The Strategy in “Swagery”

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Just a keychain…or is it? 

For as long as I can remember in my 20+ year career in brand innovation, a company / product / brand launch just wasn’t complete without the “obligatory” hat, T-shirt, coffee mug, backpack, or pen. Back then, we called these items “swag,” “trinkets and trash,” or as the trade refers to them: “promotional items.”

Frankly, I really don’t need anymore mugs, hats, or T-shirts. But in defense of the clothing items, they are great for employees to feel a sense of community and pride, and wearing them builds brand visibility.

As we shape powerful brands built on relevance and differentiation, our counsel on promotional items is to be as thoughtful and purposeful in aligning the brand here, as you would across all brand touch-points.

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The 7P keychain medallion, designed with an 8GB memory stick concealed as one of the seven segments representing our proprietary brand model. 

So when we set out to create a meaningful promotional item for our clients, associates and partners, here are the brand filters we use to focus our creative efforts that reinforce our brand values:

Small, but very powerful…as our team is seasoned with multidisciplinary capabilities, allowing our boutique-sized team to tackle the largest of client assignments.

Innovative…as this is the very essence of what we do to help our clients. Innovation means being unique—as in NOT applying your brand to a coffee mug—as well as reinforcing your brand’s intrinsic value.

Attention to detail…as it’s harder and harder to differentiate products and services, the incremental details surrounding a product or service are what provide meaningful value and differentiation.

Aesthetically beautiful…as our goal in building brands focuses not only on function, but also on form that supports the brand personality and tone.

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Utility and value come from having a tool that is always at hand. 

The solution, a custom molded 8GB USB drive, built in the shape of our 7P brand model wheel—with each “P” represented in a distinct segment. The bottom segment removes to reveal the small but powerful memory stick.

To provide utility and convenience, the drive has a circular fixture and an easily openable circular ring to attach it to a key chain. Even the subtle decision to replace the standard circular keychain ring with a clasp style design was a deliberate step to make it easy for recipients to use. (How many finger nails have been lost to the task of “threading a keyring?”)

We planned the production and distribution of the item to coincide with the holidays, as the piece also has a third use as a decorative holiday ornament.

Finally, the choice of a substantive and quality material type—zinc alloy—is reflective of the substance that we provide. Plastic would not do.

So for your next brand launch, hold the mugs and T-shirts, and push for something that truly reflects and supports your brand.