Brand Storytelling with Merch - Buttermilk Creative

Brand Storytelling with Merch

Using Your Merch to Help Tell your Story

Whatever kind of product you create, developing a merchandise strategy for your brand is universal. Merchandise, or “merch” is an easy affordable way to provide different opportunities for your fans to connect with your brand and share with their world. The best brands tap into trends and pop culture (think about the current hot trend of enamel pens) to create buzz (and sales!) In the post below you’ll learn about two brands we’ve helped craft their merchandise strategy and extend their brand.

Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters Merch Story

Coffee brands are masters at harnessing the power of merch. From t-shirts, mugs, and headwear to custom grinders and kettles there are tons of ways for rabid coffee fans to show their love to their favorite roasters.

The team at Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters have a very clear vision of the types of merchandise they wanted to explore. They wanted their products to play off their easy going, unpretentious island vibe. The products designed for them are very approachable, not only from a look stand point but also cost and put the brand front and center.

For the hats they wanted a trucker hat because they knew folks would likely be wearing these to the beach and wanted something that would dry easy and wasn’t too fancy. The two color ways reflect a laid back surfer vibe while still feeling part of the brand family.

For their coffee mugs, Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters were very clear about sourcing a diner mug. Not only is the shape timeless functionally it feels good in your hand. The diner mug also reflects the blue collar hardworking aspect of the brand – solid, consistent, no fuss. We took advantage of multiple imprint areas to not only represent the logo but also call outs featured on VICR’s packaging which repeat brand qualities like small batch and direct sourcing.

T-shirts are very popular among coffee brands so it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. We wanted the Sober Pirate shirt to be a bold statement. The bananaquit bird atop the skull and crossbones is a strong image that not only looks cool but echoes a major element of their primary logo. And because the shirt doesn’t hit you over the head that its for a coffee brand it transcends audiences – whether you like birds, pirates or coffee – the shirt speaks to you.

Having Fun with Fire Cider

For Fire Cider, the merch strategy was built around a bold statement they use in their branding, “Feel the Tonic Boom!” This statement represents the feeling of taking a shot of their signature tonics. It also reflects the personality of the brand – a little loud, irreverent, and in your face.

The t-shirt utilizes the bold statement and another element of Fire Cider’s iconography – the flaming shot glass. We wanted to create an image that would grab peoples attention. We layered white type onto of the black shot glass to create contrast. The result is a fun shirt design the feels a little punk rock.

Fire Cider’s tote bag carries the statement and flaming shot glass but in a different layout to not only take advantage of the different format bit also take into account the limitations of one color printing. The design is still eye catching within the different layout but clearly communicates the brand and consistently carries the overall look and feel.

Do you have a brand and need it reimagined into merch and need a strategic partner to help? We’re here for you.