The following post was written by Monica Simpson. Monica consults for companies looking to give the best swag that represents their brand or product. In addition to writing about best practice, she visits expos, collects freebies, and blogs about who did it best. Her blog can be found at http://giveawayconsultant.blogspot.com
MBAs love their acronyms almost as much as they love to drop the word 'synergy' and the initials MBA after their names. When it comes to swag, freebies, or promo items, you just need one letter. U. Four times.
You can create the most integrative and effective promo strategy with your swag if you consider UUUU.
Unique. Is your item the only one they've ever received like it? The only one like it at point of gifting (expo, fair, conference, etc?) People go home with a giant bag of stuff and divest. They keep the items that are unique.
Useful. Will the recipient actually USE your item, and how often? Once a week? Once a month? Frequency or number of uses are equal to 'likes' or 'hits' in real time.
Unbreakable. Despite being useful and unique, how long will the items last? A pen will always run out of ink, but some don't write well from the start. Do you really want your name on the one that stops writing after just entering the hand of your audience?
UnAppAble. Anything that CAN'T be replaced by a computer intrigues me. If an item can take my eyes off my screen I consider it a worthy pursuit. I once picked up a pie server at a financial conference. Everyone else was giving pens, notepads, USB drives and money related stress balls. The pie server stood out. I don't use it a ton, but I know exactly who gave it to me, and you can't scoop up dessert with an iPad stand. Unique made me pick it up. Useful made me keep it. It's pretty much unbreakable so I'll have it for quite some time, and UnAppAble means that it integrates it into my real life.
In the end, our real lives are more precious than our online ones. They're more important than our MBAs, synergy, or anything else. If you can endear yourself to that, and provide a product that endears itself to your client, you're in!