The best event gifts find homes in purses and pockets, cultivating an authentic emotional connection with your brand after the event is over. In order to inspire that connection with your brand, corporate gifts need to be thoughtful, be useful, and have a high perceived value.
I’ve seen trash cans at events filled with cheap swag that didn’t make it out of the convention hall’s doors. Don’t choose something that’s easily discarded; instead, give something that’s worthy of all your hard work. Here are my 10 tips to event gifts that cultivate an authentic emotional connection with your brand:
1. THINK 'IMMEDIATE IMPACT'
Give gifts that are of immediate use in the event environment. A notebook and pen are perfect for scribbling notes during talks, and a business card case is the ideal solution for networking events. If you give away items that can immediately be put to use, you start the “brand halo” effect ASAP, helping giftees associate your brand with the experience of the event.
2. STAND BY YOUR BRAND
An event gift with your brand name or logo keeps you top of mind, ensuring guests won’t forget who gave them their new favorite pen. Chocolates may encourage people to come to your booth, but once the candy is consumed, they’ll be hard-pressed to remember who gave them that caramel truffle.
3. CHOOSE QUALITY
Choose event gifts that are worthy of your core values and vision. Beautiful customized products show that you take your brand seriously—and indicate to potential partners, clients and employees that they should take your brand seriously, too.
4. REMEMBER RELEVANCE
If you’re a technology company, why give out lollipops or a tin of paper clips? Event giveaways should be relevant to both your company and your audience. I find that folios are a favorite for marketers and those who travel for work, while high-end metal pens make a covetable gift for executives.
5. CAN THEY CARRY IT?
This is the one time it’s good to think small. Most attendees travel to events, so big or heavy swag that’s difficult to bring home often gets left behind. Small treasures fit perfectly into suitcases and briefcases, ensuring a second life for your gifts.
6. THINK EASE OF SET-UP
Traveling with event gifts can be tough for event sponsors, too. I recommend products that feature bulk packaging options for ease of travel and presentation, which allows your event team to network and spread the word instead of unbox and unwrap.
7. SPEND THE BUDGET WISELY
While working within your budget, don’t cheap out and go chintzy or splash out and go overly flashy. Whatever you have to spend per person, choose the item that’s going to represent your brand best.
8. STAY ON MESSAGE
Be thoughtful about what artwork you apply to your giveaway. Does your event have a slogan, phrase or graphic that will resonate with the recipient and make it more memorable? Work with your art or marketing department to get print-ready vector artwork for your print partner to generate renderings.
9. THINK DURABILITY
Forget plastic toys and foam stress balls. Choose a durable, long-lasting event gift that’s going to last through repeated use. A notebook or desktop item like a stapler has the added benefit of inviting repeated use through the months or years.
10. ACT FAST
You never know when a last-minute event can pop up on your calendar. Choose gifts with a speedy turnaround time that can be easily ordered over and over again. Once you find an event gift that you love, you can stop worrying about gifting and focus on making your event the best it can be.
Lauren Melnick is the customization solutions manager at Poppin, where she helps companies apply their logos, branding and other customization options to a variety of products.
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