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How to Use Swag to Humanize Your Virtual Event

August 13, 2021 3 min read

How to Use Swag to Humanize Your Virtual Event woman sitting at computer holding a green CSTA branded mug

With the return to work and the phrase "The New Normal," I recognized that virtual events aren't going away any time soon. 93% of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward, according to Bizzabo.

The growth of virtual events is creating new ways of connecting with larger audiences and bringing challenges for event managers to communicate with their audience and humanize the virtual event.

This is where virtual event swag comes in. 

Branded swag creates an emotional connection with customers so they can experience your brand first-hand. It inspires action, emotion, and loyalty for your brand.

Swag gets attendees excited. I mean, who doesn't love free stuff? Swag also creates a channel for engagement beyond the event itself and leaves a lasting positive impression. Send attendees products before or after an event to elevate their virtual event experience and use swag to:

  • Make the event tangible
  • Allow attendees to experience your brand first hand
  • Add a personal touch to the event
  • Add value to the event

5 ways swag can humanize your virtual event


Here’s a look into how to use swag humanize your virtual event.

1. Make the event itself tangible

Companies can benefit from sending attendees items to use during the event like a notebook and pen to take notes. Attendees will be excited to receive the tools they need to get the most out of the event similar to a welcome bag when they first enter the in-person event space. 

These products aren't just tools for attendees, though. They can be used as built-in icebreakers for companies. You can ask how the attendees liked their swag, get feedback from them, and start to build a relationship. 

2. Give a sense of a brand’s personality

Technology creates connections, but there can be a disconnect when getting to know someone or a brand virtually. Send swag that shows off your company’s personality by picking the items that stand by its values or culture. 

For example, a brand that values the environment should send eco-friendly items to help the attendee reduce their carbon footprint. The colors that brands pick for their swag also gives attendees insight into a brand’s personality and associates certain feelings with that brand.

3. Add a personal touch

Remember that feeling of walking into a gift shop and finding the key chain with your name on it? 

That's how attendees will feel when they receive a personalized item from you. 

For companies that have the budget, personalizing swag for attendees is an effective way to make them feel truly welcomed at the event. And add that human touch, of course. 

Sure, it’s nice to receive a notebook from a brand, but a notebook with the event and attendee’s name makes the notebook extra special. Personalized gifts resonate because they demonstrate that the company spent time and energy into the gift and attendee, even though they won’t meet in person. 

4. Add value to the event

Virtual events take a lot of hard work and preparation. But there's one thing that you can do that will instantly add value.

Though swag won’t completely take the place of in-person networking, swag is the perfect way to increase the value of a virtual event and generate interest in the event. 

If you have a firm grasp on who your audience is, you'll be able to identify what products they'll truly love. A well-thought-out gift is much more valuable than a generic one. 

Is your virtual event on the latest technology? A sure way to add value to that event would be to send attendees a few tech-related items. 

5. Create connections

The internet is FULL of photos, videos, and posts of attendees proudly showing off their t-shirt or mug from a conference. This excitement is something that can and should be replicated when you send swag to attendees.

Create a hashtag or digital social group and encourage them to connect and network with other attendees to show off their swag before, during and after the event.

Did you know it takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand? This means that providing swag for virtual event attendees is even MORE important.

Replace the connection at an IRL event with a booth agent, and send a personalized note along with your swag bag to stay top-of-mind for attendees. After the event is over, attendees will use items like a coffee mug or sweatshirt daily and the brand will continue to make impressions.

Humanize your event with swag

There's nothing quite like meeting event attendees in person and giving them a cool promotional item. Their eyes light up and a smile stretches across their face.

Don't you miss those days? I certainly do. 

But until it's safe to hold in-person events, we've learned to lean on swag to fill in that missing link. Swag 

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This post was originally published January 8, 2021

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