The moment you decide that you are going to have a launch event for a new product or for your business in general – you need to start thinking of a swag bag. The swag bag or goodie bag is synonymous with events of all types.
Book launches see tote bags with the bookstore or book title, bookmarks and a copy of the book in there. Skincare brands include sample sizes or full sizes, vouchers, information and all of the details people need to make a purchase. The swag bag is a highly curated item, only including things that speak to the intended audience and are highly branded too.
Once some of the bigger details, like the venue, are nailed down, it is time for the details. The swag bag can often be covered financially in the ticket price, or you might put it in as part of your market budget. What really matters is that you take the opportunity to make it speak for your business when the event is over.
Note: Swag bags can be used for a lot more than just launch events; they can be great for networking, reaching out to local businesses, new employees and more.
Are there rules for a business swag bag?
Yes and no. Gift bags are the perfect opportunity to let your guest see what your business is made of and show off a lot more than just your products. You can even look for sponsors and other businesses who might want to make a contribution.
For events that span across a few days, giving a swag bag upfront will mean the content can be used over the following days. Things like coffee vouchers, reusable water bottles, notepads and pens are always useful at a conference.
Swags bags that are designed for employees who might be visiting from other offices can be branded in a much louder way – because those people will be used to wearing or using branded items. For outside visits, clients or potential customers, opt for something a little more demure – but keep the branding there.
Long gone are the days of the plastic bag, so steer as clear as possible from anything that isn’t either reusable or recyclable. Strong paper bags are an ideal option; they can hold a logo, can be recycled and are lightweight too. Try to ensure that everything in the bag also leans into sustainable and eco-friendly thinking and ethos, as this will be important when it comes to cohesion and finding matching brands.
People will travel far to go to launches and events that are either interesting to them or will serve them in another way. Also, factor in that some people will be flying, and if they do fly, they might have to dispose of the goods.
That is unless you have considered that and ensured that everything you have included in the bag is flight-friendly. Alternatively, you can have two options so that people flying can select a flight-friendly bag. Giving people the option means that nothing will be wasted.
As an added extra, since most liquids and cosmetics will need to meet flight rules, consider adding things that will make their flight more comfortable. Neck pillows, eye masks, a lightweight book, or a voucher for the coffee shop in the airport. This shows that you have gone above and beyond to ensure your guests have been considered properly.
While you should be looking to be as environmentally sound as possible, you also need to make sure that the items in the bag are accessible to all. Not everyone will be able or appreciate metal straws and screw-top reusable bottles.
If you have a DE & I officer in your company, work with them to create a bag that makes sense for all of the people who may attend. And just light the flight option, it can be worth creating bags that are more accessible to people who might need them.
While not every swag bag will be the type of bag you should or could put a small plant kit in, they can be a great addition. Small plants don’t take up too much room since they tend to be small boxes or completely flat – and are ideal for anything to do with sustainability, food, cooking or greener living.
If your guests don’t love them, they can be regifted too.
You’ll need to understand your audience in a deeper way to know if this is something that will work.
In the digital age, there is one device that works the longest hours, and the hardest is the mobile phone. And if there is one thing that most people wish they had when their phone starts ticking down towards less than 20%, it is a power bank.
If you intend to give people power banks, then either make sure they are charged in advance (and put a note in the bag to let them know) or put a note with directions to all of the available sockets where charging is possible.
As a side note, setting up a phone charging station around the venue is a smart idea and will create another place where people can gather and potentially connect (to more than just the wifi).
While thumb drives will likely always have a place in the swag bag, they can get lost and, most of the time, aren’t used beyond looking at a single piece of information on them.
When it comes to files that you want to offer and documents that will be useful to attendees, create a portal that people can use to access them.
Virtual goods have endless possibilities; you can include eBooks, NFTs (if that is in the interests of your audience), service subscriptions or software, online tools and guides, white-label products or services, discounts and more.
When putting together digital offerings, make sure that it is labelled clearly, so that people can redeem them.
Adding a list of items included in the swag bag is a great start, but be sure to leave a few surprise items on the list too.
People are very into experiences over material goods, and while a swag bag filled with fun stuff is always going to be welcomed (so long as it meets your audience’s interests and needs), throwing in some experiences is a smart move.
Think about what your specific audience would find valuable in terms of experiences. For many it would be things like a professional headshot, designed business cards, or career advice.
You can incorporate the experience into the event itself and put a voucher in the bag; this will encourage people to go looking at the other items.
Any event that is going to be planned in the winter months should have something warm in there. People often forget things like gloves, a nice branded pair that has patches so that they work with a touchscreen is a great touch.
In the heat, handheld fans, baseball caps, and suncream are not only thoughtful but can prevent people from getting sunburned – while wearing your logo.
Start thinking about the time of year the event is booked for and what people really need – from chapstick the pocket hand warmers, you can add plenty of different branded items that will make a positive impact for the person who has the swag bag.
An Employee Onboarding Bag
Perhaps you aren’t doing an event any time soon, but you do want to start creating something that rolls out the welcome wagon for your new employees. An onboarding swag bag is becoming commonplace and is seen everywhere, from Apple to Netflix and beyond.
Aside from the all-important passes and paperwork, to make new employees feel like part of the team immediately, here are a couple of things that you can have your brand all over:
- T-shirts and hoodies
- A mug and a reusable water bottle
- Vouchers for the cafe or local coffee shop
- Notebooks, pens and pencils
- Lanyards and badge holders
- Sticky Notes and other things for their desk (easily movable if hotdesking)
A swag bag in any capacity brings a lot of joy to the person who receives it, and for those on the team who are putting them together, there is a lot of joy when watching people open them. No matter what type of product or business you are launching, your swag bag can be jam-packed with everything people need for the duration of the event or conference and beyond.
When you want to make an impact but you’re looking for investors, not to host an event, a swag bag filled with information and products to investors that meet and match your criteria and ethos can be an unusual but smart move. Pitches come in many forms, and sometimes you need to do something out of the box to get your foot in the door.
Once you are there, though, you need to pull it out of the bag, so here are some of the best tips for pitching to investors: How To Pitch A Business Idea To Potential Investors.