Consider Selling Stories...
Promotional merchandise create memories 10/15/2019 | Cliff Quicksell, MAS+, Cliff's Notes
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My kids think I’m crazy, some of my peers too, but for different reasons. As my children were growing up, they constantly gave me grief about the number of photos I took during our adventures – our stories. My children, Cait and Alex, were astounded recently and the number of photos I had on my computer. Back in the day they thought I was nuts, but as they looked through the photos, they were happy to see those old memories.

A few weeks later, I was cleaning up my office and I found a small group of caps; worn, tattered, each had a specific memory, unique event, a special place at a special time.

The same day, I was perusing my many digital folders of photos, and I came across photos that had matched the caps I found in my closet. I remembered when and why I purchased the caps, and most importantly, the many memories I was reminded of. 

My daughter was a lacrosse player in college, she was very good. I remember sitting in the rain wearing my W&J cap, watching her games and cheering her on for hundreds of hours – as all parents do.  That cap, now frayed, worn, broken back strap, brought back so many exciting memories. I remember the day I purchased it, and why – I wanted to represent and support her during her games.

My son Alex also played lacrosse and soccer, all through high school and college, and like my daughter Cait, he was a talented athlete. Once again, in support of him and his team, I purchased my Catholic University lacrosse gear. Every game, rain, wind, snow, and blistering heat, my wife donned our gear. The cap, jackets etc., tell the story, win or lose, great stories, great memories.

A few years back, I along with three other Affiliates from iPROMOTEu, were invited by a supplier and my dear friend, Ken Siedl, on a shark fishing trip in Ocean City, MD. While I knew John Ainsley well, the other two, Ken George and Ralston Wells, were names but only that at the time. We were picked up at the airport and ferried to Ocean City, and as most promotional products company’s do a very cool bag of relevant samples were handed to each of us: a Ful© back pack, polo shirt, and embroidered Adidas© cap all emblazoned with a “2013 Shark Fishing, Ocean City, MD”. During those next few days, we all got to know each other on a deeper level, we connected and bonded, it was amazing. To this day, some have moved on, but the two Ken’s and John and I still stay in touch, we still tell stories about that day – we have the memories.

Another great memory came when my girlfriend, now wife Maria, spent of our first date at the White Sox Opener in Chicago. The smiles, laughs, cheering – I still feel the sensation as I write this. I see this picture, remember how darn cute I believe Maria looks in a cap – SOX™ cap – to this day.  

Every time I see these logoed items, they bring back amazing memories and the stories behind the memories will last forever. Look around, look at the branded merchandise you have, when did you receive the product, what was the event, what do you remember? You see, promotional merchandise is more than trinkets and trash, it’s the stuff that create memories, that tell stories.

Today, I still wear the products I purchased or was given over the years. When I put on my W&J or Catholic University Lacrosse cap, I think about the amazing times I spent with my children; it brings me right back to the times when Maria and I were cheering in the stands. The memories I have with the two Ken’s, John, and Ralston will forever be with me. 

As you develop your sales-pitch, consider adding the idea of how promotional merchandise – regardless of the product – create memories. Sell the story, tell my story, or better yet, tell your own. Stories sell, they are sticky – sell stories.

Until next month, continued good selling, and sell the story. Best CQ

Cliff is the Director of Marketing for iPROMOTEu, additionally and for over 30 years, Cliff has been speaking, training and consulting internationally to associations and national business groups on more effective ways to market themselves, their products and services, as well as motivating their personnel. Recognized by PPAI for his creativity, he has won the prestigious PPAI Pyramid award 27 times and the Printing Industry's PSDA’s Peak Award for creativity 5 times in three years. He has also received PPAI's Ambassador Speaker of the Year Award six consecutive years and was the inaugural recipient of PPAI's Distinguished Service Award. Named one of top six industry speakers and trainers, he also was recognized by PPAI in the book, "PPAI at 100," as having a significant influence in education. He has also been recognized by Counselor Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in the Promotional Products Industry. Cliff’s BLOG 30 Seconds to Greatness won the Award for Most Passed Around Content in 2016. In December, Cliff will be launching his third book, 30 Seconds to Greatness along with a workbook. Connect with him on LinkedIn or via email at

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