Getting swag rightJanuary 8th, 2011 by mark
I came across this question on Quora and it resonated with me as I’m often asked at social gatherings about “the latest and greatest swag”. After 13 years in this industry, I admittedly cringe when asked this because it’s a tough question to answer. Why? Because it depends on the audience.
For everyone’s benefit, I wanted to post my answer. I love this topic as so many people have differing opinions. Please share your thoughts below as I’d love to know about the most effective swag you have ever distributed.
Question: What are the most creative word-of-mouth swags that you’ve ever received?
Getting swag right can be a tricky thing.
On one hand, you can hand out the latest and greatest swag – the stuff that everyone is talking about (and inevitably gets copied by everyone else and you start seeing it at trade shows and conferences everywhere). Examples of this include: USB keys, hand sanitizers, “I’m not a paper cup” knockoff mugs … even mouse pads in their day were red hot. There is nothing wrong with these items, but they lose their “uniqueness” fast.
On the other hand, you can stick to enduring products that stand the test of time. Let’s consider the humble T-shirt. Everyone gives away T-shirts, yet most people still love T-shirts and will loyally wear them provided the design is tasteful. The key here is presentation and design. Our experience has demonstrated that most people would prefer a well designed T-shirt than a cheesy flashing bauble that loses its utility after a few uses. Take a look at WordPress’s excellent online merchandise store (not a client) and you will see quality, tried and true styles vs logo toasters and the latest “it swag” bandied about by the swagerati.
This is not to say that everyone should make T-shirts at the expense of other promotional items. The main point is that sometimes the best swag is the stuff that has the most utility and is well designed and presented to the end consumer.