I have experienced first hand the buzz that erupts on a trading floor when traders spot an armful of umbrellas. Branded, bright orange, and well designed. I have also been the recipient of dozens of tacky gadgets on the other end of the design spectrum. No matter how hard I try to find a home for these dubious items, they always end up in the garbage.

How to Maximise the Impact of your Branded Merchandise

In a previous article, we wrote about the importance of aligning your sales and marketing teams. Today, many marketers are working closely with sales to craft a promotional marketing strategy. Sales understand their customers and what makes them tick. Sharing this insight with marketing results in a targeted promotional campaign. Together, they can then work towards achieving greater efficiencies with a designated budget.

The question is not whether the item should be inexpensive or luxurious. What’s important is that the merchandise buyer has a clear understanding of the audience and marketing goals. For a new, small business at a trade show, the goal could simply be to increase brand awareness and achieve mass outreach. But, you will need to change tactics for an event like a premium global leadership conference. Here, you are competing for the attention of C-suite executives and potential brand ambassadors. Investing in bespoke, high-end items will leave a lasting, positive impression of your company.

Most businesses recognize the value of branded gifts. It’s unfortunate that, for many, it’s a hit-or-miss campaign that often backfires. Instead of mainstream tactics, your marketing team can use targeted strategies to wet the appetite of a segment of the market. The result: stronger brand equity and customer relationships.

10 Targeted Strategies for Successful Branded Merchandise

1. Pique interest. Create a limited edition gift for new customers or participants at a golf day or other corporate event. A well-designed shirt or cap with a discrete logo will be worn again and again over its lifetime.

2. Garner goodwill. Highlight your company’s philanthropic or social responsibility interest. Display the associated logo alongside your company logo.

3. Go green. Environmental issues may be important to your business. To complement your brand image, source green gifts such as recycled paper notepads, or reusable water bottles.

4. Boost employee morale. Reward employee achievements with sought-after items like team-sponsored sportswear. Corporate merchandising should make you feel proud to be associated with a company.

5. Create a buzz. Distribute fun gadgets on the odd occasion to generate excitement and positive sentiment around your brand. Having said that, staple, practical items like tasteful umbrellas are always popular.

6. Unified corporate image. Offer the same branded merchandise to regional sales teams to create a consistent, global image. A subtle reference to the geographic location will stimulate healthy competition.

7. Endorsement by partner firms. Distribute your promotional gifts to partner firms, vendors and service providers to extend your brand reach.

8. Call to action. If you use native advertising, combine a product giveaway with a call to action on the advert. Few can resist the allure of a freebie and you benefit by collecting customer data.

9. Personalisation. Present a small number of personalised, bespoke items to high net worth clients at an exclusive event. When other senior executives see a CEO carrying an item like a branded leather bag, there is no greater endorsement for your business.

10. The human touch. Use lateral thinking to reach new markets and add a memorable, human touch to your brand. Quality promotional items have a way of escaping the landfill, and turning up in unexpected places. A branded beach towel that was distributed at one conference turned out to be very popular with families on vacation. But one executive admitted it was his favourite to use when washing his dog! Many executives make a beeline for freebies at trade shows with the sole purpose of taking them home for the kids. The feel good factor associated with a fun, family item is priceless.

Visit our website or call us to find out how we can help you meet your branded merchandise objectives. deVilliers Communications now produce creative merchandise for several of the FTSE 100 companies along with a host of SME businesses across the world.

Call our office on : 0208 7418766