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Energy Of The Pen: The Ubiquitous Huntington Pen

Practically 32 million Huntington pens are on the market and they’re going beyond what’s expected of a promotional product.

When Huntington Bank “unchained” the pen in 2010, no one at the Columbus-based bank imagined that they were launching a promotional marketing campaign that would carry the model around the world.

The company, which was rebranding to create a “welcoming” ambiance in its branches, thought-about giving free pens to its prospects a key element of the plan, says Mary Navarro, Huntington’s senior executive vice president and retail and business banking director.

Looking to set itself other than other banks, Huntington focused on creating extra buyer-friendly policies and making prospects feel good about banking in its buildings. The corporate spent tens of millions of dollars renovating its branches, started selling its free checking accounts and unchained the pens.

Early within the branding process, employees recommended eradicating the chains that hooked up pens to the counters. Navarro explains prospects find it annoying when the pen they’re making an attempt to use is attached to the counter. The leadership workforce determined “to take it a step further and give pens away,” she says. “We encourage our customers to take a handful. It’s advantageous.”

When the marketing campaign began, the company gave away about 331,000 pens each month. Right this moment, it’s greater than double that. Thus far, Huntington has given away nearly 32 million pens.

“Taking the pens off the chain was a very unique thing,” says Cris Wise, who manages the Downtown branch at Broad and Excessive streets. “I know it’s a small thing.”

Nevertheless it possible resonated with clients, provides Debra Pack, president of the govt board of the Columbus American Marketing Association.

“It is actually smart to take the chain off,” says Pack, who serves because the advertising and marketing supervisor for the Columbus Metropolitan Library. “What you’re saying is, ‘Go forward and take it. We’re attempting to make it easier for you.'”

Product giveaways work greatest when the company finds a technique to “weave it into the fabric of our world,” which Huntington has definitely achieved, she says. She couldn’t think of every other native company that had organized a marketing campaign on the scope of the pens.

Promotional merchandise proceed to strike a chord with consumers, provides Paul Bellantone, president and CEO of the Irving, Texas-based mostly Promotional Products Affiliation International, the professional association for the promotional merchandise trade.

“PPAI research demonstrates the power of promotional products as probably the most value-efficient means to reach a targeted audience in a tangible, lengthy-lasting and memorable manner,” he says. “Actually, 88 p.c of people can recall the corporate and brand on their promotional product.”

Huntington leaders imagine that the pens can play a role in attracting new clients. Smart hopes that the pens spark customers’ curiosity about the company and its brand. “We want them to come out and see that there’s more behind it,” he says. “It is bigger than the pen. That is the dialog starter.”

When Sensible makes shopper visits, he is aware of to carry lots of pens. “It’s the first thing they ask about,” he says. “They anticipate it.” He and different bank managers like that once they name on new prospects, the pen permits them “to depart a piece of ourselves behind.”

A promotional item will help an organization make a strong impression, Bellantone says. “Customers love promotional products. It may be refined, however the power of persuasion by advertisers shows ranges of success that show television, radio, mobile and digital can-and do-draw consumers to their brands. However, they should compete not solely with one another throughout conventional media for the hearts, minds and dollars of the consumer, but also with exterior stimuli as soon as the consumer walks away from the tv, shuts down the computer or drives previous a billboard,” he says. “Promotional products are completely different from those different forms of promoting in that they leave an enduring impression.”

Huntington supposed to flood the markets the place the financial institution’s extra-than 700 branches function with the signature inexperienced and black retractable pens-and it succeeded. Within the six states the place Huntington has banks, the pens are routinely spotted in eating places, hair salons, medical buildings and a myriad of different locations. Huntington employees purposely leave them behind at their favourite companies.

However the pens’ reach extends past Huntington’s footprint. They’ve appeared in at least one movie and on a television present-with out formal product placement. They’ve traveled overseas. Navarro has spotted them in Spain and Costa Rica. Different staff and clients have additionally reported seeing them all over the world. The sightings have grown sufficient that the corporate has started amassing pen tales.

The pens typically make their method into competitors’ lobbies and drive-via tubes, allowing Huntington to promote to these customers.

“We expect it’s kind of funny,” Navarro says. Clearly, other banks wouldn’t permit them to hold a sign and even “post a sticky observe” of their branches, she says. Yet the pens slip via.

She would not speculate on what the remy human wigs financial institution’s return on funding is for the promotional campaign and says the financial institution has no plans to end the campaign.

“It’s been very positive,” she says. “We’re not disappointed with the results of the pen.”
Karin Gosnell awoke with a racing heart a couple of years ago, and her husband rushed her to a local urgent care center. When medical doctors there could not handle the issue, they known as an ambulance to take Gosnell to the hospital.

As soon as she was settled in the ambulance, the paramedic began taking her medical historical past. Gosnell, a Huntington Bank employee, could not assist herself; she began to chuckle.

The medic was using a Huntington pen to file her information. “I informed him I referred to as in sick right now and now you’re pulling out a Huntington pen,” says the Cleveland-area resident.

The sight of the pen and the connection it created with the medic lessened her anxiety. “It definitely did,” she said. “We each started laughing. We even talked about how they only seem to be everywhere.”

When Gosnell returned to work, she shared the story of the pen with colleagues. Her story is one of many the financial institution’s advertising and marketing group has collected. Listed here are others:

A member of the American military stationed in Afghanistan received a field of goodies from Ohio, which included Huntington pens. He gave a couple away within his troop and days later met with Afghan Nationals who had been writing with them.

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