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How to effortlessly create engaging themed giveaways for your exhibitions

June 22, 2015 | Laura Baines

Nimlok's exhibition stand engaging themed giveaways

Free stuff at exhibitions – pens, stress balls and bowls of sweets; we’ve all seen them in the show hall. You take the free pen, the stress ball and the sweets, politely say thank you, and move onto the next stand without really paying attention to which business at the show gave you them (and probably thinking nice freebies for my children!)

But what if free engaging themed giveaways could really get you noticed and encourage your visitors to come back for more? Don’t just use giveaways because everyone else does, only use them if you’re sure they can make a really positive impact. Step away from the gimmicky goodies and deliver relevancy for your brand or show campaign. Here are our 5 simple steps to help you effortlessly create your own relevant, engaging themed giveaways for your next exhibition:

Step 1 – Your campaign theme

Always start by looking at the bigger picture. Understand your exhibiting goals and campaign theme. Are you launching a new product, selling current lines, or boosting brand awareness? Come up with a campaign message and strap line to reflect these goals.

For example, at MWL we decided to promote ourselves as being more than just a stand design and build contractor, and wanted visitors to think about more engaging ways to interact with their target audience. This educational theme of focussing on exhibiting best practice led us to the campaign and strap line – ‘Fuel your exhibitions’.

Step 2 – Know your audience

Next, try to understand the audience attending your exhibition. Are they business professionals looking for solutions, or are they creative individuals looking for inspiring ideas? What job roles, gender split, industries and ages come into play? What problems do your audience need solving?

At MWL, our audience was a fairly equal gender split, aged between 25 and 40, and in a marketing or management role. We believed our audience would be busy on-the-go professionals, but with a good eye for fun and creativity.

The ultimate giveaway would only appeal to your target customers. They could really help you understand who really has a requirement for your products and services and weed out those just wanting freebies!

Step 3 – Choosing your engaging themed giveaways

Now for the daunting part; how to choose a product that will represent your exhibition campaign message, your audience and your brand, whilst steering away from choices which will ultimately clutter up your stand, and end up in the bin, or your child’s school bag, the following day.

Start by utilising the skills of promotional product professionals to help you make the right choice – any good supplier worth their salt will help you come up with creative ideas!

It’s important to focus on the engagement, relevance and impact of your themed giveaway; will it remind the user of who you are and what you offer. For example, at MWL, our aim was to create a giveaway that would be used long after the show and help visitors remember us every time the visitor engaged with our giveaway. We stayed relevant to our theme and audience by selecting portable power pack phone chargers deemed ‘Pocket Fuel’, which would help our busy visitors keep their devices charged when out of the office. We only gave them to visitors who made an appointment on the day to come see us, delivering real impact and value in terms of a genuine sales opportunity. Don’t be afraid to use giveaways as incentives or prizes, rather than just a free-for-all!

If you want to go the extra mile, try choosing an item which helps your stand staff demonstrate a product, service, or your brand’s values on stand, which will really be memorable when your prospect takes the giveaway home and uses it.

Step 4 – Branding your themed giveaways

Once you’ve chosen the right product, make sure it leaves a strong impression of your brand. Choose which colours, logos, strap-lines, graphics and branding method; embossing, printing and embroidery to name a few, will help get your product or services noticed and remembered long after the show, whilst adhering to your brand’s guidelines.

Also consider whether the item’s branding is to be exhibition focussed with your campaign message, such as ‘Nimlok, Fuel your exhibitions’, or kept more brand general for use after the show too.

Step 5 – Sticking to a budget

Last but not least, make sure you have a budget in mind for the type and quantity of engaging themed giveaway you’ve selected. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the costs or to shop around for the right product at the best price. Be realistic as to what you can afford, but don’t worry, it’s still possible to be original on a small budget!

To learn more about fuelling your exhibitions, please visit our advice pages on our website

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