The Power of the $7 Pen

  Our company has a beautifully branded pen. It’s top-quality, too…the kind that fits perfectly between your fingers and writes with complete ease. These pens cost about $7 each. That might sound like a small price, but it’s a pretty steep one in the world of writing utensils. People ask me all the time, “Why do you pay so much for a pen that you’re going to give away?” It’s a running joke in the office, but everyone knows the $7 pen has a bit of magic to it. Here’s why we pay 10, even 20 times more than we need to for our company pens.  Branding Beyond Yourself In any form of branding, you’re making specific and strategic decisions about how you want to portray yourself—but that’s just the beginning. I remind clients all the time that branding isn’t about you, it’s about the people you’re trying to reach and how you make them feel when they interact with you. Enabling Self-Expression Let’s take this idea of “branding beyond yourself” a step further. Not only are you intending to make people feel a certain way about you, you’re also empowering them to feel a certain way about themselves. These are the self-expressive benefits of branding, and they’re the underlying drivers behind customer loyalty. People buy their car and clothes based on what their choice of brand says about them. They develop their whole personal world of products and services based on what their choice of brand says about them. These aren’t just purchases they’re making; they’re connections.  Making People Feel Valued There’s something selfless about a firm handshake with eye contact. The gesture says, “You matter to me.” For us, the $7 pen becomes the equivalent of that handshake. We don’t invest in a really nice pen because it makes us feel like we can afford nice things; we do it because it makes others feel like they deserve nice things. If someone naturally feels that way already in their everyday life, we’re rising to their aura. If they don’t, we’re lifting them up to that echelon. Creating a Lasting Impact As a brand, every interaction you make with your audience is deeper than you realize. I don’t say that to impart a feeling of pressure, but instead, a sense of opportunity. The pen might be a somewhat silly example, but it’s a very real representation of how branding boils down to the little things. The question now becomes: What is your brand’s $7 pen? Be thoughtful, authentic and realistic. You don’t have to make a big impression to make a memorable impact.