How to Achieve Consistent Brand Messaging with Promotional Products [2023]

by Aug 8, 20230 comments

Consistent Brand Messaging - Starbucks Brand
Photo by Engin Akyurt

What would you think if you walked into a Starbucks 
and the barista got your triple tall, half caf, iced, non-fat latte wrong? You’d probably say to yourself, “First-world problem,” not fret too much and go about your day. What if you went to a different location the next day, and your order was mishandled once again? Part of the brand promise of Starbucks is that you’ll receive a customized beverage that perfectly suits your palate and your diet, no matter how complex the details or your order are. How many times would you be willing to experience inconsistency before you switched to a different caffeine dealer?


How to Master Consistent Brand Messaging

In today’s crowded marketplace, consistency in branding and messaging is crucial for companies that want to stand out and connect with their audience. However, many businesses struggle with inconsistent brand messaging, especially when purchasing promotional products for giveaways, client gifts, and brand awareness campaigns. The lack of a defined brand identity and guidelines often leads to the creation of promotional products that seem disjointed or fail to resonate with the target customers.

To maximize ROI on promotional product investments, companies must first establish a strong, cohesive brand identity that is reinforced through consistent and strategic messaging across all touchpoints. 

In this article, I will provide you with tips and strategies to maintain consistent branding with promotional giveaway items while gaining brand recognition and loyalty.

Define Your Brand Identity

Pepsi Bottle - Brand Messaging
Photo by Izabella Árvai

During his 30-year career with the company, he spearheaded crucial marketing campaigns that positioned Pepsi on par with Coca-Cola for the first time, pushing celebrity endorsements and the Pepsi Challenge. ‘Roger Enrico was, quite simply, one of the most creative marketers of his or any generation,’ said Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s current chairman and CEO, in an email statement. ‘He was a risk-taker, never afraid to challenge the status quo.’

Entrepreneur magazine

The first step is to clearly define what your brand stands for – its mission, values, personality, and unique value proposition. Understanding your brand identity will dictate the types of promotional products you select and the messaging you include on them.

Some key elements that constitute your brand identity include:

  • Mission statement: A short statement summarizing your brand purpose and goals.
  • Core values: The 3-5 key principles that guide your brand.
  • Brand personality: Human traits and characteristics that represent your brand’s style. Is your brand funny, sophisticated, adventurous, or dependable?
  • Positioning statement: A concise description of your target audience and your brand’s value to them.
  • Visual identity: Logo, color palette, fonts, etc. that identify your brand.
  • The tone of voice: The style and language used in communications. Is your brand formal, conversational, or motivational in tone?

Clearly articulating these elements will establish a north star to guide your promotional products strategy.

Create Brand Guidelines

The next step is to develop comprehensive brand guidelines that codify your visual and messaging identity into a central reference document. Brand guidelines typically include:

Visual Identity Guidelines

  • Logo guidelines specifying size, spacing, color usage, incorrect usage, and placement on products
  • Color palette specifying primary and secondary brand colors with hex codes
  • Typography and font styles to use across branded materials
  • Examples of ideal logo and brand name usage on products

Messaging Guidelines

  • Target audience definition
  • Brand voice and tone specifications
  • Approved terminology and messaging
  • Writing style guide

Distribute brand guidelines to any internal teams or external partners involved in sourcing promotional products to ensure consistency. Brief vendors clearly on brand guidelines and get their buy-in before starting any product design project.

“Brand guidelines act as the north star guiding any brand communications. Invest time upfront in crafting comprehensive guidelines and then expect all teams to stay true to them.” (Forbes)

Audit Existing Promotional Products

Conduct an audit of all existing promotional products – whether swag, gifts, or branded merchandise. The audit will identify any inconsistencies in design, messaging, or brand representation.

Look out for:

  • Logo violations: incorrect logo, color, size, or placement
  • Off-brand designs: products with designs that don’t match your visual identity
  • Mixed messaging: taglines, slogans, or calls-to-action that deviate from your core messaging
  • Poor quality: products that don’t match your brand’s premium quality

Document any issues you notice and prioritize which products need redesign or changes first. The goal is to address inconsistent, confusing, or low-quality branded merchandise.

Centralize Promotional Product Communications

Lack of control and oversight in ordering promotional products often leads to branding inconsistencies.

To avoid this:

  • Designate a brand manager responsible for maintaining guidelines and approving all promotional products.
  • Require all teams to submit proposed promotional product designs to the brand manager for review before production.
  • Share guidelines and assets like logos and design templates to empower teams to create on-brand content.
  • Train internal teams through brand messaging workshops to educate them on writing consistent copy and design training on visual identity.

Centralizing brand communications ensures everyone is aligned on using approved messaging and assets. Consistency improves as more employees become brand ambassadors.

Implement Consistent Messaging

Rolls Royce Flying Lady
Photo by Mike Bird

Rolls-Royce, the epitome of automotive luxury, has crafted a series of marketing strategies that perfectly align with its esteemed brand image and captivate its discerning clientele. From strategic partnerships to immersive experiences, Rolls-Royce leaves no stone unturned in its pursuit of excellence and exclusivity. Through their bespoke customization, strategic partnerships, captivating advertising, and immersive experiences, Rolls-Royce has set a standard for crafting unforgettable brand narratives.

Startup Talky

The most crucial step is to then implement consistent messaging and branding across all promotional products, from t-shirts, pens, and bags to trade show booths, signage, and ad displays.

Use Unified Messaging

Keep language aligned with your core brand messaging. For example, if your tagline is “Innovate Fearlessly”, ensure promotional products reinforce your positioning as an innovative brand.

“Every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to reinforce consistent messaging and build your brand.” (Entrepreneur)

Also, ensure various products echo similar motifs and designs. Unified visuals and messaging build recognition.

Follow Tone of Voice Guidelines

Use the brand’s defined tone of voice in all product copy and descriptions. Write product descriptions that align with the brand guidelines to maintain a consistent voice, style, and messaging.

Resonate With Your Audience

Knowing your target audience is key to creating relevant products and messaging that resonate. For example, adopt a fun, humorous tone for a Gen Z-focused brand versus a formal tone for an enterprise brand.

“Consistent communication that resonates with the audience plays a huge role in building trust.” (Inc.)

Reinforce Brand Values and Purpose

Find creative ways to incorporate messaging around your brand values and purpose onto products. This strengthens brand identity and also connects with consumers that align with those values.

Highlight Benefits to Customers

Promotional products present a unique way to highlight your brand benefits and how you help customers. Include taglines or designs that showcase your value proposition to keep messaging consistent across platforms.

Over to You

Achieving consistent brand messaging across the customer journey is crucial for recognition and relevance. By defining and disseminating brand guidelines, auditing existing merchandise, designating brand guardians, and implementing unified messaging – companies can ensure their promotional products reinforce, instead of confuse, their brand identity. This ultimately results in stronger customer connections.

Remember, every imprinted pen, customized t-shirt, or branded giveaway is an opportunity to create consistent touchpoints between your brand and customers. Take advantage of each product to drive home what makes your company special in the hearts and minds of your audience.

Take Control of Your Brand Messaging

Inconsistent brand messaging can sabotage your marketing efforts and confuse customers. To craft a consistent brand identity that resonates with your audience, contact the experts at ZAG Branding Solutions today.

Our branding strategists can help you:

  • Articulate your core brand identity and create guiding brand guidelines
  • Audit your existing merchandise and promotional products
  • Provide recommendations to address inconsistencies
  • Develop strong, unified messaging tailored to your target customers
  • Design visually appealing, on-brand promotional products
  • Train your teams on maintaining brand consistency

Don’t let fragmented brand communications prevent you from building authentic customer connections. Get in touch with ZAG Branding Solutions today to align your promotional products with your brand mission.

Our brand consistency experts are ready to ensure your brand puts its best face forward in every customer interaction. Schedule a consultation call or email us at to get started on strengthening your brand recognition through consistent messaging.

Wanda Banks Green

Wanda Banks Green is the owner of Zag Branding Solutions, a full-service branding agency, specializing in promotional products, corporate gifts, and branded apparel.

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