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How to Improve Company Swag Bags Instantly

How to Improve Company Swag Bags Instantly


Swag bags. Those venerable collections of branded and themed merchandise that companies around the globe use to reward customers and give people something memorable at the end of an event. We’ve appreciated them since we were children, though they went by a different name — party favors.  

 A thoughtful swag bag can make the difference between a humdrum occasion and something truly special. But if you think that another car charger with your logo on it is going to get people excited, you should rethink your strategy. Much of what passes as corporate gifts go right in the garbage. The spoils are often simply either too cheap, useless, or redundant to pique your attendees’ interest. 

 This doesn’t mean you should abandon the swag bag, however. You just need to look at things from a new perspective and rethink what makes compelling giveaways. You can make your swag better, and you can do it now with our help.

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DECIDE ON YOUR GOAL

Before choosing your inclusions, decide what you’re trying to accomplish with them. The items you select will vary depending on whether you’re trying to raise awareness, create word of mouth, or just reward loyalty

 If you’re trying to generate buzz, pick branded items that your recipients will use (if they sit on a shelf, they can’t be seen by others) and, more importantly, use in public. People might enjoy a smoothie maker with your logo on it, but no one but their immediate family is ever likely to see it. 

 On the other hand, if your goal is to offer rewards, favor items your target audience is likely to love regardless of how or where they’re used. The smoothie maker could make an excellent reward because not everyone has them, and they’re valuable and imminently useful.

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A calculator, pen, and a table full of numbers.

SET A REALISTIC BUDGET

If you have money to burn, it’s not difficult to create a swag bag that’s the envy of your competition. But that’s rarely the case. More often, you have to balance your investment against the value it returns. 

 Remember, if no one likes the swag you choose, your investment is entirely wasted. So if you’re operating with a low budget, don’t immediately go for the low-hanging fruit. Almost no one wants a pair of cheap sunglasses, a dull baseball cap, or a beer koozie with your logo on it (unless your logo is fantastic.)  

 When budget is a concern, you’re better of including one or two quality items rather than a bunch of garbage. Volume never trumps quality. One memorable item is far more valuable than ten useless baubles. This brings us to our next tip.

STAY AWAY FROM JUNK

If you ignore everything else we say here, take this one piece of advice. Don’t put anything into a swag bag that you wouldn’t want or that you think your attendees would be disinterested in. The fastest path toward a terrible swag bag is giving out a load of useless junk that no one wants.  

 Distinguishing junk isn’t always easy. A t-shirt could be a great gift if it sports a compelling design. It might not be that interesting to others if it’s just your logo — unless it’s comfortable and high-quality. Then it might not matter what it says. A keyring is almost always junk but doesn’t have to be. Give out keyrings that can be tracked with a cell phone, and you’re likely to get a much warmer response. 

 Look at each item you’re considering and think, “Would most people get excited about this, or would they stick it on a shelf and forget about it?” If your heart of hearts is telling you it’s probably junk, move on to something else.

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A portable pizza oven in use.

CHOOSE ITEMS NO ONE’S SEEN BEFORE

You can improve company swag bags instantly by including novel items that recipients are unlikely to possess already. Recently we saw LED-covered frisbees that can also behave like boomerangs if thrown the right way. These were new to the market, exciting, and relatively inexpensive. They would make excellent swag bag entries because they bring the cool factor, and few people have had the chance to play with them. 

 Also included in this category are in-demand items that people might not normally splurge on. These are objects or services that people want, but would likely only take advantage of them if they were given as a gift. VR goggles were a common (and successful) swag bag inclusion five to ten years ago. People wanted them badly but often couldn’t bring themselves to make the purchase. Do it for them, and your recipients’ eyes will light up with delight.

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DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF TO WHAT WILL FIT

Just because a swag bag is a bag doesn’t mean everything you include has to fit inside. You can include services, digital items, and even large-scale objects. Anything can go in a swag bag as long as you include a reference to it. 

 You could add a two-night getaway vacation by slipping an informational card that details what’s included. Larger items can be included in photo form. Services are fair game, too. You might insert a gift card good for a free massage or six months of free Netflix.  

 Want to include something on the web? Insert a QR code that points your recipients’ phone in the right direction. The possibilities are endless. Remember to always think outside of the bag.

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Close up of items that comprise a circus theme.

CREATE A THEME

Of course, no one will say no to free stuff, but if you really want to make an impact, you should work to create an experience with your swag bag. 

 Choose items that align with your event’s theme. If your event isn’t themed, choose things that relate logically to each other and accentuate some element of your brand. Barring that, pick inclusions that create a cohesive experience. 

 For example, you could design a music-themed experience by including Bluetooth earbuds, an iTunes gift card to pick up some tunes, and then concert tickets to the show of their choice. The three items relate to each other and build an experience greater than the sum of its parts. 

 Remember, if your swag bag is forgettable, it can’t possibly accomplish what you’re hoping it will. So give your inclusions a lot of thought. You might even bounce your ideas off of a few potential attendees. If they aren’t impressed, consider changing gears. But if they love your ideas, others probably will, too!

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