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Same Swagger, New Swag

May 31, 2022

Same Swagger New Swag

The Conscious Evolution of Our Company Swag

With so many industry and company changes over the past decade, one aspect of 5 has remained the same – our love for this great team and our desire to share it.

Collectively, we share great pride for the impact we bring to our clients and for the culture we have built that unleashes the full potential of the team rather than relying only on individual efforts. In the book Cowboy Ethics, this sentiment is referred to as “riding for the brand” and we have traditionally provided some of the coolest and most unique swag to our team members to support this feeling.

Unfortunately, an abundance of swag can start to feel like the goody bag at a tradeshow and you find yourself holding onto a bunch of stuff or trashing the items that are not useful. In a word, the traditional swag game is wasteful. The evolution of our company swag has some bright spots and some that we wish we had never purchased. Regardless, we are well on our way to a new swag reality that is rooted in our stewardship of the environment as a stakeholder.

The New Swag – Experiences and Conscious Sourcing

As we move away from gimmicky desktop trinkets and clothing that is manufactured without any consideration for the source, we find ourselves with an opportunity to be far more creative and discerning in our swag selections. Today, our swag focus is both more experiential and, when physical swag is purchased, the sourcing and delivery mechanics are both taken into account as well.

Experiences As Swag

When we roll out a fun team competition or provide a surprise and delight for the internal team, we have focused more on experiences than physical items. We recently provided year-long passes to Master Class, subscriptions to meditation apps, and rolled out a company-wide partnership with Cariloop. Not only do we remove the potential waste from items that may not appeal to everyone, but we also offer experiences that enhance the growth and life experiences of our team. Swag becomes a development investment, and we continue to search for more creative ways to expand the impact and the optionality for our team members.

Sourcing Matters

While the experience-based swag is a hit, we still find ourselves buying and branding physical items as well. In these situations, we can plan ahead to be more creative on where our products are sourced and what impacts our vendors are having in the world. During our recent hosting of the Beyond Zero Texas Tour, we used seed paper for the name badges and asked our guests to plant their name badges after the event to grow wildflowers. We also utilized lanyards made from 100% recycled soda bottles and partnered with Interface to serve the signature drink on the world’s first carbon-negative carpet tile coasters (check this out for more info). Our physical swag is moving towards long-term use items including glass drinkware and high-quality water bottles and away from silly desktop vacuums (true story) and cheap t-shirts from traditional sources.

Topics: Culture
Jeff Schiefelbein

Written by Jeff Schiefelbein

Jeff Schiefelbein is the Chief Culture Officer for 5 where he oversees sales, marketing and recruiting. Jeff has a proven track record of innovation and leadership through his involvement in company start-ups, technology development, personal coaching, and strategic management. Before 5, Jeff served as the Vice President of Sales at First Choice Power. Jeff has also been nationally recognized for the creation and implementation of CARPOOL at Texas A&M University, the nation’s most successful college safe-ride program to reduce drunk driving. For his work on CARPOOL, Jeff was featured on ABC’s Volunteers Across America and has won numerous awards, including the National Daily Point of Light Award and the Texas Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. Jeff has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas A&M University. He advises several nonprofits and serves as the President of the Board for The Highlands School in Irving, Texas. He is also a motivational speaker and the host of a monthly Catholic radio show.