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How we helped PlaySecure deliver real swag for a virtual conference
The Play Secure conference was an online four-day event of talks, games and networking sessions. Held during the 2020-21 pandemic, the event did not have the choice to run as a real-life event. As makers of cybersecurity games, Agile Stationery were in conversation with the organisers and were delighted to be able to bring a traditional part of the conference scene to the virtual format. That’s right: we did swag bags!
The finances of a conference are never a simple matter. Ticket prices and sponsor contributions are a delicate balance, and staff and speakers need to be paid. Conferences usually offer the option of swag distribution from a stand, and from a swag bag that gets handed to attendees. The bag itself is usually sponsored (and I have had some great ones!) so the cost of distribution is minimal. For an online event, swag needs to be virtual, or distributed by mail. This is a new cost for organisers.
James Bore, organiser of the Play Secure conference came up with a novel solution: make the swag so good, you can sell the swag.
“We felt doing a little something as an event reminder, including some useful kit alongside the traditional t-shirt, fit well with the brand. We didn't have a lot of wiggle room in our budget so wanted to give people the choice of whether or not to get the swag bag alongside their ticket to the conference” explained the organiser.
“This was a first conference for many of the organisers so the support and flexibility of Agile Stationery was really helpful throughout. One of the key ideas of the event was trying to create more of an interactive community than most virtual events do with one way presentations. We think we nailed that, and the swag has helped solidify and continue that as we look to run our next conference in 2022”.
Agile Stationery accepted physical swag shipped in bulk by sponsors, and added a mix of off the shelf games, bespoke stationery and custom prepared printing, including the traditional t-shirt! Bags became boxes, as they did not need to be carried. We took care of packaging, filling each box, and all the outbound shipping.
Once the budget and basic content was agreed, boxes of swag were listed as an add-on on the ticket purchase webpage. Shipping details, as well as t-shirt sizes, were collected during and in some cases after the event. The boxes could continue to be refined as ticket sales continued. Shortly after the event concluded, boxes arrived by post at the delegates’ home.
The boxes served as a timely reminder of some of the ideas shared during the event, and for the sponsors that took part in the scheme it was a reminder of their name, logo and a chance to share something of themselves.
In the past conference swag has verged on the ridiculous, with sponsors all deciding on phone chargers, or stress balls, or a choice of several notebooks, all delivered in the same bag. Not only is this wasteful but it undermines the impact for the conference and for each of the sponsors.
The content of our boxes was agreed with interested parties: the organisers, sponsors and ourselves. Each understood the audience and had their own perspective. The boxes had no duplication, and silly snafus were easily avoided. The boxes made sense and were received with enthusiasm. But don’t take our word for it.
How did the boxes go for the organiser? “They were fantastic, well laid out, brilliantly presented, and sized perfectly”
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