Branding Ideas℠

Swag: Dorky and Uncool? Think Again!

hrc-branded-swagOk, let’s be honest. When you think of promotional items, does the word “cool” come to mind? If the answer is no, you’re probably not alone. Promotional products were not historically seen as hip, trendy, or fashionable, but a lot has changed in recent years. Now swag, once looked at with more than a whiff of disdain, is cool. Even the meaning of the word ‘swag’ has been updated to mean something cool, a unique personal style, or something you approve of.

Not convinced that swag is in style? Here are a few recent developments in the world of branded merch that may change your mind:

  1. Designers and fashionistas are embracing swag. Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe it’s just a yearning for a return to the graphic design of old, but when it comes to what’s in style, everything old is new again. Designers are embracing old school graphic t-shirts, and major fashion houses are even elevating the humble embroidered patch to haute status.
  2. Campaign swag has gone from dorky to desirable. Those of us who remember the 70s, 80s, and 90s can immediately call to mind the old school, blocky, and decidedly lame graphic design of political campaigns. You didn’t see Carter-Mondale or Reagan-Bush printed on a great fashion t-shirt, much less see the fashion elite wearing them. But now swag has gone upscale: major fashion designers have released gorgeous branded t-shirts promoting Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. They’re so chic you almost forget they’re campaign merchandise.
  3. Major brands offer items through promotional products sellers. Yes, swag can be covetable—especially when you have major brands like Victorinox, Lacoste, Nike, Kenneth Cole, Isaac Mizrahi, Moleskine Brookstone, MoMA, Umbra, and Alessi offering their own specially branded items through promotional products sellers. This type of co-branding is big right now, and it means your business can offer premier goods that might not have been available in the past.

6f124d9c-8f60-4e17-9bd2-462d2082a67aThe most important take-away to keep in mind is that there are more choices than ever before. Back in the day you might have just been able to offer your customers a not so hip foam can cooler (which, let’s admit it, is ironically cool these days). Now you have a wealth of options to pick from—each with its own unique style and sensibility. At the end of the day, one thing is certain: when it comes to branded and promotional items, this is not your grandparents’ swag!

Are you looking for branded promotional items to help your company stand out from the competition? There are a lot of ways branded goods can draw attention for your business. Get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be glad to advise you on exceptional promotional products that can represent your brand with style and grace.


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