Swag (aka, the random crap people give out at conferences and networking events) is usually fairly generic. Last night I went to a networking event where I was given a gel highlighter, lip balm, a USB drive and a dragonfly. I received the dragonfly exactly as you see it in the photo. There is no business name or contact information on it, but yet it is probably the most effective swag I have ever received.
Most swag is meant to be useful. I use swag all of the time. Looking in the pen jar nearby, I see branded ballpoint pens, a branded Sharpie, the highlighter I received yesterday and a branded ruler/mail opener. But, if you covered up the business name and asked me who gave me what, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. But, I can look at the dragonfly and I immediately remember her business name. I can even picture her face and display. But, remembering her face won;t put me in touch with her. I wanted to see how easy it was to find her contact information. I googled “dragonfly” and “organizing” and the first 4 listings were pages from her website. Clearly, not having a name or contact information on the dragonfly was not a hindrance in locating her business’ information.
Swag, especially the nicer items, can be somewhat expensive, especially when ordered in small quantities. As a crafter, I can tell you that the materials for each dragonfly are cheaper than all but the crappiest swag. The time to make each dragonfly does bring up the cost. But clearly, the beauty of the object is so much more than the sum of its parts. I think she gets more bang for her buck than people who simply purchase nice swag.
I am not suggesting that Swag is not a worthwhile investment for a business. Nor am I advocating that all business owners start crafting their own swag. For most of us, even if we had the time and skills, our business names are not well matched with a hand-crafted item. To be fair to the businesses who gave me the items residing in my pen jar, no one has ever quizzed me on who has given me what. In fact, the reason their names are right there on the items is so I don’t have to remember their business’ names. I just wanted to recognize a business owner who found a creative and beautiful way to market her business.