When we say the word marketing what do you think of? Is it advertising? Large billboards on the roadside? Or is it about social media posts and viral videos?
Whatever it is, you’re probably not thinking about merchandise. You’re not thinking about tangible products or experiences.
Don’t worry, a lot of people overlook us. We’re an afterthought of “oh we need to slap our branding on something to give away at X, Y, or Z.”
The fact is, merch plays an important role and should be considered part of your marketing tool belt as an effective method of branding and promotion.
According to Jeff Bezos, “your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”. A good brand is remembered (in the right way), a mediocre brand is very rarely remembered.
Your marketing should reinforce your brand, and merch plays a very effective part of that strategy.
All Merch is Branding, but not all branding is merch.
In my 20+ years in this industry, I have consulted for giants. I have worked with household names providing exceptional branding consultancy and advice, translating their voice into merchandise; merchandise that is effective and memorable.
What I have found in my experience, is that if you have a clear focused idea of what you want your company and brand to look like, you are likely to pick things that reflect that image. That’s a good thing.
Branding is all about image. You are trying to show that you are worth the money.
You can consider a brand as the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about your specific products, services, and activities.
What are your customers saying about you?
It could be something practical like “I prefer Apple because their laptops are faster” or “I prefer Nike shoes because they are lightweight”.
It could be something emotional like “Apple is so much better and easier to use” or “Nike shoes make me look amazing”.
Whatever it is people will equate these emotions (good or bad) to your company, product, or service.
Your brand will always be unique to you and your company. The products can be the same, but the branding makes the difference. Microsoft and Apple both sell computers and laptops, but you instantly have a preference.
However, your brand only works if you do, and it definitely applies to more than just your marketing.
Once you finish designing, creating, forging, and building your new brand you need to make sure it applies to every part of your business.
It needs to touch every inch of your business, ESPECIALLY where your business touches customers.
And what’s better than something that your customers can actually touch?
Did you know that a carefully selected gift could potentially give you as much ROI as an online advertising campaign or direct mailing – both of which can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds.
Not bad for just one simple, easy, piece of marketing.
I’ve had enough of cheap pens!
If you’ve seen ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ then you know that famous scene where the main character asks people to “sell me this pen”.
Here’s the thing…… I am sick of selling pens.
Let me be more specific. I’m sick of selling cheap, single use, plastic pens.
They are wasteful, bad for the environment, and they make your brand feel cheap.
I know, I know……. I have used this example to death, but it’s important, and it needs repeating.
Why would you give away cheap horrible pens when clearly you’re a brand that is better than that? You wouldn’t!
This kind of merchandise doesn’t reinforce your branding or your imagery at all.
You should think about what you give away. What reflects your brand perfectly? What makes potential or existing customers say “Wow!”?
This is where I come in.
Why Merch Works
The BPMA found 69% of the marketing professionals they quizzed said merchandise ‘targets customers effectively’ and 52% believe it helps a marketing message ‘last longer’.
63% of brands use promotional products for brand awareness and almost 75% revealed they use it at conferences and exhibitions for this exact purpose.
Why? Because ‘promotional merchandise is often highly-effective for getting attention and driving sales’.
Good quality promotional merchandise and branded products are gold dust. I know you may think I’m just saying that, but it’s true.
Now that doesn’t mean “Put our logo on everything we hand out”. There must be depth and strategy to it. It needs to be the right product and the right time.
Align Marketing & Merch
Because merchandise is a tangible form of marketing, it can make it highly effective in developing an emotional response in your audience.
You need them to remember your brand? Give them something memorable.
You want them to sign up to something? Run a giveaway with swag in it!
The ideas are truly limitless and if you are using strategies like digital marketing, social media marketing, giveaways, or even attending exhibitions then merchandise will aid in making sure you achieve your objectives.
With a little thought and preparation you can provide an experience that your customers and clients will remember.
If you’re ever stuck, then give Grant a call on 03333 200710 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.