There can be a range of reasons for giving corporate gifts, including thanking loyal customers and rewarding employees for going the extra mile. However, what underlies these reasons is a need to build personal connections and reaffirm relationships.
“Get it right, and gift giving can be an essential part of a marketing strategy, a cost-effective means of shoring up relationships and partnerships with valued associates.”
Can Gifts be Different to Incentives?
“An effective gift strategy means understanding the difference between gift giving and an incentive scheme. The recipients may be similar, but there are crucial strategic considerations.”
“Incentives reward people for achieving defined goals or levels of performance. These might be quotas for sales or productivity, for example. On the other hand, gifts are not part of a predefined programme. The giver is not consciously setting goals beforehand, and instead is acting in a more spontaneous way.”
“For this reason, effective corporate gift giving requires following certain ethical guidelines, so that recipients do not form the impression that you are in any way bribing them.”
Ethics and Etiquette
Some businesses have rules governing whether they can accept gifts. This is often true of public bodies, financial services, medical and legal companies.
These rules are usually restrictions on the upper value of any gifts received, or specific situations where they may not be considered appropriate. Therefore, it is always best to check with the recipient, even if you risk spoiling any element of surprise.
Apart from these rules, there are also general rules of etiquette to consider.
Effective gift giving requires a degree of judgement to ensure that appropriateness, the personality of the recipient and the timing of when you give, are properly aligned, to make your strategy work
Gift giving also requires attention to detail in the presentation of the gift, to ensure that the tone is right.
“You want to accurately convey your feelings, but without making the person you’re giving it to feel uncomfortable. Some situations require handing a gift over personally; others are better suited to mailing it.”
To Brand or Not to Brand?
A key question in corporate gift giving is whether to brand the gift with your logo.
“The advantage of customising a gift is that it adds an element of subliminal marketing, helping to keep your brand in mind”
Again, though, it comes down to appropriateness.
“Think of what you’re saying with your gift, what kind of gift it is, and whether branding it is right for your specific gift giving strategy.”
“Corporate gifts, in the right context, can be effective in helping businesses engage with customers, clients and employees,” Chris concludes. “They add a personal element to these relationships, which can then resonate longer than other forms of interaction.”