Leaning in to Engagement & Appreciation

During these uncertain times as a business owner or marketer, it’s a perfectly reasonable response to panic, second guess, or otherwise react in the face uncertainty. Believe me, I’m doing my fair share of that right alongside you. However, I am also taking this time to realize I’ll never again get such a pause and a chance to refine our message, double down on our efforts for truly assisting clients, and to creatively expand our business. In a time when we’re all being forced to reflect on just how essential we are, it’s truly a time you can be there for your customers. We’re taking a look at 3 scenarios for using branded merchandise to show you some of the possibilities for using this time to develop brand loyalty, increase engagement in a really authentic way, and show your customers and/or employees much deserved appreciation.

Scenario 1.

You were hosting an event that has now been canceled or postponed. Backtracking a bit, what was the motive for that event? Was it to connect people to your brand? Was it to engage with your customers? Was it to provide a value to your clients? Whatever the initial reason for that event, it still stands today. I think we’re all finding that a huge shift is happening, and it’s shaking up our thoughts on how we should be marketing to our customers. We’re able to work with you to clarify your message & match it up with a quality item that helps you convey that message to your audience through merch. Guess what else it does? It builds your relationship with that person the moment they open their mail. It’s surprising. Whether it’s a mailer with a small gift that helps reassure your client that you’re there for them, or a full on kit with items attendees would have received at an in-person event, we’ve got options to make sure no matter the medium, your message gets communicated to an engaged recipient. We have new options for brand kits and drop shipping, making anything possible for your company to build affinity with your clients.

Branded Merchandise in Uncertain Times

Scenario 2.

Your customers have a new normal (don’t we all?!)..but you’re still there for them, same as before. This is coming in to play for a lot of essential businesses. This is now a time when the bottom line is everything, and service businesses may feel an impact if they don’t act quickly. It’s a time to remind customers of the value your company provides them, and truly check in on them in their time of need. Take a look at who your customer is, and what they’re experiencing in this moment. How could you provide value to them, above & beyond? What do they need right now, and how could your brand deliver? Purchase a digital gift card by looking for reliable gift card resellers for your customers and clients for a family movie night at home. Provide an item that can be used later at your place of business, such as a tote that, when used later, provides a discount on what’s inside. Whatever it is that corresponds to your mission, ensure that there is a tactile component in your marketing mix right now, as we are currently unable to provide our typical person-to-person interactions.

Scenario 3.

Employee appreciation. Whether it’s right now, mid-pandemic, or you’re planning for the day when you once again open your doors and welcome all of your staff back to their desks, employee appreciation is now more important than ever. Even providing them with a custom id badge can make them feel like an important asset to the firm. Your people have been working odd hours, juggling kids and video conferences, and just basically making it all happen so your company can continue. Quality merchandise gifted to employees is one of the best investments you can make. Say “thank you” with items that will stick with them – custom desk sets, fun drinkware, or wholly custom merchandise we dream up together.

Arnold Howitt and Herman B. Leonard said in 2009’s Managing Crises: Responses to Large-Scale Emergencies that during a crisis, which is ruled by unfamiliarity and uncertainty, effective responses are largely improvised. We’re here for you as a resource, and as a creative solution provider. Your company is unique and every situation is unique – especially now. Reach out & let us help turn this time of uncertainty in to a time of intentional action, engagement, and ultimately growth.


Sarah Whitaker is the owner + client success manager of Williams Advertising. Reach her at sarah@williamsadco.com to get started with your next creative project.