CommCorner guest 001: SwagSam
SwagSam, WhatUp OG and Chief WhatUp Swagspert (and he absolutely hates it when you say it like that (we're the only ones).)
Sam understands branding in its purest application - literally getting your name all over town. Whether you need 1000 hacky sacks STAT or 500 golf polos emblazoned with your corporate blues, Sam's your man. The opportunity when it comes to swag is huge - name recognition is the name of the game, after all. You have to be the first person people think of and placing your branding in appropriate, clever, and well-received ways on things people will use and value is a DEF way to make that happen.
When he's not slinging swag, Sam's hanging out all over the South Bay, sometimes without the WhatUp crew, but rarely without Reilly, his golden retriever that he's completely obsessed with. He's a Fantasy Football Fanatic (Freak?) and self-professed Bro-fessional. This week he's sharing with us his three tiered system he recommends when it comes to swagifying your brand.
WhatUp, guys! It's SwagSam taking over CommCorner this week (our first guest EVER! -HD) and we're here to talk all about having some mad swag for your brand.
When you hear the word “SWAG” what comes to mind?
My name’s SwagSam. Well, no actually my name is Sam Kabert but my friends call me SwagSam and that’s because I’m all about the SWAG business. I’m not talking about being on the creative team for Old Spice commercials, nor am I talking about modeling my persona after Don Draper who had some mad swagger himself. I'm talking about repping your brand all over town with innovative designs and sick (and slick) swagger. I'm going to tell you how to do promotional products right.
Swag to me is a cooler word that represents the promotional products industry. What are promotional products? So glad you asked…
Promotional Products (AKA SWAG) are products used for branding and advertising purposes. Whether it’s a t-shirt you bought at a concert, that new coffee mug you’ve been eyeing at Starbucks, or a gift that just happens to be branded any and all of these things are promotional products. Every business uses a form of promotional products. In other words, every business needs swag. At the bare minimum you have business cards, don’t you? Well, those are actually consider promotional products.
Trade Show season is upon us, so as you continue reading, I’ll share the 3 levels of trade show Swag along with a Swag starter kit.
SWAG Starter Kit
This is written just as much for the solopreneur as it is for the Fortune 500 companies. All of these categories below can apply to your business. The only difference for you is the quality of the item you end choosing as well as the quantity (read: budget).
T-Shirts as giveaways
Everyone loves a FREE shirt! I personally recommend a cotton/poly t-shirt for two reasons. One they are not too expensive and these are one of the most trending fits right now. When deciding to go the t-shirt route, be mindful of the amount of colors and locations you will use. The more colors/locations printed, the more expensive they will be. Often times you will receive a cotton/poly shirt with a large 1 color / 1 location on the front. That’s the cost-effective route and people love them. You’re probably already thinking of the one you pick out from your drawer and know exactly where it is. Don’t pinch pennies to save dollars, because if you do a Hanes Beefy T most likely your demographic won’t wear it as often as the cotton / poly (and really it’s not much difference in price)
Often times in sports we say “you gotta look good to play good”... look the part. Getting your team a few polo’s and some branded jackets is an investment in the long term. A good SWAG consultant will help you choose corporate clothing based on your company culture.
I’m not a fan of stress balls, pens and I won’t sell you a fidget spinner. I have this concept of a “me too” item. We don’t have the time to get into that here but just know there are both good and bad “me too” items. A fidget spinner is an example of a bad “me too” item IMHO. Having said all this, every company may want to consider having that low cost SWAG item that you can give to anyone and not think about the ROI of the product. It’s just brand exposure. Some of my faves are sticky wallets, computer decals, and bottle openers.
Clients & Prospects
We just wrapped up the holiday season and as your breakroom indicates gifts are plentiful during the holidays. It’s not just during the holidays tho that we gift, we gift throughout the year. Have you been working on getting “in” with that one special prospect that will change the game for your business? Have you thought about a nice branded gift with your company logo on it to remind them of you? Some ideas could be a bean bag for your cell phone so that your brand is with them at their workstation or maybe an on-the-go charger might be your preference. Either way, you can bundle your order here and use your prospect gifts for client gifts as well. If you prefer not to bundle because you have the budget to do both then some good ideas for clients could be a sherpa blanket, BT speaker, even a barware or cutting board set would be nice as well.
3 Levels of Trade Show SWAG
Have you heard of the good, better, and best concept? Basically, when I show clothing to my clients I’ll present options in a good, better and best format. If you didn’t catch on yet, it just means least expensive, reasonable cost, high-end.
I like to apply this same strategy for trade shows…
Remember those “value picks” we talked about earlier? This is a good time to re-use your value pick SWAG for those “trick or treaters” (we’ve all worked a table before and know that there’s a handful of people that come to your booth just get something free… don’t spend too much money here).
I like to use my better items for the people that stop by my booth and engage in conversation. This isn’t to say that I am confident I will be doing business with them, but there’s a shot. Items you could use here are in the $5-10 each range and could be t-shirts, PopSockets, etc
These are the items that you only keep 5 at most on the table. It’s the bright shiny object. You keep these below the table because you really aren’t trying to give them away. These aren’t so much as a giveaway but it’s more of an investment in a future conversation. Have you ever had someone write their cell phone # on the back of their business card when they gave it to you? It made you feel special right? It’s that type of feeling we’re wanting to invoke when gifting these SWAG items.