How do you show appreciation to your hard-working employees without breaking the bank? How do you strengthen relationships with stakeholders? How do you reward loyal clients for always choosing the products or services provided by your company? More importantly, how do you promote those products or services in order to captivate the attention of new customers and increase sales? How do you establish a recognizable brand identity? The answer is more than simple: by mastering the art of corporate gift giving. This simple practice that started gaining popularity in the past years enables business owners to express gratitude, establish trust, create mutual respect, start a conversation and convey a story. The purpose of gift giving is to enhance human to human connection, but companies can also benefit from it because it allows them to bridge divides, reinforce their brand, stay in touch with clients and gain a competitive edge in the industry, if done properly.
Corporate gifts vs. promotional gifts: drawing the line
Nevertheless, many people do not make a clear difference between corporate gifts and promotional gifts, which even though represent effective marketing tools, are not interchangeable. Business owners can feel free to opt for corporate gifts when they want to nurture goodwill among stakeholders, customers and personnel, enhance corporate image and show gratitude. Such gifts, whether we are talking about an expensive gift hamper, an inspirational book or a personalized notebook demand more thought in order to be a success. Of course, following the corporate gift-giving etiquette is fundamental. Promotional gifts represent a useful tool for business owners who intend to build brand awareness. In comparison to corporate gifts, promotional gifts must reach a wider audience because the purpose of the company is to promote its products or services and expand its customer base. Consequently, business owners usually buy these gifts in bulk and they can vary, from caps and t-shirts to bags and cooler boxes. Promotional products do not require a significant financial investment. In fact, as long as they are practical, the business owner has the certainty that the receiver will not throw them away.
Rules to follow when picking a corporate gift
Since corporate gift giving has become so popular nowadays, business owners have numerous options available, which makes the selection process very difficult. Just by typing “corporate gifts”, people can find millions of results and this can prove to be quite confusing. Can you actually purchase anything and give it as a gift to employees, clients and stakeholders? Well, the answer depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver. Corporate gifts can include tickets for sports events, holidays, gourmet food baskets and stationery. If the two parties have a close relationship, the giver can put more thought into the present picking and personalize it. For instance, an astronomy enthusiast would love a telescope. The main goal when sending corporate gifts is to make a lasting impression and make sure that the respective present will not end up in the trashcan. Business owners need to follow certain rules or tips in order to hit the right note. These refer to picking something useful, not going overboard, being aware of legal constraints, knowing how to sell the gift and how to make the gesture itself special.
Making a clear distinction between gift giving and bribe
Even if the giver has good intentions, it is important to become familiar with the ethics of corporate gift giving. Certain companies, particularly those in the medical, financial and retail fields have certain restrictions when it comes to giving or receiving presents. Of course, it also depends on the situation. After all, it would be absurd for a business owner to slide a bottle of expensive wine across the table during a meeting with a potential investor. It does not matter if the respective investor likes wine, this is considered a bribe and it has nothing to do with corporate gift giving, which is serious business. The following question that inevitably arises is: how can business owners avoid getting themselves in trouble when giving or sending a present? Well, they first need to make a distinction between showing gratitude and getting gains because gift giving allows you to express your appreciation but bribe has the purpose to help you win a business contract, for instance. Therefore, in order to avoid misinterpretations, business owners should not give presents during a bidding process, avoid creating a wrong impression and opting for meaningful gifts instead of suspicious ones like luxury cars.
The etiquette of giving: considerations to make
Moving on to the etiquette of giving, in order to get the most out of this practice, business owners should consider certain major factors, namely context, the recipient’s personality, timing and presentation. Is the gift chosen appropriate considering the relationship with the receiver? Obviously, this does not refer to the amount of money or time invested, but strictly to the closeness of the relationship between the two parties. Furthermore, in order to choose the right gift, it is crucial to think about the main interests or hobbies of the other person because this will give the giver the certainty that he or she will cherish or use it. The timing is equally important. Everyone associates gift giving with holidays or special occasions like birthdays and weddings, but people within a company can do it all year round because the reasons are different, from expressing satisfaction in relation to the successful completion of a major project to rewarding employees for their hard work and clients for their loyalty. Wrapping and handling the gift carefully shows the thought put into the gesture.
Giving corporate gifts represents a complex process that involves several steps, which refer to setting a budget, considering the reason of the gift, conducting research, attaching a handwritten note and delivering the gift personally in order to make the gesture more special. Those who lack inspiration can navigate the internet and explore various ideas but remember to add a personal touch to the present in order to show that they really care.