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Best swag ideas for conferences and events

Got swag?

The young ‘uns might use it to mean confidence, attitude or ‘swagger’, but in conference-land we all know what swag means: freebies. There’s no need to fall back on the same cups, bags and pens when it comes to branding up your event’s free gifts, however. Give your giveaway a swag all its own with these fresh suggestions – all carefully designed to link your name to a feeling of positivity.

Feelgood freebies

Event planners are embracing the wants and needs of millennials in myriad ways: everything from conference-specific FitBit medals to catering that welcomes a range of dietary needs, and supports local suppliers.

Create the same sense of care for your attendees’ wellbeing with simple, thoughtful swag choices. Try mini mindfulness colouring books and pencils, or pulse-point rollers containing soothing aromatherapy scents. You’ll link your brand with a genuine sense of comfort and affirmation.

Person holding essential oil bottle

Go plastic-free

In the same vein, many younger conference-goers are keen to reduce waste. You can support their needs by serving coffee in real cups, not unrecyclable disposables, but what about water bottles?

Branded plastic bottles are always a popular choice, but even reusable ones are falling from favour. Aluminium water containers are just as practical, from travel mugs to bottles. Remember to be explicit about why you’ve made the switch. Your brand will be associated with an environmentally-friendly, proactive approach every time they take a drink.

water bottles

Living swag

Desk items are always a popular choice for event swag. Calendars, coasters and everyday stationery will be kept and regularly used.

Why not expand the repertoire to something more appealing? A miniature cactus or succulent in a branded pot or glass adds colour and comfort to a workplace, and will be kept far longer. Alternatively, branded bags of seeds or ready-to-plant sunflowers keep that close connection to the natural world.

Cactus

Traditional concept, new look

Not every bright idea has to be brand new. The trusty USB stick or powerbank remains a top swag choice for a reason: it will be kept, and it will be used.

There’s no need to make a hi-tech soloution look like one, however. For a medical conference, try a giant pill capsule or fake syringe. For international event themes, pick a food item to replicate. For an eco-theme, choose wood. This link helps keep the memories of the day itself alive in the user’s mind, in a quirky yet practical way.

USB on a log

Make it fun

Swag doesn’t have to be practical.

Your guests will leave with a smile on their face with a fun freebie that mines the trend for nostalgia. Try a retro promotional Rubik’s cube, branded bubbles or even a yoyo.

Woman standing amongst bubbles

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