A SHORT STORY OF SWAG
I arrived at my first full-time position after graduating from college with excitement and anticipation ready for this new chapter to begin. It wouldn’t be a first day without various onboarding essentials such as new passwords, signing documents, and learning about company policies. Then came the company swag… It was the same across the board — branded lanyards, cups, and t-shirts. My first thoughts were, “I didn’t need this lanyard, I’ll probably use the cup for the soda machine, but I am never going to wear this t-shirt.” I didn’t want to sound ungrateful, so I didn’t voice my opinion. Who in their right mind would say that on the first day? But if they would have asked me, I would have told them I was never going to wear that t-shirt or any other t-shirts I would be receiving throughout my time at the company. But, they never asked.
As I continued to work there, I received t-shirt after t-shirt after t-shirt, which I wore once (for an event) and then ceremoniously donated to a local thrift store. I even made a couple dog toys for my pup out of the t-shirt material. The quality of shirts were good, and I appreciated the gesture, but neither did I pick them nor did I want them. I was never given other options so I rarely wore the company logo to work, and definitely did not wear them in my personal life.
DISCOUNTS AND GENERICS
This problem persists in companies across the world filling up landfills, thrift stores, donation bins, and even tables for arts and crafts. With bulk discounts leading the way to create standardized onboarding packs and generic company gifts, leadership assumes that everyone will enjoy the items that their gut says will work or rather fit their budget. It might be an HR rep or someone in marketing tasked with finding, picking, getting sizes, sourcing, shipping, distributing, and invoicing these items, all with the hopes of appeasing leadership and those receiving the gifts (everyone else). Although this process is built on good intentions, this method of distributing branded gear from the top-down has rarely been examined on its effectiveness. If you look at it from a perspective of ROI, this often results in a bad investment with little chance of accomplishing desired outcomes of the leadership.
A BETTER WAY
Let your employees choose. It’s that simple! In fact, the company I worked for is now one of our clients. They now offer their employees a wide variety of branded apparel, from hats to jackets, backpacks to polos, and yes, even t-shirts. They, like many other companies we help, are finding that the power of choice, when placed in the hands of their people, is a great first step in building trust, engaging employees, and attracting new talent. Axomo has long since adopted this improved approach where I can simply go to the company store and choose what I want to wear. I feel less guilty about disposing of company shirts and I wear the company logo to work, home, and play.
The Axomo way makes the process of ordering swag easy and enjoyable for all parties involved — especially for the rep that has to do all the leg work! They simply create a store of pre-branded items from a massive catalog who can then give credit directly to employees who are then empowered to pick items they want to wear and use — even dog toys.