Staying top-of-mind after an event is important for businesses. And what's the best way to do that? Provide free swag to event attendees. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff? But beware, there’s stuff, and then there are really great swag ideas. A bag full of “who cares?” won’t do anything to identify your business as innovative or memorialize your brand.
So, what can you give away that will really impress your guests and keep them thinking about you long after the music stops? Two critical factors to keep in mind:
- Relevance (to your audience and/or your event content)
- Long-term value (the point is to keep your name in front of people)
Items They Can Use Right Now
Some experts suggest branded snacks and other consumables, but where’s the longevity? That chocolate tasted good, but no one’s going to keep the wrapper. On the other hand, a branded device charger is something they can use during the event (especially if they forgot their own) and afterward, too. Attendees of a certain age may appreciate an embossed leather notepad folio, but a group of millennials who take notes on their phone or tablet? No.
Just Say No To Brochures and Business Cards
If you’ve promised vendors or sponsors they can be represented in the swag bag, insist that they provide something that meets your giveaway criteria — relevant and useful (or playful). A business card that doubles as a discount coupon? Maybe. Or, budget a bit of their participation fee to cover the cost of creating something on their behalf. (This gives you control to choose a gift that not only names vendors/sponsors but is event-specific, too.)
People across virtually all demographics are eco-concerned these days. Feed that need for greenness with reusable totes or items made from recycled materials. Branded seed packets or “plantable” paper embedded with seeds are a nice touch but don’t give them to people who won’t actually plant them.
Give “The Usual” Swag Ideas a Twist
Coffee cups, water bottles, and apparel are eminently usable, but don’t just stamp your logo on them! A fun color with a witty saying will get used (and be appreciated) much more. So will a bottle with a clever new feature.
Serving healthy food will hit the spot with event attendees, but why not give them a take-home that will help them stay on the health track? Colorful, branded hand weights they can use in the office. Jump ropes are back (and easy to pack if your attendees travel a lot or this event’s audience has come a long way).
Small toys are fun, too, and a great mental health booster. No matter who’s in your audience, we all could use a lighter touch and a little less stress in our lives. Plus, an interactive giveaway doesn’t just disappear into the background because the recipient has to handle it and look at it — at your logo or slogan. Think branded wind-up animals, vehicles that roll, fidget spinners, and desktop games. Can you get an animated version of your company mascot?
It Doesn’t Have To Be a Bag
Bags are easy to carry around, so are baskets and backpacks. If you use these, make sure they are classy and branded. Better yet, why not choose a container that reflects your brand and event theme? A child’s plastic dump truck for the construction industry or a conference on “Building for the Future.”
Keep in mind that attendees don’t want to carry stuff around, so they will just take their loot to their room or stuff it under their chair. Also, keep in mind the attendees’ mode of travel. Anything will fit in a car, not so much in a carry-on.
You Can Spend a Lot of Money on Giveaways
And, in some cases, you should, if the audience and purpose of the event warrant it. But the worst thing you can do to your budget is over-spend on goodies that aren’t all that great. Swag that impresses doesn’t have to be impressively expensive. To do its job, though, it has to say “thanks for attending” in a way that keeps your business top of mind, long after the event is over.