As you gear up for in-person events, you might be wondering what modern swag bag ideas will still work.

Swag bags might not be the main reason for professionals to gather together—but they sure can stir up delight, conversations, and talk on social media. 

Whether you’re ready for 100% in-person events or if you’re wanting to send swag to virtual event attendees, tasteful free stuff can bring a smile to any face. The key is to put thought into your gifts so your branded items get used for a long time (versus being dumped in the trash.)

When in doubt about branded gear, it’s always a good idea to look for examples. This is why we’ve put together this list of 10 swag bag ideas. 

live event production kit

10 Swag Bag Ideas To Use At Your Next Event

1. Moleskins, Rocketbooks, or other professional notebooks

Yes, people actually still use notebooks. Taking notes via pencil and paper seems like a lost art considering that it’s less work to just snap a photo of a presentation slide with your smartphone. However, people actually still jot down notes the old school way, and it’s been shown that taking notes by hand helps to improve retention rates.

Notebooks can be left on the seats, so that they’re ready for use the minute attendees sit down for a lecture or conference.

If you want to provide attendees with a more forward thinking solution, Moleskin has teamed up with Evernote to create a notebook that integrates with Evernote’s note taking app. Or for a more tech-inspired approach, team up with Rocketbook

2. Promotional T-Shirts

There are many great swag bag ideas out there, but promotional t-shirts can be one of the best. The secret is creating a t-shirt that your guests will actually want to wear. Avoid simply placing the event name or logo on the front of the shirt, instead try to create a clever product the fits with the theme of the event.

For example, the software company InVision, gives their most valuable customers a shirt with the words “Design Makes Everything Possible” on the front. This is a saying that customers can relate to, since InVision’s software makes it easy to design prototypes.

InVision could have simply just placed their logo the shirt, but instead they created something unique, meaning that those who received the shirt actually wear it. Demand was so great for these shirts, that InVision actually created an ecommerce store to accompany their software platform.

3. Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable water bottles are one of the best swag bag ideas because they’re relatively cheap to acquire, and people actually use them. There is another advantage with water bottles: they are a much more eco-friendly alternative to disposable water bottles.

If you’re organizing an event takes place in an eco-friendly event venue, then providing reusable water bottles for event attendees can be a great option to bring one of the themes of your event together. 

4. Food-Based Gift Items

Consider fancily wrapped food items that guests can either consume or give away as gifts. This can be any type of non-perishable food, such as cookies, caramel popcorn, chocolate pretzels, etc.

This is a particularly good swag bag idea if you want to provide VIP guests with something special. Fine non-perishable foods provide recipients with a feeling of being well taken care of, which is exactly the feeling you want your VIPs to have.

Be sure to feature your event logo in the food packaging if possible, to help create brand awareness among potential industry influencers.

5. Well Designed Coffee Mugs

Business people need coffee to live. It’s an unquestionable fact of life for many. Why not capitalize on our dependence on java by providing event attendees with a unique looking coffee mug they can use each day?

During TechsyTalk Live, organizers provided attendees with a branded coffee mug featuring their bright brand colors on the inside and outside of the cup.

Not all swag bag ideas have to be completely new for your attendees to love them. The key is to make sure that the item is well designed, so that recipients feel like they’re getting something valuable. A coffee mug that looks plain, will be tossed aside, but a colorful mug might be used for years after your event.

6. Fashionable Sunglasses

It just so happens that disposable sunglasses are quite fashionable these days. If you’re hosting an event in a warm climate, than providing attendees with some stylish shades that include the name of the event on the side of the glasses, can be a great swag bag item.

Uber has been known to give away a pair of good-looking sunglasses at some of their events. The glasses even include a fabric case with the event name on it. This helps to keep the Uber brand top of mind, while also providing recipients with a useful pair of shades.

7. USB Chargers Or Adapters

You can never own enough USB chargers these days, this is especially true for event attendees on the road who are constantly worried about keeping their devices charged. Providing guests with a usb charger, or an adapter that helps them charge a number of different devices can be a great way of providing them with a useful swag bag item.

When selecting a charger or adapter, keep in mind that Apple products will eventually reject non-Apple approved products. So consider trying to find a pre-approved charger or adapter to prolong the functionality of the swag.

8. Health Products

After a global pandemic, businesses are prioritizing the physical and mental health of their employees and partners. From branded hand sanitizer spray to exercise products, the products you choose to put in your swag bag will depend on your audience. Some prospects will appreciate at-home spa supplies, while others will want to try new vitamin supplements or sleep aids, like a nice pack of tea. 

Though these products won’t last as long as sweatshirts or reusable water bottles, you can get your pro-health message across on the packaging. 

Deloitte exampleSource

This Deloitte bag with little brain-shaped gummies says, “Make your mental health a priority.” This could be replaced with anything—bath bombs, candles, or more.

9. Something for kids

When people leave their families to travel for work events, it’s nice to bring home a stuffed animal or small game for their kids. 

Salesforce teddy bear

A stuffed bear or game of cards can easily fit in a suitcase, and will bring enjoyment for years to come. For event-goers who don’t have kids, little fun items like this are still fun to place on a desk.

10. Donations to Charity

Sometimes the most valuable gift is a special experience, a meal with loved ones, or the feeling of contributing to something good.

Conference donation swag tweetSource: Twitter

Donating to charity on behalf of participants can be an effective way to build up positive and memorable associations with a brand. This type of gift is especially doable if your event is taking place virtually or using a hybrid format. 

Instead of thinking about giving items that may not be appreciated, let participants take part in something meaningful. Looking for an organization to help coordinate a swag donation program? Alyce will help you make corporate giving a reality while also matching the donations to the top donated-to organization of the quarter.

Remember Your Audience

Different events and brands will call for different swag. After all, attendees at a medical conference will be interested in swag that’s a bit different from attendees going to a startup event.

If you stay true to your brand and event branding, while keeping in mind what buyers find enjoyable, useful, and purposeful, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful gift for your prospects.

Are you ready for next generation events? Learn how to drive return and delight your guests at in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.

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