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Schwag: Top 5 Promotional Gift Ideas

If you are trying to get more recognition for your business, build your brand or stay in the minds of customers you have, promotional items are an effective tool. But all schwag is not created equally.

Effective promotional gifts are functional and subtle, and appropriate to the recipient. (Don't give golf balls to people who don't play, for example.) While you need to assess your audience before choosing promotional items, the following five items tend to be universally popular.

  • Flash Drives -- Everyone who works in an office setting can always use more storage to back up data. Flash drives with a company's logo are easy to buy in bulk, and they are very likely to be used by potential customers. If your company routinely participates in conferences and other such events, bring these with you to promote your business. 
  • Drinkware -- Water bottles, coffee mugs and cups are great items. People use them on a regular basis at all hours of the day. Strategic placement of your logo on a water bottle or travel mug can give a lot of extra exposure for your business.
  • Letter Openers -- These items are functional, and they can be placed at the forefront of the office. A company letter opener that ends up on someone else's reception desk can result in subtle brand awareness. These items are always in demand as well.
  • Pens -- If you're running a promotion, such as a giveaway or anything else that requires customers to fill out forms, promotional pens are a must. Pens are another item that frequently disappear, and it's always good to have them on hand. Market your business while lending your pen to those in need. 
  • Clothing -- Polo shirts, golf shirts and jackets are schwag staples, because they work. These items allow your brand to travel with people who wear them, and they are popular in many industries. Customize some apparel for your employees, colleagues or customers and let them sing your praises. 

Promotional items don't have to be overt, nor do they have to be expensive. By adding your logo to things that people need in their daily lives, you can build your brand and increase awareness. Figure out what your customer needs, supply it for them and put your logo on it.

Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at

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