Your comprehensive guide to company swag.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Buying the Best Company Swag

Posted February 29, 2016 by Kristin Hoppe in Running a Business 101
Did you know that company swag is actually a cornerstone of smart brand strategy? Find out why swag matters, and what kind is best for your business.

Have you been in business for a little while? If so, it might be time to bust out the company swag.

But what is swag, and why do you need it? Put simply, it’s anything with your logo used to promote your brand. And even though swag may not seem like the most groundbreaking promotional idea, creating and distributing swag is actually a great long-term brand strategy.

Company Swag Ideas

Here’s the down low on why company swag is good for your business, and how to go about finding the best kind.

Why Swag Is Good for Your Business

It’s All About Strategy
Although printing a logo on a mug may seem basic, it’s actually the cornerstone of a solid brand strategy. That’s because any comprehensive brand strategy integrates employee involvement, customer loyalty, and even emotion. Believe it or not, swag hits all of those marks. Here’s how:

It Increases Awareness…
Do you remember the first time you heard about companies like MongoDB or Casper? People rarely remember their first encounter with a brand, but seeing the logo in unexpected places helps jog their memory. Here at Justworks, we have a MongoDB mug in the kitchen, and sometimes I grab it to drink coffee. Now I think about them at least once a week — and I never would have before without that mug.

...and Positive Brand Sentiment
That MongoDB mug I drink out of also makes me think fondly of the brand. Why? Well, I definitely have a positive association with a company when it’s correlated with an enjoyable morning routine. And according to a study by the BMPA, 56% of people who receive branded promotional products said their impression of that company improved. That makes it a solid long-term investment, which brings us to...

Long term value: 87% of people keep free promotional products for over a year.

It Pays for Itself Over Time
According to a study by Brandwatch, Those people who are keeping your company swag for over a year are also likely exposing their friends and community to your brand. Although you’re paying for the costs at the offset, there’s nothing like the power of repetition. You’ll get a huge return on investment because it’s the brand exposure that just keeps on giving.

Your Employees Will Love It
Everyone loves getting free stuff, and getting swag from an employer is like a special thank you that people can bring with them all the time. And most employees are happy to wear it! At Justworks, everyone gets free t-shirts, lanyards, and hats with Justworks’ logo, and we’re proud to show it off.

Which Companies to Use

There are plenty of great online swag shops that will help you get the word out about your company. Here are a few of our favorite selections:

The Vanity Project
Justworks recently bought swag from The Vanity Project, including t-shirts with our company crest. We love how the shirts turned out, but the company’s cause is also something to rally behind. The Vanity Project often partners with non-profit organizations to grow brand awareness through quality merchandise. You can shop through causes and help support the ones you care about, too.

Vistaprint
Vistaprint goes far beyond t-shirts (though they do that, too). They provide all kinds of marketing materials like coasters and magnets, but they also sell less common items like calculators, can coolers, and bags. Hoodies and coats also make the cut.

4imprint
If you can dream it up, it’s here. 4imprint has an overwhelming collection of swag you can customize, from embroidered blankets to temporary tattoos and customizable footballs. The likelihood is you’ll only consider a fraction of their products, but it’s fun to mix it up with such variety.

Scoutbooks
Scoutbooks keeps their focus simple on customizable notebooks. Although it’s niche, I’ve heard lots of positive sentiments towards having a branded notebook. If people write in it, it’s likely something they’ll keep around for a long time. Writing also has a personal touch and air of nostalgia to it — a surefire way to create positive brand sentiment.

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Choosing the Right Kind of Swag

So, what’s the best kind of swag? Well, that may actually have a lot to do with who your customers are. Are you a tech firm that offers computer solutions for small businesses? Maybe a coffee mug people use at their desk would be appropriate. But say you’re a skateboarding park based in California — t-shirts and bean bags might just do the trick.

If you’re having trouble deciding, here are some fan favorites that will be hard for prospective customers to turn down:

1. T-shirts
It’s obvious, but true: t-shirts are both practical and fun, and people will wear them. Even if your t-shirt doesn’t make it to the office, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people wearing company swag at the gym, or during the weekend. With a long lifetime value, it’s a portable way to broadcast your brand to a wider community.

2. Water Bottles
Everyone drinks water, and this is an environmentally friendly choice as well. Whether the people who use water bottles grab it for the gym or on their next hiking trip, it’s a functional gift that will remind them of your company after every refreshing sip.

3. Chargers
Name a person who hasn’t been in dire need of a charger at some point in her life, and I’ll give you a free piece of Justworks swag. Chargers are not only incredibly useful, but they’ll also boost brand sentiment — because everyone appreciates giving their phone the needed juice to last through the day.

4. Outdoor Activity Items
What else facilitates good feelings than frolicking around at the beach? Whether you pick frisbees, sunglasses, or flip flops, it’s a fun way to share your company in style.

Whether you decide to go with t-shirts or tote bags, swag is way more than just a logo printed on fabric. It’s an opportunity to engage community and offer delight to those who receive it.

What is your favorite piece of swag that you’ve gotten? What made it so great? Feel free to tweet us @JustworksHR!

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.