There are a lot of ways to fast-track a group identity. Shared ideals can be expressed in slogans and content. A shared aesthetic can be expressed in the color and design of an office or meeting place. Shared enthusiasm can be expressed in cheers, chants and songs.
Or, you can give everybody a T-shirt.
Want to build a team? You need a uniform or some type of shared look. All the big-box brokerages have branded merch that serves to identify their agents and bring them together.
Indie brokers, however, frequently bypass this step, and I think that’s a mistake. No matter what size the brokerage or team, they should have some swag or essential clothing items that reflect their brand. Creating items like these can help refine the brand identity, raise awareness and contribute to culture-building for the brokerage.
The problem for most brokers is the pain of inventory, set-up fees and minimums. You don’t want to end up with a pile of tote bags that used your old logo or a stack of t-shirts in sizes that no one wears.
Enter print-on-demand services via Amazon and other manufacturers that allow you to order only what you want and have the items you need shipped directly to the recipient. It’s a great strategy for:
- Existing agents
- Agents you’re recruiting
- Past clients and current leads
- Referral partners
- Professional affiliates and colleagues
- Event marketing
- Community service events or donations
Create a merch store for your business and keep it stocked with items that resonate with your agents and clients. Some may show your logo, others may show a motto or slogan that’s popular at your brokerage. Agents can buy what they want, when they want, directly from your company’s store.
Agents can purchase the merch for themselves, their family members, or as client or referral gifts. They can print a tote bag to hold paperwork throughout the transaction and gift that tote during the initial listing or buyer presentation.
Print throw pillows with your logo and use them in the staging of your listings. Provide pop sockets or phone cases to make sure that all of your agents and staff members are constantly advertising your brokerage and raising your brand’s profile in the community. Gift swag to new agents, as holiday gifts or as promotional prizes.
Best practices for creating your merch
Our brokerage uses Amazon Print On Demand for our merch, but you may choose another supplier. Regardless of who you choose, here are some things to consider as you’re planning your products:
- Make sure that you have permission to use the logo or artwork you’re featuring on your merch.
- If you’re designing with a platform like Canva, you need to ensure that the license for any templates or other artwork you use is valid for commercial use.
- Keep in mind the item you’re designing for, including color, size and design placement. For example, if your hoodie includes a zipper or a front pocket, you’ll need to adjust the design to take that into account. Placement on a v-neck shirt is different from that on a crew neck shirt.
- Similarly, if part of your logo is the same color as the item you’re printing it on, your design may look washed out or incomplete.
- Make sure that your design is rendered in the preferred format and size as defined by your merch supplier. These will change according to the item being printed. For example, a phone case or pop socket requires a very different design size from a t-shirt or tote bag.
- If your brokerage focuses on a specific niche, consider creating merch that pertains to that niche, either through the messaging or the design. For example, the aesthetic associated with beach or resort towns will be different from that associated with downtown markets in a major city.
- Here again, if there is a slogan associated with your local market, make sure that you have permission to use it in your merch. For example, using the I LOVE NY trademark requires approval from the state’s Department of Economic Development along with a valid license agreement.
Fuel your creativity and build your community with a merch plan. Streamline the logistics with an on-demand manufacturing and delivery strategy to make it easier than you ever thought possible.