The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 11

Make It Shareable. With An Idea For Amazon.

Event Marketing Swag Law 11 - Make It Shareable

Buzzworthy. Shareable. Viral. Qualities so desired by event managers that they’ll work all year long to create an experience so interesting, so captivating, so significant that attendees are compelled to share their opinions about it before, during and after the event.

It’s a monumental task, one where much attention is spent on food and bev, logistics, keynote speakers, education forums and networking parties. Rightfully so. All of these attributes go into creating the collective “event experience.”

But what typically isn’t in this strategic conversation?

Promotional products.

Swag Is Shareable

We’ve talked throughout The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag series about how event swag is often an afterthought. With mere weeks before an event, there’s often a panicked “I must have some kind of giveaway!” moment, and a quick product search in a catalog or online ensues.

But this late in the process, strategy is forgone and you must settle for what’s available in a rush. And this typically means a generic product picked out of a catalog. No design. No alignment with brand DNA. And no emotions to tap into to create a sincere experience.

But by incorporating event swag early into your event planning process, you can design products that have the specific purpose of enhancing the event experience so that attendees not only share your event socially but they include the promotional products in their social shares, creating an even stronger bond with your brand.

Can swag really help create buzz during events? To find out we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event (read: be different than the competition), be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage—because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Laser Cut Robot Kits

The Brand: Amazon
The Event: Amazon Web Services re:Invent
The Audience: Developers
The Marketing Goal: Create word of mouth at the event, to entice others to the booth

Laser Cut Robot Kits

Robotic droids are a hot topic. Hot! Whether you like Transformers, Star Wars droids like the new BB-8 or the real-life robot Wally that delivers food and bev to guests at the Residence Inn, robots being integrated into our lives is no longer science fiction.

So what better way to get some social buzz at Amazon Web Services re:Invent than to tap into the trend with promotional laser cut robot kits.

AWS re:Invent is a global customer and partner conference that gives small businesses access to tools previously only available to big companies. They do the hard work and help you scale your business. It’s kinda like having your own personal droids.

To showcase this theme, the laser cut robot kits would be displayed in the tradeshow booth to get the conversation started. Imagery of a cloud galaxy far, far away could be used to set the scene.

Fun marketing copy could be created to further the messaging:

Say hello to EC3, S3 & RDS. These are the AWS droids you are looking for. Tweet what you’ll do with your favorite droid using #AWSdroids & we’ll send him to you.

This idea works for a number of reasons. First, it taps into the popularity of droids featured in movies such as Star Wars as well as the real conversations people are having about the future of AI.

Second, it creates conversation at the event—both online and in person. People see other people’s tweets and want to get in on the action. Using a hashtag such as #AWSdroids helps track these conversations and gives the opportunity for on-site interaction with attendees who are tweeting.

Third, offering to send the laser cut robot kits is useful in lead generation (must have address to mail) plus it eliminates an inventory issue of stocking the kits in the booth and frees up tradeshow staff to talk to customers about their business instead of managing the kit giveaway process.

Use Promotional Products As A Catalyst For Creating Event Buzz

How can you keep attendees engaged before, during and after the event? With some damn good planning—and the right swag.

Did you know that almost equal numbers of attendees and wishful attendees talk about the event in the days and weeks prior? Yep. It’s true.

In fact, Buffer did a year-long study of more than 25 million social media posts from 50 of the most popular events—everything from music festivals to endurance races—and learned that 40% of social posts occur pre-event and 42% happen on site. So it’s just as important to get social prior to the event as during it.

How can you incorporate promotional products into your social media marketing to generate this kind of buzz? Some ideas:

Host A Twitter Poll

In the pre-show planning stages, narrow down your swag choices and ask attendees which one they’d most like to receive at the event. Not only does this start conversation around the event, but it also gives you important insight into what branded merchandise will be successful. Learn how with this Twitter poll tutorial.

Create Teaser Content

Once you determine the kind of swag you’ll use, start hinting at what it could be. Take close-up photos that just show a portion of the item and ask attendees to guess what it is. Give hints about size, color, function, etc. Have fun with it! Retweet people’s guesses and ask others if they think the guess is correct. When someone does guess correctly, give them a big social shout out and show the product in full. You could even give an iTunes gift card to the winner as added thanks for playing along.

Share Behind-The-Scenes Photos

The Buffer study found that anticipation and excitement accounted for 14 percent of the total posts shared on social media about events—the largest single percentage among any type of pre-event tweet or post. “Sharing behind-the-scenes pics and stories well before the event begins is a great way to boost conversation and engagement,” writes Rachel Grate in the Buffer article Event Marketing 101: How To Keep Attendees Engaged Before, During And After Your Event. “These brief glimpses can help make a personal connection with possible attendees. By producing the type of content that event enthusiasts are already posting, you can join and help shape the online conversation.”

Have A Photo Booth

Once at the event, use a photo booth to help attendees share their event experience. Encourage them to include your swag in the snaps and have fun. Also add a branded banner to the bottom of the photos to make them special to that event.

Create A Post-Show Swag Photo Contest

After the event, have a contest for the best photo showing your swag back in the real world. Narrow down the contenders and have your audience vote on the winner—and then give them something special.

So what do you think? Can using swag strategically create buzz around your event participation? With creating buzz as a goal, will you change how your swag is designed?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

“There are lots of reasons that things go viral,” says Kala Linck, community and content manager at Duct Tape Marketing. “More often than not, viral content pulls an emotion out of the reader or viewer. Making sure your content is relevant, refutable and/or relatable is a good way to start inviting those emotions that will make people want to share your content.”

The beauty of promotional products is that they can tie into these emotions. You have the opportunity to create that little something special to make the event—and the promotional gifts—uniquely you. Something unexpected. Something your attendees haven’t seen before…but would love to have. Something that gets people talking. Buzzing. Who wouldn’t want to share that?

 

This is the eleventh in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

 

Buy One Get One: The Ultimate Last-Minute Gift

Buy A Gift Voucher, Get A FREE Making Coupon—But Only Until 11:59 pm PST Sunday December 24, 2016

santa-claus-2918_960_720

So, you’ve waited until the last minute. It’s ok. We don’t judge. You can still have a Maker’s Christmas after all. With a little help from Voucher Claus.

Voucher Claus is kinda like Santa’s crazy uncle. Every family has one, right? And you can’t help but love them…especially when they give the most amazing presents: Ponoko Gift Vouchers.

But these Gift Vouchers come with a little something extra from the North Pole:

Buy a Gift Voucher by 11:59 pm PST Saturday December 24 –> Get a FREE Making Coupon!

  • Buy $1,000+ of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $500 Making Coupon
  • Buy $500 – $999 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $225 Making Coupon
  • Buy $250 – $499 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $110 Making Coupon
  • Buy $100 – $249 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $40 Making Coupon
  • Buy $50 – $99 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $20 Making Coupon
  • Buy $25 – $49 of Gift Vouchers – get a FREE $10 Making Coupon

Voucher Vs. Coupon: What’s The Difference?

A “Gift Voucher” is good for any part of a make-it-yourself laser cutting order: The making, the materials and the shipping costs. And they NEVER expire.

A “Making Coupon” is good for the making costs only (read: the actual laser cutting). And they expire within three months.

The Finer Details

Both the Gift Vouchers and Making Coupons are valid for Ponoko USA & NZ Free & Prime account orders. They are NOT valid for 3D printing, PCM, making speed upgrades, Prime subscriptions, Samples or Showroom orders. You can use one Gift Voucher or Making Coupon redemption code per order. There’s no change given if the service cost is less than your voucher value. And they are not redeemable for cash.

Please see our Gift Voucher Guidelines and our Making Coupon Guidelines for all the important fine print.

How Can I Hack Ponoko’s Free Offer?

We makers are a creative bunch. Voucher Claus appreciates ingenuity, so this holiday season he is feeling super generous and has some tips for how to make the most of this special BOGO offer.

You might want to purchase Gift Vouchers in separate orders, rather than bundling them all into a single order. Check this out:

Voucher Hack Idea 1

If you buy $2,000 of Gift Vouchers in a single order, you receive a free $500 Making Coupon. But split that $2,000 Gift Voucher purchase into multiple orders—such as one Gift Voucher order for $1,000 plus another for $1,000—and you get free Making Coupons for $500 AND $500.

Yep, that’s a total of $1,000 for free, not just $500. Now that will make holidays happy!

Voucher Hack Idea 2

If you buy $75 of Gift Vouchers in a single order, you receive a free $20 Making Coupon. Split this into multiple orders again—such as Gift Voucher for $50 and another for $25—and you get free Making Coupons for $20 AND $10.

Score! That’s a total of $30 for free, not just $20.

Voucher Hack Idea 3

And if you’ve made a list, checked it twice, and have a lot of peeps on your nice list, you can buy $25,000 of Gift Vouchers in multiple orders—and you get the picture—you’ll get $12,500 of Making Vouchers. Yeah! Making for everyone!

Holidays Are Merrier With Making

If you know anyone who loves to make stuff, then you know someone who would love a Ponoko Gift Voucher. But it’s not all about them. Perhaps the best part of giving this gift is that you get a little something for yourself.

So what are you waiting for? Do that jolly ole fat man a solid. You have until 11:59 pm PST December 24 to do your last minute shopping here before Santa squeezes down your chimney.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Make! Make! Make!

 

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 10

Enhance Event Experience. With An Idea For Twitter.

law-10-enhance-event-experience

Events are all about experiences. No matter what form they take—from conventions and tradeshows to education summits, festivals and pop-up shops—events give brands a way to personally reach their target audience in a way no other marketing tactic can.

According to EventsEye, there are 10,867 tradeshows, exhibitions, conferences and business events worldwide—and this number continues to grow. With more competition to reach attendees combined with increased attendee expectations and sophistication, event producers have to be better at creating an amazing experience than ever before.

“Great marketing used to be about what you say to people,” says Kevin Jackson, director of ideas and innovation for The Experience Is The Marketing. “Now it’s about what you do for people. Giving customers a great event experience with compelling, entertaining and informative content acts as a product differentiator and shows that you understand your audience, are keen to build an emotional relationship with them and add value to their lives. The connection between ‘brand’ and ‘consumer’ is becoming stronger.”

Enhancing The Event Experience With Promotional Products

Branded merchandise is a natural accompaniment to events because promotional products engage the five senses to create an experience of their own. But there’s talk within the #eventprofs community about skipping swag altogether to focus funds on the experience.

In the article Give Attendees Experiences, Not Things, Adrian Segar writes:

“Branded pens, tee shirts, mugs, tote bags, water bottles and other tchotchkes are scattered around my home, piled on shelves, and eventually consigned to oblivion without a thought. Yes, it’s hard to attend a typical conference and not walk away with schwag. All these promotional ‘things’ cost organizers and sponsors significant money. Is this the best way to spend money on attendees? I’d argue that giving relevant, immersive, interactive experiences instead of presents leads to superior long-term outcomes for both participants and conference stakeholders.”

Segar isn’t entirely wrong. If the items are generic, commodity products that don’t embrace the DNA of the brand and are given without a strategy, then what’s the point? Giving away products simply for the sake of having something to give away isn’t a smart use of resources. And this can ultimately have a negative effect on a brand, especially if the items are of substandard quality and/or conflict with what the brand stands for.

We believe event swag should be reinvented—from the initial design right down to how it is presented to recipients. That’s why we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event (read: be different than the competition), be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage—because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Framed Printed Tweet

The Brand: Twitter
The Event: Web Summit – Content Makers
The Audience: Content Marketing Managers
The Marketing Goal: Create word of mouth on social media during and/or after the event

twitter-printed-tweet

How will we consume and create content in 10 years’, five years’ or even a year’s time? Web Summit – ContentMakers connects the world’s largest media and entertainment companies with disruptive new brands, platforms, investors and creators, giving them a platform to ask these hard questions.

Web Summit’s size (21 conferences under one roof) and number of attendees (53,000+) make it quite the experience just by sheer numbers alone. So how can brands contribute to the overall experience while creating a unique experience of their own?

Event attendees love to document their experience, so it’s no surprise that photo-based activities are on the rise. While digital pics give instant gratification, they also end up in a digital abyss often never to be seen again. So what if you could capture the experience instantly AND have something tangible as a memento?

The lifespan of a tweet is only 18 minutes. But there are some that you wish you could capture a bit more permanently—perhaps the witty quip that was retweeted by a celeb or maybe the one with the photo of your BFFs.

If Twitter were to attend Web Summit, it could create an interactive printed tweet station where attendees could literally print and frame their fave 140 characters.

The Tweet Printer is a small camera-sized printer with a display that allows users to print out a tweet like an instant camera. It is connected to a mobile device, and from this device a tweet could be selected from the user’s own feed or from another user’s feed. The tweet selected could be anything funny, interesting or nostalgic that the user might want to display at home or in the office.

The printer prints out on ZINK sticker paper (as used in many popular “instant” type photo cameras). If the tweet includes an image, the photo would be used as the background for the tweet. Once printed, the pic would be packaged in a laser cut frame for durability and ease of transport.

Why does this idea work? Because printing tweets would be a fun and interesting way to grab the attention of content marketers, drawing them into the Twitter booth so they can mingle with Twitter staff. The interactive nature of the camera would spark conversations about effective social media marketing as well as create a fun and new way for people who use social media marketing every day interact with Twitter. It creates an experience in the booth, which translates to positive memories every time attendees look at their framed tweets.

Make Events Memorable By Tapping Into Emotions

Once an event is over, you may not remember every speaker you hear, or what hors d’oeuvres were served or what booths you visited. But you will remember how you felt about the overall experience. Tapping into those feeling is what turns an average event into an amazing one. And it all starts with planning.

“The difference between good and freaking awesome events is in the planning,” says Julius Solaris, editor of EventManagerBlog.com, in the article 5 Feelings That Make The Event Magic Happen. “Event planning is seen by the outside world as a mechanical process for control freaks and coffee addicts. But reducing event planning to a mechanical exercise that just requires budgeting, team control and crisis management usually results in mediocrity. Well-planned events that are simply boring. It’s feelings that make events outstanding. While feelings are almost always the result of co-creation and interaction in the event setting, we can incorporate them into the event planning process to make our audience have superbly engaging experiences.”

While the focus of Solaris’ article is more about logistics and overall event dynamics, his comments apply to event swag as well.

For some reason, selecting event swag is often put off (or flat forgotten) until the last minute. Then there’s a panicked “I must have some kind of giveaway!” moment, and a quick product search in a catalog or online ensues.

But this late in the process, strategy is forgone and you must settle for what’s available in a rush. And this typically means a generic product picked out of a catalog. No design. No alignment with brand DNA. And no emotions to tap into to create a sincere experience.

By incorporating event swag early into your event planning process, you can design products that have the specific purpose of evoking an emotional response that complements the overall experience you want to create.

So what do you think? How does creating an experience impact the way promotional products are designed and used at events? How does this approach improve event swag?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Creating really special swag that recipients will keep and use facilitates how they remember the great event experience and strengthens the overall brand connection.

Solaris says, “Emotion without planning is a missed opportunity, so always use emotions as the great condiment of a perfectly planned event.” Sounds delicious to us.

 

Measuring Success: Maker Crushes Kickstarter Goal By 2,087%

The Secret Behind The Elegant Instrument That Measures The Golden Ratio

Sir Edward Victor Appleton, 1947 Nobel Laureate in physics, said: “The golden ratio is the key to universal physics.” And for Scott Onstott, founder of SIPS Productions Inc., the golden ratio is the key to a Kickstarter campaign success story that had this maker crushing his initial goal to raise $1,618 by 2087%.

The Golden Ratio Is Everywhere (Even If You Don’t Know It)

From great works of art down to the credit card in your wallet, the golden ratio is everywhere. In mathematical terms, the ratio is 1:1.618. While these numbers may not hold much meaning to the casual observer, they have been studied by scholars for centuries.

“Some of the greatest mathematical minds of all ages, from Pythagoras and Euclid in ancient Greece, through the medieval Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa and the Renaissance astronomer Johannes Kepler, to present-day scientific figures such as Oxford physicist Roger Penrose, have spent endless hours over this simple ratio and its properties,” says Israeli astrophysicist Mario Livio. “But the fascination with the Golden Ratio is not confined just to mathematicians. Biologists, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists and even mystics have pondered and debated the basis of its ubiquity and appeal. In fact, it is probably fair to say that the Golden Ratio has inspired thinkers of all disciplines like no other number in the history of mathematics.”

Kickstarting The Golden Ratio

Scott has followed the work of these thinkers in his use of the golden ratio. A graduate of University of California at Berkeley with a degree in architecture, he has written and self-published seven books about the Secrets In Plain Sight, a series that documents his ongoing research, unique discoveries and sacred geometry artwork. He has also produced a Secrets in Plain Sight film series profiling patterns found in art, architecture and the cosmos—which has now been viewed by millions.

“After having written two books on the golden ratio—the first an introductory illustrated book, and the second revealing how Leonardo Da Vinci used the golden ratio as the underlying structure of his paintings—I wanted a way for people to discover the golden ratio in the natural world, in human-made artifacts surrounding them, and to purposefully encode the golden ratio in the things people make,” Scott explains. “I created a unique set of golden ratio calipers, The Proportioner, which does exactly that.”

Due to its precise geometric design, the Proportioner’s middle pointer always proportionally indicates the golden ratio with respect to the width of the outer arms (aka, the whole).

Like many makers, Scott wanted to test the demand for his product before going into full production. So he started a Kickstarter campaign to bring the Proportioner to life.

Not knowing what to expect, he started with a modest goal—$1,618—a nod to the number that started it all. With a funding period of August 29 – October 1, 2016, Scott raised $33,772 from 543 backers in that brief 33 days—totally crushing the original goal by 2087%.

Building The Perfectly Proportioned Proportioner

While the Proportioner may seem like a simple tool, making this elegant instrument was far from easy.

Scott initially considered 3D printing, CNC or water-jet cutting to make his golden ratio calipers with a unique magnetic hinge, but none of these manufacturing options were as well suited as laser cutting for what he wanted to make.

“High quality laser cutting turns out dimensionally accurate parts every time,” Scott says. “My device has interference-t magnets where the tolerance is a few hundredths of an inch. The magnets must fit perfectly every time. There is no way to replicate this by hand or by using woodworking machines. Because of these extremely precise small-scale details, laser cutting was the obvious choice.”

And while he did try other laser cutting services before finding Ponoko, he made the switch because of the easy-to-use web interface and choice of materials. “None of the other laser cutting services had the right material for what I wanted to make,” Scott says. “I like the feel of wood rather than metal or acrylic in the hand, and Ponoko has the 3.5mm thick premium veneered MDF that suited my project perfectly.”

Scott determined that using the premium walnut veneer surrounding a medium density fiberboard core on top and bottom was the best option for his calipers. “This materials ‘sandwich’ is far stronger and dimensionally stable compared to Baltic birch and other plywoods,” he explains. “The hard veneer layers help the Proportioner arms slide smoothly and they are quite attractive. The MDF core doesn’t warp, bend or twist like plywood does, an important consideration for the long slender arms in my device.”

Once he had made the materials decision, the next challenge for Scott was figuring out how to pack the maximum number of parts needed on the given sheet size to keep his costs in check. “The arms of the Proportioner are complex curves and optimally tiling them is non-trivial,” he says. “Having no automated way to do this, I did a lot of trial and error in AutoCAD until I ultimately was able to fit 25 Proportioners per sheet.”

In addition to creating the calipers, Scott designed a magnetic stand to hold them. The stand is assembled without tools, simply by pressing the finger joint together at a right angle. Micro bevels laser-cut into the finger joint ensure a snug fit. What’s cool about the stand is that it not only provides a convenient place to store the Proportioner, but it also converts the instrument into an attractive small sculpture when not in use.

Discovering The Golden Ratio In Your World

Open any art history book, and you’ll see that many old masters structured their compositions using the golden ratio, although this fact continues to largely go unrecognized.

See how Leonardo da Vinci used the golden ratio to create Bacchus (formerly Saint John The Baptist), while Michelangelo located the divine spark in The Creation Of Adam using the divine proportion.

golden-ratio-great-artworks

But the golden ratio isn’t limited to works of art; it can also be found in the more mundane. Just look at the structure of the ebony and ivory keys on the piano, or the configuration of vinyl records. Who knew making music had such beautiful mathematical proportions.

golden-ratio-piano-keyboard

golden-ratio-records

Scott says the golden ratio is the most succinct mathematical expression of the Hermetic concept, “As above, so below.” And he hopes that Proportioner users will feel empowered to discover the golden ratio for themselves in the natural world and in human-made objects.

Robert Lawlor, author of Sacred Geometry: Philosophy & Practice, said: “The golden ratio is a reminder of the relatedness of the created world to the perfection of its source and of its potential future evolution.” With the Proportioner, that creation just got easier.

 

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 9

Don’t Forget Presentation. With An Idea For Dropbox.

law-9-presentation

Packaging. It’s often taken for granted as merely something that protects a product during transit and stacks nicely on store shelves. Yes, it’s functional. But it does so much more.

Packaging is what consumers see before they actually get to the product. It must present the brand’s message so convincingly that buyers select this product over all others.

While this brand messaging is often conveyed through words, it can also be communicated through colors and the shape of the packaging. Think about Tiffany’s, known worldwide for its signature blue boxes.

It was Charles Lewis Tiffany who mandated that the coveted boxes could only be acquired with a Tiffany purchase. As reported by the New York Sun in 1906, “Tiffany has one thing in stock that you cannot buy of him for as much money as you may offer, he will only give it to you. And that is one of his boxes.” Tiffany Blue Boxes make hearts beat faster and epitomize Tiffany’s great heritage of elegance, exclusivity and flawless craftsmanship.

Mr. Tiffany understood the power of giving a product as a gift. And you know this power, too.

When it’s your friend’s birthday, do you simply hand him or her a gift with a “here ya go” attitude? Of course not. You wrap the item in tissue and package it in a gift bag or a box. You add a bow and a card. You include these little extras because you want them to feel special. You know the presentation of the gift can mean as much as what’s inside.

Need more proof? Check out this video when a three-year-old girl receives a paper clip as a gift from her mom who was doing an experiment to see if she could make any everyday item become special. It’s packaged in a pretty gift box, and the little girl’s eyes light up when she receives it. The presentation was so special that she knew whatever was inside must be special too.

The Power Of Packaging With Promotional Products

The importance of packaging is so clearly demonstrated with consumer purchases and occasions for gift giving. Why, then, is presentation so often dismissed or forgotten when it comes to B2B?

Case in point: How many times have you been to an event where a company representative reaches into a brown craft box, grabs the promotional item and hands it out? What kind of impression does this give? How does it make you feel as a recipient? Even the coolest product loses appeal when very little thought is given to presentation.

Flip this scenario around: What if you were at an event where a company gives promotional gifts that are packaged in an attractive gift box. It could be the very same item distributed en masse in the above example, but the presentation makes you feel different as a recipient.

So why not take a hint from Tiffany’s signature blue box and create a packaging plan to complement the promotional gifts you give? How would this change the perception of traditional swag?

To find out, we took on a challenge to design an actual packaging idea for an event giveaway using a well-known tech brands as an example. The goal is to create truly custom packaging for promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the designed promotional product and its respective packaging must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional gift presentation at the event (read: be different than the competition), be different from every other promotional packaging the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry-on luggage—because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Gift Boxed USB Drive

The Brand: Dropbox
The Event: GSMA Mobile World Congress
The Audience: Chief Information Officers
The Marketing Goal: Create a more loyal relationship between the brand and VIP customers

dropbox-flash-drive-box

The mobile industry continues to be characterized by high levels of growth and opportunity, and as the industry becomes more dynamic, the opportunities within it increase in equal amount, as do the challenges. Looking toward a future with such an enormous scope requires a massive annual gathering: The GSMA Mobile World Congress.

The four-day event includes exhibitions—with everything from virtual reality, new handsets and ingenious app ideas to 3D printing, privacy protection and backend solutions—as well as hundreds of speakers from consumer brands, mobile organizations, mobile operators and industries touched by the mobile market such as advertising, banking, health, NGOs, entertainment and education. Additionally, industry partners provide events, user conferences, trainings and forums covering many topics in the mobile ecosystem, from advertising, banking and gaming to health, education and media.

With 100,00+ attendees and 2,200+ exhibitors, how do you stand out among the mobile industry’s most influential brands? With a great message…and a little help from promotional products.

Data security is a significant issue for any company, and Dropbox is all about ease and security of data access. If Dropbox attended Mobile World Congress, it could use a secure USB flash drive packaged in a custom gift box that not only protects the drive but also furthers brand messaging with its design.

CIOs are busy and have sensitive data that they need to access across devices and locations. A compact Dropbox branded USB dongle could be created to auto-configure to a Dropbox account when first plugged in, acting as a two-factor authentication device.

With increased security from the two-factor authentication provided by the dongle as well as the automatic connection (with password prompt) provided when plugged into any computer, this device is very convenient for security and time-saving file access.

Why does this idea work? The flash drive is useful and the dual authentication makes it even more functionally secure. But the packaging is what sets it apart and makes it feel like a gift.

Designing Packaging That Has Impact

“Packaging is powerful because it tells consumers why your product and brand are different,” says Joshua Conran in the Inc. article Why Your Product’s Packaging Is As Important As The Product Itself.

While the article is written for retail packaging, the principles apply equally to creating packaging around promotional gifts. His tips for designing packaging that makes an impact:

  1. Know your demographic.
  2. Make inexpensive packaging look chic and personalized.
  3. Make the package part of the experience.
  4. Consider eco-friendly options.

“Remember, your product’s packaging is meant to communicate a purpose: What your brand stands for and what it means for your customer,” he says. “Don’t miss this opportunity to create a lasting impression in the minds of your customers.” Read Conran’s entire article here.

So what do you think? How does packaging impact the way promotional products are designed and distributed? Would receiving swag that is presented as a gift make a bigger impact on you? Would you appreciate the gesture, and would you think more highly of the advertiser?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

The Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca said: “A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”

Instead of thinking of branded merchandise as solely a marketing tool, perhaps it’s wise to consider the implications of using promotional products as gifts. Rather than pushing advertising messages on an audience, pulling them into your brand’s world has a much different—and more appealing—experience.

 

This is the ninth in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

 

The 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag: Law 8

Add Personalization. With An Idea For Uber.

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Personalization. It’s not new to marketing. For years, salespeople have known that people psychologically respond to hearing or seeing their own names. From a digital perspective, Amazon has perfected the personalized shopping experience with its algorithms that predict what additional items you might like.

One aspect of personalization that isn’t discussed much, however, is with swag. Most promotional products are decorated with a company name and logo to be distributed en masse. And this can work brilliantly when you have a goal of building brand awareness to a large group of people.

But when you want to make a big impact with a small group of customers or prospects, then it’s time to get personal.

What’s In A Name: Making Swag More Personal

The underlying purpose of giving any promotional product is for recipients to love the gift so much that they keep it and use it—repeatedly seeing your logo (and subconsciously building brand recognition) in the process. It’s understood that the item must be useful and valuable to your target audience. One way to increase value is simple: Add the recipient’s name.

Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes: If something has your name on it, you are much more likely to keep it. And in the event you have a similar product, the one with your name makes it 100% unique to you, increasing the likelihood that it will be kept and used over the other items.

So if you have the opportunity to create promotional products with recipients’ names, such as for a VIPs at an event, then it would be marketing magic to create personalized swag. Right?

To find out, we took on a challenge to design actual product ideas for event giveaways for some of the world’s best tech brands as examples. The goal is to create truly custom promotional products that fit the example brand like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event.

Additionally, the products designed must achieve a measureable marketing goal, be different from every other promotional product at the event (read: be different than the competition), be different from every other promotional product the brand has used at events before, and it must be packable in carry on luggage—because what good is it if recipients can’t take it home with them!

Keep in mind there is no endorsement of any products by the brands represented. We’re simply trying to tell a story of what IS possible by using brands and events that you know and understand. So check this out:

Event Marketing Swag Idea: Uber Luggage Tag

The Brand: Uber
The Event: Web Summit – AutoTech
The Audience: IoT executives
The Marketing Goal: Create a more loyal relationship between the brand and VIP customers

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With the major advancements in autonomous vehicles, connected cars and the Internet of Things (IoT), Web Summit – AutoTech is the place to join the revolution redefining how we interact with everyday products. At the Summit, leaders will share their ideas on how the world is adapting to the new wave of products allowing us remote control over all aspects of our lives.

Saying this group is “tech-savvy” is a major understatement. So while promotional products that incorporate technology would certainly interest this group, not any ole tech product will do.

To appeal to this upper echelon, it makes sense to tap into the impact this connected IoT age will have on our lives. Designing a luggage tag that not only allows for live tracking of the device but is also personalized with the recipient’s name makes for a functional accessory that won’t soon be forgotten.

This kind of connected device embodies IoT and Uber’s philosophy of combining bits and atoms, making it a perfect tie-in to the Uber brand. Uber is technology that moves physical things from one place to another, be it people, packages or your lunch. The connected luggage tag expands on this idea allowing recipients to track their luggage as they travel the world.

Why does this idea work? People like the sound of their own name, and they like seeing it in print. It’s human nature. So when it’s on swag, the product is more likely to be kept and used—reinforcing the brand connection.

Personalization: The Bigger Picture

Of course, personalized marketing is about more than just knowing someone’s name, geography or some other generic segmentation attributes. “It is about delivering the right message, at the right time, in the right channel and with the right offer that resonates with the recipient,” says Tony Gray, senior director of the North American professional services at Webtrends. “It’s also an effort where results can be easily measured and evaluated. We call this contextual personalization. Using contextual personalization, companies have the opportunity to create customer messaging and experiences that are not just relevant, but appreciated.”

So while the focus of this article is on incorporating a recipient’s name on a promotional product, the underlying context is to do so in conjunction with the right message, at the right time, in the right channel in a way that resonates with recipients in meaningful way.

That’s why our goal—creating truly custom promotional products that fit brands like a glove by baking in the DNA of the brand + audience + event—is so important to changing the perceptions of what can be accomplished with branded merchandise.

So what do you think? How does personalization impact the way promotional products are designed? Would receiving personalized swag make a bigger impact on you? Would you appreciate the gesture, and would you think more highly of the advertiser?

Let’s get the conversation started. We’d love your feedback and constructive criticism in the comments. Also let us know what promotional products you’ve received that have really made you say “WOW!” Got ideas on what event swag you’ve never seen but would love to receive? Let us know that, too.

Seth Godin said, “Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.” We couldn’t agree more.

Event attendees know there will be a plethora of swag to be had. And while some of it will be anticipation-worthy, most, sadly, will not be. But this is where you have an opportunity.

What if your event swag is so rad that your fans can’t wait to attend just to see what you do next? What if you were able to personalize this swag to make an even bigger impact? And what if you could deliver such a relevant item that recipients would stand in line for it, share it on social media and use it often at home?

That’s the sweet spot where marketing magic happens. It’s not easy. If it were, then everyone would be doing it. But then again, you’re not everyone.

This is the eighth in a series of 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag. For links to each law as they are published, check out the article that started it all: “How To Reinvent Your Event Swag Strategy: 12 Immutable Laws Of Event Marketing Swag.”

Why We Love Laser Cut Matte Red, Blue & Purple Acrylics

New Materials in USA Catalog: 3 New Shades Of Matte Acrylic

Matte is the new smooth! With our new red, purple and light blue shades of matte acrylic, you can add a touch of luxury to your designs as well as a more diverse color palette.

Why We Love These Materials

These new colors are pretty sweet. No longer are you restricted to strong solid tones, now you have the option to use more subtle and refined colors in your designs.

What’s also great about these new acrylics is that they are matte on both sides, giving you an elegant textured finish that doesn’t show all those pesky fingerprints when handled.

Did we mention that they are translucent? This means you can rock them to diffuse light and play with a sense of depth in your designs.

With a 3mm thickness, these acrylics are perfect for lighting projects, jewelry, enclosures, signage, business cards, luggage tags, name badges or anything that needs a soft, matte finish.

Available Now – Matte Purple Acrylic

Need a color that’s better suited to your design sensibilities? …

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Check out our new Matte Purple Acrylic, it will have your designs looking like a gem. Here are some pretty nifty glasses that we remixed from the super cool designer ARTCAD on Thingiverse. Costumes and props have never looked so professional!

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Learn more about Matte Purple Acrylic and grab a Sample.

Available Now – Matte Red Acrylic

Matte red will have you spinning …

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Our new Matte Red Acrylic is one of those versatile colors that inspires playfulness and fun. We had a play with 123D Make and made a wee spinning top. Let’s be honest, any excuse to make a toy for work is a good one. What toys/puzzles would you like to make?

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Learn more about Matte Red Acrylic and buy a Sample.

Available Now – Matte Light Blue Acrylic

Blue like a sunny summer’s day …

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Our new Matte Light Blue Acrylic has such a subtle and pleasing color, we feel like cloud watching every time we look at it. Still on the 123D Make buzz, we whipped up the bowl pictured above. We think the translucent nature of the material complements the 3D form, to give it that extra point of interest.

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Learn more about Matte Light Blue Acrylic and purchase a Sample.

Now It’s Your Turn

What do you think would look great in these three new Matte Acrylics? We’d love to hear how these new colors and textures inspire you. Share by leaving a comment below.

Or get straight to making with these awesome new acrylics!

 

Why We Love Laser Cut Green Glass Acrylic

New Material In NZ Catalog: Green Glass Acrylic

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This popular material in the USA is now also available in NZ! Introducing laser cuttable ‘glass’ without the cost.

Why Green Glass Acrylic Is Amazing

Green glass acrylic is smooth on both sides and transparent, making it perfect for projects where the objective is to have the look of glass without the high price and pesky breakage issue.

The mini snowflakes above really take advantage of the icy, glass-like color you get with this material. But keep in mind that the smaller the design, the less green and more transparent it will look on the edges.

Green Glass Acrylic And A Samsung Camera

Because of the transparent nature of green glass acrylic, you can combine it with other materials to create one-of-a-kind displays like this one from Milos Paripovic.

This point-of-sale store display for a Samsung camera was laser cut and then mirror foil was fixed to the head so customers could simultaneously see the back side of the camera. The design is certainly an attention-getter, and what could be better camera holder than a hand!

Green Glass Acrylic On Etsy

How are Etsy sellers using green glass acrylic in their shops? Check out this mini greenhouse from 2of2.

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The little structure brings the outdoors in with an interior stand of tiny trees. The sleek geometric lines of this “glass-look” house are softened by the whimsy of the trees inside. A fun way to tap into the terrarium home décor trend.

Next, you won’t believe what OMGoshShop can do with green glass acrylic. Cut into the sensuous curve of the Kanagawa wave, this bracelet is based on the famous woodblock print by Hokusai.

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The waves, though they look ferocious, have been designed so that the tips won’t scratch or snag. The acrylic is etched, hand highlighted to emphasize the crashing waves, heated to 140+ degrees and then molded by hand. Unlike mass-made round bracelets, this cuff is oval and curves closely to the wrist making it comfortable for everyday wear.

Available Now – Green Glass Acrylic

This acrylic is clear with just a hint of green tint on the edges, giving you a subtle acrylic option versus the stronger colors available.

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Learn about Green Glass Acrylic details and get a Green Glass Acrylic Sample.

Now It’s Your Turn

You could clearly have tons of fun making with this new material. What ideas do you have? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment below. We have a $20 coupon for the best idea!

Final Deadline For Holiday Orders 2016

Make – With Added Speed – By December 12 For Guaranteed Delivery By Christmas

Did you miss our standard making deadline and still need stock for your ETSY store or gifts for your customers and team? Or did you go to the mall and realize you can’t get your mom another snowman sweater because she’ll disown you? Not to worry, you can receive your custom products before Christmas when you make by December 12 and upgrade to faster making and shipping speeds.

How To Guarantee Your Product Delivery Before The Holidays

Christmas is the busiest time of year for us, our suppliers & carriers, so things can take a little longer to make and ship than during the rest of the year. But no problem.

If you place your orders by 11:59 pm Monday December 12 with an Estimated Delivery Date by December 23, we guarantee they will reach you before Christmas Day.

And in the highly unlikely case that your merch doesn’t make it by the time “Silent Night” is sung, we’ll send you a credit equal to the sum of your order’s making, materials & making speed costs. It’s the least we can do.

How To Make Your Product Delivery Speed Faster Than A Cheetah

Just place your order as normal, then upgrade your making speed or shipping speed. And if you’re in a real rush, upgrade both speeds for the fastest possible delivery — made and delivered to you as fast as next day! This guide on how to upgrade your making speed will walk you through the process.

During checkout, just confirm the Estimated Delivery Date is by Friday, December 23. Easy peasy! And no lump of coal in your stocking!

What If I Miss This Final Deadline?

All orders placed after December 12 will be delivered on a best efforts basis. In past years, we have been able to get most orders done on time. (Santa’s elves would be proud!) We just can’t pinky swear guarantee it will get to you on time. As always, we’ll be sure to keep you updated. And if you have any questions about timeframes, contact us here.

What Are You Waiting For?!

Order before 11:59 pm PST December 12 and receive all your custom products for selling or personalized presents for gifting in time for your special celebrations.

And you’ll stay off the naughty list!

Ready, Set…Make! The Biggest Sale Of 2016 Starts Now

Hey Makers! Now is your chance to make something new, something a little crazy, or to stock up on your favorites. But you only have four days to do it.

You get 35% off the making cost of all laser cutting orders placed between 12:01am Black Friday November 25, 2016 and 11:59pm Cyber Monday November 28, 2016.

And if you’re making holiday items to sell in your Etsy shop or give your customers, coworkers, friends, or family, make sure to choose upgraded making and shipping speed so the items arrive to you in time.

This special offer is good for one laser cutting order from your USA or NZ Free account (not Prime accounts), and it cannot be used in conjunction with any other vouchers or promotions. The usual costs for materials, shipping, speed upgrades, Prime subscriptions, materials samples and Showroom orders apply as normal.

Don’t miss our biggest sale of the year.

To make it happen, enter this coupon code during checkout —J5NTYT.

Happy Making!