The Best Swag for Your Event

Posted by Mara Ferguson on 10/14/19, 2:28 PM

It's October. So naturally, we're looking nine months out and thinking about our annual symposium, aptly named ZingPosium. Determining the content we'll share and theme of the event are important, but something else we'll be spending a lot of time thinking about is the Swag we'll give to attendees. 

Swag stands for "Something We All Get". The harder task at hand is finding the right thing... the SWAW, it's something I just made up "Something We All Want"

Our Trainers and Keynote speakers spend a lot of time on the road and at conferences, which means that we've managed to acquire a lot of Swag over our 25+ years in this business. As we think about the free goodies that our customers will actually use and love, we decided to crowdsource for inspiration.

After asking around ZingTrain office about favorite swag and why we love it so much, here are the some best pieces of swag we've ever received:

1. Tiny recycling bin from Republic Services

...from the Desk of Mara Ferguson, ZingTrain Keynote Liaison

Recycle BinWho doesn't love mini things? Puppies, babies, tiny bottles of ketchup and hot sauce with room service -it's all adorable - so why not a cute recycling bin? 

I'm not even sure where this Republic Services bin came from but it's so cute and useful that I've held on to it for at least 6 years. In fact, it's been on my desk so long that it has served multiple purposes. 

At one time it was simply a decoration or "flare". Then I put it to use but stashing work receipts in it so they didn't get lost in the shuffle. However, after learning the truth about batching, it now acts as a business card archive for all my friends I've met along the way. 

#ilovesominithings / #philosophicallyaligned / #useful / #conversationstarter 

 

2. Lei

…from the desk of Maggie Bayless, ZingTrain Founder and Co-Managing Partner

Lei

Leis are a traditional Hawaiian gift given to honor guests.  Most are made of fresh flowers and are beautiful but short-lived. This lei is made of lacquered nuts and seeds and has been hanging on a hook by my desk for the past several years.  It reminds me of all the work we've done with long-time ZingTrain client, the Ho Aloha Ekolu family of businesses in Lahaina, and the connection that has built between our two organizations.  Additionally, it can lift my spirits when the Michigan winter is getting me down and I am reminded of the sun, sand, ocean and beauty of Maui.

 

3. Cord Organizer

Cord Organizer…from the desk of Arianna Tellez, ZingTrain Trainer

This powerful piece of swag came to me indirectly via Mara! It was on her desk and really spoke to me before I even knew what it was. When used as intended, it holds cords of all sizes in a pleasant bundle, keeping said cord from self-entanglement. Bonus usage: when your headphones are in your ears, it's a soft, stretchy toy with a crisply satisfying snapping sound. It's a fidget toy and organizer all in one!

#organized #nomoreheadphoneknots #itsasnap

 

4. Umbrella from United Physicians

...From the desk of Timo Anderson, ZingTrain Trainer

Umbrella from United Physicians

 

I wasn't sure I would ever use this umbrella I received from United Physicians, but I thought it might fit in my carry-all work bag so I took it.

It has made me comfortable venturing out on training gigs without a worry because I have a wonderfully functional, subtle branded, and quality umbrella that fits just along the interior side of my bag.

 

 

 

5. Totes

...from the desk of Elnian Gilbert, ZingTrain Trainer & Keynote Speaker

Totes

I LOVE getting tote bags as swag!  They're extremely functional, durable, and most importantly, they remind of the fantastic folks we get to work with.  When I look at the Lexington Co-op bag, I remember being above a Thai restaurant in Buffalo, NY, working with leaders to help develop training systems.  When I see the Monadnock Food Co-op bag, I can picture myself on cold January days, co-leading a series of workshop in Keene, NH with many familiar, friendly faces!   Each of these bags has a story, and every time I use them, I fondly recall the training that they're associated with.  

 

6. Acupressure Ring

...from the desk of Emily Sandelands, ZingTrain Community Builder

Acupressure RingI remember when Liz Wilder from Anthony Wilder spoke at last year's ZingPosium and gave out these branded acupressure rings, I was immediately taken with their design. After all, anything that a designer gives away as swag is guaranteed to be monumentally cool, right? I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only was the ring beautiful, it was also extremely practical! I am a firm believer in the benefits of acupressure and this ring really and truly works! In fact, I liked it so much that I went out and bought 6 more to give out to my family and friends as gifts.

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So what can you take away from this blog post?

  • Not all swag is good swag.
  • When swag is great, it'll live on for years.
  • Branding is important, but should be subtle.
  • It doesn’t have to be super useful. Meaning & sentimental value go a long way!

Share with us: What's the best swag you've ever received?

 

Mara Ferguson

Written by Mara Ferguson

Mara is a one-woman speaker's bureau for the organization. A Zingerman's ambassador. Conference Rat. Manager of ZingTrain Speaker Series. Good source of organizational knowledge. Specifically, she works with Presenters and Speakers entering and leaving the building. From the moment someone engages us about a keynote, she works with them to find the best speaker for their event and manages the details throughout the entire process. Mara's favorite part of her job? Working with someone over email and phone - building a great working relationship - and then meeting them at the event! She finds it exciting and fulfilling to get to shake their hand and actually meet someone that she's worked so closely with over the six months before the event takes place. When she's not at work, Mara enjoys walks and hikes with her husband and their dog-hter, putzing around the kitchen, listening to good music with the sun on her face, travel and whatever random art or home project moves her.

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