I can't help but start this post with a disclaimer - I hate the word swag - but because it's the best word to use here...I'm going to put my personal feelings aside for a second. One of the great things about strong branding is your ability to stand out from the crowd. One of the best ways to do that is ahem "swag."
Now when I say swag, I would advise you to take that with a grain of salt. I've spent more time thinking about this recently because I recently attended a conference and the sponsor bags were off. the. charts.
What made these freebies so much extra? Two things.
1) The quality 2) The creativity
My main goal has always been to create a strong foundation for my clients. While I think this is the most important area we tackle together, these swag bags made me realize that there's a part of the process that can help my clients creatively market themselves and we should be tackling that as well.
While you may not need branded coffee mugs or beach towels, it is worth looking into the opportunities where you can stand out and impress your potential clients (and current clients - this applies for client gifts as well.)
The thing about sponsoring an event or having "freebies" is that you have an opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Because of that, I encourage you to think outside of the box. What are products that relate to your industry? What is something everyone likes to get for free? What can you afford to spend per freebie? How can you incorporate your brand beyond just adding your logo?
On that note, I would also mention - know your goal with these freebie, branded items.
- Is it to be stand out?
- Is it to be remembered?
- Is it just to have something to hand out?
Knowing the answers to the questions will help you to know what kind of item to purchase for what kind of event/purpose.
Depending on your end goal, I would encourage you to go for quality when choosing these items. While a well-made t-shirt may become a new favorite, a rough, scratchy one may end up at the bottom of a drawer. And, I don't know about you, but when I get a free pen that stops working within a week, I toss it... probably without ever noticing the logo inscribed on the side. That's what I would call a lose-lose. Go for quality and go for uniqueness.
I would start by asking:
- Will this help to make a positive impression of our company on potential customers?
- Is this something people will appreciate, enjoy, and want to keep?
The grab bag at this conference really got my creative juices flowing, so below you can find a collection of ideas for ways to creatively brand yourself that will make a lasting impression you want to leave.
50 Ideas to Creatively Brand Your Business:
- Water Bottles - These first two listed are the ones that inspired this post. I recently received a SIC water bottle freebie (thanks Amari Creative!) and it is AMAZING. This is what I mean when I say go for quality. It may not have been the most affordable of all options, but because of the quality, I use it daily and it has been a conversation starter.
- Postcards - Not promotional ones, actual postcards you mail...who doesn't love getting snail mail? Make them cute/fun/pretty and everyone will want to send them!
- Coffee Mugs
- Tin Camping Coffee Mugs
- Guitar Picks
- Wine Stopper
- A Deck of playing cards
- Multi-use Charger - I actually received one of these once and it is one of the best freebies I have ever gotten. It was appropriate for the car rental company and helpful while traveling - two USB ports plus car and wall charger capabilities. This is a really great example of thinking of something in your industry to stand out.
- Pins - Like the kind you would put on a backpack
- Patches - Also like the kind you would put on a backpack!
- Reusable Shopping Bags
- Socks - Insider tip from a friend in the printing industry - this is all the rage right now!
- Puzzles - Wordsearch, crossword, or otherwise this would be a really fun way to deliver a message
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- USB Drive
- Pop Socket
- Makeup Bag
- Fanny Pack
- Sunscreen - If you're going to be outdoors - a thoutghtful time to be the most talked about!
- Pet Toys
- Christmas Ornament
- Wax Seal
- Hand Santizer
- Bracelet - Even if you think it's been overdone - people still love to wear these! Don't underestimate the way people want to share your brand.
- Bottle Opener
- Swiss Army Knife
- Beach Towel
- Chip Clip Magnets
- Cord Wraps
- Nail File - Look for Crystal/Glass in the title - these will be the best quality!
What are your favorite things to receive as freebies? Is there anything you would suggest on this list? Especially specific to your industry? I would love to hear!