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Swag at Events: How to be the Event Giveaway Everyone Wants

You’ve spent thousands of dollars to attend or host an event.

You’ve committed thousands more for employee travel expenses.

Meeting after meeting, you’ve pored over details of the event objectives and goals.

At the last minute, you think,

“What are we doing for event giveaways?”

And you throw out ideas that you’ve either seen before or researched on Google - and by doing it this way, you create a situation where you only know what your group knows. (Cue the eye roll as soon as the first person suggests pamphlets).

First, let’s level-set. You know what you want to avoid, potential customers side-eyeing your promotional giveaways and walking right past or worse, saying ‘No thank you’.

Giving away mundane swag is a flaw in planning that can be easily avoided.

So how do you make your event giveaways - and therefore your brand - stand out?

1. Know Your Target

The first and most important aspect of impactful event giveaways is identifying the person you want receiving them.

What you give the general audience and a potential partner may be different, and that’s ok.

Recently, a company Ink’d works

with attended a major industry show - with over 5,000 attendees. Their real audience was 100 business owners inside that mass audience. What we crafted as a giveaway for 100 people and the 5,000 we had to support were different.

Neither was junk - but given the importance of one audience to measure success at the event, when those people engaged in conversation, they left with a meaningful and thoughtful representation of the brand. They also felt an elevated sense of importance and appreciation.

2. Think Outside the Box

Next, don’t get stuck in the mindset that your event giveaways need to make sense with what you do. They don't.

In fact, what you do and what you give away can be as opposite as could be. Can you imagine a Bose giveaway around something to do with sound? How could they possibly meet expectations at a reasonable price point?

People want cool items, not junk, full stop. And you want them talking about your brand at the event so consider what will disrupt their pattern of seeing free pens, wrist bands, and stickers.

That is point A and point B - there is no point C.

Here are some off-the-beaten-path event giveaway ideas:

  • Want to bond fast? Give out a box of custom dog bones with your logo on it. Do you know who will like it? Dog owners. They will also like you and you will bond easily and quickly. Bank on it.

  • Does your target audience have kids? Give them a rubber duckie or bubble blower to take home.

  • Do you have a young audience? How about a custom pong table with colored pink pong balls?

The conversation is a matter of being creative and taking a chance to not be like everyone else. Otherwise, your squishy ball and tote bag await - and so does your “No thank you”


Need an idea? We’ve been helping brands stand out at events for years.

If you'd like to chat, I'd welcome the chance to collaborate and help you make an impression at your next event.

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