Northbrook's SwagBag VIP believes the VIP is you
Though you may not know it, most likely you're a tastemaker.
Veteran marketers Jason Abrahams and Jeff Sodikoff certainly think so.
The duo has launched SwagBag VIP, a brand amplification, multichannel marketing platform with an office in Northbrook at 1500 Skokie Blvd. The company banks on the power of normal people, connected through social media, influencing purchasing decisions more than a celebrity spokesperson ever could.
"Everyday consumers, people like you and me who have built up a social following of family, friends and acquaintances -- they're the people who companies like to get their product in the hands and homes of," Abrahams said.
Bringing a combined 45 years of marketing experience working with companies such as All-State, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, Sony and Starbucks, Abrahams and Sodikoff met more than a decade ago and considered joining forces.
"While that didn't come to fruition, we stayed close throughout the years and we knew one day we'd work closely together," Abrahams said.
"We complement each other perfectly," Sodikoff said.
Though they'd mulled over the idea previously, the time became right for this partnership and company when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the entire array of traditional marketing opportunities. No music festivals, sporting events, trade shows or even simple community running events; supermarkets couldn't provide samples of new products.
They look to fill the void and capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing in the internet age.
"People learn and trust what their close-knit friends and family have to say. We're just taking a digital approach to word-of-mouth marketing," Abrahams said.
SwagBag VIP started preparations this summer and launched in September. On Oct. 21 it began a philanthropic partnership program with the Clean the World Foundation, as part of a goal to highlight a different charity with each delivery.
The first set of premium products -- mailed directly to tastemakers in attractive, reusable vinyl bags -- is scheduled to go out in early December. The initial budget foresees bags of between 4-8 freshly curated items mailed once per quarter, though that could increase as demand grows.
Products could come from large brands launching new products, medium-size brands trying to spread their reach, or international brands entering the United States market. They'll span products for health, home, electronics, fashion and food, entertainment, consumer services and more.
Regarding quality of the items, Sodikoff said: "We really want to blow people away in exchange for their help."
For tastemakers SwagBag seeks people with an average 1,000 to 2,000 followers preferably across several social media platforms. They'll be required to sample or consume the products in the bag, share media posts about them and complete a feedback survey on each product. A complete list of criteria, and an application, is available at swagbagvip.com/tastemakers/application.
"We're looking to tap into the everyday individual who's passionate about brand and lifestyle," Sodikoff said.
Should people fulfill their obligations, they'll be selected to participate in the next round of mailings.
"There has to be a certain level of involvement in order to continue," Abrahams said.
Recent statistics indicate people spend more than 2 hours daily on social media. SwagBag VIP looks to make that time more valuable for the average consumer.
"I trust them more so than I do Kim Kardashian," Sodikoff said.
Further information is available at swagbagvip.com, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (877) 792-4847.