What do pre-historic civilizations and thriving businesses have in common? Artifacts. They are our evidence of life. In some sense, the more artifacts one has, the more thriving one is. While we don’t recommend creating, say a website and brochure for a fund-raising event just because everyone else has one, we do recommend creating a few pieces of collateral, even if it’s a business card, sponsorship guide and a book of matches. These things are proof of your existence and get passed around from person to person, subtly building your brand awareness.

You want to pick the right elements to create and consider the information you need to broadcast to make the pieces most effective. But it is critical to the perception of your brand to have things with your brand emblazoned on it. I visited the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta last summer and was amazed at the number of promotional items Coke had put their logo on. Not just ads, but hundreds of odds and ends: calculators, pot holders, bottle openers, clocks, postcards, and on and on. What was remarkable to me was that Coca-Cola was only one product but they had countless pieces of promotional materials. A consumer can’t help but know that Coca-Cola is alive with all of that gear floating around out there.

Another axiom: the more remarkable the materials are, the more they are remembered. You can give someone kitsch or something wonderful. Be sure the quality of the item you choose to create is one that reinforces your brand – like the bottle opener for Coca-Cola would fit more in context than a Frisbee. So if you don’t have the promotional budget that Coke does, stick closer to the things that reinforce your message, your specialty or your differentiating features.

» Go on to Creating Artifacts, continued