Corporate gifts are different from promotional merchandise because they are, or should be, all about the recipient rather than the company. Used well, they can really deepen the relationship between a company and an individual, such as a customer, a vendor or an employee.
Here are three tips as to how to use corporate gift-giving in an effective manner.
Only give gifts when there is a valid reason to do so
Essentially, gifts are a token of celebration, hence there needs to be something to celebrate. Christmas is arguably the UK’s biggest celebration and, in particular, it’s a time of year when people often make a special effort to connect with family and friends, especially if they’ve struggled to make time for them over the course of the year.
At the same time, however, the fact that Christmas is such a busy time for most people means that your gift may wind up being given less notice than it deserves. One potential way to deal with this would be to use Christmas as a time to send key contacts a personalised gift, card and small item of promotional merchandise and to keep more meaningful gift-giving for other times in the year.
Choose the gift to suit the recipient
This can be easier said than done even when you are buying for close family and friends, so it’s understandable if, sometimes, you need to “play the percentages” and go for items which are likely to be appreciated by a wide number of people (or can be re-gifted if not).
This is probably a large part of the reason why food-related gifts are such a popular choice (although, obviously, be careful with alcohol). The trick to making this work is to go for luxury versions of everyday items (such as tea and coffee), then you are legitimately giving a quality gift without spending significant amounts of money.
This isn’t just about managing your own budget; it also avoids potentially embarrassing the recipient and/or falling foul of anti-bribery laws or corporate gifting policies. Remember that innocent breaches are still breaches and may see your gift winding up being donated to charity rather than enjoyed by its intended recipient.
Add an element of personalization
The options for wrapping your corporate gift will depend on how you go about purchasing it. Basically, however, you should ideally either look to buy a gift which comes with attractive packaging (such as a box of chocolates) or make sure that your vendor wraps it for you (or both).
Even mainstream vendors may offer a wrapping service or, as an absolute minimum, ensure that pricing information is removed from the package. Regardless of what option you use to send your gift, you most certainly can add an element of personalization by sending a message to the recipient. If possible, this message should arrive at the same time as your gift, however, for practical purposes, you may find it best to send a short message with the item and a longer message by different means, such as a card or email.
Adele Thomas is the owner of Distinctive Confectionery; a corporate confectionery company that’s been supplying businesses with high quality, sustainable personalised chocolates, sweets and biscuits for over 20 years.