Amp up your brand with awesome apparel

Are you running an independent business and looking to increase your visibility? You may find yourself wishing you had the budget for a big ad campaign. In fact, studies such as this one have shown that products like branded bags, clothing and accessories are more effective in delivering brand memorability than TV, radio and web adverts.

(For inspiration, see our picks of the brands with the best tote bags here; and the craft beer companies with the best t-shirts here.)

Custom merch is more popular than ever as a way for businesses to reward and grow their customer base. If done well, it’s one of the smartest investments you can make. Sometimes there’s nothing more effective than a batch of organic cotton t-shirts, emblazoned with a smart, screen printed design, or some beautifully stitched embroidery.

The best merchandise feels perfectly in sync with its respective business, and the level of personalisation now possible makes this easier than ever. After years in the business, we wanted to share some of the ways that merchandise can boost your business. 

Building Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers are the bedrock of any successful business, and cultivating loyal customers is all about building an emotional connection with them. Customers are happiest when they feel they have a real relationship with the business they are giving their money to, beyond something simply transactional.

Rewarding or encouraging returning customers with merchandise is a way to make them feel linked to and recognised by the business. A customer who owns a tee or a tote from will find themselves subconsciously encouraged to return again and again, thanks to a reinforced sense of loyalty.

Higher Use = Higher Visibility

Long-lasting items that people will get repeated use out of are the best kind of merchandise; the main reason consumers keep promotional products is if they are useful. While cheap, gimmicky gifts can seem fun, investing in things like good quality hoodies or bags can see a higher return.

The more times a person uses or wears your merchandise the more times they will be influenced by it, and the more likely it is that those around them will too. Your customers are your best marketers in this instance, as if they love your merchandise they can become a walking billboard for your business.

Tempt New Customers

While keeping and rewarding your existing customer base is extremely important, it goes without saying that attracting new customers is a priority for any business. Most people, according to consumer research, are willing to abandon their current preferred brand in exchange for a free product.

This is not to say that you have to give away all your branded merch, but thinking about seasonal or promotional offers, that tie free or discounted merch to new product launches, can be a smart way to tempt customers away from your competitors.

Underscore Quality

If what you are selling is more abstract than tangible, a really effective way to underscore the quality of your business is through high-quality merchandise. The way that you present yourself with your merchandise is another way to tell a story about who you are as a brand, and what your values are.

ICON offers a range of precision printing options including screen printing, DTG printing and transfer, as well as a number of fabrics including organic cotton and bamboo for the eco-conscious. All of these elements combine to reassure and remind customers that you are to be trusted when it comes to quality and dependability.

Visualise Personality

Similarly, merchandise can help build out the bigger picture of who you are as a brand. If your approach is say, more relaxed, then branded caps might help make staff seem more friendly and approachable, and make customers feel part of the team.

Whether your logo and branding are subtle or more decorative, thinking cleverly about how to utilise them on merchandise can help add layers to the image of your business. Even a decision as simple as using richly dyed cotton for a vibrant injection of colour can alter the way in which your merchandise (and so your business) is perceived.

Want to create custom merch for your brand or business? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting clients ranging from the Tate to Boiler Room and WeWork. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.