Trade Show and Event Tips

Swag 101: What You Need to Know about Trade Show Giveaways and Promotional Items

Swag 101

One of the most important aspects of trade show exhibiting is swag — those promotional items designed to spread your logo and message to the masses. Here are some core considerations to help choose and design giveaways that won’t be left in the hotel room.

1. Brand Alignment

Key consideration: Does the item support our brand and corporate image?

Expert insight: “It’s got to be something that communicates the company’s brand strategy, otherwise it’s just another gimmick,” explains Los Angeles–based branding expert Rob Frankel. “Gimmicky toys are simply gimmicky toys. The most important aspect of giveaways is the ability to tie the promotional item to the solution the brand provides the prospect.”

Action item: Brainstorm trade show giveaways within the context of your brand or product/service promise.

2. Audience Value

Key consideration: What’s going to resonate with our customers, prospects and evangelists?

Expert insight: There are two schools of thought on promotional items: make them practical or make them unique. Personalized pens, mints and custom water bottles always seem to be in demand, which means they’ll get frequent use and spread your logo around for all to see. But something silly or creative also gets traction. Scottsdale, AZ–based Symmetry Software’s blinking badges have become collectibles since their debut in 2009. Emblazoned with the words Payroll Goddess or Payroll Titan, the items carry the logo of the company’s flagship brand, PaycheckCity. “Most often, payroll managers are overlooked until something goes wrong with an employee’s paycheck, and then unfortunately, payroll managers are not always treated so nicely by upset employees,” explains Elizabeth Oviedo, Symmetry’s marketing manager. The badges address that head on by calling attention to the wearer. “We routinely hear from attendees at our trade shows that they have a collection of Payroll Goddess blinking badges from over the years. As a result of this marketing campaign we’ve seen increased brand recognition for PaycheckCity positioning us as the leader in paycheck management tools.”

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