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Importance of Custom Merchandising for Your Startup Branding Strategy

Custom merchandising is not a new concept. It is a way for companies to gain an advantage in the marketplace. The whole world can see your brand, thanks to personalized merchandising.

Your logo may appear on sweatshirts, t-shirts, water bottles, masks, or hats, and your consumers can show them everywhere.

The success of a custom merchandising campaign is strongly tied to the quality of your design and your ability to cater to your target demographic.

In today’s world, small companies are always looking for new ways to reach out to their clients. When it comes to getting people’s attention, a startup marketing strategy with straightforward goals and tasks is the way to go, and customized merchandising is a good part of that strategy.

Customized merchandising doesn’t just attract prospective buyers, it offers several other benefits, which we will talk about in this article.

What Is a Startup Strategy for Your Brand?

A startup business strategy is a written plan for your brand. It describes your objectives for beginning, maintaining, and marketing your new venture. The quality of a startup branding strategy can determine the venture’s long-term viability. 

However, it will need to have some flexibility. Your viewpoint and strategy will shift when you discover more about your intended audience, and as you learn more, your approach will need room to evolve.

Start planning your startup strategy by making a list of the most crucial parts of your brand where changes are required and then writing down all your ideas for those changes. 

Custom merchandising is one idea you’ll want to include to help your startup’s branding strategy. Here are some basics. 

What Is Branded or Customized Merchandise?

When you buy anything from a store or shop, it’s considered merchandise. However, there is a distinction between generic items and branded ones.

Branded or customized items are ones that have the brand’s logo or brand statement imprinted on them. Plain goods can be transformed into “branded” items by adding a logo or other brand images.

Types of Branded Merchandise 

1. Business Cards

Business cards are essential according to various polls. One poll found that 72% of customers form their impression of a firm based on its business cards. 

In today’s competitive marketplace, business cards are valuable tools in the effort to gain and keep clients. There are many ways firms can use customized cards to attract new clients. These are several ways they can help:

  • Enhance both the personal and professional image.
  • Make a striking first impression quickly.
  • Allow the brand to engage a large audience.
  • Serve as a direct marketing technique.
  • Increase recommendations and trust-building.

2. Stationery

Customized stationery enhances the image of your business. It creates familiarity and trust while making your brand more recognizable. 

3. Gadgets

For customized company gifts, phone chargers and pedometers are in high demand. These aren’t only useful; they are also appealing.

4. T-Shirts and Hoodies

Many businesses get their logo printed on a t-shirt. This is one of the most popular startup branding strategies because:

  • There is a lot of power in custom clothing to promote your business. Someone wearing your company’s t-shirt can generate a lot of impressions in real life and on social media.
  • People love swag and giving away clothing like a t-shirt nearly guarantees it will be used.
  • They are ideal for funded events where your target audience is likely to see them.

5. Accessories

Remember that your logo can be emblazoned on a wide range of popular accessories. Your company’s brand will likely be more widely known if you give out hats, mittens, gloves, and socks with the logo on them.

6. For Office and Business

If your business offers professional services where you provide clients with documents such as tax returns or legal documents, printed items such as report covers are an excellent opportunity for branding. Not only will your client get a branded piece, but anyone who visits their office may see it on their desk. Because they are incredibly durable, covers made from plastic outperform paper and are definitely the way to go.

How Do You Develop Effective Branded Merchandise?

There are many options for merchandise and many ways to brand them. The goal is to communicate your brand to your target audience. Here are a few pointers:

1. Focus on Your Brand’s Purpose and Authenticity

Customized merchandising isn’t just another variety or series of your existing products. Instead, they represent your identity as a brand.

If a consumer sees a branded item from your firm, it should help them remember your name. Create custom merchandise that clearly expresses your brand’s image.

2. Be Aware of Your Audience 

The first step is to identify your intended audience. Before you begin developing your branded merchandise, you need to define your target market, and what their preferences and interests are.

Before releasing anything to the market, know your followers, customers, and admirers. Remember that not everyone is going to be interested in every design you put out there. You may need more than one item to appeal to your entire audience.

3. Pick Merchandise for Maximum Value

The success of your promotion relies on the items you choose as well as how you use them. There is no use in distributing a promotional item if it doesn’t provide any value to the receiver.

So, make sure to provide products that benefit consumers on a daily basis.  Lifestyle accessories such as sweatshirts, water bottles, backpacks, pens, caps, and power banks are items that get used regularly.

You also want to select items that can be used by a wide range of people. Skip gender-specific items and choose designs that appeal to the general population. 

4. Keep the Layout Simple

To make sure you meet the goal of increasing brand recognition, you want your logo and/or tagline to stand out. Customers may be turned off by a crowded appearance and a message impeded by a busy design. Make sure you keep your layout clean and easy to read.

5. Go for a Broad Appeal 

Since there are so many types of branded merchandise to choose from, your intended audience should be the primary consideration. However, don’t restrict your theme or style to only your intended demographic; shoot for broad appeal. 

The Value of Customized Merchandising for a Startup Brand

1. Quick Promotion

Merchandise sales not only bring in money but also serve as a vehicle for brand exposure. For example, if someone is wearing a band’s T-shirt, after seeing it, you may think about the band’s music.

This way, the band is promoting their music quickly, and the same can be done with your startup business.

It may seem like a modest step to put your brand on an item such as a pen or a shirt. But you don’t know how many people will learn about your brand from this form of advertising.

Consider these statistics:

  • A Marketing Team for a Successful Startup Strategy

According to a poll of 1,000 companies, 56.9% had a marketing team for custom merchandise. 

Another 20.8% had at least one employee devoted to marketing. In 15.3% the owner was the only marketer. 4.8% used an outside agency, and 2.2% relied on freelancers.

  • Website Designing for Custom Merchandising

75% of buyers claim they have assessed the quality of a firm based on the quality of its marketing website. Startups need to have a ready-to-go website for their custom merchandise.

2. An Extensive Reach

Merchandise may quickly spread over the globe if it is promoted well. This strategy is more effective than concerts, festivals, or billboards for brand marketing.

With the support of actual shops or even as freebies, your brand may be able to go a long way. The greatest approach to selling these days is online. Sales will happen because customers can quickly and easily access your stuff.

A straightforward approach to getting your word out is to put your logo on merchandise. If you wear your company’s t-shirt, you become a walking billboard for the company. This strategy works even better if you are selective about who you offer the items.

3. Show Your Creativity 

Merchandising is a great way to demonstrate your brand’s uniqueness to prospective buyers.  You don’t have to restrict yourself to inexpensive toys and other items. Consider sweatshirts, hats, or water bottles. Or modify a tote bag with a useful design feature, like an interior pocket for valuables.

This demonstrates that you care about the message you send out into the world, and people may feel more connected to your brand if they use it often.

4. Reflect Your Beliefs 

You have undoubtedly thought about how you want your brand to be perceived. How do people see its personality? Is it cutting-edge or pleasantly retro? You may convey your brand via the items you manufacture.

High-quality merchandise giveaways can boost your company’s reputation. T-shirts that last through several washes or tote bags that can carry your groceries home are good options.

One of the most popular customized merchandise items to offer on your online store is a reusable tote bag. A study in 2021 found that 27% of participants explored a new product because of its sustainability. 

25% spent extra money on sustainable fashion. So, choosing a tote bag as custom merchandise can be a good startup strategy.

5. A Cost-Effective Approach

Promotional merchandise is an investment that compares well to other brand-building efforts. Instead of conventional promotional initiatives, a business may save money with customized merchandising.

A social media ad may reach a large number of individuals. However, the platform only lets you reach a specific group of people. But with custom merchandise, you can increase your brand’s impact on your customers. What benefits will you gain from its cost-effectiveness?

  • You can spend the money on other aspects of your startup business. For example, you can develop additional custom merchandising products and invest in them.
  • You can spend the money to create a satisfactory environment for your staff. This will motivate them to work harder for your business. An effective startup strategy may come from their cooperativeness.

6. Maintain a Positive Work Environment

Freebies are always welcome. Besides reaching out to potential customers, giving away your custom merchandise to your employees has the potential to positively affect your company’s culture. 

The more you think about what your workers want or need, the more loyal and satisfied they will be with your company.

The morale and loyalty of your workers could be improved via these efforts. Personalized t-shirts and water bottles with your company’s logo are great onboarding gifts. They will feel welcome and, in turn, will put them to good use and spread the word about your company.


As a startup company, customized merchandising is an essential way to increase brand recognition and enhance brand perception.

It also develops an emotional tie with your target audience. You can use these items as presents for possible leads or as promotional goods for events. 

Also check: Why is Brainstorming important for Entrepreneurial Success?

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About the author

Dan M

Dan has been building teams and coaching others to foster innovation and solve real-time problems. Dan also enjoys photography and traveling.

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