We’ve all received swag that’s made us wonder “When am I ever going to use this?” or “HUH? Why would they give me this?
And it stings a little from both sides. As an audience member, you might feel perplexed because someone seemed to not even know you or what you might care about, and now you have to carry around this extra junk. It stings as a brand because that was your budget and your first impression that’s now sitting in a donation bin.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Branded merch can and should create a connection. Especially if your recipients already love your company when they receive branded merch, make sure it’s meaningful, something that they can use in their daily lives. You need to plant a good memory in their head everytime they see your logo.
If you’re thoughtful with your products, people will cherish them. Here are some ways to make people say “OMG! That’s so cool! Can I keep it?” when they receive your great swag.
A GIVEAWAY SHOULD FEEL LIKE A GIFT.
As much time as you spend coming up with gift ideas for your favorite person in the world is how much time you might need to come up with good swag ideas. (Or you could just call us and let us help! 😉) Everyone gets butterflies in their stomach when they hear ”I saw this and thought of you” and a gift of swag is no different. Take your time ideating and think about the feelings involved.
Ask yourself, What are the daily or special experiences in this person’s life? What might they want and use but never actually buy for themselves? Why might they prefer this style of an item over that one?.
For the most part, whatever makes you happy can also make your crowd happy.
SAY YES TO QUALITY
People love receiving useful high-quality products and they love gifts of promotional products. Give them what they want! Yes, it may cost a few more dollars, but think in terms of longevity. You can use that inexpensive plastic water bottle a few times until it gets grubby and then melts in your car or dishwasher because you’re less likely to be careful with it, or you can use that Hydroflask bottle for years because you value it and want to take care of it. Give folks something that’s harder to replace, their “oldie but goodie”, their “keepers”, their “it’s not old, it’s well used” items. Gifts like Therabody massage guns, Sonos soundbars, Tile Bluetooth trackers, and Leuchtturm1917 journals will last and be cherished for years.
Your swag is a gift. Your meeting leave behind is a gift. Your tradeshow giveaway is a gift. Your holiday gift….well, you know that one is a gift. But you’re seeing a trend here, right? Your branded merchandise -- whether or not you actually brand it with your logo -- is a gift. And gifts get wrapped. Or at least presented nicely, right?
Your swag should be worthy of showing off. If a velvet-lined laser cut foam box is not quite in the budget for your $1 pen -- that’s ok! But think about what you would like to get from someone who cares about you. How you would like it to be presented. Gift wrapping is not at all necessary, but a presentation that matches the messaging of “we thought of you when we purchased this” goes a long way.
While we love the idea of “POOF! It’s magic!”, we know that’s not usually the reality. Planning ahead is crucial for your swag to arrive on time. Ordering holiday gifts in December means you’re limited on options and it’s a wish and a hope that it will arrive on time. A comfortable timeline for any campaign involving branded merch, and especially a holiday campaign, allow at least 2-3 months of lead time. This way there is more than enough time to ideate, request samples, pick your gifts with your stakeholders, design your packaging (which can usually only be done once we know the gift’s dimensions), actually produce the merchandise and packaging, fulfill or kit it all together, and have a buffer for a delivery delay.
To wrap up, make sure you bookmark this blog and save the Meaningful Swag Checklist:
Will it sweep your customers off their feet?
Is it unexpected?
Is it useful?
Does it call to a good memory?
Is it carefully planned?
Does it look like a gift?
Putting in the time and effort to offer your folks meaningful swag gifts that make them feel seen is always worth it. That said, it isn’t always straightforward, so get ready to dive deep into what your crowd wants and what they truly care about.
Want some help? It’s literally what we’re here for! We will be more than happy to curate the right promotional product gift for your team from beginning to end.