What is a Branded Merchandise Strategy & Why Does My Company Need It?

Branded Glass TumblerMuch like you have a content marketing strategy, a calendar for promotional offers, or a budget for digital ad spend, your business should have a branded merchandise strategy.  Let’s step back for just a second – what is branded merchandise? Some call it swag, others call it promotional items, and if you were in business at the time our business got started, you would have called them ad specialties.  Branded merchandise is the term we use for all things branded, custom and wonderful when it comes to corporate merchandise. It’s everything from the soft goods like t-shirts to the hard goods like drinkware – and everything in between.  Why do we call it branded merchandise? Branded merchandise speaks more to the experience you want your recipient to have. Branding merchandise feels more like the experience it really should be – gifting something intentionally so that they have an emotional response to the person who gave them the gift – you!

Many times branded merchandise gets set aside in to the “things we’ve always done” category and isn’t truly the marketing channel it deserves to be.  Someone on the team inherits ordering “giveaways” and maybe it’s been a bit less intentional than it really could be.  You wouldn’t treat social media that way, and you shouldn’t let branded merchandise’s strategy get away from you either.  Don’t believe us? Let the numbers convince you it’s time to focus on branded merchandise.

Without a branded merchandise strategy defined, you might be spending more money than you really need to on results that aren’t translating.  As a part of a full-service marketing agency, we’re always aware of return on investment. In fact, we’d so much rather you see a return on your spend on branded merchandise, we might advise against a purchase in some cases if we don’t think it will translate to results (if you look really close, you might see we’re marketers first, salespeople last).  Here are a few things to consider:

  • Who is the recipient of your branded merchandise and what is important to them?
  • What is the challenge you are trying to solve with this purchase?
  • What will mean success for you with this investment?
  • How am I mirroring my brand beliefs and other marketing plans in my branded merchandise plans?

And the more tactical:

  • How long until I need to send or give this branded merchandise? (Lead times are crucial to the flexibility you’ll have for your branded merchandise campaign)
  • Do I have the capacity to plan, design, receive, and fulfill the branded merchandise I need, or do I need to outsource help in any of these areas?

In addition to all the components you need to consider (we go over all of this in branded merchandise strategy sessions we offer our clients), it’s really a mindset shift and a culture shift in some companies to hold branded merchandise in the same regard as your other marketing dollars.  When it’s all about connecting with customers and either influencing their brand awareness or helping them take an action regarding your company, your actions should be strategic.

We've created a free worksheet to help you get started planning for your branded merchandise marketing.

Book your branded merchandise strategy session. We will be happy to walk you through your strategy in complete detail and give you resources to help make you successful throughout your branded merchandise buys.

Branded Merchandise Strategy Worksheet Download