By Beth Buehler
It’s always fun to see what people come up with for promotional products (or swag as we call it in Colorado) that inspire meeting attendees and clients to take the items home or back to the office. That’s what we want, right? The life of our brand and our logo lives on every time the item is used. When I hike with the nice Osprey backpack with the Durango Area Tourism Office logo tastefully embroidered on the exterior, my friends and strangers see it. Plus it ties well into Durango’s positioning as an outdoorsy town to discover. Inside were honey sticks, lotion, chapstick and peanut brittle all from Honeyville, a local company, and various other items.
As the editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings and a writer for a variety of entities, I attend several conferences and go on quite a few press trips to visit destinations, hotels, attractions and more. So, I see my fair share of new and innovative promotional products.
Some other recent favorites are a very portable, lightweight hammock the goes into a tiny bag featuring a ski area’s logo and colors. One hotel put together a neat beer amenity complete with a six-pack of their signature brew and a women’s-style T-shirt and cool glasses with the beer’s label. Two of the items are now mainstays in my closet and kitchen cupboards and the beer is long gone and shared with family and friends, who also got to sample the product. I hardly wear a watch anymore due to my smart phone, which made receiving a cool black and silver watch with a subtle destination logo capture my attention.
I was curious about ideas from other people who also regularly attend conferences and utilize promotional products to represent their companies. Here is what three Destination Colorado board members had to say.
Lindsey Rohrbaugh handles group and international sales for Visit Fort Collins and recommends giving local, small-batch and custom items. “We provide canvas bags as welcome bags that are locally sourced, and a local artist helps us design them each year,” she says. Custom growlers, beer openers, beer jelly, local hot sauce, Otterbox to-go mugs with the Colorado flag and anything with the Colorado flag are also top on her list.
Rohrbaugh also applauded Destination Colorado for giving Buff outdoor head and neck gear at its recent Customer Appreciation Event in Vail and ordering YoColorado beanies for group appointments at the 2018 IMEX show being held mid-October in Las Vegas.
Meg Palumbo, national sales manager for The Steamboat Grand in Steamboat Springs, likes branded travel coffee cups and PopSockets grips for the back of smart phones and local food items like Honey Stinger products, Sweetwood Smokehouse jerky and Yampa Valley Sauce Company hot sauce.
Ellen Collins, CMP, senior manager for Vail Resorts Meetings and Events’ Global Group Sales Office – Colorado had several ideas to share, with the following four being among her favorite promotional items that her department hands out.
Helly Hansen sandals – “Helly Hansen is a strategic partner of ours so we’re thrilled to brand their items, even footwear products.”
Starbuck’s gift cards – “Starbuck’s is another strategic partner, and who doesn’t love coffee? We’re able to brand their gift cards.”
Supergoop! lip balm – “Supergoop is a great partner for any and all sun care needs. We’ve branded their lip balm with our logo.”
EcoGlass Straw – “Supporting our company’s net zero initiative, we decided to brand glass straws that come complete with a cleaning brush.”
Other great ideas from Collins are plush blankets with scenic images from Vail Resorts’ mountains, yoga mats in carrying cases, colorful Rume bags, holiday ornaments, history books about the resorts, and restored wooden boxes containing a travel set featuring a notebook, luggage tag, beer bottle opener and more.
Instead of going with the same items that everyone else is giving, figure out how to plug into your company’s personality and select items and brands that your target recipients will appreciate. The result? You will be proud to give away your swag and know that it is making a lasting impression on meeting and event attendees.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has helped plan numerous meetings and events, and enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons.