Merchandising is a hot topic among many businesses and for-profit initiatives, because not only do they give you a chance to earn extra revenue, but they allow you to further spread your brand name and increase its exposure. This means that many brands will often print smaller products that they can give away or sell at a nominal price. For instance, most of us have taken at least a few IKEA pencils in our time, likely using them at home or bringing them to the office for a backup. While these pencils are mostly used for people to make notes while walking around their store, they also serve as a wonderful marketing opportunity for the brand itself.
It’s worth considering this approach, because it may also give you the chance to flex some of your own merchandising might. We hope to give some of the following insights within a specific context so they can be easily understood. To that end, we will be discussing merchandising for an essential part of the corporate calendar year – the attendance of a business expo. Please, consider:
Don’t allow your merchandise to be tied to items of disappointing quality. It might be tempting to print your brand logo on cheap items so you can distribute them without cost, but just think, if another firm is giving out branded baseball caps of a higher quality, what are the recipients most likely to wear? We can say that brand loyalty can mean little in these circumstances, it’s all about just what you may have to show, and how you can do so in the best possible means.
This means investing a little more time and energy into finding the best solution can be a worthwhile consideration. Having some respect for your brand name and investing in quality items, as a result, can be a good idea. For instance, let’s assume you’re going to use a printed t-shirt to help spread your brand name at an event, giving them to everyone who attends your stall. That’s all well and good.
Yet if after a few washes at home the t-shirt printing starts to fade, what does that say about your business? That you work well in the moment but cannot be depended on? Some may think this is obtuse and abstract thinking that has no effect on your promotional standing, but really everything contributes to your brand image in one way or another. In order to prevent it harming you, it’s very much worth ensuring that you invest in, develop, and give away high-quality items.
High-quality branding is also a great thing to consider. Sure, you may have established a beautiful set of items to have your brand printed on or embroidered with, but what is your logo? Is it formatted within an appropriate color scheme? Is your branding cohesive, punchy, and interesting?
Moreover, what message are you trying to send? Is showing your brand name enough, or do you wish to also offer a motto or small set of identifying contact information to help those find your brand with care? This is where the careful use of a graphic designer and then careful conversations with those who will curate your design choices into an actual product can be important. Don’t be afraid to invest in expert opinions, and keep going through drafts until you get it right. As the famous saying goes, measure twice, cut once. The more you can feel proud of the branded goods you give out, the more it will show in the beaming smiles of your trade show presenters, and the more heads your product output will turn. It’s not hard to see just how worthwhile this process can be for a large range of businesses, from top to bottom.
How is your merchandising delivered? Do you throw out T-Shirts at the trade event completed loose? Do you use a t-shirt cannon for added fun? Are they wrapped in preserving plastic to keep them in good condition, and what if the wanton use of practice demonstrates you have little care for sustainability? It’s worth asking these questions, because there are good and bad outcomes for every little decision you may wish to make.
Overall though, a little care and attention can certainly help your merch stand above others. For instance, perhaps the baseball caps you’re giving out have cardboard inserts to help them retain their shape, allowing customers to carry them around the trade event in a preserved manner, should they not choose to wear them right now. It’s little details like this that can help your merch stand head and shoulders above the plethora of freebies attendees will likely receive.
What is your merchandise used for, and can it relate to your brand? This is where your promotional items may be a little more diverse in selection. You needn’t curate a t-shirt or hat simply because you feel that’s the best way forward. Just think about the range of t-shirts given at trade events. Attendees cannot possibly wear them all. What about a branded speaker? How about something useful, such as a lanyard? What about a bottle opener?
Utility matters, because that also helps you promote your brand through that action. For instance, a survival equipment company may decide to curate something like a Zippo lighter in order to give their outdoorsman the chance to light a fire with ease no matter where they are. But this is where delivery is best considered once more, because giving out lighters at a trade event is hardly good practice. It takes a smart mind to balance the many considerations of how your branded good can come across. It’s lucky then, that you yourself are a smart individual.
With this advice, we hope you can thoroughly nail your merchandising approach. It can take a little time, attention and willingness to fully nail, but if you make a real concerted effort in this direction you can achieve results you had never expected.