Why Your Business Needs Merch

In this article, we'll tell you what merch is, why it's essential for business, and most importantly, we'll reveal a few secrets of effective merchandise.

Let's start with the basics: What is the merchandise? Simply put, it's a branded product that a company needs to increase recognition. It can also be created specifically for an event or a product line.

Merch is a universal tool suitable for large corporations and small start-ups in any industry.
With constant competition, companies must come up with new ideas to stand out among thousands of similar businesses. Developing your branded product is less critical than classic advertising but this format works as effectively for your brand image.


  • First, you need to find a creator who can develop a concept, make sketches and lay out a design.
  • Then search for an excellent contractor to create a branded product (copy center/plant/workshop - depending on the type of merchandise). It is essential because finding a good production is a fundamental step.
  • After agreeing on the cost of the trial batch, remember to include the cost of merchandise delivery and advertising.
  • Depending on your strategy, you decide whether the merch will be given away for free, as a bonus for a purchase, or sold in stores. Think about the site where to sell it. You can use different channels: social networks, offline events (such as business conferences), and even marketplaces.
  • Calculate the final cost of the merch. It will depend on the quality of materials, logistics, and other aspects. It is realistic to make not very pricy but, at the same time, high quality merchandise. Here imagination and creativity will help you.

We broke down the process of creating the right merch just for you

1. Creating a corporate culture
Merch should be helpful so that a person has no problem finding a use for it. To be sure, survey your employees. Tip: Avoid too banal options, like pens (even though they are helpful). Try to make the merch more original to appeal to your target audience. Merch for top managers can differ from merch for line employees, and vice versa; the same merch can unite employees from different departments. An indicator of merch's success is the willingness of employees to use such products by their choice.
Above, we added a successful example of Bank's merch. A design studio was responsible for its visualization and production. The team created branded products and limited editions for a specific department, event, or purpose.
Bank employees can purchase branded merch or redeem it for points. All this happens on a unique portal.

This system has many advantages:
  • Employees can choose and purchase the merch for themselves, their family, or friends with points or corporate currency
  • It helps to motivate employees and increases the level of corporate culture and engagement
  • It helps to sell merchandise and update the product line more quickly

Corporate merch can be based on an event or hobby that unites the employees. For example, Bank has an active sports community, and the company designs branded suits and jackets specifically for participation in sporting events. It is not advertising but just an excellent example of successful corporate merch.

The company's slogan or a specific department can be a basis for branded products. The slogan can replace the logo, making the merch more native while retaining the identity.

Merch should reflect the ideology and corporate identity of the company; only in this way will employees want to become part of a corporate community.
An example of corporate merch
2. Increase brand awareness and loyalty

Everyone is tired of pushy advertising appeals, outdoor and online advertising have almost ceased to be noticed (hello, banner blindness). Merch is a live and unobtrusive advertising for business. Quality and relevant merch will be actively used in everyday life, with symbols of your brand that will encounter thousands of people daily.

Everyone likes to receive gifts. Merch, which the company gives to its customers, forms a particular emotional connection. The likelihood that the customer will become interested in the company's products again or tell his friends about them increases. These are the feelings good merch should arouse, which will please customers for a long time and will not tear/spoil on the first day.
If a company wants to make fantastic merch, it should first consider its quality. Also, think carefully about the style, and check for relevance and technology.

1. Copying someone else's intellectual property
The primary precept is "Do not steal”. For example, you cannot use famous superheroes in your merchandise (Batman, Superman, etc.), even changing them slightly. If the character still has a recognizable identity, such a design would still be considered intellectual property and copyright violation. You could be sued for this and most likely get a hefty fine.

2. Useless
A good gift should be helpful to people. A bad idea would be to create a small figurine or charms that people can use occasionally. Remember that merch should also serve its purpose, attract new customers and reflect your brand identity. Merch is not just a souvenir with your company logo. It's a whole communication technique with your audience. Think carefully about the concept of merch, its design, and its functionality. Even if it's a cup, case, or notepad, make it stylish and high-quality with a hidden logo.
3. Getting extra income

You have to work very hard to make merchandise profitable. What kind of merchandise would you buy yourself? Please answer this question; it is the key to success.
It should not explicitly "shout" about the company to get people to wear merch. To do this, you can make the logo discreet or use a slogan or company colors instead.
This method is used by media personalities, releasing products with their famous quotes and phrases.
Note that merch is often used in collaborations. Brands can collaborate with each other and celebrities to create unique merchandise and attract as much attention as possible.

Such collaborations can bring in good profits. For example, the delivery service Delivery Club and the fast food restaurant chain KFC have already created several lines of joint merch. One example is branded pajamas with a pocket for a bucket of wings.
Combine the pleasant with the pleasant :)

Unfortunately, there is no specific algorithm for success. It is important to remember that merch should carry a particular message, which will be incorporated into the concept and values of your brand.

1. Relevance

Besides that, good merch should be understandable and close to your company's target audience; it should also be in line with general social trends (e.g., the trend towards eco-friendliness).
Companies close to the eco-trend have higher trust, especially from young people. So, an excellent option for merch can be a range of eco-friendly products (eco-shoppers, reusable bottles, and other goods made from recycled materials).
For example, VALIO has released a limited edition t-shirt collection made from cotton and dairy leftovers. The release of the collection announced the brand's transition to eco-friendly packaging.
Let's look at another trend - Digital Merch or NFC chips

NFC clothing is "smart" clothing that has an NFC chip built into it. It can be programmed with any link that leads to an app, social network, or website.
There is also an online platform that allows you to share your information conveniently. The chip is a part of the clothing, sewn in during production. Such products do not require special care; you can safely wash them. Even after dozens of washings, the chip is easily scanned.

The NFC chip turns an ordinary T-shirt into a branded product. You can add an electronic business card, a message for employees, and even a video greeting.
This trend is also part of the trend towards environmental friendliness - you don't have to cut down trees as you do to print business cards. All you have to do is put your NFC-enabled phone to the unique print on a T-shirt, and the information is automatically read.
2. Relevance to brand philosophy and originality

Your audience, at first glance at the merch, should understand what brand it belongs to. It is not desirable to put the logo on the whole surface; it should only stand out a little. You can put a slogan or a phrase that would reflect the value and style of the company. Let's take a look at the merch of the marketing agency AdSkill.

The team created a limited edition t-shirt for the conference. The slogan on the T-shirts conveys the main idea of the company - "Infinite scale is real". Since the mission of the company - is to provide borderless service for launching and optimizing ad campaigns.

The design of the T-shirts is based on the company's corporate colors (white and green). The key images are the graphics and the corporate font. The main emphasis is on the back (the logo), printed over a quote: "Boundaries are in your head – break them down. Start wide, expand further". This phrase perfectly reflects the essence of the agency because in AdSkill's inventory, there are over 20 traffic sources, and the agency operates globally. Hence the agency helps clients break down and expand the boundaries of their business.
VALIO Eco-Merch
Merch with an NFC chip
AdSkill merch
3. Quality

The sustainable consumption trend continues to grow strongly, as we mentioned above. Companies close to this ideology use premium quality materials that increase durability.

So your merch will look good even after many years. This sense of reliability the customer intuitively transfers to the company. The production of quality products also shows that the company cares about the environment.

4. Functionality

We've also already said that companies should brand useful products. A great example is a T-shirt. It is something that everyone has in their closet, but it will never be excessive. Wearing a branded T-shirt, a person becomes a kind of Ambassador and a live advertisement.

Merch enhances brand recognition, so your products should stand out for their design and style. An example - is merch for "Coffeemania." These are stylish T-shirts and hoodies with exciting prints and ironic inscriptions. It is aimed at the customers of the coffee shop - people who value their time, like humor and retro.

Merch formats are changing; companies aspire to follow global trends and be thorough in their approach to creating their branded products: from the concept to the quality of materials. Merch builds loyalty and stimulates attention to the company. You must consider the budget, create a unique design, and choose the proper distribution channel when making it. All this will ensure maximum audience interest and long-term results.

Inside the company, merch strengthens the corporate culture, helps motivate the team, and unites them.
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