There’s no telling exactly how this year of pandemic will affect society in the long term, but plenty of experts have good guesses. In particular, it seems likely that in-person activities will stay low for a long while longer, and those who attend in-person events will be a bit more hesitant to physically interact with the world around them.
This means fewer handshakes, smaller groups and, perhaps most notably, a radical change in the type of swag people will be eager to accept.
If you are in charge of ordering your company merch and swag, here are a few ideas for items to stock for events through 2021 and into 2022:
Public sharing was one activity that all but vanished during the height of the COVID pandemic because public health officials and those susceptible to severe illness were disinterested in handling objects that could be laden with SARS-CoV-2 germs. Pens, in particular, became items that required near-frequent sanitation or replacement, and companies could never have enough in their “clean” stack to satisfy clients and customers.
It is likely that many members of the general public will continue their disinterest in using utensils that strangers have so recently handled, so having plenty of branded pens on hand will benefit your business. You should be liberal with your distribution of your pens, allowing customers and clients to take and use them outside your offices for greater brand visibility. It will also be convenient to have your own stash of company pens on your premises, which you can cycle through as they are used and left behind by clients and other visitors.
For the most part, these pens can be inexpensive models as long as they reliably write. However, for special clients, customers, employees and others, you might consider giving engraved pens with company information. This will show your appreciation for their support throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Hand sanitizer, like clean pens, is another courtesy service many businesses have provided customers since the beginning of the pandemic. It isn’t uncommon to see a sanitizer station set up near the entrance or exit of an establishment in the hopes that clients and customers will clean their hands and kill any lingering COVID germs, thwarting spread. However, it isn’t likely that these stations will remain in place once vaccine distribution has allowed for herd immunity; for many businesses, free hand sanitizer for everyone is simply an unnecessary expense.
However, you can take the disappearance of sanitizing stations as an opportunity to boost your brand. Many of your clients and customers will likely continue with heightened hygiene practices beyond the end of the pandemic, and you can supply them with convenient travel hand sanitizers that display your company name, logo and contact information for all to see. Not only will distributing hand sanitizer improve your relationship with those who receive this swag, but it will build your brand as continuously caring about health and wellness into the future.
Most everyone who has lived through the pandemic has gained a newfound appreciation for cleanliness. Much of the public has been appalled to learn how poorly public establishments cleaned and sanitized their spaces before COVID’s emergence; when places like restaurants, retail stores, and movie theaters need to announce their new cleaning standards, it is clear that their old practices left too much to be desired.
Unfortunately, it is all but likely that enhanced cleaning will slowly disappear as fear of COVID infection disappears — regardless of whether the virus itself lingers in the population.
Thus, you might consider offering additional branded cleaning supplies as company swag — and bonus points if those cleaning products are travel-friendly. Some ideas include:
- All-purpose sanitary wipes
- Cleaning spray
- Tech screen cleaner
- Air purifier or humidifier
If you have a massive swag budget, you might opt for high-tech cleaning gadgets, like UV sterilizing bottles and pods that kill germs with the power of light. However, because these items are more costly, you might reserve them for special guests at conferences and events or particularly beloved clients and employees.
If you want your swag to stand out, you need to think about what the people using your swag need, want and like. In the post-COVID age, a heightened sense of hygiene will likely make clean tools and cleaning products more attractive, so having company merch of this type on hand will likely boost your brand.