Ideas for Corporate gift bags and swag bags

event gift bagsGiveaways, promotional products, corporate swag, gift bags, whichever name you choose they all stand for one and the same thing – free stuff given at events in order to promote the company (that’s why they usually come with a brand name on them).

In the last couple of years, swag bags drew a lot of criticism. Most of it connected with environmental issues. People become fed up with companies printing heavy catalogs and handing out promotional products both of which end in the trash as soon as the event ends. Something which aimed at promoting the company turned out to not only be ineffective, but even harmful.

With that criticism in mind, we have to begin with some general guidelines and best practices for event swag before we get to the actual list of possible items.

general guidelines

Quality over quantity

You don’t always have to come up with something extremely original or unique when creating your swag bag. Sometimes the simplest things work best. There is always one condition though, they need to be of good quality. So if you want to distribute pens, pencils or notebooks, you can do it, but make sure they are reliable.

You want your giveaways to have a lasting effect on the people who take them home and you have to agree that that’s pretty impossible when the pen they got ran out of ink the next day.

Think about the environment

Even if you decide to go with the standard corporate swag such as office-goods or t-shirts, there are still ways to be more eco-friendly within those areas. You can choose organic cotton for your company t-shirts instead of the regular one. There’s also a whole new market of organic writing instruments – bamboo pens, pencils, styluses, notebooks and event desk organizers. You can even find bamboo USB flash drives.

Think of the message

What you put in your event gift bag not only should be of good quality and eco-friendly, it should also be in line with the message you want to send as a company. If your company takes pride in promoting a healthy lifestyle among employees or it’s a key part of your CSR, distributing high-carb sweets goes directly against your values.

Practical Ideas

practical ideas for corporate gift bags

Event survival kit

Think of your event and ask yourself what might your average attendee need during it. Using this approach you can come up with a ton of useful ideas e.g. sunglasses if the event is in a very sunny place, or an umbrella if it’s in a rainy location. You should also look at what the day of your attendee might look like if you know you’re guests will be coming home on a late flight why not give them energy bars?

What seems like a good idea is giving your attendees reusable water bottles. It’s much more convenient way than holding open plastic cups and for sure far more dressy. What’s important – it lets your attendees stay hydrated during the conference. After all it’s easy to forget about drinking water when you’re in a rush moving from one panel to another.

Professional books

Choosing books as a part of your gift bag shows that you care about the growth and well-being of your visitors. Choose books which align with your brand and industry and are read by your colleagues. Maybe you can even find books which have inspired your company’s approach to sales or marketing. You don’t have to go with the latest publications. Everyone will appreciate a classic, recognized professional book on their shelf.

Extra: Since carrying books around might be a bit tiring, you can always provide your audience with access codes to professional ebooks. You can look for best ebook deals and recommendations at Goodreads.com.

Smartphone accessories

This category has become a must at a lot of events. No wonder, people simply love gadgets that go well with their smartphones, and there are so many options to choose from. You can distribute power banks and USB chargers (also a part of the survival-kit!), kickstands and magnetic phone holders. Not to mention the classic 2 in 1 pen and styluses. The latest trend is the adhesive card pockets that you can attach right to the back of your smartphone.

Extra: If you want more sophisticated and fresh ideas, you can always go to kickstarter.com or indiegogo.com and find something really remarkable!

Retro games and stress relievers

No, I don’t think that handing out fidget spinners as part of your gift bag is a good idea, but there are similar things that might be. Stress relieving toys come in all shapes, sizes and colours and you will definitely find one that is right for your audience.

You can also go with classic games such as the yo-yo or a Rubik’s cube, you can also try some modern brain-racking, puzzle toys. And even if your guests don’t use it themselves, they can always give it to their kids, that way everything stays in the family.

The experience

If you aren’t sure whether your swag is good enough and won’t be thrown away after the conference – offer an experience. It makes a great value for today’s attendees. For example, you could include a voucher for a special, VIP part of your event, or tickets to an attraction nearby. This chiefly works well for event destinations full of attractions like big cities.

Something in traditional way

Yes, traditional. While attendees seek swag or even hipster gadgets don’t leave all office-related swag items off the table. People still love usual solutions like smart moleskines, business card holders or cases. What’s more, they need it in everyday work. But to make these things do a job, they must be made of good quality and your brand on them shouldn’t stick out too much.

Premium foods or snacks

There are some events where a traditional swag bag is not enough. Prestigious events with VIPs among their guests require something special. In those cases, it is really good to consider choosing some premium snacks or drinks. A bottle of good quality wine will do, especially if it’s given in a nice wooden box. Good coffee in the shape of cold brew served in a fancy bottle or coffee-flavored snacks containing caffeine, that give your audience a boost of energy during day-long attendance also sound appealing, don’t they?

You can also try and think outside the box, look for some local specialties and amaze your guests with tastes they have never tried before. Maybe try something simple, but in offbeat way. People like things that they don’t see everyday. Usual snacks served in intriguing packaging may even get your attendees talking about it giving thereby a reason to network around your company or brand.

Don’t forget about your speakers

When it comes to gifts, you shouldn’t forget about your speakers. The proper giveaway you will hand out to your speaker can create an indicator of your appreciation of the hard work they carried out during the event. But the art of gifting is not easy, especially in business relations. The most important as well as the simplest solution seems to be official thanks, but it’s just a bare minimum. Try to think outside the box, be creative. Do you need some ideas to get inspired? Check our guidelines for gifting conference speakers.


Swag Bags are a great way to show people you appreciated their presence at your Meeting / Event / Conference / etc., but swag bags have this effect only if they are done correctly. So, If you would like to read about good practices please let us know, for example in the comment section 😉

PS. If you have any pro tips on how we can improve this article (based on your experience) – you are very welcome to share your ideas with us!

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