What Is Company Swag Used For? 4 Guaranteed Perks for Your Business

by John Amato

Consider this business problem.

You’re the manager of a major airline, and your passengers keep leaving with your classy salt and pepper shakers. The practice is costing the firm millions a year in replacements and impacting your bottom line.

What’s the savvy decision to make?

  • Let your passengers keep the shakers
  • Hire a lookout
  • Shift to cheaper alternatives

(Take a moment).

It might seem sensible to pick the third option and go cheaper. Or, as the managers at Virgin Atlantic realized, letting passengers keep the shakers could be seen as a branding opportunity.

They decided to let passengers keep the shakers and even encouraged the habit with humorous engraved messages, like “Pinched from Virgin Atlantic.”

Essentially, Virgin Atlantic turned their in-demand salt and pepper shakers into company swag. These collectible items proudly waved Virgin’s signature red color and joined dinner table discussions wherever they went.

We’ve gathered four more perks to help you answer this question: “What is company swag used for?” As we go through these perks, you’ll also learn:

  • Why swag products are excellent advertisement channels
  • How swag items can motivate your employees
  • Why brand introductions rely on company swag
  • Where you can print high-quality swag designs

Perk 1 - An Attractive Advertising Channel

Company swag products have an 80% reception rate according to a recent Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) study.

This finding means that 80% of your target consumers will keep and use your swag item, providing you with display advertising and an excellent return on your investment.

To help explain our excitement over this 80% score, the following table compares the rates of return of company swag versus other advertising channels.

Advertising Channels Reception Rate

Online videos


TV commercials


Direct mail




Swag items


Source: Promotional Products Association International

Swag items outperform these other advertising channels because of their discrete and intriguing style of marketing. These specialty items invite a viewer to independently discover your brand, rather than bombard them with information about product benefits.

This approach offers a breath of fresh air to today’s over-marketed and increasingly inattentive consumers, increasing your chances of success.

company swag products have an 80% reception rate

Perk 2 - An Instrument for Employee Motivation and Loyalty

Offering branded company items is an excellent strategy for acknowledging your employees and their dedication to your business.

This acknowledgment improves their morale, encourages loyalty, and enhances overall performance.

One study of a large meat-packing plant confirmed this idea with its conclusion that social recognition enhances productivity. The study found increased annual production values of $900k and $750k on two production lines after introducing social recognition practices.

Even so, to maximize the effectiveness of your swag items as staff motivators, you must personalize them as much as possible.

The more personal the merch feels, the more sentimental value your employees will place on it. The more sentimental value, the better the items are for motivating your workers.

Here’s an example of a personalized swag item for employee motivation offered by Jupmode. It’s a collapsible can cooler featuring custom texts (green arrow) and your brand design.

company swag item from Jupmode

It’s the perfect spot for a personalized quote that expresses appreciation and motivates your workers. Maybe, “Here’s to the marketing team that makes me look like a genius,” and your autograph or title below the quote.

Perk 3 - A Proven Strategy for Product Launches and Industry Events

Company swag items accelerate purchase decisions for new products in tightly contested markets.

Promotional products can make the difference in someone choosing between your newest launch and its closest competitors—enough to change buying behavior in your favor.

This effect is similar to those “Buy one get one free” deals at supermarkets or trade shows. These deals translate into additional value in the eyes of consumers, encouraging them to try your product.

A study on advertising solutions supports this idea with its conclusion that three out of four consumers switch brands after receiving some form of swag from a newly-met brand.

Company merch can also feel like a “limited offer” or a “reward.” This perception creates a sense of urgency in the minds of consumers, compelling them to act while they still have the opportunity.

As more consumers act, they generate buzz for your launched product, perpetuating the buying trend. It’s a perfect strategy for introducing your brand as it exploits our curious nature as humans.

H. J. Heinz employed this strategy at the World’s Columbian Expo of 1893, where he successfully gave away branded keychains to introduce his company. The organizers had to summon the police to control the crowds of curious buyers lining up at his exhibit.

Perk 4 - Lasting Brand Exposure

Company swag items provide lengthier brand exposure than advertisement messages on your social channels do.

Their functional nature keeps these specialty items relevant long after their first encounter with your target audiences.

Take the case of Virgin Atlantic’s branded salt shakers, for instance. The shakers can comfortably sit on any dining table for years without looking dated. This reality isn’t possible with marketing videos that require frequent updating to stay relevant.

Swag items also enhance your marketing effectiveness by utilizing word-of-mouth advertising.

They turn your current buyers into brand ambassadors, who are much more genuine in the eyes of prospective clients than conventional advertising.

In 1875, this trustworthy perception inspired Jasper Fremont Meek to develop branded burlap school bags for an Ohio store. It was a resounding success for Meek and the Ohio store, leading him to a manufacturing deal from Coca-Cola for promotional trays.

Factors to Consider When Designing Company Swag

There are plenty of company items to choose from to creatively capture and express your brand, from wearables to office accessories. However, consider the following for your swag project.

Item Usability

Your swag needs to be functional for your customers. This functionality gives them a reason to carry the product with them, exposing your brand rather than keeping it hidden away where it has little to no marketing value.

So, start with the question, “What form of company swag offers my audience the most functionality?”

This answer will help you select the most appropriate product for your swag, such as a desk diary for an office market and water bottles for an outdoor audience.

Item Durability

Your promo item's durability directly impacts its life cycles as an advertising channel. When your audience can no longer use the item, it loses its marketing value.

As such, you need to consider the material makeup of these items and how it fits your audience’s lifestyle.

This involves determining your audience’s environment. Industrial environments, for instance, need tougher fabrics for wearable apparel and reinforcements for drinkware.

You’ll also need to consider cleaning and maintenance needs. How many wash cycles can your product tolerate before exhibiting signs of wear?

Scratch marks and fading on that beautiful matte black coffee tumbler, for instance, will discourage usage, ending its application for display advertising. In this case, you’ll get better value with a sturdier design, such as this stainless steel tumbler by Jupmode.

company swag item by Jupmode

Tell Us About Your Branding Project

So, there are the four guaranteed perks that answer the question, “What is company swag used for?” With these ideas in mind, are you looking to start a branding project?

We’d love to help.

At Jupmode, we have over 15 years of experience in branding just about anything. We’ve printed custom designs on bags, hats, shirts, and cups and understand the value of high-quality branding.

We also appreciate the importance of fast turnarounds and great pricing, which is why we offer quick, no-obligation project quotes to get the ball rolling.

“Used Jupmode for company T-shirts. Excellent price, quality, design team, and fast shipping. Thank you, Jupmode, we’ll be back.”
- Christina P.

Contact us today, and let’s have some fun bringing your idea to life.

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