How to Engage Your Audience with a Gift or Redemption Play

Whether your brand is a small mom and pop business or corporate entity, a gift with purchase and redemption plays are a unique approach to grow your brand while providing value to your target audience in a creative and engaging way.

How effective is a gift with purchase or redemption play?

Over the last decade loyalty programs, gifts with purchase, and redemption plays have proven effective for brands like Starbucks, Amazon, North Face, and even Apple. Rewards programs strike a chord with every kind of buyer no matter the industry of the brand. They drive customer retention, boost customer value, and foster loyalty -- which in the long run, builds bullet-proof brand equity.

Cosmetic and retail makeup brands are most commonly known for leveraging this engagement tactic of a gift with purchase or redemption. Brands like Sephora and Tarte have nailed down this effective form of so-called “freemium marketing” and redemption play.

Sephora encourages customers to become members for discounts and special offers, proudly touting their customers make up 80 percent of annual sales thanks to this tactic. Customer-members earn points and then chose how and what they’d like to spend their points. This rewards-based program almost guarantees repurchases and long-term customer engagement.

Another example comes from the brand, Tarte, who has taken a more user-generated content-based approach. Customers earn points for actively engaging with the brand such as writing product reviews or posting a Tarte product on social media. Tarte has turned their rewards program into an opportunity to utilize free incentivized brand advocates.

Who says these tactics can’t be leveraged by every industry?

Start an effective loyalty program with custom headwear!

Top benefits of investing in a custom headwear program

Gives you a leg up on the competition

In today’s saturated marketplace, your brand should invest in any way it can (as it makes sense) to differentiate itself from the competition. With a custom headwear program leading the charge, your brand can stand out and authentically elevate its mission and vision through the product.

And it’s highly likely your target audience will want a quality-made hat from your company.

SRAM, a bike component company, leverages custom headwear to engage with their employees and customers.

“People love hats,” says Rich Scutellaro, MTB event and merchandise coordinator at SRAM. “They’re kind of like pins or patches, but more popular We have customers that look forward to the beginning of each season to be able to get that new SRAM hat. The hats are nice quality but affordable so we can still give them away.

Related: Custom Headwear Highlight: Full Fabric

Drives customer recognition, retention, and loyalty

Brand recognition typically occurs organically with custom merchandise. Once a custom headwear program has been established, customers that identify with your brand will want a piece of it. Give them the opportunity to engage with exclusive products and gain further customer retention and lifetime of brand loyalty.

“You can see the consumers wear them when you go to popular riding spots,” says Scutellaro.

How Beer Nuts leverages custom headwear to create an effective redemption play

Beer Nuts is a family-run business originating from Bloomington, Illinois. Their secret family recipe was branded and distributed by A. Russell Shirk in 1953.

Today, they have established their niche as a specialty nut company thanks to their unique sweet and salty combination -- the best compliment with a beer.

To engage their audience, we worked with Beer Nuts to leverage a gift with purchase and redemption play through their custom headwear program.

When customers purchased a 12-pack of Beer Nuts, they would find a redemption card inside the pack to mail in receive a free custom trucker hat. Fans that mailed in the card would the get their free hat mailed to them.

The cardboard insert of any of our custom hats is a great opportunity for additional marketing, especially when used in a redemption or gift with purchase play. We use the insert on the Beer Nuts custom trucker hat to congratulate the fan and tell them the next steps for further engagement like hitting up social media wearing their new sweet merch and tagging the company -- giving customers the opportunity and channel to showcase their brand experience.

In this IGTV episode, Ted Church, principal at Anthem Branding, discusses this project in full detail.

Elevate your brand experience

Whether we realize it or not, details are truly what make up the design -- the elements that are going to build an emotional connection with your target audience and create a memorable experience -- yet many effective ways, like custom headwear, are often underutilized and overlooked.

From curved or flat brims to closure styles, fabric options, sublimated or embroidered or screen printing decor techniques -- every piece of a brand’s custom headwear program should lend itself to the overall experiential strategy your brand is running under.

Whether you use hats to engage with customers, prospects, or employees, they should extend functionality and offer up a unique experience for a lasting connection and positive impact to the business.

Partner with Anthem Branding to create a custom headwear collection for your brand

Clients like SRAM partner with Anthem Branding time and again to create extensive custom headwear collections, which often is a heck of a lot to manage for a growing business.

“Apparel design and production is a whole different beast and Anthem is the expert in that field,” says Scutellaro. “Promotional items are just a small part of my job and there isn’t enough time to search for the best piece to use and sort through all the manufacturers for production. Anthem takes care of that.”

Contact us to discuss your custom headwear ideas knowing that we manage product line inventory, logistics, and everything in between so you can get back to what matters most: growing the business.