAP/Hirepshere shirts used on a trip to Florida (and shared on social media, aka more free advertising!)
If you get remarkable company apparel like we did, you now get free advertising. Your branding doesn’t need to be pronounced, either; what people really notice is the quality.
Most importantly, you often get free advertising from places you would least expect.
We’ve already talked about our employees and how they came to us to get a better pitch about the company because of our screen-printed shirts.
That isn’t the end of the story, though. Other people started talking about our company.
Our employees told us how their partners, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and the friends to whom they gave our shirts, all wanted more information about the company. It can have the ultimate ripple effect.
I saw something similar with my own friends and colleagues. Recently, the CEO of a healthcare company took a selfie at work while wearing our polo, jokingly asking for a commission if any of his clients contact me because they saw him wearing our polo.
As it turned out, giving away some incredibly high-quality polos to other people was enough for them to be used in other business settings. The simple navy polos we bought have proven to be the most popular item, especially among men, who wear them regularly.
At least for Digital Authority Partners, we have never gotten so much free publicity.
Which brings me to my next point.
6. Gets more business
That’s right. We’ve actually gotten new business by wearing custom apparel with our logo.
I genuinely believe that the polos we have are not only of amazing quality but they also establish a professional business image. In other words, they look cool and appropriate for a digital agency. They don’t need to be loud to be noticed.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I’m not suggesting that we increased our revenue by some magical percentage by simply wearing company shirts.
However, we have gotten at least three contracts as a result of random people asking what Digital Authority Partners does upon seeing our company t-shirts.
Another effect was that at networking events, more people felt they could talk to us because our polos and print t-shirts were conversation starters. That sometimes led to either direct business or introductions to other people who needed our services.
7. Fosters a culture of equality
In many industries, supervisors and C-suite executives want to differentiate themselves from the rest of the staff by wearing nicer, better and fancier apparel (e.g., your typical $2,000 lawyer suit).
For some industries, especially in the professional services industry, that’s a standard practice.
For most of us, though, this isn’t needed. You don’t have to distinguish yourself via better clothing.
What happens when at least half your office wears the same polos or print t-shirts, including the entire executive team?
It’s simple. It fosters a culture of equality. We all look like we’re one big family. It’s similar to the idea of customized t-shirts or polos for family reunions. The message, especially in small businesses is: We are in this together.
And sometimes, the message doesn’t even need to be seen by non-employees. It can be on the inside of the shirt, so that no one but the employee knows they’re wearing a company shirt. But the effect remains the same.
It changes the conversation and shifts it towards collaboration and the sharing of ideas and strategies, versus visually emphasizing that someone is hierarchically superior to other team members.
8. Team spirit
Wearing the same custom apparel encourages team spirit. Why? It’s simple: it visually fosters a feeling of belonging.
Like when we have company outings at a local bar or restaurant. Everyone else looks different, but a specific group stands out.
Despite differences in apparel type, we all look like we're part of the same team. Because we are. The custom apparel we’ve purchased expresses that feeling of being together in a very visual and distinctive way.
9. Improves customer loyalty and remind your customers about your services over time
In addition to giving our staff polos and shirts, we’ve also sent them as holiday presents to our customers.
In any business, you always want to be top of mind for all your customers.
We have, of course, given other gifts to partners and customers over the years: coffee mugs, post-its and pens with the Digital Authority Partners logo. Nothing was more successful than the polos we sent last year.
The polos and print t-shirts we gave last year were the most well-received gifts we have ever sent. Almost every customer we sent them to contacted us with a thank-you message. Some took a picture of themselves proudly wearing our custom apparel. You could just tell that everyone was really happy to have received this gift.
It was an inexpensive exercise for us which contributed significantly to our brand awareness.
Sending company polos was also great for re-engaging with old customers. If you’re in consulting, you know that sometimes, it may take 6 months or more until you can re-engage with a client. Sending company polos reminded our previous clients that we are still around if they need us. Overall, it was a phenomenally successful exercise!
10. Effective polo/ t-shirt giveaways
Promotional branded products and the usage of these products after a conference ends.
Most business people have attended a tradeshow or industry conference at some point or another. When attending such events, there are many vendors advertising specific services. Some of them will give away various branded promotional products to prospective customers.
I recently read an interesting study revealing that the most popular promotional products people actually keep are t-shirts. Indeed, according to the Global Advertising Specialties Impression Studies Report: “T-shirts are the item that is most often owned by promotional product recipients in the U.S., followed by drinkware, writing instruments and outerwear. In fact, all promotional products have strong ownership, with one-quarter or more of recipients owning each.”
In other words, if you’re at a conference, and you give away 20 t-shirts, almost six out of 10 people will actually wear that tshirt after the conference has ended.
Now imagine that you bought superior quality t-shirts or polos, ones that pass the test of time. They have a great design. They’re distinctive, yet not overbearing. You could potentially have hundreds of people wearing your products in their daily lives (not just in the office) for years to come.
Don’t believe me? Check out these samples Screen Print This showed to DAP when we were in the process of choosing our apparel:
That’s right, the logo is printed inside the hoodie; not on the outside, not on the front. You could wear this hoodie in practically any casual situation and not feel as if you’re a walking billboard. The customization options are virtually endless, and we love it.
As you can tell from my writing, I’m a huge fan of Screen Print This. When they asked me to write about my experience with their products, I wholeheartedly agreed. That’s because this vendor has exceeded all expectations. I had expected the same flimsy quality of polos and shirts our other clients/ partners have seen. I honestly didn’t expect amazing quality when the price was so affordable.
When I tried on the first Screen Print This polo, I became a believer.
Whatever you’re looking for — be it quality, style, bold branding or subtle sophistication, Screen Print This can do it.
If you’re a business owner who was originally doubtful before reading this essay, I hope I convinced you to at least consider placing an order (with Screen Print This or another vendor). When that order arrives, you will likely become a convert, as I am now, seeing the many benefits of screen printing your company logo on polos/ shirts/ hoodies.
Extraordinary company t-shirts and polos are phenomenal when it comes to getting loyal employees, building a culture of equality and unity, getting new customers and improving your brand awareness. Having gotten so hyped writing about this topic, I’ll just go and place my next online order for some customized company design apparel!