Tips & Advice

Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Great Branded Bags

February 7, 2020

Branded bags have long been an impactful component of a successful marketing strategy, whether used as promotional giveaways, trade show talking pieces, event tokens or as a retail offering. The most impactful branded bags are those that grab attention, evoke emotion and make a handy practical item that’s used time and time again. 

Given the popularity of reusable bags and their effectiveness as a marketing tool, there’s no shortage of options available to you. (To get a sense of the design potential, just try searching “branded bags”on sites like Etsy or Pinterest.) But we also know that it can be daunting to get started. So, in this post, we share our top do’s and don’ts of creating a stunning branded bag for your next campaign.  

Do: Create a practical bag with a high perceived value

Our first tip is to think practical. Choose a bag that is durable and functional and, thus, is more likely to be used by your recipient time after time. A guiding principle here is to consider how you plan to use the bags. For example, will your branded bag be a tradeshow giveaway, a VIP client gift or a new retail offering? Then, think about your target recipient and how, where and why they are likely to use it. Combined, these details should help you start to hone in on your overall bag style and design to create a unique, yet practical item. For example, an HR department might gift new employees a high-quality branded laptop bag, while marketers might opt for a low-cost tote for a product launch or giveaway campaign.

Another tip is to aim for a bag with a high perceived value; look for trendy shapes or designs, compelling graphics or interesting embellishments. Remember, perceived value is tied to how much your recipient desires to use the bag; it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend a lot on it.

This Hudson laptop tote bag from our Field & Co.® collection is a perfect example that hits all the right notes in terms of style, function and value. The gritty, urban look is modern and unique, complete with a black and white micro-gingham interior print. It’s highly useful, offering a tremendous amount of space in the main compartment and exterior slash pockets for everything from a laptop to keys and phones. And, the wide cotton straps mean it’s comfortable to carry about on long, busy days. 

Do: Incorporate your bag into your overall strategy

Creating a branded bag is (hopefully) an exciting opportunity for your team to refresh your overall marketing strategy. Think about your current approach; how do you promote your product or service? What story are you telling? Are you achieving your marketing goals?

A branded bag is a canvas to continue to tell this story with your audience, but, this time, in a highly visible way. What types of campaigns resonate most with your target audience? Consider creating a bag that leverages your top marketing successes; this might be a compelling image, clever saying or by just adding a fresh new retail item that has a different price point than your other merchandise.  

Take, for example, how clothing company That Gorilla Brand incorporates branded bags into their overall retail strategy. The brand launched just a few years ago with a mission to create a unique fashion brand that is “beautiful, raw and uncompromising” while making a positive impact on the world. TGB supports its namesake icon, the gorilla, by donating €2 from every item sold to the Gorilla Organisation charity. The company recently incorporated a line of branded TGB bags as a welcome addition to its more traditional hats and clothing items.  

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Do: Focus on ROI

Our last “do” is to focus on your return on investment, or ROI. Think back to your overall marketing strategy and the goals you identified. Then, think about the following aspects when developing a campaign for your branded bag:

  • Is my bag marketable? Though your merchandise doesn’t need to appeal to everyone, it should greatly entice your target customers. 
  • Will my bag be profitable? Determine a price point that strikes the right balance between maximising profitability while still appealing to your target customers. 
  • Is my bag exclusive? How will you make your branded bag stand apart from all the others?
  • Is it high quality? Remember, your merchandise is an extension of your brand, so it’s important to produce high quality products that will positively reinforce your image and reputation.

Consider what you’re hoping to achieve and ask the right questions to ensure you achieve a good ROI. For giveaway campaigns or gifts, it may be hard to connect a monetary figure to your investment. Instead, think about your merchandise this way: If you design 100 branded bags, that’s 100 walking advertisements out there!

Don’t: Limit yourself

Now for a few don’ts. While you want to engage your core audience, don’t limit yourself too much. As mentioned above, we want your bag to appeal to your audience, but you also don’t want to exclude anyone with a bag that is the wrong size, color, design or cost. One way around this is to create a collection with a wide range of branded merchandise that attracts all types of customers at various price points. 

The Gorilla Brand does a great job with this. If TGB only sold a line of branded hats, it would undoubtedly still fulfill its mission of creating beautiful products and giving back to important causes. But, instead, TGB offers an entire range of consistently branded items, for men, women and children, including a line of accessories. There’s something for everyone, at a price for everyone. 

Don’t: Forget to ask the right questions

Our last tip is to ask the right questions, early on. This includes finding the right manufacturing partner for your products. While we hope you select us, we also want you to find the perfect company to produce and deliver products that meet your expectations for quality, cost and time. Designing a branded bag should also be an easy and enjoyable process! At a minimum, we suggest you ask your partner the following questions before committing to a manufacturing relationship. (See this post for more.)

  • Is there a minimum order quantity?
  • Do you offer design assistance?
  • What are my options for custom materials and design features?
  • What happens if I’m unhappy with the final product?

And there you have it! A few of our top do’s and don’ts for designing a branded bag for your next campaign. We’ve got a few other handy tips we’d love to share with you, too. Please get in touch with us anytime and tell us more about your creative merchandise ideas. Together, we can put together the perfect products to boost your brand in 2020 and beyond.