Give Guests the Swag they Really Want or Need

September 29, 2022

With a busy fall event season underway, we’ve been thinking about the countless swag items that guests take home from events. Swag can build brand loyalty, show employee appreciation, attract new customers, and more. Events are back in full swing following the pandemic, but should inexpensive and disposable swag come back with them? 

It is important to reconsider event swag and if it is really of value to the guests taking it home. We too are guilty of giving our clients swag; however, we try to be thoughtful and make it useful or consumable. We feel, swag should be quality, personal and something that guests want to keep long after your event is over (or enjoy on the spot, like Harbor Sweets – yum!). Here are a few things to consider when selecting swag for your next event: 

1. Value and Longevity 
Does your swag have value to attendees? Even if your budget for swag is tight, people will appreciate one high-quality item over many low-quality items. Invest in embroidery over screen printing for clothing items or choose a name-brand to-go mug over a plastic water bottle. Consider what your brand represents and what brand-specific items guests will be proud to use.  You could even personalize these items with guest names for an added touch. 
2. Letting People Choose 
Can you have guests choose what swag item they want to take home? Consider crafting a selection of items before the event and letting guests decide what best suits them. Whether you send a survey before the event or have guests make their choice upon arrival, giving attendees the ability to choose makes them more likely to walk away with something they will want to keep.  
3. Donations 
Is there a different way to make use of your swag budget? Perhaps you donate in their name and give them a notecard on why you chose that organization. Or you could consider giving each guest an allotted amount to donate to the charity of their choice by compiling a list of local organizations or charities that align with your brand values for guests to choose from. This alternative option to swag will leave attendees feeling satisfied that they are making a positive impact. Donations will still build loyalty and appreciation between guest and host for giving them the opportunity to support a cause they care about. 
4. Sustainability 
In addition to offering donations, consider other swag alternatives that are more sustainable. Traditional swag that guests may dispose of shortly after the event can create a large amount of waste. Gift certificates, vouchers, or tickets to an experience are a great way to provide guests with a memory of the event, while also cultivating the brand loyalty of traditional swag. This alternative also encourages financial sustainability as you are less likely to waste money on those physical items that could get thrown away. 

For more information about swag alternatives, click the link below to read the Fast Company article that inspired this post: