Corporate Eye

Would Your Customers Wear Your Brand on a T-shirt?

According to an article in BrandWeek, ad agency David & Goliath surveyed pub-goers in California and asked them which liquor brand they would be willing to wear on a free T-shirt.  Jack Daniels and Corona took the top spots, but the interesting part of this unscientific study is how it can be applied to just about any industry.

Consider your own market.  If you surveyed people about your brand’s industry and asked them which brand they would wear on a T-shirt, what brand would they choose and why?  Would your brand be the one they’d be proud to display on their shirts or would they rather show off their loyalty or approval of a competitor’s brand?

I think this could be called the Brand T-Shirt test.  It’s certainly not scientific, but it can give you a great idea of where your brand is positioned in consumers’ minds – both your existing customers and non-customers. 

Try the Brand T-Shirt test on some other industries such as cars, jeans or coffee.  Which brand would you wear on a T-shirt in each of those industries and why?  What does that say about each brand? 

Naturally, results would vary based on the specific audience that responds to the Brand T-Shirt Test.  For example, I’m sure the answers David & Goliath received in the California liquor brand T-shirt test would be very different had the test been conducted in New York City or London or Paris, which needs to be taken into consideration, and of course, the results should be taken with a grain of salt given the unscientific methodology.  However, it’s a fun test and somewhat enlightening.

Would you wear a T-shirt with your brand on it? 

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Susan, what a great branding discussion! The willingness to wear a brand on your shirt certainly has implications of how you view your relationship with the brand. In fact, as I consider this, I can think of brands I respect enough to wear a shirt even though I may not use them. I would love to hear more insight on this and a Brand T-shirt contest sounds like a great idea! :-)

Thank you, Karen. I think the Brand T-shirt Test can really help get brand managers to start thinking out of the box about their brands in terms of finding ways to gain a stronger foothold in consumers’ minds. In other words, they can ask themselves, “What do we need to do to make our brand one that consumers would want to flaunt on a T-shirt?”

i love the implications of this “unscientific” study. People always have favored brands on almost everything they consume. The willingness to wear a shirt to these favored brands talk about a lot of things. A lot. Try asking the “why they do it”

Kin, you’re absolutely right. Sometimes “unscientific” studies can tell marketers a lot more than all the metrics in the world. It comes down to something I always talk about – common sense is still the best metric.

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