Managing a branded merchandise program is no easy feat. You have to find the right suppliers, maintain your budget, pick products that leave a lasting impression on stakeholders, and—most importantly—maintain brand integrity. Branding shapes opinions and influences buying decisions, making it essential that all promotional products are in line with your company’s messaging. If you are responsible for branding or procurement, here are five tips to help you maintain brand integrity with your promotional campaigns.
- Develop a branding guide for your organization. Everyone in your organization should know how to communicate the message of your brand. Without a branding guide, it’s difficult for employees to choose branded merchandise with the right colors, fonts, and messaging. The guide should also help employees understand your brand’s voice. MailChimp uses a lot of humor in their marketing, which may seem out of place coming from a public accounting firm or health care provider. An in-depth branding guide makes it easy for stakeholders to choose promotional products that are conducive to your branding guidelines.
- Choose the right products. Your branded merchandise should not confuse customers, employees, volunteers, investors, or vendors. Choosing the right promotional products goes a long way toward sharing a consistent message with key stakeholders. As an example, if your company produces high-end products, choose promotional products of a similar quality. If possible, choose promotional items that have some relevance to your products and services. IT companies use this strategy when they give out branded flash drives. Customers tend to use these flash drives frequently, creating lasting brand impressions without increasing the cost of the promotion.
- Deliver on your brand promise. Your brand promise sets you apart from your competition and tells stakeholders what to expect. When people go to McDonald’s, they expect inexpensive food that tastes the same at every location. Consumers expect Apple products to blend innovative technology with great design. Both of these are examples of brand promises. Make sure your branded merchandise program delivers on your brand promise every time you give away a promotional item.
- Know your audience. Before buying branded merchandise, take time to survey your audience or conduct an informal poll. The results might surprise you. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is purchasing an item you’d like to have rather than an item your stakeholders would like to have.
- Always include your logo. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many promotional products don’t have a brand’s logo or color scheme on them. With not featuring a logo you miss a great opportunity to promote your brand and build recognition in the market. In fact, not including a logo can cost you more in the long run. You don’t want stakeholders to have to read the company name; you want them to see your logo and immediately realize the product came from you.
When done correctly, promotional campaigns are extremely effective. They draw attention to your organization, help you connect with key stakeholders, and reinforce your brand messaging. For a lasting impact, focus on maintaining brand integrity every time you launch a new campaign.
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