So, why should you invest in branded, or promotional merchandise for your business? Read below:
Define Your Brand Identity Ahead of Time
Branding helps convey who you are as a company, your company values, your overall mission, your “look,” and the feeling you want to evoke when people interact with your business. Identifying your “brand” ahead of time will make your design and distribution process easier down the road. Take the time to get clear on who you are as a company, and what you want to promote/emotions you want to evoke and let that shine through your branded merchandise.
DON’T Limit Your Own Theme
While you do want to appeal most specifically to your ideal customer base, you don’t want to isolate those who may be interested in what you have to offer. Stepping outside of your typical design can help attract new clients to your merchandise and ultimately your business.
DO Focus on Quality and Value Of Items
Products that are high in quality and provide real value to customers typically make the strongest impression. On the same note, the best promotional products are those that have perceived value to your customers. The more use the purchaser gets out of your product the more often they will use it, and the more you will stay top of mind.
DONT Make Every Piece Easily Accessible To Everyone
Merchandise that is alluring and creatively done is usually the most attractive. Consider making special edition merch for those that shop at your store/on your website, attend special events, or opt-in to some type of promotion or other special circumstance. An element of exclusivity or offering a limited-edition item is a good way to maintain the appeal of your merchandise.
DO Have a Clear Understanding of Your Target Audience
Creating merch should be approached similarly to how you developed other marketing strategies. It’s crucial that you identify your target audience prior to making any big decisions or purchases to avoid wasting valuable time and money. Defining your target audiences “persona” will aid in the overall design and distribution process. Even if you think you have an idea, consider diving deeper into your customer analytics to ensure you’re creating the best products.
DON’T Emulate What Is Already Being Done
It’s easy to look to other brands and businesses around you for inspiration and to observe what seems to be working for them. Your business is different than theirs, and your branding should reflect that. While you do want to stay “on trend” to some degree, branching out and doing things that aren’t already being done by your competitors only sets you apart from the rest and adds another element of value to your merch. Unique merchandise, messaging, distribution, etc. are all things that will help set you apart from your competition and will attract new customers to your products, while also serving your current customers.
DO Set Out With an End Goal
Ask yourself – what do you want to achieve with your branded merchandise? Do you want to inspire people? Create brand awareness? Boost your overall sales? Asking and answering questions like these prior to designing and distributing your branded merchandise will give you measurable metrics and insight as to what you want to accomplish, and what you may need to do different the next time around.
DON’T Create Branded Merchandise Purely To Boost Your Bottom Line
While your purpose of designing, and distributing branded products is partially (if not mostly) to help promote your overall business/brand, don’t set out to create branded products simply to make some extra money. Your merchandise should bring value to customers, and remind them of why they choose to do business with you, and why they should continue to support you in the future. While small businesses can’t generally afford to give away free products left and right, using branded merchandise in giveaways, influencer partnerships, etc. is a good way to promote your products while getting some extra exposure and engagement.