How to Create Strong Brand Merchandise

Your company is looking to create branded business merchandise, and you want to make sure it’s impactful, on brand, and worth the expense.

You’re not alone. As more and more companies dive into the world of branded merch, they must figure out the crucial do’s and don’t’s.

That’s why we put together this post on the best strategies for creating branded merchandise. We will give you a sense of what’s important when planning, creating and producing brand merchandise

So you’ll be able to make it with the confidence that your company is utilizing this marketing avenue effectively. 

Sound interesting? Keep reading to find out more!

Start by Listening

If your company is established enough to have steady interaction with customers, take advantage of their input.

Anyone willing to give feedback on your site (even if it’s constructive criticism) is pretty passionate about your company and your brand. 

Read through the comments on your site and your social media. See if there are elements to your branding that speaks to people.

Then interact further with them by engaging in a dialogue. Be transparent. Say you are considering creating branded products, and want to see if any specific ideas feel exciting to them.

Another option is to post a poll on your website and social media platforms. Ask everyone what kind of merch they’d be interested in having. 

Even if you don’t get the specific answers you’re looking for, being proactive and engaging with customers and fans will pay off in the long run. People love a company that makes them feel like they’re part of the conversation.

The Message Is the Medium

You can spend all the money in the world on a fancy branded merch campaign, but if it doesn’t match the general messaging for your company, it’s fairly worthless.

So make sure that, for starters, your company has a good message to put forth. Focus on positive things like values, quality, helping the world, etc.

You want any customers who end up with your branded business merchandise to wear it with pride because they identify with the message.

Your logo goes hand in hand with your message. Make sure that before you ever print merchandise, you have a company logo that is not only pleasing to the eye but conveys the message you’re putting out.

Authenticity is the name of the game. If your company feels like it’s hypocritical or at all shady, it won’t be a good look. The same goes for your branded merch. If it feels contradictory to your company’s look and message, it won’t work.

Usability Factor

So many companies give away branded merch these days, that people can feel inundated with products.

As such, you want to make sure you provide them with products they might actually use. Or at least ones they would seriously consider using.

Lifestyle products are a big part of this trend. Products ranging from hats and hoodies to water bottles and small bags are the types of things people get excited about. 

But beyond that, creating things like custom lapel pins are useful because they can be added to those everyday items people view more like bags, backpacks, and jackets. 

They already use these items in everyday life, so they’re more likely to throw yours into their rotation. And that’s a steady stream of free advertising for your company as they essentially become brand ambassadors. 

Just be mindful that if your product is too trendy, it could quickly be thrown out as that particular trend ends. So the best strategy is to create merch that will stand the test of time as trends change. 

Smaller Is Better

Even if you think you’ve got an absolute gold idea for your branded merch, it’s best to start with a small order. You never quite know if your merch idea will be a hit with customers and potential customers until you try it.

You don’t want to invest a large sum of money on an item you’re sure will be a big hit, only to find them littering the trash bins at the end of your convention or trade show.

Another aspect of this idea is that you don’t need to have a huge variety of products rights away. It can be tempting when you see all of the different products that other companies are selling.

You immediately imagine your company’s logo and slogan on those same products and want to immediately go make them. 

But it’s not cost-effective, and likely will spread your branding a little thin. If you have one type of brand merch that’s effective, useful, and looks great, you’ll be way ahead of the game. 

Both of these play into the idea of scarcity. If people think there are fewer of a product, it immediately makes the product seem more valuable. If it seems like they can’t have something, they’ll want it even more!

You can always expand your orders and product numbers after a while when you’ve been able to see how successful well your merch giveaways or sales have been.

Be Chill

People don’t want aggressive salespeople. But that doesn’t only apply to when they’re car shopping or being interrupted on the phone at dinner time. It also applies to brands trying to push branded merchandise too hard. 

So make sure you are subtle and creative with the ways you market your merch to people. 

One strategy is to only make your merch available to in-store visits, promotions, or at events. Another is to try to start social media campaigns that encourage people to take photos of your merch at various places.

Avoid the hard sell, aka putting your website, phone number, etc on the actual merch. Don’t be afraid to be slightly mysterious with it. It’s easy enough for people to find your site and phone number these days when they want to.

Branded Business Merchandise Success

This post should get your company started into the world of branded business merchandise success. 

Be slow and deliberate about all of your choices, making sure your merch is great to look at, is on the right types of products, and is marketed in ways that make it seem desirable and cool.

Don’t forget to bookmark our blog and keep checking back to help you level up your business.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.