If your business does not yet have a branded merch program, you need one. This post discusses the top 5 reasons why.
Branded merchandise refers to any products that have the name or logo of your business included on them. It includes T-shirts, hoodies, hats, all other types of men’s and women’s clothing, and also drinkware, coasters, magnets, stationary, stickers, etc. Quite honestly, if you can dream it, you can brand it.
Up until the past decade or so, branded merchandise was generally thought of as being promotional – paid for by a business and given away for free. It included things like calendars, matchbooks, pens, stationary, etc. As entrepreneurial-minded individuals began to focus more and more on the quality and usability of the branded items themselves, branded merch morphed into a secondary revenue stream for many businesses. Customers now buy merchandise that has something attractive printed on it such as a logo, a brand message, a motivational slogan, or appealing artwork that they want to be associated with.
The growth of the industry has been nothing short of remarkable. In 2021, the annual sales revenue of the promotional products industry in the United States amounted to 21.1 billion U.S. dollars. You should be getting your share.
In no particular order, if you don't have one already, here are the top 5 reasons why you need a branded merch program.
Even in small businesses, quality merchandise can often bring in an additional $20,000 – $40,000 each year. Think about what that could mean for you. You could pay down debt, give everyone raises, have a big company bash at the end of the year, or go on that special vacation you have always wanted for yourself. The sky is the limit.
Depending on your situation, you can have a store that sells your branded merchandise with no risk to you. For example, for online stores there are providers who will print T-Shirts for you on-demand. You may be limited in what you can offer in both product variety and quality, but there is zero risk to you. Using a similar approach, there are organizations you can partner with that will design, produce, warehouse, and ship your branded merch all on your behalf. You simply receive a royalty whenever something is sold. In this latter situation, as your program proves its worth over time, you can take on more of the supply chain risk in exchange for higher and higher royalties.
People purchase branded merchandise for two main reasons. 1) either they are brand loyalists or 2) they simply like something about the merch itself, usually artwork or a slogan.
Brand Loyalists- Brand loyalists are just what the name implies. They wear and use your branded merch because they are loyal to the main thing your company does. If you own a restaurant, they love your merch because they love to eat at your establishment. If you are part of a band, they buy and use your merch because they are loyal to the music you produce and what your band represents. If you are an influencer, they buy and use your merch because they want people to know how much they appreciate what you publish. And so forth.
People who love the merch itself- These are people who buy your merch simply because they think it is cool. They love the artwork you have on a hoodie, so they buy the hoodie and they wear it. They love the thick, soft T-Shirts you provide, so they buy them and wear them because they are so comfortable.
No matter why people wear and use your branded merch, others see them wearing your T-Shirt or carrying your tumbler and they are reminded of your brand. When potential customers who have not yet met you see your logo often enough, they decide to try whatever it is you do. In their minds, they reason, “All these people are repping this brand, so it must be pretty good. I need to find out what it’s all about.”
As people identify with the wearers of your merch or the merch itself, and the association is favorable, you get a positive bump for your brand from that association.
-If someone sees a person they admire wearing your logo, your brand benefits from that association.
-If someone identifies your merchandise as premium quality, through association, they perceive everything else you do in your business to be of premium quality. By investing in high-quality, well-designed merchandise you send a message that you are a business committed to quality and customer satisfaction.
For many small businesses, having a lot of your branded merch out and about often creates a perception of your business being a little bit bigger and a little bit more significant than it might currently be.
So, if you like the idea of a few extra dollars of direct profit (from a branded merch store), and some extremely cost-effective advertising to drive more people to want to do business with your organization, branded merch should be for you. What are you waiting for?
If you are interested in chatting about this a little bit more, at Huge Brands we never stop thinking about it. Give us a call at (801) 355-0331 or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to get to know you.