Adding merchandise to your organization’s marketing efforts could strengthen your brand recognition.
Branded merchandise is an option for your business – no matter how big or how small your organization. That’s right; coffee cups, T-shirts, stickers, or whatever fits your style could soon be added to your website. It’s entirely up to your organization to decide what best fits your brand and marketing strategy. However, keeping up with the modern competitive environment means that adding this new lane could keep your organization more dynamic.
The average adult attention span is a mere 8 seconds. But the question is not only What can marketers do with those 8 seconds? Instead, consider also asking yourself How many 8 seconds can marketers get? Adding branded merchandise to your organization and overall marketing strategy creates another platform. With such a competitive environment, organizations can find payoffs by playing on multiple channels. Imagine creating attention-grabbing moments on social media as well as on the street. When people can wear and interact with your brand in the real world, it creates virtual and physical opportunities for marketing.
In small organizations especially, branded merchandise could be a breakout star. Consider this: While the audience may be smaller, they are more likely to feel passionately about your products. Give your tight-knit community multiple opportunities to engage and share in your brand. However, if you do, you will want your organization to effectively engage with branded merchandise. After all, you do not want to create a weak brand or dilute your messaging.
Let’s Talk About Your Brand
The right branding and marketing materials convey everything your audience needs to know. And a consistent and effective logo, as well as messaging and even color choice, means your brand stays strong. Effective branding can create immediate recognition, as well as generate the kinds of positive impressions you desire.
Before launching any kind of merchandise, it’s important to understand your brand. No matter how excited you are about branded merchandise, you cannot jump ahead to this step. If you have not covered branding basics, take a step back. Do you have a brand identity to work into merchandise? In other words, do you have consistent visible elements, like color, design, and logo. If you do not have these keys that help consumers easily identify and distinguish your brand, create them. Establish your own brand kit. Think of this as a fence that keeps all the pieces of your visual identity together. (Need help? Canva offers a free resource to guide you through the process.)
Only once you have a brand identity can you leverage your brand image across platforms, including on merchandise.
What is Branded Merchandise
It may surprise you to consider the various ways to use branded merchandise. In fact, you may already be using this tool. Branded merchandise is not only for large sports teams and corporations, and it also doesn’t necessarily appear in a boutique.
Also known as a promotional product, branded merchandise could already be part of your company’s swag. Has your organization hosted a conference or event with branded giveaways? Perhaps the grab-bags included mugs, pens, or notepads with your company’s logo. The bags created a thoughtful touchpoint and then your audience members kept them around. That’s branded merchandise. The attendees could still be using that free pen and, every time they do, seeing your company name and logo.
Now, this is a great way to start your foray into branded merchandise. But it is not everything you could be doing. Adopting a clear branded merchandise strategy can elevate your brand and present creative opportunities. In addition to giveaways, it could expand to an online shop where people seek out your products. Think your company has nothing physical to sell? Google has an online store! Even if you are in an industry that is not related to clothing or consumables, there are ways to package your brand for a physical, useful, or wearable medium. Perhaps it is simply your logo, but it could be about conveying your sense of style, or even promoting a belief or catchphrase.
Do You Really Need Branded Merchandise?
Perhaps you don’t need branded merchandise, but there are numerous benefits to having branded merchandise.
Grab and keep attention. Distractions are inevitable, in life and online. With branded merchandise, you create another vehicle for your brand logo, messaging, or design. It is easy to scroll through an advertisement. It is harder to ignore something physical. As previously mentioned, giveaways create a potentially long-lasting impression, because they are continuously used. Additionally, with audience interest and planning, you could create a must-have item that people won’t want to ignore.
Gain an additional revenue stream. A bonus! If you are a technology company, hopefully selling merchandise is not a main revenue stream. However, brand merchandise could add to your profits. Also, think of ways your merchandise could seamlessly fit in with your mission or industry. For example, if you work for an IT security company, what products do your clients need? Perhaps the next time you do a promotional mailer, send out a webcam cover.
Grow brand recognition. Put your brand here, there, and everywhere. Well, maybe not everywhere. But do take brand merchandise as a serious opportunity to put your brand in as many places as makes sense. The more people see your brand, the more they connect with it, growing your overall recognition.
Improve Customer Engagement. Branded merchandise can create a community of fans who love and are proud to be seen wearing your logo. Sharing branded gifts first helps to build goodwill among your customers. Then, with a well-stocked branded store, your customers have additional opportunities to support you.