Bags of Marketing: The Power Of Bags for Your Brand and Business

By Jon Marling of Paper Bag Co. 

You wouldn’t think that the humble shopping bag could be one of the most contentious business issues of our time but look at the fuss around it. In 2015, it was taxed and vilified as the bad boy of industrial consumerism in the UK. Yet, the bag – like the wheel – is an invention we aren’t going to live without anytime soon. Because of this, consider the best ways to make your bag a more loved and interesting item for customers.

It’s time to revisit the idea of the bag as a key promotional item, one that can be retained by customers. Give your bag strong brand values and it reflects on your business, becoming impactful marketing material.

Materials Count

Talking of material, what your bag is made of counts. After the UK Government introduced a 5p levy on plastic, ‘disposable’ yet barely recyclable bags in supermarkets in 2015, there’s an increasing public and business awareness that plastic bags are un-PC and pollute the environment. Various American cities have specific rules, as well, about bags – including San Francisco, which bans plastic bags from grocery stores among other regulations.

There is a multitude of greener choices when it comes to materials for bags. Bamboo fibre, for instance, feels great and is grown naturally. Additionally, it is biodegradable and absorbs CO2. There are also paper, canvas and cotton bags – which are kinder to the environment than plastic. Obviously, ‘green’ is a selling point and a brand value. Today, you could argue that being perceived green is a brand hygiene factor. The standard is to be green aware, so to not, is to fall short of customer expectations.

Bold Messaging

It’s usual just to put your logo on a bag but why not make more of the space? You can put your marketing message, bold statements or statistics that reinforce your brand on a bag. You can use a great image. Why not put your website on it or your Twitter address? You can use the bag as a way to tell people about an event, a campaign or something that people ought to know about. Perhaps there is a new part of the business that is now live and you need to draw attention to it? The bag that people take away into the high-street is a mobile billboard as much as anything else.

Thrills with Frills

Some of the most innovative brands go the extra mile in designing their bag. For example, the handles can be made of rope or ribbon and when combined with an image this can be fun, like an image of a shoe where the laces become the handles.

For short runs you can really be inventive, as there is a range of tech that can be sewn into the bag itself. For example, the xyloband technology uses a strip of small lights that flash in synch to music via remote control. At an event, by distributing promotional bags with these lights hidden inside the lining, you could surprise everyone at some point in the event by creating a coordinated lightshow to music – where every visitor’s bag lights up as part of that show. As we venture into the era of wearable tech, bag innovation benefits alongside.

The attitude to bags is changing and this can be utilised when businesses fight to get the promotional advantage over their rivals. The bag is something your customers physically take away with them – with a logo on, so it’s an important promotional item. It’s worth investing time to come up with creative ideas in your bag design, so that customers remember you for return visits, after all, every extra marketing tool you use could equate to a new customer.

To discover more about bags and the possibilities for your business, visit

 Photo Credit: Provided by Paper Bag Co. with permission to use. 

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