Swag That Stands Out

By Glowforge

Challenge: Develop a brand marketing plan for a local business by creating unique swag to increase brand awareness and drive revenue growth.

In today's competitive marketplace, building a strong brand identity is crucial for any business. Developing a brand marketing plan that goes beyond traditional advertising and includes unique swag that effectively communicates the brand's identity to customers is essential for standing out and achieving sustainable growth.

Facilitation Guide


Have you ever wondered why some businesses seem to have loyal customers who spread the word about their products or services while others struggle to attract and retain customers? What makes these businesses different from their competitors? How do they successfully create a lasting impression on their target audience and build trust and loyalty?

This is where brand marketing comes in! Brand marketing is the process of promoting a business's products or services in a way that showcases its brand identity and positively reinforces its image in the minds of customers. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by creating unique swag, or promotional products, that can be given away or sold to customers as part of a branded marketing plan. Swag can increase brand awareness, generate positive word-of-mouth, create an emotional connection, and drive revenue growth by increasing customer loyalty and retention.

Glowforge is an excellent tool for this challenge because it can be used to create custom promotional items or brand products. With its ability to create detailed and intricate designs on a variety of materials, including wood, leather, acrylic, and fabric, Glowforge can help you promote brand awareness and marketing messages with a truly unique and fully customized style.


Research your chosen business’s marketing needs. You might want to conduct interviews, surveys, or observations with the business or its target market to gather data about the business. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What is the business's mission, vision, and goals?
  • Who is the target market and what are their needs and preferences?
  • What is the business’s current brand identity and is it working to attract customers?
  • Who are the business’s competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the market trends, challenges, and opportunities? What are your business’s current brand marketing plan and channels?
  • What are some successful brand marketing campaigns and swag from other businesses that you can learn from?

Use the included Case Study Organizer to help guide your research of key marketing considerations for planning your brand marketing needs.

Explore Tip

If you are stuck, consider researching the most successful or memorable marketing campaigns of popular products to gain new insights. Brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Got Milk? all had memorable campaigns. Why did they appeal to the consumers? How can you incorporate those insights into your business’s messaging?

Reflect and Review

Take a moment to reflect on the research you did for your brand marketing plan and swag design.

  • Have you identified any gaps or opportunities that you can address through your design?
  • Have you gathered enough information about the business, target audience, and marketplace to inform your design process?

Consider if there are any other resources or techniques that would be helpful to explore before moving on to the Ideate stage, where you will brainstorm ideas for your swag to support your brand marketing plan.


Brainstorm possible types of unique swag that align with the business's brand identity and values. Think of as many ideas as you can. Don’t worry about whether they’re good or bad — just get creative! Think about:

  • How can you leverage Glowforge with other digital technologies to create standout swag?
  • How can you incorporate the business's brand identity and values into your design?
  • How can you ensure that the swag resonates with the target market and addresses their needs and preferences?
  • What channels could you use to promote the business’s brand and your swag?

Ideate Tip

If you are feeling a little lost, check out Bailey’s class: Building a Brand & Starting an Online Store. Learn how to create a memorable brand, decide where to sell your products, and effectively market your items with Glowforge.

Reflect and Review

Take a moment to reflect on your ideas for swag that could increase brand awareness.

  • How would your swag stand out from the competition and create a loyal customer base?
  • How do your chosen ideas align with the business’s values or identity?

Consider if there are any gaps in your brainstorming ideas that you want to consider before moving on to the Design stage, where you will narrow your ideas to one or two swag items to fully design.


Review the ideas you brainstormed and select one or two that you’d like to develop further by creating sketches or digital mockups. You should also consider how to market your new swag products using various channels such as social media, email newsletters, flyers, etc. Consider the following:

  • What are the unique features of the swag? How does it help your business stand out?
  • What tools and materials do you need to develop your swag using Glowforge?
  • How will you generate buzz about the brand using the swag? What are the best marketing channels and platforms to reach your target audience?

Design Tip

If the business already has a logo, you can easily add it to your design using the Glowforge Trace tool (but get permission from the business first!). Simply follow the steps and upload the logo to the Glowforge App, then adjust the size and add to the design as needed. Learn more about how to Transform a Drawing into a Print.

Reflect and Review

Now that you have spent time developing your ideas, take a moment to reflect on the progress of your design.

  • Have you considered the material, color, and finishing options for the swag? Do they align with the business's image?
  • Have you ensured that the swag is practical, usable, and will resonate with the target audience?
  • Is it cost-effective for the business to create this swag?

You’re almost ready to make your swag! Consider if there is anything you’d like to change in your design before you start creating.


Select one fully developed swag design. Using your Glowforge, print a prototype of your design using appropriate materials. You will also need to create a mock-up of your brand marketing plan. Consider the following:

  • How can you test the functionality and usability of your swag?
  • How can you refine the design of the swag so it can be produced in a cost-effective and timely manner?
  • How can you showcase the features and benefits of your swag in your brand marketing plan?
  • Considering the four P’s: product, price, promotion, and place. How do these elements work together to create a cohesive brand marketing plan? How do these elements impact your swag design?

Prototype Tip

Consider using low-cost materials such as Draftboard™ or cardboard for the initial prototype. These materials can help you test your designs for usability or flaws before investing in premium materials for your finalized print.

Reflect and Review

Take a moment to reflect on the prototype you created in this stage.

  • Is your prototype unique? Will it stand out to the target market among the competition?
  • Are there any significant changes that need to be made to the design before moving on to the evaluation stage?

Consider if there are any previous stages you might want to go back to in order to rethink any part of your design before moving on to the Evaluation stage.


Now that you’ve created and tested your prototype, it’s time for feedback. You’ll also need to evaluate the effectiveness of your brand marketing plan. Remember to measure the impact of your plan on key metrics like customer acquisition and retention, brand recognition, the business's unique selling proposition, and marketing channel analytics. Here are some sample questions to ask your peers in order to get useful and actionable feedback:

  • What is your impression of the overall design of the swag, including its aesthetic appeal, size, and shape?
  • How well does the swag represent the business's values and identity? This can include feedback on the use of brand colors, logo placement, and overall branding consistency.
  • Survey the target market audience to gain feedback on what is working and what needs improvement. What do they think about the swag's functionality and usefulness to the target market? Does it serve a practical purpose, or is it more of a novelty item?

Evaluate Tip

Consider creating a digital survey using tools like Google or Microsoft Forms to gather feedback from your target audience. Open-ended questions can help you gather the audience’s perspectives. Consider questions such as:

  • What was your first reaction after seeing the swag?
  • What did you like most and least about the swag?
  • What does this swag tell you about the brand?

You might want to incorporate simple rating questions about aesthetics, functionality, and brand recognition so you can get generalized feedback on the swag you created.

Reflect and Review

Take a moment to reflect on the feedback you received.

  • What did people like or dislike about your design?
  • What insights did you gain from customer and target audience feedback?
  • How did people respond to your brand marketing plan? What were the strengths and weaknesses of your brand marketing plan?

Once you have completed and finalized your design, it’s time to share it with a larger audience!

Share your students' creations on social media! Post your photos and use the hashtag #GlowforgeEDU and tag us @glowforge for the chance to be featured.