Participation Lab Notes: The Power of Swag

Over the last quarter we interviewed Maker Party, Reps, FSA, and MozFest about swag and highlighted the insights, lessons, and challenges faced by each. Read the full blog post here and share your thoughts below!


Thanks, this makes clear about the swag requesting for a particular event. :slight_smile:

A good read with numerous points making it clear we need more quality swag that all Mozillians can take advantage of :smile:

Incidentally, SUMO is sharing its swag designs here: (more designs to come in the future & everyone’s welcome to contribute!).


Interesting data, thanks for gathering then and put them in one place.
I agree with all stated - from confidence in events to collectors.

One thing I saw from my own experience is the things creating bigger impact are those that can be reuse, not common and present in different times/moments/places when people expect less.

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The swag topic is always going to be a difficult one with a multi-way balancing act between quality, impact and cost, both in terms of the physical cost and the creative cost of time and effort. In addition to this there are tiers of contributors and different tiers of swag from stickers to bags and hoodies (for any Mozilla Finance people reading this, I fully appreciate that even the “cheap” swag (per item) does have a cost!).

I am not sure where this fits into the discussion, but a couple of concepts I wanted to float;

One category of swag that can get ignored is the “digital swag” such as Open Badges and downloads such as wallpapers. Sure they have a very low physical weight, but they are something that people can almost feel that they “own” and can be used to promote Mozilla programs. Open Badges could be used to mark contributor achievements such as having completed a “one and done” course and then demonstrated those skills in the contributors environment. In respect of wallpapers, I fully appreciate that Mozilla Creative team are busy people, but how about Mozillians contributing ideas and artwork (as with the recent AMO shirt design)? I am not suggesting “wallpaper of the week”, but to mark key initiatives, announcements and events.

The other idea I had is around cost/reward. The common idea is that swag is free and there is a Mozilla store to sell a small range of items. What about a third way? What about the use of a discount code to “reward” people? For example, on becoming a fully vouched Mozillian and is playing an active part in a community, a team leader could supply a (one use only) 33% or 50% discount code for a wider range of items in the gear store. This would reward people, still involve some funds moving to cover an element of the cost, whilst also getting the brand out and make being vouched have a bit more impact.

Fully appreciate that both of these ideas have lots of holes, but hopefully they can be considered.

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Just got this idea. We should have open badges and we should probably have a way to show off our open badges on That way, people can decorate their profile! For now, after getting enough vouches, there’s no incentive for people to take care of their mozillians profile.

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A good point around Mozillians profiles - I certainly try to keep mine up to date, useful and relevant.

I think we have a “chicken and egg” issue. Open Badges could serve as digital swag, but Mozillians want to be able to display them from their Mozilla Backpacks, but they need Open Badges relevant to being a Mozillians to display.

Rather then physical swag have we tried digital swag? Seems like that would handle the shipping costs :slight_smile:

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Not for me to say, but I think that moving away from physical swag completely and moving to digital swag instead may backfire. Sure, it has a lower physical cost, but it also comes with a greater design cost in time and creative effort. Having “competitions” to design wallpapers would help, but it would still need someone in Mozilla Creative to tidy up and sign off on. Likewise with Open Badges, there would need some set up and design work before hand.

Physical swag is going to be treasured more, and has been noted, advertises the brand and can be reused. It is also part of the connection between Mozilla and the “real” non digital world in which Mozilla software and programs are used, it helps (in a small way) create connection between the digital and the tangible.

Wallpapers are already available, I just think that more could be made of them and, with Digital Badges to recognise achievements, form part of the swag “mix” that should be looked at.

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Ah true @Seburo. Digital does have a downside. I think I was narrow minded to suggest that because for me all of it was mostly non-physical

The best recognition I have ever got is comments from high profile members of moz communities where:

  1. They really believe in me and ask for my help.
  2. They pull me into positions where I can acquire skills I’m missing.
  3. They say they hope I can get more involved, and say they hope they can try to help get me more involved, even if its just a thought and their attempts fail
  4. The comments are from users that have seen the negatives of me and the positives, and in the end still see me as a positive, and still do the above mentioned points
  5. This one is physical. This last one is not possible to give to every single volunteer out there but: they help the volunteer get involved in such a way, that it removes distractions so the volunteer can focus on moz work (in other words: volunteer doesn’t have to go earn basic living by slaving for non-moz corporations etc)

I do not think you were being narrow minded at all - it is a good point.

The original research highlighted the emotional attachment and the brand awareness benefits of items such as t-shirts. Before I was a Mozillian (but still a Firefox & Thunderbird user) I can remember seeing someone wearing a Firefox shirt, the brand recognition is instant. You have a fair idea that the person is aware of open source software and knows a good browser when they see it.

On the digital front, I was a volunteer at an event last weekend where I was shown some software on a device. As it was loaded up from a desktop screen, I was struck by the lost opportunity to make use of that space with the groups brand identity. A wider range of digital assets and wallpaper allow people to do that and could bring in a level of participation on the design stage.

You do make some very good points. Perhaps they would be better considered more in line with discussions around vouching and the topic on Mozilla Thanksgiving…?

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