by Lauren Melnick | October 01, 2016
 Give yourself plenty of time to select and source items. Your timeline should allow for necessary approvals, production and shipping.

 Choose a high-quality item within your budget that is relevant to your brand.

 Ideally, the gift should be something attendees will want to continue to use long after the event.

 It should be easy to transport. Large, heavy or fragile items will be left behind.
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Corporate event and meeting giveaways are a commonly overlooked opportunity to tell a brand story. However, there are several reasons good swag can make an event go the extra mile. As customization solutions manager at Poppin (, I help companies apply their logos and branding to a variety of products. Below is some advice for ensuring your event swag will strengthen your brand identity and create a memorable impression among your attendees.

• Plan ahead. Create an event calendar and allocate time to source, select and get approval for the perfect item, rather than settling for something that can be shipped quickly but doesn't represent your brand. Start the process at least a month before the event to accommodate your internal process and the vendor's production timelines.

• Know your budget. Make wise investments within your price range. Of course, you want to get the most bang for your buck while enhancing your brand. Whether you have $2 or $20 to spend per person, choose the item that will best represent your company and have the most impact, not the cheapest or the flashiest.

• Select reliable vendors. Partner with companies that have a proven track record of being flexible and putting the customer first. Strings can always be pulled to get better pricing or faster shipping if necessary, so deepen your relationships with those you've worked with successfully, and reap the rewards of being a repeat customer.

• Relevance is a must. Consider your audience. If you're a tech company, do you really need a stress ball? Giveaways should align with the theme or focus of your event, your company's product or mission, and be relevant to attendees to generate the most impact.

• Think long-term. Create a branded item that attendees will use beyond their time at the meeting or event. If you give away useful items, you have a better chance of starting a "brand halo" effect, where people will remember and associate your brand with the positive experience.

• Make quality a priority. Invest in quality personalized goods to show that you're serious about your brand. Potential partners and clients will in turn take your brand seriously, as well.  

• Consider your message. Be thoughtful about what artwork you apply to your giveaway. Do you want your brand logo front and center? 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.

• Make it easy to transport. Think compact. Are attendees traveling from out of town to attend the event? If so, make sure you avoid cumbersome swag that is too difficult to bring home, as it surely will be left behind.

• Bulk packaging can be a major time saver. Be sure to ask your suppliers if they offer any bulk-packaging options so that you can avoid unwrapping individual products.

• Consider storing swag in bulk. Review your event calendar and consider how frequent your order needs will be. If you host a recurring meeting or event, look into buying in volume and arranging to have your supplier store product for you. This arrangement will make replenishments easy, faster and more cost effective.