Helping to promote your business

By Emma Harris, Spectrum Merchandising
Spectrum Merchandising specialises in providing promotional items and clothing that promote your business, organisation or club. However, questions we are often asked include: "Does this work?” “How much should we invest in branded products?” and “What will it do for my business?"
Published in Essex Director Magazine Winter 2023

Promotional Products & Merchandise: Spectrum

A good way of answering is to show you a case study on one of our long term clients, The Maldon Mud Race.

Back in 1973, a publican from Maldon, Essex, was challenged to serve a meal on the riverbank in a dinner jacket. This evolved into a race across the river to a waiting barrel of beer, with the challenge of drinking a pint and racing back. Taking place at low tide, it was really a race across the mud. As the years went by, the idea of the beer barrel faded, but the race across the river at low tide remained and an annual tradition was born, with the challenge now taking place in the  Spring.

As a local charity and community fundraising event, it is now widely known throughout the world, attracting thousands of visitors every year and seeing high profile celebrities taking part. Local businesses are invited to take up sponsorship, giving them an opportunity to promote their brand.  

So, what part do merchandise and promotional products play?

Well, one of the challenges is that, due to the nature of the race, strict health and safety is required, which means entry numbers are restricted. This leads to limited entry fees and less participant sponsorship. So, as well as providing T-shirts and medals (made from a sustainable bamboo) for all entrants, we came up with a range of suitable branded merchandise aimed at serving visitors at the event.

These items are sold from a dedicated stall that we build, brand, and man every year, and which include practical items such as umbrellas, caps and thermal reusable mugs, as well as event mementos and gifts which can be purchased as a keepsake.

The result?

Firstly, these carefully chosen and well produced merchandise items serve as an additional revenue stream for the event. Secondly, the sponsoring businesses and local charities benefit from increased awareness and brand association. Thirdly, the businesses attending as sponsors and giving away branded items enjoy increased customer loyalty.

So, when you find yourself asking “Do branded products and promotional items really work and what effect can they have on my organisation?”, the answer has to be, they can have a very powerful effect.

However, our advice is don’t just knee jerk into ordering the first thing you find online. Think carefully about your values, your purpose and your message. Set a budget and investigate what is achievable in your timescale. Some things are quick to turnaround, others need time. Above all, build a trusted relationship with a company with proven experience, who have their own processes and know their suppliers inside out. Make sure they take the time to really understand your brand and your intention.

“Spectrum Merchandising has been a huge support to Maldon Mud Race over many years and recognised that as a charity, our need to keep costs down is paramount.  However, it’s equally important to buy the right items and get good advice as to how we might maximise any spend.  We are extremely grateful for their advice and service, and we hope to work together for many years to come.”
Chairman of the Maldon Mud Race

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Emma Harris is Director at Spectrum Merchandising Ltd
T: 01621 850462
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