No matter how reliant we all have become on technology, there’s one marketing strategy that will never go out of style: branded merchandise. The ASI Advertising Impressions study found that promotional products remain the No. 1 advertising product over all other forms of advertising.
By picking high-quality, useful branded merchandise that’s tailored to your audience, your brand will be visible everywhere. Whether you’re gifting branded apparel to your employees or investing in promotional products for your next trade show, making the right choice of company branded merchandise is key to your success. There are so many choices, from entry-level options like custom journals to high-end luxury corporate gifts.
Choose badly, and your branded merchandise will gather dust in the back of a closet. But choose well, and your branded merchandise will be seen everywhere your gift recipients go: from work events to social gatherings.
That leaves one question: how can you pick branded merchandise that you know people will love? Today, we’ll answer that question, setting you up to pick branded merchandise that will help you activate your brand in 2024 and beyond.
8 Tips to Pick the Best Branded Merchandise in 2024
Picking great branded merchandise is a lot like picking out a gift. The key lies in taking a thoughtful approach that considers a wide range of factors. Before you make any choices, consider the tips below to make sure you’re picking branded merchandise your team will wear and use with pride.
1. Work with a Dedicated Brand Consultant
A brand consultant plays a crucial role in helping businesses plan and execute their promotional product strategy. They act as a liaison between your business and the supplier, providing you with personalized service and guidance throughout the entire process.
Unlike e-commerce sites that offer thousands of seemingly random products, a brand consultant takes the time to understand your business, industry, target audience, and marketing goals. They take into account your budget, event date, and other specific requirements to curate a selection of promotional items that will best represent your brand and resonate with your intended recipients. This saves you time and effort in researching and selecting the right products on your own.
Working with a Brand Consultant is easy. The process typically starts with an initial consultation where they gather information about your business and goals. From there, they conduct thorough research to identify items within your budget and can be delivered by your in-hand date. Once a selection of products is made, they work with you to design and customize the items to best represent your brand. Finally, they make sure everything is ordered and shipped so nothing falls through the cracks.
2. Consider the Event
Often, you’ll be giving away branded merchandise as part of an event. Consider the characteristics of your event when deciding which promotional products are the best fit for attendees.
For example, if you’re hosting a corporate golf day, consider custom golf tournament gifts like golf balls, rangefinders, and umbrellas. Attending a trade show? Focus on lightweight, portable event giveaways that attendees can bring with them on their flight home.
While it’s important to consider the event, try to think outside of the box a little. You don’t want your company branded merchandise to be the same as everyone else’s, you want it to be unique so that it sticks out when you give it to people.
3. Understand Your Audience
It's important to know who will be attending the event and identify the persona you’ll be giving the branded merchandise to. Consider their interests and lifestyle, and think about branded merchandise items that would fit in well with their existing routines.
If you’ve been tasked with selecting promotional products for Gen Z to give away at a university recruitment fair, your choice of gifts will be very different than if you were looking for gifts for an exclusive executive retreat.
If you’re not sure what the interests of your audience are, ask them. Talk to people that share characteristics with your target audience or send out a short survey asking people about their interests. Selecting branded merchandise in line with the interests of your audience ensures your giveaways will be well-received and used regularly.
4. Think About What's Worked in the Past
It's helpful to look back at products you have given out in the past, not to duplicate, but to understand what resonated with your audience. If tech items were a big hit and desk accessories were not, think about choosing another tech time this time.
Some clients even have success ordering the same items year after year because their recipients come to expect it from them. GoDelta has a client who orders the same Mop-Top pen for every event because of the popularity among the recipients. They tried a different product at one event, and the returning attendees asked, “where are the Mop-Top pens?” That feedback speaks for itself.
This tactic can also be helpful to identify what products were a flop and should not be considered this time.
5. Consider Budget-Friendly Alternatives
Today, branded merchandise options include brand-name promotional products like Apple, Corkcicle, and Nike, to name a few. And who wouldn’t want the popular Stanley Tumbler?
The challenge is often cost. While retail branded items provide a lot of impact, there are many budget-friendly brand alternatives that are manufactured with the same materials and quality, and may better fit your budget. This is how a Brand Consultant can help you. Lean on them to find products that provide the same impact as a retail brand, but don’t break the bank.
6. Choose Products Recipients Will Keep
Today, more than ever, recipients want fewer items, but better quality products.
You might be tempted by cheap options that seem to promise more bang for your buck, but remember – these items will come to represent your brand.
If you gift someone a high-quality branded gift that they can rely on every day, they’ll view your brand in the same way: a reliable option they can trust. Low-quality items deliver the opposite effect, plus they’ll never be used. Invest in unique, quality promotional products: the long-term benefits will be worth the additional expense today.
7. Reflect Your Brand
While it’s important you consider the interests of your audience, it’s equally important you stay true to the unique characteristics of your brand. Every brand stands for something. Your brand has unique images and values, and your choice of branded merchandise should reflect those.
If sustainability is a central pillar of your brand’s values, your branded merchandise should be eco-friendly promo products that reinforce that message. Alternatively, if your brand has a premium, upmarket reputation, invest in high-end company branded merchandise that complements that image.
8. Allow Your Recipients to Pick Their Own Merchandise with a Pop-Up Shop
In some instances, the best way to pick branded merchandise isn’t to pick it at all: it’s to allow your recipients to make their own choices. Creating an online pop-up shop around a special event, such as a company rebrand or a major anniversary, allows your team to pick their own branded merchandise from a list of pre-approved items.
It’s the perfect solution: recipients can select the branded merchandise they love the most, and HR teams and marketers can outsource all of the logistics normally associated with making a branded merchandise order.
Get Help Selecting the Best Branded Merchandise
Branded merchandise plays a central role in improving your brand’s visibility among the communities that matter most to it. But make no mistake: your choice of branded merchandise is crucial.
If you need assistance selecting the perfect branded merchandise for your business, reach out to a GoDelta Brand Consultant today. We’ll partner with you closely to help you choose the right option for your brand and transform your creative vision into a reality.