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Conference and Events Swag 

We’ve all been to a conference or event and come home with a bag of goodies.   

And then we go through them like a child looking through their birthday gifts to see what is worth keeping and what will, unfortunately, be consigned to the bin (you know what I mean!). 

So how can you ensure that the conference or event swag you plan to give away doesn’t get chucked away in disgust?

Read on and we will share our advice. 


These always go down well, especially if they have many pages and are lined paper. I love good ring-bound or hardback notebooks. Make sure they are branded to see your details every time somebody looks at them. 

Pens and pencils 

Again, always a winner. Again, make sure they are branded, and please try and get the best quality you can. Nothing is worse than giving a poor-quality pen that will end up in the bin. 


There’s always lots of food given away at conferences and events and it’s a great way to bring people to your stand.

Remember that other people will be giving food away, so you’ve got to compete in a crowded market. If possible, make it so it can be taken home and eaten later.

If you provide cupcakes or other handmade goods, give some way of getting them home, not just a napkin. You don’t want your lovingly created cupcake and icing to be squashed all over the inside of somebody’s bag.

Make sure you add in any allergies and ingredients so people can make an informed decision about eating the food provided. 


Everybody is more environmentally friendly these days, and using a bag for life or something seems a great way to promote your business at an event. It also means attendees can carry their goodies around in your branded bag.

Whether you go for a paper bag, a compostable plastic bag, or a fabric bag is up to you and may depend on cost. Whichever way – make sure they are branded. 


I’ve been to many conferences where glasses of fizz are given away on stands or small bottles of fizz or even mini bottles of gin, rum and other alcoholic drinks, which is a great idea. 

Many of these bottles are not branded; when you get them home, there is no way of knowing where they came from other than the manufacturer. They are missing a trick!  Also, many people no longer drink alcohol or have driven to the event, so they have to say no thank you and you end up with a lot of alcohol to take home.

Consider a non-alcoholic version; you may have a bigger uptake in your freebie. If you are giving a bottle of something to take home, try and get it branded, or at the very least, tie a business card around the neck. 

Mobile chargers

These are brilliant! Everybody needs to charge their phone, iPads etc.; having a small charger cable in your bag can be a God send.

The number of clients I have helped out when their phone has died and they haven’t brought a charger has been huge. Try and get one with multiple options on the end so you can charge various devices and, of course, get it branded. 

Sweets and mini chocolates 

This is the easy option, isn’t it (but we love an easy option)? You buy a big bag of sweets or a tub of chocolates, put them in a nice bowl on your table or stand, and people come along to help themselves and leave with a smile.

But as with the drinks, they are not branded other than by the manufacturer. Why not put them into a small drawstring bag and tie your business card or a sticker? Alternatively, you can add them into small boxes, again with your business card or a sticker. 

Unidentified items 

This is an odd one but at a recent event, I was given two small packets with no label on either and it wasn’t easy to tell what was in the packet. When I opened them, I discovered one was coffee and the other was potpourri.

Both were very nice and welcoming, but a small sticker telling me what was included in the packets would have been helpful.  Also, some branding because I have no idea which company gave either of these packets to me.

Things slightly different, like potpourri or coffee, are a great way to get your brand and business talked about as long as you give people the information to do this. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. 


Believe it or not, I was given a straw trilby at a recent event, and I will wear this in the summer when I need some shade as it is tastefully branded, and I will not feel uncomfortable wearing it. 

Baseball hats are another great way to give something different to the attendees. 

Be mindful that people will have to carry these, and while I didn’t mind wearing mine around the event as it was a talking point, not everybody will want to do that. Also, be aware that if your hat is bright and fully branded, people may not feel comfortable wearing this in public. 

USB sticks 

We do still use these in business. As everyone is more environmentally aware, these are a great way to get your information out to delegates without printing out reams of paper and having huge booklets about your services that will no doubt end up in the bin.

They have a multifunction by sharing the information but can also be used by the delegate to store their own information if needed. You can get these in all shapes and sizes, but as I keep saying, make sure it is branded. 

Water bottles 

Everyone needs a water bottle, especially to try and reduce single-use plastics. But water bottles come in all shapes and sizes, sports, with pop-up straws, insulated etc.

If they are branded and of good quality, they will get used repeatedly. I have two that I have had for a long time now and they go all over the place with me as they are such good quality. 

The above is a small selection of the conference swag I’ve received lately. Having looked through promotional goods catalogues in the past, I know there are many promotional items that people can choose and use for their events.  

What swag have you received that’s been the best, the worst or the strangest – I would love to know. 

And remember, we can help you with your swag, from designing a card to attach to the bottle or a sticker to go onto the cupcake box to researching the products themselves, so give us a call before you plan your next event. 

HOME – Crescent VA