How To Convert a Shirt Shortage into a Branding Opp

It’s no secret that inventory availability was a huge headache throughout 2021, and we all know the reasons why.

Nope…not gonna talk about that right now.

What we ARE going to discuss is how to maneuver around it.

The shirt shortage

T-shirts. Oh t-shirts.

Full size runs were non-existent. A red t-shirt style may have had XS, MD, and 3XL but no other sizes available. Navy blue may have SM and 2XL sizes available, but that was it.

And those were just the basic color palettes.

Fast forward to 2022 and t-shirt inventory is finally building up again. But broken size availability or not, it might actually be a good time to shake things up a bit within the marketing plan.

Mix it up with Limited Editions

Make no mistake: we recognize and appreciate brand guidelines, as they are the best way to ensure brand consistency throughout the company. But monotony needs a break every once in a while, and what better time than during an inventory crisis.

Find a unique color — think Seattle Seahawks “action green”, or Oregon Ducks bright yellow — one completely outside your typical branding. Better yet, pick more than one color and develop a colorful collection.

Example:

We worked with a client in the past whose brand colors were red and white. Their logo included a custom font, and brand guidelines did not allow changing that font because it would change the integrity of the brand (it’s a comfort thing and an awareness thing – happens a lot with top brands).

Our solution?
Provide multiple colored t-shirts and drop a white logo on the front. We even offered a white t-shirt with the same logo but in brand red, which just incurred a slight “ink color change” fee.

Why was this successful, you ask?

  • Maintained brand integrity by keeping the logo white or red
  • Offered brand colors as well as colors unique to the brand (the “wow” excitement factor)
  • Helps the recipient “customize” the colors for their personal use, including but not limited to:
    • National athletic team colors
    • Local ISD athletic team colors
    • Instant holiday theme: green for St Patrick’s Day, red for Valentine’s Day, orange for Halloween, etc
    • Supporting causes: honoring military, pink for breast cancer awareness, purple for Alzheimer’s/Crohn’s/domestic violence awareness, etc.

Not only will this shock and awe those who know the brand well enough to see that it’s different, it will generate a brain spark and possibly a little bit of excitement that it’s something NEW and DIFFERENT than they’ve ever seen before.

Trick the senses.

Call an audible.

Call it a limited edition and call it a day.

All great brands tell a story. We help you share it.

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