Why merchandising matters

If you really want to get your voice out there, you better make sure that people recognise it from afar. That’s why branding is so important: by creating a unique identity and message, you will generate buzz and increase customer loyalty. One of the best ways of representing that message is through branded merchandise. In this blog, we’ll explain its uses and how we approach merchandising for our clients.
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Why is merchandise so important?

Simply put, merchandise is one of the best ways to spread awareness about your brand. It allows people to physically interact with your organisation, provoke conversations, and pique interest in what you do.

Merchandising and branding in general are indispensable for any organisation taking itself seriously. For companies that are part of the IT sector or otherwise predominantly virtual, it is even more important. By bringing your brand into the real world, it becomes literally and figuratively tangible.

As people start showing off your brand, you will create internal and external brand ambassadors. Never underestimate the power of a brand ambassador. The fact that not just your employees, but your customers gladly represent themselves through you implicitly signals that your organisation is worth checking out. It will become a talking point, and may even create opportunities for your brand to grow in other directions.

And lastly, to state the obvious: merchandising helps you maintain customer relations. They can tighten the bond with them and their employees, thank those that have chosen your services, or highlight a specific project or event.

How does Unmute You create merchandise?

Our tag line says it all: Always Different, Always You. We truly believe in making tailored solutions more than just another marketing slogan. Whatever the size or budget of your company may be, we can get you sorted. There’s a whole slew of merchandise possibilities out there, but not every one of them is as affordable or interesting as you may think at first. That’s why customising is at the heart of how we do things.

So, every customer and case are different, but here’s roughly what our merchandising service looks like:

  1. Getting to know each other: To truly make something yours, we have to understand your idea. Even if you’re an existing customer, we want to know the specifics of this project and what you hope to achieve with it. It takes two to tango.
  1. Proposals: Next, our designers will come up with some proposals based on your input. In some cases, this can lead to a reality check. Maybe that idea you were so keen on is hard to execute, much more expensive than anticipated, or just not that exciting. Of course, you have the final say in what we decide on together. To help you decide, we create digital mock-ups of the product with some variations.
  1. Designs: Our design team start working on the final design of your merchandise, either by themselves or together with you in workshops. It all depends on the size of the project and your preferences. Some of our clients want to be involved in the entire process, while others rather have us take a more hands-off approach, so we adapt accordingly. This includes decisions like whether we will print something ourselves or which fabric to use. We also confirm the final budget (including delivery) to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.
  1. Reflect and improve: After producing and delivering the merchandise, we check in again to discuss the product and how it was received. Merchandise is seldom a one-time thing, so we want to identify areas of improvement for future iterations or other products.

What should you be mindful of when creating merchandise?

The most important thing is that any merchandise you release should match your brand. Try to think beyond the generic gifts. What you give or sell to your employees and customers should reflect who you are and what you stand for. When thinking about possible merchandise items, keep the recipients in mind.  

For example, if you have a lot of employees (partially) working from home, considering handing out hoodies instead of formal shirts. It’s always a good idea to give something that will be featured prominently while they work and helps them, such as laptop stickers, coffee mugs, or a USB hub with various ports. There’s no entry barrier to start creating, and you can A/B test different merchandising options easily, so you don’t always have to stick to a plan.

In other words: don’t be afraid to stand out. This might sound obvious, but we’ve all seen cases where a company just slapped their logo on a t-shirt and called it a day. If you really want people to be interested in what you do, get creative. Make sure that people want to be part of it. For example, you can use limited editions or make your merchandise a collector’s item by making multiple versions of an item, each with their own print or colour.

Be bold. Be different. If you do things differently, people will remember your brand.

Oh, and one final note from your friendly neighbourhood marketing agency: order items ahead of time. There’s nothing more frustrating or embarrassing than not having anything to give because you ordered at the same time as everyone else during the holiday rush.

Photograph of end-of-year gifts of our clients

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