Unique Conference Swag Ideas to Engage Your Audience, Employees, and Raise Brand Awareness

Posted by Melissa Kovach on Mar 27, 2019 8:41:00 AM
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Getting the attention of conference attendees requires some creative thinking and truly unique promotional swag. Keeping your employees' morale high during the non-stop business of running a show is always an added challenge. 

Another layer of the challenge is to achieve brand awareness during the conference. Finding the very best and most unique conference swag that hits all of these goals feels like finding a needle in a haystack.

Exhibit floors are flooded with companies all competing to convert the same pool of foot traffic, trying with the same pool of engagement tactics whether that’s running a giveaway, offering free coffee, or running a sample sale of limited-quantity products.

For “I and love and you,” a Boulder-based pet food brand, they put their heads together to shake up the status quo -- choosing to deck out their staff with custom company merchandise in order to drive conversation and to stand out among the masses during the Natural Products Expo West Conference.

Say goodbye to the bland polo tee and khaki chino look, and hello to something totally out-of-the-box!

Custom trade show “uniforms” that engage staff, attendees, and raise brand awareness

Senior Account Manager Stephanie Oakley worked closely with Lindsay Kunetka, director of marketing programs at “I and love and you” and her team to create a custom branded apparel line reminiscent of ‘90s fashion. 

‘90s throwback custom branded “I and love and you” apparel

Custom branded trade show apparel for "I and love and you" by Anthem Branding 
Photo provided by "I and love and you" and used with permission.

Known for a return to minimalism, the decade still clung onto the style trends of the acid wash high-waisted and scrunchy wearing hits of the 1980s. While grunge is simply one of many fashion categories of the ‘90s, we decided to make the brand’s custom apparel line around iconic mainstream grunge styles.

Pun-themed t-shirts

The “I and love and you” brand loves to play off puns because it brings out the brand’s values of being fun while incorporating a dog or cat into the narrative.

Custom branded screen printed t-shirt for I and love and you by Anthem Branding 

The custom t-shirt we produced pictured above is a play off the American icon, Rosie the Riveter, with a dialogue bubble reading, “We Can Chew It!”

This was the brand’s way to make a name for themselves at Expo West, where the 9-year-old “I and love and you” brand was among over 3,600 other natural product brands exhibiting. 

This t-shirt decor was screen printed on high-quality soft cotton tees. The staff chose to wear them under the custom branded acid wash jean jackets.

Acid wash jean jackets

Custom branded jean jacket for I and love and you by Anthem Branding
Photo provided by "I and love and you" and used with permission.

High-quality denim is one of those materials that looks better as it ages, so the “I and love and you” team can wear their custom branded acid wash jean jackets well after the conference.

We stitched on a neon print (hey, ‘90s) to the back — leveraging a galactic design that was both eye-catching and on brand. The decor gives the jacket a true throwback vibe while raising brand awareness wherever it was worn throughout the show. 

Related: 4 Simple Ways to Raise Brand Awareness 

Custom printed Vans Classic Slip-On Platform shoes with iconic checkerboard printCustom branded Vans Classic Slip-On Platform shoes for I and love and you by Anthem Branding

The custom printed Vans Classic Slip-On Platform shoes were a first for Anthem Branding to produce. We screen printed the “I and love and you” dog/cat silhouette logo in a grunge style onto the shoe’s checkerboard design. 

Plus, anyone who has ever worked a trade show or conference knows how taxing standing and running around can be on your feet. Vans are actually comfortable and help the brand tangibly display their casual and trendy vibe that much further.

Enamel pin set 

The perfect pair for those rad acid wash jean jackets, the enamel pins were produced with two versions: one promoting Catzilla and Taco Cat and the other being a dog-focused set with a pug wearing butterfly wings and a big-eared purple hound dog. Both sets included a separate pin of just the “I and love and you” logo. 

These sets turned out to be a big hit at the show! The staff chose to pin them onto their jackets, creating yet another great touchpoint for raising brand awareness and an added conversation starter with attendees and prospects.  

“Everything for the show turned out AMAZING! We were such a big hit and had so many people stop and ask us where we got our pins, our shoes, our jackets -- you name it!,” Kunetka told us after the show.

Custom branded enamel pin set for I and love and you by Anthem Branding

“It was all really, really great. Thank you so much for all your help seeing those projects to the finish line!” said Kunetka.

Anthem Branding custom merchandise

We believe your brand can be a powerful tactile experience. Partner with us to create custom merchandise apparel that builds an emotional connection with your audience.

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Topics: Company Merchandise, Brand Identity, Employee Satisfaction, Branded Merchandise