The Power of Swag: Merchandising Your Alma Mater

Just about every kind of organization or business, including alumni associations, can benefit from the use of swag (“stuff we all get”) as a marketing tool.

After all, who doesn’t love free stuff?

The power of alumni associations using swag is that both current students and alumni are likely to hold on to the swag, because it will contain branded images, logos and colors of their school, which is a big part of who they are. 

But what are the most effective types of swag for generating interest in your organization? Here are a few ideas.

  • Keychains: Just about everyone uses a keychain. Because it’s an item that people take with them everywhere they go, people are more likely to use one with a design that has some meaning or importance for them. A keychain with branding of one’s alma mater is a natural choice.
  • School or office supplies: School-branded notebooks, pencils, pens, folders, binders and other office supplies are all great swag choices, because they have utility as well as meaning. Every time someone uses a pencil branded for your organization, it’ll be a reminder to them to consider joining!
  • T-shirts: T-shirts with your association and school’s branding are essentially walking billboards. Everyone loves free t-shirts, and they’re highly effective at getting people to feel closer to your organization.
  • Totes: Tote bags have a lot of usage, from shopping bags to gym bags and more. Much like t-shirts, they can serve as walking billboards to alert everyone who sees them to your alumni association’s existence.
  • Water bottles: Water bottles are another extremely popular swag item because of how widely used they are. They’re relatively inexpensive to customize and purchase for your organization and are a great item to pass out if you are interested in handing out something with a bit more of a premium quality.

These are just a few ideas that you can explore as you plan out your swag for the coming school year. Good luck with your marketing efforts!

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