Summer Swag Ideas for Marketers and Community Builders 2022

11 min read
Content Marketing Specialist

Published: May 10, 2022

It’s finally summer! The days are longer, the sun is (usually) shining, and there are so many fun things to do. Summer offers so many great opportunities to reconnect with your communities –  community events, conferences, and brand launches all provide an outlet for building engagement and increasing awareness for your brand. Community building is a vital component of a brand’s overall marketing strategy.

Whether your marketing team is planning their first in-person gathering since the pandemic, pulling together a virtual event to boost engagement, or promoting a new product launch, we’ve gathered some of our favorite custom swag ideas and tips for capitalizing on the warm weather.

We’ve also launched our Summer Swag 2022 Look Book. It’s your destination for the freshest summer swag, from premium brands you know and love. 

Read on to discover our custom swag ideas and tips for engaging your communities virtually and IRL, building brand awareness, and making your next brand launch a social media content powerhouse!

Summer Swag for Communities

 Brands with strong communities enjoy greater brand awareness. Healthy communities can contribute to learning and innovation by providing feedback about products, services, and experiences. A brand that’s keyed into the pulse of its community will ultimately be more successful because they have loyal, informed followers who believe in its product and advocate for it via word of mouth and social media. 

Here are a few never-fail ways to build community with swag:

Welcoming new members: It’s tough to be the new kid in town! New members need a bit of extra love so that they can feel comfortable interacting with the rest of the group. One easy way to help new community members feel welcome and connect is by sending a small swag item. A cute pair of custom sunglasses engraved with your brand or a holographic sticker featuring your community’s chosen catchphrase is a small but powerful reminder that they belong! 

Building Engagement with giveaways: People join communities because they want to belong, and find others like them. Online forums and in-person events provide an opportunity for members to share ideas, give feedback, and brainstorm ideas. These conversations contain valuable information, and a little incentive in the form of custom swag can go a long way toward generating some big, helpful ideas!

Rewarding Loyalty and Milestones:   We all like to be recognized for our accomplishments. Being rewarded for events like referring x amount of customers or celebrating a milestone makes folks feel special, and reminds them that they belong. When you’re thinking through how you might use swag to recognize a special occasion like this, consider items that are useful and reusable, like a custom backpack, a reusable water bottle engraved with your logo, or a premium jacket — something that will remind your community member of their contributions, every time they use it!

Community engagement is a strategic investment in your brand, and using swag for community engagement helps you build awareness about your brand and create meaningful relationships with your most valuable customers. When done well, community swag is that secret sauce that helps bring your community together. 

☀️ Summer swag ideas for culture and team-building, this way!


Custom Sunglasses

Custom Outdoor Games

Custom Sunscreen Set

☀️ Build a custom pack filled with community-approved swag picks !

Summer Conference Swag

Like community events, conferences are an opportunity to build awareness or engagement (aka “buzz”) around your brand. And while that should make custom swag a no-brainer, it’s surprisingly easy to get wrong. Swag is a cool perk, it’s only truly effective when it’s thoughtful, high-quality, and memorable. So, before you buy 500 shirts with your logo and call it swag, think those t-shirts fit into your overall swag marketing strategy.

Before you dive into the nearest swag catalog (we hope it’s ours!):

  • It’s important to consider your brand and the setting of your event. 
  • Does your swag match the tone and feel of your marketing? 
  • Is it authentically “on-brand”? 
  • Would you or your team want to use it again, or does it feel like a dated, single-use swag item? 

While you don’t have to spend a fortune on event-specific swag, investing time to answer these questions will help align your conference swag ideas with your brand and your marketing strategy, and can result in an easy win for your awareness efforts. 

Here are a few ways that you can incorporate swag into your conference plans:

Host a Contest or Prize Drawing: Premium swag items are a huge draw at conferences and trade shows, and a great incentive for leads to provide their contact information! Draw folks in with a chance to win a custom swag pack or a high-ticket swag item by dropping off their business card. The lucky winner will receive a really cool custom swag item, and you’ve collected valuable information AND the potential for greater brand exposure. Win, win.   

Giveaways: Folks are visiting your booth to learn more about your brand, and the products or services that you offer. Make sure that they leave with something to remember you by! Chances are, we all have a stash of pens, keychains, or lanyards that we’ve picked up at a trade show. Our advice? Prioritize multi-use and durable items that useful, but packable. Small swag like custom branded power banks, custom socks, or packable cooler or custom tote are cool, useful items that can fit in their carry-on and are more likely to be used!

☀️ Need bulk swag for an upcoming conference? Our custom catalog is full of event swag ideas!

Offer a Sponsorship: You can’t attend every event, but there are still ways to build brand awareness, even if you aren’t on-site. One tactic is to partner with a client or a company in a related field and sponsor swag for their booth that can be used for a prize or giveaway. This sort of sponsorship is lucrative to both parties: your custom swag will draw more folks to your partner’s booth, and in return, you’ll receive valuable organic promotion and the opportunity to get your brand into more hands! One tip – your partnership swag should be something durable, like a custom wearable or reusable item. You want your partner to promote you and your swag, so save smaller items like stickers and pens for another occasion. 


The Summer Conference Pack


Set your traveling team up and event VIPs up in style with the Summer Conference Pack, a premium, streamlined custom swag pack designed to make an impression.

FEATURES: A premium, sustainable recycled duffle, a custom dad hat, custom travel power bank, custom pen, and a set of customizable notebooks.

Swag Expert Tip: While this swag pack is a no-brainer for conferences and offsite events, it also makes an excellent milestone or referral reward for your community members!

RECOMMENDED FOR: Eco-Friendly Swag, Sustainable Swag, Summer Swag, Travel Swag, Conference Swag, Offsite Events, CM Swag, Community Swag

Summertime Swag + Social Media

Social Media Swag Influencer

Summer swag is made for the great outdoors, and outdoor activities are the perfect setting for a sunkissed photo op! When you’ve invested time to cultivate your brand and plan events that support it, it’s natural to want to share the results with the world by posting to social media. And why not? Summer events provide a great opportunity for content and give your customers another way to connect more deeply with your brand. 

Here are a few ways you can leverage branded swag on social media this summer:

Giveaways: A giveaway is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and build community. Want to make your brand memorable? Focus on the product or service you’re selling. Does it align with the swag you’re giving away? If you’re a fun, Cali-based SaaS startup who’s giving away swag packs stuffed with sunglasses, coolers, and bucket hats, chances are, you’re headed in the right direction, because that swag is going to resonate with your audience and remind folks of your brand every time they use it. 

Product Launches: If you’re launching a new product, consider running a promotion or social media campaign encouraging members to sign up (or like and follow) during the launch period to receive something special, like a limited edition custom duffel bag and soft branded tee shirt for their next vacation, or a tote with your logo, stuffed with an assortment of custom summer swag items for the beach!

Surveys: Surveys are a great way to gather feedback from your customers (and potential customers). You can use surveys to gain marketing insights, gauge interest testimonials, or solicit feedback, and custom summer swag can act as a great incentive to encourage participation!

Whenever you’re gifting custom swag on social media (or hoping it ends up there!) we recommend adding a custom insert with a brand-relevant hashtag that invites your recipient to share their new swag with their social media followers! 

☀️ See how Formula 1 is building brand awareness with custom merch!

Summer Swag 2022 Look Book

If all this talk of warmer weather has you dreaming of your summer swag marketing strategy, we’ve got you covered. Our team of Swag Experts has put in the hours of research to source premium summer swag items for conferences and community events. 

Our Summer Swag 2022 Look book pulls together the freshest custom summer swag options and preset swag packs to help inspire your warm-weather swag plans. Every item we’ve curated is durable, useful, high-quality swag that folks will love. At SwagUp, we’re delivering the inspiration you need to make community engagement, brand launches, and conferences a breeze!

Click here to download our lookbook!

Looking for More Summer Swag?

🚀 Build a pack here, and get a quote and mockups fast, with no commitment. 

 🧑🏼‍🚀 Our swag experts are standing by and would love to help you bring your next project to life!

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