Making the most of your promotional merchandise campaigns

From big businesses to small enterprises, companies across the country are employing promotional merchandise as an effective way of reaching their clients.


From the Coca-Cola Happiness Truck that travels around giving out free products, to the Starbucks holiday cups, to Colgate's "Don't Forget" edible promotional lolly to Compare The Market's free toy - it's everywhere and often we don't even realise it.

These top brands are doing it particularly effectively; so much so that it's almost subliminal - and customers can't get enough of their promo products. There's a lot that can be learnt from these companies as a means of taking merchandise that one step further.

Of course, there is still a market for the more traditional products of branded pens, t-shirts, notebooks, hats and drinks bottles. Many brands choose to give these out at exhibitions or events, and they can have a positive reception by those who receive them.

However, to truly maximise campaigns and make the most of them, it's important to take your promotional products that one step further. The campaigns of Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Colgate and Compare The Market work well because of how clever they are - they drum up excitement for their promotional products, almost creating a sense of hype or trend-setting.

In 2016, the Starbucks holiday cup campaign included 13 designs to choose from - these were designed by customers, integrating the people being targeted into the heart of the campaign. This showed a level of respect to their audience, and also made the products feel particularly personal and unique. It took the corporate edge off them and created a sense of a relationship between brand and customer.

Then there's the Compare The Market meerkat soft toy, which you can get with each purchase - it is iconic, collectable, simple and memorable. It makes up part of the 'Compare the Meerkat' messaging, is unique to the brand, and is marketed throughout their social media channels, website, e-mails and television adverts.

The reason that these campaigns have been so successful, and the things to consider when putting together a promotional merchandise campaign, includes knowing your target audience for the campaign. This involves creating a buyer persona and understanding what they will be most responsive to.

Additionally, it's important to determine what the overarching goal is for your campaign so there is a clear strategy. It is helpful to put clear goals and key performance indicators in place. Moreover, it's valuable to establish a cohesive and easy-to-understand message that you want to convey. Consider how your products will help you to do this, and then give yourself plenty of time to plan ahead and implement your campaign effectively. Planning and preparation will help ensure its success.

Ultimately, it's about thinking about your products as part of your wider marketing strategy and creating a full campaign around them rather than simply creating branded products in isolation. Building up excitement around your merchandise can expand into an overall positive feeling about your company.

Interactive and personalised products can have a great response, with customers feeling as though they're being directly spoken to by a brand rather than simply receiving generic communications. However, your products don't necessarily need to be anything widely complex or technologically savvy - some of the best ideas are the most simple. Ultimately, it all comes down to how it is delivered and marketed throughout your brand and communication platforms. 

Tagged under: merchandise


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