It’s a real problem many brands face: Selling in an oversaturated market. We hear it all the time from many clients in the craft beer world, the restaurant space, food and beverage, and even large corporate entities.
The solution: Differentiation.
But that’s certainly far easier said than done.
It’s been said by market experts across the board that we are living in a sea of sameness. And for those brands competing in a space that offers the same kind of product, for example, differentiation becomes even more of a challenge.
We are seeing many brands starting to consistently invest in crafting stellar experiences to connect with and retain customers, but also venturing into a new periphery all together by pillaring out their product launch strategy with custom merchandise tactics rather than solely relying on the product itself to do a majority of the selling.
Your customers crave experience, so give it to them
The stats can be staggering. Brands that go down the experience path are seeing jumps in revenue, some firms reporting nearly a 10 percent revenue boost, claiming year-over-year sustainable profits, and market leadership.
In a world of seemingly endless choice and consumer autonomy, consumers ditch long-standing brands on the daily (and in a matter of seconds) because they lack a deeper connection.
You have to work harder to keep your customers.
You have to think differently to get new customers.
You have to invest in crafting the right strategy that brings your brand to life; one that keeps it relevant for years despite who shares the space with you.
Draw from a new source of inspiration
Okay, so say you’re a marketing director or brand manager at a well-established brand. The company is getting ready to bring a brand new product to market and you’re trying to find a new, different, cool, trendy solution that makes the launch dominate in that sea of sameness.
We marketers, we’re usually the creative bunch, with a little bit of analytical science mixed in. We are always trying to get ahead of trends, trying new ways to connect with our audience, and ways to stand out from the masses, ways to be more human.
Yet, we struggle to make the business case to change things up because…
It’s too expensive.
We’ve always done things this way.
It’s too risky.
We don’t know how to sell any other way.
We’ve worked with the same supplier/vendor for years…
It’s not the right time.
Drawing from the same pool of stale promotional products as your competition only does your brand a disservice and makes the investment — and return, if any — in merchandise less appealing.
I like to explain merch collections that support a brand’s product launch as a way to gain more reach and to spread the news while creating that highly sought after experience your customers crave.
Tap into your inner Steve Jobs and craft your product launch for maximum sales, maximum brand awareness, and most importantly, maximum brand loyalty.
This means some outreach before, during, and after the product launch. Merch collections are made up of a handful of items that work together cohesively and in ways that you can strategically distribute throughout the life of the campaign to be most effective at getting your message out there.
There are a lot of ways you can get creative but one tactic we see working successfully is by either building a custom merchandise collection for the first time or revamping an existing line solely around the product launch.
Product launches are huge for any brand. They’re a gigantic investment (and risk), they are resource-heavy, and they are meticulously planned. Custom merchandise crafted to support the role the product has in the brand’s overall story is a tangible way your audience can connect with, relate to, and remember why they should care.
Capture the nuances of the product and what makes it different in subtle ways with a unique application of your brand toolkit to everyday merchandise items like hats, hoodies, or bags.
If you’re reading this and worried that you may not be the creative type or maybe you think you’ve tried everything before or that your brand is not “cool” enough to do anything out of the box, think again.
Our team dives headfirst into brands to get to know them inside and out, just like a member of your internal team, in order to create and offer recommendations that are unique to your brand, your goals, and your audience.
Host an event
In a world full of digital experiences, offer your audience something in real life. A milestone such as a product launch is a call for celebration. What better reason to do that than throw a party? You could piggy-back onto an existing event you have budgeted for such as your big annual trade show or industry event. Whatever you choose, make sure to stock it with your brand new merch collection.
Each item will help keep your brand top-of-mind well after the event ends, especially if your merch is unique and different; usually, this means the item is useful, tastefully branded, and helps your audience out in some way or at the least, makes them look trendy!
We can create any item you may have in mind or help brainstorm new ideas. Based on our experience with this kind of project, here are just a few ways merch can tie things together and make a big splash:
Retail-quality apparel such as custom vests or jackets.
We worked with Honey Stinger for the launch of their new performance chew product for promotion during the NYC marathon — an event where much of their target audience would already be — by creating custom limited edition hats as part a gift with purchase strategy.
Another option would be to invest in high-quality everyday apparel with state-of-the-art screen printed decoration like these Stranahan’s t-shirts we produce each year for the Colorado distillery's annual Cask Thief event. Super soft, trendy, and quality items like these will last through many wash cycles without fading.
An item that is unique to your brand like these custom collapsible coolers and silicone coasters craft brewery Flying Dog Brewery fans love.
Chat with one of our branding experts to explore more options that are a good fit for you!