It’s been more than four months since COVID-19 first rocked the global community. Since then, lives have been turned completely upside down. Bustling communities are becoming ghost towns. Entire industries flattened. And product sectors that once had a huge impact are no longer making waves.
At the onset of the upheaval, branded merchandise was one of those sectors with a bleak outlook. As the supply chain shut down – and demand along with it – it felt like the branded mugs and notebooks of the world were becoming irrelevant overnight.
Today, we’re seeing a resurgence in the power of branded merchandise. Pre-COVID, the focus for INWK’s team was always “how can we use branded merch to help brands tell their stories and create meaningful connections with their audiences.” And while the stories may have changed in reaction to the virus, we’re now seeing just how significant merchandise can be to create connections – and bring relief – even amidst the turmoil.
Our teams, from retail and digital to merchandise and more, are quickly adapting to meet the needs of the changing world and engineering solutions that help brands meet their audiences – both old and new – wherever they are. From a branded merch perspective, we’re getting creative and developing materials that are relevant for today’s needs: work from home kits, direct mail merchandise, homeschooling survival packs, and more.
Proud of Our Industry
Many branded merchandise suppliers, even while watching their business wax and wane, are stepping up to offer hope for front-line employees. They have replaced their normal production and retrofitted operations to provide materials to support the medical community and keep them and the public safe. We’re seeing 24/7 hand sanitizer manufacturing and a significant production ramp up of both gown and cloth face coverings.
We’re also seeing innovation in the industry with the production of items that help everyday people manage life in this crazy new world. Items include self-sanitizing key chains and pens, wipeable grocery bags, and door handle “claws”. This is just the tip of the ingenuity spear.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. And with many suppliers getting resourceful to support our new normal, the branded merchandise community is quickly becoming a part of the solution to the challenges posed by COVID-19. We’re proud to be a part of this community.
Connect with us to learn more about how INWK can help you adapt your merchandise program to meet the needs of today.
Director, Client Engagement & Merchandise Strategy