Why even *I* buy logoed merch…

I was recently on a fun little road trip to Fredricksburg, Texas with my husband, sister and brother-in-law and nephew.  On the way home we discovered just 9 miles off the main highway was a little town you might have heard of: Luckenbach, Texas.  If you don’t know the song [I personally haven’t been able to get it out of my head since visiting] well you better go download it right now – it’s a classic.  And if you do know the song, you know ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain there… so why the heck wouldn’t you go?

We turned the car down the dusty highway, drove a few miles, missed the turn and flipped a u-turn to go back – it’s that small.  No stop light, just a little sign pointing you to the dance hall.  We spent about 20 minutes there snapping pictures, goofing around, had an impromptu arm wrestling contest [I won!] and then meandered in to the post office/gift shop to browse.

Amongst old Willie and Waylan CDs you can find koozies and key fobs, shot glasses and bottle openers – and of course the souvenir Tshirt.  I baulked at the $27 CD price tag, but happily laid down $20 each for my husband and I to have our shirts.  I sell Tshirts for a living, and of course I know the markup in any souvenir shop is high, but I didn’t wince at all at this cost. See, it’s not really a Tshirt I was buying at all.  If I want a Tshirt I’ll go to Target, or pull one from my sample bin.  What I wanted was a memento.  A touchstone.  A badge to say “I’ve been there!”   Every time I wear it I’ll think of that day – and when someone asks me about it, I’ll be able to tell them all the fun we had, how to get there, and to download the song before you get there to avoid that expensive CD.

These types of items, whether a souvenir shirt or a stress ball you got at a tradeshow, are all triggers to memories.  Memories of when you got it, who gave it to you; what that person or business means to you.  Luckenbach, Texas isn’t in the Tshirt business, and they’re not even in the music business, but they definitely are in the memory making business.  Don’t tell them, but I would have paid a lot more than $20 bucks for it.

Willie’s not working on your brand theme song?  Give me a jingle and we can brainstorm on how to make your brand a touchstone for your clients, too.