Merchandise Ideas for Brands – Power of Co-Branding

Why is searching for ‘creative merchandise ideas for brands’ so hard? Fed up with seeing the same stuff over and over? The promotional landscape is sadly overpopulated with substandard products and every vendor in this space seems to have the same T-shirt, water bottle or backpack on offer. Why? Because, whilst not wildly original, these are merchandise ideas that work. And, that will continue to do so until we all stop getting dressed, getting thirsty and or needing to carry our stuff around. 

The Quality Difference – Let’s be very clear. Even though these merchandise ideas look the same, on closer inspection we would beg to differ. There is a big difference between picking the most cost effective T-shirt you can find and creating branded merchandise that your customer would be proud to wear outside of their bedroom. So, whilst you might be in the market for merchandise ideas that will ensure your brand stands out, offering a quality product might be the only difference you need. 

The Benefits of Co-Branding – A fast way to showcase this is by co-branding with a company whose logo your customer will instantly recognise. By aligning your brand with Nike or North Face for example, you have already stood on the shoulders of your unbranded competition. These types of brand alliances not only elevate the perception of your brand but can position it as having similar values. In the case of Nike, this could mean your business is viewed as similarly sporty/successful and  innovative. In the case of North Face, their brand is associated with a rugged, outdoorsy and environmentally conscious consumer and this in turn reflects back favourably to you. 

The Difference is in the Details – Whilst co-branding can be more expensive, the quality and attention to detail is what really makes the difference, Not only in creating a more desirable promotional product, but in the chances of making your customer a brand ambassador by association. Let’s look at the Nike Brasilia Backpack as an example. With its ergonomically shaped shoulder straps (for comfort), padded sleeve (to safely stow your laptop), plush lined zippered pocket (for your headphones/electronics) and water resistance coating (to avoid the base getting soggy), this is a bag that is far superior to the 100’s of generic commodity items found online. 

Not All Merchandise is Created Equally – One of the benefits of choosing co-branded merchandise (apart from the considerable quality difference) is the more holistic benefit of being assured that it is being made responsibly. Cheap, poorly made products come with the inherent risk that they might have been made in factories with poor working conditions, using materials sourced from unregulated countries and that lack supply chain transparency. Partnering with companies that have a commitment to responsible sourcing means they also look at the environmental impact that their business is having. For example, Nike has made a 30-year commitment to holistic sustainability resulting in 75% of all their shoes and apparel now containing some recycled material. In fact, Nike use the most recycled polyester in the industry – but that doesn’t mean it compromises on the look and feel of their sportswear (check out this Nike Dri-FIT Polo).

Better Merchandise Lasts Longer – Whilst it may seem obvious that creating a better product using branded products means it will last longer, with promotional merchandise the benefit is twofold. Not only does your customer get to enjoy a quality product (which creates a positive association with your brand), your branding/logo gets a longer lifespan and far broader exposure than it might on some commodity unbranded equivalent.

Renowned businessman Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”. Who you are associated with matters. Co-branding is a great way to not only offer a more desirable promotional product but to elevate your brand’s reputation accordingly.

At Inck, we work with a number of respected brands that you would be proud to put your name on. Give us a call today to discuss the co-branding possibilities for your next promotion. 

#strategicmarketing #brandedmerchandise #promotionalproducts #promotionalmarketing #inckmerchandise

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