Most events are inundated with all types of "swag." Swag is a branded product that is given to you by a company after you've spoken with someone or interacted with the brand. It's nothing new! We've been exposed to swag long before the age of the internet. The nature of swag is changing though; it's no longer adequate to throw pens and keychains at your prospects.
A well thought out swag bag can be an essential marketing tool to generate buzz and conversation at your next corporate event. Think of a swag bag as a form of free advertising. At your event, you create a memorable connection between your brand and the attendees. A swag bag then extends that experience and reminds attendees of their connection with your brand and event long after they've left.
There are some important things you need to consider when putting together a memorable swag bag that really "wows" your attendees.
Consider The Event Type
The purpose of every event is different. For example, team building events are held to motivate employees and co-workers while product launches introduce new products into the market. Consider the kind of event you are hosting and choose the items for the swag accordingly. Is your event an executive retreat? The why not add a yoga mat, earplugs, and a sleeping mask to the bag so that executives can relax and enjoy their retreat. For internal training events create a branded t-shirt so that co-workers feel instantly united, and for a conference give some practical but unique gifts such as reusable water bottles or branded charging devices.
Some events are also based on a particular theme such as green energy, in which case you can delight attendees with sustainable items as that is what they would expect.
Consider Attendee Interests and Characteristics
Swag bags are meant to generate engagement with your brand and what better way to do that than to give your attendees something that fits within their interests? Consider your audiences likes and dislikes, and research their interests. The best way to find out this kind of information is to ask attendees through a pre-event survey. If you are hosting the event, then you probably have a good idea about the attendees through data from your sales and marketing teams but there is no better way to learn popular interests among your attendees than asking them.
Here are five questions you can ask attendees pre-event to discover more about their interests, attitudes and what motivates them.
- Where are the attendees coming from?
- What is their job role are they in?
- What industry do they work in?
- What things do they like to do outside of work?
- What was their favorite event they've attended?
Consider Ticket Prices and Costs to Attend
If your event has a high ticket price, then the swag bag should reflect this. For massive events such as SXSW and TED where the budgets are high, and event-attendees pay a pretty high ticket price, the swag bags are fabulous. For a TED event, attendees pay anything between $8,500 to $15,000 to access the conference. For this, they get a great gift experience. Not only are they handed big-ticket items such as Google Home and Logitech gear, but they also have a choice of items they can pick and choose for their bag.
An amazing swag bag can be created even for lower budget events by using smart ideas like splashing the bag budget on one or two expensive items only. You can even hold a giveaway for a big ticket items resulting in more sign-ups to reach out to after the event. Another great cost-effective idea is to create a buzz around the sale of a unique item while a percentage of the sale is donated to charity.
The cost of the swag bag also depends on the budget. If the cost of attendance in terms of ticket prices is high then consider a matching the cost of the swag bag to 5-10% of the ticket price. Although not all events are ticketed, in which case it's a good idea to allocate a budget to event swag bags and consider all costs such as production, printing the company logo, delivery, and packaging.
Consider Quality Over Quantity
One way to ensure a fabulous swag bag is to concentrate on the quality of the items you include. Even small budget events can achieve a swag bag all attendees will love and talk about when the items are of premium quality, unique and share-worthy. Adding a few quality items means that there may not be that many items in a bag. But that is okay. Because good quality items always stand out. Consider:
- Sourcing from local vendors
- Choosing hand-made items over mass production
- Selecting vendors that are eco-friendly
Other Important Considerations
A Great Bag
The first part of your swag part is really the bag itself. So make this a good one. Make sure the bag is something attendees will like to carry all day throughout the event and even use it in their everyday lives — a sturdy, functional bag with a great design. Consider the size and color of the bag, match it's style to the theme of your event and brand colors.
Fun and Functional Items
If you want to sky-rocket engagement, then make sure at least half of the things in your bag are practical and useful besides being fun. Give your attendees something that they really love and appreciate.
13 Fail-Safe Swag Bag Items For Corporate Events
- Smartphone accessories like mobile device chargers and power banks
- Tech gifts like a wireless tracker, smartphone projectors or headphones
- Personalised diaries or notebooks
- Branded t-shirts with exciting designs and comfortable fabric
- A virtual swag bag of exclusive information or tools
- Eco-friendly gifts such as bamboo notebooks or mini grow-your-own kits
- Seasonal items like a frisbee for summer or hot gourmet cocoa kits for winter
- Travel bags, or laptop cases
- Tumblers, or insulated drinkware
- Unique foods, sweets, and chocolates
- Access passes to exclusive experiences for VIP attendees
- Retro games and stress relievers
- Wine or beer related items like mini wine samplers or a branded beer glass
Everyone loves a great gift. So make sure the swag you create for your attendees is memorable and helps forge meaningful business relationships post-event.