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Branded Merch in Media Spend Budget

February 27, 2023

Branding is arguably one of the most important marketing tools any business has. 

As a CEO, I’ve sat in my fair share of marketing meetings over the years; and time and time again I see millions of dollars allocated to the media budget consisting of TV, online ads, search, display, etc, but one thing is always missing: branded merchandise. As of now, the majority of CMO’s do not see branded merchandise as part of their media budget, but I want to change that narrative, lets get into why. 

For starters, it’s tangible media. It’s a memorable part of the customer experience. According to the Advertising Speciality institute, 85% of people who are given a promotional item will remember the advertiser that gave it to them. It’s truly something that the customer takes with them, wears, holds, uses, and opens. In addition, it bears no expiration date and lasts much longer than a 30-second commercial or a billboard on a highway. Not only do 57% of American consumers hold onto promotional products for over five years, but 40% even keep them for over a decade. That's a decade worth of brand impressions without having to lift a finger.

But it's not just about the recipients, branded merchandise can also have a major impact on your social media presence. 62% of marketers say that branded items increase brand visibility and almost two-thirds say it increases followers. Plus, when people participate in giveaways featuring branded merch, 30% are open to receiving more information from the brand.

Not only does it boost your brand and social media presence, but it can also lead to real conversions. Contests featuring custom promotional products have a conversion rate of 35%. And for businesses and influencers, the YouTube Merch Shelf has led to an increase in merchandise sales of up to 82%.Promotional bags on average generate 3,300 impressions over an 11 month period and the CPI is as low as $0.002. That's right, two-tenths of a cent.

But it’s important to note that not all branded merchandise is the same. Quality, creativity and innovation matters.

  • 72% of people say that a brand's reputation is reflected in the quality of the promo products they receive. 
  • 30% of businesses report an increase in revenue after improving their product packaging.
  • 72% of American consumers say that product packaging designs influence their purchase decisions.

At Harper + Scott, quality is always top of mind. Our in-house team of creatives and experts work with your brand to develop a personalized plan to fit your brand needs. We think outside the box and deliver a product that will not end up in a junk drawer. As a certified B corp, we also put a big focus on the materials used. The smallest changes make the biggest difference. 

A quick case study for you. For Harper + Scott’s 2022 Holiday gift, we had our team create a  fully custom acrylic backgammon set that includes dual-sided printed game pieces, a set of 2 de-bossed dice cups, and a custom printed board design. Each board is packaged in a luxe two piece gift box, protected in a foam insert tray. Within a week of the product being delivered, we saw a huge spike in social media mentions and followers. Not only did social media increase, but because we developed a unique, high-quality, aesthetically pleasing item, our brand logo will now be displayed on the coffee table of hundreds of households - increasing our brand awareness.

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