KICKBOX merchandise for a sense of belonging

It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to establish a strong brand that is immediately recognized and positively approved by customers. A strong brand communicates trust, gives both the company’s customers and employees an opportunity for identification, has a high recognition value, and can sometimes represent a certain lifestyle. But how can successful branding be achieved? David Hengartner, CEO and Co-Founder of rready, explains why merchandising is crucial for business and how to do it best. 

Merchandising doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg  

Investing large sums of money is not a requirement for building a strong brand. While careful planning and implementation are crucial for long-term success, the key decision lies in how to establish a brand that can effectively differentiate itself from the competition in our information-saturated and experiential world.


Branded people

"Merchandising doesn't have to be expensive. It also works with a small budget. With KICKBOX we do it our own way," Dave Hengartner, Co-Founder at rready says. "Let’s say that we do a kind of guerrilla marketing. That means by using unusual marketing campaigns and spending relatively little money we have a remarkably big effect. We do rely on distributing stickers for example, which is lean and effective at the same time. The idea of spacing stickers is very simple, but it worked out for us: the impact is very big. You can stick them on laptops, bags, helmets, or even  cellphones – and people carry our message out into the world, making it clearly visible to others.

For the KICKBOX program, we are trying to attract people's attention with our merchandise items, intriguing them about what we do and what the colors are about. We want to make the people want to know more about the KICKBOX program and if you want to draw attention, it’s crucial that you stand out from the crowd and maybe even your corporate identity. An example: we had beer coasters made for an event and served our own beer with our own label. That was great marketing and fun going hand in hand! We also give away posters, stuffed animals, and other items that differ from the norm. 

There are two different strategies you can run while distributing goodies such as stickers and the like: either you spread the items very generously so that as many stickers as possible are in circulation or you think in a very selective and restrictive manner and consider the stickers awards in a sense. rready decided upon the first strategy for KICKBOX."


Emotional bonding 

When giving samples out to customers, brands get popularized. Customers sit up and notice. Smart merchandise branding can therefore be a major instrument for presenting a brand in an authentic way and for building an emotional bond between the company's employees, (potential) customers, and the brand itself. By doing so, the customers can identify with the brand and even become part of it. Word-of-mouth advertisement by happy, proud, and successful people is invaluable. 

 Dave adds, «Well, we think that our way of merchandising is just saucier and a bit more unconventional and – what is even more important – by doing so we are creating our own, constantly growing community. And we are growing quite fast. What started as a Swisscom in-house program, is now a service available for all enterprises. By opening the program, a lot of people with truly great ideas and concepts join our three-stage program – validate, pilot, and implement – starting with the RedBox, progressing with the blue, and finally achieve market readiness with the GoldBox. We coach the participants and have therefore an advisory function, but we also provide time, know-how, a seed capital, and – our merchandise articles. This program unites innovative people all over the world. And that’s the point: Not everyone can call such a cool sticker his or her own or is even sporting a nice pair of rready socks and belongs therefore to our tight-knit community. You have to earn what you wear. You have to be innovative, bold, and persistent. You have to be committed to your business idea. All people with our merchandise will immediately recognize like-minded people. So, these items create a sense of community among the intrapreneurs. Becoming part of our community should be a desirable goal. 

We do also work with sweaters in different colors for our intrapreneurs. Each color represents a specific phase of development. By wearing a blue sweater, a candidate indicates that he or she has reached a first and important milestone, is given the pullover as a reward, and is now allowed to wear it with pride, showing the achievement of an intermediate goal to everyone. This sweater can now have a signal effect on all the other candidates and motivate them to even work harder. 

We do a similar thing with the business cards. By doing so, our community members can tell right away by the color of business cards which stage another member is in. The green horns start with red cards, those who are already in the pilot phase work with blue business cards, and those who have reached gold status show others that they are already successful as intrapreneurs. 

Even if your brand is slowly establishing itself and you have made your mark, never rest on your laurels. There's not time for standstill. You better be always open to new ideas and go forward - that's what we do for KICKBOX, too."


KICKBOX merchandise – why? 

Merchandise can turn people into valuable brand ambassadors. Merchandise branding promotes both brand awareness and its recognition value. In other words: merchandise branding establishes a direct relationship between the brand and its fans, and it also creates a sense of ownership. But what does merchandise branding mean? Simply put, merchandise branding is printing your logo on t-shirts, stickers, or stuffed animals representing the company mascot and handing them out at company events. By branding things, you tell the world who you are, how you think, and what your standards are. Dave emphasizes, "It's critical that your company's merchandising is different from other companies. You just have to do it differently from all the others and stand out with what you do and how you do it. Good merchandise branding allows the company's employees, customers, and brand fans to carry along a piece of the brand and make it part of their everyday life."


Go check out our merchandise store here.