Getting a store, app, band, product or service up and running is no small feat. After pouring your heart and soul (not to mention a humongous amount of time, effort, and money) into creating this brand, you need to make sure it sees the light of day. Enter, brand merchandising.
Now, if you’ve ever seen ‘Envato’ t-shirts, ‘Coca-Cola’ hats, or ‘Guns n Roses’ pins, then you’ve experienced brand merchandising at some point. However, if you don’t know what it is, brand merchandising is basically placing your brand (e.g. your logo or slogan) on products that your target audience can use, but that aren’t necessarily related to what you sell or offer (like t-shirts, bags, pencils, etc.). This helps your brand get out there and improves brand awareness, since not only will the owner/recipient see it, but everyone around them will also be made aware of your brand.
If done right, brand merchandising can be a low-cost way to get publicity—the key words being, “if done right.” If you think merchandising is the right step for your brand, here are some tips to help you make the most of this opportunity to get your name out there.
Using Brand Merchandising the Right Way
1. Pay Attention to Your Message
Nobody will want to advertise your brand if they don’t agree with your message. That’s why you first need to ensure your brand has a good foundation: quality, efficiency, values, and more. This way, your customers will wear your items proudly.
Speaking of which, it doesn’t hurt to have a clean, creative, and gorgeous design that people will want to don. Create your own logo with this online logo maker!
2. Have a Strategy
To take full advantage of your brand merchandising, you need to have a set strategy. Knowing who you’re targeting, what you want, how you’ll get it, and how much you’re willing to invest in it will keep you from spending time and money on things that simply aren’t worth it. Plus, it will increase your chance of succeeding, so start setting a well-researched strategy.
3. Choose the Right Products
When choosing the right products to manufacture, you need to think about your consumers: their age, who they are, what they like, etc. This is because you need to make sure you give them something that they will perceive as valuable and that they will actually want to use.
Other than that, try to stay away from trendy items (unless your brand is all about trends), since these can go out of style fast.
4. Start Out Small
If this is your first attempt at doing brand merchandising, your best bet is to start out small. Releasing a limited number of products will help you test the waters before jumping into the deep end with a large order.
5. Create Quality Items
It will be hard to get your audience to use your merchandise if the t-shirt is unraveling or if the tote bag has a pixelated image. Not only that, but shoddy products will speak badly of your brand. This is why you should always choose quality. Opt for nicely made items and print a clean, proper design on them.
If you want a better idea of how your products will look before starting production, you can use Placeit to create realistic mockups!
6. Get Creative
The first thing that might come to mind when thinking about brand merchandising is to make t-shirts with your logo on them. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just that: make pillows, mugs, tumblers, notebooks, hoodies, hats, and other items people may want to use. Get creative to stand out!
7. Avoid Seeing It as Profit
Selling your brand merchandise may make sense at times. Nonetheless, you should avoid seeing this as a way to make a profit. The main idea behind brand merchandising (unless you established something different in your strategy) is raising brand awareness, so set your expectations there.
8. Don’t Be Too Pushy
Being too intense with your brand merchandising can be extremely off-putting for your audience and may have the opposite effect than what you’re trying to achieve. Also, don’t add your telephone number, your logo, your slogan, your website, your address, etc., to your designs. Something clean and well-designed can be much more effective.
9. Focus, But Don’t Limit Your Reach
To create a brand, you need to have an audience to target, and to know everything about it. Still, even though you want to reach your target audience with your merchandise, you don’t want to limit yourself. After all, you never know who could be made aware of your brand because of the person wearing or using your merchandise. That’s why you should create products that more people will want to use, not just your target.
10. Know How to Distribute It
Do you know how your merchandise will get to your target audience? Will you sell it or gift it to them? Will you give it away with a purchase? Will you have it available on your website? Or will someone be handing out your merchandise outside your store? Whatever the case may be, it is important that you create a solid plan to distribute your items. After all, they won’t do you much good if they’re all in boxes kept in your basement.
So, all in all, brand merchandising can be a good move for you, depending on what stage your product or service is at. If you want to guarantee that you will reach the goals you’ve set out for it, follow the tips above to get closer to them and raise your brand awareness effectively.
In any case, be sure to test out what your merchandise will look like in realistic scenarios with the help of Placeit and its mockups.