Create "whoa" moments with thoughtful merch

We’ve all been handed a promotional product that leaves us scratching our heads and wondering,  “What am I supposed to do with this? Ugh.” Into the black hole of the junk drawer/toy pile/garbage can it goes.

Branded merchandise is the perfect opportunity to make people fall in love with a company. Instead of swinging for the fences, the moment is frequently wasted on uninspired products and giveaways that leave people feeling “meh.” Landfills around the world would agree.

Good merch has the power to make people feel something. Every item used, seen and loved reminds them of you. Swag can turn strangers into brand believers.

People hold onto what they love. They remember what gives them All The Feels. So provide “whoa” moments by giving them thoughtful swag.





Good promotional gifts allow you to show a picky world that you care, that you put time and effort into thinking about their likes and dislikes.  Everything you give your crowd should feel like a gift, like something you’d wrap in a shiny bow and say, “I saw this and thought of you.”

If your swag is on par with something you’d toss from a parade float into a clamoring crowd of children, it’s not special enough. So what should you give instead? Try this exercise:

Make a list of the useful and creative things you constantly reach for. What makes its way onto your nightstand or into your work bag? Why this pen over that pen? Why this mug and not that mug? What’s so great about your favorite t-shirt?

Pay attention to what makes you happy. Chances are, your crowd feels the same way.

Thoughtful merch generates joy.                            



Think about the last time someone gave you something “just because.” How did it make you feel? Appreciated? Adored? Like you were the most important person on the planet in that moment?

People love being loved.

You want them to wonder how they ever got along without ________ (insert the name of something they didn’t know existed but once they did… because you gave it to them… it rocked their world). When you give your crowd interesting items at unexpected times, be prepared for a round of “whoas.”

Thoughtful merch is a merging of surprise and deliberate delight.



Usefulness is the primary reason people keep promotional products. When you pair utility with quality, people hold onto their swag for dear life.

We’ve helped our clients develop giveaways and gifts like holy-grail-of-the-closet t-shirts, Beats headphones, Swell water bottles, Moleskine journals and other items their crowd can’t wait to get their hands on. We call these items “keepers” because they stick around for years and make thousands of little brand impressions with each use.

Thoughtful swag is relevant in your crowd’s day-to-day lives and leaves them gushing over the goodness.



When choosing products for your brand, ask yourself, “Is this something I’d give to myself or someone I care about?” Put yourself in your recipient’s shoes. What would she want to show off? What would make him grab his phone and create an unboxing video?

People love personal touches that show an extra bit of care. Think beyond the item itself and dive into the experience you want to create when you hand someone an awesome piece of swag. How is it packaged? Does every single element contribute to a congruent brand message? Is there an additional way you can create surprise? We love to build anticipation by attaching “You’re gonna love what’s in this box” stickers to each package we send out.

Thoughtful merch is a cumulation of small gestures.


Planning ahead allows for more thoughtful swag. When it’s crunch time, hasty decisions are often made based on product availability and production timelines. A swag plan, laid out months in advance, can alleviate crummy swag choices.

What’s a “swag plan?” Basically, Buzztag helps you create a loose outline of the promotional products your brand needs for the upcoming year. These items are ordered as far in advance as possible. Given enough time, we can also turn to global sourcing, which allows for truly custom, one-of-a-kind swag.

Finding meaningful items takes time and research. Thoughtful swag isn’t found on the homepage of a “been there, done that” promotional products website. It comes from a deep dive into how your customers live, love and dream. Who has time for that? We do! Make your marketing matter by partnering with a creative swag agency like Buzztag. We love finding and creating swoon-worthy promotional products for our clients.

Let’s break everything down into a Thoughtful Swag checklist:

  • Does it inspire joy?
  • Is it unexpected?
  • Is it useful?
  • Does it create an experience?
  • Does it reflect careful planning?

If you remember only one thing, please let it be this  —-> When you are obsessed with your crowd’s happiness, thoughtful swag always rises to the top.

Now go forth and ignite some mad love for your brand!

Need help putting together a swag plan that rocks their socks off? Let’s schedule a “we never thought of that” chat!