Marketing Swag Ideas and Items for your Employees

August 3, 2020

The best marketing swag is a celebration of your employees. So don’t think too much about buying something expensive but impersonal.

Swag bags are basically like welcome boxes given to would-be employees to provide them with a taste of what it would be like to work for your company. In other words, it’s an early payout for your new hires.  Keep in mind that a good marketing swag is a return of investment, so you wouldn’t want it to be just a bunch of random things you put together. Continue reading to get some tips for fresh marketing swag ideas.

Why the (Company) SWAG?

SWAG is an abbreviation for Stuff We All Get, and as mentioned are free stuff that can be given to would-be or current employees, both motivation and sign of appreciation for their work.

Most swag marketing ideas are usually merchandise related to the company. But, remember. It’s not just any merchandise. Put yourself in their shoes, then ask: “What is it that I would work harder for?” As their employer, ask yourself: “What could I give that would motivate ALL of them to work hard?” Again, it’s not just about sticking your company logo on the first thing you find and calling that swag.

Rule #1: High-quality swag = strong company culture.

Good SWAG = Good company = Good Employer.

If anything, a company swag makes employees feel like they belong, especially the new ones. Imagine being in a new place with people you don’t know – it’s like the first day of school all over again! A good marketing swag, however, will make them feel right at home. The best marketing swag should make your new hires feel as if they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be.

A good swag also enhances your employer brand. A good company reputation is essential for successful recruitment. Corny pieces are forgettable and show that not much thought was put into it. Although swag is just a small piece of the very big puzzle, it’s the first impression people usually have of your company.

SWAG promotes teamwork.

People work better together if they are able to communicate well and are proud of the team they work for. If you want to change your company’s culture, don’t rely solely on a couple of slide presentations. True cultural change in the workplace only happens when your people are willing to put a wager on it. You want to move your individual employees from simply performing their individual duties; you want them to recognize that they are part of a unit and that they all move together to accomplish great things as a team.

SWAG celebrates employees.

The best marketing swag should let your people feel that you care. Pro-tip #1: Choose something that people would probably buy on their own anyway, or use outside the office. You know how they say, ‘It’s the thought that counts’? In this case, it really does. It can encourage the thought that your company is one that really takes the time to get to know their employees – to a point where they can anticipate future needs and actually go ahead and meet those needs in the form of really useful and relevant swag items.

Tips for Unique Marketing SWAG Ideas 

1. Apparel 

American Apparel Shirt, Alternative Apparel Sweatshirt, Brightedge Jacket

Company apparel will never go out of style – don’t listen to people who tell you otherwise. This common yet cost-effective swag instills a sense of pride in your employees, and, if done right, can be an eye-catching platform to showcase your brand as well. A cheap marketing swag idea always goes a long way if you do it right.

The right size might become an issue here, and if you’re not a fan of ‘one size fits all’, you can ask your employees to hand in their shirt sizes. This will allow you to note how many of each style or size to order or keep on hand. And if sizes among employees change, you’d probably want to stay on top of that as well.

2. Portable chargers/USB’s

Smart Native Union Charger, Smart Charger, Bamboo Wireless Charger

A good employee never lets their mobile phones run out of juice – enter the portable charger! The trend for these portable chargers or battery banks is that the thinner and lighter they are, the better. You probably see a lot of these on tabletops when you’re out at the mall, so it’s definitely an excellent marketing swag strategy.

Although USB drives are smaller, you can still brand the casing. If you want to make a better impression, you can pre-load a video welcoming your new employees and telling them about your company, or thanking your current employees for a job well done.  Even if they aren’t at work, they can still use these USB drives.

3. Custom backpacks/laptop bags 

Utility Backpack, Custom Backpack, Laptop Bag

Most of your employees probably commute to work so that a versatile backpack will be very useful for them. It might not be directly related to their line of work, but it’s something that they will find a use for even when they aren’t in the office. Most people advise backpacks rather than tote bags as they are more versatile and are easier to carry. Furthermore, backpacks are well-appreciated by both sexes – so it’s easy to have several types on hand and know that the chances of them being used and appreciated by recipients is higher than let’s say a tote bag.

4. Travel Package: Passport holder, luggage tags, insulated tumbler

Passport Holder, Joshu Vela Leather Luggage Tag, Corkcicle Tumbler

Travel essentials are also good marketing gifts ideas, especially if part of your employees’ job description involves a lot of traveling. All three are very useful, especially the insulated tumbler, which can be used even when not touring. You can opt to put your employees’ names on the tumbler and passport holder for a more personal touch. A travel-related swag bag send the clear message that your company is concerned about travelling employees’ well-being, which your employees will definitely appreciate. It also sends the message that are are able to address travel-related concerns in the form of swag items that are carefully chosen to align with their work responsibilities.

5. Comfort Package: Eye mask, mug, blanket

Custom Eye mask, Campfire Mug, Woolrich Blanket
Comfort Package: Eye mask, mug, blanket

The neck pillow can form part of your travel package, too. Just slap a logo on the pillow, then everyone in the plane will see it. Couple it with a blanket and mug, and your employees are guaranteed to use it during their day off from work. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a cup of coffee? 

6. Stationery essentials: Pens/pencils, notebooks, post-its

Slim Pen, Appointed Notebook, Post its

Pens and pencils are good marketing swag ideas as they are a great way to brand yourself in a small but effective scale. Notepads or stick-on notes are also useful in the office, and you can either place your company logo on the cover page or a watermark on each page. Stationery essentials are very useful for your new hires on their first day of work. This is also a good idea, especially if your company wants real estate marketing swag – easy to hand out during open houses. 

Kinetic desk toys are another option – you might think they only serve as desk ornaments, but when done right, they can also be a means to promote your company, too. They easily catch attention, too.

7. Quarantine essentials 

EO Hand Sanitizer, Netflix Subscription, Stain Rescue Wipes

Considering today’s current pandemic, many companies are resorting to coronavirus-related corporate swag or something their employees can use while working from home. You can take a look at this link right here to get a few ideas, although a few have been laid out below. 

Sanitizers or alcohol bottles are a staple in every person’s bag or pocket these days, so why not use it to promote your company? They’re easy to carry around, too. These days even masks are joining the likes of bags and tumblers as company giveaways. You can even get your creative team on it and come up with catchy taglines that appeal not only to your employees but also to potential consumers. 

Some have also suggested premium subscriptions (e.g., Netflix) as company swag, and they’re not wrong – you have to keep your employees entertained while they are stuck at home. Of course, a more significant chunk of their time should be spent on work. This won’t only attract new talents, but also boost company support. 

8. Creative and Unique Marketing Swag Ideas

Essential Oils, PF Candle Mini, Wine Corkscrew

Sometimes, people appreciate gifts more when they’re ‘out of the box,’ so to speak. Unique swag ideas like a punching ball for stress relief, a fitness tracker, or a cocktail kit might make your employees feel appreciated. You can even go the extra mile and create a personalized self-care kit – lotion, aftershave, candles, or even essential oils. 

A summer marketing swag gift might also be a good idea – beach towels, flip flops, or a foldable picnic blanket to complete the set. Your company logo on a beach umbrella is definitely going to be very visible. 

A Few Last Touches

Last but definitely not the least, make sure you throw other things in like a welcome letter, coupons, gift cards, and more. The letter doesn’t have to be different for each employee, but make sure it gives out a sense of belongingness. You can talk a little bit about how your company started out, how your own first day was, and what they can expect from working for you. Give some words of encouragement, but end with a call to action. New employees are bound to work better if they know that their boss can trust them to see the job done from the start.

Employee swag kits might sound underrated, but it’s definitely very much appreciated. For your next company swag, make sure you put effort into preparing them. Swag doesn’t have to be expensive either. The phrase ‘it’s the thought that counts’ cannot be emphasized more in this case. Please don’t hold it off for the last minute, and don’t think of it as merely a means for promoting your brand. Remember, you’re not just selling products – you’re also selling your brand. If there’s anything worse than bad customer reviews, it’s bad employee feedback. You have to make them feel like they have a family in the workplace because this is a surefire way to increase employee happiness. And if your employees are happy, they are more productive. So yes, it’s all about the swag.

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