Stuff… We… All… Get… SWAG.
Conferences and trade shows are so critical to practically every industry that even in the midst of the pandemic, companies are looking to turn these in-person events into virtual events. Top-notch speakers, networking opportunities, and last but not least, conference swag and promotional items work in tandem to ensure that trade shows and conferences can’t be missed. That also means that with loads of attendees and companies vying for attention and brand recognition, it takes a little extra to leave a lasting impression.
Becoming a sponsor and getting a table or a booth at a professional conference is a great first step towards getting your company noticed. But conference swag and branded gifts will keep your business in the minds of the attendees long after the event is over. In fact, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute, the majority of people hold onto promotional products for an average of eight months.85% of people claim that a promotional product prompted them to go into business with an advertiser Click To Tweet
In that same ASI study, the researchers also found that 63% of the more than 100,000 Americans surveyed pass on their promo products once they are done using them and 85% of consumers remember the brands who gave them swag. The good news is that this means your brand recognition is multiplied every time you give away merch at these events — but there’s a caveat. Some swag ends up in the trash, other company swag is cherished for years. So what makes someone decide it has value? Well, it’s mostly a matter of quality.
“85% of people claim that a promotional product prompted them to go into business with an advertiser.” — Gareth Parkin, Founder of GoPromotional
What Makes The Best Conference Swag & Gift Idea?
These 5 traits should be considered when selecting the best conference swag for your upcoming in-person or virtual event:
- Memorable — Does the conference swag actually help people remember your brand?
- Quality — Is it made of material that gives people the impression that they’ve received something of value?
- Sharable — Is the promo product an item that the individual would be proud to gift to another?
- Creative — It is fun and outside-the-box instead of the same ideas other vendors are using
- Durable — Is the gift going to last for years?
To get the best return on investment, ask your recipients to subscribe to your email newsletter or complete another relevant business action like filling out a survey. Most of the time, they will be happy to help. The other thing you want to be sure of is that the corporate gift ideas are items they’ll want to keep like electronics, clothing, and anything for children.
We’ve compiled a list of the 28 best conference swag and gift ideas for 2021. Browse through it and pick out a few to leave a lasting impression at the next big industry event!
Pro-Tip: The production time can vary depending on the time of year — usually, you’ll receive your conference gifts within a couple of weeks, but keep in mind that holidays may delay your order, so plan 1-2 weeks ahead.
In-Person Conference Swag Ideas
“For mixing business with pleasure”The Travel Porter Glass is the perfect fusion of fancy, classy, and functional. Made from high-quality glass wrapped in silicone matte, these glasses work for situations ranging from outdoor picnics and adventures to wine and cheese nights. Your employees will appreciate them because they will instantly know and feel they received a gift of real worth. As an added bonus, this branded gift idea is dishwater safe, BPA free, and has plenty of room for your company logo on the center of its back panel.
Price: $29.54 to $37.97
Where to get it: Travel Porter Glass
“For care package lovers”
Caroo offers snack boxes, care packages, and branded swag for every occasion including the Thankful Box, Sips + Snacks Box, Holiday Box, Happy Hour Box, and the Mindfulness Box. But one of our favorites is the Unplugged Box, which derives its clever name from its ability to refuel employees from home or on-the-go. The Unplugged Box has healthy, energizing snacks; an enamel mug; a coffee and cedarwood candle; a gradient puzzle; and a deck of playing cards for a morale boost and a bit of fun. This care package is equally-suited for virtual conference gift ideas as it is for an in-person conference gift idea.
Where to get it: Caroo’s Unplugged Box
26) Cable Quack
“For digital nomads”
The Cable Quack keeps cables neat and tidy with slots for placing cables in their correct position and magnets for holding them in place. It’s great for a desk, a night stand, or a table at any cafe a remote worker might find themselves working at.
Price: $4.57 to $5.00
Where to get it: Cable Quack
Pro-tip: Always get a sample sent to you before committing to a bulk purchase to see how your branding looks on the physical product
“For team leaders”
The central theme around Revolutionize Teamwork is how to create and lead accountable teams. Whether your company is looking to scale or is sitting pretty right where it’s at, in order to continue to thrive, you’ll need an all-hands-on-deck approach. That’s where this hit book comes in. Coryell gives specific examples of leadership techniques to use and avoid as well as exercises to gear your team up for success. Revolutionize Teamwork teaches leaders how to drive forward, maximize their role, and merge the employee mindset with the entrepreneurial mindset. At just under 130 pages, this conference gift idea is also a quick, yet worthwhile read.
Price: $14.87 to $34.46
Where to get it: Revolutionize Teamwork
The Travel Pencil Case is great for Type A personalities who need a place for every item. Fortunately for them, this polyester pouch has plenty of room for accessories, comes with a zippered main compartment, lined interior, and a slash pocket for business cards and other valuables. Plus, the tabs on each side will let your employees or team members pull the top down into an easy-to-use supply cup and the structured bottom keeps the case stable so items don’t spill out. For best use, pack cords and electronics into this handbag-sized branded pencil case.
Price: $8.58 to $26.07
Where to get it: Travel Pencil Case
“For the fashionable”
Wearable swag is one of the best ways to show love to your employees and clients while also getting a little free advertising! The Bella Unisex Jersey Tee is 100% Airlume cotton, pre-shrunk, side-seamed, and comes in the full range fo sizes from extra small to extra large. Your employees and clients will be proud to rep your company in this branded t-shirt.
Price: $6.55 to $31.61
Where to get it: Bella Unisex Jersey Tee
“For doodlers and note-takers”
The Bristol Twist-Action is a ballpoint with chrome trim and rubber touch coating. This high quality pen is an affordable gift idea for virtual conferences, in-person conferences, and tradeshows. Your company logo can be laser engraved on it as well for a lasting impression.
Price: $5.45 to $6.71
Where to get it: Bristol Twist-Action
“For office parties”
The Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit comes equipped with everything your employees, coworkers, or event attendees need to make its namesake drink — an old fashion. The tray, stirring spoon, TSA-friendly travel-sized whiskey, and glass can be engraved with your company logo to add your brand to this Mad Men-esque promo product.
Price: $26.01 to $33.29
Where to get it: Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit
Virtual Conference Swag Ideas
The best virtual conference swag ideas provide immediate value to the recipient by giving them something they want to use right away.
20) Orbit Charger
“For movers and shakers”
This QI-enabled wireless charging pad is ideal for salespeople and others who use their phones throughout the day and find themselves out and about. The Orbit Charger has built-in LED lights that illuminate when charging, heat dissipating bottom air vents, 10W total output, and a large, full color ready area for your logo to be digitally imprinted on. Additionally, this branded product comes with a 100cm micro USB cable, so your employees have a backup for their power source.
Price: $12.01 to $44.97
Where to get it: Orbit Charger
19) Qi Mouse Pad
“For remote employees”
The Qi-enabled charger has a spacious, reinforced charging platform for rapid wireless charging. The mouse is not included, but employees and potential clients will be thrilled with the style and the function of this top notch virtual conference gift. Your logo can be laser engraved or imprinted via 4-color process on this branded promo product.
Price: $21.83 to $27.50
Where to get it: Qi Mouse Pad
“For stress relief”
The Mindfulness Box is designed to keep employees focused, energized, and ready to crush the day! This virtual conference gift idea comes with a stress ball, super healthy snacks, a Karst Stone pocket journal, a gel pen, a team mindfulness activity, and a MiiR 27oz Water Bottle. The Mindfulness Box is one of the most certain ways to ensure your employees or anyone you encounter at a tradeshow or conference remembers your brand.
Where to get it: Caroo’s Mindfulness Box
17) WebCam Cover
“For extra privacy”
The WebCam Cover 1.0 gives laptops the ultimate privacy and security protection. Some laptops may not be able to fully close with this cover, but it’s super thin and has a double-sided adhesive that works on all devices. To top it off, the WebCam Cover fits laptops, computers, monitors, smart TVs, and external webcams.
Price: $2.93 to $3.31
Where to get it: WebCam Cover
The Sequoia Power Bank is a super-powered lithium polymer battery with an all-natural wood finish and a customizable metallic gold metal backing. Since you’re already participating in a virtual conference, chances are this is close to the perfect gift for the occasion because it’s especially useful for remote workers. Your logo can be digitally printed or laser engraved on this swag gift, which will easily fit inside a carry-on.
Price: $22.01 to $42.47
Where to get it: Sequoia Power Bank
15) Resistance Band
“For fitness lovers”
These foam grip resistance bands will be especially appreciated by the fitness lovers at the company. Not only that, but studies have proven the benefits of a healthy company culture — better employee satisfaction, less stress, and greater productivity. Also, these resistance bands are easy to take on the road! They come in black, red, blue, and green and your logo can be silk screen printed on them. Keeping health and wellness top of mind is a proven way to generate ROI.
Price: $3.96 to $5.63
Where to get it: Resistance Band
In-Person Conference Gift Ideas
The Moleskine Volant Journal is a great conference gift idea to send attendees off with something they are likely to use regularly. In fact, the Moleskine Volant Journal can be used right away because they can start taking notes during the panels. Likewise, employees and teammates will love these handy-dandy ivory paper journals. The acid-free, detachable sheets also guarantee these pages will remain usable for a long time without messed up binding. Your logo can easily be screen printed onto the spine and the front cover of this branded journal. The Moleskine comes in two different shades of blue, rose red, and slate grey.
Price: $10.63 to $66.31
Where to get it: Moleskine Volant Journal
“For elegance and chic in the office”
This four piece faux marble desktop set will have your employees feeling like bosses. The Carrara Desktop Set includes a stapler, stable refills, a pen cup, and a notepad. Your logo can be debossed, which keeps in line with the elegant, marbleized look of the collection. One of the best things about giving this as a gift is that it’s completely affordable despite its luxury aesthetic.
Price: $14.17 to $20.89
Where to get it: Carrara Desktop Set
“For music lovers and adventurers”
This waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof speaker is perfect for any kind of weather and every mood. You really can’t go wrong with a solar-rechargeable wireless speaker. Employees and clients alike will be thrilled to play their favorite tunes under the sun, in the rain, or at the office party on this 5-watt Bluetooth speaker. It has about 20 hours of battery life, takes roughly 2 ½ hours to charge via USB and 12 hours via solar, it has an M8 screw hole on the bottom for a bike mount, and it includes a USB/micro-charging cable, strap, and an audio cable. Last, but certainly not least, this branded promotional product has a 33-foot operating range, a built-in mic for hands-free calls, and an AUX line-in cable.
Price: $43.63 to $56.73
Where to get it: Solar Waterproof Speaker
“For healthy living”
Your employees can simply fill the middle section of the Asobu Flavour U See with their favorite flavors, add water, and they’ll be able to enjoy a refreshing taste all day long. This 16 ounce branded water bottle is made of Tritan, has a double-wall stainless steel insulation, and metallic finish, which gives it a chic look. Whether your employees are out and about or in the office, the Asobu will keep them hydrated and ready to grind. They can easily add blueberries, cucumbers, mint, lemons, lime, grapefruit or whatever ingredients they can imagine. Infused water has never tasted better.
Price: $24.36 to $90.09
Where to get it: Asobu Flavour U See
“For taking precautions”
Getting your employees face masks serves a two-fold purpose: It’s likely to keep them healthier and if they’re healthier, they’ll be happier and more productive. Protection doesn’t need to look like something out of Mad Max. That’s why we recommend the Swag.com Face Mask for breathability and style. The inner barrier is designed for replaceable PM 2.5 carbon filters and the inside pocket is made out of 100% cotton with an outer layer of lycra. All of that is really just to say that these virtual conference gifts are reusable, washable, and uber-reliable. Cloth face masks aren’t designed to be guaranteed prevention, but in the middle of COVID or the next pandemic, they are going to reduce the likelihood of breathing in and out airborne pathogens.
Price: $10.87 to $14.87
Where to get it: Swag.com Face Mask
“For an extra reminder”
The Custom Tile Mate conveniently attaches to purses, keys, and any other item clients and potential customers might otherwise lose track of regularly. Within a 200-foot range, the Tile will ring via Bluetooth when triggered by a smartphone or other mobile device. The Tile will then let the user know the particular location of the lost items. Plus, this incredible promo product is water-proof!
Price: $24.84 to $51.50
Where to get it: Custom Tile Mate
8) The Austin
Tired of losing track of your phone? With the Austin journal, you don’t have to waste a minute of your busy day looking for your phone anymore. With its cell phone pocket sewn into the textured front hardcover, the Austin journal is recommended if you like simplicity, practicality and style. This journal also includes an elastic pen loop, white lined and undated calendar pages which will make scheduling appointments or writing down to do lists or minutes of a meeting much easier and clearer. It is available in black, gold and silver; three colors that signal chic and professional.
Price: $11.96 to $15.15
Where to get it: The Austin
Virtual Conference Gift Ideas
A great virtual conference gift idea helps unify teams and make employees and clients feel happier at home. If you deliver value, they’ll value your brand.
“For plant lovers”
The Petite Zebra Plant comes with a 4-inch Haworthia succulent. This ready-to-display plant will add color and life to the workplace — whether employees are commuting or working from home. The cylinder gift box also serves as a chic planter and has a decorative ribbon. This eco-friendly gift includes a water dropper and care instructions to help recipients develop their green thumb.
Price: $34.37 to $46.79
Where to get it: Petite Zebra Plant
Employees, clients, or teammates can put all of their important items in this Charging Desk Organizer. This hyper-functional conference gift keeps desks clean and organized with the necessities in one place. It’s compatible with all Qi-standard wirelessly-charged phones and it can be magnetically attached so it’s not likely to be knocked over or to fall over. As a bonus, the LED indicator lights up when a device is being charged and it comes with a USB cable. Your logo can be laser or heat engraved to add the finishing touch on this incredible branded charging desk organizer.
Price: $66.88 to $291.90
Where to get it: Charging Desk Organizer
“For the active and the introverts”
The iLuv Splash-proof Earbuds are ergonomically designed with a double-locking pair of angled in-ear tips and ear hooks to keep them in place. The design is exactly what makes them excellent for running, hiking, or grooving to music during the workday. These earbuds are water, splash, and sweat-proof, have a built-in mic, and are compatible with voice programs like Google Assistant and Siri. The iLuv Splash-proof Earbuds are an easy way to infuse the office with extra life and a lot of fun, which will in turn, take your company culture to new levels.
Price: $40.36 to $49.24
Where to get it: iLuv Splash-Proof Earbuds
“For thrifty hustlers”
Nothing says digital nomad quite like a journal with a phone holder on the front. The Pocket Journal has nearly 200 perforated, ivory-lined pages, date features for daily journaling, an elastic pen loop, a space on the front for debossed or printed logos, and an RFID-protected card slot for credit cards. Could it be used as a wallet-journal hybrid? Yes, actually. Plus the Pocket Journal comes with a ballpoint pen, so employees can start using it right away.
Price: $13.10 to $28.22
Where to get it: The Pocket Journal
“For early birds”Caroo’s Snack + Coffee Box is an amazing in-person or virtual conference gift idea because it’s literally designed to give your employees or clients a major boost in energy and productivity. The ultimate work from home gift makes goodie bags obsolete. It comes with 12 snacks including jerky, bars, chips, sweets, a 12-ounce package of premium blend ground coffee, and much more.
One of our favorite things about Caroo’s Snack + Coffee Box is that for every box delivered, Caroo donates meals to families in need through their partnership with Feeding America. To date, Caroo has donated more than 17 million meals and counting. With this purchase, you can do good for your employee and the community at the same time!
Price: $42.95 per month to $443.40 per year (other plans available)
Where to get it: Caroo’s Snack + Coffee Box
“For better mornings and pre-workouts”
The BlendJet Portable Blender gives employees or attendees of the corporate event a chance to make their favorite shakes, smoothies, margaritas, or juices on the road or in the comfort of their homes. This stainless steel, BPA free 12oz drinkware can blend 8-12 beverages on a single charge by plugging into any USB port. Its built-in strainer gets rid of excess pulp and it’s easy to clean.
Price: $42.31 to $69.45
Where to get it: BlendJet Portable Blender
“For the happy-go-lucky”
What better gift to give your employees or conference attendees this holiday season than candy cocktail inspired garnishes? Bid adieu to 2020 with one the most sought-after conference gifts. This 3 section gift box includes sugar coated lemon slices, chocolate Martini olives and sugar coated twist of Lime, and it can have a label with your custom full color artwork on it as a cherry on top. What’s even cooler is that all the candy is non-alcoholic and your employees or clients will pass the Breathalyzer test! Cheers!
Price: $27.34 to $33.55
Where to get it: Candy Cocktail Garnishes
People Also Ask These Questions About Conference Swag Ideas
Q: What do you give out at a conference?
- A: You can give out coffee mugs, t-shirts, water bottles, and any free stuff you can think of. The goal, however, is to make sure whatever you give away will actually be kept.
Q: What is the difference between a conference swag and gift idea?
- A: The difference between conference swag and a gift idea is that swag is usually something an employee or a client might wear or possess with the central idea of also adding to brand recognition. A gift idea is something that provides value and doesn’t necessarily need to be a branded product.
Q: How can I send swag for a virtual conference?
- A: Most swag items takes weeks to produce and ship. For quality and speed, check out Swag.com or Caroo.
Q: What are the most popular giveaways at a conference?
- A: Cups, gift cards, tote bags, stickers, keychains, reusable water bottles, plastic water bottles, toiletry, and lanyards are commonly given away at conferences. However, the goal is to stand out, so perhaps consider what will be kept by attendees long after the conference ends. Spend a little extra for quality on items like swag bags and electronics.
Q: Can I send gifts out for a virtual conference?
- A: Of course, but it works best if you’ve collected addresses to send the promotional items and event swag directly to.
Q: Can I buy conference gifts in bulk?
- A: Yes, and buying conference gifts in bulk is often the most cost-efficient way to order.
Q: How long does it take to receive gifts for my conference?
- A: Generally two weeks, but it can run longer depending on a number of factors.