The Psychology of Company Swag

May 17, 2021

The Psychology of Company Swag

If I gave you a crystal ball—one that told you the future of successful company swag products—that would be powerful, right?

You could motivate your staff with the ideal recognition gifts, choose the perfect employee on-boarding pack, have trade show giveaways everyone stood in line for and send holiday promotions that really work!

But most of all, you would have an instant advantage over the competition.

That’s powerful.

The truth is, I don’t have a crystal ball to give you. I have something better.


The Psychology of Swag

When you reach out in search of promotional products, your options seem limitless. But ah, with options there are decisions.

According to Nir Eyal, who has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design School and authored several books including Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, there are three core motivators that drive most behavior.

  1. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
  2. Seeking hope and avoiding fear.
  3. Seeking social acceptance while avoiding social rejection.

When you understand how each motivator helps you choose your products, it’s more powerful than any crystal ball. Let’s take a look at how to use them.


The Right Product Means Everyone Wins

Is there anything more painful than watching a marketing promotion tank?

We’ve all witnessed the trade show booth that sat with stacks of promo products untouched and people passing without a second glance.

Or how about that look on your colleague’s face when the boss hands her a gift certificate to the best steak house in town to say thanks for a job well done…but she’s vegetarian?

It’s brutal.

Knowing who you are marketing to—and how your gifts will be received, ensures that you don’t miss the mark. It’s a lot more fun and definitely shows your company in a better light.

So let’s turn that around. What if her boss had searched Eco Friendly promotional items? Everyone wins! Your colleague would probably love the Eco-Friendly Journal Pen Set, or one of the cool tech Mobile Chargers with a sustainable bamboo case, for example. They are more in line with her personal beliefs.

But more important, the perception of your company as being in touch and sensitive to the experience of their employees can go a long way when it’s time to recruit staff.


When the Job of Buying Falls to You

How many times have you been tasked with the job of finding the perfect promo items?

It seems like such a small thing, but no one wants to be responsible for telling the boss why the company trade show booth was the one everyone ignored.

It wasn’t memorable. It wasn’t relevant. It wasn’t eye-catching. Or even worse, it offered exactly what everyone else was offering, and you didn’t stand out in the crowd.

The fear of choosing the wrong trade show giveaways is very real. It can make or break your campaign if you don’t research your market, pair it with a relevant and useful product, and match it to your brand.

And making the wrong choice will definitely trigger that pain option we just talked about!

So let’s offer a little hope. A reputable company should offer assistance in helping you make your decisions. PROMOrx, for example, is a phone call away when you need advice. With 20 years in the business, the team has a lot of experience in targeting the right audience with the right product, and branding you as a professional in the process.

It’s okay to let go of the fear of choosing. You can relax knowing your choice is going to have exactly the intended results.


The Social Connection to Branded Products

company swag

There is a synergy between today’s buyers and technology. We all love our cool tech gadgets and at the same time we crave privacy that still other tech products provide.

That cycle feeds not just our social networks but how we personally interact with tech. Did you know that 1 in 4 of you check your phones immediately after waking up? We are addicted to the social connection that tech provides.

Social perception is equally important in the marketing and promotional world.

If you’re worried about how your company is perceived when you send a holiday promo, or even a simple customer appreciation gift, just know that there is a social connection to the products you choose. Remember the boss who gave his vegetarian employee a steak?

It’s a very human thing to seek social approval. No one wants the social rejection of being “that guy” or "that girl."

Our advice is to know your target audience. Make sure the company swag or trade show giveaways you provide are not just functional and useful, but also speak to relevant social beliefs. (Hint: Sustainable, recycled and eco-friendly swag products are here to stay.)


Your Personal Crystal Ball

It’s true, you have some decisions to make.

If you want the instant power that only a crystal ball can give, take time to study what motivates your audience and keeps them loyal. Then, find out how to use that information to personalize your event.

Start with a goal in mind and then make sure you’re providing something that gives true pleasure.

Once you’ve selected, empower your employees, clients and future customers to get social with products that have your brand name and your unique message.

Because the right corporate swag, combined with the right message is the true power.