Making merch is more than just putting cool designs on t-shirts – it’s taking the next step in building your brand with merchandise marketing.
Companies fighting for consumer attention and engagement often overlook the viable marketing technique. It may be the traditional option, but it’s going to yield results that algorithms can’t. Merch development allows consumers and clients to more closely identify with your brand. It helps generate trust and build a relationship that feels more personal than computer generated campaigns or email spam.
When done efficiently, merch can become a key marketing initiative for your department or agency. You’ll not only get to know your business better, but create a stronger connection with your community.
What is Branded Merch?
Branded merch is any product that promotes a brand, be that through company logos, phrases, or identifiable colors and messaging. You know automatically when you see a shirt with the phrase “Just Do It” that it’s Nike. It’s just great branding.
Branded merch takes the components that best represent your business and puts them on items to use for promotion and profit. Some common and successful merch items you can sell through Spreadshop include t-shirts, totes, stickers, and water bottles. But Spreadshop has hundreds of merch items to choose from.
Upload logo or font design files and easily put them on whatever merch items you wish. Choose the styles and colors that best fit with your brand’s aesthetic. If you need help finalizing a logo or creating other brand designs, our team of designers are here to help. They can take any sketches or notes you have and create something that’s cohesive with your brand. Since the whole point of branded merch is creating a brand identity, there should be a thread of company messaging and colors in your merch.
Consistency is going to be your friend. You want the feel and intentions of your marketing department and agency to come across in your merch. It should be relevant to clients you have a relationship with and those you’re meeting for the first time.
Introduce Your Business
The t-shirt may as well be the new business card. Sure, business cards are still important to help build brand exposure, but merch leaves a lasting impression a piece of paper can’t. Having merch on-hand when you’re at conferences or networking events is going to set you apart. You want people to remember you when they leave the building and long after.
Hand out merch for FREE to boost exposure and connect people to your brand. This is incredibly useful for small businesses or start-ups figuring out who they are. Out of hundreds of other companies, yours will be one to remember – thanks to that tote bag of goodies, or that free t-shirt you had at your table.
Merchandise Marketing is always going to be a physical reminder of your brand. It helps create that initial connection because it’s so specific and recognizable to YOU.
Guarantee Brand Recognition
Merch isn’t something you break out on special occasions: these are items people can use in their everyday lives. Make it a staple of your office. Have stickers on tables in the waiting room. Coffee mugs available in the break room. Don’t have an in-person space? Easily attach your shop to your website for seamless brand integration.
These are ways to ensure people are connecting your company with real-life results, like merch. It’s going to boost brand recognition, overall. The more people see your logo and your colors, the more likely they are to remember you. A t-shirt they got at a conference might have seemed like a throwaway at the time. Now, they might be in need of your services and might be more likely to use you because of your merchandise marketing.
The cycle continues the more people become familiar with the look of your brand. Integrity and respect will follow the more you get your name out there.
Build A Community
If your audience is surrounded by your merch, they can’t help but form a connection with you. Especially if it’s something they use everyday. They’ll see that sticker you gave them when they reach for their planner. That tote you handed out during an event is their go-to for running errands. Around 50 percent of people who receive promotional products use them daily.
You’re establishing your business as a trusted brand with the services AND merch you provide. You can really become part of peoples’ lives – and that includes clients and partners. Give people merch to show that you value them as an integral part of your team. They are the key to your success, after all.
Branded merch is a way to drive client and customer loyalty without using any other secondary resources.
Save Money on Advertising
Ad campaigns work well for large corporations, but not everyone has that kind of cash. For small/start-up businesses, merch is a useful promotional tool that costs a fraction of these big budget campaigns. And Spreadshop does all the heavy lifting for you. We’ve got payments, production, fulfillment and shipping covered. All you have to do is upload your designs.
Sure, ads can be targeted to different demographics and wide-reaching, but merch feels more personal. Your merch itself would even make for good promotional posts on socials. Do giveaways on your social media asking people to follow you and comment for the chance to win merch. This kind of post is going to be beneficial on multiple fronts. You’ll increase social engagement, draw attention to your business, and bring awareness to new merch.
New followers will be introduced to your brand and longtime followers will feel reinvigorated by your message. You’re interacting with people and allowing them to feel more connected to you. And who doesn’t love a giveaway? Now that’s merchandise marketing!
Generate Brand Loyalty
Followers keeping up-to-date with your businesses endeavors on socials, or wearing your merch, are signs of brand loyalty. Whether they realize it or not, they’ve formed a connection with your brand. This may go deeper than their relationships with other brands: local and international. When’s the last time a company like Walmart gave them something for free? Or related to their life in a meaningful and sincere way?
Merch is going to help you stand out in your community, too. Sponsor local sporting events and summer celebrations to get the word out. Set up a table and provide merch as an incentive for people to learn more about your business, like we did for the Greensburg Night Market (link blog/images).
It’s a different type of networking than what you would do at conferences. You want to be relatable and in-tune with community members’ needs. Their success is going to be yours, as well. People want to support companies that are active in their communities. And merch builds that bridge between you and potential clients.
Stand Out From Competition
Not every marketing department and ad agency should act the same. If you were to follow everything that local or national competitors are doing, you’d never see new results. Making merch is not only an efficient marketing initiative, but a chance for you to showcase your company ethos.
Interested clients will associate your company values with your company branding. This can create more responsibility, but should be taken seriously to benefit your organization. You will become a unique and engaging brand. Whether that’s people investing in your resources, or sharing your social media posts, it’s all beneficial. Others might even follow suit and start to make their own merch. But you’ll be there to remind them you did it first.
Boost Company Morale
While it’s important to network with future clients as much as possible, you can’t forget about those on the home front. Your employees are the one’s selling and representing your company. They need to be included in your merch endeavors to feel the most unified they can be. Gift them FREE swag packs and complimentary merch. It’s not only a nice gesture, but these items will be great to wear on company related retreats; whether it’s for business or recreation.
People will be able to easily identify who they should talk to when they see certain logos and colors. It’s building upon brand recognition, yet again. We talked about how merch is beneficial for small businesses (including employees) in a previous blog. It’s a way to highlight the key members of your group. These are the ones that know everything about the company and can answer questions from potential clients or partners.
You want people to be identifiable so there isn’t confusion and further solidifies your brand. This is what merch is all about: branding. It’s about taking the look and principles of your company and taking them to the next level. You’ll become more identifiable and reliable to interested clients. And your competition will be left in the dust, trying to keep up with your creative way of marketing.