It’s a brand new year and a perfect time for a brand makeover with promotional merchandise. Here are 5 pieces of advice from our experts you can use to enhance your brand’s image with merchandise.

Hooters_Tshirt 3-Jan2014
Attractive Hooters T-shirt Design with Mascot

#1 Design Makes the Merchandise

You can create an amazing brand affinity with your target audience when branding on your merchandise is spot on. An attractive design incorporating your company’s values and/or mascot can make an average t-shirt into a hot commodity just like the renowned Hooter’s tees (hot models won’t hurt either). However, a bad design such as an unreadable logo with colours and messages that are off brand will seriously hurt your brand. Ensure you get a professional graphic designer to create the branding concepts on your merchandise. It’s best to come up with a few different design options. Then you could use social media such as Facebook to poll your target audience on their favourite design.

#2 The Merchandise Must be a Great Fit

Ensure that you know the traits of your target demographic well as your selection of promotional merchandise must be a great fit for your target audience. Get feedback from your clients and target audience on what types of merchandise they would like to see. Ensure that the messages on your promotional merchandise resonate with your target audience. For example, Reddit.com gives out USB flash drives with messages of inside jokes to their users.

#3 Quality Matters

Your brand is only as good as the last merchandise you gave out. And if that was a poor quality product then it left a bad impression of your brand. For example, no one likes a starchy and itchy cheap polo shirt, so don’t be tempted to give out such a shirt out even if it’s the cheapest shirt around. The presentation of the promotional gift is equally important. For example if you’re giving out a polo shirt, roll up the polo shirt and tie it with a nice ribbon or place it in a nicely presented box for VIP clients.

#4 Be Non-Invasive

Don’t abuse your target audience with advertising. Promote your brand using promotional merchandise through non-invasive ways. For instance, you could showcase photos of your clients snapping pictures with your custom logo merchandise on your social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram to create interest. You could also offer limited edition printed t-shirts for only a short time or limit them to promotional events or even give them out only as client rewards just like Mailchimp does to create a viral buzz. Alternatively, you could also establish partnerships with similar businesses and run events where you can engage your target audience, for example, by running a competition with merchandise giveaway prizes.

#5 Aim to Capture Interest NOT Revenue

Contrary to what most marketing gurus might tell you, it’s not always a good idea to think of the success of promotional merchandise in terms of revenue generated. Your aim must be to capture the interest of your target audience and create a viral buzz about your brand. Even if you break even on the cost of the merchandise, the brand equity you’ll gain with a well-done promotional merchandise campaign will far outweigh the short-term revenue gains. I’m sure you remember the Hooter tshirts!

We would love to hear from you. Share with us a piece of merchandise branding advice that has worked well for your promotional campaign.