Typhoon Hospitality

- April 2024

The Rise of Merchandise

Merchandise branding. A marketing tool that bands and film producers have long embraced. But successful merchandise isn't reserved solely for the likes of Metallica and Harry Potter. And there's more to merchandise branding than merely printing a logo on a coffee mug. What exactly? Discover more in this article.

Get it right, and your guests or customers will forge an emotional bond with your brand. This serves as the perfect foundation for considering merchandise. People adore merchandise, especially if it evokes positive emotions and a sense of belonging. Whether it's to join an inner circle of admirers, fans, or experiencers, or simply because it's associated with a cult brand - or a mega-commercial brand cleverly marketed as a cult brand (hello Febo and Zeeman!). However, the essence of successful merchandise lies in the brand's identity. This branding is meticulously outlined in a brand bible or brand guide.

In this article, we’re going to talk about:

  • What is merchandise branding?
  • Why is branded merchandise important?
  • Your target audience and types of merchandise
  • The importance of a strong brand
  • Inspirational examples

What is merchandise branding?

Merchandise branding involves imprinting your brand on various items, ranging from pens featuring a dental practice's website to a luxury hotel's line of spa products. This marketing strategy is widely adopted by numerous companies, offering a way to reach target audiences in unconventional spaces beyond traditional media channels. By associating your brand with specific items, you enhance the connection with your audience. The sense of belonging and shared emotion fostered by merchandise is what makes it so popular. Just think about the concert T-shirt you purchased after seeing your favourite band or the scarf representing your sports club. Today, it could be the tote bag from the charming coffee shop around the corner. Merchandise branding not only forges a connection between the brand and people but also ensures that your brand is visibly represented by your self-appointed ambassadors.

Why is branded merchandise important?

Merchandise serves as subtle advertising, slipping seamlessly into daily life compared to overt branding efforts. While traditional advertising is often seen as intrusive (except for the occasional standout), merchandise offers a gentler approach. In fact, when executed effectively, merchandise can foster a sense of community, attracting individuals with similar interests. Do you prefer a laid-back approach to life, or do you want to connect with like-minded individuals? Then proudly flaunt your Febo bathing slippers, paired with white Febo sports socks, of course. If you're keen to demonstrate your concern for the environment, opt for a linen bag from the local organic shop. While a bath towel from a beautiful hotel in Bali may not outwardly advertise, it holds sentimental value and evokes fond memories. In essence, merchandise evokes emotion, and emotion is the most potent sales tool.


Your target audience and types of merchandise

Not all merchandise resonates with your target audience, so it's crucial to carefully consider who you want to reach. Not every brand is suited for a water bottle. Are you positioned in the health and wellness sector? Then items like water bottles, tote bags, or baseball caps often perform well. If you're a high-end restaurant, consider napkin rings, wine glasses, or a waiter's knife. Merchandise only adds value if the items are relevant to your target audience.

In addition to the examples above, consider:

  • Mugs (for a gin brand)
  • Interior accessories (for a restaurant)
  • Clothing (for a gym)
  • Spa products (for a tea brand)
  • Food and beverages line (for a gastrobar)
  • Perfume (for a hotel)

If you feel you've cultivated a loyal fan base and your brand could benefit from merchandise, don't hesitate to ask your target audience what products they would like. Your social media platforms are excellent channels for gathering this feedback.

The importance of a strong brand

As previously mentioned, the foundation of your brand is crucial when it comes to merchandise. Your branding should be as solid as a rock, easily recognisable, and consistently applied across all platforms. This not only allows your brand to evoke emotional connections with your target audience but also ensures the successful design and production of merchandise. Without a strong brand, there can be no strong merchandise. Once your merchandise is printed, distributing it—whether as giveaways or for sale—typically requires a well-thought-out marketing plan. Are your regulars or customers enthusiastic about your merchandise? If so, you might consider offering it for sale. However, initially, it's beneficial to introduce your new product to your brand ambassadors and loyal fans free of charge.

Inspirational examples

House parfume of De Librije


Clothing of Spaghetteria


Pens of Mandarin Oriental

M.O. Ball Pen with Leather Holder

Jewellery of Gebrouwen door Vrouwen

Ketting Set - Gebrouwen door Vrouwen

Are you looking for a partner in creating your brand identity? Get in touch with our sister company Brandchef for a no-obligation discussion about the possibilities. Do you already have merch and eager to spread the word? Feel free to drop us an email or give us a call.

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