Reciprocity: give someone a T-shirt and the relationship has begun. Want to get a higher conversion rate for a high-involvement purchase? Make your customer commit up front. Once they’ve accepted your “gift,” it’s simply harder for them to turn you down later. Even if the T costs $8 and the Porsche costs $90,000. There’s a big luxury marketing hook here.
Consistency: People have a need to be ruthlessly consistent with their decisions, even when they’re minor. Give someone a T-shirt and they’ll sing your praises, more often than not. Few will tell a third party that your brand stinks when they wear your logo on their chest, after all.
Consensus: T-shirts, as the man says, are walking billboards. And a big piece of branding is awareness and connection with other like-minded people. See a lot of similar people to you and you gravitate to their brand choices.
Likeability: people — especially us here in the States — love T-shirts. We are souvenir hounds, moreso than most other cultures on earth. If you’ve ever attended a professional basketball game, you know the mayhem that takes place during timeouts when the T-shirt launcher lobs a Beefy-T into the upper deck. It’s an instant mosh pit as people fight over $8 worth of stretched cotton. We identify with the brands, teams, places, hometowns, and people that we follow — and with those who also follow them.
Scarcity: not everybody has your T-shirt. Especially when it says you’ve been somewhere far from where you’re standing now. Wearing your Jamaica T-shirt says you’ve been to Jamaica and have stories to tell. Wearing a Feedburner T-shirt means you’re a very geeky dude indeed, and have stories to tell that few outside your circle would understand. Exclusivity.
So let’s not relegate the lowly T to the back page of the presentation deck. Wearables light people up. And, now that we’ve peeled back the psychology of wearing someone else’s name on your body, it starts to make a lot of sense.