Is your business in a state of growth? Maybe your orders are on the rise and you’re hiring additional staff or opening new locations to meet demand.  First, congratulations! Second, we suggest you seize this moment and do so smartly.

As a growing business, you know that increasing brand exposure and maintaining strong brand awareness are key to longevity and long-term sales. At the same time, you may also feel that these are daunting tasks to undertake, especially on a tight start-up budget or with limited resources. But don’t fear! A carefully considered merchandising strategy is one simple, proven way of promoting your brand without breaking the bank. In this post, we present five smart, cost-effective merchandising ideas to build buzz for your growing business today and all year long.

#1- Plan a Giveaway Contest (Because Everyone Likes Free Stuff)

If you take one thing from this post, perhaps it should be this: People love freebies! Hosting an attention-grabbing giveaway contest on your social media sites is an easy and powerful way to build brand awareness, increase online engagement and create a memorable experience for your customers. Because you’ll be giving items away, look for low-cost and popular options such as custom button badges. Button badges can also be produced in minimal time, making them a great choice for last-minute campaigns or if you need to quickly restock your merchandise shelf.

We saw a helpful article about a few best practices to keep in mind with giveaway campaigns, especially those on Facebook. One great tip is to focus on the branding! Giveaway campaigns intentionally have a low barrier of entry. Like it or not, many people who participate in the campaign will just want the freebie. So, make sure any merchandise you use for the giveaway clearly relates to or represents your brand – an easy way to do this is to design buttons or other items that feature your logo, messaging or contact information. Other tips include a strong use of visuals and colour as well as timing your campaign to align with a season or special event.

#2- Create an Amazing Event Bag

Do you have a trade show or event around the corner? With just a bit of planning, events present a tremendous opportunity to increase your brand exposure via creative branded merchandise. Many businesses will give away an item or two at their events – why not take it a bit further with an entire event bag? The best event bags are filled with cool stuff that your customers will actually want to use. With the right items, people will covet and use your merchandise, which will  help you build relationships and buzz and inspire follow-up from event attendees.

Some of the most popular and effective items we are asked to make for event bags include pin badges and keyrings. But what else could you add?! Perhaps you want to connect your event bag to the theme or location of your event? If your event is somewhere warm, what about functional and fashion-forward sunglasses that feature your brand or logo? One popular choice is our California sunglasses. They offer a trendy design and UV 400 protection, for durable safety (and long-term exposure for your brand). As a bonus, these particular shades come with a microfiber pouch for storage and cleaning.

One of the best things about a good event bag is that you’re getting your branded merchandise into the hands of customers who will take it home with them. To bring in a little extra money at your next event, you could also sell special high-quality branded merchandise, such as badges. The key here is to design your ‘for-sale badges’ with a distinguished finish or embellishments to give them that extra special touch.

#3- Let’s Get Eco-Friendly

Another sure-fire way to boost your business with branded merchandise is to focus on what people care about. Today, that’s likely to be products and practices that are environmentally friendly. Focusing on sustainable, reusable merchandise is a great way to do your part as a start-up and help conscious consumers reduce their eco-footprint.

Not only has this been our experience at Rocket Badge, but the numbers play out, too. A Nielsen poll of consumers in 60 countries found that two-thirds would pay more for sustainable goods. But among millennials (those born from 1977 to 1995), that number jumps to 73 percent; nearly three-quarters of young consumers would pay extra for products with a purpose!

Popular eco-friendly merchandise ideas include recycled badges, bags for life made out of natural or recycled material (like a customisable jute and cotton beach bag) or a functional and reusable water bottle, like this 650ml hydrate bottle, which is made from BPA-free plastic. All three items are highly practical, enabling your brand and messaging to be seen for some time, whether you sell them or give them away.

#4- Create a Covetable Collection

What’s better than one great piece of merchandise? How about an entire collection of merchandise! Another tip to boost your business is with a special collection of badges or other complementary items. This could be released at once, as a set, or over time as a sort of “drip campaign” to build excitement as you go. In all cases, you can gift your collections, or you can sell them online and in your shop. Here’s a great example from Brewdog, a brewery that took inspiration from their own mouth-watering brews to create a unique, collectable set of mini beer-cap badges.


Your collection doesn’t have to be limited to badges, either. Why not pair a badge with a bag, t-shirt and mug for a super-collection – it also makes a great gift for your customers to purchase for others. Brewdog, for example, offers an impressive range of merchandise beyond pins and badges, including stationary, glassware, clothing and even a dog collar.

#5- Think Outside the Box

Lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative. A good rule of thumb is to keep your ideas big and your items small, which will help keep costs in check. You can create memorable merchandise like badges that are small in design, but high in impact. Consider shape, size and colour to make a truly bold statement.

We hope this post helps you hone in on just some of the ways that branded merchandise can boost your business. What other examples or strategies have you seen? We’d love to hear your ideas and see if we can put together a free design to help you build on your buzz. Good luck and best wishes with your burgeoning business!