The ability to develop a powerful brand image is one of the best ways to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Cultivating a brand is about more than designing a logo – it’s about permeating your entire business with a stated philosophy that defines who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it. Once you’ve established these things and created processes and practices that conform with your brand image, you can promote your brand via a variety of products designed to reinforce your image and keep it top of mind with your target customer base.
When you think Nike, you think Swoosh. The Rolling Stones? Probably the big tongue logo. These symbols have come to define what each brand is all about, and they’ve been helped along the way by a mass infusion into the public by way of print and digital representations. While your brand might never reach the same heights, you can definitely help it become a household name by similarly launching a line of branded items that keeps your company in the spotlight. As such, the following lists 30 brand image must-have’s you can develop to make sure everyone is aware of your company.
The ultimate branding tool for communications, formal letterhead bearing your logo is a must-have for every company. Yours should include your logo and incorporate your brand colors at a minimum; you can also use design to express your brand’s attitude.
Whether T-shirts, polos, sweatshirts, or athletic performance apparel, you can brand your company on-the-go with shirts. Go with high-quality apparel so your customers will want to wear them, all the while displaying your brand image to their friends, family members, and colleagues.
3. Business cards
Business cards are handed out one-to-one, in most cases, but they should still bear your brand name and logo. You can even use the back of your business cards to tell the story of your brand, which can help you connect with customers.
If you’re in the retail industry, you should print branded shopping bags so everyone knows where your customers prefer to shop. You can also print canvas bags bearing your logo for everyday use.
Announce your sales letters and other communications with branded envelopes, perfect for matching letterhead in stationery sets. Logos are good, but whole-envelope branding is even better. If all of your envelopes are blue, for example, you won’t be missed in the mailbox.
6. Pocket folders
Presentations, press kits, and sales packages should be delivered in branded pocket folders. Placing sales sheets, business cards, thumb drives, CDs and DVDs, brochures, posters, press clippings, and other materials in a single folder lends itself to a more impressive presentation.
Your brand needs a website to itself; if you have multiple brands under one umbrella, dedicate a unique site to each brand.
8. Mobile app
Even if your app is largely a duplicate of your website, you should have a mobile app to maintain accessibility in the technologically-evolving market. If you can add app-specific features, all the better.
Outfit your customers, employees, and vehicles with stickers to promote your brand image anywhere, everywhere, and on anything – phones, cards, laptops, bicycles, and more. Stickers are especially useful if you can print them to match your customers’ use. For example, a company that caters to motorcyclists might print die-cut stickers made to fit motorcycle helmets.
10. Pens, notepads, and more
Print promotional giveaways for trade shows, conferences, and client meetings. It’s all about getting your brand in customer view as much as possible.
You can print calendars that are relevant to both your company and your customers – and make sure each month prominently features your brand.
Invest in stickers, car door magnets, or full vehicle wraps to brand your company vehicles on-the-go, wherever you go.
13. Greeting cards
If you send greeting cards to your best customers, skip the generic store-bought versions and print custom-designed greeting cards featuring your brand image.
14. Window clings
If your retail products are sold in other establishments, furnish them with window clings they can display on their windows to reinforce your brand image. One prime example: beverage companies who supply window clings to convenience stores.
15. Hang tags
Similarly, your retail products should include hang tags or stickers that differentiate them from your competitors’ wares. A good hang tag can denote your brand and also motivate purchases by telling your story (which should align with stories shared by your customers).
16. Coats and hats
Outdoor wear is prime for branding purposes, since they’re useful. Make sure yours are stylish so customers will want to wear your apparel. You can also apply your branding to umbrellas.
17. Signs and banners
Signs and banners placed in public areas, at athletic events, concerts, trade shows, and anything you sponsor can go a long way toward promoting your brand image – especially since customers will relate your brand to the event they’re attending.
Don’t settle for email templates; rather, brand your digital communications with custom-designed email themes that feature your logo and colors.
Make sure your boxes, bags, stickers, and other packaging prominently features your logo and other brand identifiers. You want customers to be excited your products have arrived, and you want to add that extra touch to bolster your brand image. You also want any onlookers to see your brand.
20. Your products
Of course, all of your products should have your logo and other brand identifiers prominently displayed.
If your business uses forms with your customers, such as sales order sheets and contracts, make sure your brand is featured in the design.
23. Wine bottles
Wine bottles make excellent holiday gifts, and you can add your brand to them with custom-designed wine bottle labels.
Print custom beverage coasters featuring your logo to give away to customers. This is an excellent idea for bar and restaurant suppliers as well as those who supply man cave merchandise.
25. Coffee mugs
The go-to branding product, particularly for office-based businesses. Coffee thermoses for on-the-go branding are likewise appropriate.
26. Thumb drives
If your company serves the IT industry, or if you otherwise have customers who routinely use thumb drives (such as educators), they can be excellent branding tools.
27. Return address labels
Make sure your return address labels feature your logo and brand colors; not only will they help brand your communications, they’re useful because they let your office staff quickly place return addresses on your envelopes.
28. Gift labels
Do you give gifts to your customers for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions? Brand your gifts with custom-designed labels featuring your logo and brand colors.
29. Bar glasses
Emblazon your logo on barware such as glasses to get your brand on bars, tables, and counters everywhere.
30. Portable folding chairs
Mesh or canvas folding chairs are perfect for branding companies at sporting events, picnics, reunions, campsites, and other outdoor venues.
Distribute all of these items, and you’ll no doubt flood the market for your brand and vastly increase awareness for your company. Of course, not every business can invest in all of these materials, and for any given business some items make more sense than others. The best way to decide what brand items to product is to think about your customers and how they interact with your business.
If you send a lot of paper-based communications, having branded letterhead and envelopes is a prerequisite for good branding, for example. If you conduct business primarily online, be sure your digital assets align: email, websites, and mobile apps. If you want to reach a local market, banners, signs, and coffee mugs can help promote your brand to the masses.
Think about how your customers will see and use your branded products. If they go to a lot of concerts, banners can be invaluable. If they attend kids’ soccer games, chairs are perfect. If they fill out a lot of forms or often sign their names, pens and notepads can get you noticed. If they are constantly placing files on thumb drives… you get the idea. The more relevant your promotional items to your customers, the more useful they will find them, the more they will use them, and the more impact your branded products will have.
Again, it’s important to keep in mind that producing branded materials is all about marketing your brand, but they do not represent their brand on their own. The best way to represent your brand image is to live and breathe it. Make sure your employees buy in to your image and infuse it in all practices and processes: how you do what you do, how you treat your customers, how they answer the phones, etc. Then, use the branded products listed above to augment your brand and let the world know you’re here to serve it.
What other brand image must-have’s can you think of? What’s your favorite branding tool? Let us know in the comments!
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