At the Mid Atlantic Marketing Summit in McLean, VA, I attended a number of interesting and information-filled sessions. I think one of my favorites was the second keynote of the morning. Sean Murphy, CustomInk’s Executive Vice President for eCommerce, explained how implementing a new mascot and logo changed everything for them.
CustomInk, an online t-shirt personalization company, and its “inkers” (their employees) didn’t anticipate the rapid success they would see just from adding Inky, the cartoon octopus and their “head t-shirt ambassador,” into their existing marketing strategy.
At first, Sean Murphy was shocked at what it would cost to develop Inky and add him to the CustomInk logo–$100k. But what got him over the sticker shock were the quick and intense returns they experienced after Inky started showing up.
Sean Murphy attributes much of the company’s success to their superior customer-service practices, and believes Inky is an extension of that. The company understands the emotional connection people have with personalized t-shirts and the problems an incomplete or delayed order can cause. CustomInk doesn’t want its customers to be the ones at the family reunion without matching t-shirts and goes out of the way to be sure that doesn’t happen.
As their customers are so integral to the company’s success, CustomInk felt the new logo had to encompass the reasons people love t-shirts, the company’s stellar reputation for customer service, and project a friendly and inviting image onto the brand. (Most CustomInk customers describe their experience as “Wow!”) And Inky was born.
Since “the octopus with the dashing smile” was added to the CustomInk logo, the brand has gained personality and CustomInk’s passion for delivering and manufacturing great t-shirts has been reignited. During his presentation, Sean Murphy showed the sales growth of the company before the logo change and after Inky made his mark. The differences were tremendous.
Sean Murphy also explained that company morale improved immensely with the introduction of Inky—ultimately helping operations run more smoothly, with an increased confidence in the new brand and company identity.
Customers may see Inky on the inside of a CustomInk t-shirt but his presence is not limited to fabric. He also comes in sticker form, attaching himself to laptops, water bottles, car bumpers and even people’s foreheads! As CustomInk continues to grow, we can expect to see more and more of Inky, even in the most unexpected of places.
You may not initially realize the value of a re-branding strategy, especially one with a price tag of $100,000. But Sean Murphy’s visually engaging presentation gave the audience insight into investing in their own brand—the often overlooked but integral part of every company’s foundation.