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T-shirts are timeless apparel pieces that appeals to people of all ages. Now, think about your favorite T-Shirt, did you receive it from a concert, community event, a recent trip to a new city or a fundraising pledge drive for your local radio station? Customized apparel such as T-Shirt, hat, fleece, sweatshirts can provide numerous benefits for a brand, and it is one of the best ways consumers love to show brand loyalty. According to a study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), customized apparel, have a high rate of recall and brand recognition. In fact, 85% of consumers remembered the advertiser who gave them a promotional item, and 89% of them could also recall the product/service promoted on the item.  A branded T-shirt generates 5,053 impressions over its lifetime!

In this blog post, we will go over the how customized apparel can work for any brand and offer some tips on the best ways to execute them:

Brand Awareness

A study conducted by the Specialty Advertising Association International (SAGE) found that promotional apparel generates the highest number of impressions per item, beating out all other promotional items. On average, a promotional shirt generates over 2,400 impressions over its lifetime, which is significantly higher than other promotional items like pens or calendars. This high impression rate can be attributed to the visibility of branded apparel, as it can be worn in a variety of settings and seen by a wide range of people.

Pro tip: Invest in eye-catching design / tagline, a soft comfortable fabric or flattering shape to ensure that your custom apparel is well-received by your audience and does not end up in the “donation pile”.

Digital print shirts

Brand Loyalty

Whenever I wear my “Kettlebell King” T-shirt, people will ask me about my kettlebell training and subsequently “Kettlebell King”, where I had purchase the kettlebells for my home gym. This is a textbook example of how custom apparel works its magic. It helps build brand loyalty and the customers like myself become a walking billboard, promoting it wherever they go. This can be especially powerful in social settings, where people generally value honest opinions from actual users of the brand. This type of word-of-mouth promotion can be highly effective in building brand loyalty and driving sales. In fact, a study by the Advertising Specialty Institute found that customers who received promotional apparel were more likely to have a positive impression of the brand and be more loyal to it. Furthermore, customers who received branded apparel were more likely to share their positive experiences with others, further promoting the brand’s message and increasing its reach. The cost of custom apparel such as T-shirt or sweatshirts is relatively small, considering the long term effect of brand loyalty and brand building, not to mention creating mini-ambassadors with your customers!

Pro tip: Encourage people who received your custom apparel to share on social media. Bonus point for creating a unboxing experience with custom packaging and a greeting card!

Professional Image

embroidered polo

Think about the last time you got an in-home estimate for a home improvement project. What was your impression of someone who came dressed in a polo shirt with company logo versus someone who did not? When employees wear uniforms or branded clothing, it can create a more cohesive and polished look, projecting a more professional image to customers. This can help to establish trust and credibility with customers, as well as convey a sense of reliability and consistency. Branded apparel can also create a more positive first impression on potential customers, as it can suggest that the brand takes pride in its appearance and is committed to delivering quality products or services. Additionally, by looking nicer and more put-together than the competition, a brand can help to set itself apart and make a strong impression on customers. Overall, by using branded apparel to create a more professional image, a company can help to establish trust, credibility, and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Pro tip: Provide a few branded polos or t-shirts to your employees, so they have extra pieces to wear throughout the week. The last thing you want is someone who had to wear a dirty shirt to work!

Stand out from Competitions


By creating unique designs and company messaging, a brand can create a distinct and memorable impression on customers. Branded apparel can be used to showcase a brand’s unique style, values, or personality, making it stand out from the competition. This can be especially important in crowded markets where many companies offer similar products or services. Branded apparel can help a brand establish a unique identity that sets it apart from the competition and creates a lasting impression on customers.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have one already, invest in a branding guide where the company logo, colors, font, other style elements and messaging styles are clearly defined. It ensures all your marketing efforts will be on brand all the time!

Employee Satisfaction

employee onboarding gifts concept image

In today’s economy, retaining quality employees are on top of mind of many employers. Providing custom apparel and custom company merchandise to employees can have a positive impact on their job satisfaction. Have you seen unboxing videos of customers or employee gifts? Their excitement simply shows what a small gesture can brighten someone’s day. When employees wear branded apparel, they can feel a sense of pride and teamwork to the company, they are ready to collaborate and communicate, which can improve their overall job satisfaction.  By creating a positive company culture with a custom employee onboarding kit, employees immediately feel more invested in the success of the company and more loyal to their colleagues and team.

Pro Tip: Besides custom t-shirts or hoodies, create a custom employee onboarding kit with office essentials such as mug, pen, notebook, tote bag and powerbank for a complete onboarding experience!


Increased Revenue

When you are at your favorite band concert, or artist exhibition at a museum, you would end up buying a merch T-shirt and proudly wear it going out, right? This perfectly illustrates our next point. Branded apparel or merchandise brings an additional revenue stream for musicians, artists, influences and retail brands. By offering high-quality, branded clothing items for sale, fans can not only display their loyalty but also provide an additional source of revenue to the company. This can be especially effective for brands with a strong following or niche appeal, as customers would wear branded apparel as a status symbol or fashion statement, as many Taylor Swift fans would admit! Additionally, selling branded apparel can be a way for the brand to expand its reach beyond normal fan base, potentially bringing in new fans who are drawn to the aesthetic or message conveyed by the clothing.

Pro Tip: To generate more buzz, urgency and anticipation, create limited edition preorders with the the use of a pop-up store every few months. It will eliminate the need to stock inventory and keep selection fresh and up-to-date!

Overall, customized apparel can be a valuable tool for building brand awareness, loyalty, and differentiation. By creating unique designs and messaging, you can create a lasting impression on customers and employees alike. Still have more questions? Reach out to our experts today!

About the Author

Swire Ho

Swire migrated to Los Angeles in 1996. He is a proud Chinese American who speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and English. He trained as a sound engineer, working at recording studios and entertainment agencies before starting his own firm, Hellman Production, Inc, 2003 in Los Angeles. Swire and his team successfully produced attractive, personalized DVD and CD cases and custom merchandise like T-shirts, earning a Score award in 2009, for small business success. His business eventually grew so popular, he decided to sell Hellman Production in 2013 to focus exclusively on the promotional product industry.

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