Branded merchandise has long been an impactful component of successful marketing strategies and promotional campaigns. With 30 years of experience, the team at Rocket Badge knows that the best branded items help companies express their brand personality, emotionally connect with target audiences and reinforce their message to the market. It sounds like a tall order, but these little, well-made products really can do it all. In this post, we share a few do’s and don’ts to help you make the most of your promotional products this year.

Do: Create practical products with high perceived value.

Our first “do” is to aim for promotional merchandise with a high perceived value. An Eventbrite article makes a good point that if you create things that people view as “cheap” or have no use for, they’re likely to just end up in the rubbish. Remember, perceived value is tied to how much someone likes or desires to use your item; it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend a lot on it.

Enamel badges and keyrings are great examples of budget-friendly merchandise that carries a high perceived value. Special touches can also extend this perceived value. Metal keyrings, for example, are a distinctive choice and the various plating options (including shiny, misty and antique finishes) contribute to a distinctive, high quality design.

branded merchandise

Do: Incorporate branded merchandise into your larger strategy.

Our next tip is to create a branded merchandise strategy that will resonate with your target audiences. A guiding principle here is to consider how and where you’ll use your items. For example, is your merchandise for a tradeshow giveaway, a VIP client gift or a new retail offering? Or is it simply a quirky addition to an existing campaign? Then, think about your target recipient and how, where and why they are likely to use your merchandise. Combined, these details should help you start to hone in on your overall style and design to create unique, yet practical item.

Your story is a key part of this strategy, too. Your strategy should carry your brand forward and remain consistent to your company ethos, reputation and message. Take, for example, how clothing company Drop Dead collaborated with Universal Studios on a special line to mark the 25th anniversary of the iconic “Jurassic Park” movie. All of the related promotional merchandise shares the same story and design as the larger collaboration. (Including a great keyring that looks like a fossilised mosquito in amber, from the movie scene!)

Do: Focus on ROI.

Our last “do” is to focus on your return on investment, or ROI. Think back to your overall marketing strategy and the goals you identified. Then, think about the following aspects when developing a plan around your promotional merchandise.

  • Do your products have appeal? Though your merchandise might not be connected to revenue or sales, it should be selected and designed in a way that will entice your target customers. 
  • Is it unique? Promotional products are effective. However, this means there’s a lot of stuff floating around out there. How will you make your merch stand apart from the rest? Differentiate your items through creative, unique design, or seek products that are particularly useful and functional, such as a trolley coin keyring. 
  • Is it high quality? Remember, your merchandise is an extension of your brand, so it’s important to produce high quality products that will positively reinforce your image and reputation.

Don’t: Limit yourself.

Now for the don’ts. While you want to focus on engaging core audiences, don’t limit yourself too much. In fact, with so many neat types of products available, you might find that you struggle to identify a single promotional item. One solution is to create a larger collection of merchandise around a shared theme and marketing goal. In this way, you can offer a range of items that will appeal to different audience demographics and attract more customers through various price points. 

The Drop Dead x Jurassic Park line (which we mentioned above) is a great case study. Their promotional options include a wide range of keyrings, carrier bags and other items. Each product revolves around the same theme and tells a consistent story, but the range of items ensures that more people will find something that appeals to their style and their budget. 

Don’t: Forget to ask the right questions.

Asking the right questions is an important part of your merchandise strategy to target your customers. It’s also a key aspect of selecting the right manufacturing partner for your merchandise. Who makes your bag – and how it’s produced – is the final step of the process, and it’s an important one. 

While we hope you select us, we also want you to find the perfect company to produce and deliver products that meet your expectations for quality, cost and time. Make sure you ask the right questions, including:

  • Is there a minimum order quantity?
  • Do you offer design assistance?
  • What are my options for custom materials or embellishments?
  • What happens if I’m unhappy with the final product?
  • How do you ensure that my products are made in an ethical manner? (For example, we were proud to produce the Drop Dead x Jurassic Park products, and uphold the company’s ethical practices throughout the entire process; all of the products were manufactured in our SMETA-audited factories with the highest standards of working conditions.)

And there you have it! Some of the top do’s and don’ts of creating great branded merchandise. There’s one more important do: Do have fun with it! Creating custom merchandise is an opportunity for you and you team to try something new, and to be creative in your exploration and design. Ready to say, “I do”? Please get in touch with us today to get started.