The Sustaining Value of Physical Collateral

In the digital age, everything has switched to just a tap away on a phone screen. We have plane tickets on our phones, coupons are on there, and we can even store credit card information and pay without even touching a wallet. Digital is easy, close to any information you’re looking for is simply a few taps away. But to use a quote from DisneyPixar’s “The Incredibles” just a little out of context, “When everyone is special, no one is.” And while it has become vastly more convenient to use digital platforms, the art of physical collateral has become a distinguishing factor.

Having something small, easy, and inexpensive to create can make the difference between forgettable and memorable. An offering as simple as a sticker can make a huge difference, especially with the amount of viable locations in people’s everyday lives for stickers. I may be a little biased though, as a college student when three of five laptops I see are plastered with sticker collages.

Collateral can also come in other creative forms, like decks of playing cards or bottle openers, both of which are easy to produce, and in bulk are quite cheap. The more creative the item, the more likely it will stay in a consumer’s mind. Afterall, it’s much more effort to get rid of a physical item than it is to delete an email or swipe away a notification.

Stickers and handouts are far from the only marketing collateral forms that are feasible to create and use purely for promotions sake. The other day when on a cidery tour, I was given a simple paper coaster to keep. It was just a print of the logo on this little paper circle, but it was something I kept, and am currently using. Part of the coaster’s effectiveness was the nostalgia that it brought. I remember going to restaurants as a kid with the same paper coasters with the logo of whatever they had on tap, and the waitstaff would have a stockpile of them on their person, and slide them under each drink. This simple piece of collateral brought me back to feeling like a kid, and that’s what creates resonance for a company.