Five tips for creating successful branded merchandise

Considering promoting your business with branded merchandise? Here are five tips to help you get it right.

Effective branding campaigns allow businesses to connect with their target audience, especially existing customers, on a more personal level. This is why branding is still one of the most effective methods of standing out from the competition. 

One of a branding campaign’s oldest tricks is branded merchandise. Although seen by many business owners only as a sidebar for sponsorships and grand openings, branded merchandise can save you time and money, as well as set your marketing efforts for success when integrated more significantly into your overall marketing strategy. 

Knowing how to create great branded merchandise is essential for showing brand personality, reinforcing your brand’s message, and establishing brand resonance. In this article, you’ll learn the best tips to achieve an effective branded merchandise strategy. 

1) Understand your brand identity  

Brand identity is the elements of your brand and it’s how your company wants to be perceived by your audience. The goal of brand identity is for a business to be unique and stand out from the crowd through its own outlook, personality, and design. 

Understanding your business’s brand identity is a crucial step in creating effective promotional products. You want branded merchandise aligned with your identity. 

Here are the visual and non-visual elements of your brand that you have to examine so you can understand your identity: 

  • Logo: This visual element of your brand represents your offering. It can be a textual or pictorial symbol or a combination of both. 
  • Tagline: The message of a brand can be communicated clearly through this visual element. A tagline should be a short yet memorable description of your brand. 
  • Color palette: These are the set of colors usually found in your marketing materials. A brand’s color palette is also evident in its logo. 
  • Imagery: Sometimes, a brand also communicates its message through a set of differentiated visuals and images. 
  • Voice: This non-visual element is the values, word, and attitude a brand uses to address its target audience. 
  • Personality: Another non-visual element of a brand is its personality. It’s the set of human characteristics or traits the brand tries to replicate during customer interactions. 
  • Associations: Brand associations include partners and influencers customers associate with the brand. 

Knowing these details would help you create branded merchandise that reflects your brand and resonates with your customers.

2) Use items with high value and usability

For starters, it’s best to use items that your target audience could use regularly. For instance, you may create your own T-shirts, hats, journals, bags, power banks, hoodies, and water bottles, among others.  

The most important thing to consider here is functionality. If you want to go for decorative items, you can, but can your customers or target audience actually use them? Keep in mind that the more practical the product is, the more impactful it can be as a branded merchandise. 

Using items with high value and usability also ensures that your customers will use your branded merchandise more often. Furthermore, it increases the chances of your branded merchandise becoming part of their personal and professional space. As a result, your brand receives a higher number of impressions and will more likely stay on top of people’s minds.

3) Prioritise quality over quantity

In any product, including branded merchandise, quality is everything. Hence, ask yourself, ‘is it worth putting your brand name and logo on an item based on its overall quality?’  

When creating branded merchandise, the last thing you’d want to do is to go for cheap products with poor quality for the sake of saving on your branding budget and producing more. The quality of your promotional items will reflect on your brand’s reputation when you sell your merch, which is why they deserve the best treatment possible. 

It’s no wonder why successful companies consult with experts in controlling the quality of their branded merchandise. It helps them maximize every exposure for their merch, despite producing fewer items. They also end up with an audience that’s more than happy to use or wear their items instead of tossing the promotional products in the trash because of breaking or getting damaged quickly.

4) Think beyond your merchandise

Creating solid brand merchandise shouldn’t only focus on the product itself. You also have to think about the box, wrapping, or packaging of your promotional items. Align the design of your packaging with your brand identity for people to remember your merch. After all, it’s one of the first things consumers would see when receiving your merchandise.  

Incorporating your brand identity into your packaging isn’t only about brand awareness, though. It’s also a way of giving loyal customers a reason to feel more excited upon receiving the package. 

Thinking beyond the merchandise can also mean giving discounts to consumers when they purchase from your store. For instance, if one of your promotional products is reusable shopping bags, customers can bring them when buying anything to enjoy special discounts. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone–you’re spreading brand awareness while encouraging customers to keep on visiting your store.

5) Consult an expert 

It’s always a good idea to sit down with an expert who can guide you in creating branded merchandise. This is especially true for businesses developing promotional products for the first time.  

Working with an expert means there’s someone you can ask about your thoughts and goals for creating branded merchandise. It also means you’d get personalized, professional advice, which will save you time during the trial-and-error phase, ensuring your precious monetary resources are only spent on ideas that work. 

However, make sure to only form partnerships with someone who’s willing to spend a significant amount of time understanding your needs. It’s the only way they can provide recommendations that can optimize your ROI on promotional items.

What branded merchandise could work for your business? 

Selling merchandise seems easy, but making it unique requires effective branding. Increasing your sales or customer base may be possible by considering the tips mentioned and discussed here. Instead of just selling random stuff, create valuable products that your target audience could regularly use. You could achieve that if you understand your brand identity. 

Of course, prioritize quality over quantity and take the extra mile by incorporating your brand identity into your merch packaging as well. If you’re unsure how to develop your business’s branded merchandise, talking to an expert would help a lot.