Coming up faster than a bull on the heels of a rodeo clown is Calgary’s annual case of Stampede fever, and jumping inside a barrel is not your next move. As much as it’s necessary (and fun!) for your company to be part of the action, it can also be a little tough to stand out or make a lasting impression. Luckily, we have just the thing to help you get a little attention.

Corporate gifting and Stampede go together like weekend cowboys and pressed Wranglers.
At its most basic, the strategy behind corporate gifting is a pretty simple one: people leave your event or activation with a little something that features your logo, and they’re more likely to remember you once the straw has been swept out of streets and buildings and everyone has gone back to regular life.

But as with anything, there’s basic and then there’s next-level. With such big potential and Stampede just under two months away, now is the perfect time to connect with someone who knows just how powerful corporate gifting can be – that someone is Kat Marks, master leathersmith and owner of LETHRBAR, who can absolutely help you level-up your Stampede gifting.

1. Look closer to home and find a win-win-win.
It’s 2019: a social media blitz of yourself Stampeding (it’s a verb) is absolutely acceptable, slapping the seat of a someone’s jeans (sans consent) is definitely not acceptable, and supporting local independent business is officially and unequivocally cool.

“I hear it all the time from my clients,” Kat shares. “They don’t want to give another branded mug or USB stick that gets lost in a drawer and that no one cares about. Our clients want more – they want to be seen as green and as supporting a local business.”

From small breweries bringing in huge crowds to restaurants and caterers working farm-to-table to an array of other innovative local entrepreneurs, sticking close to home is often also the greener option.

Take LETHRBAR as an example: the studio’s bespoke leather goods are designed and handmade in Calgary using a renewable resource and byproduct of the meat industry (an industry that we Albertans live and die by). Kat and her team dye their leathers with water-based, eco-friendly dyes in a rainbow of incredible colours, proving that more thoughtful and more eco-friendly gifting can also help you stand out by shaking up the paradigm of what Western style looks like.

“Cheap and disposable is not valued anymore, by companies or their guests,” says Kat. “People tend to disregard cheap plastic items, and the intended effect of a branded gift is lost because people don’t care about throwing it away. Leather, on the other hand, has an inherent quality that people value and see a long term use for and don’t throw away. In fact, leather just gets better with age!”

2. Consider what you’re saying about your brand, and what you’re making people feel.
Whatever you choose as your corporate gift, remember that for better or for worse, the item is going to say something about your brand. Guests who are existing clients or customers will either find reinforcement of the feelings they already have about your brand or they will feel confused, and new audiences will be getting a first impression that can be hard to change later.

“Guests see the quality of a gift, and it can elevate their entire experience – it can cause them to perceive your company in a different way,” Kat agrees.

Igniting an emotional response or visceral reaction is a surefire way to make an impression that lasts. To illustrate this effect, Kat shares that guests have a pretty consistent physical response to getting their hands on her leather goods.

“Most recipients say, ‘Oooo, leather!’ – and then they smell it,” she laughs. But the power of these responses goes way beyond that first sniff.

Leather, as a medium, is highly valued and in response to this, guests feel valued when they receive it,” she points out.

If you can ignite this kind of reaction or response with your corporate gift, the feeling generally extends to – and becomes intertwined with – your brand.

3. Find a way to make your corporate gift part of a personalized, hands-on experience.
Like the legions of fair-weather country music fans that suddenly appear for 10 days each July, it’s not uncommon for the appeal of something to wear off when you’re not in the moment anymore. More than anything else, what can turn a pretty good corporate gift into a lasting keepsake is seizing the chance to make the process experiential, and the item personal. A hands-on experience creates an innate connection; when your guests participate in the creation, the gift means so much more to them.

This is the magic of something like LETHRBAR LIVE, an activation that puts guests in the metaphorical saddle by allowing them to customize leather mementos (pre-engraved with your logo, naturally). Leather goods can be stamped with anything from a monogram to a special date to a favourite phrase, and this along with the experience will take the item from nice gift to treasured keepsake.

“Being a part of the process makes the recipient feel unique and special,” Kat shares. “Guests love to choose their personalization, then watch it happen right in front of their eyes. They walk away giddy with excitement and can’t wait to share what they’ve made.”

Your guests are skipping out on work, forgoing sleep, and missing other events to be at your event – give them something worth hanging on to.
Yes, your event or activation is going to be just one of many events and activations that your guests hit up this year, but a smarter, cooler, and more personal gift is definitely going to help you stay on radars past Stampede season and into the subsequent months when our city goes back to its normal size and pancake levels. It’s worth that extra level of thought and care to land on something that can do so much more than be momentarily exciting before ultimately ending up in the bin.

Need more ideas for upping your Stampede game? Ours are endless – drop us a line here. And once you’ve got the business side of things on lock, it’s time to start planning your own calendar: check out our team’s Stampede must-dos and insider tips.

Photo credits:
Calgary Stampede
Lethbar
Leblond Studio