Branded merchandise, promotional products, or company swag; whatever you call it, these items are important brand boosters. Using branded merchandise to send a message isn’t a new concept. Did you know George Washington used buttons with his name and face when he ran for president?
Putting a message on a product to distribute has a long and distinguished history. Companies continue to do it today for good reasons. Promotional items increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty, and expand company reach. If your company is ready to get into branded merchandise, you have a lot of options. Choose the types of items you want associated with your company that fit your budget, and that have strong potential for wide circulation. Several of these options include:
Clothing is a great choice for branded merchandise for several reasons. A t-shirt or hoodie is a useful item. People need clothing. They’ll use your branded shirt and wear it out in the world. This turns current customers into walking billboards for your brand. Clothing has excellent potential for circulation and exposure.
Many companies use promotional items as giveaways, but people will buy branded clothing if it’s well-designed and priced reasonably. Consider one of the most famous examples: Hard Rock t-shirts. The Hard Rock Café took branded clothing to new heights in the 1970s and 1980s.
Not only was the t-shirt well-designed with a classic logo that never goes out of style, but it included the city name as well. This turned a one-time purchase into a collection. People visited Hard Rock Cafes in cities all over the world, purchasing a t-shirt as a souvenir. Clothing works as a giveaway but also as an additional point of sale.
Stationery is a near-perfect giveaway item for brand marketing. You can get cheap pens with logos on them for as little as 20 cents per pen. This means you can buy in bulk and distribute endlessly. Pens are also one of those items that tend to circulate far and wide. People pick up and leave behind pens all the time.
Other stationery items can also be useful. Consider giving away things like small note pads or sticky note stacks, journals, day calendars, notebooks, to-do lists, and more. Even in our increasingly digital world, people still use pens, pencils, and paper. This is a good entry point, too, if you have a limited budget.
While they don’t have the same circulation potential as a pen or the walking billboard factor of clothing, home goods are still useful branded merchandise opportunities. These items are best for current customers. They help build brand loyalty and get your logo into customers’ homes, where they will be reminded of your products on a daily basis.
Home items come in a range of types that fit every budget. Some examples that people would be happy to receive include chip clips, mugs, bottle openers, plastic cups, cold drink koozies, candles, throw blankets, and pet products, like toys, plastic bag dispensers, and brushes.
Everyone can use more tech gadgets, so these make great promotional items. People will use them in their homes but take them on the go as well. Some gadgets are small and inexpensive, like a flash drive or charging cable. You can also go higher in price for greater value and buy branded speakers or headphones.
Some other ideas for gadgets and tech-related items are tablet sleeves, laptop bags, portable charging stations, travel adapters, phone wallets, smartphone grips and stands, and privacy webcam covers. Choose what works for your budget and the types of items your target base would use.
Like branded clothing, accessories will advertise your logo far and wide if people wear them. As with shirts and other clothing items, the design needs to be attractive, or you miss the opportunity to spread awareness. Accessories also have the potential to be an additional source of sales for your company. People will buy well-designed accessories from companies they like.
Accessories are wearable and include hats, socks, gloves, key chains, bracelets, umbrellas, and more. Bags of all types work well as branded accessories: tote bags, reusable grocery bags, backpacks, laptop or tablet bags, and lunch bags.
Promotional items have the potential to contribute to increased sales, but not if approached without a plan. Consider the options and choose items thoughtfully. Consider your target audience and also the potential reach of the product. With a good plan and a purchase within your budget, branded merchandise can be a winning strategy.