Company swag is more than just office merchandise or a cool shirt with your company logo. Branded merchandise helps with the visibility and external perception of your organization. More importantly, it is an extension of your workplace culture. Getting creative with your swag items can create a distinct company culture and instill a sense of purpose in your team members.
About 79% of employees tie strong company culture with their job satisfaction, and happier more engaged teams tend to be more productive and creative.
That strong company culture not only helps with overall employee happiness but can also help with employee advocacy, which attracts new talent.
How does swag come into this? We have 10 company swag ideas and how you can incorporate them into your employee engagement strategy as you nurture your team culture.
How to pick company swag items your employees will love
It sounds simple, but when launching your company store, be sure to select items of interest for your team. The last thing you want is unwanted merchandise taking up space in your office closet.
A company store can be a large investment of resources and space, so be sure to consider these two factors: the demand and the usefulness of the items. Shirts and hoodies are always popular and great for events like conferences or company gatherings. Items like umbrellas, high-quality wireless headphones, and portable chargers would be utilized often in the office or day-to-day use.
Take a poll to get an idea on what employees want
If you’re not sure, narrow down your items and take a survey or poll with your team. You can also open the discussion on your Slack or Teams channel to get a sense of what employees would want to see or use.
Consider working with your marketing team to get the right branded merchandise that can be used for marketing opportunities like panels, conferences, and networking events too! It’ll help you get the most out of your swag.
Create custom swag that speaks to your mission
While we’re about team pride, your logo on a branded coffee mug might not convey what it truly means to be part of your team or your company’s mission.
As an example, consider WeWork’s “Do What You Love” tagline. The coworking space offered start-ups and entrepreneurs find affordable workspace as a product, but their mission was providing resources to help individuals invest in meaningful work, aka to “do what you love.”
In the company’s heyday, this slogan was critical to its success. Instead of putting the company name on their promotional items, they posted the “Do What You Love” tagline on water bottles, sweatshirts, stickers— you name it!
The promotional products helped the organization create strong brand awareness and created a culture that attracted customers, new hires, and investors. Coworking space members and their corporate team felt more passionate about sporting corporate swag that said something personal and not fully branded.
So as you think about your company swag, ask yourself what defines your work culture or mission.
Bulk order vs on-demand printing for your swag items
Depending on the needs of your marketing team and your employees, you could bulk purchase great company swag. It’s cost-effective and is ready on hand for team get-togethers, conferences, or even recruiting events. Platforms like Cooleaf make it easy to incorporate your team stores into your employee engagement so your people can shop and get their swag gifts wherever they are.
Cooleaf also partners with on-demand printing services with Dreamship and Systemax, to create your company store online. With on-demand, employees can select which items they like best and the items are made to order. It also makes it easier for your team to personalize your branded swag and include additional designs or logos.
“Not only is on-demand production a sustainable practice, but it also allows companies to hyper personalize every product," Nick Bricker of Dreamship said.
"We’ve seen companies get really creative with their on-demand swag programs, for example setting up design competitions or milestone based reward programs.”
Personalizing your company store with the right items can engage your team differently. It not only unites people in the organization but it can instill a sense of pride and purpose with where they work.
Scroll down for company swag ideas that your team will love and will help you nurture company culture
The best company swag ideas your team will use and love
1. Shirts & hoodies perfect for team events & volunteer days
T-shirts, hoodies, or outerwear with your company logo are always the go-to popular items in a company store. Apparel is perfect for remote or hybrid teams too, and it adds a sense of unity across the globe. The Cooleaf team is a remote team, and we admit we get excited when team members happen to sport a t-shirt on a Zoom call.
Be sure to get high-quality apparel. People are more likely to wear that tee or sport that jacket if it’s comfy cotton or warm zip-up.
2. Work from home office accessories
If you’re fully remote or supporting sometimes-remote with a hybrid model, tech gadgets from wireless earbuds, noise-canceling headphones, and bluetooth speakers are a great extension of making the home office feel part of the office.
Small items like a mouse pad, laptop stand, or even a ring light for video calls or presentations are thoughtful corporate gifts an employee would find super useful but might not necessarily already have.
3. Chargers and power banks
An extra charger or power bank is always nice to have. You can also offer a high-quality wireless charger (with your logo printed on it, of course) in your team store, perfect for smartphones and leaving on a home office desk.
Employees might not buy these additional power items themselves, but they will use them quite often. We’re fans of the power bank especially because you can tote them around when you travel or if you’re working on your laptop from a coffee shop.
4. Mugs, water bottles & high-quality drinkware
Mugs for that morning coffee or tea are always a company swag staple, but you can also opt for a travel tumbler, reusable water bottles, or high-quality Stanley mugs. Yes, those Stanleys are very on-trend right now.
If you’re sending out branded mugs to your team, you can also incorporate these into your onboarding. Make it more personal and send out coffee beans or cocoa kits with a “sip-sip” hurray theme. You can also include an invite for a coffee chat with the team or manager.
5. Everyday accessories
Small items like keychains, notebooks, or even hand sanitizer might not be on the top of someone’s wish list, but these small accessories can be useful for throwing in a bag or while you’re on the go. You should also consider small tech pouches, charger organizers, or high quality pens.
These small items are great for bulk ordering and handing out at events. We’re personally big fans of personalized stickers that showcase our mission. They’re ideal for sicking on water bottles, laptops, and notebooks.
6. Eco-friendly items supporting your company values
If your organization supports environmentalism in your own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, you can extend that mission into your employee swag too. Consider on-demand printing, which cuts down on waste. Look into eco-friendly items like cotton t-shirts, tote bags, and reusable straws or water bottles.
You can print a slogan that embodies your CSR mission or core value as a more eco-conscious business. You can also create a raffle fundraising opportunity with your swag, where everyone can purchase tickets which will be donated to an environmental cause. The winner could receive a gift box with eco-friendly swag.
7. Self-care gear to promote work-life balance
The items you pick for your company store are extensions of your workplace culture too. For organizations supporting wellness and encouraging work-life balance, teams might opt for yoga mats, meditation pillows, or spa swag kits. Desk succulents are a fun, unique add-on too — studies show us plants can reduce workplace stress.
Don’t just offer these items without a strategy. Show your support for your team members by carving out well-being activities or offering benefits like meditation or gym memberships.
Organizations on Cooleaf host workout events like online or in-person yoga classes. We’ve also seen teams host week-long water drinking challenges, where employees are encouraged to ditch soft drinks and track daily water intake. They’ll even share pics of their reusable water bottles to stay accountable.
8. Beanies, hats, socks
Quality swag like cozy beans, comfy socks, or embroidered baseball hats with slogans or meaningful words are great for outdoor or cold weather team get-togethers. You can print a small or abstract version of your logo, core value, or personalized saying. And yes, hats are always a welcome item for those Zoom calls when your hair isn’t camera-ready!
Organizations on the Cooleaf platform have hosted their own Sock Day as a fun online event. Everyone was encouraged to snap a pic of their crazy sock choices or company branded socks in the wild. Surprisingly, so many people have fun socks!
9. Tote bags and backpacks
We’re always a fan of tote bags, especially for grocery shopping, traveling, and just having them on hand. Quality backpacks with laptop sleeves are also perfect for staying organized for work travel, hopping to the coffee shop for a productive morning, or commuting into work.
Choosing quality swag is an investment, especially when it comes to tote bags or backpacks, but employees are more likely to use an item that’s long-lasting, useful, and made of good material.
10. Custom swag boxes
Swag boxes are a big trend these days, especially with remote teams. Instead of one-off corporate gifts, you can send a gift box like a snack pack to kick off a season. Organizations also send gift boxes to individuals as a tangible employee recognition for a work anniversary or big win.
You can create custom swag boxes with platforms like Cooleaf. We partner with organizations like Telescope and Swag Up to create gift boxes for onboarding or milestone anniversaries.
How to use your company swag for employee engagement
We gave ideas on how you can incorporate your company’s branding into your swag, but to effectively use it for building your work culture, you need to think strategically. Use company swag when you’re:
- Onboarding new employees to feel welcomed and to build on that anticipation for their first day
- Promoting team spirit days in-office or remote (remote employees can sport their logo tees on a video call)
- Hosting volunteer days, either onsite or if you’re encouraging remote volunteer work across different non-profit chapters
Onboarding kits for in-house or remote team members are a great way to kickstart an employee’s experience on your team. Consider branded mugs, notebooks, and pens as a fun way to welcome someone and as an extension of your team culture. Especially for remote teams, it’s fun to spot branded team mugs when on a team Zoom meeting.
Host a contest
Consider designing a logo or tagline for different departments too. Organizations on the Cooleaf platform, ours included, hosted their own t-shirt design contest. This was a great way to get some competition going and see what personally spoke to our team. The winner got some free friendly swag with their design too!
Departments could design their own logo or employees could provide more personalized sayings for goodies like t-shirts or water bottles. Collaborating with your team is a way to engage your employees while encouraging them to take ownership (and use!) your branded items.
Host a giveaway
You can also create excitement with a giveaway! We’ve seen organizations raffle off a swag bag of branded merch and high-end treats or products for company spirit weeks or events in-person and online.
Company swag is part of your employee engagement
Whatever items you do decide, company swag is a great way to unify your team, whether they’re near or far, for a large get-together or their everyday.
Using your branded items strategically will not only help you build your work culture but also help you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to company swag.