Branded Merchandise Plays a Key Role in Successful Marketing Strategies

For many marketers, branded merchandise or promotional products play an ancillary role to event or marketing campaigns. In fact, many times these items are referred to as ‘tchotchkes’ or ‘swag’ and command little attention.

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88% of consumers recall the advertiser from a promotional product received in the past 12 months

When selected carefully, taking into consideration the brand as well as the audience and use-case of the item, branded merchandise can play a highly effective role in marketing.

In fact, recent research with consumers who have received a promotional product shows*:

  • 88% recalled the advertiser from a promotional product received in the past 12 months

  • Six in 10 keep the promotional item for up to two years

  • 53% use a promo item at least once a week

  • Most promotional products are kept at home (54%) or on the person (24%)

With these statistics in mind it is hard to ignore the role that branded merchandise plays in brand awareness.



Promo Product Curation Starts with Careful Consideration of Target Audience

There are ways to further maximize the positive impression that a promotional product has on your brand. Possibly the most important is understanding what your consumer values, as the main reason for keeping a promotional product is usefulness.

Providing the most useful product to a consumer varies according to the demographic and psychographic profile as well as the venue in which the item is presented.

For example, for a beverage brand, a USB bottle opener might be a great giveaway to a student at a college recruiting event but might fall flat at a bank’s high wealth investment group gathering.

Providing promotional offerings tailored to the clientele and event can create a strong positive association with a brand. This might seem obvious, but think how many giveaways you have received that go straight into the garbage can because they have little value or relevance to you.



Brand Alignment Matters

Fun tech items for a famous fast food restaurant address a young demographic and resonate with a fun brand image.

Fun tech items for a famous fast food restaurant address a young demographic and resonate with a fun brand image.

Tech tools for a global legal client tells a story about work and travel.

Tech tools for a global legal client tells a story about work and travel.

Another important factor is the relationship that the item has with your brand and product offerings. Carefully curating a branded merchandise selection to use at events or for gifting, with your brand attributes in mind can further enhance the connection between your product and the promotional offering. Fast Food brands might play off the enjoyment and fun that their brand conveys by offering items that are colorful, youth oriented, and fun. Conversely, financial services organizations might focus on items that speak to wealth, savings and investment.

Having a partner that understands the importance and value branded merchandise can provide insures that the marketing program you design is maximized by our selection of the best merchandise at the best price, designed to enhance the consumer perception of your brand.

See it in Action

IMS sourced and delivered over 22,000 pieces of branded merchandise to help the world’s largest QSR promote a brand new, exclusive partnership with a popular Rideshare app to offer a fast and easy delivery service to customers worldwide. In less than 2 weeks, IMS executed all of the branded products necessary to supply the international campaign, which helped our client realize a 43% lift in global delivery orders, and a 164% increase in delivery orders to participating US restaurants.

To learn more about how IMS can help you in all your retail marketing needs, including branded merchandise, please sign up for the IMS Insights Newsletter or reach out to our business development professionals at dan.frailey@imsretail.com.

*PPAI The Influence of Promotional Products on Consumer Behavior


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Mark currently directs the branded merchandise division of IMS, providing products to many Fortune 50 clients. He has over twenty years of brand strategy, design and product development expertise in start-up through global Fortune 500 companies. Mark is skilled in marketing, merchandising, business planning, commercialization and, sales through e-com, specialty, mass and home shopping channels. In the past, Mark has held roles as Sr. Director, Marketing Innovation for SC Johnson as well as Creative Director at Williams-Sonoma and as an Independent Brand Marketing Consultant. Mark currently resides in the Chicagoland area with his wife, teenage daughter and young son and is an avid auto enthusiast and F1 fan.