Every brand needs to promote itself. Whether you are a sole-proprietor, SME or larger corporation, your brand is what you are known and recognised for. When a company is looking to promote itself positive word-of-mouth, client testimonials and third party reviews are often the most powerful and cost-effective. Of course these are post-sale or post-delivery of a product or service. To get to these takes an awful lot of hardware and along the way a spice of luck.
When you look at the marketing communications mix there are many potential forms of communication and avenues to spend a marketing budget on. These include advertising, publicity/PR, sales promotions, direct mail and even product packaging. They vary with complexity and the time needed to develop them. Often you need to outsource all or some of the work to a specialist agency. Once you have a logo however, there is one communications medium that you can easily set up, use and test new ideas with and that is the medium of promotional merchandise. Where does this lie in the marketing communications mix? Well I like to think that it crosses all the elements.
Promotional merchandise is one of the fastest ways for an organisation to promote itself. Brand recognition is the main reason for using merchandise with your logo on. It provides an easy way to remind people you are there, whether consciously or sub-consciously. Include an your website address or contact phone number in the imprint along with a call to action and you have a very strong advert for your company. Choose a mix of promotional merchandise and you have a very powerful marketing toolkit to promote your company with.
Not only can investing in promotional merchandise lead to a smaller budget spend than on other traditional forms of marketing. You can also react far more quickly and take advantage of special offers and express delivery promotions. Once a company decides to spend on branded merchandise they can often get their goods within 5-10 working days or faster for expedited goods.
Look to use a mix of merchandise in your organisation to get the maximum brand building effect. Branded clothing is a great place to start for organisations with customer facing teams. Not only does it provide your staff with a uniform but a uniformity to your client base and general public as well. When the engineer arrives on site in a logo’d van wearing branded corporate workwear the client sees a more professional presentation of the organisation. For emergency response organisations this can create greater feelings of security and confidence. Imagine then that the mechanic or engineer uses a branded clipboard, pen and paperwork. That on completion of the works, they leave the client with copy paperwork and a piece of merchandise to give them further contact details, all branded with your logo. Now contrast that to the last time you saw a cowboy turn-up; lovely people no doubt but how confident where you that they would do not just a good job but a great job and one you would be happy to give a positive testimonial for?
When you invest in any marketing, you are investing in future goodwill. If you view merchandise as simply giveaways, you miss the strategic, marketing franchise and goodwill building effect that this most powerful of mediums can have for your organisation. Using branded promotional merchandise of any sort helps to build confidence, converts leads to orders and encourages superb reviews and client testimonials. No other form of marketing communication has the power of promotional merchandise and sometimes its use or lack of it can help to separate the professional from the hillbillies.
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Written by Dawn Koffler.