A young woman in a bright yellow blouse sits at a table in front of an open laptop. She holds up a reusable coffee mug in one hand and uses the other hand to press on the laptop's trackpad. She looks at the laptop's screen with a serious look on her face.
Your employees will likely appreciate company swag that serves a function. Some options are reusable mugs or water bottles, notepads and pens, or tech accessories like headphones. — Getty Images/simonkr

Branded items like apparel, tech accessories, and drinkware are everywhere. Gifting these items to employees as “swag” can work as a wide-reaching marketing tactic and incentivize your employees to promote your business.

Swag — a colloquial term that evolved from an acronym for “stuff we all get” — describes any promotional products a company creates, including stickers given out at an event booth, a branded PR box sent to promote a product launch, and T-shirts for employees and customers to wear at corporate events. Employee swag is merchandise specifically gifted to employees, serving both as marketing material and an employee perk. Companies often gift swag to newly onboarded team members, on company anniversaries, or during the holiday season.

Why you should offer employee swag

Here are a few reasons to offer employee swag to your team:

  • It’s functional. Giving away company swag can be fun and functional. By gifting reusable company water bottles, notepads, pens, or laptop sleeves, you can ensure your team members have what they need while working in the office or at home. Your employees can save the money they would have to spend on those products while you get the marketing and team-building boosts.
  • It helps with team building. Giving new members company swag can help them instantly feel like part of the team. You can even wear company swag during actual team-building activities to amp up the camaraderie.
  • It’s great for brand awareness. Gifting company swag to your employees can have just as many marketing benefits as gifting it to members of the public — and your employees are more likely to hang onto the merch. Having your employees proudly sporting company logos also shows your clients and the public that your team is happy with and proud of the company.

[Read more: Patience and Persistence Lead to Strong Brand Awareness]

Types of employee swag to offer your team

Unique clothing

Employee swag can be more than just your logo on a T-shirt. Think about your company, your brand, your products, and your color scheme. How can you turn those into something interesting and eye-catching your employees would love to wear? Consider hiring a designer or even hosting an in-house contest where one of your team members’ designs will be chosen for your company merch.

Giving new members company swag can help them instantly feel like part of the team.

Office supplies

Most of your employees likely keep a notepad and pen handy for jotting down quick notes. Adding your logo to these types of items makes for a practical swag item that your team will likely use. Other options include branded journals, calendars, sticky notes, or pencil holders.

Remote work accessories

If your employees are working from home part- or full-time, employee swag can be even more useful for connecting the entire team while spicing up their office spaces. Tech like Bluetooth speakers, headphones, or chargers are all great options for company swag that can make working from home easier. As a less expensive alternative, you can print high-quality stickers with your logo that employees can use to customize their tech gadgets.

[Read more: Leading a Hybrid Team? Here’s How to Create and Maintain Your Culture]

Pet accessories

A surefire way to have your employees keep and enjoy your swag is to adapt it for their four-legged friends. Offering branded leashes, tennis balls, and bandanas is a great way to score happy employees and more than a few social media posts. If your workplace is pet-friendly or you know your team members are proud pet lovers, this swag option could be the perfect choice for your company.

Plant pots

If you’re looking to break away from standard promotional items, consider something unique like plant pots with seeds. You can add a note like “Our team grows together” to make it extra special. Your team members can then use their pots as office decor or even gift them to someone with a greener thumb if necessary.

Eco-friendly accessories

Although some company swag may end up in the trash, go the extra mile to ensure your employee swag is treasured by making it sustainable and environmentally friendly. Instead of sticking your logo on just anything, consider putting it on reusable water bottles, travel cases for stainless steel reusable straws, or even collapsible cutlery.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published November 15, 2022