If you are considering using branded items as part of your PR strategy or are rethinking your use of branded items you are not alone. These types of merchandises form part of PR and marketing strategies for brands around the world. They are not new on the PR scene but they remain very useful for brands that want to boost their presence on the market. But to be truly effective they have to be crafted and used strategically.
Choose the Right Merchant
The source from which you get your branded merchandise is important. Select a source that has a sturdy reputation for high quality and will be able to provide merchandise that fit your brand’s vision. If you are planning to secure a high volume ensure that the provider has the capacity to deliver. If customization is on your radar look into a merchant that has the capacity for this.
The very design of your branded merchandise should reflect your brand’s culture and identity. Of course this means features like the colour and the images used to adorn the merchandise must be consistent with those officially used by the brand.
Equally important is the target market’s tastes and needs. A brand that caters to other businesses (B2B) should focus on branded merchandise that will appeal to that demography. This may mean stationery and digital tools like flash drives and power banks. On the other hand, a brand that is targeting the general population may want to go for merchandise that is not so professional in nature. This means items like water bottles, can openers. A youthful target market may gravitate towards entertainment or fashion related gadgets so items like armbands or tech accessories like phone cases or flash drive strings.
If the target market is fitness and wellness oriented merchandise like stress balls, headbands and resistance bands will indicate that you understand and care about their needs and desires. But it is also important to remain current with your branded merchandise (hence the need to sue sources that are flexible). Take the current global situation characterized by a pandemic and mask wearing for example. Branded masks and face shields have become popular and the brands that were able to adjust in time were able to grab the proverbial early bird worm.
Your branded merchandise need to get into the right hands if they are to have the impact you designed them for. Branded items convert almost anyone into a brand ambassador as they carry your message wherever the person goes. Naturally therefore you want to distribute to those people who are likely to carry the message you’re sending far and into the demographics you have on your radar.
Distribute your branded merchandise at your events. You may be thinking ‘but many corporate events are virtual these days!’ While that is true it that many corporate events have moved into the digital space, it doesn’t mean promotional products have become obsolete. You can still deliver promotional goodies to your event attendees using delivery services such as those used for ecommerce.
Your partners and distributers are important so choose them strategically. Retail companies that carry your products for example are in a perfect position to distribute your branded merchandises. Branded merchandise can be issued with each purchase as a freebie and a great way of showing customers that you appreciate them while getting the word out there about your brand at the same time. In doing this you are establishing and building a positive relationship with existing customers while giving your brand well-needed exposure.
Undoubtedly, to reap the optimum rewards from branded merchandise, brands need to plan and act strategically, keeping brand image and the target market in focus.