Are Your Trade Show Giveaways Creating a Brand Disconnect?

A tech writer I’m connected with on Twitter posted her branded merchandise takeaways, aka 'schwag' or 'swag', from a trade show she was attending. I tweeted and asked what she was keeping and what she was dumping.

Keep list: Bottle opener, tote bag, journal, sunglasses, flashlight, mints

Dump list: Several cheap pens, a small microfiber cleaning cloth, t-shirt,


screen cleaner


Another social media connection, a popular high-traffic blogger who attended SXSW in Austin, posted a similar photo of his trade show swag. I asked the same question: what made it back home?

Keep list: Mobile phone charger, logoed USB drive, stylus pen, backpack, t-shirt, screen cleaner

Dump list: pink tote bag,cheap flashlight, bad-tasting breath mints, plastic pens, sunglasses


What does this tell you about the promotional products that are right for your brand? Details count.

The tech writer kept sunglasses and the SXSW attendee dumped a pair. From looking at the pictures, I can tell you the dumped pair was dollar store variety and the pair kept were in a great case, but not sure of pricing. The pair in the case could have been junk, but the perceived value was higher because of the case.

A flashlight, tote bag, screen cleaning cloth, or pens can all be great giveaways.
So why did some hit the trashcan while others stayed in the prospects’ hands?

Quality. There are lots of choices when walking the trade show floor. When you get back to your room, it’s like sorting Halloween candy--you’re going to keep the ‘creme de la creme’. 

Your goal should be to have useful promotional items that enhance your brand and will make it back to the office or homes of your clients and prospects--not to the trash can or recycling bin. 

If your brand’s items or services aren’t cheap, your trade show giveaways shouldn’t give that impression either.

A plastic mobile charger that will barely charge an old iPhone may be budget friendly, but is a brand disconnect if you’re selling six figure priced computer software, are an executive level recruiting firm or a top university’s MBA program.

Contact us for a free 15 minute branded giveaways consultation.  888.553.9569 or email sales at PROMOrx dot com

Author: Vickie MacFadden, the PROMOrx.com owner. I'm a tell it like it is Southerner who loves apple butter (when there's enough cinnamon), red convertibles and the color purple. I'm into details which is a huge asset in the promotional products business! 


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.