≡ Menu

Get your corporate swag out…

Corporate swag and promotional merchandise come in all shapes and sizes

… I said jokingly but with a serious and slightly inquisitive tone.  I was at digital seminar handing out a couple of branded notepads, secretly hoping that we could trade.

Having worked in the marketing and advertising industry for over 16 years, I’ve been subjected to lots of corporate branded merchandise at industry conferences, trade shows, seminars and client meetings.

I have seen enough logo emblazoned goodies that could fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. In fact, I’m guilty of filling a paddling pool’s worth at home.

Want it or need it?

I often tell my kids there’s a difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’.  When it comes to promotional items from brands I have to ask myself these three questions,

  • Do I want this?
  • Am I willing to take it home?
  • Will I actually use it?”

Of course, the relatively cheap form of promotional material has got better over the years.  Marketing departments are coming to realise that recipients are getting a bit more selective (or snobbish perhaps) on what they keep.  I might need a pen, but I might not want that one!

3 top tips for creating the best swag

Let’s face it, it’s become a crowded marketplace of suppliers and services.

  1. You need to stand out from the crowd.
  2. You need to create a positive and emotional experience.
  3. You need to provide value and relevance to your audience.

Sounds like a perfect marketing strategy right?

Yes, it sure does. It’s no difference to the promotional goods you hand out.  If you want that prospect or client to accept your brand into their life, it has to be worth it.

It’s easy to order 500 units of the cheapest item you can find in a brochure and put your logo on it. Do that and the clear and present danger is the perception and impression it leaves with recipients. It could well be negative.

The FAB of great merchandise

When you are choosing promotional merchandise, think of the simple FAB selling principles: Features, Advantages and Benefits.

Here are a couple of examples,

  • High quality items generally last longer, which shows you’re not prepared to cut corners or be associated with products of inferior standards.
  • Functional items that solve a frequent and basic problem, will mean consumers become ever familiar with your logo and can boost brand sentiment.
  • Entertaining and fun merchandise can elevate brand participation, with the feel-good factor creating a memorable and positive brand experience.

Top swag based on my own experience

Thinking back to some of the best swag I’ve received or given out, they have fallen into these categories above.  Nothing beats that ‘surprise and delight’ moment when you receive something special with a personal touch.

A selection of awesome swag I’ve given out or received;

I’ve received countless USB memory sticks, pens, notepads, key-rings, foam shaped items and even a stroopwaffle, but sadly no Apple iPads. Did you know they have a corporate gifting website for volume orders.

Also I’m not aware of any digital conferences that have stepped up with an equivalent to the 2015 Oscar Nominee swag bag, worth $168,000!

What’s the best swag you’ve received or given out?

I’d love to hear in the comments below what the best promotional items you’ve given out or have received from clients, service providers and prospects.


Thanks to the lovely people from Barclays who let me photo their swag during their drop-in session at WeWork Spitalfields today.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment