Why Branded Merchandise is Good for your Business
It seems a distant memory now, but there was a time, long ago, when the internet did not exist. A time when “Amazon” was just a rainforest, or “trolls” were cave-dwelling creatures (this still might be true), or when designing for the web, however complex, was a task exclusive to arachnids.
Now these seem like strange, distant times and, for businesses, even stranger, when reaching consumers wasn’t so easy as posting online. Marketing happened in actual places, where people gathered and talked (remember those days?) rather than a virtual world in which consumers endlessly scroll. In fact, product marketing efforts can be traced all the way back to antiquity, with manufacturers in Pompeii decorating mosaics and vases with their personal brand. Fish sauce maker, Umbricius Scauras, used to decorate ceramic amphoras (the container you might store fish sauce in) with his personal label, and bread makers throughout Rome habitually stamped bread with their family’s name.
These were the first instances of branded merchandise - a marketing trend that has remained popular for over 2000 years. In today’s world, with shiny new apps introduced every day and marketeers obsessed with likes and shares, it’s easy to forget about the success of these early trailblazing campaigns. Branding used to take place on products, not screens, and there was good reason for this - namely, because it worked.
At Ecoduka, we understand the power of promotional merchandise, having worked with top brands since 2003. We want to bring awareness to companies, big and small, about the power of product marketing, especially during the pandemic and post-pandemic era. Reusable masks have given companies a new canvas to promote on - a highly visible canvas, given they sit just below eye level - and yet many companies have yet to recognise the power of this new product, or promotional merchandise in general. In this article, we aim to demonstrate those top reasons to invest in branded merchandise, because - as the biggest brands will tell you - it’s a serious business.
1. IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM…
When Google first launched, it gave away branded merchandise free to employees. T-shirts with “Google" on, bags and cups - these were all stocked by the marketing department, free for employees to peruse. This was because Google recognised, early on, that promotional merchandise is a powerful tool. If your employee is going to carry a bag, or drink from a coffee cup, you might as well ensure it has your company’s logo on it. Today, Google is a trillion dollar company, with over a hundred thousand employees, but check out their online product store and you’ll find bags, drinkware and other everyday items, all with their company logo on. Let me say that again. They are the biggest search engine and cloud computing platform, with a brand visibility other companies could only dream of, yet their online store is exclusively stocked with everyday items like bottles, t-shirts and bags. This isn’t a coincidence.
2. REMEMBER MY NAME
What do people look at every day? Apart from their phones? Is it expensive footwear, or luxury purses, or is it in fact mundane items like shopping bags, coffee cups or (at the moment) reusable face masks? Marketing is about reaching people, and printing on practical everyday items is an incredibly effective way to do that. Research conducted by the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) found that 66% of customers remember a brand for an average of twelve months after receiving a promotional product. This statistic increases with repeated use, meaning that, if your customer is consistently looking at your promotional product, they are going to have a level of familiarity with your brand. Anyone who understands the familiarity principle - namely, that human beings tend to prefer things (or people) which they see more often - will understand what an incredibly powerful tool this is. Promotional merchandise at its best creates customer familiarity and loyalty, ensuring that, when your consumer is looking to make a purchase, it will be your brand that they think of.
3. SEIZE THE MOMENT
How many branded masks do you see at the moment? Or laptop bags? Not many and yet these are two everyday items which are getting a lot of exposure right now. With masks compulsory in shops, schools and public transport and employees carting laptops to and from the office, the opportunities for branded merchandise are ripe. Nothing is more visible than a person’s face and right now there is a blank canvas covering almost every face in the country. So why not paint on that canvas? If your employees are going to wear a face mask every day, why not brand it with your company’s logo? If they are going to carry a laptop case, splitting their week between the office and home, why not stamp it with your company’s brand? Successful campaigns are all about timing, so make sure to seize those moments in the advertising landscape to ensure maximum visibility for your brand.
4. COUNT THE PENNIES
Compared to other traditional forms of marketing - tv advertising or billboards - branded merchandise is relatively cheap. It also, arguably, brings a greater return on investment than other types of advertising, since promotional items are typically kept by customers for a long period of time. A 2016 study by the Advertising Speciality Institute found that, on average, consumers keep promotional merchandise for eight months. This gives much more visibility than, say, a PPC ad or pop-up on a website, especially considering that the item is placed in the consumer’s home. Since customers will habitually use branded jute bags for shopping, or drink from promotional coffee cups, these products end up being excellent value for money per impression (the number of times the “ad” is viewed). It is also a cheap way of getting consumers to advocate your company. When a customer carries or wears a promotional item, that customer is, without realising it, providing an endorsement for your brand. Instead of paying advocates to represent your company, you are letting the products speak for you.
At Ecoduka, we work with some of the world’s largest companies to create powerful, branded merchandise. If you’re looking to make an order, or simply find out more information, please visit our Bespoke and Branding page.