Thinking of adding branded merchandise to your marketing efforts? This is one of the most powerful ways to spread the word about your business. When you do it correctly, the results can be exponentially rewarding. However, if you get it wrong, you can be looking at a wasted investment. To help you land on the right side of this equation, here are five questions to ask yourself before you commit to branded merchandise:
1. How Will You Use It?
It’s not enough to have products ready to hand out to customers and clients. You need to have a strategy covering how you plan to distribute your beautifully branded corporate promotional products. Some of the most effective ways to enjoy a return on investment include school bag drops (if your brand is focused on kids), sponsored prizes at events, or running social media competitions.
2. Is The Supplier Ethical?
If you’re looking for suppliers to create branded clothing, make sure you’re not supporting a company that contributes to fast-fashion. Consumers want to support businesses that are powering positive change in the world, so don’t run the risk of having your branded merchandise backfire on you. Other materials that tend to attract negative criticism from the public include plastic, fur, leather, non-renewable products, and anything that forms part of the petroleum-based industry.
3. Is There Any Guarantee On The Workmanship?
When you’re branding custom merchandise, make sure there’s a guarantee on the workmanship. That’s your brand going out into the world, so you want it to be associated with quality and prestige. Poorly created merchandise that falls apart, fades, or breaks quickly will fail to inspire confidence in your brand. This lands you farther away from the goals you hope to achieve with your branded merchandise. So, be sure to work with a reputable supplier who is committed to quality and offers excellent customer service.
4. What Marketing Opportunities Might You Have With This Supplier Versus Another?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could direct some of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget towards funding your branding efforts? There are ways to achieve this and it could free up more money to dedicate towards other marketing and CSR efforts.
Another way to capitalize on your branded merchandise lies in running competitions. We’re not talking about those dime-a-dozen Facebook competitions. Rather, organize a community-based event, like a beach cleanup session for the public, and use your branded merchandise as prizes. These events bring tremendous publicity and instantly inspire trust from the general public – a very lucrative combination!
5. Does Your Branded Merch Appeal To Your Target Audience?
Before you take a fresh batch of branded pens to your next corporate event, ask yourself one important question: what would your target audience think? Handy though they may be, pens are hardly innovative. Creative ideas include branded hand sanitizer (given the current state of the world), branded timers if your business is related to cooking or baking, or bath and body products if your brand is focused on self-care or parenting. Think outside of the box and focus on meeting niche-specific needs.
Embrace The Outcomes
If you fail to enjoy the lead-generation benefits you were hoping for after your first attempt at incorporating branded merchandise into your marketing plan, don’t despair. Business is all about trial-and-error experimentation. What’s important is that you identify where you went wrong. Was it the merchandise itself? Was it your strategy for distribution? Work with an established marketer to come up with a better plan and never be afraid to try again.