Everyone loves a free t-shirt, right?
Well they might, but it’s time to start thinking outside the box when it comes to free event attendee items and gifts for important speakers or people you want to recognize at your next company event. Being creative with your branding choices and not spending money on cheap tchotchkes will go a long way! Here are some alternative ideas:
- Survival Kits – Some events are multiple days, long hours or involve a trip away from home. Gift your attendees with small grab bags full of helpful items such as, pain reliever packs, snack bars, pen/notepad and fuzzy socks with your company logo.
- Photo Op – We love the idea of creating a branded wall with props or messaging that carries your event or meeting theme. Then give attendees a hashtag to use and you’ve given them the gift of memories with co-workers, attendees or speakers in addition to getting your brand out there. It’s a win-win.
- Supporting local businesses or charities – Making a connection with community around you can also go a long way with event attendees. Have a display of funding goals or projects with your company’s not-for-profit of choice or spotlight a local store with their goods or services at the event.
- Hand sanitizer – Seems like a cliché, but keeping people healthy when they are at an event is important and a little bottle of sanitizer or wipes can help.
You may also want to think about doing something special for speakers, guests or panelists you have at your event. Let’s get some of the don’ts out-of-the-way for guest gifts:
- Anything large, heavy or unusually sized – If it’s not going to fit in a carry-on suitcase then either offer to ship it to the person’s home or re-think your gift.
- Food – You may not know if someone has specific food allergies and staying away from something perishable (like a food basket or fruit arrangement) that might be wasted, is a good idea.
- Alcohol – Cited as one of the most impersonal gifts you can give a speaker, it’s best to avoid it all together.
- The free stuff you are giving out to attendees – Even if you paid your speaker, get them something special to show your company’s appreciation for their effort to make your event memorable.
What would a speaker like as a gift? Try giving them a framed professional photo of them speaking at the event or make a donation to the charity your company sponsors in their name. They will also want the gift of exposure so, as a part of your event follow-up, be sure to highlight them in your social media posts and press release coverage.