#4 Brand-Storming… Success with Swag(ger)

We’ve covered the basics in the first 3 posts about how to start a Swag project. In the last post I outlined my 3 tier approach when it comes to trade show Swag (or really just organizing your swag products in general). In this post we’re talking about the conversations that need to happen to make your Swag project a success!

At ValueBP, we call it “Brand-Storming”. A brainstorm sesh is great and all, but everything we do is with your brand in mind so when we brainstorm we switch up the words to have the mindset all about your brand. Your organization likely has brand guidelines, doesn’t it? That’s for a reason. We think about all the details from how will the products come packaged to where do the origin markings appear on your potential new items.

There are literally thousands of sunglasses to choose from when looking to customize a pair with your brand’s artwork… but did you know that if you just choose any pair you might get caught buying a pair that has “Made in China” printed boldly on them?
This is rare, but I’ve seen it happen. See the thing is that when importing you need to write where the product was made. Usually as consumers we don’t even notice this because it’s tasteful and subtle. But every now and then I see products at trade shows that have the origin marking big and bold. For our domestic companies anything that is big and bold marked as “Made in USA” is great, but the warning here is to not get caught up in items that proudly say they’re made outside of the country. That’s just one tip when brand-storming, here are the basics on how we start your project.

Start with the end in mind.
The first post in this series was all about starting with the end in mind and for this stage in the process; honestly we want to know your delivery date more than expected outcomes. We have to start with your delivery date because if a product has a 3 week lead time and you need your Swag in 1 week then obviously we shouldn’t be recommending the original 3 week lead time. Knowing when you need your swag really helps your swag adviser to narrow down the search and offer items that fit your project.

Product Category & Budget
With over 800,000 stock items it’s like finding a needle in a haystack to locate the perfect item to represent your brand. We can narrow the search by looking at product categories from a big picture level. I’m not talking about do you want a yeti , hydro-flask or a s’well tumbler. Rather I’m talking about do you want the a drinkware style item at all, or maybe a tech item, some sort of wearable, food based etc.

Once we identify some product categories then we can start showing items. For example, you might be wanting some sort of drinkware item. Well, is it water related or coffee? That’s one easy example to narrow the search. Say it’s coffee, then do you want a desk coffee mug or a travel?
We can keep going to show you how the process works, but you likely get the idea from here. The last component of this stage is knowing your budget. A basic C-Handle coffee mug won’t move the needle much but if that’s what your budget is then we won’t be showing a debossed colorfilled coffee mug with a unique shape that costs more than 3x as much.

Goals
Goals; everyone has them as does every business. You have quarterly, yearly and micro goals all within your organization and likely in your department. Getting swag for your company isn’t just about looking cool and getting your brand in people’s hands for them to see and interact with your company on a daily basis… or is it?
At the very least, the Swag you get for your company will result in more impressions than any of your other advertising spend. But if you want to take it to the next level and inspire action there are ways to do tasteful CTA’s with your Swag. We have these conversations on a daily basis and if you want to see some ROI product packaging is a nice place to use the given branding space for a CTA.
At this stage, we talk about the purpose of your campaign, your demographic and how you want them to feel when they receive your Swag. This is the final touch in choosing items to represent your brand.

Stay tuned for the next post when we’ll be talking about about the design elements that go into perfecting the ideal Swag item for your brand.

If you’re ready to take action and start a project, email me! (sam@valuebp.com)
Some of our work is featured on our website here.

Swag On,
SwagSam

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About the author, SwagSam

Sam Kabert is the Creative Director of ValueBP Marketing Group and the Creator and Co-Host of the podcast “WhatUp Silicon Valley!” A risk taker who embraces permanent beta, Sam is leading the transformation of his family-run office supplies business into a promotional products’ powerhouse.

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