I actually had to look up how to spell this word: schwag. I've heard it so many times through the years, but I'm not sure I've ever seen it in writing.
According to Wikipedia, schwag means: promotional items given to employees, visitors to trade shows, etc. You know, those tacky fake polo shirts with a company's logo on them ... I've made many of them through the years! And t-shirts, hats, pens, pads of paper, mugs, etc. The list goes on, and if you are like me there's an office cabinet full of them.
Now you know I love branding, and you know I love logos. But here's the problem ... this isn't fashion and it certainly isn't personal branding. So just like my recent post about men NOT wearing flip flops, I must once again make a statement about wearing schwag.
There is a time and a place for schwag. Like when exercising or cleaning the garage or sleeping or lazying around on a Sunday afternoon. Or even, dare I say it, at a sales conference when everyone else is wearing it too.
Or if you are in college and you're wearing your school pride, then that's ok too. When I visit Penn State, all I see is Penn State schwag and it's fun.
But to work? On a night out? On a Saturday afternoon spending time with family and friends?
Schwag is not clothing, and it's not fashion. It's meant for a specific purpose which is not to be paired with a pair of khakis and worn to the office or on a date.
Please guys, have a little personal style. Pay a little attention to your personal brand ... no schwag please.
What's your experience? Jim.
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series