In 2021, small businesses are going above and beyond to get their name out there! The average American sees over 2,000 ads in a day, after all, so anything business owners can do to increase their brand recognition is helpful! One of the best ways of doing this at scale is to invest in branded merchandise. A Google or YouTube ad might only be in front of your audience for a few seconds. A T-shirt or notepad bearing your logo and brand name could be seen every day!
However, there are some rules of the road to be aware of when designing brand collateral. It’s not as simple as merely creating branded products. How are you going to distribute this merchandise? Do you have a logo to put on this collateral? What audience is this collateral made for? These are all questions you should answer BEFORE you start designing any product or article of clothing!
Thankfully, our team here at JSL Marketing & Web Design has the answers!
Read on to learn about our Dos and Don’ts of Branded company merchandise!
Branded Merchandise Dos
- Do Incorporate Your Logo: You’d be surprised by how much brand collateral doesn’t include a logo. Displaying your brand name and contact info is still relevant, but it’s disconnected information and is thus less valuable to your business aims. A lot of human recall is prompted by colors and design more than text, which is why logos are so powerful. If you don’t include a logo alongside your brand name, you’re decreasing the likelihood that the user will recall your brand name if they see it in other advertising. This only reduces the probability that they ever turn into a sale for your brand. Trust us, include a logo to help your users recognize your brand in the future.
- Do Highlight Other Marketing Efforts: This can be easier said than done. You only have so much space when you put your brand on an object or article of clothing, and it can be cluttered to try to put your website URL or Facebook handle on a coffee mug or pen. However, we highly encourage you to include another marketing medium on the collateral if possible. It’s a great way to promote other aspects of marketing and educate your audience about what else your brand is doing! It’s even better if you can promote your website on an object that is relevant to your industry and audience! A company URL on a branded mousepad, for instance, might be an excellent play for a company that specializes in software.
- Do Include A Bit About Your Brand: Again, this will depend on the circumstances of the collateral. Are you passing out branded coffee mugs at a convention? Are these items that customers can order from your site? Depending on the circumstances of how your users are getting their collateral, consider including a little printout slip with each item. This little pamphlet can quickly summarize your brand’s history, make a value proposition to your lead, and include relevant contact information. Let’s take the case of a local candy shop that passes out branded old-fashioned soda bottles during the local street fair. If this shop puts a printout within each bottle detailing the shop’s history and values, they’ve contextualized the collateral. Now, the bottles aren’t just bottles. They’re a quick summary of your brand and a reminder of that shop’s value propositions for your users!
Branded Merchandise Don’ts
- Don’t Neglect The Strategic Purpose Of the Collateral: Companies often jump straight to the design stage without thinking about WHY they’re interested in branded merchandise. The purpose behind your merchandise doesn’t need to be to drive sales! Creating collateral for customers to buy or T-shirts for your staff as an appreciation gift are perfectly valid reasons to invest in merchandise! Just be sure to have the conversation upfront and know what YOUR why is before you design any collateral.
- Don’t Design Without Research: Often, business owners default to what they think their customers or leads will want without conducting any research to back up their assumptions. If you’re adding your collateral to an eCommerce store for purchase, you need to know what your customers actually want to purchase! Again, this will depend on your brand’s goal for your collateral. If you’re passing out free collateral at a sales show or local event, researching customer desires isn’t as imperative. However, you should still find some way of gauging interest among your audience, whether that’s your staff, your customers, or your industry before you order 1,000 tote bags.
- Don’t Brand Everything: Sometimes, companies get bitten by the design bug and get excited about all the creative things they can create. While there’s nothing wrong with being excited, this enthusiasm often has unintended consequences. The point of putting your brand on collateral isn’t just to do so; it’s to put your name out there and increase brand recognition amongst your target audience. Ideally, you’re creating branded collateral that is somewhat related to your industry. A coffee company creating branded mugs or a doctor’s office passing out branded calendars with their contact information are great examples of this. These objects display a logo relevant to the audience and thus increase the odds that the viewers remember the brand in question. It’s tempting to immediately think of pens or coasters and imagine what your logo would look like, but we encourage you to think of more suitable options for your industry.
- Don’t Cut Corners On Cost: We understand entirely being cost-effective, and there are plenty of fantastic brand collateral options that are reasonably priced. Don’t think you need to spend an arm and a leg for unique brand merchandise. However, you do need to provide a positive user experience to the customer or lead receiving the collateral. That could be dependent on the price. Remember, the point isn’t to put your brand on everything. It’s to create branded merchandise that’s relevant to your brand. If you’re a vineyard passing out branded corkscrews at a convention, choosing a subpar producer is a risk. You don’t want those corkscrews breaking and your brand name being the only thing the user remembers about the experience. The point isn’t just to put your name out there; it’s to put your name out there and get some good brand recognition. Don’t cut corners. Trust us; it’s worth taking the time and resources to make the right brand collateral for your customers.
Call JSL Marketing & Web Design for unique brand merchandise! We’re an award-winning, Dallas-based digital marketing, branding, and design agency! Our talented artists and brand ambassadors are waiting to discuss your next branding project and any of the following!