Branded Swag Boxes: How To Impress Customers & Employees

Advice and examples on how to create your own company-branded swag box. Tips to deliver the right message every time.
Impress Customers & Employees with Custom Branded Swag Boxes

What if we told you that a single strategy could strengthen customer relationships, improve employee retention, boost event engagement, and generate word-of-mouth marketing about your brand?

Branded swag boxes can do all that and more, but you must put a lot of thought into them to deliver outstanding experiences for recipients.

Unfortunately, we’ve all received bland corporate gifts like cheap branded flash drives, PopSockets, and fidget spinners.

But a custom-made branded swag box can strengthen your brand, increase customer success, and deliver a unique, curated experience to your target audience.

Here’s how to deliver corporate-branded swag (the right way).

What Is a Branded Swag Box?

A branded swag box is a gift set of promotional products sent to employees, prospects, clients, or anyone else you want to generate a stronger sense of community and brand loyalty. Each box is adorned with the company logo, color palette, and design elements.

Branded swag boxes have come a long way in recent years there’s no need to settle for the default set of business gifts.

Gift a curated selection of products that recipients will be thrilled to receive.

Branded Swag Box - Themed Corporate Gifts to Include
Examples of items in a branded swag box from Peak Community.

What Makes Swag Boxes Unique?

Unlike many corporate gifts, swag boxes are made for each gift recipient to a brand’s unique specifications. In particular, the packaging is one of the essential elements. The contents of a swag box generally fit into a theme such as onboarding, hiring, or an upcoming event.

Swag boxes give your target prospect, new hire, or client a sense of affinity with your brand. They help instill the feeling of a shared purpose, as well as the effect of experiencing Outbound Love.

Benefits of Using Branded Swag Boxes

1) Increase brand awareness

The most oft-cited benefit of branded swag is, of course, brand awareness. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute found[PDF] that gifting a branded t-shirt generates 3,400 impressions. This socializes your brand to new audiences and potential customers.

2) Strengthen relationships

Build trust with brand partners, influencers, clients, remote teams, and contractors. Create a shared sense of identity with branded products. One-directional gift-giving demonstrates that you value the relationship.

For partner and employee appreciation, include a professionally branded backpack.

3) Create a direct connection with prospects

Getting a busy decision-maker on the phone can be impossible these days. But what if you sent them a customized gift box in the mail? That may be a different story.

6sense used Alyce to generate new account opportunities and achieved a 5x ROI through gifting strategies.

If you know that the decision-maker you want to target goes hiking, include a nice water bottle in the swag box.

4) Add a tactile element to virtual events

Be honest: how many times have you attended a virtual meeting or event, only to tune out with your webcam off the entire time?

It can be challenging to keep virtual audiences engaged and invested. Sending swag boxes before an online event generates a more attentive audience. After receiving something physical in the mail, your audience will be more interested in what you have to say (even if it’s from behind a screen).

🎁 Related: Gifting Strategies for Must-Attend Virtual Events

Corporate Swag Box Examples

Refine Labs

Demand strategy company, Refine Labs celebrated its 100th episode of Demand Gen Live by sending custom swag boxes to valued listeners. In keeping with the podcast theme, their swag boxes included a mic, ring lights, and a wearable blanket.

These were all items their target audience could use and they were consistent with the brand’s theme. Once Alyce had delivered the boxes, the Refine Labs community posted their new swag on Linkedin — creating a rush of user-generated content.

Google I/O Launch Event

In anticipation of its upcoming annual developer conference, Google treated early registrants to custom swag boxes. Each kit contained a high-quality insulated tumbler, a branded sweatshirt, and limited-run pins for different products and technologies.

Recipients and tech media chronicled the sheer excitement of receiving this exclusive Google swag pack across social media.

Branded Swag Box from Google
A photo of the Google IO branded swag box (via Twitter)

Swag Box Alternatives: Virtual Swag

If you can’t nail down the perfect swag for everyone, no problem! Create a pop-up swag store and let your recipients choose their own swag.

Virtual swag stores lack the initial physical gift experience but practically guarantee the swag item will be something your recipient loves.

Alyce Corporate Gift Marketplace

Best Uses of Swag Boxes

👏 Customer Onboarding

Connect with new customers and show that they are more to you than just names in your CRM. Sometimes a new zip-up fleece can say more than (yet another) welcome email.

For a practical client gift box idea, include a printed warm welcome postcard from your CEO.

These are more than business gifts. They’re tokens of appreciation for your customers’ commitment and loyalty. There are many brands out there, but they chose you. Cherish them for it.

😎 New-Hire Employee Swag Packs

Effective onboarding can make or break a new hire relationship. But, even if new employees are thrilled to be a part of your team, the first few weeks can feel overwhelming.

A smooth onboarding experience improves retention by 82%, according to Glassdoor. In other words, you can’t afford to have a rough transition.

Welcome your new team members and assure them they made the right choice by sending them custom swag boxes. As an added bonus, new hires are often eager to announce their new roles across social media.

📈 Partner Milestone Swag Boxes

Show investment in your partner’s success! Strengthen partner and client relationships by celebrating your “wins” as a team. For example, if you have a channel sales program, you want to use swag boxes as a component of recruiting.

A branded swag box provides on-brand messaging, engaging gifts, and even company-branded apparel they can begin using. Consider awarding your top-performing partners with incredible gift experiences they can’t help but post on social media.

For their hard work, go all out with Yeti® branded coffee mugs and JBL™ Bluetooth® speakers.

📣 Outreach to Brand Influencers

Generate buzz about your brand online without a hefty price tag. Unboxing videos and photos remain trending forms of content. There’s an entire industry built around unboxing: influencer marketing.

According to YouTube, the amount of time people have spent watching unboxing videos on their phones is equivalent to watching Love Actually more than 20 million times.

Send online influencers a box of promotional products, a witty message, and ideas for them to share your brand’s message with their audiences.

📆 Event Kits

Heighten the attendee experience by offering swag boxes before and after your events.

Include gifts that complement the theme of your event. For instance, hosting a coffee meet and greet? Send a branded Yeti coffee mug and responsibly sourced ground coffee.

Branded swag kits bring a tangible, personal element to virtual events and conferences. With many virtual events happening behind a screen, receiving a physical gift can be a game-changer.

Deliver swag boxes to attendees to thank them for participating. They are a great way of driving conversion through a compelling call to action (CTA).

Take it a step further by offering a ticket giveaway to your next event when your attendees complete a follow-up survey.

Branded Swag Boxes To Fit Events & Marketing Campaigns
Swag boxes can be branded to fit any event or marketing campaign.

🎯 Account-Based Marketing Kits

When you have an account that has bubbled up to your team’s attention, it’s time to make a great first impression. A branded account-based gift box helps you stand out on ultra-competitive marketing channels.

But you can take it a step further.

With our gifting integration with HubSpot, teams can automatically send clients swag boxes triggered by predefined actions in an automated workflow.

🏎 Deal Accelerator Kits

Want an alternative to sending your third “follow-up” email?

Deliver swag boxes to an internal champion to get them excited to do business with you. Decision-makers have so much competing for their attention day-to-day: stand out with Outbound Love in your deal flow.

Pay attention to who else is CC’d (and noticeably absent) on your emails to see if they would be strong candidates for a tactful business gift.

🌎 Global Execution

Send international gifts to prospects or clients that respect customs and local traditions. Sending gifts worldwide is no small task—you’ll learn more about that soon—but sending the right message in the gift is vital.

Even though the world is going more and more digital, receiving something at the doorstep still feels personal, and sending a swag box internationally demonstrates your commitment to the relationship.

You could also include a printed swag card that the recipient can redeem at an online gift marketplace to select a gift card for their region.

See why top B2B marketing teams gift with Alyce.
Schedule a demo→

Planning Out Your Custom Swag Box

Start by clarifying your goals. We recommend filling out the following brief as the first step in your swag campaign.

1) Campaign objective & measurement

Define the purpose of this marketing campaign. Is it to generate buzz online? Encourage employee retention?

How are you going to measure success? Gifting has evolved in recent years, and online gifting allows teams to measure KPIs through open rates, sign-ups, bookings, and more.

Example: Our objective is to get 100 target prospects to sign up for a consultation call within the next 30 days.

2) Target audience

Identify the target audience of the campaign to effectively curate your box experience.

Example: Decision-maker prospects, RevOps, top-performing customers

3) Branding

How will your brand be represented within the swag box? Your company name can be present on every product or included on the box and packing insert.

Look beyond your logo as well: brand colors, imagery, and language all play a role in branding.

Example: Our logo will be on two of the five items, the insert card, and sticker.

4) Message/Theme

What is the core message or emotion you’d like to communicate?

Think practically as well as intangibly. First, define the clear core CTA/message, such as registering for an upcoming event. Then, include the emotions you’d like the box to evoke (excitement, professionalism, respect, etc.).

Example: We want to generate excitement around the launch of our new product.

5) Packaging

It’s all in the presentation. Consider how the packaging represents your brand and enhances the experience of opening the swag box.

Example: A fully branded custom box filled with brand-colored packing paper, preferably made from recyclable materials.

6) Business swag Items

And now the fun part — selecting which items will be included in your custom swag box. Be creative here!

Some questions to ask:

  • What items are you thrilled to receive in the mail?
  • Based on past campaigns, are there any items that have been particularly successful or unsuccessful?
  • Are there any particular brands that resonate with your recipient? For example, a buyer who prioritizes eco-conscious business practices may appreciate a fleece from Patagonia, a reusable straw set, or another eco-friendly gift.

7) Campaign launch date

Set a campaign launch date for the delivery of the boxes. From there, your team can work backward to set deadlines for the preceding campaign launch steps.

Example: All kits need to be delivered to Austin, TX, no later than August 21, as our event begins on August 22.

8) Brainstorming deadline

We’ve found that five days is ideal to complete the brainstorming process. Be aware of any critical deadlines in the campaign process, and keep your swag provider informed accordingly.

When you have most of this information in hand, reach out to your account manager to create your custom swag box with Alyce.

Branded Swag Box Considerations

Here are some things to consider when planning the perfect swag box launch.

👉 Put the recipient’s experience first. How will this box make them feel? The aesthetic is everything here. It’s better to gift a few high-quality items than a box full of cheap branded trinkets in a sea of packing peanuts.

👉 Deadlines creep up on you. As with most marketing campaigns, budget more time than you think will be necessary. Last-minute changes and shipping delays happen. Supply chain inefficiencies are real, so be flexible. Give your team some breathing room and pad in additional time.

👉 The theme is important. Is your swag box connected to a significant event or campaign? Harmonize the gifts into the larger theme of your event or campaign. The right swag box theme is the difference between “Wow!” and “WTF?”

For example, if you’re hosting a happy hour webinar, make sure you include promotional drinkware, coasters, and snacks in the swag box.

🎁 Related: Gifting Best Practices: How To Make a Positive Impact

Share Outbound Love With Custom-Branded Swag Boxes

We all want to feel connected, seen, and part of a community. Swag boxes can welcome webinar attendees, new clients, or team members into your brand in a thoughtful way.

That’s all that effective business is: connecting with others.

Show your community you care by curating creative experiences that can be unboxed and enjoyed without any strings attached. Gift thoughtfully, personally, and generously!

Swag Box Ideas from Alyce

August 1, 2022
Joe M.

Joe Manna is the content manager for Alyce who obsesses over the Oxford comma, embraces the em dash, and thrives on engaging and informative content. He's savvy with B2B marketing and has helped companies large and small serve more customers. His 5-to-9™ interests include visiting the beach, listening to podcasts, and being the best dad and husband he can be.