Putting together a swag bag says more about your brand than most marketing activities. But most swag bag ideas are — well — lame.
Whenever you go to an event, the host typically provides a swag bag or swag box. For most people, this is an afterthought – and for others, it’s just another opportunity to sell access for sponsors. But, there’s so much more to a really great swag bag, especially when it highlights your brand values.
This article will guide you through the process of creating a low-cost, high-value swag bag that truly speaks to your brand identity.
The Meaning Behind Your Swag Bag
Your swag says a lot about who you are and what you stand for as a business and as a brand. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than meaningfully chosen items in a swag bag are worth a million feels.
Take the time to think about what you stand for as a business and how you support your customers. Your swag bag should reflect these values.
What to Consider When Generating Swag Bag Ideas
When assembling your swag bag, consider including a mix of items that appeal to the five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Here are some creative elements you can add to make your swag bags stand out:
Sight: Branded hats, mugs, notebooks, sunglasses, t-shirts
Sound: Playlists or audio files featuring music from your favorite artists
Taste: Gourmet snacks, candies and desserts with branded wrappings
Smell: Aromatic candles and incense sticks with branded packaging
Touch: Soft cotton towels and blankets with embroidered logos
These are just some ideas – your swag bag items should be unique, creative and branded to reflect your company’s voice.
And here’s the best part, while you can order a lot of these things, depending on your business and the number of swag bags (and, if you’re crafty) you can do a lot of this on your own.
Example: Zoho’s Thoughtful Swag
At the Zoholics2023 conference, Zoho, a company providing an all-inclusive small business operating platform of over 50 apps for less than $50/month, presented a creative and thoughtful swag bag. Let’s take a look at the items and their symbolic value:
- Lunchbox: The lunchbox not only showcases the Zoho brand but also serves as a container for all the goodies – much like Zoho’s platform with its numerous apps and features.
- Garden Gloves: Zoho is about working hard and helping you do more on a budget. Gloves symbolize how a simple, low-cost investment can help you get more done.
- Tea from Their Farm: Zoho’s US headquarters, called “The Farm,” is situated on sprawling acres with a working farm. The tea included in the swag bag symbolizes Zoho’s commitment to their own products and services.
- Art of Tea Bag: Zoho’s customer support is reflected in their inclusion of a tea bag for brewing their provided loose tea – they’ve got you covered, even in the small details.
- Ceramic Bowl: The versatility of this bowl mirrors the customizable nature of Zoho’s apps and platform.
- Personal Note & Artist’s Sketch: Zoho’s in-house artists create various artworks, emphasizing their importance as part of the company culture.
- Mint Tea Lavender Candle: Made from ingredients from “The Farm,” this candle symbolizes the calming and inspirational qualities of Zoho’s brand.
Crafting Your Own Symbolic Swag Bag
Now that you’ve seen an example of a swag bag that embodies a brand’s values, it’s time to create your own.
Define your brand identity: Begin by answering these three questions:
- Who are you being in the world?
- What are you committed to?
- What can people count on you for?
Think about any of your favorite brands, and you’ll find that you can easily answer these questions.
Now, think about your business and what you stand for, and take the time to answer these questions for yourself.
If you’re struggling, reach out to any customers or partners with whom you have a good relationship and have this conversation. You’ll be amazed at what you find.
Choose meaningful visuals:
Based on the answers to those questions, come up with visuals that best represent your brand. Think about the little-known talents, passions, or customer-centric values that your company embodies, and find ways to showcase them in your swag bag.
Select symbolic items:
Challenge yourself and your team to go beyond t-shirts, mugs, and pens.
Get creative with your swag and think about choosing unusual, or even everyday items that have a meaning behind them.
Choose items that reflect your brand’s identity and commitment, while keeping your budget in mind. Ideally, these items should be useful and relevant to your target audience.
Use the prompts provided earlier to align your swag items with your brand’s identity. Don’t forget to include small, practical, personalized, and unusual items that represent the core of your brand. Additionally, avoid overused items like t-shirts, mugs, and pens.
By carefully curating items in your swag bag that reflect your brand values, your brand can stand out from the crowd, leave a lasting impression, and make a strong statement about what you stand for. So, let your creativity and imagination run wild, and get your swag bags ready for the next big event. You’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression!