6 Ways To Use Branded Merchandise For Your Business

In today’s day and age, every business should include branded merchandise as part of their marketing mix in one way or another. After all, what business doesn’t want another avenue to boost brand awareness and increase customer loyalty? Promotional products have been used by businesses for decades as a way of marketing their brand and engaging with brand advocates. Data shows that the average household in the U.S. has thirty branded items floating around, potentially generating thousands of impressions over each product’s lifetime.Branded merchandise can be used in many ways to improve your business, from the aforementioned brand awareness and customer loyalty to employee retention, social media giveaways, or trade show and special event swag. In this blog, we will explore how your business can do more with branded merchandise.


1. Create Awareness and Increase Visibility
Generate Impressions

One of the top reasons to utilize branded merchandise and promotional products is to reach new customers and create repeat customers. Whether it’s a t-shirt, a tote bag, or a custom pen, branded merchandise is a tangible representation of your brand that will be seen and used by others. This makes it a powerful tool for building brand recognition, especially in communities where your target audience is active. A simple brand imprinted bag generates an average of 5,732 impressions over its lifetime. These are oftentimes people that would not have otherwise interacted with your brand. So, whether you are a local business looking to grab the attention of new customers or a large corporation working to gain market share, branded merchandise functions as a walking billboard for your business.


2. Strengthen Brand Loyalty
Give Swag Bags

Branded merchandise can also be used to strengthen brand loyalty. People feel valued and appreciated when they receive a promotional item from a brand and loyal customers are the best brand advocates. Who better to spread the word about your products and services than those who can speak about them firsthand? Research has found that promotional products are three times more likely to invoke loyalty than any other form of marketing and we all know that maintaining a current customer is easier and less costly than bringing in a new customer. So, when you have a new customer or client convert, have their swag bags ready.  There’s a higher chance that they will turn into loyal, repeat customers or clients.


3.  Boost Engagement and Drive Leads
Run Giveaways

Throughout the world, 85% of people who are given a promotional item remember the advertiser that gave it to them. This is why giveaways are one of the most popular ways that businesses use branded merchandise. We’ve all seen that table at an event with fun freebies or an online contest that we would love to win. Giveaways are an opportunity to both increase customer engagement and showcase your brand identity. Selecting a lower dollar item that appeals to the masses for a trade show or corporate event, like a notebook or tote bag, can generate thousands of impressions over time.  A higher dollar item that aligns with your brand identity and your target audience’s most common attributes, can garner hundreds of qualified leads. Would you submit your contact information for a brand name cooler or tablet from a brand you’re interested in? If you choose to hand out merch in a face-to-face environment you can gauge genuine interest and awareness of your brand, but choosing to run an online contest is a simple way to collect contact information. Selection and distribution of the giveaway item depends on the main goal of your giveaway; but no matter what, it is a great way to reach new customers and encourage current customers to come back for more.


4. Showcase Your Values
Build Community

It is important for every business to build a base of faithful customers that have a true emotional connection with your brand, and branded merchandise is a way to build that relationship. Through your branded merchandise program you can highlight the main elements of your brand identity that showcase your brand’s perspective. Showing that perspective and your brand personality humanizes your brand and helps your target audience to connect with you in ways outside of your main product or service offerings. Something to focus on here is ensuring you select promotional products that help people resolve immediate needs – products that are considered useful everyday items, like water bottles, power banks, or umbrellas.


5. Add A New Revenue Stream
Utilize a Cost-Effective Marketing Tool

It’s not just about giveaways, having a branded merchandise store can provide your business with an additional revenue stream. In 2020, nearly a quarter of all consumers in the United States bought a promotional item, making the promotional product industry worth $17 billion. By adding a branded merchandise program to your business, you can increase brand visibility in an extremely cost-effective way. When you market your merch store, you will also be marketing your brand and showcasing its more personal side, allowing you to build advocates that will introduce your company to new people in their circle.


6. Improve the Employee Experience
Give Rewards and Incentives

Giving your employees gifts should not be isolated to new hires and the holidays! Company culture is important to retaining talent and creating a positive work environment. Your employees want to feel connected to the company they work for – they want to feel valued. Giving your workforce branded merchandise through gifts, rewards, prizes, or other incentives is a practical way to show your employees that you value and care about them. Offering branded merchandise to your employees has the same benefits as offering it to your customers. It is another avenue to build a community of loyal brand advocates thatwill boost brand awareness through word-of-mouth advertising, while also assisting with the employee retention and recruitment process.

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