February 20, 2012
Promotional flags are the new call to arms in the modern day battle of marketing. Commerce has replaced territory as the goal, and companies around the world are waging marketing war on each other to accumulate clientele and increase profits.
Branding is essential in today’s business world and marketing materials like promotional flags (used mostly in outdoor advertising) are the signifiers. It tells the customer where the product is and instructs them where to go. The flag is a common thing and most don’t even give a thought to its origins. With time it has evolved and has adapted to a staple in outdoor advertising.
Walk down any business district and you will notice a flurry of outdoor advertising. Banners, signs and promotional flags all vying for your attention, peddling their wares and attracting the attention of would-be consumers. The promotion flag is a commercial evolution from the traditional flag used by countries or the military.
The flag started out as a simple piece of fabric with and identifying symbol or colours on it. Most commonly it is rectangular, but there have been variations in shape and size to differentiate it from others. The flag is adorned with a specific graphic design which is a unique identifier to the source who displays it.
The first uses of the flag in military strategy and were a way for armies to coordinate their military strategies on the battlefield. It evolved into a way of identification and became a strong patriotic symbol for tribes and countries. The most common association with flags is with national identity. Each country has a flag with a unique design that is adopted as a national symbol. Some of the most recognisable flags are the Union Jack (Great Britain), the Star Spangled Banner (United States of America) and the tricolour (France).
Counties often have two versions of their flag. The civil version is the one used most commonly and identified with that country. You’ll see it used at state functions and sporting events. The war flag is, as the name states, a call to arms and used by the armed forces in times of conflict. The various national regiments like the navy, air force or army can all have separate flags.
As marketing and advertising grew promotional flags were adapted and become branding symbols. Outdoor events were the perfect venue for this new style of outdoor advertising and branded flags flew proudly, adverting a product or brand name. Sporting events have become a common place for promotional flags. Think of a Formula One race and the amount of Ferrari, McLaren or Renault flags being waved proudly around the track. Or at a football match where there is a clash or colours and symbols when one team face another on the field.
A key area that promotional flags are used as outdoor advertising is at mass participation sporting events. In South Africa big events like the Comrades Marathon, Argus Cycle Race or Midmar Mile all get big exposure. Sponsors and sports products have a big presence and set up massive promotional stalls. The best way to identify yourself and stand out amongst the melee is with a branded flag. They fly high as a beacon to create brand awareness and separate them from their competitors.
Promotional flags have become very important in branding, especially when it comes to outdoor advertising. As an identifier it has become a powerful marketing tool and become indispensible to companies, brand and organisations who want to fly their colours proudly.