Unveiling the Power of Merch: Crafting a Brand Experience Beyond Products


In the dynamic world of branding, a paradigm shift is underway, focusing on more than just products. The discussion often revolves around creating a product and an entire cultural icon conveying a message, mood, and direction. At the forefront of this evolution are 'merch,' which are transforming into pivotal brand tools. Let's explore why this trend is gaining momentum and how it's reshaping the landscape of modern branding.

Merch has risen to prominence as powerful tools for branding in recent years. With dedicated merchandise, brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola set the trend in motion. As the retro craze swept through the market, companies like Samlip Hobbang, Lotte Chilsung, and JTBC capitalized on the opportunity by introducing brand merch and establishing closer connections with consumers who became customers and devoted fans.

This trend extends beyond products for sale; there's a growing interest in merch that promote brand identity and corporate culture. Welcome kits for internal executives and employees and campaign and event kits have become pivotal in delivering immersive brand experiences. The transformation of these merch into content further amplifies the connection between the brand and its audience.

So, why this newfound emphasis on merch? Team DiiVER highlights three compelling reasons:

Source: spao.com

`1. The Era of Self-Branding:

In the age of 'self-branding,' the MZ generation boldly expresses themselves through personal media like social networks. This generation, unapologetically vocal about their thoughts and opinions, uses merch as an extension of their identity. Brands like Samlip Hobbang and Lotte Chilsung successfully tapped into this phenomenon, creating products that resonated with the MZ generation's tastes, transcending traditional product boundaries. 

In addition to merch for customers, merch is also used for internal employees as a means of self-branding. This self-branding extends to welcome kits, turning unboxing videos and proof shots into a means of personal brand expression. Also, lifestyle merch, rather than office supplies, are included, where employees express themselves by wearing or using the company's brand image.

2. Realizing Brand Identity in Real Life: 

Merch like event and welcome kits shine as vehicles for conveying brand identity through design and commercialization. Unlike product designs that focus solely on features, these merch embody the essence the brand wishes to convey. 

Source: Wadiz Brunch

Welcome kits, for instance, seamlessly integrate the brand's vision and work culture, going beyond just colors and incorporating slogans and graphic designs on calendars, diaries, and stickers. By expressing brand value through physical merch rather than simply conveying the message, you can increase the sense of belonging and understanding of the message.

Source: JTBC Smart Store JTBC Play

The same goes for merch sold as part of an event. In the case of official merch commemorating JTBC's 10th anniversary, JTBC's slogan 'Colorful Joy' was expressed through a myriad of products that reflected not just brand colors but also the deeper values and vision of the brand. A variety of merch, including stationery items such as colorful spring notebooks, masking tape, and colored pens, as well as fashion items such as title keyrings, socks, and t-shirts, and lifestyle items such as mugs, phone grips, and tumblers, were launched. It received favorable reviews by embodying the brand's color, value, and vision through sophisticated visual merch.

Binggrae Blue Crab and Album Ger Snack Krap Chips Event Merch

3. Receive, Open, Spend: The Entire Process is a Brand Experience: 

Merch offers a holistic brand experience akin to the product purchasing process. Particularly for companies dealing with intangible products or services, branded merch become the conduit for providing a tangible brand experience. The entire experience—from receiving the merch to opening the package and integrating them into daily life—accumulates positive experiences with the brand. 

This phenomenon is amplified in the digital space, where IT company brands, such as game platforms and content services, and consumer merch brands, such as beauty and food, hold campaigns or promotional events and give out campaign kit merch as prizes. 

The offline experience mirrors the online event, fostering positive consumer experiences, often resulting in spontaneous virality through shared proof shots.

In the case of Instagram's 'Just Like Everything' Reels event, a kit giveaway event with season greetings was held utilizing the end-of-year-early-year seasonal issue. It received a positive response by satisfying both practicality and design with a design containing Instagram identity, stickers using emojis, and magnets.


The evolution of merch from mere promotional items to coveted branded trends is not arbitrary. Strategic considerations involving product selection, structural design, and the delivered experience are paramount. It's not merely about creating merch; it's about crafting a narrative and developing products that stand the test of time, becoming beloved and talked about within the consumer sphere. In this branding era, the thoughtful fusion of merch and storytelling transforms a brand from a mere entity into a cultural phenomenon.


Address : first floor, 63, Yeonhui-ro 25-gil, 

Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Tel : +82-2-466-0507 

E-mail : ask@diiver.kr

Address : first floor, 63, Yeonhui-ro 25-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Tel : +82-2-466-0507       E-mail : ask@diiver.kr