As a business owner, you want your company to stand out against the competition. Your brand is an extension of the way your company is perceived by the public. It helps tell your company’s story, stay in the minds of your customers, and identifies who you are as a business. If you are not using branded merchandise, you are missing an opportunity to reach more clients.
When it is a question of brand vs. non-brand merchandising, always go with the brand - it makes you stand out more.
A brand is not just a logo. It is what makes your business unique, what you want your customers to see and feel about your company; it is your company’s personality. So, make your branded business name and logo stand out in the way you want to be perceived.
Imagine you own a clothing store and your goal is to get more customers in your doors.
Take a look at the following situations.
Your brand is easily recognizable in the types of clothing and additional merchandise you sell. Most items are affixed with your company logo, making your business name the forefront of what others see. If a customer purchases a branded sweater from your store, this is free advertising for you. Others will see this sweater and if they like it, instantly know where they can get one themselves.
You give your customers shopping bags with your company name, colours, and logo on them. This way you place your brand at the forefront of potential customer's minds, reminding them of your business. People passing a recent customer carrying your bags triggers a connection directly to your store. Your brand is instantly visible to those who may have otherwise passed by your store.
You have no branded clothing in your store, so when customers wear your items no one else is made aware of where the items came from. Strangers are often reluctant to ask where you got your sweater from. Without proper branding, you are missing opportunities to advertise your products.
The shopping bags you provide your customers don’t have any sort of logo or company name on them. If a potential customer sees someone walking around with a blank shopping bag, it’s a missed opportunity to gain brand recognition.
There is more chance of your business being looked up and visited if it is in the public eye. You can see the difference in this brand vs. non-brand merchandising comparison, noting that promotional items with your branding always make you stand out a little bit more.
Branding is important to give your company a competitive edge against similar businesses. How can you stand out? The question of brand vs. non-brand merchandise has an easy answer. Choosing merchandise that reflects who you are as a business goes a long way in building customer relationships and reinforcing your brand message.
Your choice of promotional items needs to speak to your target audience. If you gave away a branded hammer to your clothing store customers, this would only confuse the brand image you are trying to portray therefore confusing your customers. Choosing to provide your customers with a branded t-shirt would make more sense. Carefully pick your brand items to reflect your specific voice.
You want your business to be viewed favourably in the public eye. Customers who feel valued have a higher likelihood of staying loyal to your company. Offering them a free branded gift makes them feel special, promotes your brand, and reinforces your company’s persona.
Brand merchandising gives your business a status symbol, strengthening your company message and showing what your business is all about.
Take a look at a no-name athletic clothing company for instance vs. one that is well known like Under Armour. Most people will choose to buy from the brand name because they are familiar with the company persona as excellent quality, fashionable athletic wear built for performance.
A brand can equal trust through recognition. When you are considering brand vs. non-brand merchandising, ask yourself how you want your business to be seen, heard, and perceived.