Image above: some stunning bags we supplied our client for their product launch
Some creative bag ideas for your retail bag, product launch bag, event bag, product packaging bag, promotional give-away bag.....
Send us links in the comments section if you have spotted some creative and stand-out bags!
Need inspiration or guidance on how to run an event? Many authors have published great books which help to plan your next event successfully.
Let us know in the comments section if you have an event management 'bible' that you can tell us about and why you love it!
Event Management For Dummies by Laura Capell
Meeting & Event Planning For Dummies by Susan Friedmann
Event Planning Tips: The Straight Scoop on How to Run a Successful Event by Natalie Johnson
Become an Event Planner: The Three Necessary Steps to Begin Your Event Planning Career by Sirena Evans
Time Management for Event Planners: Expert Techniques and Time-Saving Tips for Organizing Your Workload, Prioritizing Your Day, and Taking Control of Your Schedule by Judy Allen
Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide by Meegan Jones
10 Step Guide To A Successful Event by Sweeney Montinola
The Executive's Guide to Corporate Events and Business Entertaining: How to Choose and Use Corporate Functions to Increase Brand Awareness, Develop New ... Nurture Customer Loyalty and Drive Growth by Judy Allen
Image: people love to recieve a goodie bag at an event. These are the Air France / KLM goodie bags that we supplied
Having managed events for several years, I have a check list that I go by, that I thought I would share with those of you who might not have planned an event before, and might not know where to start.
1. Venue selection. Selecting the right venue is very important, and the first thing you need to do above all else, to ensure you lock in your preferred date and time and can find somewhere within your budget. Keep in mind the following when selecting a venue:
- size. This is very important as you want to ensure your guests will fit in the venue nicely. You dont want to have a small event of only 20 people and have them in a massive room, or on the other hand you dont want to have 100 people turn up and have them squeezing in uncomfortably and unable to move about without bumping into others, if you have only sourced a small room.
- layout. Will you be hosting a cabaret style luncheon with a stage?, or a training sesion so you need a horseshoe style layout?, or maybe your guests will be standing at your event - so you might need high tables for their drinks? Think about how you can make the guests comfortable but at the same time make the layout practical.
- catering capabilities. Will your venue be providing the catering? if so, make sure you get a look at their menu options before locking in the venue. You want to ensure that the food will be a good fit for your guests. If possible, ask the venue if you can sample the food beforehand. Food is a very important aspect and something that you need to ensure you get right. Don't serve your guests cheap, tasteless food, and dont let them go hungry. A few hundred dollars in food is worth it - otherwise my advice is don't even bother to have the event. Food really is a make or break for your brand.
- look. To keep in with your brand image you need to choose a venue that will suit your brand image. If you are a corporate company you would want to hire a high class venue. If you are a funky, new fashion brand, you could do something fun and have it in an unusual place, in a funky or upcoming suburb - something you know that would delight your target market.
- location. Are your target market city workers that you want to get to your event after their working day? ensure you hire a venue in a CBD location so its easy for your target market to get to. Or maybe your target market are university students - think about doing something fun to tie in with their exam or term schedules.
- transport / parking facilities. Think about how your guests can get their and ensure they have a few options - not everyone has a car.
- decorations. Even something as simple as your branded pull up banner at the entrance, some nice candles or flower vases in the middle of the tables, or anything that ties into your brand image and to give the room a bit of personality, is a great idea.
2. Invitation design & send out. At this stage of planning, you will need to know the agenda, so you can include as much info on the invite to entice the right people to turn up. On my invites, I like to clearly outline (in no particular order):
4. Bags for the giveaways. Make sure your event bag is the right size, colour and style for your event, and make sure it's the right thickness for what you will be placing in the bags. If you are planning to put heavy items in the bags, you will need to get re-inforced handle holes and base.
You could make a statement with your giveaway bags by printing a beautiful design on them, having a call to action on the bag, having an unusual shaped bag, or an unusual and stand-out colour bag, to ensure people remember you, or re-use the bag, which will get you more exposure after the event.
5.Catering. As a follow on, and as mentioned previously, food is oneof the most important elements at your event. No matter how interesting your speaker is, no matter how great the venue is, or how exciting your product is that you are launching....much of what you do comes down to the food. People will remember the food at your event and comment on it to others even if they thought the event was great in other ways. Sounds illogical, but thats human nature, and you cannot change it - so please ensure you choose a fabulous caterer for your event, to ensure its ultimate success!
Best of luck with your event! Let us know if you have any tips in the comments section below.
The Atout France conference bag we supplied
If you are working in events, marketing, PR, Graphic Design, Retail, or if you are a business owner needing bags for your product packaging or your industry's annual tradeshow.... or for any of the numerous other reasons you need a bag, you will undoubteably need one that is unique to your size, printing, branding and design needs.
To create the perfect bag, whether as a give-away gift bag, promotional bag, retail bag, conference bag, product lauch event bag, product packaging bag... or any other bag! these are some important elements you need to think about and get right:
Your brand image: most importantly, your bag needs to fit in with the brand image (look) you want your product or service to portray. Are you a cute boutique shop selling pretty clothing and accessories? you would probably want to source a classic boutique style paper bag with ribbon handles, in your brand colour and logo printed. What about an IT event give-away bag with brochures packed inside? perhaps a non-woven bag would be best suited for the deleguates. It depends on what you want your brand image to be and how you want your business to be portrayed, amongst other things; like the bag's practicality and function.
Size: the size of the bag is very important. You don't want a product packaging bag that swallows up your product, or an event bag that is too small so that your flyers or promo items stick out the top in a messy and unprofessional way. Your product or event giveaways should fit neatly and snugly into the bag - the bag should be custom made to fit you product or your giveaway needs.
Shape: if you really want to stand out from the crowd, you could source a bag that is an unusual or unexpected shape. It is bound to get people looking more closely at the bag (and at your brand). A retail store in a zoo in America, sold their products in animal shaped bags - much to the excitement of children, and much to the amusement of the parents. If you can, try to make your product packaging bag fun or event bag memorable (if it fits in with your brand image).
Colour: the colour of your bag should match your brand colour. That's why it's important that you source from a bag supplier that can custom print to your exact CMYK / PMS colour code requirements. Think of the colour blue for example: there are dozens upon dozens of shades of blue. The ANZ bank blue is a particular shade of blue which never changes; therefore when they order event bags, they would provide the bag supplier with the blue CMYK colour code that is unique to their brand.
Printing: depending on your brand image or what the bags are used for, you can get creative with your printing needs. What about a call to action or unique pictures for a series of events that you hold throughout the year? with short runs you can make each event unique, you don't have to print just a generic logo on the bag and hand the same bag out at every event, in every shop, for every product pack bag you give out. Talk to your Graphic Designer or marketing professional about what you want to achieve - you might be surprised just what a bag can achieve in terms of communicating to your target market.
Special printing features: this could include Spot UV, foil stamping, or letter press printing for example. Think about what you want to achieve with your bags - a high end look for special deleguates to your exclusive event? or a product packaging bag that will stand out on the shelves alongside your competitor's products? Your bag is a mini-billboard and should reflect not only your brand image, but should be used to communicate to your audience. First you've got to get their attention - and that's where special printing features can assist!
Lamination: The type of lamination you choose on your bag, will depend on 'look' you want to achieve. Think of the brands on your level - are you a luxury brand that would need a high gloss look, or are you trying to project an earthy, environmentally friendly look, which a cotton bag or kraft paper bag could suit the brand image best?
Thickness: think about what your bag is needed for, and you will be able to choose the appropriate gsm or paper / cotton bag thickness. For example if you are packaging a heavy product in your product packaging bag, you would need to look at around 400gsm thickness, but if you're just after a classic boutique retail bag, you could get away with 200gsm, which looks good quality, and can hold clothing and other light items. Even if you are purchasing bags for events, you need to know how heavy the items are that you are going to put in them. If you are going to be placing a bottle of wine, a promotional item, a heavy brochure and other items, you need to ensure you source a bag that has a re-enforced base, thick material (paper or cotton) and has re-enforced handle holes so they don't break.
Material: you need to think about if a paper bag would work best or if a cotton bag be the best fit for your brand image.
We understand that each client's needs are unique - that's why we do not stock any standard bags. We custom make to your unique requirements.
Product packaging bags that we supplied:
Event bags that we supplied:
Information pack bag that we supplied:
Retail bag that we supplied:
Product launch bag that we supplied:
The cotton Alliance Francaise seminar bags we supplied
Hosting a seminar is a good way to engage with your audience, teach, gain or retain customers, build your brand image, and learn from the seminar particpants.
In a seminar, the audience will be participating and discussing the topic or subject you are presenting. As a leader of the seminar, amongst other things, you will need to prepare the discussion points, teach what you know, and be able to ensure a wide and robust debate, but be able to pull in the reins when someone goes completely off topic or tries to take over.
So here are some tips on how to run a successful seminar:
1. Ask your target audience what topics they want to cover a few months before organising a seminar.
For example, on your Facebook page or regular newsletter to your customer base, you could explain you are thinking of hosting a seminar, and ask them to contact you to advise you which topics they would like covered (obviously relating to your field or expertise). You might be surprised at what people want you to discuss. You might think its common sense, but to a lot of people, your expertise is new to them!
Ensure that when you pick the most popular or intriguing topic that you think people will want to learn about, that you really are an expert in that field, and that it's relating to your work or business. The worst seminar I have ever been to is a 'how to market your small business' marketing seminar last year, where the presenter (who owned a marketing agency) was trying to tell everyone he was an expert in marketing, but his business didn't even have a good website or a Twitter or Facebook account, and I ended up explaining to him and the group why it was so important to be online.
I lost all respect for him and his business, because it was just so obvious he had no clue and was stuck in the 1990s. He hadn't bothered keeping up with basic advancements in the marketing world, even though that was his business! He should have kept to his expertise, which I gained was printed brochure marketing (everyone has expertise in something). So my point is: you shouldn't feel you should conduct a seminar about a topic you don't know about, just because you think people will attend your seminar, or you think it is an interesting topic that you know a little bit about - it will damage your reputation.
2. Write up the subject topic on the board. This will keep people on track. Start the conversation rolling by giving your opinion / teaching the subject, then start with those that look like they have something to say (you will spot them bursting at the seams), then make sure you go around the room and ensure everyone gets a few minutes to cover their point of view or ask questions to you as the expert on that topic.
It's often the quiet ones that take a minute or two to warm up, to get the confidence to speak out, that are the ones with excellent in-depth thinking, ideas and questions, so make sure you get everyone involved in the discussion or asking questions.
3. Don't waffle and faff around. It's so annoying when I feel like my time is being wasted by someone that is taking 30 mins getting ready, talking about non-relevant, boring stuff at the start of the seminar, as if they are trying to take up as much time as possible to talk about off topic things.
If you can cover and discuss a topic/s in 2 hours, DON'T make it a 1 day seminar. Be precise with your timings and your presentation. Don't go over the same exact sentence 15 times, because you want to waste time and draw it out. It's boring.
Remember, a seminar is supposed to be interesting and interactive, and you want people to go away feeling positive about you and your business, because they have learnt something, participated, and feel like it was worth their time. They will feel grateful to you for teaching them something new in a timely manner.
Too many times I've gone to a seminar where I feel as if we never actually got to learn about or discuss the topic that was advertised in the invitation (and the reason I attended the seminar), due to time wasting, which leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth about the seminar host.
4. Ask your attendees to fill in a feedback form. Honest feedback is really important for you to learn what needs to be improved, or what people liked most about the seminar, and what they least liked! Don't be put off by negative comments. Remember, practice makes perfect, and you will get better and better.
5. You should have a series of workshops lined up, so at the end of the seminar, you already have a captive audience that you can advertise the next seminar to.
It's important you get some sort of ROI out of your efforts. Even if the goal is client retention, rather than gaining new clients. The people that attend your seminar are more likely to have you front of mind when they need your product or service in the future, or if someone asks them for a referral for the product or service you sell, they will think of you.
Working out what you want to achieve from hosting seminars will make you figure out the best way to ensure you acheive your goal and will help you to measure the ROI.
6. People love to receive a promotional giveaway to thank them for attending your seminar or workshop.
A useful promotional item that relates to your business is best. You should put time and effort into working out what promo item would work for your brand image.
There are loads of promo companies that have excellent products, and of course it should be presented in a branded seminar bag or package with your company logo printed on it, to make you look even more professional.
Best of luck with your seminar!
A successful conference will have many components, but I have listed some of the elements I think are most important in my experience of attending conferences:
I cannot stress enough the importance of engaging and relevant content. If you want to hold a conference, the most important element is content. You need to understand your audience, you need to be able to communicate clearly and on their level, and you need to engage them.
You want to make sure that you are not using industry or technical language that only people from your industry would use, if you are talking to a group of people who are new to your topic. Don't try to sound too clever. You will only end up alienating the people you are trying to impress!
You need to make the content interesting, and at all times (when possible), use real life examples. People connect with real life examples. It can help put otherwise technical or hard to understand concepts into real life situations.
The last thing you want is for people to leave your conference feeling negative or leaving with no confidence because they feel they haven't understood anything!
If you can help people learn something that they didn't know before, and it was taught in an interesting, positive and engaging way, the deleguates are more likely to view you in a positive light, feel more confident to engage with you, and feel grateful to you for your time.
Your invite needs to explain very clearly:
- the main topic(s)
- who should attend
- what will be covered in detail (topic points)
- date, time and venue
- if any catering will be included (if not, you can just say tea and biscuits provided); because this should be provided at the very least.
People are very time poor, so make sure you attract only people you really want at your event, and make sure you don't glaze over what you are really going to talk about, so that attendees see you in a positive light after the event and feel like you have covered the topic they came to learn about.
Getting the food and drinks right is important. As previously discussed, you should have at least tea, coffee, water and biscuits. However if you want to make an impact, I suggest you have catering.
You don't need to be lavish. Some wraps and muffins can do the trick. However, it does need to be tasty, so I suggest you ask the catering company if you can have a sample delivered, or at least ask around your corporate friends or family to find out which companies they use.
Pick a venue and location that will suit your brand. If you are a funky, alternative brand, why don't you have your conference in a funky office, or if that doesn't exist, or is out of your price range, try finding a space in the suburb that fits your brand the most. For example in Sydney, that could be Newtown.
If you're a serious business, then a Servcorp office space for example, could be a good idea, because it's corporate and upmarket. Remember everything you do is marketing and branding. Make sure you are using brand consistency when holding your conference.
Conference bags & promotional giveaways:
If you have a conference of any size, offering your deleguates a bag of promotional material and also a promotional giveaway is always warmly received.
Make sure your bag is custom printed with your logo, and custom made to the right size, colour and design for your professional look and brand image.
Your event bags should contain the promotional collateral and giveaway item snuggly. A bag that slightly too big or too small can just look wrong.
Prize giveaways: collect names
Make sure you collect business cards so you can follow up on those who attended. Not only should you do this to thank them for attending, but also so build a rapport, so they know you are friendly enough to approach in future if they want to engage your services. You can also ask them if you can send them a montly newsletter, to keep your company top of mind.
This way, you will hopefully get a ROI from your conference in the long run. If you think you are going to have difficulty asking each guest for their business card, instead ask your guests to place their cards in a glass bowl to go in the run to win a prize.
People will be more forthcoming in giving up their business cards in they are in the chance to win!
Networking opportunity for your deleguates:
If you are holding a conference that concerns small business owners, a timeframe before or after the conference to formally network is always welcomed. Many small business owners would like to meet others that they could possibly assist and/or do business with, or just generally expand networks.
This is just a small summary of the most important aspects of a conference. There are more elements that you may need to consider.
Holding a conference can be fun, it can help you gain more business, expand your networks, and can position you as a leader in your field!
The Atout France seminar bags that we supplied
Chances are, if you are a small business owner, you are a professional in your field. You may have forgotten that you hold a wealth of information that most people don't know. It's easy to think that after years of being immersed in your profession, that what you know is just common sense. It's only when you start talking to people outside your industry, do you realise that you are more capable and knowledgeable than you think!
Lets look at example of an Accountant (you can replace 'Accountant' with what is relevant to you). As an Accountant, you may think the 5 most crucial aspects of accounting for small business is just common sense! But you can be assured that people thinking of going into business, and those in business, might not have any knowledge of accounting. In fact, there is so much information out there, that people might be missing the basics, due to the overload of information they are given. As an Accountant, you can break it down and people will love you for it!
Everyone in business knows something on a subject that others know nothing about. If you have the opportunity to teach people about a subject that will benefit them (and ultimately benefit you), go for it!
To set up an event you need to consider the following:
- figure out what people want to know: as a professional, you might find a common question amongst your clients or even Googling your industry, you might find people asking the same questions. If you answer these common and important questions, in an easy to understand manner, you could be seen as the professional in the field, that people needing your service will feel comfortable approaching you, because you know your stuff!
- content: make sure you deliver valuable information. Although you will want to advertise your services and drill into people your points of difference over your competitors, make sure that at seminars, you introduce yourself and your business in a quick introduction, then get onto the content that people have come to see you about. Make the content interesting, easy to understand, educational and to the point.
- invite: state clearly what you are giong to teach at your semiar. A good idea is list how many things they are going to learn. Example: "5 accounting basics that all small business owners need to know". Here it outlines how many bits of information - if it just said 'accounting basics' people will think they are going to get overloaded with information, and may be hesitant to attend. 'Accounting basics' is the topic - here you are clearly indicating what people are going to learn about, and 'for small business owers' - so people know that the content will be relevant to them. Otherwise, if you dont explain what it's for, people could think its for individuals for their tax returns, so you may get the wrong audience.
- location: if possible, if you are a local service provider (eg Accountant), have the seminar in your office. This will mean people in your area and surrounds (your target market) will find it easy to attend. If location doesnt matter to you, try and find a location that is central (ie city CBD).
- time: think about the time that would be most convenient for your audience. Would straight after work be best? you dont want it too early, so they have to leave work early, but you dont want it too late - otherwise people will go home then might not have the energy to venture out again to attend your seminar.
- catering: even if you dont have the budget for a spread, at the very least, ensure tea, coffee and biscuits are available. People may be coming straight from work and need a little pick up. It will also show you are caring. The last thing you want to do is look stingy!
- giveaway: it's important that your attendees go away with something - whether it's a flyer with your call to action, your contact details and even a summary of your teachings. A voucher for your service will also be well recieved. Even a promotion - like 'refer a friend and get 50% off your next service with us' can create more customers. Giveaways that are well recieved, especially in a branded bag. Everyone loves goodie bags! To make your seminars and your business look even more professional, you can brand your event bags with your business logo or even a call to action.
By hosting an event, you will be seen as a leader in your field. As long as you structure the content right, and teach your adience valuable information, your generosity is bound to pay off. People attending your event where you generously share information, will see you as the go-to person / the proffesional in your field who they can rely on to give them the correct information. They are most likely to refer you onto friends and family too.
Our event bags at a Networx Marketing seminar
It's clear that everyone loves to receive a goodie bag at an event.
Make sure that you don't disappoint your excited delegates, by including a fun giveaway in your event bag! No one wants a bag full only of flyers and brochures advertising your business.
People love getting a product that they can use or eat.
Make sure your giveaway product ties in with your brand if possible. If that's not possible, then choose a product that people will use or consume, or anything that will get people talking, and always ensure your have your logo and or message printed.
Think about your target market and what their needs would be; then figure out what an appropriate and fun item would be, that they would be grateful for and
excited to receive from you.
There are hundreds of promotional items companies out there and there are hundreds of great gift ideas that you can find that might relate to your product or service, or might not, but some of the giveaways I have found in my goodie bag, that I have loved are: branded chocolate cookie, handbag sized foldaway umbrella (very useful!), handbag sized sunscreen, picnic friendly wine glasses, wine bottle holder in the shape of a stick with a loop at the top which got people talking and discussing at the event.
Even if you are offering a discount voucher, people still like to have something they can use or consume.
And of course, you need to have a quality, beautiful goodie bag to give it away in. No matter what size your event - whether its a 100 person seminar, or a 3,000 person event, you should always offer a quality, beautiful, custom branded bag.
All the best with your event and branded goodie bag giveaway!
Image: bags we supplied for the Air France conference
There are several elements you need to consider when designing the perfect bag for your conference or event.
It is important you think about what you will be placing in the bag. You don't want the bag to be too big, nor too small. Your variety of promotional flyers or magazines and promotional give-aways should fit snugly in your bag. You should stack all the elements (magazine, flyer, giveaway)in a pile, then measure around them. This includes the gusset (side panel).
If you plan to give away a bottle of wine, a heavy magazine or other items that mean the deleguate's bag will end up being more than 1kg, you need to consider re-inforcing the handle holes and base of the bag, so the bags don't rip apart with the weight.
Message / Printing
After all the time and monetary investment you have made into the conference or event, a simple way to get your message accross and advertise, is on your bag. You could even put a call to action on your bag or advertise a competition that your deleguate can enter into by using the details on the bag. That is sure to make them remember you. Remember you need to keep in mind your overall branding colours and fonts, but you can have fun with the messaging on your bag to stand out.
You need to stick with your branding colours and colour palette when ordering bags - just like any other printing. Make sure your bags tie in with your brand by using the correct colour code.
The classic boutique bag style is very popular for conference paper bags style. If you want to make a statement and stand out from the crowd, you should consider having an unusual shaped bag. For example, a Zoo in the US have paper shopping bags at their zoo store, in the shape of animals. People will notice and talk about your bags. Here they are below:
Look and feel
If you have a luxury product you should go with a thick gsm (to show quality), and a beautiful finish - such as matte or gloss lamination. If you are a budget brand, you could go for a kraft paper bag or something similar to keep in with your brand image.
Lastly, you need to remember to order your bags well in advance of the event. Designing, proofing, manufacturing and the delivery of your conference bags is not a last minute decision. Your conference bags need to be carefully considered, and that takes time!
Hopefully these points will not only give you knowledge of what you need to remember for your next event, but hopefully they will also inspire you to have fun and think outside the square, with your next order of conference bags!
Image: Our bags at the Atout France conference
To run a successful event, there are many elements you need to get right. Of course organising and running an event has many elements, and whole books have been written on this subject, however I have picked out the 4 elements that I consider the most important.
There's nothing worse as an invitee to an event, than turning up, having taken precious time out of the day to arrive at the desination on time, knowing you are putting time aside to learn something new and interesting, where the content is skimmed over and it turns out it was more of an advertisment for a company's new product and a networking event for the hosts, than educating the audience.
If you send out an invite to an event, and it clearly states that attendess will 'learn about x' then take at least 10 minutes to teach about 'x'. If you intend to skirt over the content and just spend 5 minutes advertising your new product or service, don't mention in your invite that you will be teaching anything. People do turn up with the desire to learn - so if you have no intention of teaching, some of your attendees will go away with a negative view of your business.
There's nothing wrong with inviting people to attend your new product launch, with networking. In conclusion - don't decieve your potential clients in your invitation. People will see right through it.
Even if you dont have a large budget for a full spread, the least you should do is provide tea, coffee and biscuits. It leaves a bad impression if people think you are too tight to even supply the basics!
If you are offering a breakfast, lunch or cocktail spread, make sure you get it right. Food is very important. People will comment on the food more than the content of your seminar or conference.
If both the content of your seminar is educational and interesting, and the food is great - you will have made a great impression on the attendees.
Everybody likes a give away - especially food! Biscuits or a packet of chocolates with you logo on, or a useful product - like picnic flutes or a small umbrella with your logo on, are always well recieved.
Also a small brochure or flyer that ties in with the event, with a call to action and your contact details.
Depending on your product / service, even having a sample of the product or a voucher for your service, is a great idea. That way people will sample your product or service, which may lead them to become repeat customers.
Your custom printed bags should tie in with your event. To make your event really unique, you should invest in event bags for that particular event (even if it means doing a short run for a small event).
You could have a call to action printed on the bags, a fun message about the event, or even key learnings - so that your deleguates will remember your event as well as your brand.
Custom printed bags that are customised to that particular event are more effective than the standard logo branded bags. Unusual and fun is memorable. Make your bag unusual or fun (or both), whilst keeing with your brand personality.
We hope these tips will help you hold a successful and memorable event for your current and potential customers!
Clara Cassidy, Founder and Marketing Manager of Custom Printed Bags & Boxes, is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, promotions and events.