printed bags for events
November 30, 2014

The secret to a successful company giveaway bag

Our guide to creating a goodie bag that doesn’t end up in the bin

Image by workturn

Whether you’ve just been handed a leaflet or a company giveaway bag, there’s always that moment when you think ‘do I need this extra clutter in my life?’ The answer is invariably ‘no’ and that company’s attempt at branding ends up in the bin.

This is not to say that giveaway bags aren’t an important part of branding – they just need to be creative. Research by BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) found 55% of respondents felt more favourable towards a brand after receiving a promotional item, while 79% said it would increase the chance of them buying from that brand in the future.

What your giveaway bag needs to communicate

Creating a giveaway bag isn’t as simple as popping a pen and some sweets in a bag. There’s no point just giving out seemingly random branded items, without these items having some connection with your customers, your brand, your products or your location.

Ask yourself what you want to communicate with your bag. A good bag should deliver something people would actually want and something they will remember, share or discuss. The idea has to stick, even if the gift itself is something as perishable as a slice of cake.

You first need to establish a clear theme for your giveaway bag. It’s important to pick something unique to your brand, which reflects your values. If you think about it, a giveaway bag is just another opportunity to communicate with your potential customers.

The difference between what’s binned and what is kept

Sometimes the best way to measure the success of an event is to look in the bin. If, amidst crisp packets and tissues, you find a large amount of company giveaway bags, it might be safe to assume that it didn’t go to plan.

An article on Event Manager Blog shows this in action. The author searched the rubbish bins of a venue hotel to discover that they were filled with branded goodies.

His bin-rummaging research showed that these items were the most likely to be kept (in order of likelihood):

  • Attendee-specific information
  • Electronics such as headphones
  • Attractive clothing e.g. clothing which is notplastered in your brand name and logo
  • Anything aimed at children

On the other hand, items whose short lifespan ended abruptly by being shoved in a bin included: anything super-branded, low quality items and excessively large leaflets or guides.

So, what does this tell us? People don’t want to be haunted by a brand every day following the event with super-branded stationary, nor do they need large amounts of paper, which they’ll only have to recycle a week later.

Therefore, it’s important to pick something which is interesting, attractive and genuinely useful. Keep your branding to your bags, and free up the space inside for genuinely useful freebies to convey your brand message. Here are some of our favourite ideas for practical gifts:

  • Digital downloads – this could be something related to your business or a something more light-hearted like a music download
  • Umbrellas – everyone knows umbrellas break in the slightest breeze, so having a replacement can be very handy. Ensure the design is fun and interesting – and not just your logo across the canopy
  • Mug – these are always useful but you still have to make sure the design is interesting
  • Packets of seeds – this is an unusual but great idea if you want to boost your eco-credentials

However, another tactic you can use is to opt for something edible – after all, it’s better to be eaten and enjoyed than thrown away and ignored.

The benefits of edible treats

When it comes to branded goodies, how many pens and t-shirts does one person need? On the other hand, when it comes to cake, it’s a case of the more the merrier.

If you’re thinking of including foodie treats, learn from the goodie bags you liked to receive as a child at the end of a party – invariably these were packed with sugary delights.

However, opting to include edible treats is not the ‘easy option’ – you still need to choose a treat which conveys something about your business.

A good example of this is the National Football Museum in Manchester. When the museum opened their goodie bags contained chocolate whistles, which were a clever chocolaty twist on the football theme.

The whistles were photographed, shared and tweeted about, helping to raise the profile of the event considerably.

Another great example of this is SCM Pharma whose edible giveaways made an impact at one of the biggest exhibitions in the pharmaceutical contract manufacturing calendar.

To work alongside their super-hero marketing campaign, their stand was filled with the smells of the cinema. The pharmaceutical brand gave out popcorn and sweets – and the smell alone drew huge crowds to their stand.

This idea worked because it was based on a theme they’d already embraced, but just took it a step further. Plus, it was a slightly out of the ordinary choice, which helped it to stick in the minds of potential clients. And besides, if the popcorn didn’t last long, the smell did.

They say the way to someone heart is through their stomach, and this is certainly often true of shoppers or potential clients.

Obvious choices like sweets and cakes can work well if they tie in with a theme. For example, cakes work particularly well if you want to add a touch of ‘Great British Bake Off’ British-ness to your brand.

However, this doesn’t work best for every company and sometimes it’s best to think outside the box and opt for some more unusual treats. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Individually wrapped tea bags or small sachets of filter coffee – ideal for if you want appeal to office workers.
  • Breakfast ideas like sachets of cereal – great if you want to associate your brand with healthy living
  • Herbs and spices – ideal for appealing to foodies, offering exotic herbs and spices can associate your brand with a sense of adventure and luxury lifestyle
  • Tortilla chips with dip – not everyone is fan of sweet things, so offering a crunchy and spicy combination of tortilla chips and salsa could help your brand stand out.

The personal touch

Although it’s not always possible, personalising your goodie bag can really increase the chances of it being kept. If you know the attendees’ names, it’s worth creating bags or gifts bearing their name.

If you can’t go as far as completely personalising the bags, you could try creating bags with slightly different designs, or with different goodies inside. If people have picked the bag they like best, they’re more likely to take it home.

On top of this, it’s important to get the bag itself right. If the bag isn’t appealing, it’s unlikely to be picked up at all. Plus, it’s important to consider the size of the bag – bigger isn’t always better; people do not tend to want to be lumbered with a big clunky bag.

It’s also worth ensuring your bag is re-usable because if the design is appealing- like a canvas tote, people might take your branded bag shopping for weeks to come.

If you can fill your goodie bag with practical and edible treats, which are a clever twist on your brand, products or services, you’re onto a winner. To find out more about how our bags can help you achieve just that, contact us on 0191 268 7555 or head to our shop.

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