How do you think about brand risk when distributing branded 'swag' at B2B conferences? Some of our overseas group companies are asking for permission from our brand management team to distribute branded items. For things like notepads, pens, coffee mugs, etc this is fine with as long as they follow the brand guidelines. However, we are wondering how to judge the brand risk when distributing wearable items that might mislead people into thinking the person wearing it is one of our employees. Worst case scenario would be a non-employee in a branded baseball cap or vest does something naughty that goes viral on social or traditional media; people assume they work for us and it damages our brand. Can those of you on the frontlines of conference swag please let us know what's the norm in terms of distributing branded clothes/hats and how you manage brand risk?

144 views1 Upvote5 Comments

VP of Marketing in IT Services, 10,001+ employees
B2B companies have to careful in terms of what they give out at events as every small thing can build/break their brand value, especially in this era of social media where smallest of the things get highlighted. Brands can stick to clean gifts -- sustainable gifting such as plants, jute bags, etc. These create positive brand image and the possibility of anyone using them to hurt brand image is minimal.
Director of Marketing in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Distributing branded items at B2B conferences necessitates the establishment of strong brand guidelines, maintaining standards of quality and consistency, the creation of a clear visual distinction of branded items given to employees, the declaration that wearing the items does not imply employment, and the regular monitoring of social media channels to stay aware of any mentions or discussions related to your brand and the distributed items. These are some of the considerations to make while distributing branded merchandise in order to prevent potential problems and develop a strong brand image.
VP of Marketing in IT Services, 51 - 200 employees
In recent years we've moved from distributing wearables to more of a (branded) functional giveaways (camera cover, notepads, chargers, etc.) that are easier to distribute during events (at one major event we had complaints about running our of a specific shirt size, which actually could create a branding mess of it's own if someone want's to dis you on social), people tend to use more than giveaways shirts, creates less friction in terms of brand risk and also (bonus), much easier to ship/carry to an event rather than boxes of wearables.
Director of Marketing in Retail, 51 - 200 employees
We just don't give out wearables with our own brand. We sell wearables of the brands we sell, but not our own brand. Also, I don't think anyone in the real world is going to be like, "oh, let me wear that hat from that one conference in public because it's so cool." I have b2b branded clothing, and I wear it at home because they're shirts I don't care about and wear them when painting or house work etc. I'm not going to wear that in the actual outside world because I'll look like a goofball. Just my 2 cents. Kind of think it's a waste to give out merch like clothing just because nobody sane will actually wear it in public, it'll either get tossed out, donated, or stuck in bottom of a drawer, or worn during painting , like me.
VP - Home & Digital Entertainment in Telecommunication, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
We’ve stopped, not because of the risk but due to the CSR/Green initiatives. Besides retail front-liners the staff don’t have anything wearable that’s branded. Diaries and pens are distributed yearly but not at conferences. I’ve seen a pivot to “happy hours” to get people to the booth to engage etc owns and hats and lanyards are brining some risk as you said but we’ve stopped that a while back.

Content you might like







Other (Discuss below)28%


2.8k views2 Comments



Just virtually0%

Not sure yet0%



Community User in Software, 11 - 50 employees

organized a virtual escape room via - even though his team lost it was a fun subtitue for just a "virtual happy hour"
Read More Comments
7.3k views26 Upvotes58 Comments