Everyone likes freebies, and so do guests of your corporate event. Varying event goals and attendee demographics make it difficult to decide which giveaway to opt for. A few key rules will help you create a win-win situation for your organization and attendees.
Here are my selection criteria for event giveaways: Choose a quality product that is relevant to the attendees, differs from the usual corporate gift, matches the event’s message, and stands out in design.
Now, let’s analyze the selection criteria for corporate event giveaways one by one:
Rule # 1: Quality is Key
The quality of your giveaways will reflect on your event, and thus on your organization. Positively, or negatively, depending on whether or not the product withstands the test of time. Always verify that the quality of your item is up to par. Sampling is vital! To impress for a long time, giveaways need to last. If you cannot dedicate necessary resources, rather opt to do without. When quality is concerned, no impression is better than a bad impression!
Rule # 2: Be Relevant
Not having usefulness in mind may very well be the largest mistake event managers can make, when selecting promo items. The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) has in a recent study investigated reasons why people keep promotional products. For 81%, the number one reason is the giveaway’s usefulness. Therefore, do invest resources on analyzing demographics, and professional backgrounds of your guests. Knowing the gender, age group, and fields of interest is a good starting point when determining which items would be of relevance to them. Give people something they value, and you will be remembered for it!
Rule #3: Set Yourself Apart
Pens, bags, calendars, and hats … while among the most common giveaways, they are not necessarily among the most effective. ASI’s study has revealed that some of the most popular items generate the lowest percentage of positive impressions about the sponsor. To get the most bang for your buck, I suggest to steer away from the norm. Rather than selecting your giveaways from a catalog of promotional product suppliers, check out the latest electronic gadgets on the Web, or browse gift stores. Set yourself apart, and opt to take a different route. Individuality and style will turn your giveaway into the talk of town!
Rule #4: Convey a Message
Attaching your event’s message to the giveaway is key. Your event’s purpose may be attendee education, customer appreciation, lead generation, or creating brand awareness. You may also want to position yourself as a longtime expert, an innovator, or opinion leader on a specific topic. Write down the message that is to be conveyed with the event on sticky notes. Research and determine three potential giveaways that will fit rules #1 through #3, and print an overview of your options. Next, initiate a little field study: Have colleagues or friends match-up your sticky notes with the images of the potential giveaways. The winner? The item associated with most of your key messages!
Since you have now selected the giveaway by focusing on quality, relevancy, creativeness, and the event’s message, only the design-decision is left to be made: How will your event and organization be represented on the actual item?
Rule #5: Go Subtle With Design
Marketing experts swear by displaying the corporate logo, name, and contact information as prominently as possible. For event giveaways, I don’t agree with this approach. I have witnessed over and over that nobody likes ‘to be caught’ using freebies. And ASI’s study confirmed that recipients of promotional items clearly remember who it came from. To me, the perfect design of your giveaway will keep these two points in mind: A slogan or inspirational tagline, and the use of corporate colors on the items itself will help people remember you. No logo needed! And once people remember you, they can easily find your contact information on the Web. Opt for subtlety with design, and your giveaway will gladly be used!
Find some ideas for corporate event giveaways at my Pinterest board “Corporate Event Give-Aways” at http://pinterest.com/pinsbymona/corporate-event-give-aways/ .
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