I would define what a hipster is, but that would just make them mad. Basically, they’re 20- and 30-somethings who reject mainstream culture, because it’s mainstream which creates a subculture that has become trendy which, by definition, is mainstream.
So there’s that.
They’re an appealing demographic and often characterized as one with deep pockets, so playing to their interests can be a solid business move. But you have to be careful, because if they think they’re being pandered to, they’ll drop you like Fun. after “We Are Young” was on Glee.
Here are some promotional products that are likely to appeal to the hipster crowd, since they’re pretty obscure, and you’ve probably never heard of them.
The customized rubberized sunglasses speak directly to hipsters. After all, when they’re riding their unicycle to get their midafternoon latte from a truck behind the thrift store, they won’t want to ruin their penciled-in eyebrows by squinting into the sun. The bright colors in the imprinted sunglasses may even match the streaks in their hair – double bonus! With a variety of colors, several people in a single circle of friends can wear different colors, so they’re not accused of following the crowd. Late afternoons chilling outside the bike repair shop will provide another round of brand impressions as people coming home from their actual jobs walk past.
Nothing says rejection of mainstream culture like toting around your vinyl in an imprinted messenger bag. With a large imprint area, this daily use item will give everyone at the Arcade Fire concert a brand impression. Perfectly sized to carry all the essentials including mustache wax, rolled up skinny jeans, shutter shades, and a Jack Kerouac novel, the customized Valore messenger bag is an antiestablishment essential. Remind them that the durable messenger bag means that they won’t need to use wasteful plastic to bring home produce from the farmer’s market.
When the shipment of the latest Bright Eyes album is delayed at the local record store, hipsters can squeeze away their worries with a personalized owl stress ball. With a generous imprint area that allows for plenty of room for a logo and contact information, the custom owl stress reliever helps them relax when there’s no PBR to be found. They also make pretty good hacky sack substitutes and are great companions for taking ironic photos in front of a Hooters. Move over, photobombs – owl invasions are going to be the next big thing in annoying strangers!
Something about personalized V-Neck shirts appeal to hipsters. Maybe it’s because it’s the 21st most commonly used letter which is pretty underground. Pair the customized V-neck shirts with distressed artwork or nebula pattern to complete the thrift store chic ensemble. For local indie bands (that haven’t sold out to Big Media yet), the V-neck shirts are perfect for fundraising, tour dates, and creating a line of limited edition collector’s tees that will have hipsters salivating. They’re great for layering over/under floral-patterned tank tops and hand-knitted shrugs and don’t interfere with stylish neckerchiefs.
When hipsters need to give their TOMS-clad feet a rest, they can set up an impromptu picnic in the middle of a park. The plaid pattern will be a beacon to others nearby that grilled tofu and tater tots are on the menu. As they relax with a post-meal Native Spirit, your embroidered logo on the custom picnic blanket will make a serene brand impression. They’ll watch the sunset as they quote Ginsburg and talk about all the freelance graphic designing they’re doing on their brand new MacBooks, all while providing your logo a front row seat.
If you’d love to snag hipsters in the wild, make sure you’re baiting your marketing trap with the most delectable promotional products to attract their interest. They’ll be dying to upload pictures taken with Instragram of their new swag to their Tumblr and be the first to tell their friends, “Yeah, I liked this company before they were cool.”
Are hipsters part of your target demographic? How do you market to an audience that rejects the very notion of being marketed to? Sound off in the comments below!
Until next time, keep expanding your brand!