by Rameka Jennings October 20th, 2022
The person who said, “Take nothing but pictures and memories, and leave nothing but footprints,” was clearly not attending a franchise conference. While you hope your attendees leave with enthusiasm, knowledge, passion, and plans, your attendees hope they leave with those things plus some sweet swag. Being passionate about your brand and your franchise means proudly wearing branded swag, but it also means coming home feeling like the franchisor made some thoughtful decisions about your experience. Event swag is one of the easiest ways to convey that message, boost your brand, and provide lasting memories of your franchise conference.
- Why Event Swag Is Important for Your Franchise Conference?
- Franchise Swag in the Wild
- Sweet Swag Ideas for Your Franchise Conference
Why Event Swag Is Important for Your Franchise Conference?
You’ve likely been to a conference or two; think back to the event swag you’ve received and what lasting impression it left on you. Whether it was the tool you can’t live without (like this awesome double-hinged corkscrew) or the disposable product that didn’t even make it all the way home, the swag we receive at events is an opportunity to leave an impact. These items can and should remind your attendees not just of the franchise event and your brand, but as noted above, it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate your values.
Whether you’re addressing the challenges of your attendees, understanding the difficulties of a multi-day event with travel, providing an industry-specific tool, or gifting some branded, wearable conference swag, each of these act as an opportunity for you to imprint your brand and the event on your attendees.
Like useful swag, memorable events are also an advertising opportunity. Some large brands are taking swag to new heights, capitalizing on brand love and loyalty. But when you consider what kind of gifts you can give top franchisees, some of that branded swag is pretty sweet.
Franchise Swag in the Wild
There’s no shortage of franchise swag out there already. In fact, it’s loved by consumers and brand loyalists alike (including your franchisees). Much like a viral video, it’s possible to create a huge demand and following for your branded swag. For example, Marlboro may be credited with turning consumer loyalty into tangible swag with Marlboro Miles, where smokers could earn everything from outerwear to a motorcycle. That campaign had even non-smokers clamoring for Marlboro gear, and the swag was as popular as the brand itself.
In short, the goal here is to see your swag in the wild. Gaining the kind of traction those miles received was a long process, but there are quick wins to be had. The right franchise conference swag allows your franchisees to share their passion for your brand while they’re at work and at play. With the right choices and incentives, they might even earn bragging rights.
Let’s take Mary Kay cosmetics for example. The cosmetics brand is infamous for rewarding its top earners with a very recognizable branded pink Cadillac (the tradition continues today). Consider the kind of iconic swag your top earners could receive and the opportunity to motivate others with a presentation at a franchise conference!
In the 80s, Coke made its branded swag a coveted item, shifting it to a retail line that drove a new revenue stream. More recently, some brands have gotten into the retail clothing sector, rolling out the kind of fun apparel one might think starts at a franchise conference. While your branded swag may not be big enough to hit the retail jackpot or your budget big enough to provide Cadillacs or even motorcycles, you can still make memorable event swag choices.
Sweet Swag Ideas for Your Franchise Conference
So exactly how do you identify the franchise event swag sweet spot? The first rule of thumb is to make it fit. If we look at the examples we noted above, Marlboro capitalized on its existing marketing message of the outdoors and the American West. Mary Kay’s pink Cadillac plays on the feminine, pale pink and the exclusivity of a high-end luxury car. You have to find something that truly captures the essence of your franchise brand.
Alternatively, if you want to save those items for incentive gifts (like Mary Kay), your franchise conference swag should consider the destination, season, overall goal/theme of your event, or the franchisees in attendance. There are some great opportunities for you to provide the kind of take-home swag your franchisees will be proud to showcase. You can create custom conference swag bags with multiple items, mixing and matching from the suggestions below.
1. The Basics - These items are often utilitarian and industry standards. They’re evergreen and always popular because they’re useful. These items included:
- Backpacks or tote bags (especially good if there’s a vendor expo!)
- Hoodies, jackets, or shells
- Hats or t-shirts
- Gourmet baskets
2. High-End Goods - If the goal is to really wow your guests and send them home with a luxury good that they’ll use daily, some great options include:
- Custom wireless or noise-canceling headphones
- Fitness trackers or an Apple Watch
- Tech bags, suitcases, or monogrammed travel bags
- VR headsets
- Bluetooth speakers
3. Travel Necessities - Whether your attendees are traveling to your event or for other work events, travel gear is a great way to go. Consider:
- Duffel bags or backpacks
- Travel pillows and blankets
- Travel mugs
- Portable chargers
- Toiletry bag filled with organic goods
- Travel umbrellas
- Laptop sleeves
- Airline or travel vouchers
- Powerstrip, universal adapters, or hotspots
4. Health and Wellness - Franchisees are likely working long hours, and prioritizing their health and wellness is key to them keeping up with hectic schedules and big demands. Help them stay healthy with:
- Yoga mats
- Online fitness subscriptions
- Exercise bands or yoga blocks
- Aromatherapy sets
- Handheld massage rollers/massage tools
- Workout gear
- Massage/spa gift certificates
5. Handheld Items - Looking for something a bit smaller? Smaller doesn’t always mean cheap or disposable, but items that fit in a hand are quick and convenient to grab or small enough to pack up. Consider:
- Portable light rings for Zoom calls
- Skincare kits or lip balm
- Wireless earbuds
- Charging pads
- Custom Tile
- Handheld games or puzzles
The true test for your franchise conference swag is knowing your audience. That means not only choosing items they’d love, but also choosing items they might need. Sweet swag excites your attendees for those reasons. They’re delighted with the gift, realize its utility, and can’t wait to use it.
The other key component to choosing swag is selecting an item that represents either your industry or the values of your brand. For example, for an auto goods franchise, you may want to offer a branded tire gauge or even a portable battery charger. For a pizza chain, consider a branded pizza cutter, and a coffee chain could gift a reusable mug or a custom Chemex. Bottom line, your swag should capture the essence of your event and your brand.
The Bishop-McCann team does an excellent job of helping you select the perfect gifts for attendees, and we’re ready to help with so much more! If you’re planning your next franchise conference, get in touch with our team today, and let us help deliver on your franchise conference goals.