Branded merchandise is a great way to interact face-to-face with your employees, customers, and the general public.
But it’s no easy feat trying to manage your promotional products. You’ve got to worry about:
- Finding the right sourcing
- Managing your budget
- Choosing quality products
You also have to make sure that your promotional campaigns hit on one big (but often forgotten) component: brand integrity.
Sure, branding is tough to nail down, but it’s incredibly important. In fact, regularly promoting a strong brand can boost revenue by as much as 23%. It’s no wonder why 89% of marketers say brand awareness is their main goal.
Branding is why people immediately associate Frappucinos with Starbucks and the bull’s-eye symbol with Target. Branding impacts how the public perceives you, so if you want to influence people’s buying decisions, your promotional products must match up with your company’s messaging.
That’s easier said than done, so follow these five tips to carefully maintain your brand integrity during your promotional product campaigns.
1. Know your audience
Did you know it takes seven touch points for someone to remember your brand? If you want your audience to remember you, you need to do a little recon on your customers.
With promotional products, you want empathy for the people who will receive and use the products. If you’ve done promo campaigns in the past and they weren’t a hit, it’s likely that your audience assumptions were off.
You really want to knock their socks off, so if you aren’t sure if a promotional product aligns with your brand, why not ask your audience directly? Paid surveys or polls can tell you a lot about your customers.
You can also get to know your customers through:
- Reading reviews
- Checking comments on social media
- Constructing buyer personas
The key here is to choose promotional products that your audience will actually enjoy — not products that you want or think your audience would want.
2. Create branding guidelines
Just one-third of consumers trust the brands they buy from. That’s not good!
Fortunately, you can earn back your customers’ trust by consistently branding your promotional products. Yes, consistency has a direct impact on your bottom line: research shows that consistent branding can increase revenue by 33%.
How can you keep your promotional products consistent? It’s easy if you’re in a small company, but large enterprises often struggle to keep everyone on the same page. You don’t want the marketing department doing their own thing while customer service and sales do something else.
Branding guidelines are the answer. Branding guidelines are one centralized document that helps employees clarify your:
- Tone and writing style
- Overall messaging
Branding guidelines remove ambiguity and clarify how employees can pick promo products that fit within your branding.
Of course, employees can’t follow your branding guidelines if they don’t have them! Make sure everyone in your organization has access to your branding guidelines. It’s also a good idea to share it as a read-only document to avoid accidental deletions or unapproved edits.
3. Choose the right product spread
You’ve got to choose the right products for your branded merchandise campaigns carefully. For example, if your company’s mascot is a purple koala and you give away orange rubber duckies at a conference, it’s going to give customers mixed signals. And if you’re a luxury brand, you don’t want to pass out whoopee cushions, right?
Your product options need to fit with your brand’s vibe. The easiest way to do that is to choose branded merchandise that ties into your products or services in some way. So, if you’re an IT company, that might mean giving away branded flash drives.
You should also coach employees on the promotional products you would never buy. For example, if you’re a vegan brand or an animal rights non-profit, you definitely wouldn’t buy leather products — that would be downright counterproductive to your brand and mission.
4. Don’t forget your brand messaging
Promotional product campaigns are a lot of work. After conducting audience research and picking out the perfect products, it’s easy to sit back, relax, and wait for your shipment to come in.
But you can’t forget the most crucial part of ordering promotional products: adding your logo. It sounds like a simple mistake, but it happens all the time!
If you’re giving away an item that’s decorated with a trendy pattern, make sure it’s in your brand colors. Want fun phrases instead of a logo front and center? Just make sure your logo appears on tags or cards that accompany the product. You don’t want to miss out on brand recognition and the ROI that comes from promotional products.
5. Use a branded color scheme
If your brand’s colors are orange and white, but a promotional product only comes in blue, do you go ahead and just order the product?
You shouldn’t! That’s because your colors are a huge component of branding: it makes it obvious who the product came from. In fact, color palettes can improve brand recognition by 80%. It’s the reason why McDonald’s always uses red and yellow — the brand is immediately recognizable because of its colors, even if you don’t see the Golden Arches.
When you order promotional products, make sure you pick products that are either available in your brand’s color or that allow custom color choices. Work with a Boundless Brand Consultant who will help you find the right products within your color scheme to keep your branding consistent.
Strengthen your brand with effective promotional products
Branded merchandise is a must for connecting with people outside of digital channels. Used well, this promotional strategy can Create Brand Love™ moments with your customers — provided you maintain your brand’s integrity at every turn. Follow these five tips to delight your customers while maintaining your brand identity without compromise.
But branding and promotional campaigns aren’t always straightforward. If you want to make the best move for your brand, go with Boundless’s experienced promotional products team. See how we can help you pick the best promo products — with A-plus branding — to turn more heads.