Promotional gifts that will have your network buzzing.
Think about a promotional gift you really loved. Was it a mouse pad? A ball point pen? A paperweight? An oversized tee shirt? Probably not. We all love free stuff, but unless it’s something special we won’t keep it for long. Updating your goodies can give you a leg up on networking, strengthen your brand recognition and help you round out your marketing strategy. Just like the other elements of your campaign, swag (formally known as marketing collateral) is effective when it’s fun, smart and targeted, so we’ve put together some guidelines to help you step up your game.
Make it handy
Give away things your clients will need, but avoid things they only need one of. Your clients likely have a planner or a cell phone case that they love and, unless your design is blow-your-socks-off cool, they’re unlikely to swap it with what they’ve already got. On the other hand, Kindle, Google Drive and Dropbox mean they’re unlikely to need bookmarks or flash drives at all. Gifts like touch-screen cleaning cloths, reusable grocery bags, takeaway coffee mugs and USB cell phone chargers are handy because they’re current. Seasonal items can also be handy—umbrellas for an upcoming winter or camp chairs and beach balls for spring and summer. Keep in mind that in order for swag to be handy, it has to make it home with the client: if you’re distributing your promotional gifts at a conference or convention, don’t give away anything that wouldn’t pass airport security.
Make it hip
Making your swag hip means keeping your branding subtle. No one wants to feel like they’re a walking advertisement for your company. Your design should be colourful, simple and attention-grabbing. It should complement your logo without making it the central feature.
Make it say something about your brand
You can go the straightforward route and give away items associated with your products and services: a gym franchise may give away protein shake mixers or yoga mats, while an upscale restaurant chain may distribute corkscrews or cutting boards. However, your swag can also aim to forge an association between your brand and other things people love. Handing out toys and games for children can communicate the family values of your brand, and sharing a free book download with a QR code can demonstrate that your company is always learning, innovating and on the cutting-edge of technology.
Make it personal
Your potential clients want to feel like they matter as individuals. Even though they all share an interest in your industry, their other interests may be varied. If you’re presenting at a large event, have a selection of different but related items and allow participants to choose. Besides making people happier with your goodies, this strategy has the benefit of starting a conversation between event participants about which item they chose and why. You can even have them take the conversation to social media– ask them to post a fun picture of their new swag using your company hashtag!
Make it local
Your swag will automatically feel more personal if it’s local. Whether you’re distributing to clientele based in your city or joining international clients and companies in a new area, giving them something from the place where you meet gives it special meaning. If you’re travelling, it also means your gifts can double as a souvenir of participants’ travel experience. Get in touch with area producers ahead of time to see if you can develop something with a local flair.
Swag is a fun way to build relationships within your network and publicise your brand, and getting creative can have real rewards. Give your marketing team the resources to develop something that people will really love, and then kick back and let the buzz begin!