The Everyday Pantsuit Tee via shop.hillaryclinton.com

It seems like everyone and their presidential candidate is getting into the t-shirt design game. Today, we see the launch of Hillary Clinton as a brand. You can now purchase a t-shirt called The Everyday Pantsuit Tee on her official site, HillaryClinton.com. For those less inclined to don the upscale, feminine version of the tuxedo t-shirt, there are alternative t-shirts and even an infant’s onesie with her official logo. If she is elected in 2016, she will not only be our first female president, but also the first presidential candidate to be a brand. What does it mean to become a brand?

Typically you want to be the best person or company doing what you do and become a benchmark in your vertical. Whether you love or hate her, Hillary’s has gained a reputation like no other. Obviously her end goal isn’t to sell t-shirts but she’s developed a notoriety that allows her to do just that.

Whether you’re a startup t-shirt designer or already have a developed brand with a following, you can build your audience by treating each fan like a rock stars treats their following. Interact with each and every fan you can. If they respond with so much as a 😉 on your Instagram post, respond with a “thanks!”

Everyone wants to feel that their voice is heard and your current fans are the best brand evangelists you can have. We trust what our friends and family have to say. Put your brand into their hands and that’s how your marketing message can be spread. Ask them for feedback, what do they love about your designs? What do they dislike about your designs? Are you printing your designs on the right product, the right color tees, are you offering any alternatives?

Maybe they love your design but dislike the fact your printing it on a low quality t-shirt. Once you start making choices based on how much profit you’ll make instead of how many delighted customers you’ll have, it never ends. You’ll be compromising your brand into the dungeons of mediocrity.

It’s difficult when just starting a t-shirt business to balance the investment with the ultimate pay-off which is success however you define success. Making choices that don’t compromise your vision for the bottom dollar and building legion of fans can be as challenging as say, becoming the first female president but we might just hear an announcer introducing us to Mrs. President in 2016.

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