You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
That saying is true in both business and life. Mostly, anyway.
Your brand is what people see when they think of the industry your business represents. It’s the first thing they associate with your products or services. It makes people decide whether or not they want to buy from you or work for you.
Companies seek creative ways to stand out in today’s competitive business world. One of the best ways to do that is by creating company merch. What is it, and why do good company swag items matter? Keep reading to learn the benefits of company swag for your brand and business.
Company swag (branded merchandise or promotional items) refers to products with a company’s logo or branding. These items include t-shirts, pens, hats, tote bags, and others. Companies use corporate swag as a part of a marketing strategy to increase brand visibility and create a positive company culture. Branded merch creates a memorable impression on customers and employees.
For example, retailer chain Lidl created their own company swag collection they sold in their stores. And it was a major hit among the brand’s customers and fans, as the merch sold out in hours.
While some may think it’s an extra expense, it’s a worthwhile investment as company merchandise can benefit your brand and business. Let’s look at some of them.
Employee merch is one of the most effective tools that can serve as a reminder of the company’s values, company mission, and culture. When onboarding new employees and giving them company merch as a gift, they’ll feel welcome and like a part of the team from day one. In fact, 59% of employees who receive branded company merch have a more favorable impression of their workplace.
Merch can also boost team spirit and a sense of community and increase employee engagement and job satisfaction. It can unite people inside and outside the company, as branded items can serve as a conversation starter and icebreaker.
Company merch can also contribute to employer branding. Branded swag can be used as a recruitment tool to attract top talent to the company. It goes hand in hand with company culture, as you can use photos of employees wearing merch in job openings. Employee merch helps to create a consistent brand image across teams. Swag also provides a way for employees to represent a strong company culture outside of work, which increases employer brand recognition and visibility.
Merch can help employees feel like they belong and feel unity. It may seem like a small reward, but a reward (or incentive) nonetheless—for achieving goals and milestones or for outstanding performance. Employees will appreciate the free stuff they get and feel valued.
Corporate swag is beneficial not only for employees but also for your brand. Well-designed promotional items can significantly impact the success and reputation of the business.
Company merchandise can help build brand loyalty among customers and potential buyers. By giving away corporate swag items, businesses can create a positive association with their brand. That, in turn, can lead to increased customer loyalty. According to a Bain & Company study, 25% of people have a more positive impression of a business after receiving a branded product.
Swag items can also build brand awareness. When people see others wearing or using branded merch, it can help businesses gain positive visibility, build brand recognition, and make it more memorable. That’s especially important for new or small businesses with a different level of name recognition than a more prominent, established brand.
Company merch can be a great marketing tool, as it provides a way to increase brand awareness. Businesses can distribute branded merchandise at client events and conferences where your brand gets free publicity.
It’s also a cost-effective way for businesses to promote their brand and messaging to their target audience (as a company and as an employer). Compared to advertising or sponsorships, branded merch can be produced and distributed at a lower cost. One of the most popular ways to give out branded swag is at promotional events, fairs, and conferences.
Branded merchandise can also generate revenue and increase business exposure. For example, company merch can foster customer loyalty and repeat business. Customers who receive branded swag as gifts for buying products or signing up for a service may be more likely to continue doing business with the company. That can lead to increased revenue over time. According to data, 85% of swag item recipients will eventually do business with the company, which means 17 out of 20 people will become a customer at some point.
Company swag can also be sold separately. By selling merch, fans can get their hands on branded items they love. When the swag is high quality or seen as valuable, it can become a cost-effective marketing tool. People love to share their cool purchases with others. User-generated content online can often go viral, which helps to spread the brand’s message far and wide.
Take a look at branded merch Tesla sells online.
Source: Tesla shop
While high-quality company swag is beneficial, it’s important to consider some potential drawbacks and risks.
Company swag can be expensive, especially if the items are high quality or pricy, even before customization. This expense may not be justifiable, particularly for smaller businesses or those operating on a smaller budget.
Solution: create digital assets like online meeting backgrounds and LinkedIn banners that employees can use to promote the company or showcase team spirit. If the company’s budget is limited, choose nice swag items that don’t cost an arm and a leg, for example, pens, hand sanitizers, flash drives, tote bags, and stickers.
Depending on the size and quantity of branded swag, its storage and distribution can be a logistical challenge. If the business has limited office space to keep merch or remote employees, it may result in extra expenses for storing and shipping merch.
Solution: companies can order merch on demand. Print-on-demand company Printful offers MerchShare for group and individual orders. When someone orders the merch, Printful produces it and sends it to the recipient, so companies don’t have to worry about storing or shipping swag.
If the promotional items are low quality or take up space without any practical use, employees and customers may throw the stuff away. The same goes if the swag doesn’t match personal style, preferences, or interior—there’s a high chance that the merch will be thrown out. These reasons will result in wasted resources.
Solution: brainstorm with a team about potential company merch. Discuss products and ideas to see the best fit for the brand’s mission, vision, and culture so that employees and customers enjoy and use the swag.
Unwanted merch can also generate waste. If employees or customers get merch they don’t like or can’t use—they’ll likely throw it away. Or if companies order merch in bulk and, after time, some stock is left unused (e.g., clothing in less popular sizes). If items aren’t made from sustainable materials or aren’t recyclable, they’ll negatively impact the environment.
By ordering merch in bulk, companies risk having unused products, which results in wasted money and creates a sustainability concern.
Solution: order merch on demand. There’s no need for bulk orders when you can get as many items as you know you need at that time. For example, if an employee wants a particular swag item, you can order just that and know it’ll be used.
To ensure that your corporate swag doesn’t go to waste but benefits your business, let’s go through some things to remember when creating branded merch.
The best company swag should align with the brand’s values and mission. That helps strengthen the company’s image and ensures the swag resonates with employees and customers.
Check out the Printful team and their friends in company swag during a Pride party.
Rather than getting a large quantity of the cheapest or coolest items, investing in high-quality swag is more critical. That helps ensure that the merch has a longer shelf life and generates a positive impression of the brand.
The design of company swag products can significantly impact their appeal and effectiveness. Investing in high-quality swag items that look professional and modern can help create a positive brand image. Such swag makes employees and customers proud to use it and represent your brand. Because sometimes, slapping on a company logo is not enough.
Offering multiple promotional pieces allows employees and customers to choose items that fit their preferences. That can include practical items like water bottles, tote bags and more unique pieces like branded shoes and tech accessories.
When creating the coolest promotional items, think about people who work remotely or have different cultural backgrounds. One way to ensure inclusivity is to offer a variety of swag options. It’s important to provide gender-neutral sizing and practical items.
For remote employees, consider alternative delivery methods or swag options that can be quickly shipped. By using Printful’s solution MerchShare, employees can order their merch in their desired size and ship it wherever they are.
The answer is obvious: to get!
Branded swag is a great marketing tool that benefits employees and the business. Well-designed and thoughtfully executed corporate swag items can greatly impact the success and reputation of the brand.
There are multiple reasons why your brand should choose awesome company swag for employees and existing and prospective clients. Not only does quality swag helps in creating brand awareness, but it also cultivates strong company culture.
While potential drawbacks include high costs, sustainability concerns, and the need for storage space, these can be mitigated by careful planning or partnering with Printful to create promotional items without financial and inventory risks for your business.
Have fun creating your authentic company swag!
Jana is a Content Writer at Printful with a background in creative writing and content marketing. She draws inspiration from all things creative and has a deep love for all things written, be it a book, a script, a quote, or a joke.