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Company Swag is Dead… Why It’s Time to Put Swag to Bed

Company Swag is Dead… Why It’s Time to Put Swag to Bed

The act of gifting is an opportunity to go the extra mile and show your team members how much you care. Yet, many employers get it wrong by committing the classic cardinal sin: company swag.

Don’t be fooled: your employees aren’t lying when they graciously say, “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” after unwrapping their annual branded mug, koozie, or pen.

Really. You shouldn’t have.

We hate to break it to you… but company swag is dead.

Despite being completely overdone, swag is impersonal, unexciting, and all about you. Not to mention that these gifts are essentially useless, leaving your recipient to question how quickly they can chuck these knick-knacks in the garbage without feeling guilty.

Luckily, there are many great alternatives that can remain cost-effective without completely missing the mark. Now, let’s talk about what's in and what’s out when it comes to corporate gifting.

15 Swag Items to Bury Forever

  1. T-Shirts
    Topping our list are branded t-shirts. Hear us out: standard sizing/fits are often not inclusive to everyone on your team. The result? A t-shirt that’s buried in a clothing drawer for months until it finally makes it into a donation pile. (Or worse: A landfill)

  2. Tumblers & Mugs
    Following the t-shirts, branded drinkware has been pushed out in mass production and is just about everywhere. Truly, there is a tumbler or mug for any idea and company imaginable and they just end up collecting dust on thrift store shelves around the country.

  3. Pens
    Another pen that will work for maybe a week tops? No thanks!

  4. Moleskin notepad or journal 
    A good idea in theory, but not in practice. While they can look nice, how much are we really writing these days? Plus, those who do take the time to journal definitely don’t want to glare at their company logo before and after each session. Pages are personal. 

  5. Stress ball
    Are you implying your organization is stressful or….?

  6. Canvas tote or lunch bag
    Your employees are not asking for another bag to carry their groceries or lunch in. If we’re talking food-related gifts, try providing a meal (or the means to get a nice one!).

  7. Branded USB 
    USBs are no longer practical––most computers don’t even have ports for these anymore.

  8. Socks
    Socks may seem like a cute idea at first, but they aren’t all that exciting. Were you really thrilled the last time you received socks?

  9. Backpack
    If your recipient is in the market for a backpack, they will likely want a specific style from a trusted, high-quality brand; not a cheap backpack with your logo on it. Unless it’s Telfar, we don’t want it!

  10. Koozies or coasters
    These are the types of gifts that no one would ever ask for. Koozies or coasters are typically used once, if at all, and then end up straight in the trash.

Why Corporate Gifting is Important

Defaulting to company swag for gifting results in a missed opportunity to make a difference. Gifting is a small token of gratitude that is important to employees because it reassures them that they are appreciated and that their work matters. 

In fact, according to a 2021-22 Employer Gift-Giving Report, 57% of those surveyed stated that they are more likely to be loyal to a company that gifts employees. 

Still, the emphasis is not so much on the gift itself –– it’s the thought behind it. While gifting company swag is a kind gesture, it’s not exactly the most meaningful. It can sometimes come across like checking a box rather than treating the people you care about. Consider each team member as an individual, and pick your gifts accordingly. 

Instead of Swag, Try These 

  • For the outdoorsy, nature lover – a bike helmet, gardening kit, nice sunscreen, a tactical cooler, or a campfire snack basket
  • For the health nut – a jump rope, gym towel, high-quality gym bag, a gift card to their favorite grocery store, or a class pack to a nearby fitness studio
  • For the family – a board game or digital picture frame
  • For the party host – a party game, cocktail kits, or high-quality serveware
  • For the book worm – the latest book on their list or a gift card to a local bookstore

Be The Ultimate Gift-Giver

From now on, give a gift that matters. By thinking more specifically about each person, your team will feel appreciated and seen for the hard work and dedication they put in throughout the year. 

Cut out traditional, boring, company swag and reduce the amount of waste you put out into the world. No more unused objects left in tissue paper. Be the type of gift giver your team deserves. Trust us, a little goes a long way. 

Looking for some extra ideas to up your corporate gifting game? Check out our experience gift boxes here

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