Branded Merchandise: What is it & why is it important?

Branded merchandise refers to any product or item with a branded logo on it. Branded items might be embroidered, stamped, printed or engraved – but overall their purpose is the same: to promote or advertise a company in order to generate awareness of the brand it represents.

Branded items can refer to any product featuring a brand. Typically these fall into four categories: household items, convenience items (including food and hygiene products), “impulse” or luxury items and specialised merchandise: high-end products such as cars or holidays.

While the above tends to refer to any branded item that is sold to the consumer, promotional items differ slightly in that they tend to be given away as “freebies” to customers. Items in this category include useful everyday items like stationary or water bottles – or clothing and accessories (frequently items such as tee shirts or tote bags) with the brand logo printed or embroidered on them.

The History of Brand Advertising

While the bulk of modern advertising now takes place online, the history of  branded items date back to the Ancient Scandinavians, who first used the Norse term “brandr”, meaning “to burn”. In the 1500s this became branding – a practice used to identify cattle belonging to a specific ranch.

The Industrial Revolution Onward

Throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries, registered trademarks emerged as a way to use image, colour and words to represent a company or product – techniques still used in modern graphic design. Then, advertising took off – much like the Wright Brothers’ aeroplane, which became a defining symbol of the spirit of innovation and creativity that would shape early 20th Century industry.

The Modern Era

Throughout this period several major brands emerged including Ford, LEGO and Cocacola – all of whom used brand advertising in news media (often in the form of detailed advertorials) to make their own mark on the world.

In the latter half of the 20th Century, advertising expanded to include radio commercials and television, then in the 1960s, brand management emerged as a way to identify the target market of a specific company and how to advertise in a way that might appeal to them.

From the 1990s onwards, as consumer tastes have become more sophisticated, the use of advertising has become more nuanced (frequently appealing to the emotional aspect of consumer behaviour) – but branding continues to be used to this very day.

The Benefits of Branded Merchandise

In addition to immediate visibility there are a number of other benefits to using branded merchandise to promote your business:

Long term Memorability and Increased Revenue

A 2012 survey conducted by The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) found a direct link between promotional products, increased sales and brand recognition – 66% of participants could recall the brand name of a promotional product they had received within a period of 12 months.

Improved Brand Perception

One of the main aims of all brands is to establish long-term relationships with devoted customers who are likely to spread the word about their product, resulting in greater business reach.

The most popular items tend to be the most useful. While business cards can be effective, once they disappear into a wallet, they’re less likely to be seen by others – whereas promotional products that are used frequently (such as promotional keyrings) gain more visibility.

In the survey, around 56% of participants had a more positive impression of the brand after receiving branded items, with USB pens being the most popular promotional items on the list.

Integrating Methods Old and New

Other findings in the survey showed that the low cost of promotional products bought in bulk delivered a better return on investment than outdoor and radio advertising – and was equal in ROI to print media and television, showing that despite all advancements in marketing tech, sometimes the oldest methods are the best.

In a crowded global marketplace, arguably the best way to be seen is to use every available channel of communication. Using two or more simultaneously can pay dividends: advertising promotional branded products on social media has multiple benefits, helping to drive brand awareness through visibility as well as likes and shares.

Branding for Success

For your campaign to be a success, you first need to look at what your target audience might appreciate using: for example if they are regulars at your independent coffee shop, a reusable mug not only spreads brand awareness but also appeals to the ongoing trend for more ethical consumerism.

Secondly, for the item to be memorable it’s important to consider logo design and how that will appear on the product (illegible writing or dark print on a dark background is unlikely to be noticeable or memorable to customers).

Finally, in order to reflect positively on your company the items must be of high quality, helping to create a positive mental and emotional association with your brand and securing customer loyalty.

Myers Motor Merchandise have over 30 years of experience in providing those in the motoring industry with quality branded items that leave a lasting impression. For more information, get in touch with us today.