Branded Merchandise and the Journey of the Rebrand

Last week a former client called me. He wanted to talk about a few merchandise ideas we presented to his team that seemed to have stuck in his mind. Part of a recently rebranded FTSE 250 company, he wanted to resurrect the conversation as they were busy considering the best ways to express this new identity.

Merchandise inspires the journey of rebranding

Keen not to simply replace the old brand with a new one on the same merchandise they’ve been using all along, there was clearly an ambition for something more nuanced and true to their rebranding message. 

After all, they had spent a lot of time and money working up this new positioning so they didn’t want to risk all the trappings that come with a quick fix. This client appreciated that they needed to update their collateral, their merchandise, and the whole brand manifestation to make sure it was in line with the new brand. 

A sensible move, if we do say so ourselves. 

A merch pack for every employee

Another global rebrand recently saw a client rolling out a merch pack for all of their 3500 staff.

Keen to ensure internal buy-in, this client selected a magnet-close box, a branded water bottle, and a tumbler together with a tote bag, lanyard, and a lovely postcard. The postcards told employees the story of their sustainable merchandise and what these products said about the new brand.

We saw multiple posts across social media showing happy people with their rebrand pack and obsessing about how valued they felt, even by something so simple as their name being spelled correctly on the water bottle!

Every touch point tells a story

It’s something of a well-proven truism. Take a newly elected Prime Minister for example. The journey to get to this position doesn’t just happen overnight. Behaviour has to change and adapt in order to keep up with the aspiration of living behind the door of No.10. 

The lesson is that you can’t expect a different result whilst trying to maintain the status quo. The identity of this client had evolved and therefore everything else related to it, from brand image to email signature, has to develop along with it.

Fundamentally, the way brands are represented tells a story about how they are positioned. We looked at this client’s core values and created a rebrand gift box for each of the team members, with products that corresponded to each value. 

For example, one core value is ‘Partnering’ so one item we looked at was a Bluetooth speaker– something to neatly partner with their mobile devices. 

For another value, ‘Creativity’, we discussed a set of three pencils all packaged up in a sleeve proudly sporting their shiny new logo and branding. 

For us, it’s all about careful consideration of how branded merchandise can be used strategically so that the true essence of the brand is promoted. A good piece of branded merchandise is so much more than a ‘giveaway’. It tells a story, and it has to tell the right story. What’s good for one is seldom the same as for another.

Make merchandise unique to you

The subtle nuances of colour and style are ‘food and drink’ to designers but we contend that merchandise is sometimes commoditised a bit too much and these important nuances are overlooked. A soft-touch, crook-handled umbrella, complete with Pantone-matched ribs and contrasting canopy can create an amazing brand experience when compared to a standard windproof golf umbrella. Both are great products, but with their own distinct places in the brand marketplace.

With a bit of thought and a creative mindset, brands can use merchandise to link to:

  • Their culture
  • Their visual appearance 
  • Their core values 
  • Their market position
  • Their Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) commitments

And they can do several of these things all at once. Having that well-considered, beautifully produced suite of brand merchandise will give you control of every touch point with your clients and team, and ensure your rebrand has the desired effect. The benefits are priceless. 

Contact our branded merchandise experts today to talk about how adding merchandise to your marketing mix, or employee communications can help put your rebrand really pack a punch.