WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT BRANDED MERCH?
Merch needs to connect more deeply to stand out from the endless stream of competitors in the current micro-biz landscape. And finally, if it’s earth-friendly and high-quality to boot, then you’re on to a real winner!
Luxe-quality branded merch is having a moment, and we’re here for it. With the ‘influencer’ now part of our everyday vocab and most marketing plans, we’ve moved on from the freebie bowl at business conventions and now looking at merch to strengthen the consumer-brand relationship. There’s no greater example of that than what we’re seeing with Gen Y’ers and Z’ers and their desire to express their identity. We bet you’ve seen lots of your fave influencers adorned in brand names as part of their carefully curated fashion statements and some pretty amazing collaborations—think Adidas X every on-trend sports person, singer and actor, Lego X everything and closer to home, Messina & Starward Whisky’s punchy ice-cream collab and Uber & Dettol’s mission to sanitise your rideshare. It’s been a thang for YEARS (anyone remember Big M’s epic merch in the 80s? Yep, I still have that branded hula hoop that the kids now use), and TBH it hasn’t really ever died out. But, now branded merch options are getting better—more options, more on-trend, more useful and more impactful, and it’s now a core piece of a successful marketing strategy that you’d be CRAZY not to capitalise on!
And while we’re back in time, we have to mention Hard Rock Cafe—you may not have ever eaten at one, but oh boy, you would remember those branded appliqued denim jackets and white tees. And there you have it—brand recognition, connection, and a huge serving of nostalgia for the good old days! Total branding success.
Less obvious but incredibly strong examples are US college sweats (Hi, Yale) to influence enrolments and world-famous sporting teams (Man United, Chicago Bulls, et al.) a-rootin’ for your support and adorning the young and young at heart for generations.
Fast forward to the twenty-twenties, and merch needs to do more. It must be ‘Grammable’— beautiful to the eye, style-able and useful enough to appear in their daily posts. It also needs to connect more deeply to stand out from the endless stream of competitors in the current micro-biz landscape. And finally, if it’s earth-friendly and high-quality to boot, you’re on to a real winner!
SO WHY IS MERCH SO VITAL FOR MARKETERS?
Brand building and recognition
Building a brand that resonates with your audience is the keystone of success for any business. When you create a meaningful connection through beautifully curated and uber-useful pieces, you’ll *massively* increase your customer’s likelihood of doing business with you.
It creates a deeper connection to your brand for your customers
In addition to the previous point, by injecting your brand into your customers’ daily lives through carefully and thoughtfully chosen lifestyle products, you’ll achieve frequent and more personal exposure, building trust and those ‘close friend’ vibes with your brand. An on-trend pastel eco-friendly coffee cup or foldable natural-fibre shopping tote with a sweet little branded detail can get you vibin’ with a brand every day for a year or two or maybe even more (hello Big M Hula Hoop!). And those ideas are really only the tip of the corporate swag iceberg.
The better the quality, the better the EVERYTHING
We’ve all seen pretty horrible branded merch out there—cheap plastic rulers (SNAP), credit card-sized calendars (USELESS), pens that give up the ghost before you can even write your lover’s name (BOO), and really, we’ve come such a long way in the merch world over the past decade or more. There’s no limit to the quality of your merch, and just like everything in life, the better the quality of a product, the longer the life, the more useful it will be, and that means you’ll enjoy a more sustained customer connection AND a significant reduction in landfill. Win-win!
There’s something for everyone
No matter the type of brand you are, the kind of customer you want to target, cultural considerations, ethical considerations, seasonal and budgetary, too—there are infinite possibilities for branding some epic merch for every. single. occasion. Want to make an impact? You absolutely can with some thorough planning, realistic timeframes (yeah, we know—not always possible!) and the advice of industry-leading merch experts. A reputable company will have a solid network of suppliers, an extensive catalogue, and a whole lot of ‘think outside of the box’ moments to bring the WOW factor to your marketing and branding campaign.
It’s what we LOVE to do at Sourcey.M—you give us an idea of where your HEART is and a few other details, and we can get started on customising a head-turning merch solution for your or your client’s brand. If that’s not a match made in heaven, we don’t know what is!