Singing not Shouting – Getting the right merchandise for your event, awards or exhibition.

11th Jan 2018

Merchandise can be a difficult thing to get right. It seems such a simple thing to do on the surface, but once you start down the route of deciding what you need, you can soon get tangled up in choices, and that can lead to you ending up with something that is not quite what you wanted.

I am choosing the way I describe the problem very carefully when I say ‘not quite what you wanted’ because one of the things we hear quite often when we sit down with clients is that they have had merchandise in the past that wasn’t quite right. It is easy to get merchandise that will do the job; it is much more difficult to get merchandise that will really work for you.

Your merchandise is an investment, and not only that, it is one that is very hard to pin down in terms of the return on the financial commitment. That said, when it is done right, it can be a very high-impact approach to the market.

Some basic things you may want to consider:

  • Why am I giving items away? We take for granted that we need to give something away when we prepare our merchandise, but it is very easy to forget to ask why. This will have a big impact on the final decision.
  • Where is this sitting in the wider context of my brand? This is really very important because your brand is probably why you are at the event in the first place. Ideally, you will have merchandise that specifically supports the event, and it should also support your wider brand.
  • Who do we want to attract? Specific targeting can be very effective in some circumstances, in others a wider appeal is needed. The last thing you want, as I am sure you have all seen at exhibitions, is a press of people just grabbing a nice freebie for the sake of it.
  • Will you get the best ROI? It’s tricky monitoring return on something like merchandise, so it’s important that you are sure it is really supporting your key performance indicators in some specific, measurable way. Whatever the decision we think you should be comfortable that you have taken the best possible route rather than the standard one size fits all or lowest cost alternative.

These are just some of the questions you need to really pin down, and it helps to discuss the answers with us. As you would expect, we have a wide range of options for you, but talking through your needs will let us bring our experience to the table and offer solutions that hit the mark, not just give you something that will do on the day.

Merchandise is about more than just giving things away or getting your logo on something. It is about making the right statement to the right people.

The reason the title of this article is ‘singing not shouting’ is because that is a nice analogy for what you want your merchandise to do. When you hear a great singer, they have volume and personality, and you hear an attractive, memorable song. You will also hear someone who shouts as loud as they can but, while the message may still be there, the delivery is not as pleasant. In a busy exhibition hall or a bustling events ceremony where everyone is shouting as loud as they can, a good singer will really cut through that noise and be remembered. Your merchandise must be exactly right for the event and your brand so that you can sing and not shout.  By Rob Atkinson, PDS Client Services.

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As your partner, Print Data Solutions can help you to deliver your projects from start to finish. The PDS journey moves through five key pillars of service: Design, Print, Merchandise, Fulfilment & Logistics.

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