Branded merchandise has evolved into a full-fledge and rapidly expanding industry. Perhaps this is the reason why industry pundits are regarding branded merchandise and promotional products as the hottest of all marketing trends for the year 2019 and 2020. However, it is not mandatory that the products that are popular in 2019 will continue to remain popular in 2020 as well. Moreover, a lot of people get confused about the primary objective and salient features of promotional products. In this article, we will inform you about all the necessary aspects, features, and tips of promotional gifts along with a comparison between the effectiveness of giving branded merchandise and other marketing strategies.
Branding is a term that we hear quite often nowadays, but we actually don’t know what branding means. No, it isn’t just about creating franchises out of a single retail store or making your brand name or logo popular among the masses. Branding, basically, means to convey everything about your business, vision, values, and mission apart from your offered products/services. The difference between marketing and branding is that marketing is about building brand awareness to achieve tactical goals whereas branding is the strategy that helps you achieve that.
Branded Merchandise Vs Other Marketing
As mentioned above, branding is how you achieve your marketing goals. It is, therefore, at the heart of your marketing strategy. Even if you own a small-size startup, you still need to clearly convey to the consumers what your brand represents. This understanding eventually drives all the other steps of marketing such as tactics, strategies, and tools. Branded merchandise, hence, refer to the items that you giveaway as gifts or complementary items to your target audience; such as, giving away pencils and pens bearing the name of your brand and its logo to students.
Branded Merchandise- What’s its Position on the Scale of Things?
In Australia, branded merchandise has developed into a huge industry; every year business owners are recording higher growth in their revenues as businesses are more interested in purchasing promo products. It is estimated that the industry will continue to expand at a rate of 5.5% annually from 2019 onwards. In 2019, there has been a 3.2% revenue growth in promo products industry and revenues reached $252.4 million. Understandably, Australia has become a thriving market for gift products. Research reveals that 8 out of 10 individuals in the country own at least 1 and a maximum of 10 promotional products. This means, branded merchandise’s position on the scale of things is quite strong.
More Popular Branded Merchandise:
The most popular branded merchandise included pens, drinkware, t-shirts, calendars, and other desktop accessories. Studies revealed that t-shirts happen to be the top item that is most commonly given away for promotional purposes while drinkware, writing products and outerwear being the next three commonly gifted items. Interestingly, around a quarter of consumers receiving promotional products owned each of these items.
Another important aspect is that the popularity of giving away reusable or ecofriendly products has increased substantially while the popularity of disposable products has declined considerably. Due to the heightened interest of in gym, exercising, and fitness sports and nutrition related products such as complimentary herbal teas and sportswear are also popular. It must be noted that the popularity of small gadgets like power banks, USBs, and personal use items like handbags are also popular promotional items.
ROI on Branded Merchandise vs Other Marketing Strategies:
The ROI (return on investment) on branded merchandise is definitely higher than the outcomes of other marketing strategies such as advertising on television, newspaper ads and print media ads. It is because the cost of producing promo products is lower than all other strategies. Conventional marketing and even digital marketing campaigns involve various teams including marketing strategists and third-party advertisers, and require constant monitoring or campaign outcomes, which render the cost of marketing higher than branded merchandise. On the other hand, branded merchandising does not require excessive brainstorming; you don’t need to come up with a unique and effective strategy to promote the products and all you need is to be at the right place and the right time to giveaway the gifts.
Moreover, the other forms of marketing and advertising are usually passive as there isn’t direct involvement or interaction of clients. Branded merchandise gifting allows enhanced interaction with potential buyers, which make the entire marketing process a lot more successful; hence, ROI becomes higher than other marketing tactics. Even a promotional item as simple and inexpensive as a grocery bag can yield positive results simply because it is an everyday use item that people would love to use for long time and eventually they develop a liking for the brand itself.
Top 6 Tips for Successful Branded Merchandising:
Although every business has different set of values, objectives, and services/products, which is why the type of gifts to be given away vary greatly, but, there are certain tips that can be universally applied on almost all kinds of branded merchandise campaigns/methods. The following are the top six tips to ensure effective branded merchandising.
Focus on the Usability of the Gift:
Consumers of this age are very much practical in their approaches and choices. They want to keep items that are of some value for them. This value is generated by the item’s usefulness. This is why in our opinion the first most important tip to get the branded merchandising right is to offer useful items. As we mentioned above, an ecofriendly and reusable grocery bag may appear insignificant but it is very useful from the consumer’s perspective. Writing tools and instruments like pen, pencils, notepads, and even calendars and pen holders are very useful products. In simple words, usefulness of an item outweighs attractiveness by a huge margin. We aren’t saying that aesthetics doesn’t matter, they surely do, but usability comes first.
The products that stay longer are preferred by the users. Giving away a paper cup is useless as it has really short lifespan and as soon as it gets damaged, the user will forget about your brand. Conversely, products that last long are effective in yielding desired results for the brand as these keep reminding the user about the brand that these represent. On average, the branded merchandise must last up to seven months or even more, such as calendars that have a life of one year. Nowadays, ecofriendly and sustainable promo products are quite popular especially among the youth as this segment of population is most concerned about climate change. Offering biodegradable, green products such as reusable water bottles not only conveys a strong message about your company’s adherence to corporate social responsibility but also lets the user enjoy the product for long time and develop a connection with your brand.
Choose the Right Mix of Products:
It is important to ensure that the products you choose to promote are effective enough to attract consumers towards your brand. There is no use spending huge sums on money over hundreds of promotional goods that aren’t related to your business. Your branded merchandise has to reflect your business and offered products/services, and must fulfill the purpose behind the marketing campaign.
Focus on the Quality:
If you offer garments to prospective buyers, and the product is not of good quality and gets worn out after a single wash or two, do you really think that the buyer would want to invest into your brand? Definitely not! To prevent giving wrong impression about your service and product quality, you need to create high quality promo products. Mostly people give away items of daily use such as pens, water bottles, umbrellas, and lip balms, etc. If these items are of low quality, consumers will throw them away
You must give innovative, unique, and well-planned gift items. Don’t make random selections of products; if you sell desktop accessories, don’t give tea mugs to your buyers. On the other hand, if you sell tea, a tea mug would be the perfect item. However, a lot of companies may sell tea and opt to giveaway tea mugs. So, how do you wish to make your company and brand stand out among the rest? That you achieve through creativity. You can make even an insignificant everyday use item like a glass or mug into an attractive item with your creativity. How about printing the benefits of tea or the recipe of making different types of teas using your products on the mug? The idea is to create a lasting impression and greater impact on the consumers and enhance your brand’s image.
Reflect your Brand:
Remember that the primary purpose behind offering promo products is to diver public attention to your brand, logo, business, and website, etc. If your branded merchandise doesn’t reflect your brand, what’s the purpose of giving them anyway?
VMA Promo- The Perfect Promoter of your Brand:
If you want to eliminate the need to involve the middleman and directly buy quality promo products at highly affordable rates, VMA Promo is the perfect option. We work with clients to fully grasp the primary goals and objectives of their campaigns and then get their desired products in record time. We directly source products from factories, which is why the entire process of promo products creation becomes highly cost-effective as there aren’t any other teams involved. Getting you the best possible deal and highest quality product is our policy, which we abide by strictly. Feel free to get a quote from VMA Promo to check the difference between us and other service providers.