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The best ways to start in offline branding strategies

Strong branding is essential to any company, helping to get your firm recognised by more people and established as one that can be trusted. In recent years, online strategies have stolen the limelight somewhat, but there's still a lot be said for offline marketing - here are some tips on how to get started.

The benefits of promotional merchandise

When it comes to offline branding, most us automatically think about methods like TV advertising, print and radio - but you should also consider promotional merchandise. Since branding's your goal, promotional gifts can be particularly effective - after all, people will keep what you give them and see your logo time and time again, but how often will they come across it by any other means without you having to continually plough more money into adverts and such?

Gifts like branded mugs have lots of advantages in addition to the fact they offer long-term branding benefits. Research by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) has demonstrated a clear link between strong branding and promotional merchandise, showing that it can deliver a better return on investment than things like TV and print.

Indeed, 84 per cent of the survey's recipients claimed branded gifts boost brand awareness, while it was also found that giveaways help to create a more positive image. Plus, promotional products are often cheaper to produce than print advertisements and radio and TV spots, meaning you get more for your money.

The key to successfully boosting your branding with merchandise is to select items your individual audience will find useful and valuable. This way, they will use those products - and consequently see your company's name - all the time. Mugs have a particularly wide appeal - after all, who doesn't have a cuppa at home or in the office? - while the BPMA research found 45 per cent of people would like to receive a USB stick.

What else can I use to bolster my offline branding?

If you decide to use promotional merchandise to boost your branding, you can tie this in to other offline marketing efforts. For example, you could run a print campaign - which could mention your promotional products - or perhaps create an ad for the radio.

There are plenty of options to choose from and, while certain methods may have impressive statistics, don't let yourself be swayed by those alone. What works well for one company could be less effective than another; so, take the time to consider what mediums are most likely to reach your target audience.

Once you've decided on the strategy, give a little thought to when you're going to run your campaign. If your business sells directly to consumers, for example, you're likely to have peak sales seasons - so it's worth starting any branding efforts in the run up to these.

If you provide products or services to other businesses, meanwhile, think about pushing your brand's image ahead of a trade show, or perhaps at a time of year when they may particularly need your help. An accountancy firm, for instance, might find themselves especially in demand when tax returns are due and everyone rushes to get their forms completed on time.

Don't forget your online branding

Just because you're planning offline branding strategies, it doesn't mean you should forget about any online efforts you have on the go. In fact, consistency is crucial when it comes to branding success, so you should make sure your offline techniques deliver the same kind of message as those online. This way, your target market will get a clear image of who your brand is.