How can branded merchandise improve my advertising?
A good question, and yet one that is seldom asked. When thought about carefully, and when equally carefully chosen (with full regard to your actual customers and prospects and the sort of people they are), branded merchandise can improve your advertising in quite a few ways.
I will start by giving you an example, a real one, from just a couple of weeks before writing this eBook.
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A client I had written radio adverts for in the past happened to come into the business where I was working (selling, you guessed it, branded merchandise). They complained that their advertising was no longer working for them.
This client is a tyre (or tire, if you prefer) retailer. My suggestion was for them to have their logo and phone number branded onto a key ring (since all of their products are based around vehicles, and vehicles need keys, and keys need to be kept on something).
These key rings were to be given away at no cost. They could then reduce their standard 30-second radio ad to just 15 seconds (saving them money or getting them greater frequency for the same spend). All they were advertising was a free key ring: drop in and pick one up, it’s free, no strings attached (just a little key chain).
Now they were back in the game, and with the power of branded merchandise working for them.
Hang on, I hear you say. Didn’t you write another eBook talking about how to improve our radio advertising? And now you’re saying that radio isn’t good enough. What gives?
Yes, I did write that book, but that is not what I am saying. The business I was helping had long since reached the point of diminishing returns with their radio advertising. This is the point where it seems that no matter how much you spend you’re just not getting the same response you used to get. And so they had to do something different to reignite interest in their brand.
They had a useful giveaway, and they were offering it for free. That simple act meant they could also measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaign. If no one came in to claim a free key ring, they knew that their campaign had been a waste of money and that radio was no longer hitting the right audience for them.
So the giveaway was a standout message in an over-crowded advertising space, and a useful measure of the effectiveness of their radio advertising. All without costing as much as it would cost to get a media analyst to produce a report on the current radio advertising campaign (which they already know isn’t working as well as they had hoped).
The lesson here is: Don’t stop what you are currently doing with advertising just change it slightly. Add in an element of branded merchandise and watch your advertising lift you above your competitors.
Branded merchandise is another way of emphasising your brand, a very personal way. So that when people see, hear or read your regular advertising they recognise your name and it is instantly familiar. Often, people will choose to buy off people/businesses/brands they know and are familiar with. Just look at how much money is spent on advertising trying to get you/me/all of us to change brands of just about anything (even soap).
Brand owners know that you are already using a product similar to theirs; and their advertising is about convincing us that their product or service is better or more desirable.
So every time you encounter their brand, you are millimetre by millimetre, inch by inch, identifying with it.
The goal, making their brand your brand of choice. In internet terms, they are trying to make their brand your home page. And they use everything in their armoury to do that; including utilising branded merchandise.
Know your target audience, and know what they like to do. Choose branded merchandise that will achieve that AND support your brand and current advertising. Look to combine the merchandise and the advertising for the synergies that can bring significant benefits.
Take the time to order the best quality for your budget. We’ve all seen, and probably received, product that doesn’t work. All we do is throw it out. The branding opportunity has been wasted, the money spent is a cost with zero return (or perhaps even a negative return, depending upon how the customer feels about the products tha