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Put Some Swagger in Your Swag with Custom Gift Boxes

Giveaways/Incentive Gifts

by H. K. Wilson

When live tradeshows paused by the lockdowns, it seemed like the demand for promotional giveaways was also going on hiatus. I mean, how were you going to hand off swag when nobody was meeting face to face?

But those magicians of merch came up with a breakthrough solution to keep brands top of mind while enhancing the experience of virtual events: customized gift boxes. This ingenious innovation is being seen in numerous iterations throughout the industry, and all signs are that this trend is here to stay.

You know the excitement of opening that Christmas gift you received in the mail or tearing into a recent Amazon order. It’s a thrill—anticipating the contents of a box, never quite knowing what  might be waiting for you inside.

snackmagic BuildYourOwnBoxOfSnacks_SnackmagicNow imagine creating a similar experience to generate excitement for your next event. Promotional companies can help you create a custom gift box with items you select from their inventory, or you can send them your own promotional products for packaging and delivery. All items are assembled in a branded box and shipped to a participant in advance of the virtual (or even live) event you are targeting. Contents may include snacks, swag, items that support scheduled event activities or those that are themed to a particular experience.

In order to help you design your next client experience, we’ve curated a list of some of the finest swag purveyors in the business.

pc/nametag (pcnametag.com/curated-gift-boxes)

pc/nametag offers a wide range of gift boxes in varying sizes. You can opt for custom artwork on the inside cover of the box, as well as a branded label on the outside. Boxes and crinkle paper are available in a rainbow of colors to enhance your brand or theme.

A Tag team member will help you build a completely custom box with brandable swag and snack items of your choosing. Or you can send in your own merchandise and pc/nametag’s fulfillment services will package and ship it for you.

Nicole Jacobson pc nametagNicole Jacobson (pictured left), pc/nametag’s director of marketing, explains that sending a customized package enhances the virtual meeting experience. “Custom gift boxes are a great way to connect with virtual attendees in a more meaningful way,” she says. “By including gifts, snacks and activity items in a box, you can bring the fun and excitement of an in-person event to an attendee’s home or office. You can also use customized gift boxes to build anticipation for your next virtual event. Creating excitement for your online meeting can be as simple as surprising attendees with a box of event materials, branded promotional products or interactive activities like a trivia card or custom BINGO card.”

Appreciation Gift BoxShe adds, “Virtual attendees want to know that you have thought about their wellbeing every step of the way, just as if they were on site. Their experience at home should help remind them why this specific event is so important and should build excitement for next year’s event. The pc/nametag team can work with you to help find the right tools to keep your online attendees engaged. Adding a theme or your organization’s branding to a box can help set the mood and tone for successful virtual meeting activities.”

Jacobson also says that she sees the trend continuing well into the future to support satellite, hybrid and live events. For instance, boxes may feature “health and safety items, like hand sanitizer, wipes and custom-printed masks to help attendees feel at-ease at hybrid events.” They can also be handed over at hotel check-in or delivered to an attendee’s room. “By giving hotel guests their event badges, lanyards and event materials early, you’ll help shorten conference check-in lines and get attendees in the door faster.”

Rebecca Meekma JBSHow are pc/nametag’s clients responding? According to Rebecca Meekma (pictured right), conference planner at JBS & Associates, “The client organization and its members were beyond excited to receive their boxes in the mail. The bingo games were the biggest hit, and really helped people relax and have fun.”

Amber Nolan American Society of TransplantationAmber Nolan (pictured left), a representative from the American Society of Transplantation, says, “Our main goal with the gift boxes was to build rapport, show appreciation to our attendees and convince new people to join the society. We didn’t just meet these goals; we surpassed them.”

“Curated gift boxes are all about connecting with attendees and creating engagement, no matter the type of event,” Jacobson adds. “Planners are always seeking new ways to build attendee loyalty, surprise and delight guests, and connect with their audience on a whole new level. With endless customization options, we believe that curated gift boxes can be used in limitless ways.”

Swag.com  (swag.com/in-a-box)

Swag.com helps clients build one-of-a-kind gift boxes filled with custom products ranging from tech to apparel to home goods and more. Everything about the box can be customized, including the box itself.

Andrew McMaster SwagAccording to Content Marketing Specialist Andrew McMaster (pictured left), “We’ve seen people make everything from onboarding kits and WFH [work from home] care packages to virtual event engagement boxes that help audiences get the most out of their digital experiences.”

McMaster shares the reasons that he believes receiving a customized package upgrades the virtual meeting experience. “Connecting over video conferencing is hard. Sometimes audiences struggle to remain engaged when they don’t have a physical touchpoint to make their event feel meaningful. Creating custom gift sets can help generate excitement and engagement by offering a real-life tie-in to their event. Many of our customers design gift boxes that include items meant to be used during the course of the event, which is another way to help deepen the experience of the event itself.”

SWAG.COMSS He also says there is a measurable difference in engagement when clients are able to create physical gifts and kits for the audiences of their virtual events. “These gifts help increase sign ups, generate increased participation during events, and even help our clients swell their contact lists after events are over. People are always amazed at how much positive response a simple gift can have on their audience.”

McMaster believes that virtual events are here to stay and that finding ways to make them “dynamic and engaging will be an evolving challenge for community managers in the years to come.” Physical activations like gift boxes and event kits make audiences feel more enveloped in the experience. As for live events, the goals for swag remain the same: it should be fun, useful, recall the experience and spark future engagement with the brand.

“Our team at Swag.com specializes in finding new ways to get people excited about your brand,” McMaster says. “Gift boxes for virtual events are just the beginning—we can create gift giveaways to capture leads, build exciting landing pages that let your audience choose their own gift, and of course, handle all the distribution so you don’t have to worry about any of the logistics.”

SnackMagic (snackmagic.com)

SnackMagic offers two types of gift boxes: themed, pre-curated boxes or its signature “build-your-own” snack stash for which the recipient can choose from more than 1,000 snacks, beverages and knickknacks.

SnackMagicbox2For in-person and hybrid events, SnackMagic’s new offerings include goodie bags (that can all be shipped to one location) and Grab-and-Go trays (featuring 100 snacks). Event organizers can also select from customizable branded merchandise. SnackMagic has all the logistics dialed in, so it can scale from single orders to batches of more than a thousand without losing personalization.

SnackMagic is not just the wizard of snacking, it is also the sorcerer of swag. The company recently applied its snack gifting model to corporate swag with the launch of SwagMagic. SwagMagic’s customized packaging capabilities allow people to select the branded items they want. This boosts the virtual meeting experience by combining attendees’ power to choose with event organizers’ strategic use of swag to market while surprising and delighting recipients.

Shaunak Amin SnackMagicAccording to Shaunak Amin (pictured left), founder and CEO of SnackMagic, “It’s crucial to find creative ways to bring people together. Personalization continues to be an increasing consumer need. With the evolution of virtual and hybrid events throughout the pandemic, brands need to continue adapting to the shifting wants of their audience to uphold brand engagement.”

By way of example, Mozart Data utilized SnackMagic to engage its virtual audience with more than 50 boxes gifted to speakers and attendees in May. The company also surprised speakers with $100 in snack credit and registered attendees with $35 to choose from over 1000 items on SnackMagic’s menu to receive the exact offerings they wanted ahead of the event. The surprise and delight of SnackMagic’s personalized offerings impressed the crowd and, ultimately, boosted attendee engagement.

Thinking Beyond the Box (prinker.us)

As live events come back, there are more creative branding experiences to look forward to. How about tattooing your brand directly on event attendees? Branded tattoos are what all the cool kids are wearing these days. Prinker, the inventor of the world’s first all-in-one temporary tattoo device, is enabling companies to enhance their experiential marketing events by letting attendees tattoo creative brand visuals such as art, slogans and logos temporarily on their skin.

Prinker tattoosMarketers can upload or design their own art and logos on the Prinker Content Platform via the web or mobile app and immediately print on the water-resistant temporary tattoos by sliding the Prinker device directly across the skin. Temporary Prinker tattoos can function as entrance stamps to events, showcase brand artwork, create excitement for new merchandise launches by making licensed artwork available to the Prinker user community, and even serve as scannable Snapchat codes that link to websites and connect to exclusive content. Compared to more traditional forms of temporary tattoos and entry stamps, Prinker tattoos can feature complex designs in color and can be printed on in seconds. These temporary branded tattoos offer a unique way for consumers to interact with, remember and become ambassadors for the brands they love.

Jong In (Jimmy) Lee PrinkerPrinker’s CEO and co-founder Jong In (Jimmy) Lee (pictured left) says, “Prinker is excited to have developed a tool that’s not just for self-expression but also to help marketers develop new ways to engage customers and fans. We’ve been thrilled to see the kinds of Prinker tattoos that companies have created for their consumers and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.”

This story originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, pp. 32-35. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_sept-oct_2021

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