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Five Interview Questions to Ask Your Branded Merch Partner

Times have changed in our industry. Long gone are the days of selling “trinkets and trash”. Now, more and more organizations are investing in branded merchandise in strategic, targeted ways that improve customer loyalty, engage employees, show appreciation and build the brand in the community.

It is critical for organizations to partner with companies that are evolving and adapting to meet today’s demands for branded merch.

If you haven’t landed on the ideal branded merch partner, I recommend interviewing a few companies and understanding their approach in these five areas:

  1. Customer Service – does the company show they care? In my mind, the #1 factor to evaluate is their level of responsiveness. For our team, it is our #1 guarantee – a response on all inquiries within 24 hours (really, it should be same-day on most inquiries). The worst scenario is a company that doesn’t care to respond, leaving you wondering if you’ve been heard.
  2. Modern Solutions – how does the company utilize technology and other capabilities to deliver great results? Today’s best branded merch companies are using shop solutions, online portals for job tracking, virtual payment options and more to make your experience seamless and efficient.
  3. Creativity and Problem Solving – does the company come to the table with ideas and solutions to tackle strategic challenges? These challenges can include employee engagement, client appreciation, and brand growth. The best branded merch partners can think strategically and provide ideas and approaches that deliver results.
  4. Access to Name Brands – does the company have access to top name brands? More companies are looking to offer high-end, unique items. While most companies have access to name brands like Nike and The North Face, it may be valuable to understand their level of experience with these items and what other brands they offer that are off the beaten path. For example – do they offer Patagonia apparel, Away luggage, or Stanley drinkware? The ability to offer name brand products creates more opportunities to ‘wow!’ employees and clients.
  5. Delivers on Promises – does the company do a great job in meeting expectations on projects including communication, timeliness, accuracy, and product quality? How do they ensure that all aspects of a project are handled? The ideal company has strong processes and does not “overpromise and underdeliver.”

As someone who has been in the industry for more than 12 years , I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the evolution of our industry. Our team gets satisfaction from establishing strategic partnerships with HR and brand leaders. We love combining high-level merch with technology, achieving a “wow” customer experience, and developing creative solutions to achieve specific goals for our clients.


Nevin is a business consultant that works with leaders to help them tackle their biggest challenges and growth goals. Go to to learn more about his services.

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