Conference Giveaways That Create Buzz Around Your Brand

Make an Impression at Your Next Conference

cool conference with swag giveaways

At most conferences and trade shows, exhibitors often hand out swag to attendees. These conference giveaways are a form of tactile marketing aimed at increasing brand awareness, enhancing engagement, and fostering positive brand sentiment. 

Conference swag giveaways are a classic marketing strategy that has stood the test of time. But what’s changed is the type of giveaways or promotional swag items that exhibitors use to communicate their message. 

To truly stand out at a busy conference, your swag giveaways need to resonate with attendees in a worthwhile way. In other words, you want attendees to think “Now that’s cool!” when handed your swag.

What the Best Conference Giveaways Have in Common

trade show conference giveaway swag

To leave a lasting impression on attendees and maximize the marketing potential of your conference swag, the best giveaways have a few things in common. Consider these qualities to transform a simple piece of promotional merchandise into a powerful marketing tool:

  • Practicality: The most effective trade show swag items are those that attendees can use in their daily lives. For example, reusable water bottles or quality tech accessories like portable battery packs can become staples in an attendee's routine, serving as constant reminders of your brand.
  • Engagement: Interactive or fun items that engage attendees on a personal level tend to be more memorable. Think of items that can start a conversation, such as a unique puzzle related to your industry or a gadget that showcases your product's capabilities.
  • Branding: While it's crucial to include your logo and brand colors, the best swag items do so in a tasteful and subtle way that doesn’t detract from the item's utility. Overbranding can make an item less likely to be used. Aim for a design that integrates your branding seamlessly but in a balanced manner.
  • Personalization: When possible, personalized swag items can have a huge impact. Even simple personalization, such as including the conference name and date or allowing for individual customization, can make the giveaway much more special and memorable.
  • Sustainability: Eco-friendly swag items resonate well with today’s environmentally-conscious attendees. Items made from sustainable or recyclable materials not only reflect well on your brand’s values but also appeal to a broad audience. 
  • Exclusivity: Offering items that feel exclusive or premium can make your swag highly sought after. Limited edition items, or products that are not easily found elsewhere, add a layer of value and desirability. This approach can turn your giveaways into coveted possessions, further elevating your brand's status.

Incorporating these elements into your branded conference giveaways can elevate your presence and create a buzz that extends beyond the event itself.

Ideas & Examples of Cool Conference Giveaways

cool custom conference giveaways at Garnier booth

There is no shortage of conference swag ideas for promotional merchandise to give away. But the truth is that most giveaways are lame and often forgotten about (or worse, end up in a landfill). 

Having been in the business of promotional swag for decades, I’ve come to learn what grabs people’s attention and provides lasting utility, and subsequently, brand remembrance. Here are a few of my favorite conference giveaway ideas that work.

Portable Chargers & Battery Packs at SXSW

SXSW Austin Conference Capitol

South by Southwest (SXSW)–which is one the biggest conferences that takes place in Austin every March–is a celebration of tech, film, music, education, and culture. Here, exhibitors need to be creative to stand out among tech-savvy attendees. 

Of the conference giveaways and swag item ideas that flourished at 2024's SXSW were fanny packs and portable chargers/battery packs. The people have spoken, and fanny packs are lifesavers at conferences that require a lot of foot travel. But what’s just as important as having a carrying pack to carry your phone and gadgets is keeping these devices charged.

Custom-branded wireless phone charger conference giveaways

Custom-branded wireless phone chargers are a practical swag idea for any conference, but especially for those with tech-minded attendees. With 2 USB ports for charging your devices, these portable battery packs not only charge phones but can power anything that requires a USB input.

T-Shirt Giveaways at College Fairs & Conferences like NACAC

college conference giveaways featuring BookWear

Want your school, college, or university to stand out at college fairs and other academic-related conferences? Quality t-shirts are a hit. But the keyword is quality. No one wants to wear stiff-fitting, synthetic fabrics with a distasteful design.

At BookWear, we’ve worked with a number of colleges and university admissions teams to help elevate their student recruitment efforts. Whether they’re attending NACAC College Fairs or the EducationUSA Forum, handing out school-branded t-shirts is an effective swag idea that never goes out of style.

BookWear’s custom compressed t-shirts are unique in that they come in small book-like deliverables. At a glance, these giveaways look and feel like a thick postcard, but inside is a t-shirt gift. There’s no better way to get your message across and engage with prospective students.  

Lip Balm & Hand Sanitizer at SEMA Show

SEMA Show Conference Las Vegas

One of the largest and most attended business conferences in the US is SEMA Show, an event that brings 160,000 attendees and 2,400 exhibitors to Las Vegas every fall. The conference swag ideas with the highest IQ are practical items that attendees can use immediately.

In the dry Las Vegas desert, lip balm will make your booth the show’s favorite by the second or third day. Attendees’ chapped lips will be begging for relief, and your creative take on a conference giveaway will be the hero of the event. Branded with your logo, lip balm swag makes a memorable impression that associates your brand with positive vibes and creative thinking.

Hand Sanitizer Conference Giveaways Swag

Just as practical but not limited to conferences located in the desert is custom-branded hand sanitizer. Sure, the cleanliness factor may not be as compelling as it was during the pandemic, but hand sanitizer still offers a simple and useful giveaway item that conference attendees will surely use.

Custom-Branded Conference Giveaways with BookWear

Custom-Branded Conference Giveaways with BookWear

Go beyond the cumbersome swag bags or boring giveaway ideas at your next conference. Let us help you design cool conference giveaways that are custom-branded to your needs. We offer several different products, each of which can be delivered via a uniquely designed ‘book’ we call BookWear. These giveaways make a novel impression at conferences, trade shows, and other events where standing out and engaging with attendees is paramount. To get in touch and request a free sample, contact us.

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